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The ABCs of AAC in the IEP: Huh?

Determining the supports and services required to satisfy a student's unique needs can be a difficult process. Under the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA), schools have a duty to "consider the communication needs of the child" and "consider whether the child needs assistive technology (AT) devices and services." If you believe that your child may benefit from supportive services such as AT or Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, request an AT or AAC evaluation in writing.

If it is determined that your child would benefit from AT or AAC supports, here are the steps for creating the IEP document itself.

Step 1: Check the Box

Check the box that asks "Does the student need assistive technology devices and/or services?" Under IDEA, AAC devices, supports, and services fall under the category of AT devices and services. This includes anything from paper-based communication boards to iPads.

Step 2: List AT and AAC services

If training for the IEP Team is needed (see #4), this should be written as "AT or AAC Consultation" under Supports for School Personnel. If your child receives direct training consultation, this should be written as "AT or AAC Services" under Related Services. The frequency of these services needs to be written into the IEP as well.

Step 3: Describe the technology devices

Under the Supplementary Aids/Services; Modifications; Accommodations section of the IEP, describe the equipment and devices. Make sure the IEP team lists the devices most appropriate for your child's needs.

Step 4: Train your IEP team

Even the most useful tool can have no benefit if not properly used. Most IEP teams require repeat training on how to use the AAC devices. The most effective approach is modeling, which means showing the teacher and parent how to use the device over and over again until they feel comfortable enough to show the student themselves.

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If you have any questions about your child's special education services, Contact us by email or call us at 714-602-1498 or 866-781-7723 (toll free) for more information.

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Augustin Egelsee L.L.P.
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Phone: 714-602-1498
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