Assistive Technology Services
What is an Assistive Technology Service?
An assistive technology service is any service that directly assists a person with a disability in the selection, acquisition, and use of an assistive technology device. The term includes:
- The evaluation of the needs of a person with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the person in the person’s customary environment;
- Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by people with disabilities;
- Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, retaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;
- Coordinating and use other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education, employment, community living and rehabilitation plans and programs;
- Training or technical assistance for a person with a disability or, if appropriate, that persons’s family; and
- Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of people with disabilities.
What Assistive Technology Services does ATLA offer?
ATLA currently provides services to Alaskans that would like access to assistive technology through:
- Information and Awareness
- Short-term Equipment Loans
Assessment vs. Demonstration
What are the differences?
ATLA staff gets asked to answer this question all the time, “What is the difference between an AT demonstration and an AT assessment?” We’ve created an 8 page handout that will hopefully help people with disabilities, their support teams, and the funding sources not only understand the difference, but also what to look for in a vendor or professional that is providing the assessment.
Assistive Technology (AT) Demonstration
AT demonstrations provide an opportunity for people with disabilities and their caregivers to see, learn about, and sometimes try out the latest in assistive technology. Demonstrations are a hands-on way to showcase products and devices useful for a particular disability area.
Demonstrations may provide enough information for a client to make an AT selection if the type of equipment/device does not require customization. Customization may include “fitting” or a prescription, an item that would need to be screened for risk/appropriateness to the user. We also provide demonstrations on items that are not readily available in most retail stores or are available from selected from disability product catalogs. Such products may include magnifiers, speech to text software, alternative computer mice and keyboards, phone amplifiers, flashing smoke alarms, etc. Devices that do not need customization are often chosen by matching the features of the device to the specific needs of the person. Providing an opportunity for trial use of a device can provide valuable feedback….
Assistive Technology (AT) Assessment
An AT assessment answers the question: Which technologies and strategies can this person use to improve functioning in a specific area within a specific set of parameters? In an AT assessment, the AT specialist or medical service provider verifies the need for AT to maintain or improve functioning, and that the selected AT will meet the client’s needs.
Assistive Technology (AT) assessments may be obtained from providers who are employed in settings such as medical facilities, universities, schools, and nonprofit agencies or in a private practice. While certification is not required, it is highly recommended. AT specialists have a variety of educational backgrounds, however all should have access to the latest in professional development opportunities to stay relevant the rapidly evolving field of AT. Assessments provided by medical equipment dealers, manufacturer representatives, and private sales agents should adhere to the Assistive Technology Expectations for Best Practices. An assessment is generally requested by a consumer and/or the payer of the service (e.g. DVR, school district, long term care organization, etc.) to provide comprehensive information about the assistive technology options available to the consumer…