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Focus Project

Option C: Assistive Technology Outcomes Evaluation


Elizabeth Jankowiak
St. Bonaventure University

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Part I
1. Why is this student using assistive technology/what are their goals?
This student is using assistive technology to allow her to improve her
communication skills and abilities. One of her goals is that the student will use
her communication device to expressively identify sight words from the Dolch
Primer Sight Words list with 80% accuracy over 3 or 4 consecutive days. As the
student masters her ability to identify one sight word, she moves onto a new word
and continues to maintain her previous sight words with her device. This goal
aims to increase her functional vocabulary and sight word recognition.
2. How will student progress be measured?
Student progress will be measured through the use of discrete trials. This is a
method that consists of 10 trials with which a plus sign is used to mark an
independent correct response and a negative sign is used to mark a correction, an
incorrect response, or a lack of a response to the prompt. For this particular
student, she is expected to achieve 80% success or 8 correct responses out of 10
trials. This is tracked daily and graphed to monitor progress over time.
3. Criterion for mastery
As previously mentioned with how student progress will be measured, the
criterion for mastery of one word is for the student to achieve 80% success, over 3
or 4 consecutive days without assistance. Once one sight word is mastered, the
student will continue through the Dolch Primer Sight Word list to expand her
vocabulary and begin to practice a new word.
4. Analysis of data
Based on the graphs attached, the student shows no current signs of progress with
the newest sight word she is practicing; however, it must be accounted for that
during this interval there was a break and a length of absences that may have
prevented any forward progress from being made. She has made previous
progress with other sight words and is currently on her fifth and sixth new word
for the year.
Part II: The Learner
1) Background
a) Students Name: Melanie (pseudonym)
b) Date of Birth, Age, Grade level: Melanie was born on November 02, 2001. She
is 13 years old. The student is not placed by grade level; however, based on her
age she would be considered to be in the 7th grade.
c) Reason for Referral: Melanie has received this referral because she currently
uses an iPad as an assistive device for communication purposes. This referral is to

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be used to determine the effectiveness of the device based on her educational


tasks.
d) Instructional Reading Level: Kindergarten; Student can identify a few sight
words from the Dolch pre-primer sight words list
e) Students IQ Score: 45 (Weschler Preschool & Primary Scales of Intell. III;
05/12/2008)
f) Type/Level of Exceptionality: Autism/Multiple Disabilities
g) Family/Cultural Information: Melanie comes from a family whose primary
language is English. She has a very large family, consisting of ten siblings, and
more extended family. She lives at home with her mother, father, and siblings in a
suburban area not far from the school. Both of Melanies parents are employed.
Their socio-economic status could be considered upper-middle class.
2) Students Present Levels
Subject Area

Interests &
Preferences

Strengths:
Specific
skills/concepts

Needs:
Specific
skills/concep
ts

Most
Recent
Report
Card
Grades

Meeting
Age/Grade
Level
Expectation
s?

1. Reading
(at least
decoding and
comprehensi
on)

Frozen,
Princess
Stories,
Holiday
books

Student does well


with
comprehension
when responding
to a story that is
read aloud,
student can often
identify
characters/items
based on images
upon request

Student
needs to
improve
ability to
identify sight
words in
order to
move
forward with
reading
pages
individually
and
comprehendi
ng text. The
student
typically

Currently
is not
meeting
expectatio
ns for this
goal.

No

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2. Writing
(spelling and
composition
skills)

3. Math

4. Vocational
Jobs

4
does not
choose
books as a
preferred
item.
Melanie
Student has
Student has
likes to play greatly improved difficulty
teacher and
her ability to hold with the fine
will often
a pen/pencil or
motor skills
scribble
writing utensil in required to
lines on
her hand and is
write letters.
paper to
aware of writing She has not
pretend to
on the lines.
mastered
be a teacher.
individual
letter
formation
and is
currently
working on a
typing goal
in her iPad to
allow to
write.
Melanie
Melanie is
Melanie does
loves to
capable of
not prefer
count the
counting and
math lessons,
number of
identifying
and typically
tokens she
numbers 1-10
displays
has left to
expressively and maladaptive
earn before
on her iPad.
behaviors
her
Melanie has also during math
reinforceme made progress
lessons. She
nt and, as
this year with
struggles to
mentioned
coin
use a
previously,
identification and calculator for
loves to play purchasing with
basic
teacher and
the support of a
addition and
will use a
jig.
she could
calculator to
benefit from
pretend to
learning to
add.
count
beyond 10.
Melanie
As mentioned in Melanie
does not
her preferences,
struggles
prefer
Melanie prefers
with staying
vocational
to sort or
on task

Currently
is not
meeting
expectatio
ns for this
goal.

