Are you a parent or family member of a child with an IEP? Do you work with students with disabilities and their families? This family-oriented webinar will provide valuable ideas on how to advocate for assistive technology devices and services designed to help students be successful at school. (Get the PowerPoint slides in the Download Here section).
- [Anna Maria] Good afternoon, and thank you for joining CTD for the webinar AT in the IEP. We're pleased to introduce our speaker, Lisa Lightner, Chester County's Chairperson for the Right to Education Task Force, and Family Advocate for Professional Education Families. Lisa is an active lobbyist in D.C., for disability rights as well as an informed blogger on her blog called A Day in Our Shoes. Please feel free to put your thoughts and questions in the chat box anytime throughout the presentation, and if Lisa doesn't get to your questions, we'll make sure at the end we set aside some time, so that each questions gets addressed. Without further adieu, we're going to pass it off to you Lisa, thank you.
- [Lisa] So starting out, what is assistive technology? It first appeared in IDEA in 1990, in that revision, but it really took hold in the 2004 revision of IDEA. What's kind of funny about the word assistive, is that it's not really a word. If you type it, if you notice, I see we have a lot of educators, in the presentation today, if you work in it, you know that your computer always underlines it, it's not really a word, some policy writers just stuck it in there, in IDEA 1990, and it's kind of been in there ever since. But IDEA, in 2004, they really got into the nitty gritty, as far as defining AT, and spelling out the requirements for districts, when it comes to AT. They break it down into two different, she saying the audio is bad, somebody's leaving because the audio is bad.
But, is anybody else having trouble with that? No? Okay, good. Julia, maybe, you just want to try dialing in again then, maybe, maybe it's just a bad connection. But IDEA, breaks it down in to two divisions, first they call it an assistive technology device, which is any item, piece of equipment, product, that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities, of a child with a disability. So that's how you define a device. And then a service, which is the evaluation, the purchasing, the fitting, the coordinating, the training, the technical assistance, all the other, you know, the services that have to go to support the device. So that's something that, we're going to talk about when we get to the IEP portion of this, but it's not just about, handing a child an iPad, and saying, here you go, here's your AT.
It's a whole, package. Okay. Oh good, so if you're having trouble with your sound, try just logging off and logging back in. Multiple people are saying that's working for them. So okay, beyond the iPad, lots of folks, when you think about AT, they say, oh, I hear that they can do great things, with iPads and kids with autism these days, and they can. But AT is just so much more than that. There's, you know, your low tech, or no tech AT, all the way up to, if you watch that show, right there, with JJ, you know, he's got the au, Ah, okay we have a question. What should a comprehensive assessment should include, we're going to get to that in a minute. Oh, they're saying sound is gone, yes you're back. Okay. Good. So where was I? Oh, so some example of low tech AT, could just be, a hand held magnifier, your large font, a reacher or grabber, if you've ever seen, you know, the things that the person hold in their hand, so they can reach for something.
A pencil grip, a triangle crayon, a board, a slant board, you know, that's your very low tech, assistive technology. And of course it goes all the way up to books on CD, FM systems, digital hearing aids, headsets, telephones, Bluetooth, and of course all your devices, iPads, and programs, and things like that. So like I said, it can be anything from a pencil grip, or a slant board, up to a device, and equipment that costs, you know, tens of thousands of dollars. I know CTD, when we have the link, at the end of the presentation, to the parent training centers, but every state, has a parent training center, to train parents with issues surrounding disabilities. And I know ours here, every year, they have, an AT, an assistive technology expo, where they invite all the various vendors of AT products to come and, you know, just expo what, what's the latest and greatest, and it's really very informative.
So you might want to, see if your parent training center does that as well. That's just one way to find out if, what type of AT is available, and we're going to get into, I have a whole slide on other ways that you're going to learn. Okay, so let's get into determining need. And you can see there, there's key, with a little, extra, plastic on it, and that's a very low tech, you know, almost no tech piece of assistive technology. But if a parent, if a person needs that, to unlock a door, then they need it. Okay. But in determining need, there are two common evaluations, the one you probably hear about the most often, is called the SETT. And SETT stands for student, environment, tasks and tools, and we're going to get into the details of that, in the next slide.
