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TAP Bulletin - November 1995


NIDRR announced the award of FY'95 Supplemental Funding awards to seven Tech Act projects.

It also announced the continuation of the RESNA Technical Assistance Project.

Supplemental Grants to States

AT Training for Rural Health Care Providers Targeted toward Native and Rural Consumers
Awarded to: Assistive Technologies of Alaska

The Assistive Technologies of Alaska project will supplement outreach activities targeted toward Alaska Natives and American Indians by "institutionalizing" training on assistive technology into existing training curricula for rural health care providers and Section 130 American Indians and Native Alaskan vocational rehabilitation programs.

This represents a collaborative effort between Assistive Technologies of Alaska, Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the University of Washington Assistive Technology Resource Center, a member of the Washington Assistive Technology Alliance.

The Tech Act project will develop a training video and instructional materials for the existing rural health care delivery system in Alaska. It will then adapt training materials for replication in the state of Washington. Once the materials are developed, they will be disseminated nationwide.

In addition, the curriculum will be made Internet accessible for use by other states with a large number of Native Americans and/or rural residents.

The AT training project is designed to allow for replication at a very low cost and is self-sustaining when project funding ends. In addition, it is designed to significantly increase the number of persons who will benefit from project activities, i.e., rural school teachers, rural social service agencies, rural libraries, and reservation health care providers.

AT Resource to Facilitate the Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Activities of Municipalities and Community Organizations
Awarded to: Idaho Assistive Technology Project

The Idaho Assistive Technology Project will develop and disseminate a training module to facilitate the inclusion of people with disabilities in the activities of municipalities and local community organizations. The primary focus of this training initiative will be to increase the access of rural consumers to their local community and government through the use of assistive technology. Through education, municipalities and community organizations in rural communities will realize the potential of assistive technology to make them more accessible and improve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The training packet will focus on the needs of rural communities. The curriculum will identify the barriers people with disabilities face when attempting to access municipalities and community organizations in rural areas. It will address community and government functions which can be made more accessible through the use of assistive technology and provide information on the available applications of assistive technology to increase accessibility in rural communities.

The content of the training will be developed around the following areas of assistive technology: physical access, accommodations for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, access to meetings, and technology related to various community programs including but not limited to recreation and learning. The proposed training packets will include a trainer's manual, participant materials, video, brochure, and evaluation materials. Customized versions of the training packets will be provided to each state Tech Act project and territories with their own logo and project information. Additional training packets will be available to trainers throughout the country at cost.

Consumer Responsive National Network for Technology Transfer
Awarded to: New Mexico Technology Assistance Program

New Mexico will coordinate the formation of a five agency collaboration to link primary stakeholders in the technology transfer process. NIDRR has a mandate within the Tech Act reauthorization to involve state Tech Act programs in technology transfer. Further, NIDRR has a mandate to select and work with an outside organization currently involved in technology transfer. These mandates can be implemented through existing programs. New Mexico will form a consumer-responsive national network with key agencies.

The New Mexico Technology Assistance Program will link consumers, family members and service providers through the fifty-six Tech Act programs. The RERC for Technology Evaluation and Transfer (Buffalo) will link all the research and development projects funded by the US Department of Education, the DVA, and the NIH, as well as link the manufacturers and suppliers involved in assistive technology through RESNA and NAMES.

The National Technology Transfer Center will serve as the gateway for identifying the interests and capabilities of federal laboratories sponsored by the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, and NASA, and for communicating the program's intent to these same laboratories. SANDIA, a federal laboratory, will provide technical guidance regarding laboratory access, staff participation and federal technical guidelines for participation (e.g., dual-use justification). The RESNA Technical Assistance project will provide consulting support where needed to link relevant activities within Tech Act programs, and will help disseminate information about the program to the field of assistive technology.

Collectively, these five agencies will provide a network through which consumers can voice their unmet needs and present their criteria for effective products and through which researchers can obtain consumer and industry direction for the application of emerging technologies.

Feasibility Study on Recycled Equipment and Development of a National Model
Awarded to: New York State Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Project (TRAID)

The New York State Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Project (TRAID), will develop and coordinate a replicable, assistive technology reclamation and recycling project, in collaboration with the New Hampshire Alliance for Assistive Technology (NHAAT) to be called the "Collect and Restore Items Serving People" (CRISP) project. This project will study the feasibility of phasing-in reclamation and recycling of computers and wheeled-mobility devices, among other items, on a national scale. While a national model is being developed, an information program and dissemination plan will be devised so that other state projects can begin implementing responsive exchange services. Gains to accrue from the proposed partnership included identification of persistent impediments to service delivery and capacity to expand the scope of its recycling program to include other types of equipment and devices.

The TRAID Project will assume development responsibilities and will conduct such activities as:

  • Design an instrument for the collection of baseline information regarding New York state, New Hampshire, and other states recycling projects.
  • Meet with key players in New York state to explore the expansion of the TRAID recycling project statewide and to develop a standardized protocol for equipment dissemination.
  • Develop a model program that can be duplicated in other states that is based on the feasibility study.
  • Disseminate information on the feasibility study to assist other states in building capacity to replicate the program concepts via materials development, presentations and informal technical assistance within staffing and budget constraints.
  • Develop a consumer satisfaction tool to disseminate to participants to assess the effectiveness of the project.

