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Education, Training, and Experience
Assistive technology evaluators must
- have a degree from an accredited college or university with a specialization in computer science, education, rehabilitation, or related field, with one year work experience in the education or rehabilitation of persons who have visual disabilities and/or other disabilities, or a high school diploma or GED with four years of progressively responsible work experience in the education or rehabilitation of persons who have visual disabilities and/or other disabilities;
- be knowledgeable about computers and assistive technology, applications of technology, and methods of evaluating technology for persons who are blind or visually impaired;
- possess the ability to simulate computer and technological environments similar to the situations an individual may encounter on the job or in school;
- have the ability to conduct objective evaluations;
- have the ability to make objective recommendations; and
- demonstrate proficiency in conducting technology evaluations on specific assistive equipment in accordance with Division for Blind Services (DBS) standards and periodic proficiency tests conducted by DBS.
Assistive technology evaluators must pass proficiency tests administered by the Assistive Technology Unit (ATU) in Austin before they can be approved to evaluate a DBS consumer's ability to benefit from the purchase of assistive equipment in achieving a vocational or scholastic goal.
Phase I testing may be completed at the DBS ATU in Austin or online at the discretion of the DBS ATU staff. Phase II testing is completed at the DBS ATU in Austin.
Phase II testing can be scheduled two weeks after successful completion of Phase I.
Service providers are responsible for all travel costs related to Phase I and Phase II testing including transportation, food, and lodging. Costs will not be reimbursed.
Periodic performance checks are also conducted by the Employment Assistance Services (EAS) specialist or his or her designee.
In-Service Training Requirement for Service Providers
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.
Services must not be provided to DBS consumers until DBS has issued written authorization and a service authorization and/or purchase order (PO). No service by a provider's employee will be paid for if the service is provided before 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 of this manual.
Each assistive technology evaluator must pass a product-specific proficiency test before evaluating DBS consumers on that specific product. DBS maintains a list of approved assistive technology evaluators and the products they are authorized to evaluate consumers on. To maintain DBS approval, the evaluator must obtain new models, upgrades, or versions of the equipment and software that he or she has been authorized for within 45 days of notice that the new product is available.
Assistive technology evaluations must be conducted one-on-one with one staff member for each consumer.
DBS has the right to conduct initial and periodic on-site visits to verify that each contract service provider (or potential provider) meets DBS minimum requirements for assistive technology evaluators or that the provider has evaluators on staff who meet DBS minimum requirements.
On-site visits may include
- observation of a provider conducting an evaluation or training,
- observation of the service being provided, and
- confirmation that the provider is using the latest versions of software and products on the approved product list.