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TAP Bulletin - January 2000
NIDRR FUNDS FOUR TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROJECTS ON ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) recently awarded four technical assistance grants under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-394) (AT Act). This was the first grant competition under the AT Act, which replaces the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988, as amended. The Secretary of Education authorized the funding of the four grants to improve the activities of assistive technology (AT) projects that serve individuals with disabilities. This bulletin provides information about the grants and their planned activities as well as contact information for each project.
Two technical assistance programs are designed to assist and enhance the efforts of the state AT Act grantees and the protection and advocacy (P&A;) agencies that are funded under the AT Act. The technical assistance grantees will address issues raised by states, individuals, P&A; providers, and other organizations through a variety of mechanisms to meet the diverse needs of the recipients of technical assistance. Two other grantees will provide additional AT information through data collection activities and a National AT Internet Site. Those grants are described below.
Technical Assistance to AT Act Grantees
The Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) will continue its work as technical assistance provider to the 56 state AT Act grantees. Over a 3-year period, the project will provide timely, responsive, and proactive technical assistance using a comprehensive model to deliver a variety of services and assistance. The technical assistance needs of the state grantees will be continually assessed, and plans will be tailored to meet those needs. Delivery strategies will include on-site visits and training by expert consultants; national meetings focused on policy issues; "tool kits" filled with ideas, strategies, sample documents, and other information; on-line services and communication tools; and others.
The RESNA Technical Assistance Project will maintain an accessible Web site that will serve as the state AT Act grantees' electronic community and will be a key vehicle for sharing and dissemination of information among the grantees. The Web site will provide information on federal legislation and policies that affect state AT access. It will also serve as a reference library where publications and documents from the Technical Assistance Project and the state AT Act grantees will be easily accessible.
The RESNA Technical Assistance Project will emphasize dissemination of information on exemplary policies and practices that lead to improved access to and funding for AT. It will provide support to assist states in developing effective consumer-controlled systems. The project will also assist grantees to promote universal design principles as they relate to the built environment, telecommunications, and transportation; state compliance with section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act; improved policies related to government and private insurance to increase financing for AT; and modification of state revenue policies to increase the resource base for funding AT. Specially tailored technical assistance to individual state AT Act grantees will be delivered by a cadre of technical and policy experts who will help the state grantees to implement legislative mandates and strengthen programmatic elements.
The RESNA Technical Assistance Project will partner with two highly respected national advocacy organizations-the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc. (NAPAS), and the National Council on Independent Living. A third partner, Meeting the Challenge, will provide advice and technical expertise on enhancing the project's accessible Web site. Other collaborators include a range of national disability and industry organizations, rehabilitation engineering research centers, and individuals with expertise in the areas of technology and policy. RESNA will also collaborate and share resources with the other three technical assistance grantees funded under the AT Act.
Technical Assistance to State Assistive Technology Act P&A; Agencies
The National Technical Assistance (TA) Project to state AT Act P&A; grantees will provide services during a 3-year period that began October 1, 1999. The project will serve a primary customer base of attorneys and advocates who work for the 56 P&A; AT (PAAT) projects. The goals of the project are to:
As a result of the National TA project's activities, attorneys and advocates from PAAT projects will have inexpensive and ready access to high-quality information about AT funding to support their advocacy efforts. P&A; managers and fiscal officers will likewise have inexpensive and ready access to high-quality information needed to manage their grants with NIDRR.
AT Data Collection Project
InfoUse, in collaboration with the Research Triangle Institute (RTI), will conduct the Assistive Technology Act Data Collection Project. This 4-year project will provide a Web-based performance standards reporting system that conforms to NIDRR policy and the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. The performance standards will be developed through a broadly inclusive process involving the sate AT Act grantees and other key stakeholders and beneficiaries of information regarding the outcomes of the AT Act state grantee program.
The project will also provide useful information on the availability, use, and reliability of AT devices and services to policy makers on all levels. InfoUse and RTI will provide descriptive and evaluative information on model approaches clustered around key program areas and service delivery systems. They will also provide individual state estimates of the need for and use of AT and conduct additional evaluation studies related to underserved populations, implementation of legislation targeting specific aspects of AT, and other issues.
The InfoUse/RTI team will collaborate closely with state P&A; programs, the 56 state AT Act grantees, and the National AT Internet Site, as well as consumers and experts in AT design, policy, and service provision.
National AT Internet Site
Georgia Tech's Center for Rehabilitation Technology (CRT), the grantee, will develop and sustain the Global Assistive Technology Explorer (GATE), a comprehensive, up-to-date, easy-to-use national public Internet site on disability-related resources. GATE will increase the availability of and access to information about AT, services, and resources for individuals with disabilities. The site will provide 24-hour access to all those with Internet capability.
The GATE Web site will serve all individuals in the nation, focusing on individuals with disabilities, their families, service providers, educators, and employers, as well as other members of their communities. CRT will draw on its 21 years of experience in research and information referral to ensure that no individuals, regardless of disability, will be excluded from the information and services provided through GATE.
The GATE National AT Internet Site will include the following features:
CRT will coordinate among individuals with disabilities, disability-related organizations, educators, medical and disability professionals, and business entities to ensure effective dissemination of information about GATE.
GATE's success will be evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively to measure usability and effectiveness of the Web site, as well as the project's impact on AT use.
For more information about these projects, contact the projects directly or the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202. Judith Fein can be reached at 202-205-8116 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Carol Cohen can be reached at 202-205-5666 or email@example.com.
RESNA Technical Assistance Project
The RESNA Technical Assistance Project, Grant #H224B990006, is an activity funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education (ED), under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998. The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of NIDRR/ED or RESNA, and no official endorsement of the materials should be inferred.
The National Assistive Technology Technical Assistance Partnership is a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Education and RESNA. The grant (Grant #H224B050003; CFDA 84.224B) is funded under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended and administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education.
This website is developed with grant funds. The information contained on these pages does not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education or the Grantee and no official endorsement of the information should be inferred.