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Assistive Technology (AT) Act Program Activities: How To Get Assistive Technology

Did you know all 50 states, DC, PR, and 4 US territories have a program like Assistive? They exist because of the Assistive Technology (AT) Act of 1998, as amended (P.L. 108-364). The AT Act established a set of core activities each state must implement for their residents with disabilities. These services help people learn about, try, and find funding for assistive technology devices and services.

State Level Activities

  1. State Financing –
    • Provides financial options (cash loan, grants, or savings opportunities) for people with disabilities and their family members. It is intended to help defray the high cost of the purchase of assistive technology devices and services.
  2. Reuse –
    • Occurs when assistive technology (AT) that is no longer needed is passed along to someone else either by selling, exchanging, or donating the device. Reuse also occurs when a device is repaired and cleaned (refurbished) before being sold or donated.
  3. Short-term Device Loan –
    • AT Device Loans primarily assist individuals with disabilities and other stakeholders in making informed decisions about devices. However, this equipment can also:
      • Serve as a loaner during device repair or while awaiting funding;
      • Provide an accommodation on a short term basis or;
      • Aid professionals in conducting training, self-education or other professional development activities.
  4. Device Demonstration –
    • Enables an individual or someone on their behalf to make an informed choice. Demonstrations:
      • Provide individualized, guided experience with the device(s);
      • Are interactive and conducted in real-time;
      • Compare the features and benefits of a particular AT device or category of devices;
      • Are led by someone who has technical expertise and;
      • Should be hands-on (most of the time).

State Leadership Activities

  1. Training and Technical Assistance –
    • Provides support to public or private entities that serve people with disabilities by promoting awareness and increasing knowledge, skills, and competencies about about AT devices and services.
  2. Public Awareness (including information and assistance) –
    • Provides information, referrals to other services, and next-steps in AT device and service delivery
    • Includes conducting AT Program center tours, exhibiting at statewide events, presenting on AT Program services and contracted services, and the production of educational materials.
  3. Coordination and Collaboration –
    • Includes work with state and local entities responsible for policies, procedures, funding, and the increase and access to AT devices and services.

To learn about your state’s AT Act Program visit the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs’ website. http://www.ataporg.org/programs

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