Assistive Technology (AT) often plays a vital role in the lives of people with disabilities. AT is any item, piece of equipment, or product that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities
Technology can be big–an automated lift for van or bath or small–a Velcro-attached grip for a fork or a pen. It can be new-age interactive voice activated software for speech therapy or a wheelchair. It can be high-tech–a computer screen operated by eye movement-or low-tech–a specially-designed door handle for people with muscle strength or dexterity problems.
Technology can be a substitute such as an alternative augmentative communication device that provides vocal output for a child who cannot communicate with her voice. This means that a child who cannot speak can push a button and ask her mom for an apple. Or tell her sister her new dress is pretty. It means a child in school can ask questions of his teacher or talk with her friends. It means a worker can converse with others in his office.
We are pleased to offer the Bellows Fund which helps provide AT equipment to individuals with disabilities. This program is available only through UCP affiliates. Please contact your local UCP for information on how to apply. To determine your local affiliate, go to the Find Local Resources page. Select your state and then click on Find UCP Affiliates to view the location and telephone of the affiliate nearest to you. Call and ask for the person in charge of the Bellows Program.
Each state has a federally-mandated AT program. These programs were set up to provide technology related assistance to people with disabilities. They will have information about low cost computers, loan programs, AT evaluations and more.
Find your State AT Program and your State Assistive Technology and Telework Financial Loan Programs.
Other Helpful Resources
Alliance for Technology Access
The mission of the ATA is to increase the use of technology by children and adults with disabilities and functional limitations.
Assistive Technology Industry Association
The Assistive Technology Industry Association (“ATIA”) is a not-for-profit membership organization of manufacturers, sellers and providers of technology-based assistive devices and/or services. Its mission is to serve as the collective voice of the Assistive Technology industry so that the best products and services are delivered to people with disabilities.
Family Center on Technology and Disability
The Center is a source full of assistive/instructional technology resources of interest to families of children with disabilities. The website offers access to monthly newsletters, online discussions moderated by nationally recognized experts, a database with hundreds of reviews of AT resources and more.
Pass It On Center
The Pass It On Center fosters the appropriate reuse of AT so that people with disabilities can get the affordable AT they need in order to live, learn, work and play more independently.
Able Data provides objective information about assistive technology products and rehabilitative equipment.
AssistiveTech.net provides information on AT devices and services as well as other community resources for people with disabilities and the general public.