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9th annual computer technology directory: 1992.

When we began our Annual Computer Technology issue nine years ago, there were very few resource centers available where parents or professionals could go to learn about the ways technology could enhance the lives of children and adults with disabilities. We have since witnessed the growth of a parent alliance, and a network of federally-and state-funded centers. These centers are the sites of active educational interchange. This year we have five pages of resource centers and information resources where you can learn about programs that meet the assistive technology needs of your child and your family.

We have integrated centers and resources from the Alliance for Technology Access, the Council for Exceptional Children's (CEC) Center for Special Education Technology and RESNA and listed them by state.

The Alliance for Technology Access

The Alliance for Technology Access has 46 nonprofit centers in 35 states which provide people with disabilities access to technology tools through information, events and speakers. This national network consists of parent- and consumer-driven, community-based technology access centers. Two years ago, the nonprofit Foundation for Technology Access (FTA) was created as the Alliance matured from an Apple Computer project to its own independent, national organization and movement. (For more information on the Alliance, please see page T6.)

CEC Center for Special Education Technology

As a national resource with the goal of improving the dissemination of technology information, the CEC Center for Special Education Technology monitored the growing number of resources available to technology users. Unfortunately, we regret that the Center for Special Education Technology has lost its federal grant and is no longer in operation. The closing of this comprehensive center for information on technology-related services is a major loss to special needs consumers.

Susan Elting at the CEC asked that our readers please note that the Center's toll-free number, (800) 873-8255, has been disconnected. This number provided information on the use of assistive technology, including a series of technology use guides, product information and state resource inventories. All printed material formerly available from the Center for Special Education Technology will be available through the ERIC Clearinghouse beginning early next year, Elting said. She added that special needs consumers can still contact the CEC at (703) 620-3660 for general technology information.

From the Center's comprehensive state resource inventories, we have provided a partial listing of the technology resources available in each state. Each state has two state-level agencies that have specific responsibilities for the development and delivery of services to children and adults with disabilities. These state agencies implement state and federal legislation and develop policies and programs. The state office or division of special education has legal responsibility for the administration and supervision of special education programs in the schools. The Center for Special Education Technology provided the public (upon request) Resource Inventories listing not only state agencies, but special education resources, rehabilitation/vocational resources and organizations and affiliations in each of the fifty states. The Center also listed resources on a variety of technology-related topics, including assistive devices, augmentative communication, early childhood and product availability.

RESNA Technical Assistance Project

RESNA is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to provide information and technical assistance to states and others on the development of assistive technology services. The RESNA centers listed are supported by the RESNA Technical Assistance Project.

RESNA's charter comes from the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-47), which opened many new opportunities for individuals with disabilities and their families to receive appropriate assistive technology services. It was the first law passed by Congress with the sole purpose of expanding the availability of assistive technology services.

Title I of the Act outlines three-year $500,000 grants that are awarded to states through a competitive process. These funds are to be used to develop a consumer-responsive, statewide system of assistive technology services. After the first three years, any state that has made significant progress in developing such a system may apply for a two-year extension grant to implement their consumer-responsive systems.

Thirty-one states have successfully competed for funds under this act. These centers are listed by state in our resource guide. The Department of Education, NIDRR will be funding additional states each year. It is hoped that all states and territories will be funded by 1995.

Title II of the Act authorizes a variety of federal studies and programs designed to remove barriers which impede the availability of assistive technology. These include:

* a study, on financing of assistive technology devices and services;

* a feasibility study and establishment of a national information and program referral network;

* technology training and public awareness projects;

* demonstration and innovation projects;

* model research and development projects; and

* loan demonstration project.

We wish to thank Jackie Brand and Bob Glass at the Alliance for Technology Access; Nell Bailey and Karen Franklin at RESNA; and Susan Elting at the Council for Exceptional Children for their contributions to our Computer Technology Directory.
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Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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