Let’s be honest–finding assistive technology that works with any of our students with more involved needs can be intimidating, let alone pricey! Communication devices can come with astronomical price tags. What’s more nerve-wrecking than hoping that you’ve selected JUST the right technology for a child?! What about a child who needs adaptive switches, or switch-operated toys?! Those things just don’t grow on trees!
I’ve probably said almost every one of those phrases, and so have a lot of my colleagues. Fear not. Each of the 50 states offer assistive technology loan programs, and some even offer trial runs of products that are very much like a “try for awhile before you buy” system. (Can we have that system set up with shoes? Just a thought. Someone make that happen!) Psstt–assistive technology includes communication devices!
Here’s a list of assistive technology loaner/trial programs I’ve found for each of the 50 states. I use this system quite often in my outpatient/early intervention positions, and it’s been an absolute life-saver. I’ve used it to just try a device, grab a piece of tech that I didn’t have access to, or use it as a hands-on demonstration to improve parent buy-in. If you’re school-based only, you can still use these resources. Just remember–state laws can be really finicky about suggesting parents rent/trial assistive technology, so know your state and district’s policy. And if you rent/loan/trial a piece of equipment yourself, you’re financially responsible!
Simply find your state listed below and copy/paste the link into a new browser to start perusing what your state has to offer! [This is list is current as of 4/19/2016]
New Hampshire –http://www.iod.unh.edu/priorityareas/assistivetechnology/Services/DemonstrationsandLoans.aspx
New Jersey –http://www.assistivetechnologycenter.org/technology-lending-center
North Dakota –http://ndipat.org/
Rhode Island http://www.atap.ri.gov/
South Carolina http://scatp.med.sc.edu/
South Dakota https://www.sd.at4all.com/
West Virginia http://wvats.cedwvu.org/
Have a resource or website you love in your state that I didn’t list? Leave it in the comments or e-mail me and I’ll add it to the list right away!
If you’re looking for helpful handouts to use with teachers/parents to help reinforce AAC-related information, be sure to check out these resource handouts in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! (click the picture/text to download)