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.
- Assistive Technology
- Brain Injury
- Challenging Behavior
- Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing
- Early ACCESS (Birth-Age 3)
- Family and Educator Partnership
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Significant Disabilities
- Speech Language Pathology
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.
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.
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.
The Autism Resource Team has purchased numerous resources through partnership with our Family and Educator Partnership (FEP) as well as through generous grants from sources such as the Dubuque Racing Association. On our FEP page you'll find the information under the Community Resources for Families of Children with Disabilities tab.
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."
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.
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.
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)
- Significant lack of oxygen or other complications at birth
- Certain infections the mother may contract during pregnancy
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.
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.
JTC.org 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-632-5918 I
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
i3 Secondary Transition - Secondary transition is a results-oriented process that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the student with a disability to assist the individual’s movement from school to post-school living, learning, and working environments. Secondary transition planning is: an ongoing process starting no later than age 14 based on postsecondary expectations and transition assessment information.
Iowa Department of Education - Secondary Transition - Although IDEA requires transition planning and services, it is silent on the specifics of implementation. Iowa has therefore used statutory language and knowledge of effective practices to identify six critical elements of transition that should be followed when planning for, and providing, transition services. The six critical elements are:
- Student preferences and interests
- Age appropriate transition assessments
- Post-secondary expectations for living, learning, and working
- Course of Study
- Annual goals
- Services and supports
The Iowa Secondary Transition Learning Community (ISTLC) is designed to meet the collective needs of Secondary Transition teams across the state, providing opportunities to connect, learn, and support one another.
Understanding the 6 Critical Elements of Transition
- Overview of Indicator 13 Transition Competencies (Slides)
- Competency 1: Strengths, Interests and Preferences (Slides)
- Competency 2: Transition Assessments (Slides)
- Competency 3: Post-Secondary Expectations (Slides)
- Competency 4: Course of Study (Slides)
- Competency 5: Annual Goals (Slides)
- Competency 6: Services and Linkages (Slides)
- Decision Making Guide - Working
- Decision Making Guide - Learning
- Transition Assessment Planning Area
Assessments should ONLY be used to Fill Gaps in knowledge that cannot be found through Review, Interview, and Observation
- Transition Assessment (compiled and vetted by KAEA)
- Casey Life Skills Assessment
- AIR Self-Determination Scale (Free to Download)
- O*NET OnLine
- My Next Move
- Career One Stop
- Job Shadow
- Learn to Earn
Transition Fact Sheets:
- Roles of Parents in Transition Planning update coming soon
- Difference between High School and Higher Education
- Difference between 504, IDEA, and ADA
- Age of Majority
- Preparing for Successful Transition Planning
- Prior Written Notice / Consent for Reeval
- Support for Accommodation Request Video
- Support for Accommodation Request Template
- Summary of Post-Secondary Living, Learning and Working Video
- Summary for Post-Secondary Living, Learning and Working Template
Youth Rules Employer self-assessment tools in non-agricultural industries such as restaurant and grocery sites.
The Significant Disabilities team provide technical assistance and support in implementation of the Iowa Core Essential Elements and Iowa’s Alternate Assessments.
SDI Professional Learning for Significant Disabilities is a multi-year commitment that focuses on creating a literature rich environment to ensure all students learn. Please contact your AEA representative if interested in learning more!
Speech-language pathologists work with children who have a variety of communication needs. These needs are generally related to articulation, language, voice, fluency and early literacy. For more information, please contact a member of your district navigator team or reach out to an Speech-Language Pathologist:
Practice "at home" videos
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