As part of its Assistive Technology Services, IATP has been providing comprehensive Assistive Technology (AT) and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) evaluations to children and young adults (ages 3 to 21). Since 2011, IATP has provided evaluations for academic access and communication needs through its contract with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The purpose of IATP’s AT/AAC Evaluation Program is to coordinate, plan, and perform evaluations for school districts throughout the state of Illinois, free of charge. Along with evaluations, we provide free AT/AAC training to students, school personnel, and families. Additionally, we coordinate AAC trainings with the consultants of the various AAC companies.
COVID-19 Evaluation Process and Procedures
The ISBE evaluation team is fully aware of the difficult choices districts must make this school year due to concerns related to COVID-19. We want to assure staff, families, and students that IATP’s ISBE 3-21 Evaluation program is available to conduct AT and AAC evaluations throughout the state of Illinois for the 2022-2023 school year. In addition to our standard on-site evaluations, we will offer remote evaluations. Our initial referral page will ask you which type of evaluation you would prefer. Please note, with proper consent from parents/guardians we will also conduct evaluations for students learning remotely from home. While conducting in-person evaluations our staff will take every precaution to protect students and staff, including masks/face shields, gloves, and gowns (if necessary). We disinfect each piece of equipment thoroughly with sanitizing wipes and have added the additional step of sanitizing our devices with individual UV wands. The details of the remote evaluations will be determined based on need and available technology within the district. We know these are challenging times for schools and families, perhaps especially so for our students with an IEP or 504 plan. Our team is committed to providing continuing services for these students. Feel free to contact us with questions or concerns regarding the evaluation process.
Overview of the AT/AAC Evaluation Process
- Making a Referral: A one-page AT/AAC Evaluation request is made online at www.iltech.org by school personnel within the home district. While the parent is not able to directly request an AT/AAC Evaluation through IATP, parents/guardians are encouraged to explore the possibility with team members during the IEP/504 meeting.
- Referral Packet Sent, Filled Out, and Returned: The Assistive Technology Specialist or Speech-Language Pathologist reviews detailed client information and seeks input from all team members involved in the child’s school day to get a full picture of their academic and/or communication needs and abilities.
- Appointment Scheduled: The Assistive Technology Specialist or one of our Speech-Language Pathologists will contact the requester via e-mail to schedule a date/time for the evaluation.
- AT/AAC Evaluation: All of our evaluations are performed by an experienced certified Assistive Technology Professional or Speech-Language Pathologist. Evaluations are conducted in the educational environment, if possible. Each evaluation includes hands-on trials with a range of AT programs/devices and state-of-the-art communication systems.
- Team Meeting: The ATS/SLP will briefly summarize the evaluation recommendations as well as provide additional resources for training and implementation.
- Comprehensive Report: Our reports include recommendations along with detailed explanations including the process we used to reach our conclusions. Once the initial report is reviewed by the school personnel, a signed report will be sent. Suggestions for trials and resources are included along with our contact information to address questions or concerns.
- Device Trial: School personnel can make an online device loan/equipment request through IATP (www.iltech.org). All equipment is loaned for a free 6-week trial period. We also include links to companies for additional device trials.
To request an AT/AAC evaluation, please use this link: AT/AAC Online Evaluation Request (New Page)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is AT?
Assistive Technology (AT) is any tool, piece of equipment, software program, or other system used to assist individuals with skills including reading, writing, typing, math, speaking, etc.
- What is AAC?
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is any system or tool used to assist individuals with communication difficulties. These systems or tools can include no-tech (e.g. sign language, gestures, facial expressions, etc.), low-tech (e.g. PECS, picture communication board, etc.), mid-tech (e.g. systems with limited vocabulary and recorded messages), or high-tech devices (e.g. systems with robust vocabulary).
- Does my student/child qualify for an evaluation?
Any child aged 3-21 in the state of Illinois with an IEP or 504 Plan is eligible for assistive technology services. Homebound students are eligible for evaluations, but the request must still come through the district.
- What information is needed to begin receiving services at IATP?
We require copies of the current IEP/504 Plan and a signed Release of Information (ROI) form from the parent/guardian authorizing services. A referral packet is sent to the requesting district with sections for all teachers, therapists, and family members to complete. While we encourage all portions of the packet to be examined, sections that do not pertain to the student do not have to be completed.
- After the AT/AAC Evaluation is conducted, who can attend the Team Meeting?
The informal team meeting takes place after the evaluation is conducted. All educational staff working with the student and the student’s parents/caregivers are welcome to attend.
- As a parent/caregiver, can I attend the Evaluation?
We typically do not encourage the parents/caregiver to attend the evaluation as it can be distracting for the student; however, we may ask therapists, teachers, or paraprofessionals to assist with the process and help put the student at ease.
- Who pays for the evaluation?
The evaluation provided through IATP is fully funded through a state grant which is administered through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). There is no cost to the district or families for the evaluation or subsequent trainings.
- How do I try AT/AAC before I buy it?
IATP has a device loan program that allows potential AT users to try-out devices prior to purchase, have access to a backup system when their device is in for repairs and/or have access to a device while waiting for their device to be delivered. To borrow a device, first you must register or login to the device loan application system and create an account. From there you can browse a category or search for specific devices through our device Inventory list. These free loans are conducted in five-week periods. Extensions may be granted upon request.
- Does IATP provide training on evaluation recommendations?
Upon request, we provide free trainings on all AT recommendations for student, staff, and family. We do not provide AAC trainings, however we coordinate with device consultants to provide instruction for the AAC user, family, and team members.
Please contact us for help with your education and assistive technology related questions and needs.
External Resources Disclaimer: IATP is providing a limited list of relevant links to resources. As best as we try to make sure all of our suggested resources are accessible, we are not able to test all resources and sometimes when they are updated it creates new accessibility issues that we were not aware of during our posting. Please keep this in mind when navigating off of the IATP website to other resources. If you encounter a problem with a resource, we encourage you to directly contact the website developer and/or author(s) of the document.
United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
Assessment of Learning Process for AAC
General AT in Education
Illinois Assistive Technology Guidance Manual (2020 Edition) (New Page) is available in multiple formats on the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Special Education Assistive Technology website along with other AT resources.
Innovations in Special Education Technology (ISET)
Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology Services
Accessible Educational Materials
Illinois NIMAS-NIMAC Information
Illinois NIMAS-NIMAC Guidance: Obtaining Accessible Instructional Materials (PDF)
National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)
CAST Universal Design for Learning Guidelines
National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) Cheatsheets
The Described and Captioned Media Program
Guidelines and Best Practices for Captioning Educational Video
For information on accessible information and communication technologies (ICT) such as laws, electronic documents, websites, social media, etc. see the IATP ICT webpage.