Individual Assistive Technology Evaluation

Individual Assistive Technology Evaluation
Jill Robertson
DIFF 515
Fall 2010
A/T Evaluation 1
AT Evaluation 2
Individual Assistive Technology Evaluation
I. The Learner:
A. Background (3 pts)
1. Student’s name: William Ding
2. Age, grade level: 13, 8th grade
3. Reading level:
Date Given
The Wechsler Intelligence
Scale for Children Fourth
Achievement Test
Achievement Test
Achievement Test
Full Scale
Age of William
Perceptual Reasoning
Processing Speed
Verbal Comprehension
Working Memory
Broad Reading Cluster
Broad Math Cluster
Broad Written Language
Broad Reading Cluster
Broad Math Cluster
Math Calculation Skill Cluster
Academic Skills Cluster
Letter-Word Identification
Reading Fluency
Math Fluency
Passage Comprehension
Applied Problems
Broad Reading Cluster
Broad Math Cluster
Math Calculation Skills
Academic Skills Cluster
Letter-Word Identification
4.1 GE
4.0 GE
3.2 GE
3.4 GE
3.7 GE
4.3 GE
3.2 GE
3.1 GE
3.2 GE
5.4 GE
5.2 GE
4.3 GE 78
5.2 GE 82
4.1 GE 67
4.2 GE 72
4.7 GE 83
3.7 GE 80
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Applied Problems
Reading Fluency
Passage Comprehension
Math Fluency
8.4 GE
100 SS
4.5 GE
81 SS
3.5 GE
76 SS
3.9 GE
73 SS
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4. Student's IQ Score: 102_
Source of IQ Score:
Testing report. Name and date of intelligence test: The Wechsler
Intelligence Scale for Children Fourth Edition given on September 30, 2008.
5. Type/level of exceptionality: William has been identified as having a learning
disability. He has a significant delay in reading comprehension, reading decoding,
math calculation and written expression which adversely affects his academic
6. Family/cultural information: William currently resides with his father and
step-mother. Previous to July 2010, William lived with his mother and three half-sisters
(ages 1, 3, & 5) Both of William’s parents are Caucasian and were born in the United
States. English is the one and only spoken language in William’s house. William
expressed to me that his mom was not very involved in his schooling and she never
checked to make sure he did his homework. He also went on to say that his dad would
always make it to school functions and when he stayed at his dad’s house on the
weekends his dad always made sure he had his homework complete before they could do
“cool” things. William’s step-mom plans to be involved in William’s schooling and has
already joined the PTO with William’s father so they can be “in the know” of what is
going on at school. William’s father and step-mother describe themselves as a middle
class family. William’s father works for HSBC and his step-mother is a RN (Registered
Nurse) at a local hospital. William’s mother is currently a stay-at-home mom.
B. Student’s present levels:
1. Academic (6 pts):
Problem- solving
Would prefer visual
problems rather than
word problems
More visual
Extra help to keep on grade
Textbook is hard for him to
--needs many prompts and
study guides to
comprehend the readings
from the text
Reading comprehensionHe doesn’t understand
what he reads in the
Hands- on lab work
He likes when the
class does lab work
and he can visually
see what he needs to
Ability to remember
dates. William has a
strong memory when it
Civil War
He likes when they
complete worksheets
& study guides
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comes to remembering
the dates of events.
Free-write or the daily
sparks—students are
prompted to respond to
a question or statement
in the beginning of
Rote memory
Can’t keep up with the
readings for class. His
reading level is not where
the rest of the class is.
He likes completing
simple conversations
with classmates.
