2004 Conference Proceedings

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Sherry L. Purcell, Ph.D.
Los Angeles Unified School District
40 Park Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
Phone: (310) 780-5912
Email: sherpurc@earthlink.net

Debbie Grant
Santa Barabra County education Office
827 Kolding Avenue
Solvang, CA 93463
Phone: (805) 688-1849
Email: debgrant@sbceo.org

Years after the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was re-authorized in 1997, many school systems are still struggling to understand what Assistive Technology is and how it should be used in classrooms. IDEA'97 issued a mandate to public schools to consider the need for Assistive Technology for all students with disabilities, as well as to educate these students with disabilities to the fullest extent possible within the general education curriculum. As IDEA faces a new reauthorization, the expectation is that these same principles of special education will apply. The question may be asked, "How many more years will it take for schools to understand the link between Assistive Technology and curriculum access?"

This purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate how Assistive Technology provides functional access to general education. It can be the "bridge" between the student's disability and the ability to access the same curriculum as general education peers. Functional access technologies break through the barriers of vision, hearing, processing, communication, and/or motor skills to allow students to do the same things as their general education peers. Assistive Technology exists on a continuum from low-no tech to high tech (Golden, 1998; Parker, 1998). The choice of technology for a student varies depending on the type and level of severity of the disability, and on the specific task requirements in the classroom.

As schools face the re-authorization of IDEA, teachers need specific tools to more fully address the requirements of the law as it relates to Assistive Technology and curriculum access. Teachers need:

Purcell and Grant (2002, 2004) have created a tool for teachers to meet these needs. "AT Solutions" is an approach designed to support teachers and IEP teams as they consider the student's ability to participate in general education programs. A state curriculum framework for the content areas of English Language Arts and Reading is used as the basis for this approach. Standards are task-analyzed for performance variables and barriers to that performance. "AT Solutions" for overcoming those barriers are offered in a range from low-no tech to high tech. IEP goals which incorporate Assistive Technology are suggested, along with a reference guide to obtaining or making various types of AT.

This session will discuss this "AT Solutions" approach. Elementary and secondary curriculum standards for English Language Arts and Reading will be presented. Participants in this session will learn:


Golden, D. (1998). Assistive technology in special education: Policy and practice. Albuquerque: Council of Administrators in Special Education, Inc.

Parker, A. (1998). Assistive technology for all individuals with disabilities. (Memorandum, August 24, 1998). Sacramento, CA: California State Department of Education.

Purcell, S. & Grant, D. (2002). Assistive technology solutions for IEP teams. Verona, WI: Attainment Co.

Purcell, S. & Grant, D. (2004, in press). Assistive technology solutions for IEP teams, Book 2. Verona, WI: Attainment Co.

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