Highlight text to annotate itX
(female speaker) Is everyone able to hear me?
Okay, my name is Jacky Hines, and I'm with the
Parent Education Network. And I'd like to welcome
you to our webinar today. We have Amy Goldman
from Temple University, and she will be speaking
on including assistive technology in the IEP.
So Amy, I will go ahead and turn it over to you, and thank you
so much for being with us today.
(Amy) Okay, thank you, Jackie and I
trust everyone can hear me. I am the Program Director
of Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology (or PIAT),
and the Associate Director of the Institute on Disabilities
at Temple University. Today's topic is including
assistive technology in the IEP. And I know this is a hot topic,
because I see it several times a week probably on the QIAT ["Quiet"] listserv.
I don't know if any of you are on the QIAT ["Quiet"] listserv--
the Q-I-A-T (Quality Indicators in Assistive Technology) list.
It is a great, informative listserv with, I think, thousands
of assistive technology...focused individuals from across the country.
And, as I mentioned, this topic-- "Do we include? How do we include?
"What are the district's obligations vis-a-vis assistive technology?"
--keeps coming up. So I hope I can hit the high points
in today's one hour session.
You all are very lucky to have this session brought to you
for free by PEN, because tomorrow I am doing, well, a slightly longer one,
for which people pay $49 ahead to participate.
But because here in Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania is PIAT's audience,
we're delighted to be partnering with PEN on this webinar.
For those of you who do not know me, there is a picture of me
on your screen, so you know who is talking to you today.
So sorry this slide is loading in a little bit of a funky way,
but just, again, to remind you that we are a program of the Institute
on Disabilities at Temple University. On the right of this slide
is one of my favorite quotes: "For people without disabilities,
"technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities,
"technology makes things possible." And, certainly, for kids in school,
technology has the potential to make learning possible. To provide kids
with the means to get a Free Appropriate Public Education.
So here's what I hope to accomplish today. Number one, to review
the IDEA requirements related to assistive technology, so that,
by the end, of the session you will be able to describe them.
To provide information regarding the ways that assistive technology,
both devices and services, can be incorporated into the IEP,
and to briefly touch on concerns that might emerge regarding
assistive technology in planning for transition from school to adult life.
So here is the legal definition, the definition in IDEA,
about assistive technology. So, assistive technology device
is the first part of the definition, and you will see it on your slide
that it is any item that is used to enhance the functioning
of a child with a disability. And here the emphasis really
can be on "any." So it's not just something that is
out of a specialized catalogue, but rather the test here, if you
will, is, "Can the child really only do the task or do it
most effectively and efficiently with the use of the device?"
So it is a relative term. That a calculator for a child
without a disability may just be one of many other tools that
the child uses to accomplish a task. But for a child with disabilities,
particularly in the area of arithmetic or calculating,
that device may be the only way that he can perform the tool--the task.
So again, it is any item, and when we say "any," that means it can be
anything from low tech, low cost, do it yourself, on the fly adaptions,
all the way to high tech, sophisticated, complex and expensive.
And again, we need to keep in mind that because assistive technology
is a relative term, something that is a generic technology may, in fact,
be assistive technology when it is employed by a student
with a disability who cannot do the task without it.
The wonderful thing about the federal definition of assistive technology
is that encompasses both devices and services. And that is, I hope,
one of the take away points that you will remember from today's webinar.
And whenever you're at a meeting and they begin to talk about this device,
that device, then I hope my voice comes in the back of your head saying,
"What about the services that are needed to assist that child?"
So those services may include evaluation. I'm gonna diverge just a minute
to say it is questionable whether there is anything called
an assistive technology evaluation, but rather what we need to do is
always look at what is the function-- the school related function that
the student is having difficulty with. And then evaluating that function
for alternatives, including devices, that can help the child
accomplish that function. So when we say assistive technology
evaluation, really we need to recast that into evaluating whether
assistive technology is a viable tool for a particular school-related function.
One of the other points about evaluation--the second part of,
that line--is evaluation of the student in the student's customary environment.
