What is ATAC?
The Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center (ATAC) of Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ) serves as New Jersey’s federally funded assistive technology project through a sub-contract with New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Its purpose is to assist individuals in overcoming barriers in the system and making assistive technology more accessible to individuals with disabilities throughout the state.
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What is DRNJ?
Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ) is the consumer-directed, non-profit organization that serves as New Jersey’s designated protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities in the state. DRNJ was formerly known as New Jersey Protection and Advocacy, Inc. (NJP&A).
In partnership with individuals with disabilities and their families, DRNJ works to protect and advance the rights of people with disabilities. DRNJ provides information and referral and a broad range of advocacy services, including legal representation in numerous cases in state and federal courts.
What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology (AT) is a term that describes devices and services created and used to help people with disabilities live more independently and productively. Assistive technology enables people with disabilities to participate fully in every aspect of life – at school and work, at home, and in the community.
Some examples of AT devices are: manual and motorized wheelchairs, augmentative communication devices, reaching and grabbing aids, ramps, lifts, grab bars and adapted vehicles.
Some examples of AT services are: evaluation to determine the most appropriate devices for an individual, training to use devices, and repair and maintenance of devices.
ATAC offers the following services:
- Device Demonstration – ATAC, through its network of contractors, provides a variety of AT devices for demonstration. A demonstration is a good way to introduce individuals with disabilities to the features of different types of AT devices.
- Device Loans – ATAC, through its network of contractors, provides a library of devices for temporary loan. Borrowing a device for a short period of time is a good way for a person with a disability to determine whether a given device will meet their needs.
- Device Reutilization – ATAC supports a used equipment recycling program called BACK IN ACTION. Its mission is to provide an alternative source for assistive technology devices. BACK IN ACTION acts as a clearinghouse for items that are for sale (usually at a minimal cost) or offered for donation or loan. BACK IN ACTION can be reached by visiting the website at http://backinaction.drnj.org/.
- Financing – ATAC has information about financing programs available through many different programs to help individuals with disabilities have enhanced access to AT devices and services.
- Information and Referral – Anyone with questions regarding assistive technology devices and assistive technology services can contact ATAC. ATAC has information on where to obtain assistive technology devices and assistive technology services, the costs of assistive technology devices and assistive technology services, and suggestions about where to obtain assistance in paying for assistive technology devices and assistive technology services.
- Technical Assistance – ATAC can also provide detailed technical assistance on AT devices, services, policies, and procedures.
- Training – Educational programs are provided to describe the benefits of assistive technology devices and assistive technology services, and to suggest strategies for obtaining assistive technology. These educational programs are offered to consumer groups, professional organizations, agencies, employers, and any other group interested.
- Advocacy Services and Legal Representation – When necessary, ATAC can provide advocacy services and legal representation for individuals with disabilities who are denied access to assistive technology devices and/or assistive technology services.