5.2 Assistive Technology Training

In addition to the standards outlined below, contractors that provide assistive technology training services must also comply with requirements outlined in the Assistive Technology Trainer Guidelines and Procedures.

5.2.1 Job Function

Assistive technology training is provided to prepare a consumer to use assistive technology effectively in employment and postsecondary educational settings. Training may be provided at a facility, on-site at a consumer's home or workplace, in a DARS office, or in a community resource center. Group training can be provided by facility-based trainers or on-site trainers.

5.2.2 Qualifications

Education, Training, and Experience

Assistive technology trainers must

  • have a high school diploma or GED,
  • be knowledgeable about computers and assistive technology for people who are blind or visually impaired,
  • be familiar with computer and assistive technology applications for people who have visual disabilities and/or other disabilities,
  • be familiar with appropriate instructional methods for people who have visual disabilities and/or other disabilities,
  • have the ability to vary training to meet the specific needs of each consumer, and
  • demonstrate proficiency in assistive technology training on specific assistive equipment in accordance with DBS standards and periodic proficiency tests conducted by DBS.

 

Proficiency Tests

Assistive technology trainers must pass proficiency tests administered by DBS before providing services to DBS consumers.

  • Phase I testing may be completed at the DBS ATU in Austin or online at the discretion of DBS ATU staff.
  • Service providers must successfully complete Phase I testing a minimum of two weeks before Phase II testing.
  • Phase II testing is conducted at the DBS ATU in Austin.
  • If travel is necessary in order to participate in Phase I or Phase II testing, the service provider must pay for all travel costs including transportation, food, and lodging.

Assistive technology trainers must pass periodic proficiency tests administered and conducted by DBS, as well as periodic performance monitoring conducted by the EAS specialist, regional program support specialist (RPSS) or designated representative.

 

In-Service Training

Contract service providers are encouraged to budget funds for each evaluator to attend a yearly conference or workshop relating to assistive technology. At a minimum, each evaluator must attend a technology vendor demonstration or Train the Trainer Workshop in Austin offered by DBS.

 

Provider Authorization

Services must not by provided to DBS consumers until DBS has issued written authorization and a PO.

No service by a provider's employee will be paid for if the service is provided before DBS written authorization is given.

For additional information, see Chapter 1: Basic Standards, 1.6.4 Additional Requirements/Documenting Staff Changes and Chapter 4: Service Delivery Guidelines, 4.2 Staff Information Sheets.

 

Product Authorization

Assistive technology trainers must meet DBS testing and approval requirements on specific products before providing services to DBS consumers.

DBS proficiency tests are product-specific (separate tests are required for each product). Assistive technology trainers must pass the required tests for each product in order to provide training on each specific product.

DBS maintains a list of approved assistive technology trainers and authorized products for each trainer.

 

Performance

Assistive technology trainers must provide training only on the specific products for which they have met DBS testing and approval requirements.

DBS approval is granted for individual trainers only. DBS approval applies to the individual and not the position held by the individual.

 

Staff-to-Consumer Ratio

For the purpose of conducting assistive technology training, the staff-to-consumer ratio for group training may not exceed one staff member to three consumers (1:3).

 

On-Site Visits

DBS may conduct initial and periodic on-site visits to verify that each contract service provider (or potential provider) meets DBS minimum requirements for assistive technology trainers or that the provider has trainers on staff who meet DBS minimum requirements.

5.2.3 Service Delivery

Scope of Services

Assistive technology trainers provide the following services:

  • baseline assessment;
  • training that includes
    • basic computer hardware and software including keyboarding (for approved facilities only), introduction to computers, introduction to application software, use of the internet, and printing and faxing using computers equipped with assistive software and designed for low vision or blind users;
    • advanced computer hardware and software including advanced skills training in computer hardware and software applications; and
    • assistive technology including training in specific assistive technology products; and
  • post-training assessment

 

Required Curriculum

Assistive technology trainers must use the DBS-established training curriculum. The required curriculum is detailed in the DBS Assistive Technology Trainer Guidelines and Procedures Manual.

 

Predefined Curriculum Modules

Assistive technology trainers must receive predefined curriculum modules for various levels of program skills and/or specific skills. Each module will include appropriate time frames. The required modules are detailed in the DBS Assistive Technology Trainer Guidelines and Procedures Manual, but reasonable flexibility to vary the training curriculum will be authorized in order to accommodate the specific needs of individual consumers.

 

Baseline Assessment

The assistive technology trainer or EAS specialist administers a basic-skills test to each consumer who is referred for assistive technology training. The baseline assessment is used to determine the level of training each consumer requires. The assistive technology trainer requests a copy of the baseline assessment before beginning services. If the baseline assessment has not been completed by the EAS specialist or designated staff member, the assistive technology trainer may complete the baseline assessment and document the results on a DARS2902, Assistive Technology Training: Baseline Assessments. The baseline assessment is included as a separate line item in the PO.

 

Post-Training Assessment

Post-training assessments are used to determine training effectiveness and assess whether the consumer requires additional training. The post-training assessment is conducted by the EAS specialist, vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC), or assistive technology trainer once training is complete. On average, each assessment takes two to four hours. The EAS specialist, VRC, or designee may observe the post-training assessment. The post-training assessment is documented on form DARS2902 and is listed as a separate line item on the PO. The initial baseline can be used to document if the training met the consumer's training needs and objectives, if the training was effective, and to justify additional training hours. If training services were job- or task-specific, assistive technology trainers must list objectives on the training report and whether the objectives were met. Assistive technology trainers may consult with the EAS specialist or VRC if other objectives are needed that are not listed in the DBS Assistive Technology Trainer Guidelines and Procedures Manual.

