What is the process for deciding on Assistive Technology?

In MDUSD we use a process call the SETT (Joy Zabala, 1995) process, which stands for:

  • Student - What are the current strengths and weaknesses of the student? What is the student's learning style? Will the student use a particular device?
  • Environment - What is the classroom like? What are the current accommodations being provided? Are there additional accommodations and devices available? What are the limitations of the environment when considering a device, i.e. is internet access available for an online computer program? Does the teacher regularly use graphic organizers to help students organizer their thoughts before writing? Will the classroom environment support a particular assistive technology?
  • Tasks - What is it that the student expected to do that he is struggling with? For example, is the student supposed to consistently write in a journal, but can't readily form letters? Is a student expected to read, but can decode the text?
  • Tools - What are the tools to consider to assist the student?

We remember that the focus is on what does the student need to meet his or her goals and required tasks. We don't look at a device and then try to figure out how to use the device and how can we make the device support the student - we look at what is needed to support the student in the least restrictive environment?

Decisions about Assistive Technology are a IEP Team decision and shouldn't be made by any one person, including an AT Specialist. Anyone on the IEP Team can make recommendations, but the Team needs to determine what is needed to best support a student.

Here is a consideration guide to look at examples of what should first be tried in the classroom and moving towards supports from outside of classroom resources.