ATPN logo: outline of USA lit up like a lightbulb by a red switch.
 AT Pro
gram News
  News for and from the State AT Act
  Programs, the Alternative Financing Programs,
  and their community partners

                            November/December 2009
In This Issue
Welcome to the first edition of ATPN
Tool Box: Deaf/Hard of Hearing Mobile Demo Inventory
Did You Know?: Santa Finds Donations for Mississippi Project Start
Nifty Product: The FreeWheel
Hot Resource: ATIA Orlando Discount Codes!
Success! How an AFP Helped the Woodburys Enjoy Halloween
Ask the Expert: Performance Measure Blues
Free Stuff: Camera Mouse

Welcome . . .

to the first edition of AT Program News (ATPN)! ATPN was created to serve the common mission of the State Assistive Technology Act Programs, the Alternative Financing Programs (AFPs), and their community partners. If you work with a program that provides AT services to people with disabilities, this newsletter is for you. If your program receives funding channeled through the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended, then you are the bulls-eye target audience.

Most AT programs are looking for effective ways to help people with disabilities gain access to the AT they need, and to do so with limited funding. ATPN was created to regularly share ideas, challenges, and solutions with one another.
 
Here's what's planned

An e-zine and blog with columns gleaned from the following categories:

    * Features: original articles highlighting a program, strategy or some other topic of interest to the AT program community.
    * Field News: content provided by your programs. AT Program News will reprint articles of common interest from AT program newsletters or help you create an original article (with ATPN editing support) that you may also use in your own publication.
    * Did you know? Brief informational features highlighting a program, issue, tip or person.
    * Success Stories: profiles of programs and/or consumers. Have a suggestion? ATPN can draft an engaging profile that your program's newsletter can use too.
    * Tool Box: sample AT demo or loan tool boxes for different purposes. An elder outreach toolbox. A portable computer access toolbox. A low vision tool box. (You get the idea.)
    * Hot Resource: a website, hotline or other useful resource to know about.
    * Nifty Product: from AbleData, AssistiveTech or elsewhere.
    * Free Stuff: the goodies everyone wants to be aware of.
    * Ask the Expert: ask ATPN the question, and we'll seek the answer from NISAT-ATAP, NATTAP-RESNA or another appropriate authority. Worried about sounding stupid? Don't. Questions are posed anonymously. (Everyone has a right to be stupid sometimes.)
   
What blog where?

Each article in ATPN links to a posting at www.atprogramnews.com (except "Ask the Expert"). Here you can respond, make suggestions, find additional resources, search articles, and connect with other readers and colleagues.

ATPN Survey

This past summer AT Program News surveyed the State AT Act Programs and the AFPs for their interest in a national newsletter. The survey had 82 respondents, and many took the time to write useful suggestions and comments. Thanks to everyone who participated.
 
Survey highlights:
  • 83% want a national newsletter
  • 52% want it monthly, 44% want it quarterly
  • 69% want a blend of features and shorter pieces
  • 96% want to read about effective outreach to underserved communities
  • 93% want to read about effective public awareness and marketing
  • 85% want an Ask the Expert column with NATTAP-RESNA and NISAT-ATAP (and 45% want it to be anonymous)
  • 96% want an AT conference calendar
  • 47% use Facebook
Again, thank you for your feedback, and please continue to share your ideas.
 
--Eliza Anderson, editor

ATPN thanks the National Assistive Technology Technical Assistance Partnership (NATTAP) for providing partial funding for this project.

ATPN also thanks Deborah Buck at the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP) for her early enthusiasm and spirit.

ATPN seeks sponsors and partners. Send in your ideas!

Have a comment? Click here.


Tool Box: Deaf/Hard of Hearing Mobile Demo AT Inventory 
 
TTAP logo with wheelchair access imageBelow is a listing of AT for deaf and hard of hearing mobile demonstrations provided by the Signal Centers in southeastern TN.

Signal is a TN TAP partner that runs AT Regional Centers and carries devices for demos to homes and workplaces as needed. The Signal Centers have created portable units tailored to different disabilities.

