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TAP Bulletin - October 1995


NIDRR AWARDS TWO TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CONTRACTS

As a result of the reauthorization of the Tech Act, Congress mandated that technical assistance be provided not only to the state Tech Act grantees but also to individuals with disabilities, their family representatives, and protection and advocacy personnel. Following is a description of the purposes and activities of the two contracts, one a new award and the other an extension of the RESNA project.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO GRANTEES

Tech Act grantees will continue to receive support from RESNA's Technical Assistance Project under a one-year contract extension from the National Institute on Disability Research and Rehabilitation (NIDRR). The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act Amendments of 1994 (Public Law 103-218) authorizes funding of technical assistance to states, effective October 1, 1994.

Training opportunities, on-site technical assistance, information products and dissemination are on-going and will be supplemented by new and innovative activities designed to assist grantees meet their systems change and advocacy efforts so that each entity develops and implements a consumer responsive comprehensive statewide program of technology-related assistance for individuals with disabilities of all ages.

The Consultant Directory will be redesigned to provide experienced and qualified consultants in the areas of assistive technology and systems change and implementation with particular emphasis on advocacy, outreach, consumer involvement, disability policy issues, and funding. Monthly bulletins will alert you to pertinent information about the RESNA TA Project, activities of state Tech Act projects and relevant resources. An introduction to the Tech Act legislation will be produced on videotape and slide format. When appropriate, audio teleconferences will be arranged to share specific strategies regarding implementation of statewide technology-related assistance programs. In addition, topical national conferences and regular mailings will continue as a part of RESNA's provision of technical assistance to states.

The Technical Assistance Project, in collaboration with the Center for Developmental Disabilities, University of South Carolina, will provide technical assistance and training on electronic information and referral systems. An electronic clearinghouse will also be established for easy storage, retrieval and dissemination of information. The Technical Assistance Project will continue to collect information to update and expand the compendium of model state Tech Act project activities and produce information papers and resource materials.

February 1-3, 1995 will bring project directors and consumer advisors together for an exciting meeting in Washington, D.C. Tech Act grantees will have an opportunity to network with each other, and meet directors of other NIDRR sponsored projects, such as the rehabilitation engineering and research centers, the research and training centers, technology transfer projects as well as other research and demonstration projects. Presentation highlights will include topics relevant to Tech Act projects, facilitating technology transfer and demonstrating interdependence and interrelatedness of all NIDRR sponsored efforts.

Tech Act project directors, staff, consumers, state agency personnel and protection & advocacy staff will come together in June 1995 for a Leadership & Quality Assurance Seminar. Skills necessary to implement a consumer-responsive comprehensive statewide program of technology-related assistance will be a priority. Regional workshops are also planned for the upcoming year. Directed by an advisory group comprised of state Tech Act personnel, workshops will focus on priority topics, with dates and locations chosen by the advisory group.

All activities will be conducted with input and collaboration of not only Tech Act project staff, but also the Technical Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Project and other organizations as appropriate.

For more information about the RESNA TA Project or upcoming technical assistance activities, please contact us at (703) 524-6686 (Voice) or (703) 524-6639 (TDD).

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO INDIVIDUALS

United Cerebral Palsy Associations (UCPA) was awarded the contract to provide technical assistance to individuals with disabilities on October 1, 1994, establishing The Assistive Technology Funding and Systems Change Project. UCPA, in collaboration with the National Association for Protection and Advocacy Services (NAPAS), the World Institute on Disability (WID), and the Center on Developmental Disabilities at the University of South Carolina, will provide nationwide training, technical assistance, materials development and dissemination concerning access to assistive technology through systems change to individuals with disabilities, family members, community-based organizations and state protection and advocacy agencies. UCPA will establish a toll-free number, develop an electronic database of funding information, produce a quarterly funding bulletin and collect sample Individual Education Plans, Individual Family Service Plans, Individual Work Related Plans and Individual Habilitation Plans that include assistive technology, systems change case studies, model state policies on assistive technology funding and coordination issues, and produce a cost-effectiveness study on assistive technology. The Consortium for Assistive Technology Leadership and Systems Change (Alliance for Technology Access, the ARC, the National Council on Independent Living, RESNA and the National Parent Network on Disabilities) will guide project activities to ensure that consumer-responsive, user-friendly, accurate, timely, dependable information remains focused on assistive technology access through systems change.

Under this contract, UCPA will establish national Leadership Groups to train and enable individuals and their family members to become more experienced in assistive technology funding and systems change issues. Participants for the Leadership Groups will be recruited from all 55 Tech Act funded projects.

State Protection and Advocacy agencies will also receive training and technical assistance to enable them to more effectively intervene on behalf of consumers with technology-related needs.