And the second one is a called the WATI, and that's the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative, I also have a link to that, at the end of the presentation, that's kind of the gold standard, it's very thorough, the folks in Wisconsin have put together, the links that I have to the documents, it's actually 300 plus pages of how to take a student through, you know, an assistive technology evaluation. And, I mean, start to finish, like I said, it's 300 pages. Not all them necessarily need to be that thorough, but if you are, you know, you might find, that you are able to meet a child's needs, without going through every single step they have outlined. But, you know, if you're new to the process, and, kind of something doesn't feel right, oh, what could I be doing, what should I be doing? The WATI probably has your questions answered. So, SETT, and I will have the link, I have a link at the end, to the person who developed the SETT process.
But this is pretty much it, student, environment, tasks and tools. So you want to formally request, for your IEP process, that I want my child to be evaluated for assistive technology. Okay, that's your starting point, if you think your child would benefit from it, and needs it, you ask for it. Then they should assign someone, I saw here on this webinar, that we have several, school district employees who said they are AT, there's no picture to the PowerPoint. Yes, there should be a picture. Okay, I'm, right now I see, I have block up with four blue letters, that says SETT. Okay, good. But we have several folks on this webinar, who said they are assistive technology specialists, for various schools, not all schools have that, you might have to ask around. Sometimes OTs do it, sometimes speech therapists do it, sometimes special ed supervisors do it. It just depends on the district and what they have, you know, the size of the school district, what the, you know, what their needs are, if it's very small school district, they may not need an AT specialist full time, they may contract out, and so on, they may, some folks I know, some districts have it set up for, specialized people like that, are at the county level, and they contract out.
Do you think it's necessary to conduct an AT assessment, to get tools added to an IEP? I work, I work with a number of IEP teams that are able to find appropriate tools without an assessment. I mean if a child's needs are being met, you don't necessarily, I guess, have to have the assessment, but how do they know? I mean if it's just trial and error, I don't know why you would ever just hand a child or student, you know, a piece of equipment, and, hey, here, use this. Because the SETT process isn't necessarily complex either, you can see that it's, you're looking at the student's current abilities, their needs, their functional areas of concern, what their environment looks like, what tasks they need to do. And what are the training requirements.
So I don't know, I, you know, we're such a data driven field, education is so data driven, I don't know why, you would give someone AT without, giving the assessment. If that makes sense. Because even, yeah, I guess if it works for the child, and the child's progressing, and able to access and benefit from their education, that's great, it might be something, you know, as simple as large font for a vision impairment. But at some point, the child had to be assessed, to know what their needs are. Okay. Yes, Charlie, we're going to get to that in a minute. And Emily said, I think the SETT process may be used by IEP members such as OTPT, without having an AT eval. That's true, Emily, but, let me find my notes here, it is listed in the IDEA, that they are required, to consider assistive technology needs for all kids. So, you know, they might just be looking at the overall needs, but AT should always be on their radar.
Okay, and also this evaluation, is ongoing, it's not just okay, we did this, we read the questions out loud, and as a team, we decided this, and here you go, this what we're going to use. This needs to be ongoing. It's, it's, SETT is not a once and done evaluation, by any means. Some folks, and I've been really humbled, because, you know, I live in suburban Philadelphia, so sometimes I get a little narrow minded in my focus, because I have, we have so many resources here, because, you know, it's a larger city. And I've been to some parts of the state, and I say, yeah, well we only have one vision teacher, for four counties. Meanwhile, you know, my county has several dozen.
