Assistive Technology (AT) at Lane ESD: beyond Life Skills

Introduction

Any small Lane County district can access mobile computational equipment for their classrooms or individual students. Small Oregon districts are considered to have an enrollment of 8500 or fewer students, and typical small schools “have fewer than 100 students per grade and are characterized by a high level of autonomy” (The Big Picture on Oregon's Small Schools).

Long-term loans of AT Kits and AT Library materials are available to districts participating in Regional or Life Skills consortia.

Any Lane County district can access AT Evaluations and surplus software.

Available to Small Districts

There are two types of mobile computational AT devices: shared classroom devices, and those that are dedicated to individual students.

Shared Classroom Computational AT Device

District Cost: $100 per basic iPad per year; $75 per basic iPad mini per year

Lane ESD will provide a shared classroom teacher iPad (with a suite of apps) for special education classrooms (i.e., this is not a “one per student” program). The basic iPad’s specs are: 16GB, retina display, and wi-fi only, plus a case and charger. (Newer devices might also be made available, depending on supply.)

Note the following:

  • If a device gets broken due to student or staff accident or abuse, Lane ESD will swap it out and the district will pay Lane ESD for a replacement. The district can choose to keep the broken device after Lane ESD ensures that it can no longer be used to access apps that it licenses (i.e., after it is wiped).
  • If a device requires other sorts of repair, then Lane ESD will swap it out quickly to minimize district downtime.
  • A Lane ESD specialist can update the device every couple of months. This will require device downtime during an onsite visit. If the district does not provide internet access, then the device will have to be taken off campus to a source of wireless access.
  • A Lane ESD specialist can provide training to staff on the topic of “Tools vs. Toys” (i.e., these devices are for RTI, not for entertainment or reward).
  • This fee does not cover Lane ESD training on the use of specific apps.
  • Only Lane ESD licensed apps are allowed on these devices.
    • If district policy allows, staff could download free apps at the teacher’s discretion (using a Lane ESD associated iTunes account).
    • If the district wants to install apps that are not free, they will contact the Lane ESD specialist.
  • If any device ends up being effectively dedicated to one student’s use, then the district must initiate an appropriate evaluation for that student (i.e., for AT/AAC).
  • Lane ESD cannot provide devices for use with a district’s basic computational framework (i.e., for purposes other than special education).

The cost to the district is significantly less than it would be to purchase or lease a device, especially considering the access to the apps.

Dedicated Student Computational AT Device

District Cost: For AT (not AAC), the fee is for up to 7 AT hours (LESD AT Specialist)

If the designated student is not already working with a Lane ESD specialist related to a device’s proposed purpose, then the district needs to initiate a formal evaluation for AT. If the student’s needs are for communication in specific, then that evaluation would be for AAC.

In contrast, some students are already working closely with at least one Lane ESD specialist, where at least one such specialist has determined that the student needs assistance (other than a dedicated AAC system) to maintain, increase, or improve their access to FAPE. This would include access to their specially designed instruction, participation in school activities, and any other related, functional capabilities in school. The student's Autism Consultant, for example, might observe a need for some behavioral navigation support. That specialist could submit an AT Screening Checklist, so the AT specialist would be running an evaluation from scratch.

The district pays initially for two hour’s worth of AT consultation time, covering the file review and the initial interaction with the primary specialist(s) about the student’s needs. If a trial with a dedicated device is appropriate (iPad, iPad mini, iPad Touch, or something else), then the specialist brings one in at no added cost.

The initial trial takes up to three months (before reaching strong review point), and it is conducted, monitored, and analyzed by the primary specialist(s), with AT consultation for one hour. If the trial is successful, the dedicated device is provided at no additional cost (as long this continues to be associated with the student’s work with the Lane ESD primary specialist). The AT Support time adds four hours to the student's annual IEP, namely: a) the AT specialist consulting with the primary evaluator for two hours over the course of the year; and b) two hours for the AT specialist to maintain the device (with an onsite visit every couple of months). Note that sometimes one device can be shared for these purposes among a very small number of students.

The fee for this service, then, covers the loan of a dedicated device for the student plus installed software, without the Lane ESD AT specialist providing the primary evaluation or other therapy.

For an iOS device, apps can be added at the discretion of the primary specialist (who can do so with their Lane ESD associated iTunes account).

This service is available to the larger districts as well, but the point is moot as they provide their own specialist services (including AT and AAC) and devices.

Available to Consortium Participants

The following services are available to participants in Regional and Life Skills consortia.

Very Basic AT Kit

District Cost: Nothing additional for the loan

Lane ESD provides very basic AT kits for long-term loans to special education classrooms, generally containing the following materials (or their functional equivalent): Small Talk Sequencer; Time Timer 8"; Comm Builder (not leveled); headphones (×2); and earphones (i.e., noise-reduction earmuffs).

These are inventoried annually, and the district would pay Lane ESD for missing or destroyed materials (but not for devices that expire through regular wear and tear).

AT Library

District Cost: Nothing additional for the loan

Lane ESD maintains an AT library of switch-accessible toys and the like; at this time, there is no additional fee for specialists from any participating district if they want to use some of this equipment. If any equipment is dedicated to one student for more than one school term, then the district is ultimately responsible for evaluating and providing that material. If the equipment is not returned, then the district will be charged a replacement fee (and then own the loaned equipment).

Available to Any Lane County District

AT Evaluation

District Cost: Determined on a case-by-case basis

A student’s communication needs can exceed an SLP’s resources (leading to AAC); likewise, a student’s AT needs can outstrip the capacity of other specialists available to a district. AT evaluation intensity can vary, sometimes leading to one project (e.g., custom equipment), and sometimes to ongoing therapy (e.g., significant curriculum design, programming, switch-access training, and so on).

Surplus Software

District Cost: Varies

At the end of any given school year, Lane ESD makes any surplus software available for purchase. Any anticipated availability will be included in updates to this document.

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