Consideration of assistive technology in the development, review and revision of the Individual Education Plan

Date of Completion

January 2002


Education, Elementary|Education, Special




This dissertation examines the phenomenon of consideration of consideration of assistive technology in the development, review and revision of the individual educational plan for students with special needs in one Connecticut School district. The 1997 IDEA Amendments clearly and explicitly call for the consideration of assistive technology in the development, review, and revision of the IEP for all children with special needs. However, the statute and accompanying regulations offer no guidance as to what the process of consideration entails or how consideration is to be documented. A review of the literature provides some insight into the factors that enter into the process of consideration. Central to the process of consideration is that the persons involved in the process have some knowledge and skills regarding assistive technology and that decision making is based on the task the student needs to be able to perform. To address the dearth of research regarding this topic, this qualitative study was conducted to examine the phenomenon of consideration for students in kindergarten through eighth grade in one Connecticut school system. Six students and their respective IEP teams participated in this study. The IEP teams demonstrated that they had the knowledge and skills for effective participation in the process of consideration. However, the ability to integrate the process of consideration of assistive technology into the goals and objectives of the individual education plan was problematic. The school district did not demonstrate a clear and consistent process for decision making regarding the need for assistive technology for its students with special needs. ^ Classroom observation revealed a greater use of assistive technology for access to the general curriculum than that reflected in the process of consideration and documentation in the individual education plan. The application of assistive technology to access the general curriculum is examined through a case study of one of the study participants, a middle school student with Down's syndrome. ^