Access to Assistive Technology

Assistive technology (AT) is any device or equipment used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of persons with disabilities — assistive technology service is any service that helps in the selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology device. Without needed AT and related services, persons with disabilities are not only denied the medical benefit of the AT, but often also unnecessarily restricted in access to programs and activities, and unable to fully participate in school and community life. AT is often necessary to allow the person to be most integrated into a family, school or community setting.

DRW conducts investigations and provides representation for persons in need of AT. The goal is to obtain both the AT they may need, such as a power wheelchair or speech-generating device, and any related AT service, such as a medical evaluation and prescription and training in use of the device. DRW choses cases that will have a systemic impact. DRW works with other advocates and counsel to to advocate, monitor and negotiate with the state Health Care Authority regarding changes to rules, policies and laws applying to Medicaid funded services including durable medical equipment, especially regarding the impact of these services for people with disablities. DRW also conducts assistive technology outreach activities, including trainings, outreach visits, and collaboration with other advocates, to increase awareness of DRW's assistive technology resources and priorities, expand opportunities for information and referrals, develop self-advocacy plans and strategies, and to invite additional requests for services.

Summary of work: 

Milestone: 2012

DRW has successfully obtained Medicaid funding for several clients denied funding for their medically necessary power wheelchairs with an integrated stander. These clients, all students, needed the standing function both for medical reasons, and to achieve greater independence in their participation in school, family, and community activities.