A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Biennial Evaluation Report - FY 93-94

Chapter 336

Technology-Related Assistance

(CFDA Nos. 84.224 and 84.231)

I. Program Profile

Legislation: Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988, P.L. 100-407, Title I (U.S.C. 2201-2217) (expires September 30, 1998).

Purpose: The Technology Assistance program authorizes support for a variety of activities intended to enhance the ability of individuals of all ages with disabilities to obtain assistive devices and services. Major advances in technology have resulted in devices and help in learning to use them, and continued support is not always easily available or even known about.

The activities authorized are intended to:

Funding History

Fiscal Year Appropriation
1989 $ 5,150,000
1990 14,814,000
1991 20,982,000
1992 28,000,000
1993 34,067,795
1994 37,744,000

II. Program Informaion and Analysis

Population Targeting

The population that receives services under this legislative authority includes a wide variety of persons with disabilities for whom assistive technology can help with tasks in daily life, in school training programs, and at the workplace.

In addition, this program is aimed at improving the knowledge and cooperation of persons who may work with or serve disabled persons, including staff of appropriate agencies and organizations, employers, family members, and others.

Services

Two main types of awards are made under this program: (1) discretionary grants to agencies designated by the Governors to develop comprehensive State programs that coordinate or directly serve persons needing assistive technology, and (2) demonstration and innovation grants in local agencies.

Grants to States Technology Assistance. This program provides for competitive discretionary grants to States to establish Statewide programs of technology-related assistance.

The State projects may carry out a wide variety of activities, depending on the particular needs in the State, including: identifying the number and needs of persons with disabilities for assistive technology; identifying and coordinating resources for services and devices; directly providing devices and services to those who need them; information dissemination and public awareness; training and technical assistance; assistance to Statewide and community-based organizations; partnerships and cooperative initiatives; improving staff qualifications; compilation and evaluation of data; and procedures for involving concerned citizens.

FY 1993 grants totaling $ 31.8 million were made to 52 States and Outlying Areas for this program. The projects have resulted in models of service delivery and support activities which can be adopted by other States and communities. For example:

Demonstration and Innovation Grants. This program provides for awards to private agencies and organizations to operate model projects for delivering assistive technology and services; research; development; and loan projects. In 1990, the first year of operation for this program, 10 innovation projects were funded in private agencies for a total of $1.5 million. In FY 1993, 10 continuation awards were made. Projects included the following:

Program Administration

All awards are competitive, with the exception of one legislatively directed award to the National Council on Disability.

Under the State grant program, the development grants are awarded for 3 years. States may apply for an additional 2 years of funding if the Secretary of Education determines that the State made significant progress during the first grant. No State may receive more than 5 years of funding under this activity.

The Governor must designate a lead agency which applies for the State grant funding and coordinates with other appropriate agencies in the State. Lead agencies have included State vocational rehabilitation agencies, State education agencies, universities, health and human service agencies, and Governors' councils.

Management Improvement Strategies

The Secretary is required to develop an information system providing quantitative and qualitative data on the program's impact. In FY 1990, a 3-year technical assistance contract was awarded to provide help to the grantee States in implementing their development grants and to work with them in developing the information system. The contractor offers consultation on such matters as building a more efficient administrative structure, leadership training for improved project performance, strengthening consumer involvement, writing effective interagency agreements, effecting system change, and locating funding sources to help individuals acquire assistive devices. The contractor is also coordinating self-evaluations by the grantees.

In FY 1992, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) funded an evaluation of the feasibility of loan demonstration projects and on-site peer reviews of the first nine grantees to assess their suitability for extension grants.

III. Sources of Information

  1. Program files.

IV. Planned Studies

None

V. Contacts for Further Information

Program operations:
Carol Cohen, (202) 732-1139

Program studies:
Nancy Rhett, (202) 401-3630

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