Special Needs Technologies: An Administrator's Guide
By Terry Lankutis
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires every school to provide its special needs students with whatever technologies are necessary for a "free and appropriate education." Yet many schools struggle with the task of identifying which technologies will actually work for this population of students. Outside consultants can provide technical knowledge and experience, but they may not know all the details of a particular student's needs, and parents or school personnel may feel a solution has been forced on them without their input. A better, and often less expensive, solution is for school leaders to develop a systematic process that considers the input of all stakeholders, calling upon the expertise of the entire Individual Education Plan team and outside expertise as needed. The following steps will help you implement a collaborative, long-term approach to selecting assistive technology, whether you are starting from scratch or analyzing the effectiveness of your current procedures.