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TAP Bulletin - September 15, 1998


AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF THE TECH ACT

The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals With Disabilities Act of 1988, P.L. 100-407 (Tech Act) was passed by Congress to increase the access to, availability of, and funding for assistive technology through state efforts and national initiatives. The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals With Disabilities Act Amendments of 1994 (P.L. 103-218) reauthorized the act through September 30, 1998.

Title I of the Act provides for grants and technical assistance to states to implement consumer-responsive, comprehensive, statewide programs of technology-related assistance for individuals with disabilities. Nine states were awarded grants in 1989 and awards to additional states were added each year. Currently, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and the U. S. Virgin Islands, have a state Tech Act program funded under Title I of this act. In this report, the term state refers to all 56 entities.

Title II authorizes funds for programs of national significance, including training and demonstration projects related to assistive technology and the establishment of a national classification system for assistive technology. Title III authorizes funds to states to establish and expand alternate financing mechanisms for individuals to purchase assistive technology devices. Table 1 summarizes the appropriation for the Tech Act program for each year.

The Tech Act program, inclusive of Titles I, II, and III, is administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), U. S. Department of Education.

Table 1. Tech Act Appropriations

Fiscal Year: 1989
Number of State Projects: 9
Appropriation: $5,150,000

Fiscal Year: 1990
Number of State Projects: 23
Appropriation: 14,814,000

Fiscal Year: 1991
Number of State Projects: 31
Appropriation: 20,982,000

Fiscal Year: 1992
Number of State Projects: 42
Appropriation: 28,000,000

Fiscal Year: 1993
Number of State Projects: 52
Appropriation: 34,068,000

Fiscal Year: 1994
Number of State Projects: 55
Appropriation: 37,744,000

Fiscal Year: 1995
Number of State Projects: 56
Appropriation: 39,249,000

Fiscal Year: 1996
Number of State Projects: 56
Appropriation: 36,109,000

Fiscal Year: 1997
Number of State Projects: 56
Appropriation: 36,109,000

Fiscal Year: 1998
Number of State Projects: 56
Appropriation: 36,109,000

Lead Agency
The Tech Act requires the state governor to designate a lead agency for the Tech Act program in the state. The lead agency is responsible for coordinating Tech Act activities, extending from preparing the grant application to promoting the goals of the Tech Act. Lead agencies are responsible for the fiscal and administrative management of the Tech Act grants. Often the lead agency delegates programmatic implementation of the Tech Act to a division or department within the lead agency, or to a nonprofit entity. The lead agencies designated by the governors and the agencies responsible for programmatic implementation of the Act are shown in Table 2.

Title I Grants to States

Title I authorizes states and territories to establish consumer-responsive statewide programs of technology-related assistance for individuals with disabilities through the grants they receive. These grants are potentially for 10 years and include (1) an initial 3-year development grant; (2) a 2-year first extension grant, based primarily upon grantee data

demonstrating significant progress toward the development and implementation of a comprehensive, statewide program of technology-related assistance; and (3) a 5-year second extension grant, based upon the project's demonstration of significant progress in developing and implementing a statewide program under its 3-year development grant and first extension grant.

The amount awarded to a grantee for the last two years of the grant is reduced. The 9th year grant is 75 percent of the amount awarded to the grantee for the 8th year of the grant and the 10th year of the grant is 50 percent of the amount awarded to the grantee for the 8th year.

Title II Programs of National Significance

Title II focused on programs of national significance regarding access to assistive technology and
identification of barriers to obtaining assistive technology. It stressed the facilitation of access to services and devices. In FY 1990, ten projects were funded under Title II, in 1991, eight projects were funded, in FY 1992, four projects, and in FY 1995, one project was funded.

One example of special studies funded under Title II is the National Assistive Technology Information and Program Referral Feasibility and Desirability Study that was awarded to the Center for Developmental Disabilities at the University of South Carolina to investigate the feasibility of a national assistive technology information and referral network.

Another example is the Study on the Financing of Assistive Technology Devices and Services for Individuals With Disabilities that was conducted by the United Cerebral Palsy Association for the National Council on Disability to identify barriers to funding assistive technology. Additional studies have
been conducted to increase awareness of assistive technology and to improve training. Other studies have focused on demonstration projects.


Outcomes of the Tech Act

The statewide consumer-responsive programs have been successful in influencing policies and legislation that have expanded access to assistive technology devices and services, increased funding sources, created new programs, and increased the timeliness of the provision of services and devices for the 50 million plus people with disabilities in the United States.