Publication of a Proceedings on Accessible Housing
Awarded to North Carolina Assistive Technology Project

The North Carolina Tech Act project will publish and nationally distribute the final product of the Second National Conference on Home Modification Policy.

The First National Conference on Home Modification Policy was convened in November 1933 by the North Carolina Assistive Technology Project and the Center for Accessible Housing. Sponsored by NIDRR, the conference addressed the growing gap between the need for home accessibility and the available assistance. The conference brought together policy makers, professionals, and consumers with a common interest in bridging the gap between need and service. Out of the conference came a commitment to continue exchanges among the participant groups and work toward a national agenda for home modification services and funding of these services.

"A Blueprint for Action: The Second National Working Conference on Home Modifications Policy" is planned for May 1996. This two-day conference will provide an opportunity for community, state and national organizations to develop and coordinate service delivery systems locally and nationally, to assure availability of home modifications to all who need them, and to document the impact of home modification assistance on improved safety and independence in the home.

Sixty of the nation's leading experts will be invited to participate, representing expertise in the areas of disability, aging, housing finance, remodeling, design and construction, community development, and long term care. Participants will share service delivery strategies and models that have proven successful in diverse communities. The Blueprint for Action developed at the conference will include program descriptions and action plans for replicating successful models. The proceeding document produced by the North Carolina Tech Act project will contain solicited papers, conference proceedings, and the final Blueprint for Action.

Building Assistive Technology Capacity in Other Systems: A Systems Change Initiative Targeting University Affiliated Programs
Awarded to: Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology

The Pennsylvania Tech Act Project will work with its network of university affiliated programs (UAPs). UAPs have served as catalysts for building the capacity of states and communities to foster the independence, productivity and integration into the community of people with disabilities. However approximately half of the UAPs do not have ongoing training programs in assistive technology. This project will match each of nine UAP's (Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, West Virginia) which also serve as the legal or functional lead agency for the Tech Act Title I State Grant, with three or four UAP's who identified themselves as having few if any assistive technology training initiatives, to act as mentors. The mentoring UAP's will develop individualized strategies to assist their designated target UAP's to plan and initiate assistive technology training. The mentors will promote the incorporation of consumer-responsive practices in these activities.

It is expected that these mentoring partnerships will increase the assistive technology-related training activities including infusing existing training with assistive technology segments, offering or facilitating courses on assistive technology at the university level, or continuing education mini-courses. Through the collaborative efforts of mentor and target UAPs, the Tech Act state projects will have information on the Developmental Disabilities Act and national resources available through the network of UAPs as well as about their state's UAP programs and training resources. Conversely, the target UAPs will have information about the Tech Act and their state's project. Mentoring UAPs will participate in the gathering of assistive technology curricula and training materials. The resulting annotated compendium will be distributed to all participating UAPs and Tech Act Projects.

Systems Change Study Related to Use of Instructional Technology in the 21st Century Classroom
Awarded to: Tennessee Technology Access Project

The Tennessee Tech Act project will promote systems change activity with regular and special education agencies in its state. The focus of the project is on improving access to instructional technology in 21st Century Classrooms. The 21st Century Classroom design integrates technology into the regular instructional setting. However, an examination of the classroom design does not suggest consideration of accessibility for students with disabilities. Nor is the hardware already in place compatible for many commonly used adaptive devices.

There are several special education classrooms among the local education agencies that are designated as 21st Century Classrooms. This supplemental project will seek to establish policies regarding accessibility and adaptability of school-based technology for use by students with disabilities in those classrooms. The plan for reaching this goal is to assemble a work group to conduct site visits to 21st Century Classrooms, identify needed procedure and equipment modification, and offer recommendations as guidelines for adapting advanced instruction classrooms to individuals with disabilities. Expected outcomes are increased awareness of accessibility needs in other 21st Century Classrooms, modified educational policy, and production of a set of guidelines to share with other state AT projects.

Technical Assistance Grant to RESNA

RESNA is pleased to announce the continuation of its Technical Assistance Project. The Technical Assistance Grant will run from October 1, 1995 through September 30, 1999.

Since 1989 RESNA has been the technical assistance contractor to state assistive technology programs funded under Title I of P.L. 103-218. The role of the RESNA Technical Assistance Project is to assist states in developing statewide, consumer-responsive programs that increase access to assistive technology for individuals with disabilities. The RESNA Technical Assistance Project has carried out its role over the past six years by providing on-site technical assistance and telephone information and referral; conducting national and regional meetings, and teleconferences; developing resource materials; and disseminating information.

Under the technical assistance grant, RESNA will continue to conduct these activities as well as initiate new activities such as:

  • launching a national public awareness campaign, establishing Specialized Workgroups on Assistive Technology (SWATs) in areas such as special education and vocational rehabilitation to identify barriers to assistive technology acquisition and develop action plans for barrier reduction or removal,
  • expanding its clearinghouse of state project programs, products and system change activities,
  • assisting state projects to comply with federal reporting requirements,
  • working with the National Center for the Improvement of Practice (NCIP) to establish an electronic forum for state project personnel to network with educators on various issues.
  • establishing a presence on Internet's World Wide Web, and
  • working closely with RESNA's Quality Assurance Project to develop a certification program for assistive technology service providers to improve consumer satisfaction with assistive technology and help ensure consumer safety.



Dr. Yegin Habteyes
University of the Virgin Islands/UAP
#2 John Brewers Bay
St. Thomas, VI 00801

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.