Date: Thursday, April 14, 2022
This RESNA position paper sponsored by the RESNA K12 Practice Special Interest Group advocates for increased access to assistive technology for all students with disabilities by defining capacity-building as a significant job responsibility of assistive technology (AT) specialists who work in school settings. Unlike AT practitioners who provide AT services to individuals as part of health or governmental services, an essential role of AT specialists who work in school settings is building the capacity of other school professionals to contribute to the provision of AT services. We recognize that the expertise of specialists is still needed for students with complex needs, including communication, which are not met by readily accessible or easy-to-implement tools. Nevertheless, AT specialists in schools should strive to meet the AT needs of students with disabilities through a capacity-building approach rather than direct service provision.
This paper could be used to guide school districts in supporting and enhancing the implementation of assistive technology by utilizing AT specialists to build staff capacity around AT. It can serve as a tool for AT specialists to self-advocate to improve service delivery within their organization. It could also be used to impact public policy, funding, and staff allocations related to assistive technology services in K-12 schools. It is addressed to multiple stakeholders concerned with promoting access to assistive technology in schools. These stakeholders include, but are not limited to, national and state/provincial departments of education and assistive technology programs, district-level technology coordinators, administrators, and teacher educators. The position requires sustained and systematic change from the greater community of education and educational technology stakeholders.
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