RESNA Catalyst Project Logo

March 2015 Highlights

PROJECT WIDE NEWS


Announcements

Transfer of Grant Funds from ED/RSA to HHS/ACL
In January, Rob Groenendaal, Assistive Technology Program Manager, emailed AT Act Programs notifying of the transfer of grant funds from ED/RSA to HHS/ACL, which began on February 24, and will end on or before May 8, 2015. Below is a list of additional key dates, and a reiteration of suggested preparatory actions:

  • On or before May 8, 2015
    Anticipated date by which HHS will issue replacement grants and make funds available in PMS. During the freeze period, HHS will provide additional information regarding the exact date when funds will be available.
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2015
    Deadline to obligate all remaining ED grant funds drawn down from G5.
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2015
    Deadline to: Liquidate all obligated ED grant funds. Submit final SF-425 report to ED. Details on how to submit this report will be sent to you in a future communication.

If you have questions, please contact Rob Groenendaal at Robert.Groenendaal@ed.gov.

RESNA Catalyst Project Mentioned in Disability Connection Newsletter
The RESNA Catalyst Project as well as all AT Act Programs were recently mentioned in the March edition of the Disability Connection Newsletter, “10 Ways Technology Is Changing the Way We Live” (https://www.disability.gov/disability-connection-newsletter-march-2015/). The newsletter, which is part of www.Disability.gov, is sent to more 75,000 subscribers each month and is promoted on the site’s social media platform to more than 114,000 followers. Disability.gov is a resource for people with disabilities, their families, friends and organizations that serve them. The site connects users to important information about disability benefits, health care, employment and more.

RESNA Catalyst Project and ATIA Webinars for 2015
The RESNA Catalyst Project continues its partnership with ATIA to offer live and archived webinars to all AT Act Entities! A total of 650 seats will be available through September 2015. The webinar subscription code is 15PDRESNA. This is referred to as the “Discount Code” in the online registration form and is the same for all registrations. The discount code must be used during the webinar and conference recording registration process to ensure the system does not charge any additional fees. Multiple attendees and multiple webinars can be registered during one registration transaction. However, each person for each webinar and conference recording counts as one registration. To access the online registration process visit: www.atia.org/webinarregistration. Online directories of Live Broadcast and Archived Recording webinars are available at: www.atia.org/webinars. Each listing includes full details of the webinar and an option to register.

Upcoming Events

Webinar: ADA Standards and Planning Accessible Design in Device Demonstration and Display Rooms for AT Act Programs, April 15, 2015, 3p.m. EST
Register today at:
http://www.adaconferences.org/RESNA/
Demonstration centers must be designed and implemented in a manner that makes it possible to provide ease of access to demonstrations for people of all ages in all geographic areas of a state. This webinar will include a discussion on improving the quality of program accessibility for AT Act Device Demonstrations. This webinar will feature the following presenters:

  • Denise Barton Schuler, Assistive Technology Specialist with the Maryland Technology Assistance (MDTAP) and Lori Markland MDTAP Director of Communications, Outreach and Program Development who will discuss their Program’s accessibility model, which includes two demonstration sites and a descriptive on line device inventory.
  • Francie Gilman, Librarian in Montgomery County Public Libraries, who works on library and literacy services for people with disabilities, and will explain the inclusive planning process for their Disabilities Resource Center.
  • Andy Winnegar, Training Associate for the Southwest ADA Center, who will provide an overview of ADA program accessibility. 

About this webinar series: For the last four years, the Great Lakes and Southwest ADA Centers have joined with the RESNA Catalyst Project to provide a series of free webinar sessions to meet the needs of the AT Act Programs. The sessions are designed to provide timely information by experts on various aspects technology and its interface with issues covered under the ADA. Each webinar is 90 minutes in length and provided free to interested persons. All sessions are close captioned. Continuing education credits are available through RESNA. There is a $16 fee to receive credits for each webinar.

