The 21st Century Assistive Technology Act specifies the statewide activities required of programs receiving funds under Section 4 of the AT Act. State Leadership activities authorized by the AT Act include providing training, technical assistance, information and referral, and public awareness throughout the state or territory. A portion of training and technical assistance efforts are focused on transition (from school to work; from school to other aspects of adult life; or from congregate to community-based settings). Additionally, activities to improve accessibility of information and communication technology (ICT) are conducted.

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Training activities are instructional events, usually planned in advance for a specific purpose or audience that are designed to increase participants’ knowledge, skills, and competencies regarding assistive technology (AT). Topics may include AT and the IEP; AT for Aging in Place; Assuring Accessibility of Your Website (e.g. for webmasters); or AT for successful transition to Post-Secondary Education. Such events can be delivered to large or small groups, in-person, or via telecommunications or other distance education mechanisms.

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Technical Assistance

Generally, the purpose of technical assistance is to improve the capacity of the beneficiary organization, as evidenced by increased efficiency, increased effectiveness, and/or increased funding (CCF, 2010). The request for assistance to establish or improve assistive technology policies and procedures may be made by entities “targeted” in the AT Act, including but not limited to “representatives of State and local educational agencies, other State and local agencies, early intervention programs, adult service programs, hospitals and other health care facilities, institutions of higher education, and businesses.” Technical assistance may involve multiple contacts and interactions over an extended period of time.

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Public Awareness

The AT Act describes public awareness activities as activities “to provide information to targeted individuals and entities relating to the availability, benefits, appropriateness and costs of assistive technology devices and services.” This includes the development and distribution of informational materials regarding the AT Act Program activities. Public awareness activities are intended to reach large numbers of individuals, e.g. through exhibits and expos, blogs and websites, and the distribution of program information.

Information and Assistance (I&A)

  • Public Awareness also includes information and referral including individual assistance to “…deliver information on assistive technology devices, assistive technology services (with specific data regarding provider availability within the State), and the availability of resources, including funding through public and private sources, to obtain assistive technology devices and assistive technology services.” I&A reflects the specific needs of people with disabilities, their families, and other stakeholders contacting the AT Act Program, and is conducted to provide consumers with accurate, timely, and complete responses to their requests for AT-related information.

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