What Is Assistive Technology?

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How can it help my child in school and at home? 

By Debra George, OTR/L

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 1997) defines Assistive Technology devices as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability.” IDEA (1997) added the requirement that each IEP team consider the need for assistive technology as part of the Consideration of Special Factors during the IEP. Assistive Technology may be considered for any student who has an IEP or Section 504 Service Agreement.

Does your child have difficulty in school or at home with Writing? Reading? Spelling? Communicating?

Assistive Technology (AT) may be of help! AT devices range from low-technology such as special pencils, grips, raised line paper, highlighters, etc. through mid-technology tools including tape recorders, electronic organizer, electronic eraser, and high- technology which may include use of a laptop, iPad, Chromebooks, specialized software, apps/extensions, or a screen reader. AT may be helpful for people of all ages.

In schools, AT can help students accomplish tasks and can increase independence for those who have difficulty with handwriting for example. AT can provide suggestions for note-taking skills or help with reading and spelling, organizing their work or school day, etc. Students must have an IEP or 504 Service Agreement to receive AT services in the schools.

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Assistive Technology Specialists in the school setting use the SETT process to look at the whole student to determine their needs. Then they match the student with the appropriate support. They look at:

The Student: What does the student need to do?

The Environment: What materials and equipment are currently available in the environment?

The Tasks: What activities take place in the environment?

The Tools/Devices/Services: Determine what tech options (if any) should be considered when developing a system for a student with these needs and abilities doing these tasks in these environments?

Using this process, the school team is able to determine what AT would be best for the student.

Write-Well Handwriting Clinics provide Assistive Technology Consultations to parents at our office located at the Golden Light Wellness Center in Oxford, PA. Consults are not limited to parents of special needs students.

Students entering high school or college may benefit from a consultation to identify types of technology that might help them be more independent or access their curriculum easier.

Write-Well provides the following services to parents of school-age students:

Consultations to help identify devices, applications or extensions that would be beneficial to the student to use for homework. For example, did you know there is an app for the iPad that you can take a picture of a worksheet then type on it? The student would then email the worksheet to the teacher. What a great help this is for completing those worksheets that don’t have any lines.

Consultations to parents or evaluations for students using SEE IT RIGHT! These are colored overlays that may help with reading.

Consultation to school teams to determine student needs (equipment, software, etc) or help run a SETT meeting.

Consultation/evaluations to determine eligibility for AT needs and reading accommodations.

For more information about Assistive Technology services through Write-Well Handwriting Clinics, Call us at 610-932-9511 or email: debgeorgeotr@gmail.com

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Write-Well Handwriting Clinics were founded in 2012 by Registered Occupational Therapist, Debra George. She has over 30 years experience working in the school setting and employed as an Assistive Technology Specialist. Handwriting Clinics, AT services are held year-round at the Golden Light Wellness Center in Oxford, PA

610-932-9511    debgeorgeotr@gmail.com

www.write-wellhandwritingclinics.com

   facebook/WriteWellHandwritingClinicsandOTServices/

The following programs are offered for students:

Print, cursive, keyboarding training or combination depending on the needs of the student

School-based Occupational Therapy testing and treatment, See it Right! Color overlay testing

Assistive Technology Consultations

Holistic Children’s Programs include: Emotional Freedom Technique for children, Aromatherapy Consultations, Stress Relief Consultations, Infant Massage Instruction for parents (for babies birth to pre-crawling).

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