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Serving Medina, Portage,
and Summit Counties


Support for Diverse Learners

Inclusive Instructional Practices

Supporting a wide range of needs within the classroom can be overwhelming and challenging on the best of days. SST8 has a FREE Canvas course to help! This course is designed for any general educator or intervention specialist teaching students who are performing below grade level and can be completed at your own pace. The course consists of short individual modules on a variety of topics such as Literacy, Math, Executive Functioning, English Language Learners, and implementing UDL, Differentiation, and SDI in the same classroom. Participants may choose one specific topic module or complete them all for course credit. 

Click HERE to access the Supporting Diverse Learners course

Alternate Assessment

Ohio's Alternate Assessment for Students with the most Significant Cognitive Disabilities (AASCD) is the federally required state assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The alternate assessment is based on Ohio’s Learning Standards–Extended (OLS-E). It allows a very small population of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills on an assessment that better meets their needs. 

For Educators
All trainings for new and existing test administrators will be done online through the TIDE Portal. These modules involve a quiz and certification. SSTs will NOT provide in-person training; check our Events Calendar for Q&A sessions to answer questions for participants who have completed the training in the Portal or who were previously trained by SST8.

Access the TIDE Portal at

Questions? Check out Ohio's Alternate Assessment FAQs.

For Families
Do you have questions about Ohio's AASCD or whether your child might qualify? Check out this one-page overview from the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce.

For general questions about alternate assessments contact:
Wendy Stoica
[email protected] 
Office for Exceptional Children

How Can SST8 Support With Assistive Technology?

SST8 consultants provide PD, TA and consultation in order to build the capacity of IEP team members regarding assistive technology consideration, acquisition and implementation processes within the educational environment. The consultants facilitate a transdisciplinary/collaborative model of decision making and NOT the expert model. SST8 consultants may not be utilized as direct service providers and therefore do not provide direct student evaluations/assessments in the area of assistive technology. Consultants also cannot sit on student IEP teams.

Assistive Technology Devices

Assistive technology devices are identified in the IDEA 2004 as "Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities."

The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.

(Authority 20 U.S.C. 1401(1)) Although the IDEA uses the term "device", it is important to recognize that assistive technology devices required by students with disabilities include hardware and software as well as stand-alone devices. Any tool can be considered to be an assistive technology device except for those assistive technology devices that are surgically implanted and have been excluded from the definition of an assistive technology device as defined in IDEA.
Assistive technology devices are available in a variety of categories to address functional capabilities of students with disabilities. These categories include but are not limited to:

Academic and Learning Aids
Electronic and non-electronic aids such as calculators, spell checkers, portable word processors, and computer-based software solutions that are used by students who has difficulty achieving in the educational curriculum
Aids for Daily Living
Self-help aids for use in activities such as eating, bathing, cooking, dressing, toileting, and home maintenance
Assistive Listening Devices and Environmental Aids
Electronic and non-electronic aids such as amplification devices, closed captioning systems, and environmental alert systems that assist students who are hard of hearing or deaf with accessing information that is typically presented through an auditory modality
Augmentative Communication
Electronic and non-electronic devices and software solutions that provide a means for expressive and receptive communication for students with limited speech and language
Computer Access and Instruction
Input and output devices, alternative access aids, modified or alternative keyboards, switches, special software, and other devices and software solutions that enable students with a disabilities to use the classroom computer
Environmental Control
Electronic and non-electronic aids such as switches, environmental control units, and adapted appliances that are used by students with physical disabilities to increase their independence across all areas of the curriculum
Mobility Aids
Electronic and non-electronic aids such as wheelchairs (manual and electronic), walkers, scooters that are used to increase personal mobility
Pre-vocational and Vocational Aids
Electronic and non-electronic aids such as picture-based task analysis sheets, adapted knobs, and adapted timers and watches that are used to assist students in completing pre-vocational and vocational tasks
Recreation and Leisure Aids
Electronic and non-electronic aids such as adapted books, switch adapted toys, and leisure computer-based software applications that are used by students with disabilities to increase participation and independence in recreation and leisure activities
Seating and Positioning
Adaptive seating systems and positioning devices that provide students with optimal positioning to enhance participation and access to the curriculum
Visual Aids
Electronic and non-electronic aids such as magnifiers, talking calculators, Braille writers, adapted tape players, screen reading software applications for the computer, and Braille note-taking devices that assist students with visual impairments or blindness in accessing and producing information that is typically present in a visual (print) modality.
Examples of Assistive Technology Devices (not an exhaustive list):
  • AT can be low tech like communication boards made of cardboard or fuzzy felt.
  • AT can be high tech such as special purpose computers.
  • AT can be hardware such as prosthetics, attachment devices (mounting systems), and positioning devices.
  • AT can be computer hardware, like special switches, keyboards, and pointing devices.
  • AT can be computer software such as screen-readers or communication software.
  • AT can be inclusive or specialized learning materials and curriculum aids.
  • AT can be specialized curricular software.
  • AT can be much more, including electronic devices, wheel chairs, walkers, braces, educational software, power lifts, pencil holders, eye-gaze, and head trackers.

Assistive Technology Services

As defined in IDEA, an assistive technology service is: Any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, and use of an assistive technology device. The term includes...
  • The evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child's customary environment;
  • Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities;
  • Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, retaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;
  • Coordinating and use other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
  • Training or technical assistance for a child with a disability or, if appropriate, that child's family; and
  • Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of children with disabilities.

Ohio's Accessibility Manual

Ohio's Accessibility Manual is a comprehensive policy document providing information about the accessibility features of Ohio's State Tests for grades 3-8 and high school in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

The manual helps to define the specific accessibility features available for all students, students with disabilities, students who are English language learners and students who are English language learners with disabilities. Ohio's Accessibility System features are made up of accommodations for students with disabilities and English language learners as well as other features including administrative considerations, universal tools and designated supports.

Access Ohio's Accessibility Manual

Related Services Workgroup and Supports

The Related Services Workgroup first convened in January 2018 with a mandate to improve the coordination of state, school and provider efforts to address the related services needs of students with disabilities. Since then, a variety of resources have been developed to improve the field's understanding of related services providers and to help districts address ongoing shortages in related services roles. Visit ODE's Related Services website to learn more about these efforts and access key resources.

For more information, contact