TECH ACT PROJECTS REACHING OUT TO HISPANIC POPULATIONS
With the reauthorization of the Tech Act, it was the desire of the Congress to focus systems change activities on all groups of individuals with disabilities, particularly those who have been "historically disadvantaged in terms of receiving public service" (House Report, p. 10). Therefore, the Tech Act projects must address outreach to underrepresented populations and rural populations through their statewide technology-related assistance activities. The Congress included this broad term of "underrepresented" to ensure that members of minority groups, those in rural areas and those with limited English proficiency as well as other unserved and underserved populations benefit from any technology-related assistance and systems change efforts taking place.
The provision of outreach to underrepresented populations include identifying and assessing
needs, providing activities to increase the accessibility of services, training representatives of such
populations to become service providers, and training staff to work with such populations. All
Tech Act projects are engaged in some type of outreach activities, many of which are directed
at particular populations that are underrepresented in their project according to their state's
geographic makeup. This bulletin will highlight a sampling of states' outreach activities that are
specifically targeted to their Hispanic population.
California Assistive Technology System (CATS)
Department of Rehabilitation
830 K Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
A CATS staff member and a CATS Steering Council member represented CATS at the Fiesta Educativa annual conference for the second year in a row in the Los Angeles area, answering project-related questions from Hispanic and Latino parents of children with disabilities. A handout on the Tech Act mandates was translated into Spanish and distributed at the conference.
Dr. Harry Murphy, Director of California State University - Northridge, Center on
Disabilities, Leadership and Technology Management (LTM) Training Program, recently
conducted a Latino LTM training. A LTM graduate planned a two-day systems change
grassroots community building workshop in La Canada, July 20-21, for the Latino community,
as part of her Systems Change Action Plan. A Spanish version of the videotape on assistive
technology (AT), Independence Through Technology (Seaside Education Associates), was
shown during this workshop. Twenty-one people attended this grassroots training, including
leaders from the Latino community (parents, agency leaders) as well as speakers. The LTM
graduate recruited participants mostly through Fiesta Educativa, a Latino community disability
organization of about 1,200.
Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative (DATI)
University of Delaware/A.I. duPont Institute
1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE 19803
Delaware has a significant Hispanic population, both in the cities and owing to the influx of migrant workers in the farm communities.
DATI recognizes that both language and cultural barriers may be preventing people from Hispanic communities from accessing its services. DATI determined that the availability of translation services, Spanish DATI materials, and increased awareness of DATI's capabilities among caseworkers and others in the Hispanic community would improve the project's accessibility for Spanish-speaking individuals.
As a result, the project entered into an agreement with AT&T for its Language Line services, allowing DATI staff to bring a translator into any call the project receives from a non-English speaker. DATI is in the process of translating all project materials into Spanish and intends to publish articles and advertisements in two newspapers widely read by the Hispanic community.
DATI has also contracted with a Hispanic community organization for the provision of
on-site translation as well as providing transportation to any of the DATI Assistive Technology
Resource Centers (ATRCs). The project has conducted training for the caseworkers in the
contract organization so that they are more familiar with the range of services DATI provides,
and they are equipped with the Spanish version of the project's introductory videotape for use
Idaho Assistive Technology Project (IATP)
129 W. Third Street
Moscow, ID 83843
The Idaho Assistive Technology Project has disseminated a general project brochure in Spanish throughout the state utilizing the project's five ATRCs and the 11 Idaho Migrant Council regional offices. Four 30-second public service announcements (PSAs) were developed and aired in Spanish on numerous radio and cable stations throughout Idaho. Thirty fact sheets on a variety of AT-related topics were also translated into Spanish for dissemination.
IATP has an interagency agreement with the Idaho Migrant Council in which information
on AT is published in quarterly publications of the Council. Annual AT workshops have been
conducted by the project for the Idaho Migrant Council and the employees of the Idaho Migrant
Head Start Program. Conversely, Hispanic sensitivity training for the ATRCs and IATP staff
have been conducted by the Idaho Migrant Council.
Illinois Assistive Technology Project (IATP)
110 Iles Park Place
Springfield, IL 62718
The Illinois Assistive Technology Project (IATP) works with local community service providers serving Spanish-speaking communities in Illinois to increase the awareness of people within these communities regarding the rights of individuals with disabilities to AT devices and services, and to increase the resources available to Hispanics. For example, IATP assisted the National Center for Latinos with Disabilities, the primary service provider for the Hispanic community in metropolitan Chicago, in dedicating one complete issue of their bilingual newsletter to assistive technology, including reprints of articles from IATP's newsletter TECH TALK and other information. IATP also conducted a toy workshop for 25 parents of children with disabilities and several service providers in the Hispanic community. IATP's "How to Adapt a Toy" handout was translated into Spanish for the event. IATP has translated other project materials into Spanish as well and will continue to encourage other service providers to do the same.