Alert systems--
a variety of alert systems including the following components:
-     Vibrating bed shaker
-       Baby monitor
-       Fire alarm
-       2 Small lamps
-       Fire alert transmitter
Phone options:
-       Amplified phones
-       In line amplifier
-       TTY
-       Caption telephone
-       Voice carryover phone
-       Information about Sorenson etc.
FM Systems:
-       Head set
-       Induction loop
Watches with vibrating alarms
Alternative keyboard for communication purposes (if client doesn't use manual signs).
Did You Know?: Santa Finds Donations for Mississippi Project Start

Santa's head next to the words "reuse! reuse! reuse!" and a bell
Christmas is a good time for the Mississippi Project Start reuse program. The program pushes the spirit of giving... in the form of those unused walkers, commodes and other DME and AT devices! According to Project Director Dorothy Young, the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services [MDRS] is successful because of an unusual role donned by MDRS Executive Director H.S. "Butch" McMillan. "[He] pretends like he's Santa Claus on the radio and asks for donations and they pour in!"
(Mississippi Project Start is administered by the MDRS)

Have a marketing or program outreach idea to share? Click here
Nifty Product: The FreeWheel

Man using freewheel on grass path next to stream with 2 children










The FreeWheel (TM) Wheelchair Attachment was designed by Pat Dougherty (who uses a wheelchair himself) to allow users to push over surfaces that are usually unnavigable. The device is a large wheel that clamps to the footrest of a wheel chair and can spin 360 degrees. It lifts the smaller caster wheels and converts a chair from four wheels to three in minutes.

FreeWheel device on a wheelchair moving over a curb

Dougherty lives in Boise, Idaho and loves the outdoors. The website advertises that FreeWheel "makes strolling, exercising, hiking or just checking the mailbox [...] so much easier."

The FreeWheel is made in Boise and sells for $499. Dougherty would like to mass produce it someday to lower the price. Testimonials and more photos are available at www.gofreewheel.com.

Have a comment? Click here

Disclaimer: AT Program News makes no endorsement, representation, or warranty expressed or implied for any product, device, or information set forth in this newsletter. AT Program News has not examined, reviewed, or tested any product or device referred to in this electronic newsletter or at www.atprogramnews.com.
Hot Resource: ATIA Orlando Discount Codes!
ATIA 2010 Orlando: Showcasing Excellence in Assistive Technology

Dear AT Act Program, AFP and PAAT members,

The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) is pleased to announce your eligibility for discounted admission to attend ATIA 2010 Orlando (January 27-30, 2010) at the Caribe Royale All-Suites Hotel & Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. This benefit is exclusively available to friends of ATIA as a result of the partnership between our organizations.
 
To take advantage of this discounted registration program, please use Early Bird Alliance Discount Authorization Code 8CRES or 8ATAB by November 18, 2009. With this code your fee is just $350, a $175 discount from onsite registration.
 
ATIA 2010 Orlando provides an opportunity for people with disabilities, and those who support, work with, employ or educate people with disabilities, access to the latest AT products and services information, and un-paralleled networking opportunities.  Here is just a sample of all the combined benefits available:
  • Network with more than 2,000 professionals and consumers using assistive technologies every day to learn more about best practices and which products and services really work.
  • Choose from more than 200 educational sessions including lectures, demonstrations and hands-on labs allowing you to maximize your professional development and earn continuing education units (CEUs).
  • Meet other AT Act Program representatives and learn from their experiences in the AT Act Program strand.
  • Explore innovative AT products and services showcased by 100+ top industry vendors. There is an AT Act Programs booth to raise awareness among the public of the services available.  
To capitalize on this great opportunity, simply follow these easy steps:
 
First:
and register for the Alliance Partner Discount program. You will be prompted to enter your coupon code.

OR

so you can register by email, fax or mail. Note the Alliance Partner Discount Code # box.

Second:
Enter the ATIA 2010 Orlando Discount Code: Use Code 8CRES or 8ATAB through November 18, 2009 to secure the $350 fee.

Use Code 8CLRES or 8LATAB after November 18, 2009 to secure the $400 fee.

For complete information on ATIA 2010 Orlando, including a list of exhibitors and sessions, visit the ATIA 2010 Orlando web page.

--Caroline Van Howe, director of programs, ATIA
Join Our Mailing List
Quick Links
Success Story: How an AFP Helped the Woodburys Enjoy Halloween

The Woodburys on their new tricycle
The Woodburys out of costume

This past Halloween, the neighbors on Lynn Street did a double-take when they saw two lions happily pedaling by in a shiny yellow tricycle built for two.

