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OSU: Providing Technology for People With Disabilities
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OSU: Providing Technology for People With Disabilities

Ohio State University—It can be a daunting task to find services that enable people with disabilities to live active and independent lives. A national nonprofit organization, Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP), consists of state-level ATA Programs, all funded by the AT Act (Assistive Technology Act). Established in 1997, the organization’s mission is to help maintain a national network of statewide AT Programs.

The ATAP is promoting 3 projects on their website – AT3 Center, CATADA, and NATADS. The CATADA website’s purpose is described as “The goal of these programs is to increase access to and acquisition of AT. Programs serve people with all types of disabilities, of all ages, in all environments.”

Assistive Technology devices are products or equipment designed to enhance the functionality and mobility of people with disabilities, with the primary area's concentration in education, community living, employment and IT.

Ohio State University’s Department of Engineering is the state’s officially designated Tech Act Program (for information on AT programs offered in your state, check out AT State Programs). Some of the services offered through AT of Ohio include Telepresence Robot Lease Program, Device Rental Program, and Computer Refurbishing Program, and a Device Lending Program, which allows participants to test devices for 30 days.

The Telepresence Robots are used from home (or anywhere with a wifi connection). Students operate the robots from a smartphone, iPad, or computer, and are able to hear, see, and move about as necessary in the classroom. The cost to lease one of the robots is $85 a month. Children receiving services from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital are also eligible to participate in the lease program.

The cost of technology and computers can be staggering, yet in our current times, such equipment is necessary for education and employment opportunities, as well as keeping in touch with family and friends. AT of Ohio works to ease this burden by offering refurbished computers to eligible applicants – the first step is to call the office at 866-801-7306 (toll-free) to inquire about the availability of the computers, as there is often a waiting list to receive one. Applicants are required to complete an application and submit a disability verification letter. The cost of the computer or laptop to the individual, when the application has been approved, is $60.

For more information on the refurbished computer program, visit Refurbished Computer Program in Ohio.


Image credit: Photo by Norbert Levajsics on Unsplash

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