Whether it’s communication, recreation, employment, education, transportation or just plain daily living, technology levels the playing field for children and adults with disabilities. And, because technology is such a natural part of everyday life for everyone, the options for devices and apps are as numerous and diverse as the individuals who use them. Here are a few tips and resources to get you started:
Identify the task first. Device Second.
There are a lot of options out there, and no one device is right for every individual. For an extensive database of AT products, categorized by function, visit AbleData’s products page.
Get an AT Assessment
If your child is in school, ask for an AT evaluation as part of the IEP process (see Assistive Technology in the School, below). For adults, contact one of the appropriate resources below.
Try Before You Buy
Make sure the device and/or apps are right for your son or daughter. The Washington Assistive Technology Alliance Program will loan devices for up to six weeks for a small fee.
Statewide AT Resource: The Arc of Tri-Cities
The Arc of Tri-Cities Assistive Technology Program is contracted with the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) to provide Specialized Equipment and Supplies to eligible individuals. If you are on Community First Choice, you have access to funding for Assistive Technology (AT) Devices that increase the individual’s independence. There is a limit of $550 per fiscal year. Visit The Arc of Tri-Cities Assistive Technology website or contact Melissa Brooks to learn more.
Developmental Disabilities Administration
The Children’s In-Home Intensive Behavior Support waiver and Individual & Family Services Program both include assistive technology in their covered services.
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Short-term employment services for adults. In addition to adults with disabilities, high school transition students are eligible for services.
Washington Assistive Technology Act Program
Information, referrals, training and device loans.
Northwest Access Fund
Low interest loans and matched savings accounts for low-income households.
Washington Initiative for Supported Employment
Technical assistance to adults and high school students with I/DD seeking employment and job training.
Work Incentive Programs
The cost of work-related expenses, such as AT, may be offset by Social Security work incentive programs PASS and IRWE. Ask your DDA or DVR case manager for more information.
Assistive Technology in the School
Washington State Administrative Code (WAC) addresses the availability of assistive technology in WAC 392-172A-02015
- Each school district shall ensure that assistive technology devices or assistive technology services, or both, are made available to a student eligible for special education if required as part of the student’s: (a) special education (b) related services (c) supplementary aids and services.
- On a case-by-case basis, the use of school-purchased assistive technology devices in a student’s home or in other settings is required if the student’s IEP team determines that the student needs access to those devices
PRINT IT: Download our Assistive Technology Fact Sheet.