AT in the IEP

Where is AT Documented in the IEP?

There is no clear-cut criterion for where AT devices and services should be documented in the IEP. In fact, there are several sections within the IEP that could include information about a learner’s use of AT. 

These sections include: 

  • Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP)

  • Secondary Transition

  • Goals and Objectives

  • Supplementary Aids and Services

  • State & District Assessments

  • Related Services

Watch this video to learn more about these sections of the IEP and why AT may be documented.

How is AT Documented in the IEP?

When documenting AT in a learner’s IEP, it is best practice to describe the features rather than a product brand name. By listing the features, the IEP team can provide a more accurate description of what is needed by the learner and may be particularly helpful in providing backup or temporary replacement for the AT in the event of breakdown. 

In some instances, it may also be acceptable to include the name of a dedicated device or support. Ex: Due to the student's complex communication needs, he utilizes multimodal communication to express his wants, needs, and ideas, including gestures, core board, and a student-owned high-tech speech generating device on a tablet with a robust vocabulary and QWERTY keyboard (currently: Proloquo2Go, 45 buttons per screen, Intermediate Core Crescendo).

The inclusion of naming specific AT tools is determined on a case-by-case basis and when the IEP team determines that it is necessary. Contact your administrator for more information on or guidelines for how to document assistive technology in the IEP.

What about 504 Plans?

When learners do not qualify to receive special education services but still have a disability that requires accommodations, the learner may benefit from a 504 Plan. A 504 Plan is based off of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is the civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and ensures equal access to education for individuals with disabilities.

In a 504 Plan, specific services, supports, and accommodations, including AT (such as text-to-speech, slant boards, or audiobooks) are documented, as well as the names of educators who provide each service or support and the name of the educator who will oversee that the plan is implemented.

Where Can the AT Be Used?

During the AT assessment process, the IEP team may determine that AT tools should be allowed to go home with the learner to address educational goals and objectives. In other words, if the device is necessary for the learner to complete their homework or to practice skills outside of school, it should be included in their IEP. 

Some IEP teams may opt to provide alternative options that allow the learner to perform the same or similar activities at home (for example, a student requiring a computer at school for writing may have the option of dictating assignments at home). Decisions regarding the use of AT or alternative supports at home must be made on an individual basis.

When learners take school-owned AT tools home, parents/caregivers may sign a waiver or an agreement that outlines the school’s policies surrounding the replacement of technology that is lost or damaged while being used outside of predictable and expected ways. A district cannot force a parent to replace technology that is damaged or lost as a result of the learner’s disability or due to normal use. 

Contact your learner’s case manager or local district if you have questions about the terms of taking their AT home.

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