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Strategies for Assistive Technology Negotiations
adapted from an Advocacy Institute presentation on Assistive Technology

by Dave Edyburn, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

If a School Official Says... A Parent Might Resond (in writing)... Resources
1. We’ve considered your child’s need for assistive technology and have determined that s/he will not benefit... ...I would like to review the documentation that supports your decision. In particular, I would like to see the data regarding performance with assistive technology and performance without.

Remediation vs. Compensation

WATI Assessing Student Needs for AT - 5th Edition

Chapter 1 - Consideration Guide

WATI Assessment Package

2. Best practice suggests you always begin with no-tech solutions first... ...Consideration should not be a linear process of trial and error. Rather, all possible solutions should be explored.

WATI Assessment Package

Assessing AT Student Need

We can’t afford that...

...Cost is cannot be considered a factor in AT consideration. Funding AT

4. We are not sure what types of AT are out there...

...What steps will you take to fulfill the AT consideration mandate?

Texas AT Training Modules

AT Parent Guide - AT Tools

5. It’s not clear that (the student) actually does better with the AT...

...I would like to see the data that supports such a conclusion. Typically, we need to review performance data over time, with and without the technology to come to such a conclusion.

How do you know?


6. We don’t want him to become dependent on a text-reader...when will he ever learn to read...

...Since the student doesn't have the independent reading skills and the expectations in grade 4 and beyond is to access large amounts of text, how will you demonstrate that he has access to the curriculum without a text-reader?

Remediation vs. compensation

Learning from Text

7. Your child is not the only one that struggles with this problem...

...I can appreciate your concern, but my primary interest is the success of my child. As a result, what are you going to do to ensure that my child is successful?

Teaching Every Student


8. We will provide some specialized technology but there is no need to write it on the IEP... ...I am pleased to hear that assistive technology will be provided. However, to ensure the rights of all parties are protected, our plan for acquiring and using AT should be written on the IEP. Documenting AT Needs in the IEP

9. We are not authorized to make a decision about AT...

...I am disappointed to hear that. I guess we will need to adjourn the meeting until an appropriate administrator is here. Texas AT Training Modules

10. The textbook is not available in digital format...

...That’s unfortunate. That means that the textbook must be scanned using a “scan and read” program such as Kurzweil or WYNN or be professionally scanned.

Scan to Speak Programs

Systems Imaging

11. Copyright laws do not permit us to have your child’s textbook scanned.

Because my child is reading is ___ grades below grade level, s/he requires alternative ways to access the general curriculum. *

In a 11/15/06 letter from Dr. Linda Rhen to all LEAs, she stated, “To comply with IDEA Regulations…in April 2006 Pennsylvania provided an assurance that students who need curriculum materials in alternate formats are provided with the materials in a timely manner to ensure access to the general education curriculum.”

"Accessible Instructional Materials and NIMAS – State and Local Responsibilities"

11/15/06 letter from Dr. Linda Rhen, Director, Bureau of Special Education, PA Dept of Education

Accessible Textbooks in the Classroom: An Educator’s Guide… (2010 Revision)

* “With the advent of cost-effective and efficient digital scanning technology, local districts have significantly increased their capabilities to digitize books directly into more accessible digital formats. … in the absence of accessible materials from publishers, scanning a book may be the most effective method of providing instructional materials to print-disabled students, at least for the immediate future.” 

An Educator’s Guide to the Acquisition of Alternate Format Core Learning Materials for Pre-K-12 Students with Print Disabilities


Remediation vs. Compensation

WATI Assessing Student Needs for AT - 5th Edition

Chapter 1 - Consideration Guide

WATI Assessment Package

Assessing AT Student Need

Funding AT

Texas AT Training Modules

AT Parent Guide - AT Tools

How do you know?


Learning from Text

Teaching Every Student


Documenting AT Needs in the IEP

Scan to Speak Programs

Systems Imaging

11/15/06 letter from Dr. Linda Rhen, Director, Bureau of Special Education, PA Dept of Education
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=7&ved=0CCYQFjAG&url=http%3A//sharedwork.org/15567/files/16638/5754/&rct=j&q=April 2006 Pennsylvania curriculum materials in alternate formats provided timely manner Dr. Linda Rhen &ei=twzCTPSoD4Gq8AbAneigBg&usg=AFQjCNGI-IwSRzQeuTTdBMk122sL7RfFmA&cad=rja

Accessible Textbooks in the Classroom: An Educator’s Guide… (2010 Revision)

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