One of the many ways Williamsville Central School District addresses the individualized educational needs of students with disabilities is through the provision of Assistive Technology (AT) devices and services. AT can help students to participate more independently in learning activities throughout the day as they progress within the general education curriculum. AT has opened doors to exciting possibilities for our students, teachers, and families in Williamsville!
The District’s Technology Plan includes technology use for all students including students with disabilities. Advances in the development and use of assistive technology have provided new opportunities for children with disabilities to access their educational programs and facilitate student achievement. Federal Regulation (34 CFR 300.308) requires each school district to ensure that assistive technology devices and/or services are made available to a preschool or school age student with a disability when recommended by the Committees on Special Education and as described in the Individualized Education Program (IEP). The District:
- Purchases AT hardware & software tools
- Convenes a multi-disciplinary district AT team
- Identifies an AT Process to include referral, assessment, trial and implementation processes
- Provides ongoing staff development, training and equipment maintenance
If warranted by student need, a comprehensive AT assessment is conducted and more unique or complex AT solutions are considered and made available for use when required. The evaluation process allows the instructional team to assess the effectiveness of AT items in addressing learning outcomes. Items are borrowed for student use from an AT Loan Closet within the school district. An extensive range of medium-high AT devices and software programs are included in the loan closet inventory, such as: customizable keyboards, mouse emulation devices, augmentative communication devices, positioning items, voice dictation software, typing efficiency programs, and screen readers. The AT Loan Closet is available district-wide for grades K-12.
Williamsville CSD Team Members:
- Assistive technology screening/assessment of a child with a disability within the child’s customary environment
- Acquiring appropriate and required assistive technology devices or equipment for students with disabilities
- Customizing, adapting, applying, repairing or replacing assistive technology devices
- Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions or services in conjunction with assistive technology
- Training and technical assistance for students with disabilities, professionals, staff, teachers and family members
- AT Loan Closet: The District houses an AT Loan Closet with an extensive range of low, medium to high-tech AT devices and software programs available for student trial use.
- Dianne Rusek, Occupational Therapist
- Teresa Casey, Speech Language Pathologist
- Gail Vaughn, Vision Itinerant Teacher
- Dr. Rosa D'Abate, Coordinator of Student Services
- Dr. Anna Cieri, Assistant Superintendent for Exceptional Education & Student Services
The Assistive Technology Team has received specialized training in Assistive Technology and is available as a resource to district personnel. The Williamsville School District’s Assistive Technology Team works with a child’s school team to conduct a functional evaluation of the child in his/her customary environment. School teams may consider and implement AT trials of equipment as part of the AT consideration process. On an annual basis (and more often should needs warrant) student progress is reviewed by the Committee on Special Education. Use of the particular tool or device is evaluated to assess appropriateness and efficacy, as well as recommend changes and/or discontinuance as determined by the data and observations presented. Finally, a detailed process for assessing home use is also in place. Data is routinely collected to determine consistency of use. Appropriate agreement forms have been developed to serve as a contract between the parent/guardian and District to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that the device is being used properly and software licensing requirements are adhered to.