The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University
 

Utah Assistive Technology Program

Project Details

Project Context
The Utah Assistive Technology Program is an initiative of the Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) at Utah State University. The UATP puts assistive technology (AT) into the hands of people in Utah who need it.

AT is 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. AT is tools and resources used by individuals with disabilities to help improve their quality of life and increase their independence in education, employment and in community settings.

Project Focus
UATP serves individuals with disabilities of all ages in Utah and the intermountain region. It trains university students, parents, children with disabilities and professional service providers about AT and provides AT devices and services. UATP coordinates its services with community organizations and others who provide independence-related support to individuals with disabilities. It maintains a website, http://wwwuatp.org/ that offers resources and information about AT devices.

Project Services/Products
AT Laboratory
Services provided by the AT Lab include:
- Device demonstration and equipment lending
- Training on construction of simple, low-cost assistive devices
- Maintenance and repair of assistive technologies
- Training on adaptive computer technologies
- Development of prototype devices
- Wheelchair evaluation
- Communication device evaluation and training

AT State Financing
Through the community-based Utah Assistive Technology Foundation (http://www.uatf.org), UATP supports two different state financing activities: (1) low interest loan and loan guarantee programs in conjunction with Zion's Bank and (2) an Access to Telework program in coordination with the same partners.

AT Reutilization Program
The UATP assists individuals with disabilities to acquire AT through reutilization efforts by implementing the statewide Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment (CReATE) program. This occurs at its CReATE facility in Salt Lake City, in collaboration with the Utah Center for Assistive Technology, and at the AT Lab at USU. A current inventory list of AT devices available at the CReATE warehouse can be found at http://www.uatpat.org/create/.

Student Assistive Technology Design Program
Under the direct supervision of certified AT practitioners, engineering faculty and clinical therapists, undergraduate engineering students from USU collaborate with students from the USU departments of Special Education and Rehabilitation and Communicative Disorders to assess the technology needs of individuals with disabilities in northern Utah and develop technology solutions to those needs. Funding for this program comes from the M.S. Eccles Foundation.

AT Demonstration
UATP provides technical assistance to AT demonstration centers located in Centers on Independent Living (CILs) statewide and maintains a virtual network of these demonstration centers so consumers have a single point of contact to access AT devices and services in Utah. UATP also provides individuals with disabilities and service providers statewide with direct and indirect device demonstrations using a variety of distance education technologies.

AT Training
UATP implements a minimum of four in-person AT training activities each year and conducts online training to AT provider programs statewide in an effort to enhance expertise in providing consumer-responsive AT services.

State Leadership Activities
UATP offers 3 to 5 AT training academies annually and conducts technical assistance to AT provider programs statewide in an effort to enhance expertise in providing consumer-responsive AT services. UATP provides updated resources for Access Utah Network (a statewide information and referral service), regular press releases, updated website information and provider- and consumer-focused publications about AT in a variety of mediums. In addition, UATP staff participates in a variety of state-level boards, commissions and committees representing AT policy issues. Staff advocates for improved AT services and supports.

FY 2014 Focus
UATP will continue to provide AT equipment to those individuals with disabilities in Utah who need it. UATP supports the activities of the UATF and will use distance education technologies to provide training and device demonstrations to Utahns in rural and remote areas.
During the next year, UATP is focusing on expanding the CReATE program and ensuring that it is used by individuals with disabilities as a low-cost alternative for acquiring high-quality, safe mobility equipment such as wheelchairs and electric scooters.