The tricyclists were Kriss Woodbury and her daughter Hannah, 8, out trick-or-treating in their matching lion costumes. They had just picked up Hannah's new two-person tricycle and were taking it out for its very first spin.

Hannah has a number of disabilities and doesn't have the strength, coordination or eyesight to ride a regular tricycle.  Kriss thought the two-person variety, that they could both pedal, would give Hannah's legs some much-needed exercise and get her out into the sunshine.

But the tricycle cost more than Kriss, a single working mother, could afford.

So she turned to the Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan Program (MATLP). The MATLP is an interest buy down and loan guarantee program enabling people with disabilities and families to access affordable credit to purchase AT. The program is administered by Easter Seals of Massachusetts, and Sovereign Bank is the program's lending partner. Leo Tonevski, the loan program coordinator, helped her through the loan process. "Leo was just super," she said.  "He went out of his way to help me."

Hannah got to choose the tricycle's color and picked her favorite - yellow.  On nice days, she loves peddling it on the flat road beside the beach near her house.

"The tricycle has made a huge difference in Hannah's life," Kriss says. "Without it she would have been cooped up in the house, bored out of her mind and very frustrated. It's also exercising her legs . . . and it's made me realize how out of shape I've gotten!"
 
Reprinted with permission from Easter Seals-MA

Have a comment? Click here

Have a success story you wish you had time to write? ATPN can draft a profile that your program's newsletter can use too. Contact ATPN and put "story idea" in the subject line.
Ask the Expert: Performance Measure Blues

Dear Expert:

The short-term device loan programs can't get credit for equipment loans that serve a short-term need, only loans that help a consumer make a decision about equipment. Why is that? And how can it change? My program is more effective than the access performance measure can show!

Signed,
Confused at the Demo/Loan Center

Dear Confused:

According to Diane Golden, program coordinator for the National Information System for Assistive Technology (NISAT), State AT Act Programs absolutely do get "credit" for all short-term device loans. Device loans are reported in the federal data system by type of purpose including allowing individuals or entities to "try-out" devices in support of decision-making, to serve as a loaner while waiting for device repair or funding, to provide a short-term accommodation, or for other purposes. So the national data system does include all short-term device loans regardless of purpose and the aggregate number is a reflection of the scope of services provided by State AT Act Programs.

The performance measures, on the other hand, are not intended to cover each and every individual or entity served through State AT Act Program activities. Performance measures are intended to go a step further than the aggregate number and track an outcome or improvement made possible by a provided service. For the State AT Act Programs, the "access performance measure" is about decision-making after a device loan or demonstration. The "acquisition performance measure" is about the reason someone acquires a device through a state financing or reutilization program. So while the aggregate number is comprehensive, the performance measure data is not.

Rest assured, however, the aggregate data you provide is powerful. Nationally, according to NISAT, the programs programs provided 31,947 device demonstrations during FFY2008 and 38,411 device loans.

As for creating additional performance measures, Golden tells AT Program News: "That would be something for Rehabilitation Services Administration staff to consider. The two current performance measures were developed after a very long and arduous development process that involved multiple community stakeholders and RSA staff. I would assume any additional performance measures would require a similar development process."

Want to Ask the Expert? ATPN will ask for you. To Ask the Expert, contact ATPN and put "Expert" in the subject line. All questions are posed anonymously from start to finish.
Free Stuff: Camera Mouse 2009

Camera Mouse 2009 is a FREE program that allows you to control the mouse pointer on a Windows computer just by moving your head.

The program was developed to help people with disabilities use the computer.  It was designed for people who do not have reliable control of a hand but who can move their head.  People with Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, various neurological disorders use this program and its predecessors to run all types of computer software. 

Camera Mouse works with Windows Vista or Windows XP operating systems and a standard USB webcam.  People use Camera Mouse with entertainment programs, education programs, communication programs, web browsers, and so on. Camera Mouse works best with application programs that require only a mouse and a left click and that do not have tiny targets. 

The program was created with support from the National Science Foundation, the Philanthropy Committee of Mitsubishi Electronic Research Labs (MERL), the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, the Accenture Fund at Boston College. Boston College, and Boston University. Download it for free at www.cameramouse.org.
AT Program News | c/o Eliza Anderson | Huntley Road | Westford | VT | 05494