And this can be a challenge, so, for example, somebody might take
their child to AI DuPont for a communication assessment
as part of considering whether an assistive device for communication may help.
So you can get a lot of really important information out of that
center or clinic-based assessment, but we must make sure we are
including information that addresses that student's functioning in school.
So that is a challenge when we are going outside of school to look at whether
or not there are tools, assistive devices, that can help
the student with disabilities. Other assistive technology services
including, "How do we make sure that if we are putting the device in the IEP,
"that we can facilitate the child getting that device?"
And that may have to happen not just through outright purchase by the school,
but by leasing by the school, or maybe the school has a loan closet,
whatever. Those are all services that make sure that the student has
the device as specified in the IEP. Selecting, designing, fitting,
customizing, programming, adapting-- all needed to make sure that the tool
will work for the particular student. That said, not all technology
needs customization. Maintaining, repairing--folks, we're talking
about technology here. One thing we know for sure,
particularly if it's mid to high tech, if it is technology, there will be
a point in time when it is not working. It is much better to prepare
for that day in advance than to be confronted with an occasion
where we need to be scurrying around, figuring out, "How are we
"gonna continue to meet this child's IEP, when their device is non-functioning."
So again, another takeaway point, and I hope that you all will remember,
is: think about, plan for the day when it stops working, and I would
also suggest have a written plan, maybe not a part of the IEP,
but something on file that says, "This is the procedure we will follow
when the device stops working. This is the person who will
help us troubleshoot. This is the person who will call
the vendor or the manufacturer. This is the person who will get
the purchase order to authorize a repair. This is the person who will pack up
the device and send it out to repair. This is the person who will arrange
for the loaner while this device is in the shop, etc."
Plan for that ahead of time. And of course we want
to make sure that the use of the device is coordinated.
Beautifully, the definition includes, not just training for the end user,
which you would probably suspect is part of assistive technology services,
but training for the family of the student. After all,
what if it is a device that goes home that is a key
to the child's successful completion of homework.
We need to make sure that the family can do troubleshooting.
And, extremely important, training or technical assistance for the other
professionals and classroom staff in the use of the device.
So, let me tell you a little bit of a story, a tragic story.
I was involved in a due process case in New Jersey, where the issue was,
"Does the child need a computer or not?" So I was working on behalf
of the family and did observe the student, evaluate the student's
ability to write and organize, participate in written expression
without a computer, presented my testimony, and, in fact, the judge
found for the family that this child needed a computer and specific software
in order to benefit from a Free Appropriate Public Education.
About six week after the case had been settled, I got a call
from the family's attorney, asking me to go in, that he had been advised
that, indeed, the district had procured the computer and
the family wanted me to go back in and see if it was being used.
So, I go into the classroom, I observe--I don't see any computer.
And, at a break, I made an appointment to talk with the teacher, and I said,
at break time, "You know Ms. Lee, I thought that, you know, you guys
had gotten Johnny his computer." She said, "Oh yes, we did!"
I said, "Oh, uh, I didn't see it." And the teacher pointed to carton
in the back of the classroom and said, "It's there, it's in the box."
So what happened in this situation? Did they provide the device? Absolutely.
Complying with, if you will, the letter of the child's new IEP.
However, they did not provide support to the teacher on how to use
the device, how to train Johnny in the use of the device,
so the computer was an effective instructional tool. Without that
training, all you have is a very expensive door stop.
And the child is still not getting what he needs to be successful in school.
So again, the takeaway point here: devices and services, and those services
can and should--when you're talking about complex devices--include
training and support for instructional personnel. Alright.
Alright, so what's it all about? FAPE is what it's all about.
And FAPE is a basic guarantee for students covered under IDEA.
The "F" in FAPE stands for "free." Free means free. It means there is no cost,
either direct or indirect. So, let's keep that in mind
when we talk about technology going home.
Appropriate. Now, I'm sure you've all learned by now, as adults,
that things don't always make sense, or things might defy common sense,
but let me tell you that according to the law, and actually according
to case law, schools are not mandated to provide the best for their students,
nor to maximize a student's potential. So it is a shame, because there
will be times when students who could be achieving on a very high level
are just achieving period. Again, the standard is appropriate.
