Client Services

Services for College & Career Oriented Consumers

The Center for Assistive Technology provides assistive technology assessment and training services for college and career oriented individuals with a disability on a fee-for-service basis.

  • Referral is made by a variety of funding sources including: Vocational agencies, employers, Veterans Administration, and self.
  • The CAT assessment team works closely with the referral source, the consumer, the college and/or the job site to identify the daily activities and tasks in which technology may increase functional ability.
  • Recommendations for specific assistive technology hardware and software are made.
  • Equipment setup and configuration are available on a fee-for-service basis.
  • Training on the recommended system is also available on a fee-for-service basis. The training is one-on-one and is designed to meet the specific educational and/or vocational needs of the individual.
  • To request a referral package for an assistive technology assessment for a college or career oriented consumer in the Western New York area, please call need contact at (716) xxx-xxxx.

Frequently Asked Questions

Assistive Technology: What is it? Why is it important?

"Assistive technology" helps people with disabilities make use of their abilities.

"Assistive technology devices" are items or pieces of equipment used to maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability.

Examples of technology devices which may allow you to work inside or outside your home or pursue your education:

  • computer equipment and adaptations — including Braille printers, voice output, touch screens, switches which allow computer access through voluntary movements such as eye blinks, head or neck movements.
  • augmentative/alternative communication systems — including talking computers.
  • vehicle modifications — including wheelchair lifts and hand controls.
  • work site modifications — including adapted office equipment, and environmental control devices.

This information is provided by the TRAID Project, funded under Public Law 100-407 by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.

How can you learn what devices may be helpful?

The NYS Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (CQCAPD) TRAID Project funds Regional Technology Centers. These Centers can help you identify programs and refer you to resources in your local area. Staff can provide information about specific devices, how they work and where you can see them or try them. Please call toll free 1-800-522-4369 (voice/TTY) for information on how to contact the nearest Regional Technology Center.

This information is provided by the TRAID Project, funded under Public Law 100-407 by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.

Vocational Agencies — What are they?

In New York State there are two vocational agencies:

1. Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals With Disabilities (VESID)

VESID can provide services to eligible persons who have disabilities, including physical, mental, learning and hearing problems. VESID does not serve individuals who are legally blind.

2. Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH)

CBVH can provide services to eligible individuals who are legally blind. If a person is legally blind and has another disability, he or she must seek services from CBVH rather than VESID.

The policies of VESID and CBVH, as they apply to program eligibility, specific services and appeals, are governed by the federal law, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Although policies such as the economic needs test may vary between VESID and CBVH, in most cases the criteria applied by the two agencies are very similar.

The 1992 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act use the term "Rehabilitation Technology" to include assistive technology devices and assistive technology services. Individuals seeking assistance from VESID or CBVH should be familiar with this terminology when dealing with those agencies.

This information is provided by the TRAID Project, funded under Public Law 100-407 by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.

How do you qualify for services?

1. Disability which Interferes with Ability to Work:

The disability must prevent an individual from working or interfere with a present job.

The law does not specify age limits, but most recipients of services will be at least 16 years of age.

Under the 1992 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, a person is presumed capable of employment regardless of the severity of the disability unless there is evidence to the contrary.

2. Vocational Goal:

To receive services, a vocational goal must be established. The goal may be regular employment, sheltered employment, supported employment or work as one's own homemaker.

3. Individual Written Rehabilitation Plan (IWRP):

The individual must require vocational services to meet the established goal. The IWRP is the written document which outlines each eligible person's plan for vocational rehabilitation. The contents should include the vocational goal and the various services to be provided by VESID or CBVH.

Individuals have the right to participate with their counselor in the planning and drafting of the IWRP. If the person's vocational plans include the need for assistive technology, those needs should be specified in the IWRP.

VESID and CBVH will work with high school students, including those students with disabilities who are not attending special education programs, to ensure, when appropriate, that an IWRP is prepared before the student leaves the high school or special education program.

This information is provided by the TRAID Project, funded under Public Law 100-407 by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.

How can you obtain Assistive Technology?

1. General Criteria:

An assistive technology device may be funded if the device is necessary for the person to achieve his or her vocational goal.

2. Economic Need:

Evaluations and diagnostic procedures to establish eligibility will be provided at VESID's or CBVH's expense without regard to the agency's economic need criteria.

The person who seeks funding to purchase a device must meet the agency's "economic need" criteria.

3. Use of Other Payment Sources:

"Similar benefit" policy may require VESID or CBVH to first use other appropriate payment sources. For example, if federal and state grants are available to pay for tuition, those sources must be exhausted before payment is required from VESID or CBVH funding.

Rehabilitation technology required for the purpose of achieving the vocational outcome is exempt from the similar benefits policy. This means that VESID or CBVH must pay for such assistive technology services and devices without regard to other funding which may be available. A person is encouraged to cooperate if VESID or CBVH can later seek reimbursement from a payment source such as Medicaid.

4. Price Limits for Funding Assistive Technology:

In many cases, VESID and CBVH have established dollar limits for funding of items such as vehicle modifications or computer equipment. In some cases, these dollar limits can be exceeded based on individual circumstances.

This information is provided by the TRAID Project, funded under Public Law 100-407 by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.

How do you determine the need for Assistive Technology?

1. Role of the Evaluation:

The range of assistive technology devices is constantly expanding. The features of specific products should be matched to the individual's functional needs, place of use and intended purpose. An evaluation by competent specialists is often required to determine individual needs and to identify the available options from which the person can choose. Whenever possible, the evaluation should be conducted in the environment where the technology will be used.

2. Who Performs the Evaluation?

Evaluators may come from different disciplines. For example, a speech pathologist or clinic specializing in speech pathology, would evaluate the need for an augmentative/alternative communication device. A physical or occupational therapist or clinic specializing in these therapies would evaluate the need for a customized, motorized wheelchair.

VESID or CBVH may require that a person be evaluated by a specific person or vendor. For instance, CBVH requires that most evaluations for computer equipment go through their agency's designated regional assessment centers.

This information is provided by the TRAID Project, funded under Public Law 100-407 by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.

How can you obtain Training and Repairs?

Be aware of manufacturer warranties, etc., and always negotiate the arrangements for training, repairs and maintenance in developing the IWRP.

Training:

Training is often critical to the successful use of a device and should be funded by VESID or CBVH.

Repairs and Maintenance:

VESID or CBVH should pay for repairs and maintenance if they purchased the device. After ownership is transferred to the individual at the time of successful completion of the IWRP, the individual is responsible for all future costs of maintaining and repairing the device.

This information is provided by the TRAID Project, funded under Public Law 100-407 by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.

How can you appeal if your request is denied?

1. The Right to Notice of Any Adverse Decision:

If a request for assistive technology is denied, the agency must provide the individual with a written notice which explains why the service has been denied and advises of the right to and process for appeal.

2. Informal Meeting:

Disputes between the agency and the person seeking services can often be resolved in an informal meeting, with or without a representative to advocate for the person's needs. A person can meet with his or her counselor and the counselor's supervisor. If the matter is still unresolved, a meeting with the District Office Manager can be arranged.

3. The Fair Hearing:

Any time an individual, or the individual's parent or guardian, is dissatisfied with a decision denying assistive technology, a fair hearing can be requested. The person has a right to be represented by an attorney or other advocate and can present witnesses and other evidence to support the appeal.

This information is provided by the TRAID Project, funded under Public Law 100-407 by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.

Need more information?

For more information on funding Assistive Technology, call TRAID at: 1-800-522-4369 (voice and TTY)

This information is provided by the TRAID Project, funded under Public Law 100-407 by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.