Assistive Technology Assessment
Decision making for AT can take various forms, including the relatively brief consideration of AT need that should occur routinely in IEP development.
The terms ‘assessment’ and ‘evaluation’ are often used interchangeably in special education and in AT, in particular. In general, assessments are used to determine current levels of performance and are conducted in an ongoing manner. Assessments involve data collection in specific circumstances; the data is used to make instructional decisions. In contrast, the terms ‘evaluation’, or ‘reevaluation’, are used to determine eligibility for special education services.
Decision-making processes used by IEP teams to determine the need for AT utilize assessment and data collection to guide the selection and implementation of AT devices and services. There are multiple frameworks and processes that may be used effectively by teams to structure the process of making AT decisions. There are various ways to do it well. Local education agencies and intermediate units may identify a particular process for this purpose. Effective, procedurally-sound AT decision making has these elements in common:
Multidisciplinary: AT decision making may take place at various times--in IEP development, review, and/or revision.
Data-based: AT decisions should be informed by data.
Informed: When making AT decisions, IEP teams may utilize the AT skills and knowledge of team members or elect to add members with expertise in a particular area of AT, who can provide advice or assistance for the team to consider. Teams may also decide to request technical assistance or consultation to support the team on a short-term basis.
Timely: AT decisions must be made in a timely manner.
AT Assessment Resources:
SETT Framework: Many LEAs in Pennsylvania and across the country utilize a decision-making framework called SETT. SETT is an acronym for Student, Environment, Task, Tools. Learn more about the SETT Framework.
Assessing Student’s Need for AT (ASNAT): This protocol, developed by the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (WATI), is widely used to support school teams as they engage in the assessment process. Learn more about ASNAT.