Assistive Technology for Kansans
2017-2018 Annual Report
State Financing Activities
State financing activities increase access to and funding for assistive technology devices and services. Programs assist individuals with disabilities with funding AT devices and services by administering and/or supporting financial loan programs and/or other systems that make funding available or reduce costs to acquire devices.
Financial Loan Program This Year . . .
- Made 80 loans this year to enable borrowers to purchase needed AT
- Average income of borrowers approved for a financial loan was $34,981
- Average interest rate of approved loans was 5.5%
- Total amount loaned was $733,810 with 80 devices acquired
Kansas Telecommunications Access Program (TAP) Activities
The Kansas Telecommunications Access Program (TAP) is an equipment distribution program. The purpose of the program is to provide specialized telephones and other telecommunications devices to Kansans with disabilities who can’t use traditional home telephones. Based on a state law, the program receives funds through the Kansas Universal Service Fund (KUSF) and is regulated by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC). TAP provides free equipment to those who qualify.
TAP This Year…
- Served 655 individuals
Consumer Satisfaction for All State Financing Activities This Year…
- 98.67% for the ratings of highly satisfied and satisfied.
For Example: Robert contacted his regional Assistive Technology for Kansans AT Site for help raising funds for repair of his van lift.
The lift is essential so he can travel to medical appointments. Due to significant circulation issues, Robert has to travel with his legs elevated so he can't transfer into just any vehicle. Since he is in rural Kansas, he travels over 70 miles to meet with three different specialists on his medical team; he averages two medical appointments a month.
When his lift was out of commission, Robert had to miss his aquatherapy sessions which improve his circulation, provide cardio exercise, and an opportunity to meet with friends. ATK staff worked with two different nonprofit foundations to cover the cost of the van lift repair and Robert is back on the road.
As Robert told ATK staff, "You can't understand what this means to me. My life just opens up again."
Assistive Technology for Kansans staff collected national data and presented a proposal to the Kansas Corporation Commission to expand coverage of mobile devices including tablets through the Telecommunications Access Program.
Income eligible individuals with any disability that makes it difficult to use a conventional landline phone can receive a smart phone or tablet at no cost as a result of this effort.
Reassignment programs refurbish assistive technology devices and provide them as a permanent reassignment, at reduced or no cost, to individuals who need the devices or repair devices for individuals who would otherwise have non-functional devices.
Reassignment Program This Year . . .
- 693 individuals received refurbished or repaired devices
- Total amount saved by consumers was $627,327
Consumer Satisfaction for Reuse Activities This Year…
- 98.54% for the ratings of highly satisfied and satisfied.
Meet Matthew. He and his brother, Buddy, live in a 2-story farm house in rural Kansas. Matthew uses a manual wheelchair with a mount for his communication device. He uses an eye gaze bar with his device to tell really corny jokes at school. His manual chair was six years old and breaking down. Matthew and his mom contacted the Assistive Technology for Kansans office in their region to request a refurbished manual wheelchair. The ATK staff were able to match him with a tiltin-space manual wheelchair that works with his mounting system and delivered it to his house the next week. Matthew is preparing for transition from high school to the community and has the technology he needs to stay mobile.
Device Loan Activities
Short-term device loans enable individuals or entities to borrow and “try-out” devices. A short-term device loan is not a permanent reassignment, but enables individuals to have direct access to devices, often in the environment where they will be used.
Device Loan Program This Year . . .
- Provided equipment to 507 borrowers
- Total of 616 devices were borrowed
- Purposes were – 73.18% to assist in decision-making 1.18% to serve as a loaner during device repair or while waiting for funding 22.68% to provide a short-term accommodation 2.96% for other purposes
Consumer Satisfaction for Device Loan Activities This Year…
- 96.06% for the ratings of highly satisfied and satisfied.
An Example: A young boy with cerebral palsy used a gait trainer and adapted tricycle, funded by Assistive Technology for Kansans staff, to get around. His education team was concerned that he couldn't keep up with his peers and clearly wanted to be part of playground activities. His mother was concerned about moving from a gait trainer to a manual wheelchair.
Assistive Technology for Kansans staff offered to go with her and her son to the seating clinic to see what was possible. The mom declined but agreed to have a service provider come to the school if ATK staff could arrange it. The family and school team participated in the evaluation, several wheelchairs were demonstrated, and a sample chair was left for short-term loan.
