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Special Education Services & Supports

Keystone AEA programs and services promote respect and compassion, and support enabling every learner to perform at his or her highest level within a safe, healthy and least restrictive environment.

Explore the various special education services Keystone AEA provides to support students, families and schools.

special needs student doing an activity

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For more information about these services, please contact a member of your district navigator team or refer to our Specialized Service Team Directory.

Assistive Technology


The purpose of Keystone AEA's Assistive Technology Team is to support IEP / IFSP teams as they provide assistive technology services and devices to individuals ages birth to 21.  As a resource to teams, they work to help IEP / IFSP teams integrate assistive technology into the student's life.

Definition:  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 a student with a disability except a medical device that is surgically implanted (excluded by Rule) or hearing assistive technology (HT) or vision assistive technology (VT) which are described as services.


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AEM:  National Center on Accessible Educational Materials
The AEM center provides resources and technical assistance for educators, parents, students, publishers, conversion houses, accessible media producers, and others interested in learning more about AEM and implementing AEM and the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS).

Keystone AEA Media Collection
There are over 100 assistive technology items in the media collection.  To search for items be sure the spelling is correct and use the singular tense of the item.  For example, to find a list of the switch kits available, search for  switch kit  not  switch kits.  To get the most comprehensive list of items, enter  assistive technology in the search box, and select all Grade Levels and All Formats  .  Here are some Frequently Asked Questions About Ordering Materials.

SETT:  Assistive Technology Considerations Guide (Student, Environments, Tasks, Tools)  MS Word file
This tool was developed by Dr. Joy Zabala, a leading expert on the use of assistive technology (AT) to improve education for people with disabilities, to support teams in making data-based considerations regarding the provision of assistive technology.  This tool guides teams through the AT consideration process and helps teams determine what tools, if any, are required for a student to appropriate access the curriculum.

WATI:  Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative
The mission of the new Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative Development Team is to assist early intervention agencies, school districts, and their partners to provide assistive technology by making training and technical assistance available through our development of new and updated materials related to the provision of assistive technology tools, and services.


This AT Blog will be updated monthly with AT updates, tips, tools, and other useful information to support teams as they make AT considerations for students.

Get the Latest Updates



The Keystone AEA Autism Resource Team was formed to provide educationally-based consultative services for school districts and families within Keystone AEA. Autism resource team members have specialized training in order to work with children and young adults who have autism or similar characteristics.

The Keystone AEA Autism Resource Team is committed to consulting with families and schools through the use of evidence-based practices. When providing these services, the goal for each student is to gain independence, self-fulfillment, and access to the general education curriculum.

In order to meet this vision, members of the Keystone AEA Autism Resource Team:

  • collaborate with AEA, LEA, and family members.
  • provide information regarding autism and evidence-based practices to school teams, parents, and other agencies.
  • collaborate with school teams regarding intervention plans, IEPs, and behavior intervention plans, again focused on the inclusion of evidence-based practices.
  • engage in professional development opportunities as a team and on an individual basis.


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The Autism Resource Team has purchased numerous resources through partnership with our Family and Educator Partnership as well as through generous grants from sources such as the Dubuque Racing Association.

To find resources in the media library specific to autism and the evidence-based practices we support, search by title, author, or simply use the drop down feature in the subject index and choose "ARL."

Summer Autism Training

Each summer Keystone AEA hosts a 5-day Autism Training this summer.  


Training outcomes include:

1. Participants will recognize the importance of and demonstrate ability when designing the classroom environment for students on the Autism Spectrum.

2. Participants will design, evaluate, and modify activities for communication, social interaction, and independence that ensure growth and success of students on the Autism Spectrum.

3. Participants will use the approaches presented with a variety of students exhibiting a wide range of abilities and needs.

The training specifically addresses many of the concerns regarding challenging behavior.

More details will be forthcoming.


autism puzzle pieces

The Summer Autism Training has been moved to August 5-9 in Decorah.

Brain Injury


A brain injury can happen at any time to anyone. Keystone AEA has a team of professionals ready to assist schools and families with information about the educational needs of students with acquired brain injuries.

The Brain Injury Resource Team:

  • provides information about brain injury to school teams, parents, and other agencies.

  • consults with teams during the evaluation of a child with an acquired brain injury.

  • assists educators and parents in planning for the child's re-entry into school and home.

  • offers inservice training for educators, parents, and community organizations.

