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January 2015 Highlights

PROJECT WIDE NEWS


Announcements

Happy New Year!
The RESNA Catalyst Project extends a Happy New Year to all AT Act Programs, and wish you the best of success in 2015. This year will mark the retirement of Roberta Greene Whittemore, Program Director with Rhode Island Assistive Technology Access Partnership (ATAP). Roberta has been with Rhode Island's Department of Human Services, Office of Rehabilitation Services for 11 years, and has served ATAP as their Director since 2010. Congratulations Roberta! In addition, we would like to congratulate Willie Gunther and the entire Illinois Assistive Technology Program staff for celebrating 25 years in operation! Congratulations also goes out to Beth Mineo, Director of the Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS) and Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative who marked her sixth year with as Director with CDS! Congratulations, and here is to you and your SGAT’s achievements!

Transfer of Grant Funds from ED/RSA to HHS/ACL
Earlier in January, Rob Groenendaal emailed AT Act Programs notifying of the transfer of grant funds from ED/RSA to HHS/ACL, which will begin on February 24, 2015. Based on current projections from HHS, the transfer will end on or before May 8, 2015. During this time period, drawing down of grant funds will be placed on hold. The purpose of this hold period is to freeze the funds, which will enable ED to accurately determine the balances that should be transferred to HHS. AT Act Programs are permitted to draw down funding prior to the hold period in accordance with grant terms to pay for grant-related expenses expected to incur during the hold period. The last date to draw down funds prior to the hold period is February 18, 2015. If you have questions, please contact Rob Groenendaal at Robert.Groenendaal@ed.gov.

2015 AT Act Program Directories
The RESNA Catalyst Project has updated the Statewide Assistive Technology Program Directory, a three column condensed version of the Statewide Assistive Technology Program Directory, the Alternative Financing Program Directory, as well as contact updates on the RESNA Catalyst Project’s website (www.findatnow.org). The Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology Program Directory is in the process of being updated for 2015, and will be available in the near future. If you would like a copy of any of these directories, please contact Paul Galonsky, pgalonsky@resna.org

Upcoming Events

Webinar Series for AT Act Programs: AT & Employment
The first five sessions in this series, “Obtaining or Retaining Medicaid While Working: The Section 1619(b) and Medicaid Buy-In for Working People Programs,” “Funding Work-Related Assistive Technology for the Transition-Aged Special Education Student,” “State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies: Using VR Agency to Fund Assistive Technology to Support a Work Goal,” “SSI’s Plan for Achieving Self Support: Using the PASS to Fund Assistive Technology to Support a Work Goal, ” and “A Review of Lesser Known Funding Sources and Funding Strategies for Work-Related Assistive Technology,” were delivered in June, July, September, October, and November. Approximately 250 separate online attendees combined participated in these webinars! Part six in this series is scheduled for February 18, 2015, 2p.m. Eastern Time. Final Webinar in this series: Funding of Work-Related Assistive Technology through Medicaid and Medicaid Waivers-To register, visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/300000000009367130. For an archive of the previous five webinars, visit http://www.resnaprojects.org/statewide/webedarchive.html.

Recent Events

RESNA Catalyst Project/ADA Centers’ Webinar: Assistive Technology and Aging: Inclusive Solutions and the Americans with Disabilities Act
The RESNA Catalyst Project along with the Great Lakes and Southwest ADA Centers provided the first of three webinars January 21, 2015. Aimee Sterk, MSW, with the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition was the featured presenter. An archive of this webinar is now available at www.adaconferences.org/RESNA.

STATEWIDE AT PROGRAMS


Announcements

SGAT State Plan Due
The due date for the renewed, three-year OMB-approved State Plan for AT (1820-0664), is C.O.B. Friday, February 27, 2015. Please review the FY 2014 AT data that you submitted in the MIS (http://rsa.ed.gov) for the 1820-0572 Annual State AT Program Progress Report. In addition, please let Rob Groenendaal know via email of any updates or changes to your state plan. Rob’s email is Robert.Groenendaal@ed.gov.

