Posted in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Autism, Down syndrome, Dual Diagnosis Down syndrome and autism

Blog #113~Ready, SETT, Go!

Blog #113~Ready, SETT, Go!

Recently, we did a SETT meeting at Nick’s school to re-evaluate the device he uses to communicate with. This is called an Augmentative and Alternative Communication device (AAC). Nick is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.

Nick with his private speech therapist…..

Brian and Nick

SETT is an acronym for Student, Environment, Task and Tools. The team gathers to ask key questions and get information that will help to pinpoint what technologies would best suit the student. Here are the areas the team looks at in a SETT meeting:


*What are the student’s current abilities?

*What are the student’s special needs?

*What are the functional areas of concern?

*What are the other students doing that this student needs to be able to do?

*What does the student need to be able to do that is difficult or impossible to accomplish independently at this time?


*What activities take place in the environment?

*Where will the student participate—classroom, home, community, therapy?

*What is the physical arrangement?

*What activities do other students do that this student cannot currently participate in?

*What assistive technology does the student have access to or currently use?


*What specific tasks occur in the environment?

*What activities are the student expected to do?

*What does success look like?


*Are the tools being considered on a continuum from no/low to high-tech?

*Are the tools student centered and task oriented and reflect the student’s current needs?

*Are tools being considered because of their features that are needed rather than brand names?

*What is the cognitive load required by the student to use the tool?

*What are the training requirements for the student, family and staff?

Ready set go

The SETT meeting allows for team members to provide their unique perspectives of Nick.  The members included:

*Support teacher/Case Manager

*Speech and Occupational therapists

*Teaching assistant


*Private speech therapist

*School District AT Specialist/Facilitator

The brainstorming session is recorded on butcher paper. At the end of the meeting each team member puts a star on the three most important aspects of the communication device for Nick:


The AT Specialist gathers up all the butcher paper and compiles the notes to share with the team. These notes enable the AT Specialist to hone in on what devices and speech programs would best suit Nick’s needs. The SETT meeting catches all the ideas of the team and guides them to make informed decisions regarding technologies for the student. Next week, I will share the compiled notes so you get a sense of Nick’s learning style, what motivates and what works best for him. That’s what is in my noggin this week. 🙂



Teresa is the Author of "A New Course: A Mother's Journey Navigating Down Syndrome and Autism" and the mother of two boys. Her youngest son, Nick is 29 years old and has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism (DS-ASD). Teresa's passion is helping others understand and navigate co-occurring Down syndrome and autism. She is a DS-ASD consultant, advocate, speaker, and author. Follow Nick's world on Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest @Down Syndrome With A Slice of Autism and on Twitter @tjunnerstall. For more information and media links, visit

2 thoughts on “Blog #113~Ready, SETT, Go!

  1. Reading your blog is always a learning experience for me. Although I am a retired RN, I never worked with special need patients. I am constantly amazed and in awe of the various aspects of your & Nick’s lives. Thank you so much for sharing.

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