So that, like I said, my readers have humbled me, and reminded me that, not everyone has everything accessible to them. If you need to find a qualified evaluator, of course, start with your IEP team, and ask, you know, who has experience, with AT, because you don't want someone, no matter how well intended they are. We don't want someone raising their hand, and going okay, yeah, I'll do it, all they do is a SETT eval, the person needs to be qualified. And, so you can start looking at the school, but you also want to look at children's hospitals, look at your county services, and see what's available to you. I'm sorry, I'm just being quiet for a minute, because I'm reading what, in our district, we have hundreds of kids using AT, and we were to assess every single one of those kids, it's not very realistic. Okay, I see, I see what your point is, if you're giving a person, I don't know, again, giving a person a pencil grip, or a slant board, or like I said, large font for reading. But again, how are you going to know what's working, who's going to follow up, who's going to determine, you know, maybe, you know, you give a kid a pencil grip and a slant board, maybe it's cramping their hand. Who's going to follow up to know that this is, this is effective, and this is meeting the child's needs.
I also, certainly recognize that, our school districts, or all school districts, nationally, our public schools are not funded properly, and I know that you guys are stretched really thin. And have large case loads, and have a lot on your plate, so I certainly acknowledge that as well. But if you want to try low tech, why not. Okay, but, yeah, I mean your could try consult and, and see how it goes. During this process, the parent and the student, needs to be in contact with the team, and one thing I always, always advocate for, is the student needs to be participating in this, to the maximum extent possible. Okay, a lot of times adults and parents, and teachers, just like to say, well this is what we're going to do is, you know, we're going to use this, we're going to try this. And we need to keep the, the student engaged. They need to not only learn and use, self advocacy skills, but, you know, hey, they're the ones using the devices and services, so, we need to get from them, you know, if this is effective or not.
Okay, here are, and as Anna Maria has said, this will be available to you. But here are the resources for SETT and WATI. Okay, and you can find your parent training center, and see if they have AT resources and expos, and things like that. Of course, CTD is a great resource. Okay, so, a lot of you have already asked this, and I know that your questions have already been bumped off the page, and I can't see them anymore. But this is, we're going to get into the meat and potatoes as far as how you want to get AT into your IEP. So, first of all, assistance in organizing and planning. That sounds like executive functioning issue, if that's what the child needs. And yes, there certainly is AT available for that, there's timers, there's watches, there's all kinds of reminder systems you can get set up for that. But back to the IEP. I always remind parents that IEP is a process, it's an ongoing process, it is not a once and done meeting, and parents put so much weight and stress into this one meeting.
And oh, I have my IEP meeting, and I'm so stressed out, and I hate them. That's not really the way it should be, it's an ongoing process, it never, ever ends. You don't want you IEP team only thinking about your IEP once a year, so neither should you. Okay, that being said, there are five portions of the IEP process, five parts, that really lend themselves, and are conducive to parent participation. More, you know, rather than just picking up the phone, or sending an email, there's, there's portions that are really conducive to including parents' concerns in the IEP. So the first one is evaluations. And evaluations has two parts, a letter and a permission to evaluate form. If your child needs something, that is currently not addressed, in their present level section, which is near the beginning of the IEP. If there's an area of need, that you want assessed, or evaluated, you do a letter.
You describe what you're seeing, this is, you know, this is what I'm thinking, and I, I want my child to be evaluated. Such as, you know, this mom just posted that, her child needs assistance with organizing and planning. So that would, you know, just be a letter, you know, I want my child assessed for, you know, executive functioning disorder. This is what I'm seeing, he has trouble organizing, he has trouble, staying on task, and starting and finishing. Yep, all those things, soft corrections, all that stuff, that's all executive functioning. So if it's not already listed as an area of need, in his IEP, you want to ask for an evaluation for that. Once you ask for an evaluation, or, when the school is doing their re-evaluation, you should get a letter, and a form, it's a permission to evaluate form. On that letter, yes you can write on it, people go, oh, I can actually write on that? Yes, you can write on that, no one is saying that you can't write on that. If the school lists, the areas that they're going to evaluate the child in, and there's something not listed there, that you want, you want, you want the child, your child evaluated for, you can put it on that form.