Reading comprehension—
especially hard having to
translate it into English and
comprehend it at the same
He needs help
focusing/concentrating --William gets easily
frustrated and needs the
skills to focus &
William’s attention skills
are all over the place. He
cannot stay focused on
something for long
Social (3 pts): William gets along well with his classmates, especially being
new to the school. He interacts with them during lunch and whenever there is
extra time during class. He is a member of the schools ‘zoo crew’, and
technology clubs. William is a member of the schools Modified soccer team. He
is very close to his teammates, and they have made him feel at home at his new
school. William has had no behavioral referrals at his current school. Since
becoming a student of this school he has not had any detentions. Compared to his
peers William is quieter and more respectful. He tends to sit and wait for
complete instruction before getting out of his seat. In comparison to his peers it
depends on what class William is in and who is in the class with him as to how
he is. In his French class he is chatty, but the class as a whole is and I observed
this to be the class with the most of his friends in it. William tends to be the quiet
one in class but whenever the teachers back is turned to him he is whispering or
passing notes to friends nearby. He gets easily sidetracked from what she is
supposed to be doing, but with simple guidance is back on track. Whenever
given the chance William prefers to work with her friends, and tends to stay
away from the females in his class. He interacts appropriately with his peers as
well as his teachers. He is hesitant to begin working, as if he needs extra time to
process what is asked of him. I noticed that when William does not understand
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something he asks questions, first to his friends and then to the teacher. William
appeared to always have something on his mind as he often appeared to be
looking ‘at a far away land.’ While observing William he appeared to be tired,
frequently yawning. I took notice of this not just in the morning or at the end of
the school day but throughout the day as I did notice this in his different classes.
3. Physical: Include fine and gross motor skills, along with any sensory or medical
concerns (incl. medications and any allergies). For students with severe physical
disabilities, incl. purposeful movement (see Beigel, 2000). (2 pts) William has
worn glasses since he was seven years old. He also has slight hearing loss, but
nothing of major concern. William is diagnosed with having Attention-Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and he takes Ridalin for that.
C. Student’s individual goals (these may be formal, e.g., from IEP, 504 or gifted
education plan, or informal) and services (e.g., gifted, remedial, special
education, related services such as therapies, etc.). Include amount of time for
each service. (2 pts) William has a significant delay in reading comprehension,
reading decoding, math calculation and written expression which adversely
affects her academic performance. William receives direct consultant teacher
services for all core areas weekly for 2 hours and 30 minutes and Resource Room
daily for 42 minutes.
D. Current Placement (1 pt): Grade level, type of class, location, number of
students, ratio of students with and without disabilities, number & type of
teachers and other support staff, other supports/accommodations provided, and a
brief description of the community in which the school is located (2-3
sentences). William is part of the eighth grade team in a suburban middle school
(grades 6-8) in Erie County, New York. Overall there are 127 students on the
team, typical class sizes ranging from 14-22 students per class. William is in a
regular general education classroom with Direct Special Education & Resource
Room instruction and support in the regular classroom. The school does not offer
gifted and talented services; therefore no students are identified as being gifted
and talented. The core team of teachers consists of an English teacher, math
teacher, social studies teacher, foreign language teacher, science teacher and
special education teacher. The team has two support staff teachers that push in
for English and math.
E. What are the educational priorities of the learner and his/her advocate(s),
and how did you determine this? Include current feelings/concerns with the
student's progress, placement, &/or services, and future plans (type of diploma,
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college, employment, etc.), along with any other known educational priorities. (3
pts) The educational priorities of William have somewhat changed now that he
has changed school districts. William’s father did not agree with his previous
schools arrangement for William. (At his last school, William was in a selfcontained special education class all day.)
F. What is the level of expertise with assistive technology on the part of the
learner, the teachers, and others who interact with the learner? What technology
or equipment is currently in use, and for what purpose? (If the student is currently
in a self-contained special education class, also comment on expertise of the
target general education teacher.) (4 pts) The level of expertise with assistive
technology on the part of the learner is not as high as I would like to see it. When
trying out different assistive technologies with William he became easily
frustrated because he was not familiar with the technologies. So before this
evaluation I would say William has a low level of expertise. William’s teachers
have a medium level of expertise with assistive technology. His teachers rage in
experience, the special education teacher had the most experience and William’s
Social Studies teacher had the least experience (please note this teacher has only
been out in the field for a few years compared to the rest of the team of veteran
teachers.) Currently there is no assistive technology in place for William.
