Tomball Independent School District

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Frequently Asked Questions

This page will answer questions commonly asked by students and parents. If you have a question that you think is of interest to others, please submit it by e-mail and we will add it to the list. Please scroll down to see the responses to these questions.
1. What is an assistive technology service?
2. What is an assistive technology device?
3. How is assistive technology accessed in Tomball Independent School District?
4. What sort of assistive technology is being used in Tomball ISD?
5. Of what does an assistive technology evaluation consist?
6. May my child use his or her own assistive technology at school?
7. May my child bring a school district provided device home?
 
1. What is an assistive technology service?
Any service that directly assists a child with a disability with the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. The term includes-
−(a) The evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability,
including a functional evaluation of the child in the child’s
customary environment;
−(b) Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the
acquisition of assistive technology devices by children
with disabilities;
−(c) Selecting designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying
, retaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology
devices;
−(d) Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or
services with assistive technology devices, such as those
associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans
and programs;
−(e) Training or technical assistance for a child with a disability
or, if appropriate, that child’s family; and
−(f) Training or technical assistance for professionals (including
individuals or rehabilitation services), employers, or
other individuals who provide services to employ, or are
otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions
of children with disabilities. Statute: US Code (20 USC §1401(2))
 
2. What is an assistive technology device?
An assistive technology device is defined in special education law 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 the functional capabilities of a child with a disability." Statute US Code (20 USC §1401(1))
 
3. How is assistive technology accessed in Tomball Independent School District?
The ARD committee is the mechanism by which a child gains access to assistive technology services and devices. All students, regardless of the severity of their disability, have assistive technology considered whenever an IEP is being developed. If a child is not making progress the reason is analyzed in order to determine the "next step" to addressing the difficulty. This process is referred to as "consideration."
 
Data gathered from the child's classroom teacher(s)and other sources are used to determine whether a child needs to have additional assistive technology supports or further evaluation in order to determine the need for and what specifically would be used as assistive technology. Assistive technology identified in an IEP must be directly related to the child's educational progress.
 
4. What sort of assistive technology is being used in Tomball ISD?
Tomball has many different tools available as assistive technology. The defining characteristic of each tool is that it is needed in order for the child to access his or her educational program. Tools include items that are very simple, or "low tech" such as special paper, pencil grippers, or slant boards to the more complex computer interfaces (switches, expanded keyboards, alternative mice) communication devices and positioning and mobility supports. Each system of AT is specifically configured to the needs of the student and the demands of their particular educational setting.
 
5. Of what does an assistive technology evaluation consist?
The assistive technology evaluation is a very comprehensive evaluation that is completed by the student's instructional team, the student when appropriate and the parent or guardian. Utilizing processes considered best practice, the assistive technology team gathers data related to the student, his or her environments,and the tasks he or she needs to be able to complete. Based on all of that data, recommendations are made for the features of tools that would meet those needs. From the list of features, specific tools are identified and obtained as trials for the child to utilize in order to progress. In addition, recommendations are made for obtaining the device, training on and maintenance of the device. This report is provided to the ARD committee for final determination.
 
6. May my child use his or her own assistive technology at school?
Tomball ISD has a policy guiding the use of personal assistive technology devices in the district. The short answer is that a child may use their own technology at school, however it is important to recognize that the school district is not able to pay for any repair, replacement or upgrade to the item. If the item becomes unusuable for any reason the school district is responsible to provide the assistive technology that is required in order for the child to access FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education). That AT may not be the same item as what the family provided. While the school will take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of a personal device, it is not liable for damages or loss. Families must sign a release stating that they understand these circumstances prior to the child bringing the device to school.
 
7. May my child bring a school district provided device home?
Yes, the ARD committee makes the final determination regarding the use of a district provided device at home.  There is a memorandum of understanding that outlines the responsibilities of the parent and the responsibilities of the school district regarding the checkout of devices. All devices remain the property of the school district and must be returned for maintenance and should the child move outside of the school district borders.
 
Other resources to address your questions regarding AT can be found at these links:
 
Texas Assistive Technology Network:  www.texasat.net/
 
Legal Framework: 
http://goo.gl/zKcgTs