You could say, sure, I agree to the above, however, I'm also seeing this, this and this, at home an at school, so I want my child evaluated in these areas as well. Remember that the school has to evaluate all prospective areas of disability, so if they don't suspect it, you have to bring it to their attention. Okay. So, that's when you're getting your evaluation, now once the evaluations have been done, the other opportunity to be heard is your evaluation, or re-evaluation report. Some do these as part of an IEP meeting, some do them as a separate meeting, and state, different states have all kinds of crazy names for them. So, you know, I think Texas calls it an ARD, there's another state that calls it, I think, an ART. But in any event, it's, the school has completed their evaluations, and they're going to present their findings to the team. And that team includes the parent. So that's another opportunity, you either agree or disagree with that report. And that's, I mean that's pretty straightforward.
Okay. Okay, after that, once the team has done their evaluations, in most states, they have 30 days to, draw up an IEP, based on those findings. When you are, I always recommend when you are RSVPing to the meeting, you should get an invitation to the IEP meeting, when you are RSVPing to the meeting, that is when it tell parents to send in their parent concerns letter. So you say, yes, great, on April 15th, I will be coming to that IEP meeting, here is my list of concerns, I wish to discuss at that meeting. And just list them all. It doesn't have to be fancy, just professional, do I, do a lot of just bullet pointing, as far as your points, this is what I, this is what I want to discuss, and that's it. And that, again, pretty straightforward, so the team will get, you know, there shouldn't be any surprises at an IEP meeting. So the team knows what you want to discuss, you know that they want to discuss, and that's it. So if any of your AT concerns, has not been addressed, or, maybe, maybe your child is using AT, and it's just not working for them, or it's too complicated, that's when you want to put it in.
You know, the child, can't use this form because this isn't working, and you want to discuss other options. Okay, then you have your IEP meeting, and you discuss things, you should always, always go home and recap, what happened in the meeting in another letter. You know, thanks for meeting with me today, a lot of information was tossed around, I just want to be sure that we're on the same page, and this is what was discussed. That way, you know, I know parents get stressed out at IEP meetings, and they're nervous, and sometimes it's hard to remember things. Again, that's kind of, it's a good follow up, just make sure that you know, that you heard what you heard, and that you discussed, you know, what you discussed, and that it gets, got, it's your documentation.
And then they,, okay, I'll get to that. Then, after the IEP, after eval, after the IEP, after all that fun stuff, you should receive your final draft IEP, as well as your prior written notice. And a lot parents don't know about this, or know exactly what it is, but, if the, if you've submitted a parent concern that, and I'll just use this as an example, you submitted a parent concern, that you want your, child to have a scribe, because you think that they would benefit from a scribe, and I'm just using Anne's example, here, because that's what she said. Or no, they said no tech, because the child can scribe, no tech is offered before more intense options. Sorry, I'm trying to work the, specific questions into the presentation. Well alright, you asked for an assistive technology evaluation, the child's, you know, you ask for it in the evaluations, and it determines no need. You disagree with the report, because you still feel that there's a need, you did it in your parent concerns, you discussed at the meeting. You should receive a prior written notice that says, that the team discussed an AT evaluation, you know, but it was not warranted at this time.
Basically it's, the school has to acknowledge, all of the parent concerns, this way. This is in your procedural safeguard, so please read those when they're handed, well, you don't have to read them when they're handed to you, but please read them. Most parents, I think, just go home and put them on a pile, with the rest of them, but you really should read those. Because the school is required to put on a prior written notice, the things that you've asked for, and the reasons for, declining those ideas, at this time. First, okay, Jackie's writing about an independent evaluation, you don't have the right to an independent evaluation, you have the right to ask for one. So that's very confusing to a lot parents, the school does not have to grant you an IEE, that's, that's an acronym for, Independent Education Evaluation, and, the school is required, you have the right, like I said, to ask for one, the school does not have to give you one.
And what that is, is that, if you disagree with the school's evaluation report, you ask for an independent evaluation. And that's just it, and the school can either grant you that evaluation, or they can say no, we're, we're standing by our report, and, and we're not, going to grant you an independent evaluation. A lot of parents then go and pay for these independent evaluations on their own nickel, and they're a lot more than a nickel, trust me. But the parents go and pay for them themselves, and per IDEA, the only requirement is that, the school consider the information. So, if you go out and spend, you know, and I mean, these, these independent evals, can be thousands of dollars, and if you go out and get one, the school only has to consider that information.