G. How receptive to having a learner who uses AT in the classroom are faculty
and staff who are involved with the student? (If the student is currently in a selfcontained special education class, also comment on receptivity of the target
general education teacher.) (1 pt.) The faculty and staff involved with William
are very interested in possible assistive technology in the classroom for William.
The special education teacher is very receptive to having a learning who uses AT
in the classroom. I talked to William’s other teachers and support staff and they
gave the same response of anything that could help a student would be great.
They also wanted to be trained on the possible technology before it is in use.
II. Analysis of the General Education Environment (do not describe a segregated
special education class). This section should be based on your visits to the target class.
A. Target General Education Class: See Above.
B. What teaching and assessment methods are used most often by the general
education teacher(s) involved? Ex: Lecture, discussion, cooperative learning,
project-driven, oral or written presentations, types of test questions, level of reading
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and writing ability required to be successful, etc. (2 pts) William’s teachers use a
variety of teaching methods to meet the needs of their students. Because William is in
Middle School and does not have just one teacher—they all use different teaching
methods. The most effective teaching method for William seems to be a studentcentered approach where the students do a lot of hands on work. His teachers use ongoing assessments to monitor student progress.
C. What tasks are required for students to be active participants in this classroom?
(2 pts) Include those related to communication, instruction, reading1 and writing
ability, participation, productivity, and environmental control. Examples include but
are not limited to contributing to large or small group discussions, listening to
lectures/explanations (up to___ min.), taking notes, raising hand to speak, reading
aloud or silently (at the___ grade reading level), etc. For William to be an active
participant in his classroom he will need assistance with reading and note-taking
skills. William gets easily frustrated when taking notes because he cannot write and
comprehend what is being said at the same time. William’s modifications (taken
directly from his IEP) include additional time to complete tasks, check for
understanding (by repeating and clarifying directions as well as providing extra
examples), preferential seating and access to a calculator during math class and in
science classes that require math calculation. His accommodations include extended
time (1.5), revised test directions/language in directions (simplified for all tests up to
two additional times), separate location/room for testing, administer test in small
group, test read (questions read up to two additional times provide extra examples
when needed) and use of calculator for math and science exams.
D. What is the physical structure of the classroom? Also please comment on any
other areas of the school where it would be important for the student to be able to use
AT devices. Is space available for AT devices? Are electrical outlets available for
AT devices that may need to be plugged in? Is Internet access available? (1 pt) The
school itself as a building is rather new. The classrooms William is in on a daily basis
are basically set up the same way. Each classroom has four computers each with
internet access for all students to use. The school is fairly new, and there are many
electrical outlets available for assistive technologies that would be plugged into an
outlet. All of William’s classes are on the second floor of the building in the same
hall. The only class that would be further away is technology which is located in the
high school, but can be reached in between classes where students are given three
minutes passing time.
In determining the reading ability required for students to be active participants in this classroom, you
may find it helpful to use a readability formula for a representative section of reading material. For more
information, try; report the strategy that you chose.
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III. Access to the General Education Curriculum/Environment
A. What factors (including those analyzed in the previous sections and any others
of which you are aware) interfere with the learner’s participation and access to
an appropriate education in the general education curriculum/environment?
For this question, list all that significantly interfere, not just those that you
expect to target for intervention. (3 pts) William’s spelling and handwriting
interfere with his participation in the general education environment.
William’s reading level as well as reading comprehension are far below his
grade level and these are both factors that interfere with his participation in
the general education classroom.
B. Of the interfering factors just described, what is the top priority for
analysis/intervention with the assistive technology plan, and why? Analyze at
least one dated and graded work sample (or other performance data) that
exemplifies this interfering factor. (3 pts) Attached is a copy of a writing
sample of Williams. As you can see his writing ability is far below grade
level, and his spelling is also a factor. Reading and writing go hand in hand,
which is why a writing sample has been chosen.
C. Complete and attach relevant WATI checklist(s) for the priority interfering
factor identified above, e.g., writing, reading, math, learning and studying, etc.