And an example of this is the Rowley decision. Now the Rowley
decision doesn't have to do with assistive technology in particular,
but I think it exemplifiesthis whole notion of the standard of appropriate.
So Rowley was a young woman--I think Rowley is actually the last name--
who was very hard of hearing, but she was oral deaf.
She was a very, very proficient speech reader. So, as long as she
was preferentially seated near the classroom--near the front
of the classroom, near her teacher, she did pretty well with lip-reading.
And her mom would spend many, many hours at night reviewing
classwork with her. Teacher would give her notes, etc.
So as a result, she was like a B student--B+ student.
So as this young woman progresses in high school, and mom,
very appropriately, is thinking about transition, and mom's thinkin',
"Well you know when she goes to college, I'm not going with her.
So, mom asks the school to provide sign language interpretation to provide
more independent access to the curriculum for this student.
This case went all the way through the Supreme Court.
And the bottom line was that the district's refusal to provide
sign language interpretation was upheld because this student was still achieving.
Remember, I said, she was still like a B student. And the decision
here said, "While maybe with sign language, this young woman
"could be a B+ student or an A student, the obligation of the school district
is not the best solution, but rather, a solution that provides
appropriate access to the educational program. So again,
Rowley reminds us that the district's responsibility is not to provide
what's best. As a matter of fact, I encourage people involved
with requesting assistive technology to stress the term "appropriate."
That the AT device that we're talking about is an appropriate solution,
not the best. So strike the word best.
Public. The "P" in FAPE stands for "public."
So what we are talking about is the obligation of the public school.
If families decide to homeschool, or if families decide to send
the child to a private school, the provision in IDEA do not apply.
Exception here. If the public school says, "Oh, you know, we really can't
"meet Sally's needs for a Free Appropriate Public Education
"in our district, so we are gonna send Sally out of district,
"to a special school, and pay her tuition." Even though Sally is going
to a private school, she is going under the banner, if you will,
of the public school. So in that case, the public school,
the local educational agency, still has the responsibility
for providing what Sally needs.
And "E" is "education." So we do have to remember that
when we are talking about assistive technology, we are
talking--under IDEA--we are talking about those devices and services
that provide access to an educational program.
LRE. More buzzwords for us, and in fact, when I am talking
with schools, I spend some time talking about how what I am
recommending supports the child in the least restrictive environment.
And it is clear both from the Oberti decision, which was in...
Federal District court, and the more near and dear to us here
in Pennsylvania, the Gaskin case, it is very clear that children
with disabilities should be removed from regular education classes
only when the child cannot be successfully educated even
when the appropriate supports and services, including assistive
technology devices and services, are provided. So, what we're
saying here is, you can't make an assumption, "Oh this child
"couldn't succeed even if we gave him X, Y and Z. First, we must attempt
to support the child in the least restrictive environment,
and only then, when we have done what we believe in our professional
judgment is everything that can be done to keep them in the LRE,
in the general ed. environment, with appropriate supports and services,
only then, can we begin to think about more restrictive settings.
Now as long as IDEA has been around and including in its precursor
legislation, as the Education for All Handicapped Act,
it has been very clear, one would think, that the mandate was to provide
whatever necessary supports and services the student needed
for FAPE in LRE. For some reason, that was still an area where people
weren't necessarily approaching it in an organized way, or somehow
missed some of the essential components that need to be considered
when identifying supports and services for kids with disabilities.
As a result, for the first time in 1997, we see something called
"special factors." These special factors are specified in IDEA as
something that needs to be considered for each and every child with an IEP.
Each and every child. Not just children with one label or the other,
but each and every child with an IEP. Now when we look at this list,
it's very interesting to me, because assistive technology, while it is
its own special factor, could also be considered under several
of the other factors as well. So, for example, positive behavioral
interventions, something that needs to be considered for every child
with an IEP. Certainly we know that there are children who have
negative behaviors because they have communication issues.
