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School of Medicine Columbia

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Assessment Guides

The S.C. Assistive Technology Program can help you assess technologies and strategies to improve your daily life. Use these resources to inform your decisions about assistive technology devices and services that will be best for you.

Formal Assessment

Your funding or procurement source (state agencies, educational agencies or medical insurer) may require a formal AT Assessment. Ask your case manager to be sure.

Assistive Technology Evaluation or Assessment

Assessment providers have experience and knowledge in AT and are often licensed and certified in the fields of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology or rehabilitation engineering.

Be sure to ask if your therapist has a good working knowledge of AT devices, applications and other AT supports before asking them to provide the formal AT assessment required by your funding source.

Who can help me select AT?

Choosing the AT that is the best match for your needs can be intimidating, especially when new equipment and devices are developed at a rapid rate. Consider these four factors to determine if you need the help of experienced people to start the selection process:

  1. What kind of device do you need – is it off the shelf or does it require a prescription and a fitting?
  2. Do you need a single item or a complex integrated system?
  3. What is your level of experience using assistive technology – new user or old pro?
  4. Does your funding source require a formal AT Evaluation or Assessment done by a professional?

Experienced peer users can be good sources of information. Company reps can provide follow-up and post installation support for the devices they sell, usually at no additional charge. Rehabilitation counselors may have useful knowledge or be able to refer you to someone with the knowledge you need. Last but not least, friends are always willing to offer advice and assistance and may be good resources for simple, inexpensive solutions.

How do I try AT before I buy it?

Many vendors offer their products for loan. You may be able to borrow products from friends and family members. At SCATP, we offer a device loan program that allows you to borrow AT devices for two to four weeks at a time and use the product in your environment before deciding if it’s right for you.

Who pays for the assessment?

Finding and funding devices or services may involve a number of agencies and organizations. AT assessments may be funded through private insurance, Medicaid, or agencies serving those with specific disabilities. BabyNet may provide early intervention for infants prior to age three. Children’s Rehabilitative Services may help children from age 3 to 21, and adults may find help through local and national support groups or foundations, VA and agencies that serve people with specific disabilities, including the Vocational Rehabilitation Department. For additional funding options, view our funding guide.

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