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Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT)
Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT) is a statewide program whose goal is to assure a system of easy access to Assistive Technology (AT) to all Pennsylvanians with disabilities. This includes access to information, devices, services, and funding. PIAT is a program for individuals with disabilities, regardless of age, disability type, location or type of residence. Most services are provided at no cost to consumers with disabilities, their family members and advocates.
Community Resources for Independence is one of PIAT’s Assistive Technology Resource Centers (ATRCs) and serves Clarion, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties.
CRI can provide or arrange for hands-on opportunities for people with disabilities and family members to explore specific AT devices and improve their knowledge of the kind of AT that may help them. Device demonstrations can help you decide what assistive technology is right for you. Device demonstrations are available on request, and can be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time and location.
Pennsylvania’s Assistive Technology Lending Library is a free, state-supported program that loans AT devices to Pennsylvanians of all ages. This program allows you try a device for a limited time (typically 2-8 weeks) to be sure it meets your needs at home, on the job, at school or in your community - before you buy it! If you find that the device isn’t right for you, you can borrow another! You can also borrow a device if yours is "in the shop," or if you are waiting for your "own" device to be funded. Providers can borrow devices in order to conduct evaluations, or to become more informed about the devices that are available to the people they serve. Businesses can borrow devices to see what accommodations will work for an employee with disabilities, or to try out some solutions as "public accommodations" for people with disabilities.
CRI provides individualized assistance to people with disabilities and their families who are searching for funding for AT devices and services. CRI can help navigate the maze of insurance, public programs, and non-governmental funding sources to help determine which ones might help you acquire the AT you need.
Equipment Recycling and Reuse
CRI can assist you with sources for "previously-owned" devices, usually available at a lower cost than buying new. You can contact these sources if you are trying to find, or trying to dispose of, used equipment that is still in working order. The Recycled and Exchanged Equipment Partnership (REEP) is a classified listing of used devices to be sold or donated.
CRI provides information and referral to help educate consumers about their choices of AT devices and service providers. Consumers can call, write, or email CRI for AT help. You may call CRI's Information & Referral Specialist at 814-838-7222, or 800-530-5541, or you may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. CRI conducts public awareness events to introduce the scope and potential for AT devices and services. CRI can come to your agency or organization, attend your group meeting, or participate in your conference or exhibit hall to provide a program overview of PIAT and other resources for AT in Pennsylvania.
Technical Assistance and Training
CRI offers training to service providers in order to increase their AT-related knowledge and skills to better support people with disabilities. CRI provides technical assistance to public and private agencies to develop and improve policies related to access to AT devices and services, including AT and transition from school to work or from nursing facilities to community living.
CRI collaborates and coordinates with the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation, www.patf.us 888-744-1938 (voice) and 877-693-7271 (TTY) and the Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy, Inc., www.ppainc.org, regarding their Assistive Technology Act-funded activities, in order to improve access to assistive technology for all Pennsylvanians.
For questions regarding this service or these programs, call CRI at (814) 838-7222, TTY (814) 838-8115 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
PIAT is the Commonwealth’s Assistive Technology Act Program, funded through a grant from Rehabilitation Services Administration, US Department of Education.