Topical Guides






This Dialogue guide was based on the FCTD Fact Sheets: Assistive Technology 101
The Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD), Academy for Educational Development (AED)



Knowing your available time and your audience, choose one or many of the dialogue starters below.


Reaction Questions



1.    Are the stakeholders (teachers and other school professionals, parents, students, etc.) in your school/district aware of assistive technology and its role in providing access to instruction?  What do you feel are the most important considerations in providing information to stakeholders?

2.    Does your district have a definition and process for selecting assistive technology? 

  • If so, how is it similar or different from the definition and selection process in the brief?
  • If not, what should be included in your definition and selection process?



3.    From your experience, please give examples of types of assistive technology commonly used in your school/district. 

4.    Have you had experience in selecting assistive technology for students in your school/district? Please describe the process, its rewards and its challenges.

5.    Describe the process your school/district uses to conduct a formal assessment to determine the assistive technology needs of a child.  How often do you review the use and effectiveness of the assistive technology once the child is using a particular tool?

6.    Please describe the working relationship between stakeholders in sharing information on the selection of assistive technology?  What can be done to improve upon the current level of interaction and collaboration?

7.    What stigmas might a student utilizing assistive technology face from his/her peers, staff, community at large?  In what ways might we support the child in dealing with these obstacles and potential problems in the future?

8.    In your opinion, are parents and school personnel aware of the many types of assistive technology that are available? 

  • If so, how are they informed?
  • In your opinion, are parents and school personnel aware of the many types of assistive technology that are available?
  • If so, how were they informed?
  • If they are not aware, how might their awareness be increased?



Application Questions



1.    How can our school/district and technology resource organizations work together to create a common understanding of assistive technology, the process by which it is matched to students’ needs, and resources available in our community?

2.    What processes/guidelines will our school and community agencies put into place to ensure that students in need of assistive technology have what they need?  Including,

  • Identifying information to be gathered and who will provide the information (family, classroom, others who interact with the teachers);
  • Evaluating and choosing the right device;
  • Obtaining resources and the appropriate assistive technology; and
  • Monitoring for use and effectiveness.


3.    What are the areas of expertise that families and school/district personnel will need in order to effectively determine the need for and provide for the selection of assistive technology?  What opportunities shall we create for knowledge and skill development?

4.    What resources are available for stakeholders including students with disabilities and families to acquire information on assistive technology, and how will we ensure that information on these resources is made available to all?



The following stakeholders worked together within the
IDEA Partnership to create this dialogue guide:


Role: Policymaker
Location: Arkansas

Role: Family Member
Location: Florida

Role: Special Education Administrator
Location: Florida

Role: Higher Education
Location: Georgia

Role: Special Education Administrator
Location: Georgia

Role: Family Member
Location: New Jersey

Role: Special Education Teacher
Location: Oklahoma

Role: General Education Teacher
Location: Wisconsin






The IDEA Partnership, located at the National Association of
State Directors of Special Education, is sponsored by the
U.S. Department of Education
Office of Special Education Programs.   2009