Name: Alexis Thavenot

EEX 4070 AT Module
Date: October 18th, 2016
Citation: The IRIS Center. (2010). Assistive Technology: An Overview. Retrieved from
http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module/at/
Students with disabilities may encounter difficulties with regards to achieving and
accessing the curriculum. Thus, there needs to be some sort of program or model in place
in order to ensure that these students meet all goals successfully. Assistive technology
(AT) is any device or service that helps a student achieve his or her individualized
education plan (IEP). Additionally, AT allows these students to be included in general
education classrooms, and be able to get the same quality of education and opportunities
as other students. AT has various functions and uses, ranging from communication,
mobility, or simply completing academics. Every student is different, and so there is a
wide range of AT to meet the needs of all students, ranging from certain seating to a
calculator. These are some examples of AT devices. However, there are also AT services
that are implemented in order to effectively use these devices. There are various teams
and personnel that contribute to the process of considering, implementing and evaluating
AT devices and services. Furthermore, general education teachers play an important role
in ensuring that their students are able to utilize AT to their maximum benefit, and that
they are successful in meeting their goals.
Before reading this module, I had always believed that assistive
technology consisted of large, complex and expensive structures.

However, I am now aware that there is a wide range of AT that may be
present in the classroom and that each of these devices could support
a student with a disability. One item that I had not known fell into the
category of AT was pencil grips. These are very simple devices that are
used by students who have low muscle tone or immature pencil grip
patterns (Page 2: Assistive Technology Devices). Another AT is a
manual wheelchair. This helps students who struggle with mobility, and
thus are unable to walk safely or efficiently. These wheelchairs would
be a means of transport for these students. Furthermore, an assistive
technology device that intrigued me was adapted feeding tools. These
are used for students to assist them with eating. For example, a
student who frequently spills his/her drink would use a cup with both a
base and a lid for support and stability. Additionally, a student who has
poor hand coordination or weakness can use a lipped plate. There may
also be the case with a student with only one hand, and adapted
feeding tools such as a rocker knife would assist students that fall into
this category.
Evidently, AT can be very important for students with disabilities
and thus should be considered for these classrooms. Firstly, the use of
AT for students with disabilities makes it possible for them to meet
their IEP goals. Thus, students’ learning can be maximized, while being
able to receive the benefits of being in a general education classroom.
It may be impossible to meet the goals of the curriculum, as well other

classroom goals with typical general education resources. With these
devices, students have alternative methods that can be used to meet
certain goals. Additionally, students should have access to free
appropriate public education (FAPE) (Page 4: Considering Assistive
Technology), so that they are given the services and education needed
for them to be successful, without additional costs. Thus, it must be
ensured that students who require AT to adequately meet goals have
access to these resources in order to fulfill the requirements of FAPE.
More broadly, it simply improves the quality of education and
experience a student with a disability receives, whether it may be
improvement in communication, mobility, eating, writing, or accessing
certain materials (Page 1: Assistive Technology).
Assistive technology may come in the form of both devices and
services. These forms of AT complement each other because a student
needs access to devices, as well as the support and services to
effectively use this device. Devices can be simple or complex, and aim
to solve or lessen problems faced by a student with a disability. Though
students may have access to these devices, they also need access to
services. These services assist children with disabilities with anything
regarding the devices. Thus, these services are vital in ensuring
students are provided with appropriate devices, as well as they are
maintained and effective. For example, a student may have access to a
device, but if it breaks, needs repairing, or this is misunderstanding on

how to use the device effectively, AT services would then need to play
its role.
The implementation team is in charge of implementing AT. This
team has various responsibilities. This team has to develop a plan,
which ensures successful AT implementation. This plan includes
several aspects including designing a point of contact, which is the
person who monitors and ensures that the implementation form is
valid, and that everyone is complying with this form as well as that all
parties are aware of the AT. Other roles of the implementation team are
also assigned. The development of this plan also includes the specifics
about the AT being used, and how it will be monitored and used
effectively. Once this plan is approved and set, the implementation
team must then work on the actual implementation process. The
Implementation team must consider all the different environments and
scenarios a student may be in his/her daily life and analyze these to
determine what a student with a disability may have difficulty
achieving. Once this is decided, AT is chosen that would mitigate these
difficulties. Subsequently, a student must be matched with the
appropriate AT. If it appears that the AT and the student are not
working, either more training is needed or a new device is necessary. It
is important for students’ feelings to be considered, and for them to be
given all the necessary information so that they truly benefit from
these devices. Once the student has received the device, it is crucial to

ensure that the AT is working effectively and that maximum benefits
are being received from it.
As briefly stated above, the implementation team must evaluate
a student’s assistive technology, which results in various outcomes.
Firstly, the team can determine if the student likes the AT by receiving
direct feedback from the student. I believe that this is valuable
information, as students would often tell the truth if directly asked, and
would be able to describe if this technology has been helpful or not.
This can be done casually, or in forms such as interviews or
questionnaires, depending on the student and which method would
result in the most information gained. The team can also evaluate
whether or not the device is actually being used to maximize benfits,
and that the student is interested in using it. This information can be
collected via observations. I believe that the most important
information that should be gathered when evaluating AT is the
effectiveness of it with regards to assisting the student in the areas
that he/she needed, as this is the goal of the entire implementation.
This data can be collected through performance data, to see if students
improved, stayed the same, or worsened. Once this information is
collected, the implementation team can purchase the device, or work
to determine the source of failure if the device was unsuccessful. If it is
successful, it should be monitored for an ongoing time period. This
monitoring will allow the team to know whether it is continuing to be

successful, is only being used sometimes, or is not used at all (Page 6:
Evaluating and Decision Making).
General education teachers play an important role with regards
to AT. Thus, it is important for teachers to have access to information
about students in order to be a part of the process of determining the
best AT for the student. Information should include the student’s level
of functioning. This is important as it determines the severity of the
disability, and how much assistance is needed, which is what has to be
considered before selecting an appropriate AT. Additionally a teacher
should bring information about the student strengths, which he/she
should have a lot of knowledge and data about from spending so much
time in the classroom with this student. Additionally, the student’s
weaknesses or areas of need is valuable information that the
classroom teacher can provide at the meeting, in order to select an
appropriate AT, and determine if this is the best option for the student.
The general education teacher can also provide information or data
about strategies that have been used in the past, and whether or not
they have worked or failed, and possible reasons for this. Aside from
information on the student, I believe that the teacher should be
familiar with AT devices and services, and the options that are
available. Having this background knowledge would result in valuable
and productive contributions in this meeting.

If AT is implemented in the classroom, the general education
teacher has an important role in this process. Firstly, the teacher
should fully and extensively understand his/her student and his/her
needs. This may include knowing the areas of weakness, being
informed about the AT being used, supporting the student as he/she
learns to use the AT, and being understanding and patient with the
entire process. The teacher should also encourage AT use by the
student at all times, and be sure that it can be smoothly incorporated
into lessons. I believe that an important factor to consider is that the
other students are aware and familiar with the AT, to avoid distractions
to ensure that they know why it is being used. An important role for
teachers is to continuously communicate and collaborate. This may
include searching for additional resources or support, and
communicating with the IEP and implementation team regularly, so
that all members are updated with the AT progress, success, or lack
thereof.