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Assistive Technology Policy Checklist

Use the items on this checklist as a framework for guiding the development of assistive technology policies. The checklist also can be adapted for use in analyzing existing assistive technology policies or obtaining feedback from stakeholders about the appropriateness of such policies.

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Introduction

The Assistive Technology Checklist is a multi-faceted tool that can be used by those who are developing assistive technology (AT) policies, analyzing existing AT policies, or obtaining feedback from stakeholders about the appropriateness of AT policies. The purpose of this report is to describe the elements of the checklist and explain various ways that it can be applied.

The empirical basis for many of the elements in the checklist is documented in the report of a national survey of the status of State Department of Education assistive technology policies conducted earlier by the authors of the checklist. A copy of that report, titled Assistive Technology Policies of State Departments of Education: The Baseline Investigation, can be accessed from the NATRI Assistive Technology Reports Menu.

Analyses of the policies obtained during the baseline investigation yielded a list of topics that were included in assistive technology policy statements, advisories, and technical assistance guidelines issued by State Departments of Education throughout the nation to guide the delivery of assistive technology services in schools. Those topics are distributed among several elements in the checklist, but are reflected primarily in the second element, which addresses the specifics of the delivery of assistive technology services.

The 13-element framework for the checklist was provided by a school policy analysis specialist in the Department of Educational Policy and Evaluation at the University of Kentucky. The contributions of that individual are acknowledged in the credits that follow the checklist.

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How to Use the Checklist

There are 85 items on the Assistive Technology Policy Checklist that are clustered into 13 different elements. These items represent factors that should be considered when developing or analyzing policies related to the use of assistive technology (AT) in schools. The numbered items subsumed by each element can be used as general criteria to guide AT policy development. When phrased as questions, the items can be used to analyze existing AT policies.

Those developing or analyzing policies can use the items on the checklist to develop a variety of instruments to assist them with their tasks. Topics may be listed as they appear on the checklist or they may be rephrased as questions, depending on their intended purpose. The instruments might employ different response metrics, as described below:

  • When developing AT policies, the topics can be used in a standard checklist format to ensure that relevant factors are being addressed.
  • When analyzing the comprehensiveness of existing AT policies, a metric of YES, NO, PARTIALLY, or UNSURE could be used with each of the topics on the checklist.
  • When analyzing the quality of existing AT policies a Likert-type metric would be more useful when the topics are phrased as questions. Such a metric might range across dimensions such as POOR, SATISFACTORY, and EXCELLENT.
  • When obtaining responses of stakeholders to AT policies that are developed, a metric such as INAPPROPRIATE, UNACCEPTABLE, NEEDS REVISION, or ACCEPTABLE might be useful.

When different metrics are used, codes, such as Y for YES, N for NO, P for PARTIAL, or U for UNSURE could be entered in the blanks that precede each number. Alternatively, the checklist could be retyped with options placed to the right of each item that would require respondents to circle their response options or its coded value.

A heading, such as the following, should be included that describes the purpose of the instrument

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY POLICY ANALYSIS CHECKLIST

Policy Source: _________________________________________________________

 

Evaluator : ____________________________ Date : ___________________________

Finally, it is important to note that each of the topics on the checklist need not be reflected in an actual policy statement. Many of the elements relate to assumptions, theoretical and empirical underpinnings, legal requirements, and others. These may be included in documents that provide the background or rationale for a particular policy and other explanatory information, such as might be found in an Assistive Technology Policy and Procedures Manual. The likelihood of having AT policies that are comprehensive and defensible is enhanced when all of the topics on the checklist are addressed, either in the policies, themselves, or in supporting documentation.

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Conceptual Elements

_____ 1. Terminology and key assistive technology concepts are identified.
 

_____ 2. Operational definitions of assistive technology devices and services are provided.

 

_____ 3. Outcomes of assistive technology programs are defined.

 

_____ 4. Processes for achieving assistive technology outcomes are explained.

Notes:

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Assistive Technology Elements

_____ 5. Eligibility criteria for assistive technology services are specified.
 

_____ 6. Assistive technology referral policies are specified.

 

_____ 7. Assistive technology screening and assessment policies are specified

 

_____ 8. Policies for planning assistive technology services for students are specified.

 

_____ 9. Interdisciplinary involvement in assistive technology services is described.

 

_____ 10. Policies for the purchase, use, and management of equipment are defined.

 

_____ 11. Assistive technology staff development policies are specified.

 

_____ 12. Policies for the delivery of assistive technology services are specified.

 

_____ 13. Policies for providing assistive technology support services are specified.

 

_____ 14. Policies for interagency collaboration are defined.

 

_____ 15. Policies for maintaining and upgrading assistive technologies are specified.

 

_____ 16. Policies for disseminating information about services are specified.

 

_____ 17. Polices for funding assistive technology services are specified.

 

_____ 18. Policies for evaluating the use of assistive technologies are described.


Notes:

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Legal Elements

_____ 19. Assistive technology policies comply with federal laws and regulations.
 

_____ 20. Assistive technology policies comply with state laws and regulations.

 

_____ 21. Precedent-setting assistive technology court rulings have been considered.

 

_____ 22. Pending court rulings that might affect policy have been identified.

 

_____ 23. Potential constitutional or other legal challenges have been identified.

Notes:

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Empirical Elements

_____ 24. Assistive technology policies reflect an empirical base.
 

_____ 25. Empirical evidence provides a rationale for assistive technology policies.

 