For more information on the Assistive Technology Funding and Systems Change Project,contact: Susan Goodman, Project Director, UCPA, 202-842-1266 (Voice/TDD).

1994 SUPPLEMENTAL GRANTS AWARDED

NIDRR awarded supplemental grants to three Tech Act projects to promote state efforts toward systems change, advocacy and outreach to underrepresented and rural populations.

The Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative (DATI) will extend the scope of activities and joint projects with their Protection and Advocacy agency. P&A; staff will be housed in DATI resource centers and will provide case management and follow-up services for individuals seeking assistance from DATI. P&A; staff will conduct extensive follow-up to every DATI consumer contact to determine the outcome of the inquiry and service satisfaction. An unsatisfied consumer will be provided with additional resources and assistance by the P&A; staff. All individual cases will be considered "open" until consumer satisfaction is achieved. A critical component of this joint project is extensive cross-training of DATI and P&A; staff. Each organization will develop training sessions based upon their expertise and present the training to the other organization and an external trainer will be contracted to provide training to an assembly of DATI and P&A; staff.

For more information on Delaware's new activities with their P&A;, contact Ron Sibert at the Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative (302) 651-6790 (Voice), (302) 651-6794 (TDD).

The Iowa Program for Assistive Technology (IPAT) will implement a pilot project to determine the effectiveness of using the state's extensive fiber optic system, the Iowa Communication Network, to enhance the local capacity of assistive technology services to elderly persons in rural areas.

IPAT and an Area Agency on Aging (the Elderbridge AAA) will collaborate to provide a train-the-trainer program about assistive technology targeted to non-traditional groups (mail carriers, bankers, utility workers) identified by local communities as providers who have contact with isolated elders, some of whom may be in need of services. Continuing education workshops regarding assistive technology devices and services will be available for traditional service providers. Job coaches and vocational counselors will benefit from training that focuses on how assistive technology can enhance job performance of elders with functional limitations. Home adaptation and modification training will also be developed for private and public service personnel and contractors. A "Remodeling Certification Workshop" for home builders, contractors, school and college vocational instructors will be offered.

Workshops will be modified in accordance with findings and results from this pilot project, then replicated statewide and shared with other state Tech Act projects.

For additional information on Iowa's new outreach efforts, contact Jane Gay at the Iowa Program for Assistive Technology (319) 356-4463 (Voice), (800) 331-3027 (TDD).

The Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network (LATAN) will lead 16 state Tech Act projects in a coordinated effort to remove medicaid funding barriers for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices and services. Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia Tech Act projects will collaborate with persons with disabilities, AAC professionals, national experts and Protection & Advocacy (P&A;) agencies to employ systems change strategies to achieve medicaid funding reform. The state Tech Act projects are committed to implementing strategies that have already proven successful in Ohio and New York. P&A; agencies in these states are equally committed to this systems change goal. Strategies include outreach to identify and train AAC professionals who will conduct assessments on behalf of medicaid recipients with severe communication disabilities and the formation of a committee of nationally respected AAC professionals who will develop a model medicaid AAC policy. This policy will identify evaluation data to use in support of medicaid funding for AAC and include decision-making criteria that medicaid staff should use when reviewing individual AAC funding requests. Videotapes will be produced that highlight consumers with severe communication disabilities and national AAC experts explaining services commonly funded by medicaid and their link to AAC services. The videotapes will be used by AT projects, committees of state AAC professionals and P&A; agencies to persuade medicaid policy makers to implement coverage of AAC devices and services. Consultation will be provided to P&A; agencies on the legal basis for medicaid AAC coverage and strategies for appealing AAC funding applications.

Contact Julie Nesbit at the Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network (504) 342-8819 (Voice), (800) 256-1633 (TDD) for more information.

Congratulations to three new Tech Act grantees!

ARIZONA TECHNOLOGY ACCESS PROGRAM (AZTAP)
Northern Arizona University
P.O. Box 5630
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5630
Program Director: M.J. Demetras, Ph.D.,
(602) 324-3175 (V)
(602) 324-3177 (TDD)
Fax: (602) 324-3176

GUAM SYSTEM FOR ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
University Affiliated Program -
Developmental Disabilities
University of Guam
UOG Station
Mangilao, Guam 96923
Director: Heidi E. Farra-San Nicolas, Ph.D.
Phone: (671) 734-9309
Fax: (671) 734-5709

COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY PROJECT
Developmental Disabilities Planning Office
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 2565
Saipan, MP 96950
Executive Director: Juanita S. Malone
Phone: (670) 322-3014 Fax: (670) 322-4168


The RESNA Technical Assistance Project (#HN92031001) is 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 Amendments of 1994. The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of NIDRR/ED or RESNA and no official endorsement of the material 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.