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ConnectAbility: Access to Assistive Technology for People with SCI

Funder: Craig H Neilsen Foundation

Funding period
USD 100 K
Funding amount
1) ConnectAbility: Access to Assistive Technology for People with SCI
2) Our goal is to expose persons with SCI to widely available AT equipment and how it can benefit them and their loved ones throughout the continuum of care. Unfortunately, our center does not have an adequate supply of up-to-date AT equipment to serve our patient population. To achieve our goal we propose a four-part plan: (1) create an AT advisory board consisting of people with SCI, rehabilitation professionals with AT expertise, and representatives from local tech companies and charge them with the task of designing an AT center and mobile AT workstations at Harborview Medical Center by which we can expose people with SCI to the most useful hardware and software currently available; (2) build and deploy a state of the art AT center and mobile workstations along with trained clinicians and volunteers who can teach consumers to use the technology; (3) market the AT access program to persons with SCI throughout the continuum of care and measure the reach and impact of the program; and (4) enjoin the advisory board to update their recommendations for the AT centers on an annual basis and engage in yearly fund-raising to purchase recommended products.
3) Expected outcomes of this project revolve around exposure to AT equipment and building novel community partnerships that should contribute to the project’s sustainability. We will measure our success in improving exposure to AT by measuring the number of visits to the AT center per month, the number of individual sessions that each mobile unit is used per month, creating a questionnaire inquiring about whether outpatients would have access to computers and AT equipment if it were not for our center, and planning an AT Expo and Educational Conference during the funding period. We anticipate multiple novel partnerships such as the creation of our AT advisory board, building a relationship with the University of Washington Occupational Therapy (OT) Program that will enable OT students to staff the AT Center with appropriate supervision outside of therapy sessions in the future, and collaborating with members of the local tech community to plan and execute our AT Expo and Educational Conference.
4) Our primary goal with this project is to improve opportunities for our population of individuals with SCI to gain exposure to commonly used AT equipment to access electronic devices and the Internet and gain competency in the use of these devices. These tools are critical means for persons with SCI to maximize their independence, social connectedness, educational/vocational opportunities, and quality of life. Secondary goals that we believe will result from improving our population’s exposure to and competency with AT equipment include improving participation in educational programs such as online GED preparation programs and enabling individuals to research adaptive sports and recreational options by accessing the Internet.
(CHN: COandI chn:wdg)
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