Skip to Content
Independence First Logo
Main Content

Wednesday, April 6 was National Assistive Technology Awareness Day. Assistive Technology, or AT, is any device that makes it easier for a person with a disability to live, work, learn, communicate, recreate, and participate. 

To celebrate, we shared a week of photos and information about our own AT services! They were so much fun, we are sharing them here so you don’t miss out.  

On Day 1, we introduced you to our TIP Center, which stands for Thrive In Place. This room contains a variety of equipment that can be used at home, and is geared toward caregivers and people who are new to having a disability. All items in this area are available for demonstration, many can be loaned. See how many AT devices you can spot in the picture below. 

Staff demonstrate use of the Thrive in Place room

Our team provides information and referral, conducts assessments and training, and we operate an active device demonstration, loan and reuse program.  

Can you guess which are team members and which are mannequins in this image? 

Mannequins and IF staff pose in the AT center

Our AT program hosts a collection of equipment that is eligible for funding under the Public Service Commission’s TEPP Program - Telecommunications Equipment Purchase Program.  

This funding can be used for specialized phone and distance communication related devices for persons who are hard of hearing, deaf, deaf-blind, or have speech or mobility impairments. In most cases the user pays the first $100, then TEPP contributes to the balance. 

IF staff demonstrate TEPP eligible devices

Independence First’s Assistive Technology Program has a unique collection of hygiene related equipment that we have gathered into a resource we call the BAT Cave (Bathroom Assistive Technology).  

Hygiene is the most personal aspect of self care, and we all want to be as independent as we possibly can be. Hygiene is one of the major factors in deciding whether an individual can live independently or needs institutional care.  

We can let you see how design affects usability, and many devices that can make a huge difference. Here is a demonstration of AT for bathing. 

IF staff demonstrate bathing devices in the BAT cave

Our last day of Assistive Technology Awareness week covered how technology can be used to facilitate basic independent living skills. Our program lets users try AT before they make a decision to purchase, and we offer a range of devices so users can understand how various features affect their ability to use equipment successfully.  

We also want to give a shout out to service animals, who contribute greatly to their owner’s independence. How many devices can you see in each of our scenarios? 

A service dog assists an IF staffer on lunch break

If you are in Wisconsin, you can access your local WisTech Assistive Technology program through your local Independent Living Center, use the map to find the ILC that serves your county: If you are outside Wisconsin the AT3 Center will help you find your state’s AT program.