Strategies for Assistive Technology Negotiations
adapted from an Advocacy Institute presentation on Assistive Technology by
Dave Edyburn, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee







1. We’ve considered your child’s need for assistive technology and have determined that s/he will not benefit...

...I would like to review the documentation that supports your decision. In particular, I would like to see the data regarding performance with assistive technology and performance without.

Remediation vs. compensation (http://www.connsensebulletin.

WATI  AT Consideration Worksheet


WATI Assessment




2. Best practice suggests you always begin with no-tech solutions first...

...Consideration should not be a linear process of trial and error. Rather, all possible solutions should be explored.

WATI Assessment


Assessing AT Student Need




3. We can’t afford that...

...Cost is cannot be considered a factor in AT consideration.

Funding AT




4. We are not sure what types of AT are out there...

...What steps will you take to fulfill the AT consideration mandate?

Texas AT Training Modules


SchwabLearning AT Tools





5. It’s not clear that (the student) actually does better with the AT...

...I would like to see the data that supports such a conclusion. Typically, we need to review performance data over time, with and without the technology to come to such a conclusion.

How do you know?






6. We don’t want him to become dependent on a text-reader...when will he ever learn to read...

...Since the student doesn't have the independent reading skills and the expectation in grade 4 and beyond is to access large amounts of text, how will you demonstrate that he has access to the curriculum without a text-reader?

Remediation vs. compensation (http://www.connsensebulletin.

Learning from Text




7. Your child is not the only one that struggles with this problem...

...I can appreciate your concern, but my primary interest is the success of my child. As a result, what are you going to do to ensure that my child is successful?

Teaching Every Student





8. We will provide some specialized technology but there is no need to write it on the IEP...

...I am pleased to hear that assistive technology will be provided. However, to ensure the rights of all parties are protected, our plan for acquiring and using AT should be written on the IEP.

Documenting AT in the IEP





9. We are not authorized to make a decision about AT...

...I am disappointed to hear that. I guess we will need to adjourn the meeting until an appropriate administrator is here.

Texas AT Training Modules




10. The textbook is not available in digital format.

That’s unfortunate.  That means that the textbook must be scanned using a “scan and read” program such as Kurzweil or WYNN or be professionally scanned.

Scan to Speak Programs
Systems Imaging




11. Copyright laws do not permit us to have your child’s textbook scanned.

Because my child is reading is ___ grades below grade level, s/he requires alternative ways to access the general curriculum. *


In a 11/15/06 letter from Dr. Linda Rhen to all LEAs, she stated, To comply with IDEA Regulations…in April 2006 Pennsylvania provided an assurance that students who need curriculum materials in alternate formats are provided with the materials in a timely manner to ensure access to the general education curriculum.”

“Accessible Instructional Materials and NIMAS – State and Local Responsibilities” 11/15/06 letter from Dr. Linda Rhen, Director, Bureau of Special Education, PA Dept of Education


Accessible Textbooks in the Classroom: An Educator’s Guide… (May 2007) (See pages 23-25)

* “With the advent of cost-effective and efficient digital scanning technology, local districts have significantly increased their capabilities to digitize books directly into more accessible digital formats.  … in the absence of accessible materials from publishers, scanning a book may be the most effective method of providing instructional materials to print-disabled students, at least for the immediate future.”   (An Educator’s Guide to the Acquisition of Alternate Format Core Learning Materials for Pre-K-12 Students with Print Disabilities