Initiatives from the Field


Community Living

California’s Public Safety Power Shutoff events in October 2019, 10 Independent Living Centers received over 800 calls urgently requesting power for oxygen equipment, CPAP/BiPAP machines, and power wheelchairs. The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) collaborated with Pacific Gas and Electric to assist people with disabilities and older adults before, during, and after an emergency. Through many of the Independent Living Centers and several community partners, CFILC launched a pilot disaster readiness program, Disability Disaster Access & Resources. This program assists those who use electrical medical devices to access backup portable batteries and charging stations in their region.

Health Care

The Kansas Health Policy Authority (KHPA, Kansas Medicaid) requested assistance from AT for Kansans to develop a tele-health service delivery policy for occupational therapy. Staff from the AT Program reviewed the Occupational Therapy Association’s position and guidelines on tele-health service delivery and obtained state Medicaid contacts in rural states with a similar population distribution. This information was shared with the KHPA contacts. A tele-health practice policy and guidelines were developed and adopted by the state legislature in the 2018–2019 session.

Employment

Hawaii’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) partnered with the AT Resource Center (ATRC) to provide four individuals with disabilities a workplace experience for two months. ATRC’s employees work with the Aging and Disability Resource Centers and the Disability and Communications Access Board to promote partnerships with employers to empower individuals with disabilities to live independent and self-sufficient lives.

Ohio’s AT Program helped the new governor, Mike DeWine, craft a set of executive orders, signed minutes after being sworn in, that foster independence and employment for people with disabilities. These initiatives call for the Department of Administrative Services to appoint an ADA coordinator. They also mandate that state employees undergo regular training, including training on AT related to employment, to increase hiring opportunities within state government.

Education & Transition

The Idaho AT Program developed 5 modules of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) training for speech/language pathologists and education professionals. This training was conducted face to face in 3 locations across the state, made available online, and offered for professional development credit. The AAC in the classroom practices and procedures were developed and distributed through the trainings and made available online.

Information and Communication Technology Accessibility

The Colorado AT Act Program, in collaboration with the University of Colorado Denver’s Dept. of Bioengineering and the College of Engineering, developed six courses for undergraduate and graduate bioengineering students. The courses train these students to become designers of AT and/or rehabilitation/bioengineers and prepare them to enter the AT workforce. Course descriptions can be found here: www1.ucdenver.edu/centers/center-for-inclusive-design-and-engineering/education.