_____ 26. Empirical claims are consistent with those of similar programs.

 

_____ 27. Assistive technology policies fit empirical evidence.

 

_____ 28. Amount of empirical evidence is sufficient for decision makers.

 

_____ 29. Assistive technology empirical evidence is timely and relevant.

 

_____ 30. Methods are described for determining assistive technology policy outcomes.

 

_____ 31. Assistive technology outcome measures are valid and reliable.

Notes:

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Theoretical Elements

_____ 32. Assistive technology theoretical premises are identified.
 

_____ 33. Goals for theoretical premises are defined.

 

_____ 34. Assistive technology theoretical premises are defensible.

 

_____ 35. Decision making process about theories are explained.

 

_____ 36. Theoretical premises of stakeholders have been considered.

 

_____ 37. Potential theoretical barriers have been identified.

Notes:

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Normative Elements

_____ 38. Assistive technology policy goals are justified.
 

_____ 39. Values underlying assistive technology policy goals are identified.

 

_____ 40. No evidence of hidden value premises exists.

 

_____ 41. All stakeholders have been considered.

 

_____ 42. Assistive technology policy goals reflect stakeholder values.

 

_____ 43. Potentially negative consequences of assistive technology goals are identified.

Notes:

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Economic Elements

_____ 44. Cost analysis of assistive technology policy implementation has been conducted.
 

_____ 45. Assistive technology costs reflect ability to provide financial support.

 

_____ 46. Assistive technology costs reflect willingness to provide financial support.

 

_____ 47. Sources of assistive technology funding are identified.

 

_____ 48. Relationship to existing statutes and regulations have been identified.

 

_____ 49. Assistive technology resource allocation alternatives have been assessed.

 

_____ 50. Personnel to ensure compliance are available.

 

_____ 51. Funding of assistive technology policy provides equitable service delivery.

 

_____ 52. Accountability procedures for fiscal expenditures are included.

 

_____ 53. Projected benefits justify projected costs.

 

_____ 54. Procedures for conducting cost-benefit analysis are described.

Notes:

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Political Elements

_____ 55. Attitudes of affected parties toward assistive technology have been analyzed.
 

_____ 56. Analysis of practicality vs. desirability have been conducted.

 

_____ 57. Goals related to primary purpose of the policy are identified.

 

_____ 58. Potential supporters of assistive technology policy are identified

 

_____ 59. Potential opponents of assistive technology policy are identified

 

_____ 60. Potential biases, gains, and losses of those affected are identified.

 

_____ 61. Beneficiaries of policy implementation are distributed appropriately.

 

_____ 62. Those who will enforce assistive technology policies have been identified.

 

_____ 63. Checks and balances for assistive technology policy implementation are defined.

Notes:

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Cultural Elements

_____ 64. Impacted cultural groups have been identified.
 

_____ 65. Cultural backgrounds of those affected have been considered.

 

_____ 66. Relevant cultural groups have been consulted.

 

_____ 67. Discrepancies among benefits across cultural groups are identified.

 

_____ 68. Identification of potentially offensive elements have been identified.

 

_____ 69. Plans exist to accommodate cultural differences.

Notes:

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Ideological Elements

_____ 70. Underlying ideologies influencing assistive technology policy are stated.
 

_____ 71. Ideological conflicts with belief systems of stakeholders are identified.

 

_____ 72. Policy goals address differing ideological beliefs of those affected.

Notes:

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Historical Elements

_____ 73. Historical roots that are impacting assistive technology policies are identified.
 

_____ 74. Prior assistive technology practices are explained.

 

_____ 75. Assistive technology historical trends have been identified.

 

_____ 76. Prior assistive technology practices that have current relevance are identified.

 

_____ 77. Prior assistive technology errors that should be avoided have been described.

 

_____ 78. Interpretations of historical events by affected parties are considered.

NoteWednesday, August 16, 2006__________________________

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Logical Elements

_____ 79. Assistive technology policy premises are valid and deductions are sound.
 

_____ 80. No formal or informal logical fallacies are evident.

 

_____ 81. Analogies that are used are appropriate.

 

_____ 82. Arguments in support of assistive technology policies substantiate their goals.

Notes:

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Assumptive Elements

_____ 83. Things taken for granted are expressed in assistive technology policies.

_____ 84. Sources of assistive technology assumptions are related to the policies.

_____ 85. Relative weight of different assumptions has been considered.

Notes:

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REFERENCE

Bell, J. K., & Blackhurst, A. E. (1996). Assistive technology policies of state departments of education: The Baseline Investigation. Lexington, KY: Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling, University of Kentucky.

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Section Separator

Credits and Disclaimers

Assistive Technology Policy Checklist (© 2001) was prepared for the National Assistive Technology Research Institute by A. Edward Blackhurst, Professor Emeritus, Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling, University of Kentucky, and Jennifer K. Bell, Director, University of Kentucky Assistive Technology (UKAT) Project, and. It may be duplicated and circulated for noncommercial purposes, provided this credit is included.

Special appreciation is extended to Richard LaBrecque, Professor Emeritus, Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, University of Kentucky, for providing the general framework for this checklist

Support for the preparation of this checklist was provided by the University of Kentucky and the Research to Practice Division of the Officer of Special Education Programs in the U. S. Department of Education under Grant #H180U50025 and Cooperative Agreement #H327G000004 . The information and conclusions presented in this checklist do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the funding agencies.

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