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MDRC cultivates disability pride and strengthens the disability movement by recognizing disability as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity while collaborating to dismantle all forms of oppression.

Once you have identified what your needs are, it is a good idea to start doing some research about your options to meet the needs.

There are devices that help with all kinds of needs. You may have needs that you never knew there were devices to assist with. Devices are available for assistance with eating, bathing, cooking, dressing, toileting, home maintenance, sleeping, communication, computer access, education, employment, remembering, security, hearing, vision, driving, mobility, recreation, and reducing barriers in the home. Chances are, whatever your need is, there is something to make your life easier.

There are also services related to your assistive technology. Depending on the device you may need to have in-depth assessments and training. You may also want help in ordering, fitting, making, and maintaining your device. When you are investigating devices, you should also look into the services that are available to help you use the device. If you will need to have regular maintenance on your AT, you should ask around and find out which companies provide the best service and what type of service contracts are available. You should also talk with the staff at the equipment providers and make sure you are comfortable with the way they treat you. The AT service provider closest to your home may not always be the best in service.

If you had a professional assessment you may have received recommendations about devices and services. If you are looking for an off the self or homemade solution, you might start by talking to your friends, other people you know with similar needs, staff at your local Disability Network or Center for Independent Living, and equipment providers to find available assistive technology devices and services.

While everyone has unique needs, it can be helpful to talk to other people who use devices. Others may be a good resource for simple, inexpensive solutions, though for more complex technology decisions a  professional assessment should be considered.  Ask other people if they are satisfied with the device or would recommend other options. Ask what training and support they received or would recommend. Ask if they have found other options.

There are often easy, inexpensive ways to get things done. Peer support groups are great places to learn about these tricks and tools. The Disability Networks/Centers for Independent Living can be a good way to connect to other people with disabilities.

You may want to search the internet for information about all of the assistive technology services that are available. The website Able Data at lists over 18,000 devices to meet different needs offered by more than 2,000 companies. The website, also is a good resource for research.

The Michigan Assistive Technology Program has Assistive Technology (AT) Demonstration opportunities around Michigan where you can have certain devices demonstrated A demonstration gives you the opportunity to compare and contrast the features and benefits of devices. The trained demonstrators can also help you find related services and information, including funding sources to try!

Go to Step 4: Identify Costs and Alternative Ways to Obtain AT

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The contents of this web page were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal government.