Additionally, IATP has provided extensive information and consultation to the 48 Hispanic families served under the Special Tax Check Off Project on the availability of AT, and assistance in selecting, procuring and operating the appropriate devices for their children.
By the end of 1995 IATP will have contacted numerous community organizations to schedule
community awareness programs around AT devices and services. IATP plans to be involved in
committee activities of rural outreach organizations providing representation by the Hispanic
community at large and encouraging other Hispanic individuals to participate. Additionally,
IATP plans to have provided train-the-trainer training to at least two active rural community
leaders who can provide AT training in Spanish. By August of 1996 IATP anticipates
completion of at least one version of its Legislative Training in Spanish and to have increased
the capacity of at least one consumer advocacy group to provide that training without IATP staff
assistance. One of the Centers for Independent Living has agreed to participate in IATP's
Legislative Training and then incorporate the training into the existing services the CIL provides.
IATP will provide technical assistance to build the center's capacity to provide the training on
an ongoing basis.
Iowa Program for Assistive Technology (IPAT)
Iowa University Affiliated Program
University Hospital School
Iowa City, IA 52242-1011
Hispanics represent 1.2% of Iowa's population which is concentrated in several urban areas. There is also a moderate migrant population that receives services during the summer months. The Iowa Program for Assistive Technology (IPAT) has focused its outreach activities on increasing the capacity of existing state agencies mandated to provide services and other organizations utilized by Iowa's Hispanic population, to provide ongoing and appropriate AT services to this population.
For example, in 1994 IPAT participated in the Project Reaching Out: Technology Training for Minorities with Low Incidence Disabilities: Hispanic Curriculum, presented by RESNA staff in Minneapolis, MN. IPAT supported the participation of staff responsible for training from the following agencies: Iowa Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Independent Living Centers (ILCs), Iowa University Affiliated Program (IUAP), Child Health Specialty Clinics (CHSC), Iowa Easter Seal FaRM Program (FaRM), and Proteus. The IUAP provides training to healthcare providers (pre-and post-service training) relating to disability issues. The CHSCs are responsible to deliver Iowa Title V programs under Maternal Child Health. The FaRM (Farm Family Rehabilitation Management) Program provides rehabilitation services to farm and rural residents across the state. Proteus is an advocacy organization for Hispanic migrant workers that provides vocational, health and Head Start services in seven major Iowa communities which utilize migrant workers. In order to facilitate its use, IPAT duplicated the training manual/overheads and supplied them to each Iowa Project Reaching Out training participant, and all Iowa ILCs.
Beginning 1995 the University of Iowa School of Social Work, under contract with IPAT,
will develop targeted statewide outreach projects to be carried out by supervised students over
the next five years. In addition, AT and outreach strategies will be incorporated into the School
of Social Work curriculum. IPAT will also work with the Department of Latino Affairs to
identify other possible agencies or organizations and strategies.
Minnesota STAR Program
300 Centennial Building
658 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55155
612-297-1554 (voice); 612-296-9478 (TDD)
STAR has focused on outreach to Spanish speaking individuals during 1995. Three program
brochures are now available in Spanish. All STAR events are advertised in Spanish speaking
newspapers statewide including workshops, scholarships and Governor's Awards. All STAR
staff, including mobile outreach staff, and Governor's Advisory Council members have received
cultural competency training. Mobile outreach clinic materials have been translated and areas
of the state have been targeted to better serve individuals with disabilities who are Spanish
speaking. STAR has partnered with the Minnesota Migrant Health Services to provide training
and technical assistance on disability, simple technology and legal rights at
migrant camps during the summer of 1995.
New Mexico Technology Assistance Program
435 St. Michael's Drive, Building D
Santa Fe, NM 87503
The New Mexico Technology Assistance Program (NMTAP) has developed a public awareness campaign to provide information to New Mexico's rural Hispanic population on accessing AT devices and services through public and private funding systems. NMTAP goes directly to the consumer with a Consumer Affiliate (Hispanic person with a disability), meets the consumer face-to-face, and discusses his/her individual needs. NMTAP uses a pool of consumers (contracted and voluntary) as Consumer Affiliates to reach the Hispanic population in their respective communities. This involves considerable training of consumers, their families and individuals within communities about AT and where to acquire it.
The NMTAP statewide toll-free telephone system (all but two NMTAP staff people speak Spanish), as well as poster campaigns, radio announcements, public hearings, trainings, and advertisements are used to reach the public. Posters are placed in social services offices, senior centers, housing offices, etc. PSAs are aired on radio stations and advertisements are printed in newspapers and church community bulletins that serve the Hispanic population. The program's quarterly newsletter, A.T. Life Reporter, includes a Spanish translation of the cover story in each issue. A Spanish brochure is also available.
