Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology (AT) defined by law, is any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Depending on the needs of the individual, an AT device can be simple and low cost or complex and expensive. Devices are as varied and unique as the individuals they help and can offer support at home, in school, on the job and in the community.

Examples of AT devices:

Daily living: adapted utensils, devices to turn appliances on/off, bathrooms grab bars
Communication: eye gaze/communication board, software, voice-output devices
Transportation: child restraint seats, driving aids, hand controls
Sensory: large print books, audio books, raised-line paper
Mobility: walkers, wheelchairs, scooters
Architectural: wheelchair ramps, lowered countertops, alternative doorknobs
Recreation: close-caption television, adaptive fishing rods/video game controls

Obtaining Assistive Technology Devices

Assistive technology can be obtained through a school, private insurance and/or medical assistance (waivered services). The appropriate institution should be contacted to understand specific criteria for funding and coverage. Note that appeal processes may be available if a device has been denied.

AbleNet is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities by creating assistive technology products that transform lives in simple, tangible, and powerful ways.

Apps for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders In a wheel format developed by Mark Coppin, this list provides apps based on common learning characteristics and traits typical for students with autism spectrum disorders.

Arc Tech Toolbox is a one-stop shop, peer-reviewed directory of technology products that are effective for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

Assistive Technology and Modifications Toolkit – MN Dept. of Human Services The toolkit contains products, services and a list of organizations and resources individuals with disabilities may use to plan independent lives.

Bellows Fund UCP of Minnesota, an Elsie S. Bellows Fund, was established in 1995 to provide assistive technology equipment to individuals with disabilities.

Center on Technology and Disability (CTD) comprises hundreds of evidence-based resources, including fact sheets, videos, training materials, research reports, and other relevant and current information on assistive technologies.

Closing the Gap strives to provide parents and educators alike, the information and training necessary to locate, compare, and implement assistive technology.

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute believes technology maximizes independence for people with disabilities and offers assistive technology through the Institute

Directory of Funding and Assistive Technology Resources in Minnesota Available through the Minnesota STAR Program, you can search through their funding database by type of assistance, type of service or type of device.

EquipALife is a non-profit organization providing access to “life changing” equipment for people in need of services and people with disabilities.

Family Support Grant Program provides cash grants to eligible families for the purchase of services and items, which can include assistive technology, necessary to maintain children with developmental disabilities in the family home.

Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota lends assistive living medical equipment to anyone in need.

Minnesota Assistive Technology Loan Network (MATLN) is a program of United Cerebral Palsy of Minnesota.

Minnesota DeafBlind Project provides technical assistance which supports Minnesota children and youth, birth to 21 years, who have BOTH a vision and hearing impairment.

Minnesota Relay is a free, federally mandated Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) program that allows individuals who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, or speech disabled to place and receive telephone calls.

Minnesota STAR Program mission is to help all Minnesotans with disabilities gain access to and acquire the assistive technology they need to live, learn, work and play.

Positively Minnesota, through the Department of Employment and Economic Development, provides books, newspapers, magazines and other printed materials in alternative formats for people who are blind, visually impaired, deafblind or who have other disabilities that make it difficult for them to read.

Simon Technology Center (PACER Center) offers Minnesota families and professionals the opportunity to preview educational and disability-specific software and assistive technology devices for children and young adults.

Steps of Hope Support Grants, via the Autism Society of Minnesota, provides grants to stimulate creativity encourage successful programming and expand opportunities for individuals living with autism spectrum disorders.

SUPER (Still Useful Product and Equipment Referral), part of PACER, connects people seeking to buy used assistive technology with sellers.

Technology for HOME offers at home assistive technology consultation and technical assistance to help Minnesotans with disabilities live more independently.

Telephone Equipment Distribution (TED) Program provides telephone equipment to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, speech impaired or have a physical disability and need adaptive equipment in order to use a phone.