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Resources for Adaptive Equipment & Assistive Technology
Adaptive equipment and assistive technology are essential to improving the quality of life and level of independence for people with disabilities. Examples of such equipment might be wheelchairs, lifts, swings, tricycles, communication devices, tablets, computer software, shower chairs, specialty eating or writing utensils and much more. These items can help individuals with mobility, communication, sensory, recreational, or social needs. Too often, cost or availability can be a major barrier to someone in need of such equipment. Here is a list of valuable resources that can help people access adaptive equipment and assistive technology:
- The UCP Elsie S. Bellows Fund – This fund, administered by United Cerebral Palsy, provides grants for the purchase or repair of assistive technology devices and adaptive equipment to individuals with disabilities who show financial need. Examples of eligible equipment include wheelchairs, lifts, and computer equipment. To apply, contact your local chapter of UCP. Visit the affiliate search web page to find the contact information for your area.
- MassMATCH – Each state has a unique program for helping people access assistive technology. In Massachusetts, MassMATCH defines their mission as “promoting the use of assistive technology and assistive technology services to enhance the independence of people with disabilities, enabling equal participation in all of life’s activities”. Their various programs offer regional centers where individuals can go to test out different types of gear, a low-interest loan program to purchase needed items and free refurbished medical and adaptive equipment. These items can help people with disabilities be more successful in the workforce, travel independently, communicate, and so much more.
- Great Bike Giveaway – Every year, this organization aims to provide 600 free adaptive bicycles to children with special needs from all over the country. To find out how to register for this contest, subscribe to their mailing list. Also be sure to check out Friendship Circle’s resource list for other sources of adaptive bicycles.
- Challenged Athletes Foundation – This organization offers a grants for athletes with physical disabilities to help them access adaptive sports equipment. Their Access for Athletes program provides the opportunity to receive a grant for specialty wheelchairs, adaptive bicycles, sports prosthetics, and more depending on the need of the individual and their sport.
- Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism – The Allison Keller Education Technology Program helps schools and other organizations access valuable assistive technology equipment for children with autism and other disabilities. Eligible items include computers, tablets, smart boards, and applicable training. Although this program is not for individuals, it could be greatly beneficial to your child or family member in the classroom setting.