So augmentative communication can be a part of positive
behavioral interventions. So, just to reiterate, for every
child with a disability, assistive technology must be considered. Now--
here we have the regulations, which went into effect about two
years after the law. So here's chapter and verse for those of you
who believe that it helps to have chapter and verse, so here we have
the requirement, in all instances, that the IEP team must determine
whether an individual child should receive AT, and we know that means
devices and services, and if so, the nature and extent of that AT.
Now, where the law and indeed the regulations fall short,
is they don't really define what consideration means.
There is the mandate for consideration, but IDEA does not spell out
for us how we know consideration has occurred.
Now, appropriate practice would suggest that the team is considering
the student, the environment, the general curriculum,
the student's IEP, the student's strengths and needs, and then
looking at the full range of assistive technology possibilities
that might help. But in fact, this is very typically what
we see on IEPs. A checkbox, "Does the student need
"assistive technology devices and services, check yes or no."
And if yes, the reminder that the team will consider the needs of the
development of the IEP. So, at one-- what are the points at which we
should be thinking about AT. Well certainly as part of the IEP meeting,
and again--I don't know if any of you have heard the word "set,"
or the acronym "SETT." S-E-T-T. And SETT is a process--
I'm gonna just go back to this slide-- that does in fact give
an infrastructure to considering the student (that's the "s" in SETT),
the environment (that's the "e" in SETT), the tasks
and the tools. So if you ever hear anyone talk
about the SETT team or the SETT process, that is one approach
to considering assistive technology. It's one nationally recognized approach.
So in addition to the discussion at the IEP meeting, the need
for assistive technology may also be considered at the initial
comprehensive assessment, as a part of any periodic re-evaluations,
as part of planning for accommodation for high-stakes testing.
If there is a student who is going to take the PSSA, and who needs
to have the print in large print, or needs to use a tool to--
for magnification, hopefully the team is considering that assistive technology
as an accommodation for the high-stakes testing.
But also, one would think that if the student needs it
for the high-stakes testing, they probably knew it--need for
their routine, academic work. Last, but not least, it is
very important to think about assistive technology needs as
part of transition planning. Thinking about what is the student
need now? And what of the things he has now will he need
to take with him? And what new assistive technology devices
and services might he need post-school?
So as the team is considering,
the team may decide, "Well you know what, everything's really
"going fine, he's making adequate progress on his goals and objectives.
"We're very pleased with how he's achieving. We don't need
"anything new." Or they may think, consider, "You know he's using this,
"that or the other, and his performance with this device, and the device
"is supported with these services, he's doing really well.
"This needs to be specified in the IEP, because we have found
"it to be a tool that he requires for FAPE in the LRE."
Or, the team may go, "Hmm, you know what, maybe he can benefit,
"but I think we need some next steps to make sure he can benefit.
"So maybe we need an evaluation, maybe we need some trial activities."
And the team may decide, "You know what, we need to gather
"a lot more information. Maybe we need to involve other
"team members before we make our decision. So we are not gonna finalize
"the IEP until we have that additional information." So all
of these are possible outcomes of the consideration process.
I did mention this before, whether or not there is such a thing as an
assistive technology assessment or evaluation, we can get really
hung up and we do see some head-butting between parents and districts
when what is being asked for is an assistive technology assessment.
Much better to have the team honing in on the educational tasks
where the student is still have problems. "You know, we've tried
"this strategy to teach him handwriting, we've tried that strategy
"to teach him handwriting. We are stuck, his written expression
"is terrible. We are ready to throw up our hands, what are
"our alternative to help this student who has such a lack of progress
"with existing instructional strategies." So again, my advice to you is really
look at an evaluation of the school-related function that
considers all possible solutions including assistive technology.
I did get ahead of myself. Here again is information
on the SETT framework. This is just one tool. You can read
more about it. Joy Zabala is the person who has written and
advocated extensively for this particular approach.
It is not a formal tool where you get a handbook that says, you know,
here are the set checklists, but rather it's an approach--
collaborative approach to identifying assistive technology.
