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Assistive Technology Curriculum Structure and Content in Professional Preparation Service Provider Training Programs

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Assistive technology (AT) and AT services enable children and youth with disabilities and special health care needs to participate in society and are increasingly a part of service provider practice. It is not clear how professional preparation programs are meeting the challenge of preparing service providers to provide AT/AT services. An electronic survey was sent to the program directors for occupational therapy, physical therapy, special education, and speech-language pathology programs in the United States (n = 959) to determine the extent to which AT/AT services were included in the curriculum. The results (n = 153) showed that nearly all of the programs that responded covered AT/AT services in their curriculum, used similar types of faculty and teaching method patterns, and were generally satisfied with the amount of time they spent on the subject. The programs differed, however, in terms of the time spent and emphasis of content specific to their program type. Gaps existed in the extent to which programs covered the influence of culture on the use of AT and addressing the requirement to discuss AT/AT services at every Individualized Education Program meeting. These gaps and emphasis on specific topics within program types indicate that service providers may leave programs with a narrow scope of knowledge about AT/AT services. Information from this survey suggests that to promote contemporary practice in the areas of AT/AT services, entry-level curricula should be enriched or expanded to comprehensively present AT information instruction in this growing service area.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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