Consideration of Assistive Technology
In the development of the IFSP, the service coordinator can help set the stage for discussing family priorities and needs by having a conversation or conducting an interview about the child’s typical participation in everyday activities/routines.
In the IFSP section 4: Daily Activities, this section enables the discussion to identify what is working well during daily activities and what is not. Examples of additional tools that may facilitate this process are the Routines-Based Interview (RBI) (Siskin Children’s Institute, 2006—appendix 1 and appendix 2) and the Assessment of Family Activities and Routines (Thomas Jefferson University, n.d.—appendix 3 and appendix 4).
These interview/conversation guidelines assist the provider in understanding:
- how each activity and routine occurs in a household;
- how the child participates in the activities and routines; and
- the extent to which caregivers are satisfied with their child’s participation.
This discussion assists the IFSP team to identify what the child needs to accomplish but cannot perform. Parents, along with the service coordinator, will develop outcome statements that reflect what the child’s parents see as important for their child and themselves. The IFSP team then will consider whether assistive technology may be needed or helpful to remove barriers to the child’s participation in routines and activities and for the accomplishment of IFSP outcomes.
Adaptations should also be considered to make a task easier or simpler to accomplish. Adaptations can be made to the setup of the environment, the child’s schedule, the design of the activity, the requirements of the task, the instructions, the materials, or the equipment used. Adaptation strategies alone may enable participation in routines or activities and/or may be combined with AT (Tots ’n Tech Research Institute, 2009).
Principles to Keep in Mind when Considering Assistive Technology for an Infant or Toddler
- should increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child;
- should enhance a child’s participation in a routine or activity (Tots ’n Tech Research Institute, 2009);
- should provide opportunities for learning (Tots ’n Tech Research Institute, 2009);
- should complement existing services;
- should not be used in place of services;
- should be developmentally and age-appropriate;
- should be appropriate for the environment where the child spends his or her day; and
- may be needed by some children from all levels of the continuum, concurrently or consecutively.