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Students with significant motor impairments may be limited in their options to play, learn, work, and interact with others. In some cases, switch access is their only option for controlling a computer, mobile device, toys, communication device, and environmental controls. A single, dual, or multiple switch array may be used to tap, scroll, and select items on a computer or mobile device and thereby provide access to reading, writing, leisure and entertainment, communication, and environmental controls. Switch settings may be adjusted to accommodate the type of selection needed; for example, a single activation, press and hold, automatic scanning, or a dual-switch row-column scanning.

Selection of the proper equipment requires careful assessment, and implementation requires well-planned training to promote success for the student using switch access. This module on assistive technology (AT) for switch access Part II will continue with the WATI AT assessment process for selection and implementation of tools for switch access. The WATI AT Decision-Making Guide will present guiding questions to assist the team in completing the assessment process. The WATI AT Continuum for Consideration - Switch Access will be used as an organizational guide to present tools and resources for switch access. The module includes additional supporting articles, forms, case examples, and strategies for instruction and implementation of switch access.

Estimated Time to Complete: 1 1/2 hours

  • What's Included
  • 33 pages
  • Pre/post-assessments
  • Optional $15 certficate
  1. Apply the WATI assessment process to guide the selection of switch access equipment matched to a student's needs, environments, and tasks.
  2. Explain the complexities of the equipment used for switch access.
  3. Name four levels of the continuum in learning switch access.
  4. Name four implementation strategies to promote successful switch access in the classroom.
  5. Identify three resources for gaining a deeper understanding of switch access.

Module Authors

Cindy Nankee OTR/L, ATP

Cindy is an assistive technology consultant and a registered occupational therapist. Her background includes 25+ years as a school-based OT, 9 years with Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (WATI), and 5 years as the committee chairperson for the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Across the Lifespan Conference.

Module Content Provided By

This module was developed in collaboration with WATI and provides updated content from the Assessing Students' Needs for Assistive Technology (ASNAT) - IDEA discretionary grant #: 9906-23. 1992-2009

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