Brain Injury

Challenging Behavior


The Keystone Behavior Resource Team is a multi-disicplinary team of special education support staff with expertise in assessment and intervention for students with challenging behaviors. 

The Keystone Behavior Resource Team provides consultation to school teams to assess behavior and to plan behavioral interventions for students identified for special education services or students within the general education setting. These consultation services are tailored to meet the needs of the referring school team.

On-site consultation services, for school teams who refer students, might include:

  • List of resources for you to access as you search for answers to your questions
  • Training for AEA staff who work in your school buildings
  • ABC observations
  • Preference analysis
  • Functional analysis
  • Concurrent operant analysis
  • Data analysis
  • Launching a behavior intervention plan

In addition, we provide professional development to LEA and AEA staff on Functional Behavior Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plans.


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Emily Hosch


Annette Hyde


Angela Raddatz


Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing


The goal of the Hearing Department is to provide quality audiological and educational support to students, families, and local school districts. The department provides comprehensive audiology services to infants, preschoolers, and school age children. Hearing evaluations may be conducted free of charge at the local school building, or may best be completed at one of Keystone’s three sound booth locations: Decorah, Elkader, or Dubuque. 

Audiologists are hearing specialists who have a minimum of a master’s degree and must be licensed and/or certified by the state of Iowa. Audiologists identify and evaluate individuals with hearing problems and make suggestions for intervention. They are assisted by Audiometrists who are trained to screen hearing.

Audiological services include:

  • Hearing conservation programs for school-age children
  • Educational follow-up
  • Participation in child study team meetings/staffings
  • Wax build-up in the ear canal
  • Fluid or ear infection in the middle ear
  • Inherited conditions (family genetics)
  • Meningitis
  • Significant lack of oxygen or other complications at birth
  • Certain infections the mother may contract during pregnancy
  • Aging

The Itinerant Teachers for the Deaf / Hard of Hearing (ITDHH) at Keystone AEA specialize in the education, communication, and auditory skills development of deaf and hard of hearing individuals, age birth to 21 years. Services are provided in the individual’s school, home, or alternate setting. ITDHH work with the parents and educational teams to ensure success in the educational environment.

The Itinerant Teachers for the Deaf / Hard of Hearing (ITDHH):

  • Assess individual needs. Assessments may include evaluation of academic achievement, language skills, auditory skills development, classroom performance, and social interactions.
  • Provide written reports summarizing the individual’s level of performance and make recommendations regarding individual needs.
  • Participate in multi-disciplinary team meetings for eligibility determination and contribute to the design of appropriate educational plans and programs for eligible individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Develop and maintain Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Individual Family Service Plans (IFSPs)
  • Provide direct services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing in the areas of communication, language development, auditory skills development, academic support, and self-advocacy skills.
  • Provide progress monitoring of the individual’s needs in targeted areas.
  • Provide inservices to school personnel on hearing loss and its impact, educating individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, amplification devices (hearing aids, FM systems, soundfield systems, and cochlear implants), and modifications and accommodations to the learning environment and curriculum.
  • Consult with parents, administrators, teachers, and other professionals regarding areas of concern for the individual.
  • Provide parents with resources and information on hearing loss and its impact, communication strategies, language development, auditory skills development, and post-secondary transition.
  • Support sign language interpreters and paraprofessionals.
  • Teach sign language in a variety of settings.
  • Provide community awareness about hearing, hearing loss, hearing conservation, and noise pollution.



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Parent Resources

HOPE Cochlear Americas Reading room, online courses, and listening tools for many great resources.    

My Baby’s Hearing A parent resource jointly from Boystown National Research Hospital and National Institute on Deafness & Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

HearingJourney Resource of auditory activities designed to enhance communication. Sign up for a free account to access their information.

The Guide to Access Planning Provides suggestions and information useful in planning for post-secondary life.

Ag Bell Organization for parents, individuals with hearing losses and professionals committed to support for the listening and spoken language. Excellent publications; free 6 month membership for new parents.

NC Begin Parent driven group that provides emotional support and access to information, serving as an impartial central resource for families with deaf or hard-of-hearing children. 

Better Hearing Organization that provides information and resources on all aspects of hearing loss, from medical to hearing instruments. 

Boystown Hospital Maintains research registry for hereditary hearing loss and fact sheets on genetics and specific syndromes.

Hands and Voices Organization dedicated to providing unbiased information and support to families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and professionals who serve them. Good online articles on education and legal rights.