Everyone agreed the loaner wheelchair worked for him but his mom was concerned that he might be teased. ATK staff suggested adding special wheel cover decals to increase the cool factor -Spider Man wheel covers were added to the recommendations. To lower costs, ATK staff worked with seating clinic staff to provide a pediatric wheelchair base. Funds were raised through private foundations to cover remaining costs. He and his friends agree the bright red wheelchair with Spider Man wheels is awesome!
Device Demonstration Activities
Device demonstrations provide individuals a guided experience with assistive technology devices with the assistance of someone who has technical expertise related to the device. Device demonstrations support an informed decision about assistive technology by comparing the features and benefits of assistive technology. Referrals to AT vendors, professionals, and funding sources are often made following the demonstration.
Device Loan Program This Year . . .
- Provided 485 demonstrations to decision-makers with a total of 485 individuals participating
- Total of 2,088 referrals were made –
- 18.15% to a funding source 54.45% to a vendor 27.25% to a service provider
Consumer Satisfaction for Device Demonstration Activities This Year…
- 99.28% for the ratings of highly satisfied and satisfied.
Meet Robert. He left his job as an auto mechanic due to increasing vision loss associated with Retinitus Pigmentosa and a progressive hearing loss.
He contacted Assistive Technology for Kansans (ATK) for technology to access the Internet, pay bills online, and stay in contact with family, friends since travel and communication in crowds is difficult for him.
ATK staff demonstrated a range of tablets, laptops, smartphones, and input devices. He decided he would like to try an iPad Pro tablet with a rugged keyboard case with backlighting and a few Bluetooth (BT) noise cancelling headsets. After loan of the devices, he agreed the loaned equipment were the right devices for him.
ATK staff obtained funds for the tablet with case, smartphone, noise cancelling BT headset, and wi-fi booster to support remote rural access.
Now Robert can order materials for home improvement projects online, manage his bills, and stay in contact with family and friends across the country using FaceTime, Facebook, iMessage, and texts.
Training and Information & Assistance Activities
Training is conducted to increase knowledge, skills, and competencies regarding assistive technology. Information and assistance activities are responses to requests by telephone, email, or other means for information about assistive technology products, policies, and funding and provides referrals to appropriate entities for additional support.
Training This Year . . .
- A total of 1,977 individuals participated in training activities
High Impact Training
Assistive Technology for Kansans and Kansas Rehabilitation Services sponsored a multi-regional training on assistive technology for employment for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselors, VR Specialists, and VR management staff.
Over 60 staff had hands on experience with technology and heard consumers discuss the importance of technology in obtaining and maintaining employment. Outcomes of this training have been increased referrals to the AT program, increased acquisition of technology for VR customers, and stronger relationships between the two programs.
Assistive Technology for Kansans collaborated with Families Together, a statewide family advocacy organization, to provide information about the impact of technology to support personal goals in transitioning to the community, employment, and post-secondary activities.
Information & Communication Technology
Assistive Technology for Kansans collaborated with Families Together, a statewide family advocacy organization, to provide information about the impact of technology to support personal goals in transitioning to the community, employment and post-secondary activities.
Information & Assistance This Year . . .
- A total of 2,370 individuals were served by information and assistance activities. An additional 6,940 participated in public awareness activities.
Information & Outreach
A series of workshops and trainings on production of accessible documents were conducted at a state and national level. Assistive Technology for Kansans staff, subcontractor staff, and attendees at two national conferences and a national webinar increased awareness of built-in accessibility features and are able to verify a document is accessible. Assistive Technology for Kansans and staff from six subcontracting entities produce all documents in accessible formats.
Assistive Technology for Kansans developed a Press Packet for project-sponsored durable medical equipment donation drives that includes planning and timeline samples and templates; media templates for newspapers, cable TV, radio, and websites; and tips on selecting and recruiting local partners.
The packet was successfully used by six subcontractors and an outside organization volunteered to conduct their own donation drive using the materials.
Over $100,000 of durable medical equipment was donated in a four-month period and seven new partner organizations were cultivated as a result of these activities. The new partners are continuing to promote the reuse program and other services provided by Assistive Technology for Kansans.