•  

    Deer Park Independent School District
    Department of Special Services

    Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions

     

    General AT Questions

    Who makes decisions about AT in our district?
    Most decisions are made by the AT campus team that is directly responsible for the individual education plan for students on their respective campuses. If assistance is needed or high tech equipment is being recommended by the team for District purchase, the request (along with the evaluation report documenting need) is sent to the AT Coordinator to discuss with the Director of Special Services.

    Who comes out to the campus to do the AT evaluations?
    No one. AT must be addressed by the "campus team" that knows the students and the staff of each school building.

    Who completes our AT consults and evaluations?
    All consultations and evaluations are completed by the "Campus Level" teams. The team is usually made up of instructional personnel, speech pathologist, related service personnel and LSSP/Diagnostician. The list of currently trained AT team members by campus is available on the DPISD Home Page under the "District Services" tab. These representatives will be the campus contacts for assistance with the AT process on your campus.

    Where can I find AT policies?
    There is an AT webpage on the DPISD Home website. It is under the "District Services" tab and then the Assistive Technology link. There you will find a link with the Deer Park ISD Policy flow chart.

    Where can I find AT forms?
    Most of the forms used by DPISD AT team members are located on the Deer Park Website in the "District Services" tab.

    What is BYOT?
    BYOT stands for Bring Your Own Technology. It is fairly new to our district and allows students to bring their own devices, phones, iPads, e-readers, etc. to school for school use. They are required to use the student wi-fi when in school, which filters inappropriate content. The District policy can be viewed on the District website, under the Departments tab. You can view the Technology Policies on this page.

    Can AT be used in state testing?
    Software products that are used to provide allowable accommodations such as speech to text are acceptable to use during state assessments as long as these products do not require Internet access to function appropriately. Computers, whether desktop or laptop, must have internet capability disabled by either disconnecting the cabling, disabling Wi-Fi infrastructure, or the Internet access must be disabled at the network server level.

    AT Process

    Who recommends AT consults and AT evaluations?
    The ARD committee, parents, teachers, advocates and other professionals can request an AT consultation. An RFA form should be completed and directed to the "campus" AT representative for the student needing the consultation. Through the consultation process and with consideration of AT in all areas, devices can be recommended to be used on a trial basis or the need for further evaluation can be determined. If an AT evaluation is recommended, parent consent is received, and the "campus" team along with any support services completes the evaluation and makes recommendations to be discussed by the ARD committee.

    Who do we have to consider AT equipment for?
    AT must be considered for EVERY child with special needs during the initial referral to special education assessment and for each 3-year re-evaluation. Prior to each annual ARD, the campus AT team members should assure the committee that AT has been considered and is being addressed by the child’s IEP.

    How do we do an AT consultation?
    An AT consultation can be done by team members observing the student during typical educational activities; interviewing team members (family members, teachers, paraprofessionals, therapists, etc.) to gain additional information about the student’s needs, abilities, tasks, and curricular demands. The team can share general information about the range of AT options (low, medium, high tech); loan potential AT devices; and suggest strategies specific to the student’s needs.

    How do we do an AT evaluation?
    The "campus" AT team evaluates the student’s needs, abilities, tasks needed for completion and current curricular demands. This can be done using the SETT Checklist or the WATI Evaluation located on the District website in the "Services" tab, "Assistive Technology" link, and "AT Evaluation Tools" link. Once completed, the team can identify technologies that can improve a student's performance, access, participation, and independence in classroom activities. Finding the right tool for the job, having an implementation plan, training (for both student and staff), technical support, and integration of the solution into school and home life are crucial aspects of the evaluation process.

    How do we write an AT report?
    Documentation of the AT evaluation can be done using the AT report template provided on the District website. It is located in the "Services" tab, "Assistive Technology" link, and "AT Evaluation Tools" link.

    AT Documentation

    Is AT documented in ESPED? Where?
    The consideration of Assistive Technology is documented in the ARD paperwork. On ESPED, it is on screen #12 titled, "Communications/Physical/AT Needs of the Student". In this section, you will make the determination that the student does or does not require the use of assistive technology to make reasonable progress on the IEP goals and objectives. Your 3rd choice is for additional information needed in the form of an AT evaluation. Accommodations, Modifications and Assistive Technology devices are also documented on Screen#17 "Accommodations List".

    Is AT documented in Sharepoint?
    The determination of AT devices and services is documented in the FIE report template in the section titled, "Assistive Technology".

    Do we have to document AT equipment?
    Documentation of the use of AT as a classroom accommodation is done on the annual ARD paperwork. Remember things as simple as a pencil grip, a picture schedule, modified paper, or as complex as a computer, laptop, iPad or communication device all fall under the realm of AT. If you have considered using it, determined that it is necessary and provided it, you should document progress, use and appropriateness of the devices. Take data!

