We all need some form of accessibility for the tasks we perform each day and technology has provided us with some very unique tools. Students with disabilities often need adaptations made for them so that they can be successful in school.
Assistive Technology can help give them the assistance they need by providing no-tech, low-tech, or high-tech strategies or devices so that they can perform tasks that they might otherwise be unable to do.
- No-tech option refers to a change in the environment, amount of work expected of the student, or a change in the method that the student uses to complete assignments or assessments.
- Low-tech options are simple devices, which aid the student to do tasks, such as switches, writing devices, or certain software applications.
- High-tech methods are those that use sophisticated devices or software applications for students with severe disabilities that enable them to access information.
Riverview Intermediate Unit can provide direct technical assistance and training for assistive technology to school district personnel by providing on-site assistance, training, and guided practice in the areas of:
- assistive technology awareness
- collaborative consultation
- facilitation of teams for assistive technology trials
- device-specific training
- engineering the classroom environment
- implementation of assistive technology
- adaptation of assistive technology
Assistive Technology in PA
Pennsylvania has a network of 29 Intermediate Units which serve the school districts in regions across the state. Each Intermediate Unit has at least one member of their TaC (Training and Consultation) Team with knowledge in Assistive Technology, who provides services for the students with disabilities in the districts in that area. Although the cost for equipment is the responsibility of each district for students with I.E.P.s, alternative funding may be available from other resources.
Assessment is an ongoing process; therefore, equipment that is needed for assessment and trial can be borrowed using the PaTTAN (Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network) short-term loan program. This program provides LEAs with devices to assess the assistive technology needs of students with disabilities. The AT kit categories include: augmentative and alternative communication, blindness/visual impairment, computer access, deaf/hard of hearing/deaf-blind, switch access/environmental access, and technology for print/reading/writing support.
For more information about PaTTAN, please visit their website.
For more AT information:
- This document, the RIU Assistive Technology Process, contains all necessary information to assist in determining assistive technology for a student – whether facilitated by the RIU Assistive Technology Consultant or conducted by an individual student’s IEP team.
- Download the Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions document