Report: Growing Assistive Technology Awareness through State Programs, Partnerships, and Innovation

Building partnerships through collaboration between assistive technology programs and long-term services and supports (LTSS) agencies is one way to expand awareness and facilitate access to AT devices and services.

The AARP Public Policy Institute produced a report in collaboration with the Administration on Community Living and State Assistive Technology Act programs on assistive technology (AT) program partnerships and innovations in states. The report provides valuable information and ideas on partnerships that can improve quality of life for those using assistive technology.

Assistive Technology (AT) refers to any item, device, piece of equipment, or system that can increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities for older adults and individuals of all ages with disabilities.

It includes a wide range of technologies, from smart home and vehicle automation, to devices that enable communication with health care providers, or with people and programs to reduce social isolation. AT programs which run in partnership with state, local, and community organizations enable people with disabilities and older adults, caregivers and others working with them, to learn about, access and acquire AT. These programs, however, which can be real game changers and even life savers for so many families and individuals, are underutilized.

Generally, people are unaware of how and where to find information about available AT, how to use the technology, where to find training and support, where to purchase the technology, and what funding resources are available to pay for the technology. Building partnerships among organizations serving people with disabilities and/or older adults is one way to expand awareness and access to AT.

The AARP report, produced in collaboration with the Administration for Community Living, State Assistive Technology Act Programs, examines partnerships happening around the country at the state level to increase awareness and adoption of this important form of technology. It offers thumbnail case studies of state programs that are finding innovative ways to expand the availability of AT (and includes contact information for each).