2006 Conference General Sessions





Cecilia Robinson
Region 4 Education Service Center
7145 West Tidwell
Houston TX 77092
Day Phone: 713—744—6379
Email: crobinson@eso4.net

Presenter #2

Debra Leff
Region XIII Education Service Center
5701 Springdale Road
Austin TX 75723  
Day Phone: 512—919—5354
Email: Debra.Leff@escl3.txed.net

Assistive Technology (AT) plays a critical role in the life of students with visual impairments. AT provides access to the general curriculum, print information, information on the World Wide Web, and increase participation of activities for many students. While a variety of low, mid, and high technology tools are available, careful evaluation to determine a student’s needs for AT is essential. The AT evaluation is an ongoing process during which the student’s needs for technology, environment, tasks to be performed, and technology tools (SETT) will be considered. This presentation will address the use of an AT protocol and merging its results with instructional resources for teachers of students with visual impairments.

Federal policy requires the consideration and provision of assistive technology (AT) devices and services (IDEA 2004) for students with disabilities. The need for AT is determined on a case—by—case basis by the Individualized Education Programs (IEP) team. After reviewing data on the student’s present level of performance and identifying tasks that the student has difficulty accessing due to his or her visual impairments, the IEP team will decide if AT devices and services will be needed. One of the three results will occur:
• AT is not required
• AT is required
• More information is needed

If the ISP team anticipates that the student can perform tasks successfully without AT devices and services, then the team has a reasonable basis to determine that AT is not required. If the team anticipates that the student will not be able to make progress in his or her educational program without the use of AT, then AT is required. In some instances, more information is needed before the ISP team can decide if AT devices and services will be required.

Careful planning and preparation of an AT evaluation will yield valuable information in determining the student’s needs for AT. All students will require access to various AT solutions at different points depending on grade level and the general curriculum requirements. Not all areas are typically addressed; rather, only those impacted by the student’s current need. Collaboration between the teacher of students with visual impairments (VI) and other professionals during the AT evaluation is essential. When the appropriate AT devices and services have been identified, the VI teacher will be responsible to teach the AT devices and collect data on student performance. Use of quality resources and helpful instructional strategies will enhance a student’s success in his or her use of the identified AT.

This first part of this presentation will address an AT evaluation protocol created
for VI teachers to assist them in the AT evaluation of their students. The AT protocol will guide teachers to collect information about the student:
• Functional vision abilities
• Learning media
• Low vision evaluation results
• Orientation and mobility skills
• Listening skills

In addition, the following are included:
• Interview questions with the classroom teacher

• Interview questions with the parent(s)

• Interview questions with the student

• Use of references and electronic study aids
• Use of video magnification
• Computer Access

• Keyboarding

• Visual access

• Speech access
• Tactile access

• Use of electronic note-takers
• Use of scanning and reading system


Student’s foundational and emerging technology skills to be considered during the AT evaluation will be addressed. Helpful hints and strategies, such as, looking beyond a note-taking device and addressing the student’s needs for speech, Braille, or both will be discussed.


The second part of the presentation will focus on using results of the AT evaluation protocol to plan instruction of the identified AT. Resources created by the presenters and those that have been found to be useful to teachers will be shared with participants. Links to websites and recommended readings will be included. Participants will receive a CD with the AT evaluation protocol and instructional resources at the end of the presentation.



SETT Framwork http://sweb.uky.edu/~jszaba0/JoyZabala.html

Texas Assistive Technology Network   www.texasat.net


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