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.
Assistive Technology Forms
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."
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TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
Visual Efficiency & Magnifier Fluency Grab & Go ECC Supplements
This workbook is a pdf download that can be printed on demand for use with students. It contains five different types of worksheets for developing visual motor skills and near magnifier fluency skills particularly with the use of a video magnifier. As a supplement to the TVI’s Guide to the ECC, the worksheets correspond to each of the 32 ECC Thematic units. The worksheets, along with a list of environmental print for each thematic unit, are designed to help students refine their visual motor skills while reinforcing ECC concepts presented in the thematic units.
Visual Efficiency & Near Magnifier Fluency Worksheet Details:
Digital pdf download: 210 pages
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
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