Okay, so just, just be careful, I don't want to get too off topic here, in getting into IEEs, but, just, just be aware that it's not, you know, because you find an evaluator out there, you pay them $500, and they say yeah, you child needs AT, that is not a slam dunk, or a guarantee to get it from your district, by any means. Okay. So, I just want to clarify that. A scribe makes the child dependent on another person, see if you can advocate for independence, that's not, not necessarily so. I mean some, some kids are never ever going to be able to write, and that's, it is, what it is. Some kids just reach a maximum skill level, and they shouldn't be denied a scribe based on, independence, because to the contrary, if they aren't receiving that information at all right now, they're not very independent, they're, they're really dependent on others. Yes there is talk to type AT, and there's certainly, the reverse, where the child can have things read to them, but I wouldn't say scribe.
Yes, you're right Kelly, if they deny the request for an IEE, at public expense, they have to file for due process, and again, I don't want to get too off topic on this, but, that often scares parents even more, because they ask for an IEE, the school says no, and they receive the PWN that says, not only are you, not getting your AT evaluation, but we've filed for due process, so you have, you know, a few days to decide what you're going to do. But again, that's, IEEs are another whole beast, and we don't want to get into that too much. But yes, there's talk to type AT, and yes, they could have a scribe with the view or moving toward more independence. But again, not every child, is, you know, some kids are always going to need a driver, they're never going to be able to drive a car. And that's okay, we just need to view that as, that's not necessarily a bad thing, it is what it is, this is the child, they can never drive a car, they're always going to need a driver.
We're not going to deny them having a driver, because it makes them dependent on a person, okay. So, like everything else, AT, every IEP decision is a team decision, or should be. So AT, just like everything else, should be a team decision. You want to define it, all of it, all of it, all of it, all of it. You want to know what type of AT is going to be used, who's going to be trained, who's going to train them, who's going to purchase the equipment, who's going to maintain it, is the child to bring it home, do they need it for homework? What if the child loses it, who's going to replace it? That's a big one, you know, we hand these kids these iPads, and MacBooks, and things like that, and guess what, they left it on the bus. Who's responsible? Okay, who's responsible if it breaks, even maintenance, even, you know, kids are hard on things.
Okay, so who's going to maintain it, when will the re-evaluations be done, on this device? Okay, everything. Everything, everything, everything, needs to be defined, as far as the AT device, or service. Okay. So, okay, you might need a duplicate set, maybe you get one to keep at home. Yes, can it be kept over the summer, are they going to use it for EFY, do they have to turn it in every June, and pick it up every September? And if, if you know, if they're getting devices, that require software, what software are you going to use? Again, who's going to do the training, who's going to be trained? Everything about that. Okay, so how do I find out? You know, what do I find out, I, I think that my child could benefit from assistive technologies, but, you know, I don't know what's out there.
Where do I find out? One of the things, I find with a lot of parents who are, are living with IEPs in their household, is that they expect the schools to have some kind of list. And whether it be a list of placements, or a list of accommodations, or a list of SDIs, if find that parents kind of want, a lot of parents, expect the school to hand them some kind of list of, hey, here's all the assistive technology that's out there, pick what you think would work for your child. An it just doesn't really work that way. Yes, the again, as I said, we do have expos. But there is no list of all the AT that's out there, there is no list of, you know, all the different placement options, or all the different strategies for something, it's up, it's, schools kind of go with, what they have experience with, and go with what's worked for them in the past. So, you know, if your child needs something, they're likely going to say, well hey, you know, we had another child that, that had this issue, and we tried this, and it was successful.
