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
(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:
- increase public and government awareness of the needs of individuals with disabilities for assistive technology devices and services;
- increase the availability of assistive devices and services, including helping States review or establish policies and procedures that may help ensure the availability of assistive devices; increase funding for the provision of devices and revise policies that impede device availability; build State and local capability to provide them; and improve coordination among public and private agencies; and
- increase the awareness and knowledge of the efficacy of assistive technology among persons with disabilities, their families, professionals who work with the disabled, employers, and other appropriate people.
|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
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.
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:
- Utah established assistive technology service centers in five sites throughout the State. Each of these centers assesses more than 300 clients a year.
- Maine established an interactive cable television program which reached homes, offices, and classrooms throughout the State.
- Illinois set up a store-front information center and office in the State capitol.
- Colorado funded five "Assistive Technology Teams" through a competitive process. The teams are multidisciplinary, with individuals experienced in service delivery who meet with consumers and their families across the State on a regular basis. Colorado also funded a study to find out what programs already exist that will help with the costs of assistive technology, and what barriers exist for access to these programs or to establishing new ones.
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:
- work through local and cultural and community organizations to provide assistive technology training to traditionally underserved populations;
- an adaptive equipment loan financing plan for North Carolina Citizens with Disabilities;
- preservice preparation for careers in assistive technology; and
- development of video-based training materials to train rehabilitation counselors in the provision of assistive technology.
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
- Program files.
IV. Planned Studies
V. Contacts for Further Information
- Program operations:
- Carol Cohen, (202) 732-1139
- Program studies:
- Nancy Rhett, (202) 401-3630
[Special Institutions for Persons with Disabilities]
[Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR)]