Assistive Technology Team
Kristen Solete, OTR
Jan Wehmeyer M.S., CCC/SLP
Carisse Penna, OTR
The Assistive Technology Team is available to consult with parents and staff.
Questions regarding assistive technology services and/or devices may be directed to the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assistive Technology (AT)
Assistive technology device is defined as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.” Devices are further defined as:
- High technology device – a complex, electrical and electronic device such as a computer, interactive augmentative communication system or an environmental control system.
- Low technology device – a simple intervention such a custom designed hand tool or adapted equipment, switches, keyboards, touch monitors (i.e. picture communication, static speech generating device, reachers, incline boards, etc.)
Training and assistance for student, family and educational staff is provided as needed to support implementation of assistive technology. The student uses the recommended assistive technology without direct services although consultative services may be provided.
Considering Assistive Technology in the ARD
Assistive Technology must be considered at every ARD committee meeting. CFB ISD uses the Consideration of Assistive Technology Form to review and consider possible technology needs of students annually. If the ARD committee has concerns regarding the student’s need for assistive technology, the ARD committee may request an Assistive Technology consultation or evaluation at any time. However, the ARD committee should review the student’s current abilities and any assistive technology currently available in the classroom/campus prior to making a referral to the Assistive Technology Team.
The Assistive Technology Evaluation is completed in the student’s school environment, with input from educational staff and student’s family when possible.
Services for Students with Auditory Impairment (AI)
Services for students with Auditory Impairment (AI) provide educational support for students birth through 21 years of age who have significant hearing impairment that adversely impacts educational performance. Students may be served in one of the following ways:
- Students from birth to three years of age receive services in the home provided by an itinerant parent advisor.
- Students three through 21 years of age are served in CFBISD throughout the whole continuum of services including general education classes, with itinerant services provided by a certified teacher of the deaf.
- Regional Day School Program for the Deaf – A student who has a hearing impairment that adversely affects educational performance, even with recommended amplification, is eligible for consideration for placement in the regional day school program subject to ARD committee recommendation.
- Texas School for the Deaf, Austin, Texas – CFBISD, through the ARD process, may request the provision of services for eligible students through the Texas School for the Deaf. (Referrals from parents or legal guardians not processed through local ARD Committees may be accepted by the Texas School for the Deaf throughout the school year. Placement is contingent upon availability of sufficient resources to provide an appropriate education.)
Kelly Boyer, M.S. CCC-A/SLP
Educational Audiologist/Speech Language Pathologist
The Behavior Resource Program is designed for students who meet special education eligibility criteria and who are experiencing significant behavioral problems which are impeding their educational program. These students are in various educational settings and receive Behavior Resource as a support service.
Expectations and Collaboration Needs:
- To assist the student in developing appropriate social skills in order to function in an effective and satisfactory manner.
- To assess and modify the inappropriate behavior displayed by the student who is referred to the program.
- To monitor the student’s behavioral progress.
- To provide the classroom teacher and other staff with options and alternatives for maintaining the student’s appropriate behaviors.
- To provide the parents with options and alternatives for maintaining the student’s appropriate behaviors.
- To provide opportunities for the student to learn to take the responsibility to become actively and productively involved in his or her own academic learning.
- Therapy Street for Kids-activities to support school OT program
- Your Kids OT
- Spellingcity,com – support spelling by having your child engage in fun spelling activities.
- Starfall.com-early learning activities
- The Developmental Gym for Children and Infants
- DLTK’s Crafts for Kids
- Eye Can Learn
- OT Mom Learning Activities
- Your Kids Table: -Improve Feeding Time
School Based Occupational Therapy:
School-based occupational therapy is available for students who are eligible for special education. Occupational therapists complete assessments and work with other members of the school-based team to help determine what is needed for a student to receive a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. They collaborate with the team to identify a student’s annual goals and determine the services, supports, modifications, and accommodations that are required for the student to achieve their goals.
School Based Physical Therapy:
Physical Therapy is a related service provided to assist a student with a determined motor impairment/struggle that may limit their ability to participate in their educational program. The overall goal of school-based Physical Therapy focuses on promoting functional independence as able, in addition to access/participation in educational activities. An evaluation is recommended by the ARD committee based on staff concerns regarding gross motor struggles, significant medical history or diagnosis that may impact performance at school or in some cases- a student transferring into the district with services. The decision of whether a child receives Physical Therapy services is made by the ARD committee based on updated evaluation/assessment and/or a child transferring into the district with services. A licensed Physical Therapist is able to evaluate, make recommendations for school-based goals/objectives and service levels, in addition to treatment. A prescription for treatment is required before any type of treatment can be provided by a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapy Assistant.