No

Currently
is not
meeting
expectatio
ns for this
goal.

No

Currently
is not
meeting
expectatio

No

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5.
Independent
Living Skills

5
tasks (such
as sorting).
She does
prefer to sort
objects that
have more
quirky
characteristi
cs, such as
fun designed
erasers.

complete
vocational tasks
that involved
objects of
interest. When
she is highly
motivated, she is
more productive.

Melanie
enjoys
completing
her hygiene
skills and
enjoys
cleaning up
garbage in
her
immediate
area.

Melanie has been


successful with
washing her face,
putting on
deodorant,
brushing her
teeth, and
dressing/undressi
ng. Although the
student may
require a few
prompts, she is
thorough with
cleaning tables
and chairs and
picking up her
garbage.

during
ns for this
vocational
goal.
jobs, and
does not
complete
tasks in a
timely
manner. She
is working
on increasing
her
productivity
while
completing
one
vocational
task.
Melanie
N/A
sometimes
displays
maladaptive
behaviors
when first
given the
demand to
retrieve her
hygiene
schedule.
The student
would
benefit from
increasing
her
productivity
during tasks
and her
thoroughness
with some
hygiene
(brushing her
teeth). Some
tasks seem
more
difficult than
others due to
her limited

No

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6
fine motor
skills.

Social/Communication: Melanie is a verbal communicator that uses


Proloquo2Go on her iPad in order to allow her more effective communication.
She typically speaks in rote one to two word utterances to express her wants and
needs. She can verbally respond to simple WH questions, such as Who is
sitting next to you? and she can respond with yes or no answers. Melanie has
been making progress with developing sentences and expanding her spoken
vocabulary. She uses her iPad to compensate for words she may not know yet or
phrases she cannot form, such as Im ready for snack. She has also been using
her iPad to communicate with peers and to increase her vocabulary by practicing
sight word identification. During her group speech session, she will use her
device to ask and answer social questions with her classmates. Melanie shows a
desire to speak to her peers, but often just utters their name and does not interact
further. Typically she speaks with adults in her environment. Melanie lacks social
skills appropriate for her age, however, she fully participates in extracurricular
activities if there are no instances of maladaptive behavior and if it is preferred.
Melanie frequently goes swimming and on family vacations and participates. She
eagerly utters words trying to make conversation, however, she is often not
understood. She is prompted to use her device as well as her verbalizations to
express her needs and wants. Melanie seems slightly reluctant to try new tasks
and activities because she prefers to have a routine, however, once the task has
become apart of her routine she is less apprehensive towards it. If the students
needs are not understood or she does not want to comply with the directions
given, she displays maladaptive behaviors, such as aggression, noncompliance,
and disruption (throwing items).
Physical: Melanie has functional fine motor skills to participate in the majority of
classroom activities; however, she tends to have difficulty with writing. She
displays a right hand preference and is able to appropriately grasp items. She is
also able to isolate her index finger, which benefits the student when choosing a
desired icon on her iPad. The student has the ability to type her initials on a
keyboard when motivated (this is a non-preferred task); however, she has
difficulty sequencing her initials and benefits from visual prompting to guide her
typing. Melanie is also able to independently manipulate clothing, brush her hair,
wash her hands and face, and walk in a line with her peers or in lunch. Melanie
displays difficulties with placement for tooth brushing and sometimes moving her
arms in a circular or upward motion to complete putting on deodorant or exercise
and stretching. Melanie can independently use a fork and spoon, but requires
assistance to use a knife for spreading and cutting. Melanie also has difficulty
zippering or fastening her jacket. Melanie is able to complete simple sorting and
assembly tasks within her activity schedule, spray and wipe surfaces, and vacuum
and sweep (with some assistance).

