Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT)
Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology is a statewide program whose goal is to assure a system of easy access to Assistive Technology to all Pennsylvanians with disabilities. This includes access to information, devices, services, and funding. PIAT is a program for individuals with disabilities, regardless of age, disability type, location or type of residence. Most services are provided at no cost to consumers with disabilities, their family members and advocates. TRCIL is one of PIAT’s Assistive Technology Resource Centers (ATRCs) and serves Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Indiana, Lawrence, and Westmoreland counties. For a list of all ATRCs, go to http://disabilities.temple.edu/programs/assistive/atlend/atrc.shtml#atrc
TRCIL can provide or arrange for “hands-on” opportunities for people with disabilities and family members to explore specific AT devices and improve their knowledge of the kind of AT that may help them. Device demonstrations can help you decide what assistive technology is right for you. Device demonstrations are available on request, and can be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time and location.
Pennsylvania’s Assistive Technology Lending Library is a free, state-supported program that loans AT devices to Pennsylvanians of all ages and older Pennsylvanians. This program allows you try a device for a limited time (typically 2-8 weeks) to be sure it meets your needs at home, on the job, at school or in your community – before you buy it! If you find that the device isn’t right for you, you can borrow another! You can also borrow a device if yours is “in the shop,” or if you are waiting for your “own” device to be funded. Providers can borrow devices in order to conduct evaluations, or to become more informed about the devices that are available to the people they serve. Businesses can borrow devices to see what accommodations will work for an employee with disabilities, or to try out some solutions as “public accommodations” for people with disabilities.
TRCIL provides individualized assistance to people with disabilities and their families who are searching for funding for AT devices and services. TRCIL can help navigate the maze of insurance, public programs, and non-governmental funding sources to help determine which ones might help you acquire the AT you need. TRCIL is a Funding Assistance Center for the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF), www.patf.us, a non-profit organization that offers low-interest cash loans with extended repayment periods and 0% interest loans for the purchase of AT devices and services as well as information about other potential funding sources and free consumer credit counseling. For more information about the PATF’s programs, contact www.patf.us at 484-674-0506 (Voice) or Toll-Free 1-888-744-1938 (Voice) or TTY 877-693-7271.
Equipment Recycling and Reuse
TRCIL supports two programs that may be a source for “previously-owned” devices, usually available at a lower cost than buying new. You can contact these programs if you are trying to find, or trying to dispose of, used equipment that is still in working order. The Recycled Equipment Exchange Partnership (REEP) is a classified listing of used devices to be sold or donated. Into New Hands accepts and refurbishes equipment for reuse.
TRCIL provides information and referral to help educate consumers about their choices of AT devices and service providers. Consumers can call, write, or email TRCIL for AT help. You may call 412-371-7700 ext. 111, 1-800-633-4588, TTY 412-371-6230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. TRCIL conducts public awareness events to introduce the scope and potential for AT devices and services. TRCIL can come to your agency or organization, attend your group meeting, or participate in your conference or exhibit hall to provide a program overview of PIAT and other resources for AT in Pennsylvania.
Technical Assistance and Training
TRCIL offers training to service providers in order to increase their AT-related knowledge and skills to better support people with disabilities. TRCIL provides technical assistance to public and private agencies to develop and improve policies related to access to AT devices and services, including AT and transition from school to work or from nursing facilities to community living.
TRCIL collaborates and coordinates with the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation, www.patf.us, 888-744-1938 (Voice) or TTY 877-693-7271 and the Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy, Inc., www.ppainc.org, regarding their Assistive Technology Act-funded activities, in order to improve access to assistive technology for all Pennsylvanians.
For questions regarding this service or these programs, call 412-371-7700 or TTY 412-371-6230.
PIAT is the Commonwealth’s Assistive Technology Act Program, funded through a grant from Rehabilitation Services Administration, US Department of Education.