(4 pts) (see attached WATI sections 2 and 5)
IV. Recommendations: Only after analyzing the learner and the school environment
should possible devices be examined. These may be currently available on the market or
known to be available through other sources (e.g., custom-made).
Based on your assessments and the factors listed below, recommend a specific device for
the student to try out in the general education classroom.
A. Specific Device (5 pts)
1. Description: (specific enough for an unfamiliar educator to visualize; it
may be helpful to include a photo). For William, I recommend an MP3
player, specially an ipod touch where apps can be downloaded such as a
screen reader, for example Text Aloud so he can follow along with the
class by having text read to him. What makes TextAloud stand out for
William is that the text can be transferred into MP3 format to allow it to
be read again over again without the text being in front of him. Also
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computer access for written assignments where spell check is able to be
used is also recommended.
2. Cost: The starting cost for a brand new ipod touch is $229.00. The
program TextAloud which is being recommended is a free download but
you can buy the full program for $29.95 and if chosen you can purchase
different ‘human’ voices for $25.00.
3. Alternative devices that you considered but are not recommending,
and why. If you are recommending an electronic device, what low/no tech
options have been explored, and what was the result? Different no tech
options have been explored for William in regards to reading.
Highlighting key words and using a template to aid in visual tracking were
both used with William. Both were helpful in getting him to focus in
more, but did not address the issue of comprehension when the text is on a
reading level higher than William is able to comprehend. Also books on
cd were utilized with William with very little success because he felt like a
little kid, which is why an ipod is being suggested since it is a ‘hip’
technology and can do than just read to him.
B. Rationale (why you are recommending this device over alternatives you
1. How will the device increase access by the student to an appropriate
education in the general education environment? Be specific and use
your own words (boilerplate language from promotional materials for
the device is not acceptable). (5 pts.) This device will increase access
by the student to an appropriate education in the general education
classroom environment because it will allow William to ‘keep up’ with
his classmates rather than fall behind when he can’t comprehend the
text. By having a screen reader program that turns the text into mp3’s
William can replay it as many times as he needs to at his own speed
and volume until he comprehends. The iPod itself will help William’s
access to an appropriate education because there are many applications
that are downloadable (read2me) and free to help William succeed.
IMPORTANT: The answer to this question is the crux of the project. Be
sure to specifically connect your answer here to your analysis in section
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2. How does the device measure up in terms of the following factors
listed (4 pts.):
a. Reliability, durability, repairing/updating, reputation of
company (check with experienced customers or the Better Business
Bureau). The iPod touch itself is very reliable. Apple has a very good
reputation, especially in the education field. There were given a B+
rating on the Better Business Bureau, which is a very high rating. A
company with this rating would not have a significant number of
complaints or other considerations that could pose a problem to
b. Trial/loaner period available, guarantee, warranty. TextAloud
has a free 15 day no obligation trial. Unlike most free trials, this trial is
a fully functional version of the program, it just does not include the
premium voices. Every iPod comes with complimentary, singleincident telephone technical support within 90 days of your iPod
purchase. In addition, your iPod, its rechargeable battery, and all
included accessories are covered against defects for one year from the
original purchase date by a limited hardware warranty. You can extend
the technical support and hardware coverage for two years from the
original purchase date of your iPod with the AppleCare Protection
Plan for $59. If you have any problems or questions about TextAloud
they offer Technical Support free via email.
c. Ease of use (understandability, fine/gross/visual motor skills
needed, etc.) The iPod touch and the software for TextAloud are both
very easy to use. William already has an earlier iPod model, so he has
some experience with it already. TextAloud even has automatic
iTunes/iPod syncing. Both the iPod and TextAloud are compatible
with either the PC or Apple brand computers.
d. Appearance, portability, age-appropriateness, etc.: This device
is very age-appropriate for William as the iPod touch is something
many of students his age have and use for entertainment. The iPod is
very portable as it weighs 3.56 ounces, is 4.4 inches in height, 2.3
inches in width and 0.28 inches in depth.