The program has recently begun a statewide campaign to target those professionals who have
direct contact with the consumer and either prescribe or provide AT devices. Doctors,
pharmacies, DME sales, discharge planners, home health agencies, and rehabilitation
hospitals will be offered training on AT specific to NMTAP's efforts to reach Hispanics (i.e.
cultural sensitivity, language barriers), and how NMTAP functions and how we can work
New York State T.R.A.I.D. Project
NYS Office of Advocate For Persons with Disabilities
One Empire State Plaza, Suite 1001
Albany, NY 12223-1150
United Cerebral Palsy/NYC TRAID staff initiated contact with several Hispanic individuals who are deaf and/or work with persons with hearing impairments in the New York City area. The goal was to assess and facilitate activities that would benefit Latinos who are deaf or have hearing impairments. A core group of five individuals responded. This group has met several times between April and July. The group wanted the population the TRAID Project was targeting to be referred to as deaf Latinos. With the consideration of a workshop/seminar event in the Fall, the group focused on planning an informal gathering for the summer. A "picnic" to be held in August in Central Park will be the initial activity to identify the interests of the larger group and seek the involvement of others. Another event coming up soon is the Deaf Awareness Week. The group is considering exhibiting at this event to continue to expand its presence.
TRAID Project has a few PSAs and several brochures (on project services, consumer tips,
and funding of AT) available in Spanish.
North Carolina Assistive Technology Project
Department of Human Resources
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
1110 Navaho Drive, Suite 101
Raleigh, NC 27609
The North Carolina Assistive Technology Project (NCATP) has worked to develop its outreach to the Hispanic community through networking, material development and dissemination, and training. NCATP and the RESNA TA Project jointly conducted the Project Reaching Out training for Hispanics in Greensboro, NC. Twenty-two participants attended the two-day workshop. Concerning general outreach activities, NCATP has worked closely with the Ombudsman for Hispanic in the Office of Citizen Affairs to identify agencies and groups and develop a networking strategy.
NCATP regularly attends meetings of the Farmworkers Coalition, a group of public and private agencies addressing the needs of the Hispanic community. NCATP uses these opportunities to learn about issues, to share information about assistive technology, and to include these groups in assistive technology activities.
NCATP staff serve on the management advisory board of the NCAgrAbility, an outreach program providing information to farmers, farm workers and their families with disabilities. NCATP has provided information, materials and training to advisory board members for use in their work with agricultural extension agents and consumers.
NCATP and AT fact sheets, developed with input from the Hispanic Ombudsman to assure cultural sensitivity, have been translated and disseminated to Hispanic newsletters and groups. NCATP brochures are also available in Spanish.
AT awareness training has been presented to 25 outreach workers working with the Hispanic
community through the Office of Rural Health.
Ohio Supercomputer Center
1224 Kinnear Road
Columbus, OH 43212
Ohio T.R.A.I.N. began networking within Ohio's Hispanic population by exhibiting at The Hispanic Health Conference (sponsored by the Ohio Commission on Spanish-speaking Affairs), gaining contacts within the sector responsible for the migrant worker population in Northwest Ohio. Interested attendees received disability laws translated into Spanish by the Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Project.
The project disseminates several translated disability laws (i.e. Section 504, P.L. 94-142, P.L. 99-457, P.L. 103-218) to individuals upon request. Locally, Ohio T.R.A.I.N. produced a document in Spanish describing the project.
Project staff presented to the Office of Hispanic Student Services with the Ohio State
University. The project also works with the Ohio State Extension Service which, with offices in
all 88 counties in Ohio, is an existing network in the rural areas that is currently working with
the migrant worker population.
Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Project
University of Puerto Rico
Medical Sciences Campus, College of Related Health Professions
Department of Communicological Disorders
San Juan, PR 00936
The Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Project (PRATP) is engaged in outreach activities to Hispanics 100% since most of Puerto Rico's population is Hispanic. To increase awareness of services the project provides to Hispanics with disabilities and others, PRATP provides all its information material, such as newsletters and brochures, in Spanish and English. To assure contact with the Hispanic population, the project participates in public information and demonstration activities such as health fairs, public forums and others. PRATP also conducts public information media campaigns on AT.
PRATP is also part of a joint effort that produces and translates information about other Tech
Act project services and disability laws into Spanish to support and assure an effective
communication with Hispanic groups in other states. The project has also translated the RESNA
TA Project's Consumer Survey into Spanish.
Project Reaching Out
Project Reaching Out, a NIDRR grant funded activity is at its close. The Project developed and disseminated curriculums on outreach to underserved populations regarding assistive technology.
The training manual to consumers of Hispanic backgrounds was distributed to all state
projects in the Fall of 1994.
The RESNA Technical Assistance Project (#HN92031001) is funded by the
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of
Education (ED) under the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act
Amendments of 1994. The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the
position or policy of NIDRR/ED or RESNA and no official endorsement of the material should