A.T. to the Rescue!

As someone who works with Assistive Technology (A.T.) devices on a daily basis, I’ve seen first-hand what A.T. can do to help people with disabilities remain independent.  Technically, assistive technology is any device, equipment, or item that lets a person with a disability be more independent and have an improved quality of life. 

Automatic door openers are considered assistive technology.

Automatic door openers are considered assistive technology.

All of us use A.T. on a fairly regular basis.  If you don’t think so, consider that every time you put on your glasses, you’re using A.T.  That’s also true of each time you turn on your air conditioner, dishwasher, wash machine or dryer.  There are so many items that fall under the category: items to help with cooking and cleaning, dressing and grooming, cognitive improvement devices, recreation items, devices to improve mobility and environmental controls.  There are literally thousands of items, all designed to help you remain independent.

If you need any of these items, you’ll likely be glad to learn that many of them aren’t overwhelmingly expensive.  Many A.T. devices cost less than $50, with a substantial amount under $20.  For higher priced items, Michigan participates in a Federal Loan Program called the Assistive Technology Loan Fund (ATLF).  The ATLF helps people with disabilities who can’t afford A.T. purchase what is needed.  Those who have a disability, guardians or family members, may borrow up to $30,000. 

Disability Network/Lakeshore is the site for the ATLF in Allegan and Ottawa Counties.  If you’re looking for help in either identifying assistive technology to help you remain independent, or paying for it, please call the DNL office.  We’d be delighted to assist you!

Chris Wistrom, chris@dnlakeshore.org