So that's, probably what they're going to offer you. But if you don't think that's going to work, or you know, something's telling you no, there's got to be more, there's got to be something more out there, that, that would be a better fit for my child. It's really going to be on you, to, to look for it. And, and that's, you know that's just, honestly the way it is for a lot of things with our kids, is that a lot of it just falls on the parent, and the teacher to work together, or the therapist to work together, and say, you know, hey, I was at a conference or, I was at a workshop and I learned this and this. So let's try this. But there's not really any kind of master list out there. It's just, you know, be thankful the internet, and networking, and parent groups, and disability groups. And, Kelly is offering a great suggestion, she said, check out Lauren Enders Pinterest pages, she has a lot of different things.
You know, PATTAN holds the AT expos across the state, can a parent request, I have a parent asking, can a parent request Microsoft over Apple device, so things mesh and carry over easier? Well, I mean mesh and carry over easier for whom? Is it for you, or for the child, or the student? Because the school's required to meet the child's needs, if it's a, if it's a need of the child, then yes, I, I, I don't know though if all their school work is being done, in Apple at school, I don't see why they couldn't come home with that same Apple device, and do their homework, as well, on the Apple device. Why they would need to only use Microsoft at home, I'll be the first to admit, I, I, when you have to flip back and forth, between Microsoft and Apple, it's, it's really a pain. But I don't know that you can necessarily get that identified as an IEP need, or an area of need. You know you could try, I don't know, that's a tough one.
The NEAT Center, is NE with NEA, with that, and other AT centers, IDEA require each state to have one. Yes, each state does have a parent training center, and back on, let's see, where is it. Here on this slide at the bottom here, on the left, where it says parent center hub. You can go to map on there, and you can just find your, assistive, or your parent training center, and you can ask them. Because, each, yeah, each state has a parent training center. If you list the specifics of certain tools that are need based on that evaluation data, yeah, you can build the case for a certain type of product, it is has to be needs based. It, it, and again, it has to be the student's needs, not the parents, necessarily.
So what you could maybe ask for is parent training, that might be, rather than getting them to switch over their whole system, or they're whole device, from Apple to Microsoft, you might just say hey, we need some training in Apple, because, you know, our whole household is done in Microsoft products. And just get some, some training for yourself and your child, on the Apple products. That to me would probably be the path of least resistance. Okay, any other questions? I see people are typing, so, I'll have time for questions. Here are, some other resources, I included the Wright's Law link, only because at the end of, their little, they do a brief synopsis on IDEA, 2004, and AT, be included, but after that, they list about 50 different resources, for, AT. There's just a, there's just, still, I mean, I can't even, there's just so many, it's a great link, I mean a great, like link pile, it's just, it's just a pile of probably maybe even, I mean if you want to see the, OCEP policy letters, assessment checklists, they have the WATI stuff, they have family information guides, and publications about transition planning, and transitions in AT.
Funding, they have funding information, they have probably about half a dozen different resources, where if funding is becoming an issue, that you can seek out funding assistance. Again, it's just a great, a great pile of links to just go through, you could just really go down the rabbit hole, reading about AT all week, based on what's on that page. Okay, daughter gets frustrated when she can't edit and work on things, that, oh, okay, at the same time. Yeah, you know what, I would ask for, I would ask for parent training on that. I think that's, if all of her work at school, is done on that, because then again, she's going to be the only child at school who, is then using Microsoft products, everybody else around her is using Apple, which is going to make her different. And then they're going to have to train the teacher, if the teacher doesn't know how to use Microsoft products, and is used to Apple.
I would, I would ask for, personally, I would ask for home and family training, on that. Do you provide AT services as a direct service, or a supplemental, more like a consult? Most of the AT that I've seen in IEPs, here in Pennsylvania, is that, it's listed as an SDI, unless it's, it's a device. If it's a device, it's listed an SDI, if it's consult, from say like a TVI, I'm sorry, that's a teacher of the visual impaired, then it can be a related service. If it's speaking consult, you know from, speech or OT, oh I'm sorry, SDI, SDI is, especially designed instruction. It's the meat and potatoes, as far as, after you agree upon the goal, the SDI is the special education to get you there. You know, what specifically is your child going to receive, to help them achieve those goals. That's they're SDIs. And that's where I've seen most of, most AT things around here. Do you write AT goals, that are focused solely on the AT tool? If necessary, yeah, this is going to be a, you know this is going to be a lifelong thing, and again, that's okay, we need to, you put yours under supplemental aids. Yeah, I've seen it under there too.