So, a little bit more, when we're talking about the student in the SETT
framework, we do want to be able to identify what isn't going so well
(both strengths and needs). We want to look at the environment,
and the environment can be really, really critical. If you look
at the last bullet, attitudes. We do know that there are
those teachers who would insist that every single person needs
to develop legible penmanship. Well, I think you would all agree
that that is not a feasible outcome for some students with disabilities.
You have some faculty that believe that providing assistive technology is cheating.
As a matter of fact, there's a very powerful video that is just a--
now making the rounds, sort of going viral, called
the "Case Against Assistive Technology," which raises some very--it's not
really a case against assistive technology, but it recaps some
of the arguments or barriers towards adopting assistive technology
that may be experienced. And certainly attitudes and expectations are one of them.
And you know, it's not just the school that may reject assistive technology,
there are families who are very, very reluctant to have their child
go with assistive technology. Again, for example, there may still
be people who believe that if you provide an augmentative communication
device, that it means you're giving up on speech, or that the child will
never develop speech. Which, we know, we, among speech language pathologists,
is not necessarily so. In fact, the research tells us that
providing augmentative communication devices can scaffold or enhance
the likelihood that communication skills will develop and improve.
Again, referring back to the SETT framework, what are the tasks?
What are the tasks that the non-disabled students
are expected to do? And how can we help the student with a
disability achieve those same tasks, through accommodating them,
not modifying them, but keeping the essence of the task intact
so that the child can master their educational goals?
And the second "T" in SETT stands for "the tools."
What are the tools look like? Let's trial the tools.
Let's collect data on the tools and utilize the data to make a decision.
Now, you may know that families are entitled to request
an independent evaluation. And by now you know that I'm going
to say that the evaluation should not say a request for an assistive
technology assessment, but rather, a reading assessment by somebody
who is a provider with knowledge of the assistive technology, hardware
and software tools, that can help support reading.
The parents certainly can request an independent evaluation,
but we need to be realistic and know that the school is not
obligated to agree to pay for an independent evaluation.
And the school, even if they were agree--to agree to pay for it,
is not obligated to abide by the recommendations that come
out of such an independent evaluation.
So, how do we fit assistive technology into the child's educational plan?
Well, IDEA, and again we have chapter and verse, does remind us
that assistive technology devices or services can be part of the
child's special education, part of related services, or supplementary
aids and services. So we can take our cue directly from IDEA when we
talk about "How does assistive technology appear in the child's IEP?"
So firstly, assistive technology may be considered supplementary
aids and services. And supplementary aids and services to be made available
in the regular education classrooms and in other settings to enable
children with disabilities to be educated with their non-disabled peers.
So AT certainly qualifies, AT devices and services, as aids, services
and other supports, and accordingly,
can be written in those sections of the IEP that address aids,
services and other supports. AT can also be part of related
services. So, for example, if the child is using a communication
device, access to that device and more information about that device
and how it might be utilized may appear in those sections of the IEP
that address related services provided by the speech language
therapist, or in other examples, maybe
handwriting by the occupational therapist.
Again, we have a reminder that assistive technology may be services,
specifically supports for school personnel, and an example here is,
making sure that we teach the classroom aide how to check the
volume setting on the communication device if the device is not talking,
or how to take a look at the hearing aid is whistling.
What to do to make sure it is working appropriately for the child.
AT may also be a part of specially-designed instruction.
And it's really interesting, I mentioned to you the QIAT ["Quiet"]
listserv before, again, this is a national listserv and a couple
of people have weighed in and said absolutely never embed the use
of AT in the annual goal. And what I mean by that is,
for example, "With his communication device, Charlie will participate
"in classroom discussions in history raising his hand
"to contribute at least once every class." Now that's
an example of embedding. We specify the condition, i.e.,
with his device he will achieve this goal.
I recommend embedding the use of the device, because the more
places we put the use of the AT in the IEP, the greater the likelihood
is that it will, in fact, be available to him. AT might
also be included when you write the present levels. AT may be
included in transition planning. I mentioned to you--mentioned
this information to you before. We need to make sure that the student,
if he is going to need assistive technology after graduation,
has access to that technology. We can talk about assistive technology
when we're describing the extended school year program, and in fact
we should be specifying whether the student needs access
to the device in the summer. I mentioned to you before, as we talk
about accommodations for those high-stakes testing, we may want
to include assistive technology in the IEP in that section.
