At the October MNCCD Health and Wellness Conference Mercarik Assistive Technologies will be presenting an overview of many of the different assistive technologies available as well as giving an opportunity to play with a few of the devices to help get a better understanding. Though this session will be brief and not all areas will be addressed it will discuss commonly used solutions and some not often utilized.
In the meantime, I thought it might be a helpful to see what the Minnesota Olmstead plan has to say about assistive technology.
The Following is an unedited passage from Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan-
What this topic means
This topic is about people of all ages, all disabilities, and all settings having access to assistive and other technologies that will improve their quality of life and support them, especially in integrated settings.
The timely access to assistive and other technologies will result in progress on measurable goals found elsewhere in the Olmstead Plan. It is expected that the results can be measured in improved quality of life and increased movement from segregated settings to integrated settings.
It is also about building program capacity, leveraging resources and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of assistive technology services through coordination and collaboration among state agencies.
Definition of assistive technology
Assistive technology is “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. This definition does not include a medical device that is
surgically implanted, or the replacement of such a device.”
Assistive technology service is any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. This includes:
o The evaluation of the needs of an individual with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the individual in the individual’s customary environments;
o Purchasing, leasing or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by individuals with disabilities;
o Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;
o Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
o Training or technical assistance for individuals with a disability or, if appropriate, that individual’s family; and
o Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of that individual.
Matthew Hansen ATP, EAS
The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD) is a broad based coalition
of advocacy and provider organizations working to change public policy to improve the lives of people with disabilities through building awareness, providing education, and engaging the community.