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Michigan Disability Rights Coalition is a disability justice movement working to transform communities.

Step 5: Identify Vendors

Assistive technology devices may be obtained or purchased from medical equipment dealers, manufacturer representatives, private sales agents or non-profit agencies. Devices can be new or used. To find used devices, you can contact your local Disability Network/Center for Independent Living and check on-line resources like Craig's List or the ATXchange.org.  If buying used equipment on-line, you may want to read the Tips for Buyers and Sellers on the ATXchange.org.

One thing to consider, as mentioned in Step 4, is whether you can try out the device for a short time.  It's important to consider if this is possible and if so, carefully consider policies such as return deadlines for the vendor.

Other considerations are:

  • Qualifications: What the qualifications of the vendor. Depending on the type of AT, the vendor may have certification or be an approved Durable Medical Equipment Provider. The Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) offers a directory to find certified providers. {Seating and Mobility Specialists (SMS), Assistive Technology Professional (ATP), and Rehabilitation Engineering Technologist (RET)}
  • Reputation:You can ask around to see if others have used the vendor, check with the Better Business Bueau and read on line reviews.
  • Policies: What are the return policies? How are repairs handled?
  • Warranties: Are warrenties offered? Is the expense resonable?
  • Updates: For some technology, a plan to handle upgrades and updates can be important. If so, is this offered? Is the cost resonable?
  • Access: Sometimes, a local vendor is preferable. How responsive is the vendor to questions or in resolving problems?
  • Costs: Check for special pricing and discounts. What are the charges for shipping and handling?
  • Follow-up: Are any other needed services provided such as set-up, maintance or training?
  • Funding Assistance: Does the vendor help with documentation? Will they notify you when you are eligible for new or updated technology?

The Wisconsin Assistive Technology Resource Center has developed "Best Practices for Vendors of Assistive Technology".  There is also a recorded webinar available on this topic "Avoiding Vendor Bendors: How to not get the wrong device"

For help finding vendors, please see the AT Directory.

Go to Step 6: Document Your Need

 

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