Assistive technologies such as wheelchairs, communication devices, and adaptive tools can be critical in helping adults and children with disabilities compensate for impairments, promote independence, and increase participation in school and work. Such technologies also provide access to things like reading, music, sports, travel, and community life. We work to ensure that all individuals with disabilities in Wisconsin receive the assistive technology they need to live more productively and independently.
Assistive Technology Device
Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.
Assistive Technology Service
Any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device
Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act or the Tech Act of 1988
The Tech Act currently provides funding for technology loan closets which are available at most independent living centers. Schools as well as individuals can borrow devices.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA which was re-authorized in 1999
Assistive devices can be provided to the student at home, at no cost to the family, if it is determined necessary to meet the student’s goals. An example might be a computer to perform written work assignments or a tape recorder to listen to books on tape. Devices provided to a student through the IEP process belong to the school and not the student. Therefore, students involved in transition need to be aware that these devices will not move with them when they leave school. Transition IEPs should make appropriate plans for ensuring that AT needs will be met when school is finished
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Americans with Disabilities Act
To be in compliance with the ADA, school districts must make reasonable accommodations to non-accessible programs for individuals with disabilities. The ADA protects not only students with disabilities, but any individual with a disability who may visit the school. A parent with a disability may also need accommodations. A parent with low vision may need written materials in an alternate format when attending school functions or meetings. A grandparent with a hearing impairment who wants to attend a play at the school may need an assistive listening device.
The Social Security Act
Disability Rights Wisconsin challenges funding denials for assistive technology and related services for people with disabilities. We also help parents work with their children’s schools to get assistive technology (AT) assessments and to get assistive technology incorporated into their child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). If necessary, Disability Rights Wisconsin advocates can assist parents with mediation and due process.
If a person needs assistive technology and is denied funding for it by a school, medical assistance, or private insurance, we can help fight to get coverage for that technology.
Other places that may be able to help you:
You can find more information on this topic from these websites and publications:
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