The state projects have worked with their designated state agencies to change Medicaid policies so that adults and children can obtain the technology and services they need to live more independently. They have established low-interest financial loan programs to help people with disabilities acquire assistive technology. State projects have encouraged the development of statewide telecommunication equipment distribution programs that deliver adaptive equipment to persons with disabilities to enable them to independently access basic telephone service. Many states have passed lemon laws for wheelchairs and other assistive technology devices so that when a person purchases a motorized wheelchair or other assistive technology device that does not work after repeated repairs, that person can seek recourse from the manufacturer for a replacement.

State Tech Act Projects have worked to include assistive technology into local school technology plans. They have worked with parents and with state and school district representatives to develop guidelines that help clarify and modify many local school district procedures for providing assistive technology. These guidelines can help more students obtain and benefit from assistive technology needed for learning. Tech Act Projects have collaborated with state agencies for vocational rehabilitation services to develop standard practices so that assistive technology is routinely considered when planning individualized rehabilitation plans.

The Tech Act program has improved access to assistive technology devices and services and increased availability and funding for assistive technology for individuals with disabilities of all ages.

Table 2. Lead Agencies and Agencies Responsible for Programmatic Implementation of the Tech Act


1989 States

State Arkansas
Lead Agency: Department of Workforce Education
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Rehabilitation Services
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Arkansas Increasing Capabilities Access Network (ICAN)

State Colorado
Lead Agency: University of Colorado Health Sciences
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Colorado Assistive Technology Project (CATP)

State Illinois
Lead Agency: Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: 501(c)(3) Entity
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Illinois Assistive Technology Project

State Kentucky
Lead Agency: Department for the Blind
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Department for the Blind
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Kentucky Assistive Technology Service Network (KATS)

State Maine
Lead Agency: Department of Education
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Department of Education
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Maine Consumer Information and Technology Training Exchange (CITE)

State Maryland
Lead Agency: Governor's Office for Individuals with Disabilities
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Governor's Office for Individuals with Disabilities
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Maryland Technology Assistance Program (MD TAP)

State Minnesota
Lead Agency: Department of Administration
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Department of Administration
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Minnesota System of Technology to Achieve Results (STAR) Program

State Nebraska
Lead Agency: Department of Education
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Nebraska Assistive Technology Project

State Utah
Lead Agency: Utah State University
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Utah Assistive Technology Project


1990 States

State Alaska
Lead Agency: Department of Education
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Assistive Technologies of Alaska

State Indiana
Lead Agency: Family and Social Services Administration
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: 501(c)(3) Entity
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Accessing Technology Through Awareness in Indiana (ATTAIN) Project

State Iowa
Lead Agency: University of Iowa
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Iowa Program for Assistive Technology (IPAT)

State Massachusetts
Lead Agency: Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Massachusetts Assistive Technology Partnership (MATP)

State Mississippi
Lead Agency: Department of Rehabilitation Services
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Mississippi Project Success Through Assistive /Rehabilitative Technology (START)

State Nevada
Lead Agency: Department of Human Resources
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Rehabilitation Division
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Nevada Assistive Technology Collaborative

State New Mexico
Lead Agency: Department of Education
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Name of Assistive Technology Project: New Mexico Technology Assistance Program

State New York
Lead Agency: Governors Office
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Office of Advocate for the Disabled
Name of Assistive Technology Project: New York State Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (TRAID) Project

State North Carolina
Lead Agency: Department of Human Resources
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Name of Assistive Technology Project: North Carolina Assistive Technology Project

State Oregon
Lead Agency: Disabilities Commission
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: 501(c)(3) Entity
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Oregon Technology Access Through Life Needs Project (TALN)

State Tennessee
Lead Agency: Department of Health
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Maternal and Child Health, Children Health Services
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Tennessee Technology Access Project (TTAP)

State Vermont
Lead Agency: Department of Aging and Disabilities
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Agency of Human Services
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Vermont Assistive Technology Project

State Virginia
Lead Agency: Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Virginia Assistive Technology System (VATS)

State Wisconsin
Lead Agency: Department of Health and Family Services
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Division of Supportive Living
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Wisconsin Assistive Technology Program (WisTech)


1991 States

State Delaware
Lead Agency: University of Delaware
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Center for Applied Science and Engineering
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative (DATI)

