Assistive Technology Assessment is a team process. There are many approaches to evaluating student learning need and benefits of assistive technology (AT) in supporting those learning needs. This page will provide an overview of evaluation and referral steps that can be used by special education teams or AT team coordinators to plan, implement and follow up with AT needs and student progress.

Overview of the Assessment Process 

The steps included in the Assessment Process:

  1. Intake/Referral

  2. Identification of Needs

  3. Identification of Desired Outcomes

  4. Skills Assessment

  5. Device Trials

  6. Revisit Desired Outcomes ➔ a. If outcomes are met, go to Step 8➔ b. If outcomes are not met, go back to Step 3

  7. Procurement of Device

  8. Technology Implementation

  9. Follow Up/Follow Along

For more information on AT Assessment, see the AT Assessment resources available under SWAAAC Foundations.

Assistive Technology is an On-Going, Dynamic Process 

 AT teams may choose to have a written report documenting steps or their AT referral process and/or Assessment to help guide their collaborative work with school-based special education teams. The referral process through AT Assessment and Implementation includes: 

  • Pre-entry- Introduction at special education team meetings or providing online AT resources, etc.

  • Entry- Referral of student needing AT/AAC

  • Gathering information- AT referral checklists, i.e. see WATI below for comprehensive set of checklists, student observations, meetings with team members, parent interviews

  • Defining the problem- Analyzing the AT referral checklists and providing team feedback from observations or student assessments

  • Determining solutions- trialing device AT/AAC plan, organizing how teams will collect trial data, providing how to guides for AT/AAC devices and/or procedures

  • Stating objectives- AT Plan collaboratively agreed upon with special education team

  • Implementing plan- data collection, co-teaching, AT team supported training

  • Evaluating plan- analyze data collected, new trials started when evaluating multiple devices

  • Ongoing consultation goals- continuation of consultative goals and building on AT/AAC use*

  • Re-evaluate and Revise with changes in the student, the envirnoment, the tasks, and/or Tools

*Student AT abandonment is often due to lack of ongoing use and consultation. Teams may initially follow steps and implement the AT Plan, but taper off once a device or support has been found beneficial.  This lack of on-going support often results in students discontinuing their use of AT. If special education teams include plans for ongoing support and follow-up they can prevent this negative student outcome. 

Assessment Resources for Assistive Technology


Protocol For Accommodations in Reading (PAR)

By Denise DeCoste & Linda Bastiani Wilson


The SETT Framework

By Joy Zabala


Speech Recognition as AT for Writing: A Guide for K-12 Education

By Daniel Cochrane & Kelly Key

girl writing

Student's Use of Google Tools

By The Douglas County School District SWAAAC Team

Assessment Resources for Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC)

ASHA AAC Assessment Resources

By American Speech-Language-Hearing Association


Augmentative & Alternative Communication Profile

By Linguisystems


Communication Matrix

By American Speech-Language-Hearing Association