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Students Individual Goals: Melanies IEP goal for mathematics state that she
will complete four simple purchases by matching coins to a pre-set template with
80% success for 3 out of 4 consecutive sessions. Her IEP goal for speech and
language state that she will use four new functional phrases throughout the day
with 80% success for 3 out of 4 consecutive sessions and she will ask questions in
order to obtain desired information throughout the day with 80% success for 3 out
of 4 consecutive sessions. For her motor skills goal, her IEP states that she will
increase independence with brushing her teeth with 100% success for 3 out of 4
consecutive sessions. Melanies goal to improve her daily living skills state that
she will follow a functional hygiene schedule with 80% success for 3 out of 4
consecutive sessions. She also has a vocational goal in her IEP that states she will
increase her productivity with a vocational task to 20% over her baseline score for
3 out of 4 consecutive sessions. An additional goal on Melanies IEP states that
she will increase the amount of time independently spent on a leisure activity
(iPad game, electronic game, musical toy, etc) to 20% over her baseline score for
3 out of 4 consecutive sessions.
Current Placement and History of Services: Melanie is currently in a 6:1:1
self-contained classroom in a local suburban school that works to serve students
with developmental disabilities. She is in class with 6 other students with a
disability. There are no students without a disability. She is not placed in a grade
level, but based on her age would be in a 7th grade classroom. Melanies
classroom peers range from ages 10 to 14. Staff within her classroom
environment includes the teacher, the teacher assistant, three 1:1 aides, and a half
aide, along with service providers (physical therapists, speech/language
pathologists, occupational therapists). She recently has been assigned a 1:1 aide.
The students within this school receive a curriculum based on their IEP goals and
other recommended goals that may further benefit the students independence.
The students receive alternative assessments and do no partake in the NYS
general education curriculum.
Melanie was diagnosed in April of 2007 with results indicating she had
autism and what specialists then called mild mental retardation, but is presently
known as multiple disabilities. Prior to her diagnosis, Melanie attended preschool
and some elementary school education in district schools. In 2007, she was in a
self-contained 8:1:1 class in her district facility. She was then homeschooled for
six months prior to attending her present school in 2009. The school she is
presently attending is a self-contained school that serves students with autism and
other developmental disabilities. Within this school, Melanie had previously been
in classrooms similar to her current placement (6:1:1). She has been in a selfcontained classroom and has received the same therapy and services throughout
her years at this school (occupational therapy and speech services).
Educational Priorities: One educational priority for Melanie is to work towards
allowing her to achieve maximum independence so that she is able to be a
functional member of society after she graduates from her program. This is a
priority that the school holds for all students, to provide them the skills to live on

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their own to the best of their capability. Melanies educators, as well as her
parents, have stated that they hope to see progress relating to her services in
speech and occupational therapy as well to improve her independence. Her
parents have expressed that another priority for Melanie is to decrease the amount
of maladaptive behaviors she displays. Her behaviors can be dangerous to herself
and others and they would like to see them diminish with time.
Level of Expertise with Technology: Melanie is currently using an iPad with
Proloquo2Go as her communication device. Staff within her classroom is familiar
with the application, how she is expected to use it, and how to navigate the
device. Melanie is learning to more effectively navigate her device
independently. She can currently navigate through 3 pages of icons within
Proloquo2Go and is continuing to learn more. The speech pathologist is the most
familiar with the program, how to customize the application, and what features
best benefit the student. The teacher is also familiar with basic customization
options for the application and how to use it and teach Melanie to use it. Other
staff is aware she uses a device for communication and how to navigate the
application. The target general education is familiar with iPad use and it being
used as a communication device. The general education teacher is not familiar
with the application, but would be able to receive training and a demonstration
from the related services.
Receptivity of Staff to Technology: Within Melanies current placement in her
self-contained classroom, staff and faculty are very receptive to the students use
of assistive technology. The majority of students within this school use some sort
of assistive technology. It is encouraged and implemented daily that the students
use their device for its intended purposes. The general education teacher
understands that accommodations would be made for a student requiring an
assistive device on their IEP, but state that they would need more training and
time to successfully implement the device and its proper use within the general
education classroom. The general education teacher has not had many encounters
with assistive devices within her particular classroom, but would be eager to help
the student and accommodate Melanie the best she could.
3) Analysis of the General Education Environment
a) Target General Education Class: The target general education class for
Melanie would be a 7th grade classroom that teaches across all curriculum
content areas (math, English, science, and social studies), with approximately
25 students per class. Students rotate within a blocked schedule, so this
general education teacher works with about 90 students a day. The school is
located in a middle-class suburban neighborhood. This particular school
serves students of a variety of cultures, however, the predominant population
within the school is Caucasian. The particular teacher I spoke with co-teaches
with a special education teacher in her classroom. Out of the 90 students, 30
students (or 1/3 of students) have an IEP or receive related services and five
students have a 504 plan. The teacher and co-teacher use differentiated

