SCATP 2007 Summary

South Carolina Assistive Technology Program
Center for Disability Resources, USC School of Medicine
Program Summary 2007

For the past sixteen years, the mission of SCATP has been to increase the provision of, access to, and funding for assistive technology (AT) for South Carolinians of all ages and all disabilities through a variety of comprehensive activities and services available statewide. SCATP programs are not limited by eligibility criteria such as income, age, type of disability, or the reason that an individual needs AT.  Although located in the center of South Carolina, SCATP makes its programs available statewide through a toll-free number, an accessible Web site, publications in accessible formats on extensive topics related to AT, and by conducting activities in all regions of the state on a periodic basis. SCATP's staff includes professionals with expertise in the field of AT and disabilities. SCATP provides South Carolinians with access to expertise that helps people find AT for all areas of life, with particular emphasis on education, employment, information technology (IT) and telecommunication, and community living.

SCATP has an Advisory Council that is comprised of individuals representing all ages, disabilities, and various geographic regions of the state, to provide guidance in statewide planning and activity development.

SCATP Services Include:

  • AT Equipment Demonstration Center in Columbia
  • Short-term equipment loans that let you “try before you buy”
  • Online Equipment Exchange Program (AT “want ads”)
  • AT workshops and other training sessions, including an annual statewide AT Expo and Conference with a concurrent Web Accessibility Conference
  • Advocacy for improved AT access policies and funding
  • Informational material and publications in a variety of formats
  • Technical assistance regarding device selection, device operation, and access to funding
  • Participation in conferences, expos, and statewide committees that affect AT and IT accessibility policies and procedures

Trainings, Technical Assistance, Demonstrations and Equipment Loans

SCATP training and technical assistance activities are held in locations throughout the state and at national conferences and workshops. Trainings in the state are offered free or for a nominal charge and encompass a variety of AT topics. They are targeted to and accessible to individuals with many types of disabilities, their family members and service providers, as well as personnel from state agencies and entities that serve people with disabilities. Held each year, the South Carolina AT Expo offers continuing education sessions for many disciplines. Trainings are targeted to early intervention programs, libraries, schools, adult service programs, hospitals, healthcare facilities, professional organizations, institutions of higher education, disability support groups, and representatives of State and local educational agencies. The Expo provides approximately 60 exhibits of AT devices and services. Experienced personnel (service providers and vendors) are available to show low tech to high tech equipment for education, employment, mobility, recreation, augmentative communication, transportation, home modifications and independent living.

SCATP staff members travel to on-site locations in schools and agencies to provide technical assistance and consultation about types of equipment, modifications and software that might benefit a child, a student, or an adult with disabilities, and discussion of available resources for assessment, purchase, funding, device selection and use.

Access to Electronic and Information Technology in State Government

SCATP collaborates with the statewide Assistive Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC) under the Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the SC Budget and Control Board members to update and provide comprehensive, statewide trainings in the implementation of the “Web Site Accessibility Policy and Transition Plan for the State of South Carolina,” with the SC Web Accessibility Workgroup. A primary area of focus is accessibility of government electronic and information technology (including Web sites) for South Carolina’s citizens. SCATP is in the process of coordinating a committee of consumers with disabilities in reviewing web pages for state agencies, evaluating accessibility and usability.

Access to Assistive and Information Technology in Education

SCATP works within the University of South Carolina, School of Medicine, providing opportunities for collaboration with the Regional AT Specialists in the SC Department of Education, the Developmental Pediatric Clinic, the USC Center for Disability Resources Community Development Project and DDSN, including the Autism Division and Head and Spinal Cord Injury Division to provide a location for collaboration on trainings, demonstrations, AT assessments and consultations.

SCATP’s CD ROM “SC Curriculum Access through Assistive Technology” is distributed free of charge to school districts, agency administrators, training attendees and other interested persons. Principles for effective AT assessment and integration in the classroom are illustrated in the CD through text, videos, interviews and pictures of South Carolina’s students, parents, teachers, principals and therapists. The CD ROM itself is presented in a format that models information technology accessibility. It is used throughout the state for local trainings and presentations and as a self-paced learning tool. We are currently working on a training guide that can be used with this CD ROM.

AT Equipment Exchange, Information Dissemination, Referral and Networking

SCATP publications (approximately 35 fact sheets and articles) are widely distributed at conferences, meetings, trainings and events around the state. The SCATP Web page provides over 1100 links to state and national resources. SCATP publications are offered in alternate formats (e.g., enlarged text, Braille) upon request.