RESNA Annual Conference - June 10-14, 2015
The annual RESNA conference (not the SGAT or AFP/Re-Use conferences), June 10-14, 2015, in Denver, Colorado, is a unique, multi-disciplinary gathering of assistive technology professionals from around the world. No other assistive technology conference connects professionals from across so many different AT and professional specialties. Whether you specialize in seating and mobility, communication, computer access, universal design, or new technologies - RESNA is the place where connections are made and conversations happen! To learn more and register, visit http://www.resna.org/news-events/conference-news/resna-2015-conference-will-feature-hot-trends-assistive-technology.

2015 ATAP Conference - July 13-15, 2015
This year’s SGAT program conference is being sponsored by ATAP, and will be at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza, in Washington, DC. For more information and to register, visit the ATAP Conference registration link is at http://www.ataporg.org/ConferenceRegistration.aspx.

2015 AFP and Reuse Conference - August 31, and September 1, 2015
The RESNA Catalyst Project is very pleased to announce that in conjunction with the Pass It On Center, will host an Alternative Financing and Reuse Programs Conference in Washington, DC, August 31 and September 1, 2015. The Conference will be held at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel in Washington, DC. The Conference agenda is being finalized, and more information will be coming soon. Registration is free, and can be accessed at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2015-alternative-financing-and-re-use-conference-registration-16220135863. Register today today and see you in August!

Recent Events

Webinar - Demonstration of the VRX System: A Person-Centered Expert System for Matching Individuals with Needed Workplace Accommodations - March 11, 2015,
In this webinar Daniel K. Davies, MA, Founder and President of AbleLink Technologies, Inc., along with Marcia J. Scherer, PhD, MPH, FACRM, President of the Institute for Matching Person & Technology, demonstrated the VRX System and its features, discussed current research activities underway to explore the utility of the system, and presented an opportunity, through the CERT Project, for AT Program Directors and Staff to test drive the system. View the archived demonstration webinar at http://www.resnaprojects.org/statewide/webedarchive.html. If you would like to test drive the VRX System, contact Marcia Scherer at IMPT97@aol.com.

STATEWIDE AT PROGRAMS


Announcements

Across the Lifespan Conference - Call for Presenters
Wisconsin's Assistive Technology Program (Wistech) is a major sponsor of the Across the Lifespan Conference held annually in the Wisconsin Dells. The conference has opened up a Call for Presenters and welcomes submissions on a wide range of topics including AT, Education, Transition, Post-Secondary and aging. To learn more, visit http://www.atacrosslifespan.org/.

Recent Events

SGAT Program Directors Call: The Transfer of the AT Act-March 4, 2015
This call featured information by Rob Groenendaal, Assistive Technology Program Manager, who presented on the transfer of the AT Act from the Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration to the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Community Living. A transcript of this call is available on the RESNA Catalyst Project’s website at http://www.resnaprojects.org/statewide/teleconferences.html.

CATADA Winter Webinar- March 19, 2015
Vance Dhooge of the CATADA Team hosted a webinar on Thursday, March 19, 2015. During this webinar, Vance presented the newest information on NATADS application development. For more information about this webinar, contact Vance Dhooge at vdhooge@iltech.org.

Upcoming Events

Statewide AT Directors Forum – Thursday, May 14, 2015, 3:00-4:00p.m. Eastern
RESNA Catalyst Project Director Joey Wallace invites all Statewide AT Directors to the next Statewide AT Directors Forum. The Forum is designed for SGAT Directors to talk informally about AT Act topics and programmatic issues that they may be currently facing, as well as technical guidance adhering to federal and state regulations. During this call, Joey will facilitate a discussion, which will focus on service contracts, service provisions, and fee for services. In addition, Leslie Novacek and Desirae Vallier with Nebraska’s Assistive Technology Partnership along with Tammy Koger from the North Carolina Assistive Technology Program, will discuss contracting with their state’s vocational rehabilitation programs and what makes their partnerships successful. To participate on this call, dial 800-351-6810 Passcode: 46172076#. If you have accessibility requests or have any questions, please contact Paul Galonsky, pgalonsky@resna.org.

