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Assistive Technologies

Applying for Long Term Loans

Assistive technologies are provided on long term loan for approved students with a disability who attend a department site. 
*Note: SERU does not routinely provide laptops and desktop computers for preschool and primary aged students unless the computers are needed to mediate all curriculum access and participation, which is for students who have significant physical disabilities or severe vision impairment.

(PreSchool/Schools are responsible for the purchase of equipment valued under $200).

The range of equipment includes:
dot point   Digital Pens
dot point   Laptop computers
dot point   Alternative keyboards such as Big Keys, IntelliKeys
dot point   Alternative pointing devices, mice, trackballs, joysticks
dot point   Switches

Successful use of assistive technologies involves careful planning, selection, training and monitoring. The requirement for assistive technologies should be documented in the students Negotiated Education Plan (NEP).

Applications for assistive technology provision should include:
dot point  Request Form - Long Term Loan 002 (pdf) including identification of the training needs for staff and/or Request Form - Software/App 008 (pdf)
dot point  An assessment report and recommendation by a health professional such as a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or speech therapist.
dot point  A successful trial and evaluation. This must be included if there is no therapist report.
(a copy of the student's NEP can also be included if it provides relevent information to the request).

Assessment for Assistive Technology

A comprehensive assessment of the child's/student's strengths and needs must be undertaken to identify the most appropriate technologies.

Assessments are usually undertaken by a health professional in consultation with education staff. The assessment team may include:
dot point  the child/student, the parent/carer
dot point  the classroom, special education teacher or region staff
dot point  the school services officer
dot point  and a health professional such as a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or speech therapist.

A collaborative team process is suggested in compiling this request information.

The SETT Framework is a resource for assistive technology assessment (www.joyzabala.com) and provides a tool for organisation of the informaiton gathered and questions to lead the decision making process. The assessment should include the following considerations:
dot point  the student (abilities/barriers)
dot point  the environment in which the student spends his/her time
dot point  the tasks that are required for the student to be an active participant in the teaching/learning processes
dot point  the tools required

The classroom teacher/special education teacher needs to identify the training requirements for staff and the child/student. See:
dot point  SERU website for current workshops
dot point  Form ITS004 Request for Professional Development (pdf)
dot point  Form ITS0006 School Request for Consultation (pdf)

Trial Loans (short term)
Technology equipment is also available for short term loan for trial and evaluation purposes (4 weeks, country borrowers 6 weeks). This can be extended if there are no reserves on the equipment. Contact the SERU resource centre to borrow items.

The technology needs to be trialled and evaluated in the context in which it will be used. This can be achieved by direct observation of the student using the technology. Points to consider include:

The studentís interest in and ease of using the technology
The studentís ability to learn to use the technology
The studentís ability to use the technology independently
The social appropriateness, (the use of assistive technologies for some students in particular settings may have negative social ramifications for the student)
The degree to which the technology Ďtapsí into the studentís strengths
The effectiveness of the technology in compensating for specific difficulties as compared to alternative strategies
(SchwabLearning 2006).

Implementation should be monitored and reviewed.
A Trial and evaluation form is available (ITS0003 - pdf)

Login to the Resource Centre catalogue for a list of Assistive Technologies available for loan on a trial basis.

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