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instruction and parallel instruction to modify the curriculum to meet the needs
of all students. Formal accommodations are provided for students during state
assessments and accommodations are provided appropriately depending on
each students IEP or 504 plan.
b) Teaching and Assessment Methods Often Used: Typical teaching and
assessment methods used in this targeted general education classroom involve
discussion of the materials, written assignments (such as essays, short
paragraphs, and reports), reading grade level assigned texts, producing
projects based on the assigned material, and informal assessments based on
observation, student response during lectures, and cooperative learning
discussions. Formal assessments include state standardized tests and tests
consisting of multiple choice, short essays, true or false questions, and short
responses.
c) Expected Reading Level: The students are expected to read grade level
material, therefore, they are expected to read at a 7th grade level. One
common text a student in the 7th grade is expected to read is S.E. Hintons,
The Outsiders. This book scores at a 750 lexile score, suitable for most readers
ages 12 through 16. Edgar Allen Poes, A Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The
Pit and the Pendulum are also common reading material for a 7th grade
classroom. Poes stories which appear around a 1300/1350 lexile score and
considered a more complex text for 7th grade with ornate and sophisticated
language. An example handout given to students based on Ponyboys
characteristics (from The Outsiders) was given a readability score of a 60.2
with an average grade readability of an 8th grader (according to
readability.com). This falls a little above 7th grade, grade-leveled readability
and challenges students to really think. This was teacher-made by a 7th grade
English teacher and taken from
http://www.oaklandunified.org/manage/content/resources/27_Outsiders
%20Complete.pdf.
d) Tasks Expected of Student: The target general education teacher is an
English teacher within her school. Students are expected to read (silently and
aloud) and comprehend grade-level texts, participate in class discussion, write
essays responding to grade-level texts and materials, and take tests and other
assessments pertaining to the material. Typically instruction is delivered
through lectures (a class block lasting around 40 minutes), so students are
expected take notes to gather necessary information. To participate in class
discussion students are expected to wait their turn and raise their hand to
speak. Students are expected to have adequate vocabulary knowledge for
writing and discussing materials in class. Students are also expected to be able
to write legibly and cohesively based on the given instructions. Overall,
students are expected to possess active listening skills, communication skills,
reading fluency and comprehension skills, and writing and composition skills
to succeed in the 7th grade general education curriculum.