PAAT PROGRAMS


Announcements

The Latest in NLS’s Did You Know Series – “The Crime Victims Compensation Fund – A Little Known Funding Source for AT in Some Cases”
This two-page document was recently published at http://www.nls.org/files/Disability%20Law%20Hotlines/Did%20You%20Know/Crime%20Victims%20Compensation%20Fund.pdf. It highlights a program authorized by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 10601. This program exists in every state and can be a funding source for AT in some cases under the mandatory category “prosthetic or other devices” or under the optional category “[n]ecessary building modification and equipment to accommodate physical disabilities resulting from a compensable crime.” As noted in this short publication, the above AT-related terms are not defined in federal law or regulations. In addition, a check of state websites suggests that state Crime Victims Programs are often not using the AT-related language in their published policies even through “prosthetic or other devices” is considered a mandatory category of expenses that are to be covered. Where states have been more specific about items covered, they have included items such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, home modifications, and vehicle modifications to overcome limitations of a disability caused by a covered crime. See links for federal Office of Crime Victims site, http://ojp.gov/ovc/ and to state crime victims’ sites, http://www.nacvcb.org/index.asp?sid=6.

Using Go Fund Me and other Strategies to Raise Money to Purchase AT: Be Careful Not to Jeopardize SSI, Medicaid, and other Means-Tested Benefits
Fundraisers have always been a way to fund expenses related to the special expenses of persons with disabilities or severe illnesses. We all know of examples of very successful fundraisers that have helped to pay for AT that is often not available through available health insurance coverage, including Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance plans. In recent years, we have witnessed the use of Internet sites and social media to create high-profile fund raising campaigns that are often quite successful. Just be aware that there can be pitfalls when those raising the funds are not aware that money received directly by the person needing the assistance (or that person’s parent or spouse in some cases) can have devastating consequences to that person’s benefits. A recent call from an agency running very successful Go Fund Me campaigns brought to mind these benefits eligibility pitfalls. While every case will turn on its own facts, including the range of means-tested benefits the individual receives, here are a few pointers to follow in cases involving SSI with Medicaid coming automatically as a result of SSI eligibility (presently the case in 40 states and the District of Columbia):

  • Avoid any plan that has the proceeds of the fund raiser going directly to the individual or a legally responsible family member like a parent or spouse.
  • Plan to have the money go into a special bank account that requires two or more signatures for any withdrawals.
  • The promotion and plan should be to cover those items not otherwise available through existing benefits, vesting those in control of the fund with discretion on spending based on these principles (a bit like a trustee in a special needs trust).
  • Promote the fundraiser with these principles in mind. Donors like to see their money spent as advertised.
  • Put all of the above in writing, dated and signed by the individuals running the fundraiser.

REGISTER NOW! – June 1-4, 2015, National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) Annual Meeting and Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana.

  • Registration information, including links for both registration and hotel reservations (JW Marriott), is available at http://ndrn.org/en/events/annual-conference.html.

  • NDRN is very aware of the public outcry related to new legislation in Indiana, the conference site, and shares the concerns. However, as explained by NDRN’s CEO, Curt Decker “this contract [for the conference] was signed over a year ago and contains serious penalties for cancellations …. There is also no venue available at this short notice to accommodate a meeting as large as ours.” A more detailed message is being distributed throughout the Protection and Advocacy network.
  • The National AT Advocacy Project will have a significant presence at the conference, presenting/co-presenting at a full-day institute and three 90-minute sessions.
  • The National AT Advocacy Project confirmed lineup of AT-related sessions for the NDRN conference, with tentative times, and confirmed speakers in most cases:
    • Monday, June 1, 2015 (a full-day “Transition” institute) – expected to touch on transition requirements in IDEA and vocational rehabilitation law and regulations; some innovative approaches to use of AT in employment; and address how AT can be funded to support a work goal
    • Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - “Medicaid Hearings and AT: What’s In Your Toolkit?” Speakers: Marge Gustas, Staff Paralegal and James R. Sheldon, Supervising Attorney, National AT Advocacy Project, Buffalo, NY
    • Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - “Meeting the AT Needs of Infants, Toddlers, and Very Young Children: Looking to Medicaid and IDEA for Funding.” Speakers: Marge Gustas, Staff Paralegal, National AT Advocacy Project; Ron Hager, NDRN.
    • Thursday, June 4, 2015 - “Overcoming Medicaid’s Most Common Reasons for Saying No to AT Funding Requests: Changing a No to a Yes.” Speakers: Marge Gustas, Staff Paralegal and James R. Sheldon, Supervising Attorney, National AT Advocacy Project.

