Thursday, March 14, 2013

IEP Considerations and Assistive Technology

Part of IDEA 2004 requires that during the IEP and goal writing process assistive technology needs to always be considered for the student.  Assistive technology can be low tech and simple such as a pencil grip to high tech such as an iPad, it always needs to be considered even if this student is currently not using one.  In some cases additional training and instruction on the use of the assistive technology may be required for the student and teachers involved.  Since the IEP writing process is a team effort, multiple individuals and professionals have the opportunity to weigh in on the student and their strengths and needs in different environments and situations.
When writing and/or reading IEPs present levels and constructing annual goals we need to be aware of the components that need to be in every IEP goal. View the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities website for additional information.  The components that need to be included in the goal when considering the use of assistive technology are (1) Area of need (2) Direction of Change (3) Level of Attainment (4) Functional Task child needs to complete (5) if additional training may be required.

This post will provide five examples of IEPs including their present levels and the annual goal.  Each IEP goal leaves room to add assistive technology, I will identify the best technology device/software for each goal.

1. Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance: Steven is a four-year-old boy diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder. His placement is in an Early Childhood classroom. He is able to understand and comprehend when spoken to, but does not communicate his needs consistently. When choices are simplified and broken into steps, Steven will try to communicate wants and needs. Peer interactions are limited.

Annual goal: Steven will use a picture board or voice output device to express wants and needs  adults and peers in both home and school at least four times each day.

2. Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance: Jeff likes to interact with his family. He enjoys eating and being involved in meal time and other functional activities in the home. He has not been able to participate in cooking or cleaning except to look toward the item that is needed next, or make a sound when his mother purposely “forgets” something.

Annual Goal: Jeff will use a single switch to activate adapted utensils and appliances to assist family members in targeted functional household tasks during three out of four opportunities.

3. Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance: Brandon communicates by using unintelligible vocalizations. He will physically obtain desired items independently and indicates refusal by pushing objects/people away. Brandon currently understands cause/effect relationships and will activate a switch with voice output to obtain a desired activity. It is questionable whether he understands the specific meaning of the utterance he has produced or if he simply knows that pressing the switch earns him an activity.

Annual Goal: Brandon will select activities and interact with peers/adults within those activities four out of five times when provided with voice output devices.

4. Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance: Eric participates in regular education programs for his academic subjects. His hand strength is limited and he fatigues quickly when doing any handwriting task. Civics and English homework are a particular problem because of lengthy assignments and reports that need to be completed.
Annual Goal: Eric will use a computer or portable word processor to complete 100% of his assignments in 10th grade English and Civics classes.


5. Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance: Kelly is in the third grade classroom for most of his day. He has a full time paraprofessional who assists him. He is unable to use a standard keyboard because of his physical limitations. Additionally, his speech is frequently unintelligible. He currently uses single message and multiple message voice output devices, eye gaze, and limited direct selection to complete his academic work. Kelly is functioning at about the second grade level in most curricular areas.

Annual Goal: Kelly will use an adapted keyboard with custom overlays and a computer with talking word processing to complete all academic work.



All IEPS, present levels and annual goals were written by the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative.


  1. You found some really great AT devices! I especially like the picture board communication tool about sports. That seems like a great way for a student to share his/her interests. It's also a great way for a student to learn the different terminology associated with the sports. These seem like some really helpful devices!

  2. I really like the pictures that show the devices to each annual goal. I agree with Ally, they are great devices. I can't believe how many different devices are out there. I really liked how you had the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities website available for for additional information!

  3. Elyse, I think it is great that you posted a website so we are able to seek more information about IEP's. Your use of visual aids are also very impressive. They are well organized, and match the goal in each IEP!