So here's some challenges. The first challenge is identifying
the appropriate technology is not always easy. And more and more
there are many options for technology. You should be thinking about
the lower tech options as well as the high tech options.
So how do we figure it out? Through device trials, actual
hands-on trials to help guide us in decision-making about what will
work for this student. And we are so lucky in Pennsylvania
that there are many resources for trials through device-lending programs.
Some school districts have their own lending programs.
Some intermediate units have their own lending programs.
PaTTAN has their short-term loan program available to any school personnel.
PIAT through Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology has its
device-lending program available to any Pennsylvanians with
disabilities of any ages. If the device is not available
through a loan program, and the team has determined that the child
needs a hands-on experience with the device, then the school may need
to rent the device in order to provide the hands-on trial. But I would
suggest to you, much of the time, one of these other resources
will have the device available through a short-term lending program.
Is everybody hearing me okay?
If you're nodding your head, I can't see you.
Jackie, you had mentioned problems hearing?
Okay. Alright, thanks for the responses, folks.
Okay, so, we can actually include device trials on the IEP.
This is not mandated, but again, including things on the IEP will
definitely increase the likelihood that those things will occur.
So, if the team, hurray for the team! They've done a good job
considering assistive technology. They feel like they need to have
more information so we are going to borrow a device for Mary.
So I suggest that the team specify what they're gonna borrow,
when they hope this trial will occur, where the device will be used,
what you hope to achieve through the loan period, what is the data
that you're trying to figure out? You need--you're asking a question
about "Can this device help?" How will you know? What data
will you collect so that you can make that decision?
Who will collect the data? And what point will the team reconvene
to make its decision? Here's another reality that can be
very, very contentious area, and that is allowing the child to take
technology home. And here's chapter and verse.
IDEA says, on a case-by-case basis, the use of devices is required
if the team determines the student needs those devices in other settings,
i.e., home, in order to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education.
So if the team says, "Uh yeah, he needs this device."
I suggest that, in the IEP, the team describe where and when
the device needs to be used. So, it goes home on weekends,
it goes home on school holidays, it goes home over the summer.
Which of those parameters? Put it in the IEP.
Okay, just wanna back up one minute, I'm not sure if I have it in
another slide, but actually on that QIAT ["Quiet"] listserv today,
there was discussion about a school district that was saying,
"We will only send the device home if the family agrees to put a rider
on their homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance.
The problem with that is that that will typically cost something.
If there is a cost to the family, the school district is at risk
of violating the "F" in FAPE. So I certainly understand the district's
desire to protect particularly expensive equipment when it gets home--
goes home, but they cannot require that the family pay out of pocket
to protect that device. Here's another resource,
two websites, for you. So, there's our F in FAPE.
This one, there is no IDEA exemption for personal devices. It's very
interesting, because I feel a little conflicted about it.
Part of my conflict is as a taxpayer, and the other conflict
is as an advocate. Personal devices, hearing aids and glasses.
So, it is clear that a hearing aid would qualify as assistive technology,
wouldn't you all agree? As would glasses. So, what the key is
here is, if you have a child with a disability who has an IEP,
and the IEP team says he really needs his hearing aid to benefit
from a Free Appropriate Public Education. If that goes in the IEP,
and it should, because we know he needs it, the district could be
on the hook for that hearing aid. However, there is a long history
of families paying for hearing aids and paying for glasses,
even for those students with disabilities who need
those personal devices to function in school. The one
difference is when they reauthorized IDEA in 2004, they did very clearly
say that the schools are not responsible for implanted devices.
So that clearly was dealing with cochlear implants, that in
the '97 IDEA were not as routine as they are in 2004 and beyond.
But there actually were some families that were trying to get IDEA--
trying to get their district under IDEA to pay for the cochlear implant.
