ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT
By: Carmen Willings
updated September 1, 2017
Assistive technology helps persons who are blind or visually impaired (with and without additional disabilities) increase their access to the general curriculum, improve academic performance, and can also provide a means for job and career access. It is important to thoughtfully consider what devices, tools and technologies will be appropriate to meet the person's individual and unique learning and visual needs. When considering AT devices for students, keep in mind that AT devices should not give students an unfair advantage, but instead, should provide them with the independence to compete effectively with peers.
The majority of persons who are blind or visually impaired will need some form of assistive technology in order access print on paper as well as electronic forms. Assistive technology (AT) also provides a means for producing written information. Each person's unique visual and learning needs must be considered when selecting the appropriate technology. The purpose of the Assistive Technology Assessment is to determine which AT tools are appropriate for meeting the person's current and future needs. Conducting a comprehensive AT assessment should consider the range of tasks the person will be expected to complete in order to be successful in all areas of the educational program and prepare them for independent living and job/career success.
For students, consideration of Assistive Technology (AT) is required during the development of every IEP to ensure the student receives a free and appropriate education. In order to address assistive technology devices and services, teams need to collaborate to determine whether or not an individual student requires assistive technology. If the team determines that the student needs AT, the school district must provide the necessary devices and services.
What is the School Responsible for?
Questions to Ask Prior to Purchasing A.T.
Gather Background Information
Prior to conducting the Assistive Technology Assessment, it is important to gather background information on the student. This should include the following:
Assistive Technology Assessment
The Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) should conduct the initial portion of the assessment, looking at the student strengths and needs and identifying areas of concern. The TVI should provide input in the following areas:
Following the initial AT assessment, the TVI should collaborate with the assistive technology specialist and other team members to assess the student's potential to use more appropriate or sophisticated devices. If the student has additional disabilities, it will be important to include input and additional assessment results from other therapists. Recommendations should be practical, functional and appropriate to meet the student's needs. The team should review the information to determine the most appropriate device(s) for the student. A report should be written to summarize the reason why the student needs the technological tools, the skills the student will need to be instructed in to independently use the tools, and the skills the student needs to care for the tools. The report should also explain the benefits of the tools and how and where they can be obtained. Keep in mind that there is no one solution that will meet all the students needs.
TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind and Visually Impaired. 32 Thematic Units and over 450 age neutral ECC activities in one book! Available as a pdf digital download.
FREE VI Program Templates
Become a member for FREE to access the Printable VI Program Templates to support your district's vision program. Includes VI Program resources, FVE/LMA templates and NEW Sample FVE Reports ebook. Simply click on Log In|Register in the navigation bar at the top of the page and follow the directions to register and create your password.
Due to the nationwide shortage of vision professionals, it can be challenging to locate personnel. Announce a job vacancy on the Job Exchange of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, an online listing of jobs specific to the visual impairment field.
Assistive Technology Form
This vision specific AT assessment was put together by the Georgia Project for Assistive Technology.
As part of the Assistive Technology Assessment process, it is important to gather information on how the student uses the device. Is the student able to use it independently? Is it the right device? Does the team need to explore other options. This data sheet can assist you in gathering data.
Assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device."
The vendors on this page specialize in materials and equipment specifically for people who are blind or visually impaired. Some products are available exclusively by the vendor while other materials are available commercially.