• Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: How should assistive technology (AT) or augmentative/alternative communication (AAC) consultation services be listed on the IEP?

    Our services for consultation go on the Service Summary page under “Supports for School Personnel” (not under “Related Services”).

    For example:

    Assistive Technology Consultation
    Augmentative Communication Consultation

    **Please contact your AT or AAC consultant when determining anticipated amount/frequency.

    Q: How should assistive technology equipment/software (including augmentative communication systems) be written on the Service Summary page of the IEP?

    Assistive technology equipment should be described in general, non-specific terms under the “Supplementary Aids/Services; Modifications; Accommodations” section when the student has access to the equipment on a long-term basis.


    The following are some examples of how to describe equipment:

    • portable word processor (NOT Alphasmart, Neo)
    • portable device with touch screen capability (NOT iPad, iPod)
    • alternate keyboard (NOT IntelliKeys)
    • trackball (NOT Kensington trackball, Traxys trackball)
    • word prediction software (NOT Co:Writer)
    • talking word processing software (NOT Write:Outloud, IntelliTalk)
    • word processing software with picture symbols (NOT PixWriter)
    • speech recognition software (NOT Dragon Naturally Speaking)
    • graphic organization software (NOT Kidspiration, Inspiration)
    • single message voice output device (NOT Big Mack)
    • dynamic display device with keyguard (NOT Dynavox V)
    • communication system including communication book, topic boards, and choice boards (not Boardmaker symbols)

    Q:  How can I try AAC or AT tools with a student?

    Contact your AT or AAC consultant or our office at assistivetechnology@pps.net. If a student has Occupational Therapy Services on the IEP, the OT at the school is the first contact for AT.

    Q: Does the student need to have an IEP to try equipment from the Assistive Technology Loan Library?

    Students need to have an IEP or 504 plan to try equipment from our loan library.

    Q:  Do assistive technology or augmentative communication services have to be on the IEP (or 504 Plan) for a student to have access to equipment/software from the Assistive Technology Loan Library?

    No. An IEP/504 team can access items in the loan library for any student with an IEP or 504 Plan.

    Q: Does the district purchase assistive technology equipment (including augmentative communication systems) for students to use?

    Yes, while a student attends a PPS school. A “Long Term Loan Application” needs to be submitted to, and approved by, the Assistive Technology Review Committee (ATRC).

    Q:  What’s the difference between short term loan and long term loan?

    The Assistive Technology team provides short-term loans of assistive technology (AT) and Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC) tools for individual students. The short-term loan period is forty school days. During the short-term loan period, the school team should take data to measure how the technology is helping the student make progress toward his or her IEP goals. If data suggests that AT is necessary for the student, the team may apply for a long term loan. The application is reviewed by the Assistive Technology Review Committee (ATRC) and, if approved, the student will have access to that equipment for as long as s/he needs it and is enrolled in Portland Public Schools.

    Q: How do I know what to try

    You can find frequently used educational modifications and assistive technology solutions by clicking on the Strategies for Students webpage. In considering assistive technology, the team will want to determine the specific tasks that the student has difficulty with, and have an understanding of what has previously been tried and what is currently being used (what worked, what didn’t).

    Q:  Who takes data on assistive technology?

    Any IEP team member (including general education teachers) may take data on the student’s use of assistive technology.

    Q: Is your loan library set up to loan to classrooms or individual students?

    Our loan library supports individual students.

    Q: Where can I find forms like the Long Term Loan Application?

    These are on our website. Navigate to the site as described in #8 above. Then select the “Forms” link.

    Q:  What do I do if parents want to send in an Augmentative Communication device?

    The “Privately Owned Equipment” form must be completed before the student can use privately owned equipment at school. Contact your AAC consultant for help or access to this form. Once the form is completed, it needs to be attached to the student’s IEP.

    Q: On the Consideration of Factors, A, does the “yes” box need to be checked in order for the student to borrow equipment from the AT loan library?

    No. However, if it is determined that the student needs assistive technology, the “yes” box should be checked.