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Tomorrow, we celebrate National Assistive Technology (AT) Awareness Day and the vital role AT plays in the lives of people with disabilities and older adults. AT is any item, device, or piece of equipment used to maintain or improve the independence and function of people with disabilities and older adults.
AT solutions are as diverse as the goals of the millions of people who benefit from them. A few examples of AT that capture this diversity include speech-generating devices, video magnifiers, timers, wheelchairs, automatic lights, ramps and lifts, voice recognition software, shoe horns, and automatic can openers.
ACL is proud to fund Assistive Technology Act programs in every state and territory that help older adults and people with disabilities discover, try, reutilize, and finance assistive technology. As a result of these programs, in FY22:
- Nearly 45,000 individuals participated in AT device demonstrations.
- More than 43,000 devices were loaned so individuals could “try-before-they-buy.”
- 88,000 AT devices were reutilized, saving consumers more than $38 million.
- $7.4 million in financial loans were made to help finance AT devices.
In December, the Assistive Technology Act was reauthorized by Congress for the first time since 2004. This reauthorization updates and modernizes the law and will help expand the capacity of AT Act programs to innovate, collaborate, and serve people with disabilities and older adults.
We hope you will join us in celebrating by sharing how AT has helped you on social media. Share a photo, video, or story of how you use AT in your life with #ATAwarenessDay.
The National Assistive Technology Act Technical Assistance and Training (AT3) Center has also developed brief hand-outs that you can share describing how AT, and AT Act programs, support housing, education, employment, transportation, and community living. The Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP) also houses various videos and materials about the importance of assistive technology on its National AT Awareness Day page.