Deaf Hard of Hearing Work Group to continue in 2015
The RESNA Catalyst Project along with Laura Plummer, Project Director with Wisconsin Assistive Technology Program (WisTech), will continue to schedule and hold the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Work Group FY 2015. This Work Group is designed to share in, and address, technical issues and solutions current to technologies for individuals who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing. In addition, a LinkedIn page is now up and running to share information and resources. To participate in this LinkedIn Group, visit https://www.linkedin.com/groups/RESNA-Catalyst-Deaf-HOH-Workgroup-6746896/about. The next call/webinar is schedule for Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 3p.m. Eastern Time, and will feature a presentation from Jimmy Brown of the Kentucky Assistive Technology Service (KATS) Network on their Statewide Hearing Aid Assistance and Reuse Program (SHARP). Register for this presentation today at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7659416065431556866.

Recent Events

Device Demo and Loan Forum/Teleconference-Tuesday, January 13, 2015
This forum featured John Effinger (MO) and Lynette Strode (IL), who facilitated a discussion on what is trending in the world of AT, new device discussion, and tablet and app update discussion. The Device Demo and Loan Forum is for all Statewide AT Programs and is developed by CATADA, ATAP, and the RESNA Catalyst Project. Look for more detials soon on the next Forum date and time.

Upcoming Events

Statewide AT Directors Forum – Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 3:00-4:00p.m. Eastern
RESNA Catalyst Project Director Joey Wallace invites all Statewide AT Directors to the next Statewide AT Directors Forum. The Forum is designed for SGAT Directors to talk informally about AT Act topics and programmatic issues that they may be currently facing, as well as technical guidance adhering to federal and state regulations. During this call, Joey will facilitate a discussion, which will focus on disposition and reuse of AT devices purchased by Statewide AT Programs. In addition, Nebraska’s AT4ALL Program Coordinator, Lauren Rock, will discuss Nebraska’s ReRUN Program. To participate on this call, dial 800-351-6810 Passcode: 46172076#. If you have accessibility requests or have any questions, please contact Paul Galonsky, pgalonsky@resna.org.

Statewide AT Program Directors Webinar/Call: Fiscal Management and the Transfer of the AT Act-Wednesday, March 4, 2015 3:00-4:00p.m. Eastern
Under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended (AT Act), statewide AT programs are responsible for the fiscal and contract management of the statewide AT program grant. This upcoming webinar/call will feature information found in the fourth module of the New Director’s Curriculum (http://www.resnaprojects.org/statewide/newdirectors/mod4fiscal.html). In addition, Robert Groenendaal, Assistive Technology Program Manager, will present information on the transfer of the AT Act from the Rehabilitation Services Administration to the Administration on Community Living. Finally, this call will allow time for SGAT Directors to discuss issues they are currently facing. All SGAT Directors are encouraged to join! To join the webinar you must first register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2274091676557188098. If you have accessibility requests, please contact Paul Galonsky at pgalonsky@resna.org.

PAAT PROGRAMS


Announcements

National AT Advocacy Project to Collaborate with National Association of Benefits and Work Incentives Specialists (NABWIS) to Deliver Session on Using Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies to Fund a Range of Services, including AT, to Support a Work Goal-Session scheduled for February 4th, 3:00 to 4:30 EST
To register, go to http://nabwis.org/ and click on “events list” and register online. To join NABWIS ($40 for individual membership, $160 for organizational members, up to 6 members) go to http://nabwis.org/ and click on membership link. MEMBERS ATTEND ALL WEBINARS FOR FREE! NABWIS, a membership association, focuses on the use of work incentives counseling to help Social Security and SSI disability beneficiaries achieve their self-supporting employment goals. Jim Sheldon, Project Director of the National AT Advocacy Project at Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS), also oversees various work incentives counseling projects at NLS including the Social Security-funded Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Project. Jim Sheldon and Ron Hager of the National Disability Rights Network have agreed to present a webinar to the NABWIS membership, “State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies: How the VR Agency Can Fund Services and Equipment to Support a Work Goal.” They will tweak the power point used in the AT and Employment series to better meet the needs of individuals involved in WIPA and other work incentives counseling projects. This is part of a 3-part webinar series and is free to NABWIS members or $75 to non-members (covers all 3 webinars and provides free NABWIS membership for one year) (just joining NABWIS should be a better deal). The other two webinars will cover Railroad Retirement and Disability Benefits (February 26th) and The Transition from Disability to Retirement Benefits (April 16th), with both offered from 3:00 to 4:30 EST. This series may be particularly beneficial if you split time between the PAAT grant and an employment-related project like WIPA or Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS).

