Assistive Tech & Transition
As students engage in the IEP process throughout their secondary years, their focus shifts to preparing for a successful adult life. The role of the IEP team also shifts to focus beyond high school academics and credits – per I.D.E.A. the team must identify and support students’ transitional needs starting at age 14. IEP teams must shift their thinking in every aspect of the IEP to focus on preparing students for positive post-high school outcomes in living, lifelong learning, and work.
That includes Assistive Technology (AT)!
A group of secondary and post-secondary educators and community agency representatives has studied this issue and developed materials to help secondary IEP teams think about Assistive Technology in terms of transition. When circling "Y" or "N" for Assistive Technology on Pages B and F of the IEP, secondary teams must consider the needs of each individual student in terms of their post-high school goals. Particularly for those students planning to pursue post-secondary education, it is extremely important that high school IEP teams reconsider their AT needs early in their high school years. Most post-secondary institutions expect incoming students with disabilities to possess the skills and knowledge to utilize Assistive Technology. For students already utilizing Assistive Technology and those who may have AT needs related to post-high school living or work, their teams should also reconsider AT in terms of transition.
There are several tools you can download, which we hope you will find helpful in considering AT as it relates to transition:
- A brief overview, titled "What Is Assistive Technology?"
An AT Screening Chart for Secondary Students (1 page) and corresponding Assistive Technology "Idea List" PDF
It is recommended that this form be utilized at minimum during 3-year re-evaluations throughout the junior high and high school years. It will be especially helpful as students plan for post-secondary education and employment, since the IEP supports they receive in K-12 will no longer be available after high school. Learning about and utilizing assistive technology to prepare for independence and success in post-secondary settings may be an appropriate IEP goal for some students. This form is intended to serve simply as a screening tool for the IEP team to determine whether AT should be further addressed in the IEP. The team should discuss the items on this screening tool with the student and family. Any response of “No” or “Sometimes” should be considered a red flag for further consideration. If a need is identified it should be reflected in the body of the IEP. You may attach this to a 3-year re-evaluation or IEP as additional information. Please note that the areas of Rec/Leisure, Activities of Daily Living, Mobility and Positioning/Seating are most applicable to students with physical disabilities. If you are using this tool with a student with learning disabilities you may want to skip those areas.
- A Student AT Transition Worksheet to help students prepare for transitions between programs in high school and after high school (PDF)
This should be completed annually by students who already utilize assistive technology, in preparation for a transition between classrooms, programs, buildings, or into post-high school settings. The overall purpose of this worksheet is to help students become good self-advocates in the area of assistive technology. It is recommended that students utilizing AT complete this worksheet at IEP time, although that is not a “requirement.” It should serve as an excellent tool to determine what AT the student is using, how it is working, and whether the team needs to consider changes in the AT itself, supports or services related to assistive technology. If so, that would need to be addressed in the IEP as usual. Students should keep a copy of this worksheet and a copy should be made available to the teacher or contact person they will be going to in the next setting. Utilize the Release of Information Form for transition planning to get permission to send this worksheet out of district. If a student has a transition portfolio, that would be an excellent place to store these worksheets. 2003
You can also link to the MBAEA Assistive Technology website to download their transfer packet, which applies to transfers within the K-12 system as well as post-high school transfers:
More information on assistive technology
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact one of us.
Cynthia A Cavanagh