Students with disabilities, whether identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, ), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (504, ), or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA,), occasionally require adaptive equipment to enable them to achieve their highest level of independence with an activity or in the context of a setting. This adaptive equipment may be required across school and home settings and therefore be described as a personal use item, or may be required specifically for a student to access, participate in, and thus benefit from the instructional program provided at school.
What We Do
There are three channels in which a student's need for adaptive equipment is typically identified: medical prescription; campus concern for the student's safety; or related service evaluation.
When a child's need for adaptive equipment is identified by a medical practitioner, a physician typically prescribes the equipment to meet the personal use needs of the student. The medical practitioner assists the family to identify the avenues for obtaining the equipment through private insurance, Medicaid, or a social service agency. This equipment is typically custom fitted to the student's specific needs related to the level of impairment the student experiences as a result of disability and the functional outcomes to be achieved by the equipment.
If a family needs support in obtaining the personal use adaptive equipment a student may require, assistance should be requested from the TSD social worker, TSD Physical Therapist, and/or Director of Student Health Services. This assistance will typically support the family in connecting with community resources and social agencies.
Some funding sources such as Medicaid require assessment by an occupational or physical therapist as part of the ordering process for certain medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, walkers, etc. If the student does not have a private therapist, the school therapist can assist the family by completing the assessment for personal equipment. The school therapist will not identify the specific equipment that is needed, but can provide assessment information that is required such as level of impairment and information about body structures and functions. The school therapist will not measure for personal equipment or recommend the specific personal equipment that the student may need.
Campus Identified Safety Concern:
When a need for adaptive equipment is identified due to concern for a student's safety at school, this concern should immediately be brought to the attention of the department Principal and the student's parent/guardian/surrogate parent or the adult student. If the concern is one that is specific to the ability of the student to access the resources currently available on the campus, the solution is typically developed by a campus team and may involve modifications to the campus procedures, structures, or materials.
If a student's personal adaptive equipment (wheelchair, walker, etc.) is in need of repair or if the campus is concerned that the student's safety in the equipment is at risk, the department Principal and parent should be notified. Emergent concerns regarding student's personal wheelchairs or ambulatory devices should be relayed to the physical therapist. If unable to contact the physical therapist, the occupational therapist assigned to the department should be contacted. The therapist is only able to make minor adjustments and repairs (such as tightening non-cable type brakes) to student's personal equipment, and this is done with parent or guardian permission. The therapist can identify needed repairs or adjustments and communicate these needs to the student's parent or guardian. If there is a concern regarding the wheelchair that may impact the student's safety while transporting the student on the bus, the Principal or designated staff should contact the Transportation Department.
If there is concern about how to appropriately include the student in the campus evacuation plan, the Principal should seek assistance from the District Risk Manager.
Related Service Evaluation:
When durable adaptive equipment is identified through an occupational therapy, physical therapy, or assistive technology evaluation, the adaptive equipment is provided through TSD. This equipment is typically identified as assistive technology in the student's individualized educational program (IEP) and is recommended specifically to assist the student to access, participate in, and benefit from the instructional program. This equipment is durable and is designated for use only by the student for which it is assigned by the evaluator. While consumable instructional materials may also be included as suggested interventions from these evaluation processes, consumable instructional materials are the responsibility of the campus to provide for all students when necessary, including students with disabilities.
If a need for considering a student with disability's need for adaptive equipment to access, participate in, and thus benefit from the instructional program, the campus team should follow the procedures for requesting technical assistance by Occupational Therapy Services, Physical Therapy Services or the department Speech Therapist.