Starkey Hearing Foundation Foundation that provides free hearing aids and cochlear implants to children of needy families who do not qualify for public assistance. Clinic that provides free correspondence courses, telephone consultation, and summer camp for families of infants and toddlers with hearing loss. Lessons also available in Spanish.

Miracle Ear Provides free hearing aids to children of needy families who do not qualify for public assistance.

Oaktree Products Assistive technology for the hard of hearing and deaf such as alarm clocks, flashing lights, fire alarms and personal amplifiers.

HARC Assistive technology for the hard of hearing and deaf such as amplified telephones, alerting signals, alarm clocks, and television amplifiers.

Iowa Early Hearing & Detection

The Listening Room

Success for Kids with Hearing Loss

Request for Consultation

If you would like to request a hearing test for your child, please call 1-800-632-5918 and the office assistant will help direct your call to the audiologist for your school district.


Dyslexia Resource Site

dyslexia logo

Portal of information to connects parents, educators, and students to the most reliable resources on Dyslexia.


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Early ACCESS (Birth-Age 3)

early access

Early ACCESS is a partnership between families with young children, birth to age three, and providers from local Public Health, Human Services, Child Health Specialty Clinics, Area Education Agencies and other community programs. The purpose of this system of services is for families and service providers to work together in identifying, coordinating and providing needed services/resources that will help the family assist their infant or toddler to grow and develop and reach his/her greatest potential.


If you have a referral please email Angela or call 641-394-2162.  If you would like more information please email Ann or call 563-382-2870.

Family and Educator Partnership

fep loogo

The FEP, started in 1984, provides a unique opportunity for parents and educators to build partnerships to improve educational programs for children and young adults with special needs. Previously, the program was known as Parent and Educator Connection (PEC). Modeling an effective collaborative partnership, the FEP is staffed by a family coordinator who brings the perspective of a parent with a child having special needs and an educator coordinator who brings the perspective of an educator. Each of Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs) employs these staff to guide the program within the AEA. They collaborate directly with parents, local education agencies, and agencies outside the educational system. 

The goal of the Iowa Family & Educator Partnership is to support successful outcomes in the areas of living, learning and working for individuals with disabilities ages 0-21, the Family & Educator Partnership will operate within a tiered system of supports across Iowa with intentional coordination, consistency, and continuity through partnerships between families and educators.

FEP Resources and Services for Families and Educators

  • Facilitate understanding of special education, including family/student rights and responsibilities
  • Support families and educators through personal, phone, email contact, including attending Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP)/IEP meetings
  • Assistance preparing for IFSP/IEP meeting
  • Information and support regarding transition from IFSP to IEP and post secondary transition
  • Support communication between home and school to enhance family and educator partnerships
  • Link family and educators to services within the AEA and the community
  • Provide information and understanding regarding educational processes

Family & Educator Partnership

Occupational Therapy


Occupational therapists, as part of a child's educational team, share their expertise in seating and positioning, self-help skills, sensory processing, and fine motor skills.


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Intervention Strategies and Videos

Request for Collaboration

Please complete this form to request an occupational therapy collaboration.


Learn about the resources available to support paraeducators.

Physical Therapy


As members of educational teams, physical therapists evaluate and treat functional needs of students as they affect daily programming, instruct staff in appropriate goals and care, and coordinate with members of respective medical teams as necessary for continuity of care.


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Intervention Strategies and Videos

Request for Collaboration

Please complete this form to request an occupational therapy collaboration.

Secondary Transition


The ultimate goal of secondary transition planning is to make the adjustment from high school as easy, successful and as short as possible. Successful transition planning should begin early and be based on specific knowledge and experiences of targeted future environments and activities. It includes the commitment of resources, collaboration among people and agencies, and decision making to develop an IEP for the student.


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Understanding Transition

Resources for Teachers

Resources for Parents

Family and Educator Partnership

The Family and Educator Partnership works to develop and sustain effective partnerships between families, educators, and community providers to promote success for all children and youth.


Get the Latest Updates

Secondary Transition

Improving your Job Coaching Skills - learning opportunity offered through online modules and zoom for 1 credit.


Improving your Job Coaching Skills - learning opportunity offered through online modules and zoom for 1 credit.

Significant Disabilities

Speech Language Pathology



visually impaired child reading braille from book

Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) and Orientation and Mobility Specialists (OMS) provide screening, evaluation, consultation and direct services for children who are blind or visually impaired.

For more information please visit the Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired


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