Assistive Technology Decision Making
Does the student need AT? Who decides? What AT should we try? How do we know if AT is effective?
Assistive technology decisions are team decisions. Like other IEP team decisions, AT decisions should be made by members of multidisciplinary teams, including teachers, therapists, family, other professionals, and— whenever possible—the student.
There are multiple frameworks and processes that may be used effectively by teams to structure the process of making AT decisions. Local education agencies and intermediate units may identify a particular process for this purpose. Effective, procedurally-sound AT decision-making has these elements in common:
Multidisciplinary: AT decision-making may take place at various times—in IEP development, review, and/or revision.
Data-based: AT decisions should be informed by data.
Informed: When making AT decisions, IEP teams may utilize the AT skills and knowledge of team members, or elect to add members with expertise in a particular area of AT who can provide advice or assistance for the team to consider. Teams may also decide to request technical assistance or consultation to support the team on a short-term basis.
Timely: AT decisions must be made in a timely manner.
*Note: Students served under a 504 plan may also need assistive technology. The information provided here reflects best practices in AT decision-making and is also appropriate for these students, although the development of a 504 plan may not require all of these elements. See Chapter 15 under Legal/PA Laws and Regulations.