SCATP’s AT Online Network listserv reaches 1500 people throughout the state and shares information concerning AT equipment, services, funding challenges and networking opportunities.

SCATP manages an online recycling database, The South Carolina Assistive Technology Exchange, to help citizens with disabilities and older people with functional limitations find affordable assistive technology devices and equipment.

Impact on the Lives of South Carolinians: Two Examples

Cerebral palsy hasn't kept Kirk Garrett Jr. from academic honors, earning a college certificate in computer technology and working as a computer technician. His father realized early that "He can't pick up a pencil or pen and write, so the computer and keyboard must become his pencil and paper".
 
They connected with SCATP early in his school years and have used a full range of assistive technology since then. "There is no way to measure what the SCATP has done for us," says Kirk Sr. "Every year we learn about new possibilities when we attend the SC AT Expo. One year Kirk Jr. brought his employer to the Expo to give him an in-depth view of how people with disabilities can work in various settings. The SCATP AT Online Network has saved us time in researching new technology."

Kirk Jr. says, " I don't know what I would have done without SCATP. Their listserv has helped me trouble shoot technology challenges. Their encouragement and connection have provided me with professional opportunities to advocate for people with disabilities who want the chance to prove themselves and their abilities. I have grown up with SCATP and in the future hope to be a resource to many others through SCATP"

     Taffy Hardin, Director of the South Carolina Equipment Distribution Program (EDP) set up an equipment display at the 2005 South Carolina Assistive Technology Expo. She writes, "The Expo was a wonderful tool for our staff to promote SC EDP to the citizens throughout the state who are most in need of our services.  Attending the Expo saved the program time and money. We were able to see and compare demonstrations of various equipment and to obtain the latest technology information. After this one-day opportunity, we were able to make expert decisions when modifying our program equipment list.  SCATP provides invaluable services to state entities and private consumers."

Here's what South Carolinians are saying about the SC Assistive Technology Program:

My daughter has severe Vocal Apraxia and Hypotonia. SCATP was extremely helpful while trying to determine and medically justify the type of augmentative communication device for Medicaid funding. During a four-month period we checked out at least four high and low tech devices. Thus our speech pathologist was able to evaluate her on a wide range of devices, enabling the SLP to justify funding for the high end, expensive augmentative communication device that my daughter is capable of using. My family would have had difficulty paying for it, as it was not covered by our medical insurance. We continue to benefit from SCATP. The vendor for our daughter's speech device holds user training classes at SCATP free of charge. They help us support effective use of the device. Our therapists and early interventionists wanted to know why I was so much better informed about events, trainings and other things I brought to their attention. The answer was the SCATP listserv. As a parent I am grateful that my family has been blessed with such a program that I can utilize to help my daughter reach her potential. Gill Gunderson, Columbia SCATP assisted me during the last four years with my special needs students. Services were fundamental in training me for working with my autistic students from technology to parent training and visual schedules. SCATP staff willingly share an enormous amount of knowledge with others for the betterment of the special needs population. Their ability to facilitate information and impart knowledge gave me the foundation for working with my specialized population. Karen Senior, MA CCC-SLP, Richland School District One

SCATP is a critical resource serving individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them so they can achieve life goals. SCATP helps people achieve greater independence in mobility, communication, education, employment, recreation, family life and in the community as a whole. SCATP networks people to needed AT and funding. Their listserv provides an avenue for people to help each other by loaning, selling and donating equipment and by providing feedback and information about various AT. It builds a foundation for peer support and enhances overall success for achieving individual goals and improved quality of life. The AT Expo links vendors, users and service providers to available AT. Free courses benefit users and give continuing education credits needed to maintain professional licenses for health care and education professionals. Growing every year, the Expo is a benchmark for other such programs that could benefit from such solid partnerships with public, private, non-profit and community organizations. SCATP strives to connect to as many people as possible across the lifespan. The website, conferences, listserv, phone information line, staff and volunteers are always available to answer questions, make referrals, and receive information. I have enjoyed full participation of SCATP as a person with a disability who uses technology every day, as an occupational therapist, as an advocate, as a person who is always looking for new AT and funding and as a volunteer with SCATP. SCATP has been a key element of my successes that I hope many others will have the privilege of using for many years to come. Sandy Hanebrink, OTR/L, Anderson

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