Occupational Therapy Program Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type



Effect of assistive technology devices and services in a public school setting

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Therapy

Copyright Statement

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College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department

First Advisor

Max Ito

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


December 2007" A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy. Typescript Project Advisor : Max A. Ito The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 2004 requires individualized education program (IEP) teams to consider the intervention of assistive technology (AT); however, the Act allows IEP teams to provide or forego AT, without direction for implementation. Little evidence exists regarding the effectiveness of AT in a public school setting. This study investigated the effect of AT provided by a multidisciplinary AT team in a public school setting. Thirteen participant units each consisted of a special education case manager and student who had recently received AT to address unmet IEP goals and objectives. The students ranged from preschool to 8th grade, had varying special education classifications, and used AT for oral or written communication or computer or curriculum access. In a quasi-experimental pretest, posttest repeated-measures design, this study used the Student Performance Profile (SPP) and the School Function Assessment with the AT supplement (SFA-AT) to assess the effect of AT on performance and participation. Case managers completed both assessments soon after students received their AT and again 4 months later. The results of the SPP, which measures changes in ability on AT-relevant IEP goal-and-objectives, indicated significant improvement in performance, t(12) = 5.54, p = .00. The results of SFA-AT Part III (Activity Performance) were not significant for performance or participation over time, t(12) = 0.82, p = .21, and t(12) = 0.70, p = .50, respectively. AT provided by a multidisciplinary team may help students improve school performance in the form of improvement on goals and objectives; however, participation did not appear to be positively affected. Further study is needed for measuring performance and participation of larger populations of students who use AT and for improvement in instrumentation.


Occupational Therapy


Health and environmental sciences, Education, Assistive technology, Occupational therapy, Special education

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