3. Skills and Training for Student (7 pts.).
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a. What current IEP goals (or other needs) are expected to be
addressed by this device? William’s current IEP goal of increasing
words per minute will be addressed by this device because William
will be able to follow along with the text as it is being read to him.
b. What other supports, training, or IEP goals do you recommend,
related to the student's successful use of this device? Be specific. If
you feel none are needed, explain. Because William already has
practice using an iPod touch I don’t feel there are any other trainings
that would relate to his successful use of this device.
4. Evaluation: What data should be collected to determine if the device
is an effective educational tool for the student? Be specific; provide an
example. (4 pts.) Data should be collected before William begins to
use the device and should be continually collected as he does use the
device. The data collected should be reading comprehension related as
that is what the device will hopefully enhance is William’s reading
comprehension skills.
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C. Skills and Training Needed By Others (2 pts): What specific knowledge and
skills are needed by teachers or others involved with the student? What might
be frustrating at first? I can foresee the downloading texts to the iPod as
being very frustrating to teachers at first, but this would be a perfect job for a
teacher assistant to do. For the TextAloud software, I was able to use it with
no problems, I didn’t even need to refer to a user’s guide, it was very user
friendly and self explanatory.
D. Exploration of Specific Funding Sources, including school and specific nonschool options. (5 pts) Reminder: If the device is needed for a free
appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, the school
has the first funding responsibility. Also include at least two specific funding
sources outside of the school. William’s school could be eligible for a grant
from the Qwest Foundation also the National Christina Foundation would be
two organizations that make donations to schools, not individual students. I
also found which is an ‘online charity
connecting you to classrooms in need’. William’s teacher could write a
proposal and get donations from various outlets to support the cause, in this
case an iPod touch for William’s learning.
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 assessment course. Although 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.
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Optional Extra Credit (5 pts.): Try out the recommended assistive technology with the
student. Describe what happened, and what you think should happen next.
I was able to try the free downloaded version of TextAloud with William. It was
VERY successful with him, and even his English teacher saw the results with it just being
used once.
I preloaded the software from the website onto my laptop and had
spoken with William’s teacher ahead of time so I could have the text the students were
using that day already set up and ready to go for William. It took a few tries before I was
able to get it set at the right speed and voice level/pitch for William. I previewed the text
first to make sure the screen reader would work properly. William was able to listen to
the text a few times (using headphones as to not disturb others in the class that were
silently reading) before the teacher brought the class back together to answer a few
discussion questions. (a side note—I asked William’s teacher if he could preview the
discussion questions before reading, as well as while he was reading to prepare him)
As a result of William using a screen reader, his teacher told me he was more actively
involved in the class discussion. He was able to bring in his own thoughts from having
the text read to him a few times rather than struggling to read it to himself.
Because a laptop is somewhat large I recommend that the texts and literature be
transferred to a MP3 player for William which can be done using TextAloud. A small
MP3 player would be perfect to use for William, as long as the speed and pitch are set to
his liking.
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WATI Student Information Guide
Motor Aspects of Writing
1. Current Writing Ability (Check all that apply.)
Holds pencil, but does not write
Pretend writes
Scribbles with a few recognizable
Uses regular pencil
Uses pencil adapted with
Copies simple shapes
Copies from book (near point)
Copies from board (far point)
