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The Assistive Technology Advocacy Center of Disability Rights New Jersey Awards Funding For New Assistive Technology Projects

The Assistive Technology Advocacy Center of Disability Rights New Jersey has announced grant awards for projects to expand access to assistive technology services and devices in New Jersey. During this third year of short-term funding opportunities, ATAC received more than 20 applications from which the following seven grants have been awarded:

Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey (CPNJ): CPNJ is based in Essex County and provides assistive technology services to children and adults in New Jersey. CPNJ will conduct device demonstrations for individuals with disabilities in northern New Jersey and will utilize ATAC funding to purchase mobile touch devices and accessories for demonstration purposes.

The Family Support Center of New Jersey (FSCNJ): The FSCNJ is a statewide, comprehensive family-focused human service organization designed to meet the growing need for programs and services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers. FSCNJ conducts a Lifespan training series for students with developmental disabilities and their families, assisting them to make informed choices during their transition years. FSCNJ will expand its workshop content to incorporate specific information on incorporating assistive technology into transition planning.

Newark Public Library (NPL): NPL has extensive services for those who are hearing impaired, deaf, visually impaired, blind, and those who speak English as their second language. NPL has provided an access technology training program for visually impaired patrons on how to use assistive technology devices to perform basic computer skills. Participants will be taught how to use these technologies to perform standard computer tasks such as the basics of typing documents; conducting an Internet search; and performing basic email functions.

New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center (TBBC): TBBC is the public library for New Jersey’s residents with print disabilities and provides library service throughout the state. TBBC will provide 1,000 flash drives to permit library patrons with visual disabilities to download and store digital books from the National Library Service. TBBC is the only organization to receive a grant from ATAC in each of the three years of the program.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital: The Speech and Hearing Department will create a loan library of high- and low-technology assistive communication devices for patients in its intensive and acute care units. Patients in these settings who have temporary problems with communication often experience frustration, insecurity, and anxiety. These devices will allow for uninterrupted communication among patients, medical staff, and family members. The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Center will purchase low-cost communication devices for loan to clinic patients with ALS to use in the community so that they may continue to communicate with their families and caregivers as the disease progresses. This project includes providing communication boards in Spanish and Chinese.

Family Resource Associates (FRA): The TECHConnection program at FRA in Monmouth County serves an extremely diverse population of people with disabilities, including learning disabilities, hearing and visual impairments, MS, ALS and other conditions resulting from illness, accidents, and aging. FRA provides device demonstration and device loan services. FRA will partner with other organizations to create a satellite center in Ocean County to provide assistive technology services to isolated populations in that county.

“This is the third year we’ve provided this funding for new projects,” said Curtis Edmonds, ATAC program manager. “We’re hopeful that this year’s grantees continue the record of success of the previous grantees, and that these funds will benefit New Jersey residents with disabilities who use assistive technology.”

Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ) is the designated protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities in New Jersey. DRNJ is a non-profit corporation whose governing board consists of a majority of persons with disabilities or family members of persons with disabilities. DRNJ provides legal and non-legal advocacy, information and referral, outreach, training and technical assistance to advance the human, civil, and legal rights of persons with disabilities.

The 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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