Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A Reminder from a Conversation - SETT and sliced bread

Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with a Child Study Team case manager.

A student on her caseload experienced a traumatic brain injury several years ago and has difficulty with both reading and written expression. Overall, the student's academic abilities are on a Kindergarten/ First Grade Level reads on a pre-primer level.

This student recently received a neurological exam in a clinical setting. The summary of the exam included findings regarding neurological functioning, as well as specific assistive technology recommendations. The specific assistive technology recommendation was to use Dragon Naturally Speaking to provide support for writing and note taking. The IEP team had a phone conference with the doctor who conducted the neurological exam, who contended that "Dragon Naturally Speaking is the only support this student will need."

The case manager asked me my opinion. I told her that without ever meeting the student, it would be impossible for me to say if DNS would be an appropriate support or not. I also told her that DNS does not provide a student with reading support.

Here is the punch line of this story:
She asked me if I had a "list of reading supports" that I could "recommend" for this student.

From here I started speaking with her about the SETT Framework by Joy Zabala.
It is critical that we as AT Specialists remind others about focusing on the student and feature matching BEFORE any tools are discussed. Child Study Team Members and families are looking for tools to support their students, and only want what is best for their students. They can easily get sucked into the spinning vortex of a "great piece of technology". We must be the voice of reason who helps the team take a deep breath before they go out and purchase the next best thing since sliced bread.

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