SAVE THE DATES – June 1-4, 2015 for the National Disability Rights Network Annual Meeting and Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana (details coming soon).
NLS understands that a detailed agenda and online registration will soon be available at http://ndrn.org/en/events/events-calendar/icalrepeat.detail/2015/06/01/84/-/2015-annual-conference.html. The National AT Advocacy Project will have a significant presence at the conference, presenting/co-presenting at a full-day institute and three 90-minute sessions. As such, NLS is confirmed in the lineup of AT-related sessions for the NDRN conference, with tentative times, and confirmed speakers in most cases:

  • Monday, June 1, 2015 (a full-day “Transition” institute) – expected to touch on transition requirements in IDEA and vocational rehabilitation law and regulations; some innovative approaches to use of AT in employment; and address how AT can be funded to support a work goal
  • Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - “Medicaid Hearings and AT: What’s In Your Toolkit‌” Speakers: Marge Gustas, Staff Paralegal and James R. Sheldon, Supervising Attorney, National AT Advocacy Project, Buffalo, NY
  • Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - “Meeting the AT Needs of Infants, Toddlers, and Very Young Children: Looking to Medicaid and IDEA for Funding.” Speakers: Marge Gustas, Staff Paralegal, National AT Advocacy Project; Ron Hager, NDRN.
  • Thursday, June 4, 2015 - “Overcoming Medicaid’s Most Common Reasons for Saying No to AT Funding Requests: Changing a No to a Yes.” Speakers: Marge Gustas, Staff Paralegal and James R. Sheldon, Supervising Attorney, National AT Advocacy Project, Buffalo, NY.

As NLS and other presenters prepare for these sessions we would love to hear from you concerning: any issues you are struggling with; any successes you have had (hearing decisions, court decisions always a welcome addition for our Resource Libraries); any state-specific policies that address the issues; and any materials you have found helpful that we might not have. Feel free to contact Ron (ron.hager@ndrn.org), Diana (dstraube@nls.org), or Jim (jsheldon@nls.org) if you have questions.

ALTERNATIVE FINANCING AND TELEWORK LOAN PROGRAMS


Announcements

Data submissions for MIS662 is now due!
Don’t forget to get your data into your respective reporting system (MIS572/MIS662/Telework). Data was due on December 31, 2014. Please contact the RESNA Catalyst Project with any questions or challenges with this requirement.

Individual TA Calls with Loan Program Directors
The RESNA Catalyst Project, in conjunction with RSA, is setting up individual calls for loan program directors to discuss program needs. These are short, usually lasting approximately 30 minutes. Keep an eye out for contact from Jason Luciano to schedule a time.

2015 AFP Conference Information Coming Soon!
Watch your inboxes for upcoming information for the 2015 AFP Conference! This conference will be held separately from the Statewide AT Program Conference in 2015. The steering committee will be establishing dates and an agenda soon, so stay tuned!

Recent Events

New Grantee Call – January 22, 2014
The next monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees was in January, 2015. These calls are for those programs receiving funding under the recent competitions to discuss unique opportunities and challenges presented to new AFP grantees.

