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What is an AT evaluation, how do you get one, and what should parents know? Should it be part of an IEP?

Expert answer

An AT evaluation carefully considers the strengths and weaknesses of an individual student. Then it identifies assistive technology that represents a good match to those strengths and weaknesses and it also factors in other variables that might affect a student’s ability to take advantage of assistive technology. Is funding an issue? Is there an issue with low esteem? Are there health issues? All of those things might be factored in.

As a parent, I would start there, or I would start actually in your school system and find out who’s the AT specialist and if they don’t have an AT specialist I would advocate to get an AT specialist involved. I would go to some of the advocacy groups out there, like the Learning Disability Association of America, like NCLD and other groups.

They all have websites, they all have conferences and their programs a lot of the time are up on their website so it’s not difficult to find information once you start typing in assistive technology evaluations.

An AT evaluation should be part of the IEP. Assistive technology is often recommended in an IEP and hopefully it’s recommended by a specialist of some sort who is certified. But in many assessments, assistive technology is just thrown up on a list and there’s nothing backing it. It’s there for a reason but no one follows up.

So as a parent, you should should definitely try to tie assistive technology to the IEP. And in many states, if students are fourteen or older, the state vocational service will offer an AT screening as part of a broader screening for vocational rehabilitation. That service is usually offered through a state’s department of labor.

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