Yes, because kids need self advocacy goals, you know, self determination, is our ultimate goal all the time, that the child is able to, advocate and determine what they want. So if it's necessary, yes, if it's, you know, if you're doing OT skills on feeding, if you want the child to be able to successfully self feed, and the only way they can do that, is with special utensils and special bowls, I don't know that I would put, especially utensils and bowls, as, you know, necessarily as a goal, that would be the SDI, with the goal being independent self feeding. If that makes sense. I have also seen students with a disinterest in using tools, this could be a behavior that interferes with learning. Yeah, they may, now depending on the age and the situation, and ability, they may be self conscious about using, different things that are different from their peers. They may be frustrated, because they don't know how to use it, and that's manifesting itself as disinterest.
So you may need to have, goals set around that. My son was to use a cane for walking, for O and M, I'm sorry, for orientation and mobility, but, but in order for us to navigate, you know, his little world, where he walks around, he was to use a cane, and, he never ever, he just never, he would just leave it, he never wanted to carry it, even if he tripped or something and fell down. He would rather do that then carry the cane, so that's just kind of one example of, you know, the assistive technology that's out there, but the child may not really want to use it. And then it's up to us to find other ways of, okay, how are we going to, what other cues are we going to give him, to navigate his environment? A program is listed in present levels, Learning Ally, but not in any other section, is that okay? It's not often, I mean, I don't, I don't know why it wouldn't be listed as an SDI, if it's being, if that's the program you're using.
I don't know, I, you know, IEPs are long documents, I get that, but I don't see what the harm is in, in really, clearly defining, because this is where, disagreements and kind of tension, starts, between parents and schools is that, you know, somebody, you know, something happens, somebody goes on maternity leave, and then all the sudden, they're not using Learning Ally anymore, and then the parent contacts the school, and says, I thought we were using Learning Ally, and it's not listed as an SDI. So the school says, oh, do you know what I mean, it, like things have kind of snowballed that way, so I personally, as an advocate, I just like everything clearly defined. If you're using Learning Ally, why won't they write it down, just write it down, tell us what you're doing with it, and, IEPs, should be able to really be picked up from anywhere are anytime, and just be implemented anywhere.
So, you know if the whole school staff changes tomorrow, the team should, you know, her new team, should be able to pick it up, and just implement that IEP. So, yeah, audiobooks should be listed, as an accommodation or as an SDI. Are there resources about including a child in the AT assessment, rather than just handing them something? Oh yes, I mean you can try it with trial and error, but I don't, I just don't see why you would waste folks time, doing that. Just shows the importance of. Yes, and even, Nancy brought up good point about, audiobooks, and, even still, audiobooks or digital access to grade level content, that needs to be defined as far as, where the student is to access it from, is it a free subscription, is it a pay subscription? You know, all that stuff, just get it all clearly defined. And Julie said yes, it goes to show, how, you know, the importance of a proper AT assessment. And yes, the student's preference, environment, it could have determined whether Microsoft or Apple is more appropriate for them. I was recently successful, in getting a student a Surface Pro, with a lighted keyboard. Good, I love it when it just works out, and it's not, terribly, contentious.
It just, it just is, I understand, it's just, schools are doing a lot with very little, and that's unfortunate, but it is what it is. So that's always why you can look at alternative funding sources, you can ask your insurance company, and go the path of least resistance, you know, maybe through, the insurance company will pay for it, you can get a grant somewhere, or something like that. We were told, we were told, okay, I don't really understand that question. Okay, any other questions about getting AT into your IEP? Yep, book share is a great option. If you're using the Surface Pro 3 at home, and that's what she has now, then that might be an area of need for her. Bottom line is that she either needs to learn, the Apple devices, or she has to be able to use, what she's already comfortable with, depending on, you know, a lot of these kids have pretty full plates, and things are already more difficult for them to learn, maybe it's just not reasonable right now, to expect her to learn another computer device, and software program, in addition to, you know, her school work.