ALTERNATIVE FINANCING AND TELEWORK LOAN PROGRAMS


Announcements

Individual TA Calls with Loan Program Directors
The RESNA Catalyst Project, in conjunction with RSA, is continuing to set up individual calls for loan program directors to discuss program needs. These are short, usually lasting approximately 30 minutes. Keep an eye out for contact from Jason Luciano to schedule a time.

Revisions to the Quality Indicators Manual
The RESNA Catalyst Project will be convening a work group to work on updates and revisions to the 2012 Quality Indicators Manual. If you are interested in joining this work group, please contact Jason Luciano at jluciano@resna.org.

Recent Events

New Grantee Call – March 19, 2015
The monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees was held March 19, 2015. These calls are for those programs receiving funding under the recent competitions to discuss unique opportunities and challenges presented to new AFP grantees.

Loan Directors Open Forum Call – March 17, 2015
RESNA Catalyst Project Director, Joey Wallace hosted an informative all Loan Program Directors Forum in March. This forum is designed for Directors to talk informally about programmatic issues that they may be currently facing, as well as technical guidance adhering to federal and state regulations. In addition, this forum is intended to provide for open discussion and sharing across programs. These calls are held every other month.

Upcoming Events

New Grantee Call – April 16, 2015, 4-5:00p.m. Eastern
The next monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees will be April 16, 2015, 4:00p.m. Eastern. These calls are for those programs receiving funding under the recent competitions to discuss unique opportunities and challenges presented to new AFP grantees.

Loan Directors Open Forum Call – May 19th 3-4:00p.m. Eastern
RESNA Catalyst Project Director, Joey Wallace will host an all Loan Program Directors Forum in May. This forum is designed for Directors to talk informally about programmatic issues that they may be currently facing, as well as technical guidance adhering to federal and state regulations. In addition, this forum is intended to provide for open discussion and sharing across programs. Please join us by calling 1-800-211-4163 with pass code 57 48 484#.

OTHER RESOURCES

Americans with Disabilities Act Complaints to be filed through New Electronic Form
In March, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that as of March 3, 2015, individuals wishing to file Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaints with the DOJ will be able to do so electronically on a new form available on the DOJ website. Upon submission, filers will receive a reference number which may be used in future correspondence related to that complaint. Effective March 15, 2015, the DOJ will no longer accept complaints by e-mail, however, complaints will still be accepted by U. S. mail. To receive a paper complaint form, contact the Department's ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (v); 1-800-514-0383 (TTY). To view the new electronic form, visit www.ada.gov.
Source: The Arc’s Capitol Insider

Try ii-Music for FREE
ii-Music is a new musical instrument for eye gaze, designed to be played with your eyes. It operates using cursor position and "dwell to click” meaning that you can use it with almost any cursor control-based system, including head-trackers. No need to read music or memorize scales to give this a go - all you need is a love of music. The software is also compatible with Skoog, so you can also use it to enhance your performance by changing notes or adding effects on the fly. Download a free trial of ii-Music at http://www.skoogmusic.com/ii-music-demo.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing Distributes Free Currency Readers
The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) announced it will distribute free currency readers to eligible blind and low-vision individuals, a preemptive solution to the Federal Reserve’s tactile-enhancement of currency notes. Originally announced in the form of a July 2014 press release, the BEP and National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS) are collaborating through their U.S. Currency Reader Program to promote access to paper currency. This serves as a BEP initiative, which is also realized through the BEP’s assistance when developing the Wireless RERC-funded IDEAL Currency Reader®. Currency Readers are currently available and may be requested by submitting the U.S. Currency Reader application form to: U.S. Currency Reader Program, 14th & C Streets, S.W., Washington, DC 20228. The form is available in English and Spanish, and may be accessed at http://www.moneyfactory.gov/uscurrencyreaderform.html. Additional information is also available by contacting BEP at meaningful.access@bep.gov or (844) 815-9388.
Source: Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

