We live in a world of unlimited choices. With the massive amount of assistive technology (AT) options, it is difficult to know where to start to discover what type of AT is right for you or someone you support. Throughout the process of putting AT in place, there are several places we can get stuck. This short post is meant to provide some places to start. Today, I want to highlight a few resources that you can utilize to help you purchase the right equipment for yourself or someone you support by trying out the equipment ahead of time. To make an informed choice on what AT is right for you, explore some of the following options:
- Explore your state’s Assistive Technology Act Program: Click here to find your state’s program. In Washington for instance, the Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP) has a device lending library, which allows people to rent equipment (for a small fee) to try before you buy. Most pieces of equipment can be rented for up to 5 weeks. I have rented analog and Bluetooth switches, iPad’s with pre-loaded apps, and iPad mounting systems for wheel chair attachments.
- Funding Opportunities:
- Talk to you case manager about Medicaid-related funding, including the Community First Choice Option.
- Explore NW Access Fund to start an Individual Development account to receive matching funds toward a device. They also offer low-interest loans for larger purchases.
- Connect with your local Vocational Rehabilitation office. While seeking employment, Vocational Rehabilitation counselors can request AT assessments and purchase equipment to for workplace accommodations.
- Stay connected with Autism Speaks to apply for iPad grants
- For Communication-specific AT needs, Speech-Language Pathologists can make recommendations on Speech-Generating Devices, which can then be prescribed by your doctor as a medical necessity.
- Physical and Occupational therapists can also recommend mobility devices and tools for activities for daily living.
Technology opens doors and can help people to unlock their true potential. Whether you have a need identified or you just want to explore cool AT, the above resources provide a great starting point. Check them out!