Loan Program Directors Open Forum Call – January 20, 2014
The RESNA Catalyst hosted an all Loan Program Directors Forum. This forum is designed for Directors to talk informally about programmatic issues that they may be currently facing, as well as technical guidance adhering to federal and state regulations. In addition, this forum is intended to provide for open discussion and sharing across programs. These calls are held every two months.

Upcoming Events

New Grantee Call – February 19, 2015, 4:00-5:00p.m. Eastern
The next monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees is scheduled for February 19th, at 4:00p.m. Eastern. These calls are for those programs receiving funding under the recent competitions to discuss unique opportunities and challenges presented to new AFP grantees. Please join us by calling 1-800-211-4163 with pass code 57 48 484#.

Loan Directors Open Forum Call – March 17, 2015, 3:00-4:00p.m. Eastern
RESNA Catalyst Project Director, Joey Wallace will host an all Loan Program Directors Forum in March. This forum is designed for Directors to talk informally about programmatic issues that they may be currently facing, as well as technical guidance adhering to federal and state regulations. In addition, this forum is intended to provide for open discussion and sharing across programs. Please join us by calling 1-800-211-4163 with pass code 57 48 484#.

OTHER RESOURCES

RESNA International Special Interest Group (SIG) Do-It-Yourself Contest
Deadline is April 1, 2015

Those with experience working or living in developing countries know that the assistive device needed is often not commercially available or affordable. As a step toward remedying this problem, the RESNA International SIG is sponsoring an assistive technology DIY (Do It Yourself!) contest. We are looking for innovative low-cost DIY assistive technology that could be replicated around the world. Whirlwind Wheelchair's generous donation will allow us to offer cash prizes including $300 for first place, $150 for second place, and $50 for third place! To learn more, visit http://www.resna.org/international-sig-do-it-yourself-contest.

AT Radio & Podcasts in Indiana
INDATA has launched an internet radio station. AssistiveTechnologyRadio.com broadcasts 24/7 and includes a wide variety of AT programs. Programs include INDATA’s two podcasts as well as various AT training sessions. To view and listen to the growing list of episodes, visit: http://www.eastersealstech.com/on-air/. INDATA will include audio content from other AT projects. To submit radio content or to learn more about INDATA's AT radio and podcasts contact Wade Wingler at wwingler@eastersealscrossroads.org.

Follow the RESNA Catalyst Project on Twitter today! @ResnaCatalyst
The RESNA Catalyst Project now has a Twitter feed on the homepage at www.resnaprojects.org. Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read "tweets", which are text messages limited to 140 characters.

Follow what is happening with the RESNA Catalyst’s Online Calendar
The RESNA Catalyst Project’s event calendar is on the homepage at www.resnaprojects.org. This interactive calendar allows individuals to access information on upcoming events as well as visit recent ones. Most events reported in these Highlights Newsletters will now be a simple click away to download, register, and share!

Product Disclaimer

AT product information contained above is distributed by the RESNA Catalyst Project for informational purposes only. Endorsement or recommendation is neither intended nor implied, and the RESNA Catalyst Project, RESNA, RESNA employees, collaborators, and partners take no responsibility for individual decisions, and shall bear no liability for any loss or damages resulting from the use of this information.


The RESNA Catalyst Project provides technical assistance to Statewide Assistive Technology Programs, Alternative Financing Programs & Access to Telework Programs, and Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology Programs. RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America, is the premier professional organization dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of people with disabilities through increasing access to technology solutions.

This newsletter is produced by the RESNA Catalyst Project under a grant funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), U.S. Department of Education (RSA/ED) through the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended. The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of RSA/ED or RESNA and no official endorsement of the materials should be inferred.

Contact Information: RESNA Catalyst Project, 1700 North Moore Street, Suite 1540, Arlington, VA 22209-1903; (703) 524-6686 (voice), (866) 342-6572 (voice), (703) 524-6630 (FAX), (703) 524-6639 (TTY). Email: catalyst@resna.org; Website: http://www.resnaprojects.org.