It is important to remember that AT is not just tools but an ongoing process as illustrated below.
Key Concepts of the AT Process
Step 1 Consideration: The IEP team determines whether or not a student needs AT in order to receive a FAPE. During this determination, the IEP team may already have the knowledge, skills, and information to make a decision or may decide that they need to access other resources or gather additional information to make a decision.
Step 2 Provision: This point in the process involves determining how the AT will be acquired and provided to the student. Funding sources should be identified and accessed. It is important to make every attempt for the time between when the decision of what AT to provide to a student and when the student actually receives the AT to be as short as possible.
Step 3 Implementation: Teams must identify who may need training in order for the AT to be used effectively by a student. This may include the student, teachers, therapist, paraprofessionals, family members, and others who work with the student. An action plan identifying where, when and how, a student should use the AT along with any supports needed to effectively use the AT should be put into place. AT may not be ready to use ‘out of the box’ and will need to be customized to meet a student’s individual needs. Similarly, as the student becomes more adept at using the AT or the needs or skills of the student change over time, the AT may need to be customized further to better meet the demands of the tasks for which the AT is being used. During this step, a contingency plan should also be developed and initiated if the AT becomes damaged or unavailable for student use. Finally, a plan for routine maintenance of the AT should be developed and enacted.
Step 4 Performance Monitoring: Team will collect data in order to demonstrate that the student’s performance continues to be impacted by his or her use of the AT. If the student’s performance is not impacted by the use of the chosen device, the Team should return to the consideration process of this cycle.
At any time during the student’s use of the AT, should the data show that the AT is no longer effective or that the student no longer needs the AT, then the IEP Team should return to the Consideration of AT step to either discuss and identify additional AT or determine that no AT is needed.