 

Authorization for Additional Training

If the post-training assessment indicates the need for additional training that exceeds the maximum number of hours for that module in the assistive technology trainer guidelines, the consumer's counselor or case manager may approve up to 10 additional hours of training.

If additional training is still required, the local DBS regional director may approve up to 10 hours of training in addition to the 10 hours previously approved by the consumer's counselor or case manager.

Training beyond the above limits, if any, must be approved through the supervisory chain of management to the appropriate director of field services, after consultation with the ATU and/or technical support specialists.

 

Changes to Configuration Files

At the end of the last training session, the trainer must provide the consumer with electronic media containing copies of any changes or additions to the consumer's batch, keyboard, script, set, or other configuration files. Trainers must also document changes to configuration files in the technology training report.

 

Consumer Equipment Problems

If a problem is discovered with a consumer's equipment or hardware, the trainer must contact the consumer's counselor or case manager and/or the staff who conducted the consumer's consultation report before leaving the consumer's home. The trainer documents all equipment problems and resulting contacts with DBS staff members in the final training report.

 

Service Limitations

Assistive technology trainers must not

  • make recommendations or discuss additional training time, equipment, or software upgrades with the consumer or in the consumer's presence (These issues are discussed only with the consumer's counselor, case manager, the EAS specialist or trained designee who completed the consultation report);
  • install programs or equipment to a consumer's computer system without prior written approval from the consumer's counselor or case manager (The counselor or case manager must consult with the EAS specialist or trained designee who completed the consultation report before authorizing the installation); or
  • solicit training, consultation, or referrals from consumers.

Assistive technology trainers must document compliance with the above requirements in the narrative portion of the final training report.

 

Interim Training Reports

If consumer training continues beyond one 30-calendar-day period, the trainer must submit an interim training report for each 30-calendar-day period within 10 working days of the close of each 30-calendar-day period.

Training reports for DBS consumers are submitted to the consumers' counselors.

 

Final Training Reports

Final training reports must be submitted within 10 working days from the date training is completed. For more information, see Chapter 3: Rates, 3.5.2 Submitting Service Reports.

Final training reports for DBS consumers are submitted to

  • the consumer's counselor or case manager, and
  • the EAS specialist from the region where the consumer receives services.

 

Documenting Assistive Technology Training

All training reports must be submitted in the standard format required by DBS using a DARS2868, Assistive Technology Training Report. Confidentiality issues must be adhered to at all times.

Information gathered during the training process does not need to be included in the interim or final report unless it is different from the information noted in the referral packet.

 

Submitting Training Reports

Email is the preferred method for submitting assistive technology training reports.

Training reports submitted by email should identify consumers using only (a) the consumer's first name and last initial and (b) the DBS caseload number. The consumer's SSN should never be used when training reports are submitted by email.

Training reports submitted in writing should identify consumers by first name, last initial, and caseload number.

Never use the consumer's full name in the DARS2868, Assistive Technology Training Report.

The DARS2868, Assistive Technology Training Report is used only for documenting training services and information related to the consumer and must not be used to market services to DBS staff members. Forms and reports submitted to DBS are public records. DBS does not provide marketing services for any service provider.

5.2.4 Performance Measures

DBS considers the following questions in measuring provider performance:

  • Did the provider meet required training objectives for the consumer, which may include
    • minimal keyboarding speed and accuracy levels, and
    • technology-related skills that enable the consumer to independently perform each task?
  • Has the provider met DBS contract specifications?
  • Has the provider performed all contractual services in a professional manner in accordance with the requirements detailed in this manual?
  • If a staff member who provides contract services to DBS consumers was hired during the contract period, did the provider submit a staff information sheet to CPCSC before the new employee provided services to DBS consumers?
  • If a staff member who provides contract services to DBS consumers resigned during the contract period, did the provider inform CPCSC of the staff member's resignation no later than the employee's last day?
  • Were standard staff-to-consumer ratios observed during the performance of all training services?
  • Were all training services performed using the DBS-established training curriculum?
  • If the curriculum was varied to accommodate the specific needs of an individual consumer, did the trainer contact the consumer's counselor for approval before the training was conducted?
  • If a problem was discovered with a consumer's equipment or hardware, did the trainer immediately contact the consumer's counselor or case manager and/or the EAS specialist who conducted the consumer's consultation report?
  • Was the consumer provided electronic media containing copies of any changes or additions to the consumer's batch, keyboard, script, set, or other configuration files at the end of the final training session?
  • Did the trainer make any recommendations or discuss recommendations regarding additional training time, equipment, or software upgrades with the consumer or in the presence of the consumer?
  • Did the trainer install any program or piece of equipment to the consumer's system without prior written approval from the consumer's counselor or case manager?
  • If consumer training continued beyond one 30-calendar-day period, did the trainer submit the required interim training reports to the consumer's counselor or case manager and the EAS specialist who conducted the consumer's consultation report?
  • Has the provider adhered to DBS confidentiality standards?
  • Has the provider submitted all required reports in accordance with DBS specifications or standards?
  • Has the provider submitted fully completed invoices (including required attachments such as travel logs, if applicable) no later than 30 calendar days following service completion?