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e) Physical Capacity: The 7th grade general education teacher I spoke to made
mention of her classroom having access to Google Chrome book carts, 10
laptop carts, and three computer labs. There are also three students who have
school issued laptops as per their IEP accommodations. Another student has
daily iPad use. Her classroom also has a set of Senteo Clickers used for the
Smart Board. She had stated that the Chrome books were not used often,
typically twice a quarter and that the students use the Senteo Clickers about
once a month. This general education teacher has also stated that each
classroom has a printer, but the district limits paper supply to one box of paper
per semester. This particular school uses a Wifi connection to connect to the
Internet. She mentioned that her classroom does have available space for
assistive technology, but not a lot. She currently works with a student who
uses a wheelchair, so the room is wheelchair accessible as well, but mentions
that if multiple students had similar accommodations there would not be much
room for instruction. There is also convenient access to outlets for any
students that do need to charge a device.
Aside from the classroom, students may need to have access to their
assistive technology in the cafeteria, gymnasium, and other classrooms
outside of this 7th grade English class. It is important that students always have
access to their device and she feels her school is pretty accommodating in that
manner.
4) Access to the General Education Curriculum/Environment
a) Interfering Factors: One main factor interfering with the students participation
in the general education curriculum and environment is the students cognitive
delays that result in her inability to read, write, and communicate effectively for
her grade level. Melanie also displays maladaptive behaviors that endanger
students and staff around her. Specially trained staff works with her daily to
manage her behavior difficulties, which would not be suitable for participating in
a 7th grade classroom effectively. Her social skills, daily living skills, and self-help
skills would also prove to as an interfering factor in her participation in the
general education curriculum. Melanie requires a lot of one-to-one attention and
instruction and high levels of praise and reinforcement to make progress in her
adapted curriculum, which may not be possible in the general education
classroom. Typically Melanie requires prompting to complete a task and lacks
complete independence and productivity to complete the general education
curriculum.
b) Priority Factor Being Addressed: The priority factor being addressed through
this referral and evaluation is the students difficulties with communication. The
data being collected is going to focus on the students ability to learn sight words
using her iPad and Proloquo2Go. She struggles to use appropriate vocabulary in
conversation and does not yet read, and by expanding her vocabulary she may be
better able to perform these tasks.

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5) Data Analysis and Recommendations


a) Performance Data: See attached graphs (if there is a red x on a data point, that
means reliability was taken and another staff member watched the trial to make
sure it was being run properly and to see if the student could move up to the next
step in the lesson plan).
b) Analysis of Progress:
1a. According to the criterion for mastery for this goal (80% success over 3 or 4
consecutive data points), Melanie has not mastered this goal.
1b. Although she has not mastered the goal, Melanie is making adequate progress
towards this goal. This school year, she has successfully learned six new sight
words using her iPad and Proloquo2Go. Melanie is very capable of learning these
sights words with the assistance of her device, however, when there were very
low scoring data points, she was typically displaying maladaptive behavior
(noncompliance or aggression).
2b.i. I believe Melanie is making adequate progress because the iPad and
Proloquo2Go is a good fit for her strengths and needs. Melanie is more of a visual
learner, so the combination and use of pictures and words is beneficial for her to
make progress with her communication. When she completes her sight words
goal, the staff holds up a card with the sight word on it, and she is given the cue,
Read and match the word, and she will take the time to look at the card and then
look at her iPad to make the connection. This device also allows her to
communicate at her own pace. Since she is the one navigating it, when she is
ready to express the word she thinks it is, she will tap the screen. She is very
capable of using her pointer finger to make the appropriate selection. In the past,
staff has also been able to use a systematic fading of prompts by starting with
hand-over-hand or point prompting and working towards the student
independently selecting the word.
2b.ii. Due to the maladaptive behavior the student typically shows during
instruction time, it may take her well over this school year and possibly even next
school year to master the words currently listed on the goal. Often times, the
student will make mistakes purposefully to seek the attention for making a
correction or the student may refuse to participate in the instruction at all. This
has been a factor that has impeded her success and opportunity to move forward
onto new sight words. Another reason I believe she has not mastered the goal yet
is because she often will select a word with a familiar beginning letter in her
device without reading the rest of the word. Lately, she has been doing this with
her newest words, come and down.
c) Recommendations: I believe this device is appropriate for the student and that
Melanie should continue to use the iPad and Proloquo2Go to identify and learn
sight words. Although Melanie has not mastered the goal, given the students
maladaptive behaviors, I believe she has made adequate progress with this goal
and she displays the ability to learn these sight words. Further, I recommend
lessoning the number of items on her display. Melanie may be better able to hone

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12

in on the correct word if she is provided with less options to choose from. As
mentioned prior, Melanie will often select words that begin with the same letter
without reading the remainder of the words. Once she has become very familiar
with the words on a display with fewer icons, I suggest slowly displaying more
icons on her screen. This display can be customizable using the edit section in
the Proloquo2Go app and can be easily managed with the assistance of a speech
pathologist.
Student Project Disclaimer: Readers of this report are asked to interpret the results and
recommendations with the understanding that it has been developed as a project for
graduate-level assistive technology course. The author is a qualified teacher in an
advanced academic program; the contents may be limited by the as-yet-developing
expertise of the author, time limitations of the course, etc.