Assistive Technology is a category of services that encompasses both environmental modifications (E-Mods) and adaptive devices. Environmental modifications are physical modifications to the home that can increase or maintain the individual’s ability to remain in his/her home. Like E-mods, adaptive devices (aids, controls, appliances and/or supplies) can increase or maintain the individual’s ability to remain in the home, but can also assist with the individual’s interaction in the community.
Environmental modifications include, but are not limited to, ramps, lifts for porch, stairs and/or bathrooms, hand rails, and bathroom/kitchen modifications such as roll-in showers, shatter-proof bathroom/shower doors, and work surface and cabinet/shelving adaptations. In addition to these physical types of modifications to the home, E-Mods can include modifications that address the individual’s sensory deficits, such as Braille identifications systems and strobe light smoke detectors and alarm devices, and modifications that promote a safer environment for individuals with challenging behaviors, including window protection, reinforcement of walls, open-door signal devices and durable wall finishes.
Adaptive devices include communication aids, such as Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), speech amplifiers and motion-activated devices, and adaptive aids and devices, including feeding, dining and meal preparation aids/devices/appliances, motorized wheelchairs, guide dogs and computer hardware/software that can improve communication and/or adaptive skills.
To be eligible for Assistive Technology services through OPWDD, the individual must be enrolled in the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver. For further information on enrollment, please contact the Eligibility Coordinator at the Development Disabilities Regional Office (DDRO) representing the county in which the individual/family lives.
For individuals and families not seeking to enroll in the HCBS Waiver, the Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities administers the TRAID (Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities) Program, which coordinates statewide activities to increase access to and acquisition of assistive technology in the four domain areas of education, employment, community living and information technology/telecommunications. For additional information regarding the TRAID Program, please follow this link: http://cqc.ny.gov/advocacy/assistive-technology.