The student is not first on this list by chance! No technology is more expensive than that which is not used! If a student's input is not considered at some point, this is highly likely to occur! It is amazing how often a student will let you know that the question of whether or not a given system might address his needs has NEVER been asked!
This may be family members, other care givers or, in some cases, friends and associates of the student. These people have expertise insights and into the student as a person. They are also among the most important people in the student's life and, as such, have enormous power within the non-school environments. Their active and informed participation can make the difference between success and failure!
Sometimes medical issues can have a profound influence on selection and use of assistive technology tools. Is the student's condition stable? What changes might occur and what might be the rate and degree of change?
In some cases, a physician's prescription might help with funding a device through Medicaid or some other non-educational source, though this avenue must be explored with care and generally cannot be required if the device is required for implementation of the I.E.P.
This group contains most of the people we frequently refer to as THE Assistive Technology Team - the speech language pathologist, the diagnostician, the occupational therapist, the physical therapist, and any others pertinent to the student - however, they are just a part of the team supporting any individual student. These team members provide valuable insights and expertise in various aspects of the process and may also have knowledge of a variety of assistive technology tools, but they must work collaboratively with the people closest to the student on a daily basis in order to obtain the most effective results. This means valuing the input of and working closely with families, classroom teachers, personal assistants, and others who have the opportunity to invite success or inadvertently sabotage it!
When available, social services personnel can provide valuable help in coordination of services and benefits between agencies who work with a student. This frequently is related to finding, but may also include coordination of services.
Though manufacturer's representatives should NEVER conduct assessments of need and recommend devices, they are valuable resources in determining a good match between the device features required for the student and the available tools which may be considered for inclusion in a system. Manufacturer's representative can generally give the most effective demonstration of the tools which they represent and are excellent sources of information on the most effective combination of system components as well as the repair and replacement records and policies which apply to their products. In addition, some manufacturer's representatives are professionals in the field and will help with the identification of similar tools made by other companies. Though this may appear to be counterproductive at first glance, most people's trust increases as information is freely shared and this ends up working to the advantage of the manufacturer, if not with this student,with others.
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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts. NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013. Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information. If you do so, please cite NCIP. Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government. This site was last updated in September 1998.
ŠEducation Development Center, Inc.