Special Education Services Division Local Education Agency (LEA)

Special Education Services Division Local Education Agency (LEA)

Purpose

The Special Education Services Division of the Oklahoma State Department of Education assists school districts in the provision of special education and related services so that all students with disabilities will be college, career and citizen ready upon graduation from high school.  Under federal special education law and state rules, students with disabilities who require assistive technology devices or services in order to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) are eligible for those devices and/or services as specified in the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Contact(s)

Todd Loftin
Executive Director of Special Education Services
Oklahoma State Dept. of Ed.
2500 N Lincoln Blvd, Ste. 412
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 522-3237
FAX: (405) 522-2380
email: todd.loftin@sde.ok.gov
http://www.ok.gov/sde/

Eligibility

  • Children with disabilities, ages 3-21;
  • to determine if a referral for special education service is appropriate, a multidisciplinary group including the parents will meet; and
  • if the group has reason to believe the student has a disability, they will evaluate the child to determine if the student qualifies for special education.

AT Services Provided/Covered

  • Information & Referral
  • Training for Student & Family
  • Assessments & Evaluations
  • Supporting Software
  • Locating Alternate Funding
  • Maintenance & Repairs
  • Fabrication of Devices

AT Devices Provided/ Covered

  • Aids for Hearing Impaired
  • Mobility/Seating & Positioning
  • Speech Communication
  • Environmental Adaptations
  • Aids for Vision Impaired
  • Aids for Daily Living
  • Computers & Related
  • Recreation & Leisure Devices
  • Learning Cognition & Developmental

How to Get the AT

  • As part of an initial evaluation, a group of qualified professionals and the parent/guardian shall review existing and new evaluation data.
  • Parents or educators of students with disabilities who have suspected AT needs should inquire regarding referral for assessment of these needs by the local school system.
  • If the child is determined eligible, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed.
  • If the team determines the student would need AT to receive FAPE, the team will address a comprehensive assessment to determine what type of AT devices and/or services are needed. The assessment may include collecting data regarding the student’s functioning in several areas: cognitive, academic, auditory, vision, speech/language, and motor skills, and must consider AT needs and identify appropriate devices and/or services that will assist the student in achieving IEP goals and reaching grade level academic standards.
  • If the student is determined ineligible for Special Education Services, AT may be accessed through the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. See Appendix A for more information on obtaining AT through ADA or Section 504.
  • It is the IEP planning process that is important in determining whether the school system is the appropriate entity to obtain AT for a child. If the IEP team determines that an assistive device and/or service is needed for the child to successfully meet the goals and objectives of the IEP, the school system MUST provide the individual with the AT device and/or service at no cost to the parents, as part of the student’s FAPE.
  • The school system may provide the AT device or service by:
    • using existing resources (equipment) that they already have;
    • obtaining the needed device through equipment lending libraries;
    • locating other sources of funding outside the school district, such as SoonerCare;
    • asking the parents if they want to obtain the device through their private insurance company, if coverage exists; or
    • purchasing the device with district funds. Thus, once the need for AT is written into an IEP, the school district MUST ensure that the student obtains the specified AT device and/or service. If parents choose not to use their private insurance, school systems cannot require them to do so.
  • Once the school has made a commitment to obtain the specific AT, the child should receive proper training and follow-up to insure that the child will benefit from using the device. In addition, the child’s parents, teachers, and support staff should receive training on how to use the device and how to maximize the child’s use of the device at school, at home, and in the community.
  • Details about the student’s need for AT, consideration of AT, assessment of AT needs, current AT use, and planned training regarding AT should all be written into the student’s IEP.

Pieces of the Puzzle

  • Even if a parent wants a particular device for his/her child does not mean that the need for that device will be written into the IEP. Although the parent is a member of the IEP team, any and all decisions are team decisions. The IEP team must decide whether a particular assistive technology is educationally necessary for the child. Team decisions can occasionally place the parent at odds with other team members. There is a process for resolving disputes if the parent feels that the IEP does not meet the needs of the child. (See “Dispute Resolution Process” below.)
  • If the school district purchases an AT device, the device remains the property of the school system. On a case-by-case basis, the use of school-purchased AT devices in a child’s home or in other settings is required if the child’s IEP team determines that the child needs access to those devices in order to receive a FAPE.
  • When developing transition service plans, be sure to address any AT issues. For example, if the school district has purchased the device, the device stays with that school system when the student graduates, leaves school or even moves to another district. However, a formal mechanism allows school districts to sell or transfer AT devices to parents, other state agencies, or other school districts. For more information, refer to the “Assistive Technology Technical Assistance Guide” at: http://okabletech-docs.org/homepage/at-ta-document-part-b/
  • The Assistive Technology & Information Services Program is a collaborative program between the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Special Education Services and ABLE Tech.
  • The Assistive Technology & Information Services Program provides school personnel opportunities for awareness and advanced level training through presentations at state and local education conferences and regional training courses as well as include an online AT Curriculum found here: https://okabletech-atcurriculum.org/
  • School personnel and families have access to ABLE Tech’s AT short-term loan program. Short-term loans are available for assessment, preview, trial purposes, accommodation, as a loaner while the student is waiting for device repair and professional development. The AT short-term loan is generally for six weeks.
  • The AT available for demonstration and short-term loans can be found at the Device Loan Program page here on this website.
  • ABLE Tech provides information services that assists school personnel with referrals to other appropriate service providers, agencies, vendors or manufacturers.
  • IDEA requires that states and school districts provide accessible versions of educational materials to students with disabilities in a timely manner, as an essential component of FAPE. The National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) is a uniform electronic format for textbooks and related materials from which accessible formats can easily be made.
  • Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) are for students with sensory, physical, or specific learning disabilities that impair the ability to access printed materials.  ABLE Tech contracts with the State Department of Education and provides:
    • information and demonstration of AT devices and services;
    • technical assistance and training for educators and/or parents;
    • assistance to schools and parents in determining student eligibility to curriculum resources and availability dependent upon IEP or 504 status;
    • access to repositories of digital textbook files and curriculum downloads from the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC);
    • the facilitation of braille or large print curriculum content to vendors such as Liberty Braille and the AIM Center that are authorized to create specialized formats; and
    • the needed AT for the student to access AEM and facilitate the delivery of AT the same time as specialized format is delivered.
  • For more information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), see Appendix A.