State Georgia
Lead Agency: Department of Human Resources
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Division of Rehabilitation Services
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Georgia Tools for Life

State Hawaii
Lead Agency: Department of Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind Division
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: 501(c)(3) Entity
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Hawaii Assistive Technology Training & Service (HATTS) Project

State Louisiana
Lead Agency: Department of Health and Hospitals
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: 501(c)(3) Entity
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network (LATAN)

State Missouri
Lead Agency: Governor's Council on Disability
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Governor's Council on Disability
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Missouri Assistive Technology Project

State Montana
Lead Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University of Montana, Rural Institute on Disability
Name of Assistive Technology Project: MonTech Program

State New Hampshire
Lead Agency: University of New Hampshire
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: New Hampshire Technology Partnership Project

State South Carolina
Lead Agency: University of South Carolina
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: School of Medicine
Name of Assistive Technology Project: South Carolina Assistive Technology Project


1992 States

State Connecticut
Lead Agency: Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Department of Social Services
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Connecticut Assistive Technology Project

State Florida
Lead Agency: Department of Labor and Employment Security, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: 501(c)(3) Entity
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST)

State Idaho
Lead Agency: University of Idaho
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Idaho Assistive Technology Project

State Michigan
Lead Agency: Jobs Commission, Rehab Services
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Disability Rights Coalition
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Michigan TECH 2000 Project

State New Jersey
Lead Agency: Department of Labor and Employ-ment, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Protection and Advocacy, Inc.
Name of Assistive Technology Project: New Jersey Technology Assistive Resource Program (TARP)

State Ohio
Lead Agency: Ohio State University
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Division of Orthopedics
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Ohio Technology Related Assistance Information Network (TRAIN)

State Oklahoma
Lead Agency: Oklahoma State University
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Wellness Center
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Oklahoma ABLE Tech

State Pennsylvania
Lead Agency: Temple University
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT)

State South Dakota
Lead Agency: Department of Human Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: South Dakota Assistive Technology Project
Name of Assistive Technology Project: DakotaLink

State Texas
Lead Agency: University of Texas at Austin
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Texas Assistive Technology Partnership

State West Virginia
Lead Agency: Division of Rehabilitation Services
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: West Virginia Assistive Technology System (WVATS)


1993 States

State Alabama
Lead Agency: Rehabilitation Services
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Rehabilitation Services
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Alabama Statewide Technology Access and Response (STAR) System for Alabamians with Disabilities

State Am. Samoa
Lead Agency: Department of Human Resources
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Name of Assistive Technology Project: American Samoa Assistive Technology Project (ASATS)

State California
Lead Agency: Department of Rehabilitation
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Department of Rehabilitation
Name of Assistive Technology Project: California Assistive Technology Systems (CATS)

State District of Columbia
Lead Agency: Department of Human Services, RSA
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Legal Services
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Assistive Technology Project for the District of Columbia (ULS/ATP)

State Kansas
Lead Agency: University of Kansas
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Assistive Technology for Kansans Project

State North Dakota
Lead Agency: Department of Human Services
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Name of Assistive Technology Project: North Dakota Interagency Program for Assistive Technology (IPAT)

State Puerto Rico
Lead Agency: University of Puerto Rico, College of Health-Related Professions
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Office of Project Investigation and Development
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Project

State Rhode Island
Lead Agency: Department of Human Services
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Office of Rehabilitation Services
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Rhode Island Assistive Technology Access Project (ATAP)

State Washington
Lead Agency: Department of Social and Health Services
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Washington Assistive Technology Alliance (WATA)

State Wyoming
Lead Agency: University of Wyoming
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Wyoming's New Options in Technology (WYNOT)


1994 States

State Arizona
Lead Agency: Northern Arizona University
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Arizona Technology Access Program (AzTAP)

State Guam
Lead Agency: University of Guam
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT)

State Com. of Northern Mariana
Lead Agency: Governor's Developmental Disabilities Council
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: Governor's Developmental Disabilities Council
Name of Assistive Technology Project: System of Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (STRAID)


1995 State

State Virgin Islands
Lead Agency: University of the Virgin Islands
Agency Responsible for Programmatic Implementation: University Affiliated Program
Name of Assistive Technology Project: U. S. Virgin Islands Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (TRAID)


The RESNA Technical Assistance Project, Grant #H224A50006, is an activity funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U. S. Department of Education (ED) under the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988, as amended. 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.

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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.