    How do we document AT service and who provides it?
    Our District does not recognize AT as a related service, but DOES recognize the need for AT services. AT "services" include but are not limited to: the evaluation of the assistive technology needs of an individual with a disability; purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing the AT devices to individuals with disabilities; selecting, designing, fitting, adapting, maintaining, repairing, or replacing AT devices; use of necessary therapies, interventions, or services with AT devices; training or technical assistance for an individual with disabilities; and, training or technical assistance for professionals working with a child with disabilities

    Do we write specific AT goals and objectives?
    A child’s IEP should include all goals and objectives necessary to document progress in the child’s program. If the use of a particular type of AT is a goal, then it should be included in the IEP. Note: If you are going to recommend "speech to text" for example, document it just that way. Do not limit the child to one software, such as "Dragon Naturally Speaking". Instead, identify the TYPE of AT device needed, not the specific one you will be using on a trial basis.

    Who is responsible to train teachers and students on the use of AT?
    With the ever changing world of technology and assistive technology devices, it is impossible for one staff person to keep up with all available technologies. That is why we train teams yearly at Region IV. All newly trained team members and the AT coordinator receive information about new tools and technologies. The TATN website and yearly conference at Region IV is also a great resource to learn about technology available to assist struggling students. The speech pathologist on your campus is the best resource for AAC devices. Equipment representatives will often come out to the schools, free of charge, to demonstrate their products and assist in problem solving. The campus team should be available to the classroom teacher and student to support use of the device during the school day. Region IV offers "learning labs" where school personnel can go and try out various devices, see what is available and talk with staff. This service is included with our District’s membership in AT team training.

    AT Equipment

    What is considered AT equipment and what is just stuff all kids have access to?
    Assistive technology is any item, piece of equipment, software or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. AT can be:

    • low tech like communication boards made of cardboard or fuzzy felt.
    • high tech such as special purpose computers
    • hardware such as prosthetics, attachment devices (mounting systems), and positioning devices.
    • computer hardware, like special switches, keyboards, and pointing devices.
    • computer software such as screen-readers or communication software.
    • inclusive or specialized learning materials and curriculum aids.
    • specialized curricular software.
    • much more, including electronic devices, wheel chairs, walkers, braces, educational software, power lifts, pencil holders, eye-gaze, and head trackers.

    Who keeps a record of the AT inventory and can I see it?
    Karen Page, Special Services Clerk/AT Clerk keeps a record of the entire AT inventory and devices currently available for check out. She is the staff member you contact to check items out of inventory.

    How do I check out equipment to use with a student?
    Contact Karen Page via district email or call her at (832) 668-7172

    Who orders the devices we need?
    After completing an AT evaluation or consultation to determine the student’s need, you can contact Karen Page to see if we have the device available for check out for a trial with the student. If we do not have the device needed, you can call Region IV Assistive Technology Resource Specialists at (713)744-6339.

    What do we do if equipment breaks?
    Please call Karen Page if the equipment is owned by the District and return the equipment to her. On some of the higher end equipment, we have warranties. If the equipment is considered "expendable", please let Karen know that you will be discarding it. If the equipment belongs to Region IV, please return it to the AT lab. Make sure she removes Deer Park from the inventory as the District that had the device in its possession.

    Who has to pay for it?
    When a device is recommended by the District following an AT evaluation, the District is responsible for it’s purchase, maintenance and repair. The device can be sent home with a child once the parent signs the "Deer Park Property Agreement" form located on the AT website (DPISD Home—District Services—Assistive Technology---) in the folder titled, Deer Park AT Equipment Inventory. If a parent purchases a device that they would like the child to use at school, they will follow the BYOT requirements set up by the Technology Dept. The forms are on the Technology Department webpage.

    What happens if we disagree with a parent’s recommendation for equipment?
    Occasionally parents and schools differ on their opinions of what is the most appropriate device for a child to use. Most often this is when an Augmentative Alternative Communication device (AAC) is being recommended. In our district, we follow the procedures described under the Evaluation section. Once the evaluation is complete, we match the tool/technology with the task/environment for the child. This is a process that may take a very long time with trials in various types of assistive technology. Trials with low tech, mid tech and high tech are often needed to enable a student to participate in various tasks in their school environment. No device will be purchased, simply based on a parent request.

    What if a parent requests we get a device for their child?
    No device will be purchased, simply based on a parent or a staff member request. The evaluation process will be necessary to determine the specific needs of each student.