So you could argue that. But again, it's, it's going to be, it's got to be based on her needs. So you're going to hae to tie it into her needs, somehow. Or you can send the Surface Pro to school, that's fine, they're very expensive. I just, I just worry about that, a lot of the stuff is expensive, and I, you know, most households can't go out and buy a new Surface Pro, if it gets stolen, which is unfortunate, you know. But things like that happen. What's the difference between a consult and an evaluation? As an AT for my county, we are only allowed to do consults. Consults, consults tend to be, like a little bit more, like, trial and error. It's not a direct service, it's not a direct evaluation, I believe that is illegal, I don't like to use the work illegal, it's kind of a loaded word.
But it, it does sound like it's against the principle of IDEA, because consult is, the specialist in that particular area, usually goes in, they don't do direct services, with the child or the student, they consult with the teacher. So rather than doing an evaluation on the child, they'll go in and talk with the teacher and say, oh well, why don't try this, why don't you try that, why don't you try this, and see if that works. And there's just not as much meat to it, you know, they might hit a bullseye, and they might find something that works really well for the child, and hooray for everyone. So basically, if the school says the student does not need AT assessment, yeah, ask for it in writing, and follow procedural safeguards, that's it. That's it, I mean it doesn't get, yeah, that's it. It's really quite that simple. It's just, a lot of folks don't even know, all the procedural safeguards.
So, writing in specific use of device, you can decide what changes you want. Yes, I like data driven decisions, that's why I'm not crazy about handing over devices and things for kids. You can waste a lot of valuable time, you know, our kids only get 12 or 13 years in school, or beyond, and really, the biggest goal is to get, kids functioning at the level of their peers, and most of then already are not, and we don't have anymore time to lose. Yes, definitely get, if you need apps, that's why I say, get everything defined on the IEP, you're not just handing a child a Surface Pro or an iPad, get it defined, as far as what software, what apps, what programs they're going to use, and why.
Okay. How do get staff trained, when he is the first disabled child attending the school? You know Pam, you're just going to have to go to the state level and beyond, you're going to have to find parent groups, maybe, for the specific conditions that your child has. Because I know this does happen, and you know, some of the more rural areas, and sometimes even not. If it's a very rare condition, it's going to often be the first time a school has seen this. So, you know, if they're open to training, you know, help them along the way. Just again, work with parent groups, network, see what's worked with other kids like him, and get it put in his IEP, that staff will be trained. The school that my child goes to now, he was their first student, that they knew of, that had CVI, which is cortical vision, visual impairment.
And I had it written into his IEP that, he was going to, that his team was doing the PATTAN, year long webinars on CVI. And you know, and now they're, they're ready for him, and this is many years ago, but, you know, now they, now they know about CVI, it's just, you just have to get it in there, and insist on doing it. Where would a family find an appropriate independent evaluator? It depends on what you're looking for, I mean, are you looking for a functional vision assessment, then I would go look up your schools for the blind. If you're looking for a neuro psyche, then you have to look for, you know, neuro psyches. Again, just network around. An IEE for AT? I would start with your parent training center, I would start with different lists, look at who has, look online at who's written articles, who's written books about AT, and do they live in city near you? You know, if not, can you email them and say, hey, who do you know in my city?
- [Anna Maria] Alright, it is 2:00, and we are about ready to wrap up, I've mentioned before, we'll have this PowerPoint presentation, audio and captioning, archived online tomorrow, on the CTD website. Thank you so much for that wealth of information Lisa, we appreciate your time, also, we're always looking for ways to improve, so for the attendees, if you could kindly fill out our, brief survey by clicking on this link, we would love to hear your feedback. And upon completion, you'll be able to access the certificate of participation for this webinar. So again, thank you all for attending, thank you Lisa, and have a good rest of the day.
- [Lisa] Thanks, have a great holiday everyone.