Redmond Assistive Technology – Providing Accessibility Collaboratively (RatPac) is a team of district staff members who have implemented a 2 year plan to increase assistive technology for all students in the district. The AT team can offer a variety of support services in the following areas:
- Premier Literacy Software (screen reader, Talking Word Program, etc)
- Dragon Naturally Speaking (speech recognition software)
- Universal Design (providing technology for all learners in the district)
Green Zone Interventions (Universal Design)
Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)
- Textbook Adoptions
- Portable players (MP3, iTouch)
- Talking work processor
- Word prediction
- Speed recognition (Dragon)
- Environmental Control Unit
- Switch Interfaces
- Touch Window
- Talking Books – Powerpoint, Tumblebooks
- Visual Schedules
- Activity Boards
- Big Mac
Yellow Zone Interventions (Specialized Software and Hardware)
- Portable Daisy Players
- iPad Apps
- Livescribe Pens
- Write Online
- Classroom Suite
- Clicker 5
- Other Communication Books
- Simple Voice Output Device – Tech Talk, iTalk 2, Go Talk
Red Zone Interventions (Unique physical or learning needs)
- Unique Computer Input – Switch Arrays, Headmouse, Scanning
- Custom Adaptations of Hardware
- Unique Aug Com Device – Dynavox, Proloquo2Go, Vantage
- Software – JAWS
- Multiple interventions for unique students with ongoing assessment and trials
Redmond School District Assistive Technology Team Contacts
Regional High Desert ESD Assistive Technology Specialist
Frequently Asked Questions
“What is assistive technology?” Assistive technology is any item that a child uses to increase, maintain or improve a functional capability. Technology may be used in many ways which do not change a child’s ability to function. For example, a computer program which only helps a child to practice math facts would generally not be considered assistive technology because the child would not be able to do the math better as a result of using the technology. A calculator used by the same child would probably be considered assistive technology.
“What kinds of assistive technology devices are considered by the IEP team?” Many commonly used products can be used as assistive technology supports for students with disabilities. Examples of low-tech solutions include calculators, laminated communication boards, tape recorders, pencil grips and spell checkers. In addition, there are over two thousand specialized assistive technology devices which are specifically designed to enhance the functional skills of people with disabilities. A full range of assistive technology devices should be considered for each individual. As a rule, the simplest tool that will fill the need is the most effective.
“Who is eligible for assistive technology?” All students with disabilities, both students who receive services under IDEA and those who need accommodations and modifications under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, are eligible to receive assistive technology if it is needed for the child to meet educational goals. Need is determined if the student cannot receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) without the use of assistive technology. Infants and toddlers younger than three years of age who are enrolled in Early Intervention Programs are also eligible to receive assistive technology devices and services if they are needed for the child to meet developmental goals.
“What factors should an IEP team take into consideration to determine an individual child’s need for assistive technology?” When a team considers a child’s need for assistive technology, team members should first review the child’s goals and need for access to the curriculum. If the team identifies an area of performance where progress will be difficult or impossible because of the child’s disability, the team should consider assistive technology along with other strategies such as modification of the task (e.g. shortened assignments, dictation of written work) or additional instruction.
“When should a team evaluate a student’s assistive technology needs?” Any time a student seems to have the cognitive skills to complete a task but encounters barriers because of the disability an assistive technology assessment may be indicated. If any member of the team identifies a task or functional life skill for which the student may need assistive technology, the team should examine the strategies and accommodations already in place for the student. If these strategies and accommodations are not sufficient to allow the student to overcome barriers, an assistive technology assessment is warranted.
“What are assistive technology services?” IDEA specifically list six assistive technology services. All of these services are actions which are required to help a child with a disability to select and effectively use assistive technology. Assistive technology services listed in IDEA include assessment, provision of assistive technology selection and maintenance of devices, coordination with other therapies, training of students and families and training of professionals.
“Who is qualified to complete an assistive technology assessment?” Assistive technology assessments should involve all members of the child’s educational team. IDEA states that evaluation of the child’s assistive technology needs should include a “functional evaluation in the child’s customary environment.” When an assistive technology assessment is conducted, at least one member of the child’s team must have knowledge about the assistive technology devices and services which the child could use to complete the tasks identified in the assessment. In some cases, the IEP team may have enough information to complete the assessment without help. When the team requires additional information about assistive technology, the services of an assistive technology specialist or other knowledgeable person may be needed.
“What information should be gathered during an assistive technology assessment?” During as assistive technology assessment, the team should gather information about the student’s present level of educational performance, the tasks the student needs to accomplish and the environments where those tasks need to be done. The assessment should consider tools and strategies to help the student with the identified tasks including low level technology solutions and non-technology strategies, as well as high-tech devices. In most cases, a trial period of use of the most promising technology solution(s) in the child’s customary environments should also be implemented.
“What should an IEP team do when members agree that a child may need assistive technology but are not sure what is available?” When the IEP team identifies tasks for which the child may need assistive technology, but does not have enough information to make a decision about what that technology should be, the team may add additional team members who are knowledgeable about technology which can be used for those tasks. A formal assistive technology assessment may be conducted. When an assistive technology assessment is initiated, the team should develop a plan for how the assessment will be conducted so that it can be completed within the sixty day timeline required by Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs). Once the assessment is complete, the IEP team should meet again to consider the child’s needs for assistive technology.