School Based Therapy Frequently Asked Questions:
- Who may provide OT and/or PT?
Some districts also have Physical Therapy Assistants to assist with service provision. A licensed Physical Therapy Assistant is able to provide recommended treatment, including both direct and consult- once an evaluation has been completed and an IEP established by the Physical Therapist.
Only a licensed OT including licensed OTAs under the supervision of an OT may provide therapy. Other educational professionals and paraprofessionals, such as instructional assistants may, at the discretion of an OT or PT, carry on the recommended activities following training by the OT or PT. Consultation and monitoring by an OT or PT is necessary under all circumstances.
- When is a referral for an OT assessment appropriate?
A referral for OT is appropriate when a student is not able to participate in the educational curriculum at the expected level of ability, when modifications and accommodations have not been effective, and when the areas of concern are in the domain of OT practice.
- Does an assessment to determine the need for OT need to be completed by a licensed OT?
Yes. No other service provider possesses the same licensing, qualifications, educational background, or training. Note: A PT may conduct an assessment in accordance with the referral without a specific medical diagnosis. Although a referral for PT can come from many sources, a PT cannot perform treatment (whether consult or direct) without a signed prescription for treatment from a physician or other duly licensed practitioner who has seen the student within the last year.
- If it has been determined by a physician or an outside agency that a student may benefit from OT, is the LEA responsible for providing these services?
No. However, an ARD meeting should be held to review the outside report and determine if additional supports and/or services are necessary for the child to benefit from his/her educational program. Whenever OT services are considered, those professionals with the qualifications should attend the ARD meeting. The ARD committee in the LEA must determine whether the student requires occupational therapy or physical therapy in order to benefit from the instructional program. The LEA is not responsible for OT and/or PT unless it can be demonstrated that the child has an educationally related need that only OT or PT (or both) can address.
- Do OT/PT assessments determine that the child meets eligibility as an individual with exceptional needs?
No. The need for OT and/or PT alone does not make a student (based on the eligibility criteria) qualified to be considered an individual with exceptional needs. The ARD committee determines eligibility for special education on the basis of assessments in all areas of a suspected of disability.
- When does a child receive OT as a related service?
The ARD committee determines that OT services are included as a related service when assessment results show an educational need that only OT can address. A student’s diagnosis or disability alone does not indicate a need for therapy. However, the team considers the potential impact of the disability on the student’s education.
- How are the amount and mode of therapy service provision determined?
If the student is determined eligible as an individual with exceptional needs, goals are developed. The ARD committee determines which team member(s) has the expertise to achieve desired outcomes. If it is determined that OT is appropriate to meet the identified goal, the OT, based on professional frameworks, determines the methodology, intensity, and frequency of therapy required for the student to meet the identified IEP goal(s). OT or PT or both services may include direct services (individual or small group or integrative services) and/or a consultation to the ARD committee.
- If a child is receiving medically necessary therapy from outside agency, may he or she also receive therapy from the LEA?
Yes, a child may receive OT from an outside agency such as Children’s Hospital and still qualify for OT as a related service through the LEA if therapy is educationally necessary (2 CCR § 60325(e) and (f)).
- Why does an LEA determine whether therapy is educationally necessary or medically necessary?
The federal regulations do not differentiate between medically necessary and educationally necessary therapy. The law mandates that a referral to the LEA for an assessment of gross and fine motor skills shall be considered by either the LEA or by outside agency, depending on the information contained in the referral and the student’s documented physical, cognitive & perceptual functioning will determine the student’s need for medical or educational based assessment/treatment.
10. Is it necessary that each child who has been assessed and determined to need help in gross and fine motor skills development receive occupational therapy, physical therapy, or adapted physical education from a specialist?
No, not every child with gross motor and fine motor needs will require special services. The ARD committee makes the determination of the appropriate strategies and services based upon the identified needs of the student. In some cases, the general education or special education program can meet the student’s needs. In other cases, students will need direct services or consultation (or both).
11. What is the responsibility of the OT/PT in providing services in an Extended School Year?
Extended School Year (ESY) services are defined as special education and related services that are provided to a student with a disability beyond the normal school year in accordance with the student’s ARD committee and as a necessary part of a free appropriate public education (34 CFR § 300.309(b)). The determination of whether a child requires an extended school year and OT and/or PT during an extended school year is made on an individual basis. If the ARD committee can show, on an individual basis, by using IDEA Part B procedures for evaluation, IEP development, and placement, that the student does not require the recommended OT, PT, or AT to receive FAPE, then the district does not have to provide the requested service. However, ARD committee should document that it discussed the independent evaluator’s report and recommendations. The ARD committee should also document why the services recommended are not necessary to provide the child with FAPE.