What is the LCPS Assistive Technology (AT) Team?
The Assistive Technology Team functions as a part of the Special Education Department of Pupil Services for Loudoun County Public Schools. Assistive Technology (AT) is federally mandated for all students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) by requiring that IEP teams consider whether a student needs assistive technology devices and services in order to benefit from a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
The Assistive Technology Team of Loudoun County Public Schools is comprised of teachers, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists and is available upon written request for any student receiving Special Education Services. The team provides consultative support, evaluation, training, and follow-up services to students, family members, and LCPS staff. This includes, but is not limited to, individual evaluation services which offer recommendations for IEP teams, and classroom evaluation services, which offer classroom supports accessible to all students. Additionally, a wide variety of training programs and workshops are offered to LCPS staff both within schools and at various LCPS facilities to increase skills and awareness of assistive technology available for use with their students.
Who is eligible for Assistive Technology services?
Any student with an IEP or a 504 plan is eligible. The IEP/504 team must consider whether the strategies, accommodations, and modifications that are currently in place to support the student are meeting the student's educational needs, or if the student may need other supports.
Do only Assistive Technology specialists provide Assistive Technology services?
No. AT services are integrated with other services that the student receives, such as special education or speech/language, occupational, and physical therapies. The AT staff provides training and support to ensure that AT services are effectively integrated into the student's educational program.
Is an Assistive Technology evaluation required for every student who receives special education services?
No. Although the law requires that every IEP team consider the student's possible need for AT devices and services in the development of the IEP, an AT evaluation is not required for all students receiving special education services. An AT evaluation may be needed when the student is struggling to meet IEP goals or objectives, and the current educational supports and accommodations are not sufficient to help that student meet his/her goals. The evaluation of a student's need for AT must be functional and conducted in the student's customary educational environment(s). It is best for the student if the IEP committee consults with their school's AT Trainer PRIOR TO requesting an AT Evaluation. This expedites access to AT strategies and materials, and is generally the least restrictive solution.
When is it appropriate to make a request for an Assistive Technology Classroom Evaluation?
The purpose of an AT Classroom evaluation is to assess the AT needs of students within a special education classroom, and to provide AT strategies, equipment, and/or classroom modifications to benefit the entire classroom. A special education or general education teacher (who has at least two students receiving special education support) can request an AT Classroom Evaluation.
How do I make a request for an individual or classroom evaluation?
Call the Assistive Technology office at (571) 252-2111 or contact the AT Trainer assigned to your school.
Who is the Assistive Technology Trainer for my school?
Can I request specific equipment on an Assistive Technology referral?
Requests for specific equipment are discouraged. The AT Trainer will complete an evaluation and recommend the appropriate AT supports and devices for students.
Should I write IEP goals and objectives for Assistive Technology?
No. AT should be embedded within the IEP. Remember, AT tools are used by students to help meet IEP goals and objectives. Example: Johnny will learn to spell 5 new vocabulary words per week. The goal is learning to spell. How he accomplishes it is an accommodation, such as a computer, portable word processor; expanded keyboard, software, and so on.
What about Assistive Technology on a 504 plan?
If the 504 team determines that a student needs AT to support his/her educational needs, it is then documented on the 504 plan.
Who will be responsible for Assistive Technology implementation?
The IEP/504 team and the AT Trainer will be responsible for making sure that the AT is used appropriately. The AT Trainer will be responsible for training school staff, students, and parents. Training may include workshops, one-to-one training, and/or regular consultation as needed. The Direct Service Providers will be responsible for learning how to use and maintain the AT. Once an AT device has been selected and acquired, the law also requires that, if necessary, the device be designed, fitted, customized, or adapted to the specific needs of the student. The school district is responsible for making sure that a device that is required for educational purposes is maintained, repaired, or replaced as needed to ensure that it will be available and in good working order when it is needed by the student.
If the Assistive Technology that is required is already available on the schools' networked computers, is Assistive Technology training necessary?
It may be. While AT options that are built into the schools' computers and networked software may not be difficult to utilize, knowledge is still required to use the AT features successfully, thus AT training and support may be required.
Is it sufficient for a student to use an Assistive Technology device or strategy in therapy sessions, and not in other educational activities?
No. The IEP team should ensure that a plan exists for instructing the student on how to use the device or strategy in the student's customary educational environment(s) in which the AT is expected to be used, in order to support development of the student's functional skills and the integration of AT into the student's daily activities.
Can a student take Assistive Technology equipment home?
Decisions about where AT is provided are based on the needs of the individual student. The IEP/504 team will determine the locations where the AT equipment needs to be provided. If the AT equipment is needed at home for the student to access his/her educational program, then the AT equipment can be taken to and from school and home.