Prints a few words
Writes on 1" lines
Prints name
Writes on narrow lines
Uses space correctly
Writes cursive
Writing is limited due to fatigue
Sizes writing to fit spaces
Writing is slow and arduous
Writes independently and legibly
2. Assistive Technology Used (Check all that apply.)
Paper with heavier
Paper with raised lines Pencil grip
Special pencil or
Splint or pencil holder Typewriter
Other ____________________________
3. Current Keyboarding Ability (Check all that apply.)
Does not currently type
Activates desired key on command
Types slowly, with one finger
Types slowly, with more than one finger
Performs 10 finger typing
Accidentally hits unwanted keys
Requires arm or wrist support to type
Accesses keyboard with head or mouth
Uses mini keyboard to reduce fatigue
Uses switch to access computer
Uses Touch Window
Uses alternative keyboard
Uses access software
Uses Morse code to access computer
Uses adapted or alternate keyboard, such as
Other ____________________________________________________________________
4. Computer Use (Check all that apply.)
Has never used a
Uses computer at school Uses computer at home
Uses computer for games Uses computer for word processing
Uses computer’s spell checker
Uses computer for a variety of purposes, such as
Has potential to use computer but has not used a computer because
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5. Computer Availability and Use
The student has access to the following computer(s)
Location: _William’s father has both a laptop and a desktop PC that William has access to. He
mostly uses the desktop but has some experience with the laptop. At school, William has access to
Macintosh desktop computers in each of his core subject areas as there are 4 in each class. By the
request and sign-out by the teacher students also have access to laptop PC’s in school._________
The student uses a computer
Rarely Frequently
Daily for one or more
subjects or periods
Every day, all day
Summary of Student’s Abilities and Concerns Related to Writing
William’s current ability in regards to writing is far below grade level. It is recommended
that William be given access to a computer for word processing. William would also
benefit from a program that teaches typing skills as he is currently a slow typer. William
would also benefit from being taught how to use a spell check program as his spelling is
also far below his current grade level. _________________________________________
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WATI Student Information Guide
1. The Student Demonstrates the Following Literacy Skills. (Check all that apply.)
Engages in joint attention with adult caregiver to activities (e.g. songs, stories, games
and/or toys)
Shows an interest in books and stories with adult
Shows and interest in looking at books independently
Associates pictures with spoken words when being read to
Realizes text conveys meaning when being read to
Recognizes connection between spoken words and specific text when being read
Pretend writes and “reads” what he or she has written, even if scribbles
When asked to spell a word, gets first consonant correct, but not the rest of the word
Demonstrates sound manipulation skills including:
Initial and final sounds in words Initial letter names/sounds
Recognizes, names and prints the alphabet (if motor skills are limited, may use
alternative means rather than printing to demonstrate knowledge of the alphabet)
When asked to spell a word, gets first and last sounds correct
Applies phonics rules when attempting to decode printed words
Sound blends words
Reads and understands words in context (some of the time)
Spells words using conventional spelling in situations other than memorized
spelling tests
Reads and understands sentences
Composes sentences using nouns and verbs
Reads fluently with expression (when it is at a level he is able to)
Reads and understands paragraphs (when it is at a level he is able to)
Composes meaningful paragraphs using correct syntax and punctuation
2. Student’s Performance Is Improved by (Check all that apply.)
Smaller amount of text on page
Enlarged print
Word wall to refer to
Pre-teaching concepts
Graphics to communicate ideas
Text rewritten at lower reading level
Bold type for main ideas
Reduced length of assignment
Additional time
Being placed where there are few
Color overlay (List
Spoken text to accompany print
3. Reading Assistance Used
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Please describe the non-technology based strategies and accommodations that have been used
with this student
4. Assistive Technology Used
The following have been tried. (Check all that apply.)
Highlighter, marker, template, or other self-help aid in visual tracking
Colored overlay to change contrast between text and background
Tape recorder, taped text, or talking books to “read along” with text
Talking dictionary or talking spell checker to pronounce single words
Hand held scanner to pronounce difficult words or phrases
Computer with text to speech software to
Speak single
Read entire
Explain what seemed to work about any of the above assistive technology that has been
tried. Currently, in William’s new school placement, no assistive technologies have been
tried. ON my own, I was able to try a few with him at home. William was also very
successful with using a text to speech program (TextAloud)
5. Approximate Age or Grade Level of Reading Skills __grade 4____
6. Cognitive Ability in General
Significantly below average
Below average
Above average
7. Difficulty
Student has difficulty decoding the following. (Check all that apply.)
Reading Textbook Subject Area Textbooks
Student has difficult y comprehending the following. (Check all that apply.)
Reading Textbook Subject Area Textbooks
8. Computer Availability and Use
The student has access to the following computer(s):
PC Macintosh
9. The Student Uses a Computer:
Rarely Frequently Daily for one or more subjects or periods Every day,
most of the day