Assistive Technology Consideration and Decision-Making Process
(Adapted from Quality Indicators Assistive Technology (QIAT) Services; Revised, 2005)
Consideration of the need for AT devices and services is an integral part of the educational process
identified for referral, evaluation, and IEP development. AT is considered at all stages of the educational
process, and must be documented in the IEP. The following quality indicators adapted from QIAT
Services address best practices in the development and delivery of assistive technology.
1. Assistive technology devices and services are considered for all students with disabilities regardless of type or severity of disability. Federal law mandates the consideration of assistive technology.
Consideration of assistive technology need is required by IDEA '97 and IDEA ‘04 and is based on the
unique educational needs of the student. A student with an IEP is not excluded from consideration
of AT for any reason. (e.g. type of disability, age, administrative concerns, etc.). Although assistive
technologies are frequently thought to be relevant primarily to those with physical disabilities, sensory or health impairments, and communication disorders, it should be noted that this provision applies equally to students with learning disabilities, who may require the use of a device, such as a spell checker to assist them with written communication.
2. During the development of the individualized educational program, the building level IEP/AT
team uses a collaborative decision-making process that supports systematic consideration of
each student’s possible need for assistive technology devices and services.
The consideration of assistive technology encompasses a decision making process.
A collaborative process that ensures that all IEP/AT teams effectively consider the assistive
technology of students is defined, communicated, and consistently used.
3. IEP/AT team members have the collective knowledge and skills needed to make informed
assistive technology decisions and seek assistance when needed.
The Consideration component and Assistive Technology Decision-Making Processes are
collaborative. During the Consideration Process IEP/AT team members combine their knowledge and skills to determine if assistive technology devices and services are needed to remove barriers to student performance. The SETT Framework provides a guideline to follow during the Consideration Process (See The Consideration Process Using: The SETT Framework).
When the assistive technology needs are beyond the knowledge and scope of the IEP/AT team,
additional resources and support are sought via the district AT consultant and WISD personnel. The
need to seek additional support begins the process for a more formal Assistive Technology Decision-
Making Process (ATDMP).
4. Decisions regarding the need for assistive technology devices and services are based on the
student's IEP goals and objectives, access to curricular and extracurricular activities, and
progress in the general education curriculum.
Consideration of assistive technology is a function of the IEP process, and is implemented as a
component of daily instruction and lesson planning.
Consideration is an on-going process that is incorporated into daily instruction to assure success in
student learning. Daily consideration of assistive technology occurs when a teacher or support staff
determines that an intervention is required for the student to understand a concept or complete an
activity successfully. The incorporation of that intervention becomes a component of the assistive
technology consideration process and should be discussed and possibly documented during the IEP
5. The IEP/AT team gathers and analyzes data about the student, customary environments,
educational goals, and tasks when considering a student's need for assistive technology
devices and services.
Take into account the results of data collected during student trials and assessments when making
decisions to recommend AT.
The IEP/AT team shares and discusses information about the student's present levels of achievement
in relationship to the environments, and tasks to determine if the student requires assistive
technology devices and services to participate actively, work on expected tasks, and make progress
toward mastery of educational goals.
6. When assistive technology is needed, the IEP/AT team explores a range of assistive
technology devices, services, and other supports that address identified needs.
Whether to recommend a needed piece of technology is not determined based on the immediate
availability of the device or service.
The IEP/AT team considers various supports and services that address the educational needs of
the student and may include no tech, low tech, mid-tech and/or high tech solutions and devices.
During the Consideration Process team members may conduct AT trials for suggested devices and
strategies. Data on the success of an intervention, or the need to revise the recommendation should
be documented. The team should not limit their thinking to only those devices and services currently
available within the school. If devices are not available at the building level the IEP/AT team may
seek support from the district AT consultant and/or WISD personnel.
7. The assistive technology consideration process and results are documented in the IEP and
include a rationale for the decision and supporting evidence.
A clear explanation for why a device or service is recommended is required in the IEP.
Even though IEP documentation may include a checkbox verifying that assistive technology has been
considered, the reasons for the decisions and recommendations should be clearly stated. Supporting
evidence may include the results of assistive technology assessments, data from device trials,
differences in achievement with and without assistive technology, student preferences for competing
devices, and teacher observations, among others.