JD sculpts a clay vase at a pottery wheel.

Assistive Technology Made Financially Accessible

LivAbility Magazine

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Assistive Technology made Financially Accessible

Loans for Assistive Technology and Equipment Enhance Independent Living, Employment

With contributions from Amina Kruck, ABIL; and Jill Sherman Pleasant, Northern Arizona University
Photo by Mary Drake

JD sculpts a clay vase at a pottery wheel.AzTAP, the Arizona Technology Access Program, in partnership with Northern Arizona University Institute of Human Development, manages two financial loan programs: Arizona Loan$ for Assistive Technology; and SEED Loan$.

Arizona Loan$ for Assistive Technology (AzLAT) is a consumer driven, statewide alternative financing program offering affordable loans to persons with disabilities and older individuals with functional limitations who want to borrow money to purchase assistive technology devices. AzLAT is targeted to borrowers in low and to middle income brackets.

AzLAT finances assistive technology for use by a person with a disability to support independent living, access education, enhance community integration, and facilitate engagement in activities to achieve improved quality of life.

SEED Loan$, the other financial loan program managed by AzTAP, finances equipment purchases and/or assistive technology to support employment of a person with a disability, including loans to help individuals start or expand a small business, like JD.

JD
JD is a successful artist with a disability who was interested in expanding his pottery business. He creates high end, decorative and functional items such as bowls, vases, “faux” cacti, vessel sinks and lamp bases distinguished by a unique glazing process. As a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) client, he was able to obtain a substantial grant from VR’s Self Employment Review Committee, but was still lacking the money to purchase a larger kiln necessary to create bigger items.

He applied to the SEED Loan$ program, and after a careful review of his business plan, credit history and repayment potential, he received a low interest loan for almost $12,000 that allowed him to purchase the kiln. He is now producing larger works of art and he reports that the demand for his art work has increased.

Aricia
Aricia was experiencing hearing loss for 5-8 years, but because it was so gradual, she did not recognize it and adapted without realizing it. She would ask people to speak louder or get closer to whoever was speaking. “I gradually stopped going to group events because I couldn’t hear what was going on. I got more and more isolated.”

Aricia had the opportunity to take a free hearing test, after which an audiologist explained her hearing loss. Aricia needed hearing aids. Her hearing would continue to deteriorate the longer she waited. She couldn’t afford to purchase the $6,000 hearing aids without assistance. A friend at ABIL referred Aricia to AzLAT, where she received an assistive technology loan for the hearing aids, with an affordable monthly loan payment.

“I am thrilled to hear the birds again! I can go out to a restaurant with friends and hear the conversation. It is much easier being with people and I can participate in classes and group events now because my hearing aid has a microphone the teacher or speaker can use.”

  • Assistive technology can include:
    -eating devices
    -adaptive toys
    -communication aids
    -alternate computer access
    -aids to assist with walking, dressing
    and other activities of daily living
    -visual aids
    -aids to augment hearing

  • People with disabilities may use assistive technology to:
    -participate in everyday activities
    -play and enjoy recreational activities
    -become mobile
    -communicate
    -hear or see better
    -learn easier
    -use a computer
    -become more independent at meal time

For more information about AzLAT and/or SEED Loan$, contact Martha Lewis
at martha.lewis@nau.edu or 602.766.4670; (800)-477-9921; (602)-728-9536 (TTY).


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