What they can get is some of the services, i.e., the programming
of the cochlear implant, but the actual surgical implantation
would be excluded from IDEA. You probably know that
if something is in the I--in the IEP, it--the law says that must be provided
immediately after the IEP is finalized. We do know that sometimes
that's unavoidable--a delay is unavoidable. But sometimes
it is avoidable. Okay, we did get a question here,
and I'm happy to entertain it at this point, "When should
a parent ask for an AT evaluation?" And yeah, I'd have to agree that
sometimes the team is for one reason or another more prone to consider
assistive technology for a child with a physical disability than
for a child with a, quote, "invisible disability."
So really the trigger here is, are things not going well for the child
in a particular area of functioning even though a variety of strategies
and approaches have been tried? So here's where you say, "I would like
"a writing evaluation that considers all of the strategies and supports
"for writing, including assistive technology. I would like
"a communication assessment that considers all of [inaudible] strategies,
"so that could include sign language, as well as assistive devices
"that may support my child." So again, the key here
is what's not working well? And I would raise the question,
"Hey, you know what, there may be AT that would work well in
"this academically-related area." So, I hope that answers your question.
Amanda, yes. Devices like glasses and hearing aids could be
assistive technology, and if the team writes it in the IEP, then the family
would not have to pay. Now, typically, families do cover those things.
So, it is a point of contention. Certainly, if there was no other way
for the child to have access to those things, you would,
as an advocate, encourage it, encourage the family to advocate
for it to be written in the IEP. But, let me give you a little example.
A child who had a light sensitivity, he did have glasses but he
didn't have sunglasses. And the family was like, you know,
"We really can't afford for sunglasses." And yet the team was
very clear that socialization was very important to the child's
inclusion, and recess, outside, was very important in that
whole ball of wax. So, the team did write in the special sunglasses
into the IEP, and the team, the school district, did pay.
Now, the other thing to think about is, if it's in the IEP, the school
needs to make sure it is provided, but the school doesn't necessarily
need to be the payer. So, the school may be able to find,
maybe the Lions Club, to pay for the device.
And I know I am running out of time. This is another issue, should
you name the brand, the particular device in the IEP?
My feeling on this, and this is another interesting thing that varies
by states or local practice, in Pennsylvania through the assistive
technology people in each intermediate unit, the advice
typically is just describe it, don't name it. I can go either way
on this. If the team has gone through this evaluation process,
you know exactly which device is needed, name it.
The response to that is well what happens if something changes,
a different technology becomes available, and my response to that
would be, "Amend the IEP." I mentioned to you before
that just 'cause it's in the IEP, doesn't mean the school needs
to buy a brand spankin' new one. They can go to their closet,
where they had a similar device, or even the same device,
used by a student who moved on. So the student may get, quote,
"a reused device," and that is allowable.
The last bullet here is something very important to think about.
It breaks my heart when I get calls in May from the parents
of graduating kids who have just learned that the device their student
has been using in school has been requested to be returned
upon graduation. So, just a reminder, if the school purchases the device,
the device indeed belongs to the school.
[quietly] Okay. Whoops.
So, that brings us to the end of today's presentation.
Just about on time. I do want you to feel free to e-mail me at
email@example.com, and I am happy to answer your questions offline.
I hope this has been a good overview for you, and that
you'll all go back and this information can assist you
in your advocacy for your own child or for others.
So please complete the evaluation. The job's not done til'
the paperwork 's in, I'm sure you all know that. We do like
to look at the results of evaluations to find out what
we should do differently in the training we provide.
(Amy pauses) So Jackie, I don't know if you have
any final words or announcements.
Okay, I am signing off then, and again, please feel free to contact us. Bye-bye.
(Jackie) If you could please click on the link
to our evaluation, that
would be wonderful. We will share this information with Temple.
And we also have, I also have a link up there for PaTTAN's AT expo,
there's also a link there. And I think I typed it wrong: E-X-P-O.
So let me retype that for you if you want to click on that.
That should be it, there. So thank you so much for coming,
and please complete the AT in the IEP evaluation.
We really appreciate your time. Thank you!