RESNA International Special Interest Group (SIG) Do-It-Yourself Contest
Deadline is April 1, 2015 
Those with experience working or living in developing countries know that the assistive device needed is often not commercially available or affordable. As a step toward remedying this problem, the RESNA International SIG is sponsoring an assistive technology DIY (Do It Yourself!) contest. We are looking for innovative low-cost DIY assistive technology that could be replicated around the world. Whirlwind Wheelchair's generous donation will allow us to offer cash prizes including $300 for first place, $150 for second place, and $50 for third place! To learn more, visit http://www.resna.org/international-sig-do-it-yourself-contest.

Free Continuing Education Opportunity for ATPs - May 8, 2015
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) will present a free continuing education opportunity entitled Comprehensive Automotive Mobility Solutions for Health Professionals. This course will be held on May 8, 2015 at BraunAbility in Winamac, IN, and is sponsored by Sure Grip and Superior Van & Mobility. It is approved for 6 RESNA contact hours. Overnight hotel accommodations will be provided to attendees for free on Thursday evening as well.The following is a brief overview of the course: This introductory continuing education course contains a range of topics pertaining to personal automotive mobility solutions. It will assist the allied health care practitioner in understanding and advocating for individuals seeking automotive vehicle modification solutions, while also teaching practitioners about the unique process involved in evaluating, selecting and purchasing appropriate automotive options.

Please view the following links for the full course description (including outline, learning objectives, and outcomes) as well as the registration form for this event:

Please contact Andrea Vrobel regarding this training opportunity at andrea.vrobel@ralphbraunfoundation.org. Space is limited, so please don’t delay in signing up to participate!

AT Radio & Podcasts in Indiana
INDATA has launched an internet radio station. AssistiveTechnologyRadio.com broadcasts 24/7 and includes a wide variety of AT programs. Programs include INDATA’s two podcasts as well as various AT training sessions. To view and listen to the growing list of episodes, visit: http://www.eastersealstech.com/on-air/. INDATA will include audio content from other AT projects. To submit radio content or to learn more about INDATA's AT radio and podcasts contact Wade Wingler at wwingler@eastersealscrossroads.org.


Follow the RESNA Catalyst Project on Twitter today! @ResnaCatalyst
The RESNA Catalyst Project now has a Twitter feed on the homepage at www.resnaprojects.org. Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read "tweets", which are text messages limited to 140 characters.

Follow what is happening with the RESNA Catalystís Online Calendar
The RESNA Catalyst Projectís event calendar is on the homepage at www.resnaprojects.org. This interactive calendar allows individuals to access information on upcoming events as well as visit recent ones. Most events reported in these Highlights Newsletters will now be a simple click away to download, register, and share!

Product Disclaimer

AT product information contained above is distributed by the RESNA Catalyst Project for informational purposes only. Endorsement or recommendation is neither intended nor implied, and the RESNA Catalyst Project, RESNA, RESNA employees, collaborators, and partners take no responsibility for individual decisions, and shall bear no liability for any loss or damages resulting from the use of this information.


The RESNA Catalyst Project provides technical assistance to Statewide Assistive Technology Programs, Alternative Financing Programs & Access to Telework Programs, and Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology Programs. RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America, is the premier professional organization dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of people with disabilities through increasing access to technology solutions.

This newsletter is produced by the RESNA Catalyst Project under a grant funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), U.S. Department of Education (RSA/ED) through the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended. The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of RSA/ED or RESNA and no official endorsement of the materials should be inferred.

Contact Information: RESNA Catalyst Project, 1700 North Moore Street, Suite 1540, Arlington, VA 22209-1903; (703) 524-6686 (voice), (866) 342-6572 (voice), (703) 524-6630 (FAX), (703) 524-6639 (TTY). Email: catalyst@resna.org; Website: http://www.resnaprojects.org.