2002 Conference Proceedings

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WHY A MOBILE ACCESS TECHNOLOGY LAB?

Presenters:

Jane Tong
TransAccess
One N. First Street
San Jose, CA 95113
Tel: (408) 278-2003
Fax: (408) 278-2010
Email: janetong@transaccess.org 

Christina Gaugler
TransAccess
One N. First Street
San Jose, CA 95113
Tel: (408) 278-2006
Fax: (408) 278-2010
Email: chrisg@transaccess.org 

John Cavano
TransAccess
One N. First Street
San Jose, CA 95113
Tel: (408) 278-2005
Fax: (408) 278-2010
Email: jcavano@transaccess.org

This paper focuses on how the TransAccess mobile computer access technology lab was established. Topics include why this lab was needed, funding, implementation, utilization of services, and projected needs in the future.

The Mobile Computer Access Technology (MAT) Lab

The MAT lab allows real time assessments at the workplace, home or school to clients for whom it is not feasible to travel to the on-site Computer Access Technology lab in downtown San Jose, California. The mobile lab can serve as an educational tool for students who need access technology. By knowing what types of technology exist for work performance, a student with a disability can understand that their career choices are not limited and will perhaps pursue an educational goal not otherwise thought possible. The mobile lab is also used to educate employers about the types of available accommodations, the easy conformity to the work environment, and the cost effectiveness for current or potential employees. The MAT lab is used to provide access technology training, in particular voice recognition.

Need For a Mobile Computer Access Technology Lab

Many clients, due to transportation or mobility issues, had difficulty coming to the on-site Computer Access Technology lab in downtown San Jose. The MAT lab travels in a one to two hour radius of the on-site computer access lab. In addition, working with the client at their workstation was important to determine safe positioning, task analysis, current computer and software utilization (for access technology compatibility), and employer/employee communication.

Program Funding

The MAT lab program was funded with an establishment grant with the California Department of Rehabilitation. The grant type was determined by client and counselor input, types of clients served, service delivery area, projected goals, organization capability, and service provider qualifications. Private resources, such as the TransAccess endowment, supplemented the program.

Establishing the Program

The grant detailed the goals for client services, cost of services, hiring and training staff, purchasing access technology, and the acquisition of the mobile van. The goal was to duplicate the success of the on-site lab. Based on that experience, similar assistive technology and workstations were purchased for the mobile lab.

Utilization the Services

The program was promoted through presentations to Department of Rehabilitation counselors on how this service would benefit their clients and help them attain their goals. Counselors would contact TransAccess with prospective clients to discuss the client's possible needs and issue a fee for service authorization, which funds the evaluation with the client. Equipment and software solutions are determined through a joint decision of the evaluator and client. An in-depth report is sent to the Department of Rehabilitation counselor including a description of how the client's needs were met, reasons for the recommended equipment with pricing. Equipment and software training, as well as follow-up, are included with the service.

Projected Needs for the Future

Because the Department of Rehabilitation grant has recently ended, future funding of the program has to be considered. Based upon the reputation that TransAccess has established with Department of Rehabilitation, the fee for service authorizations have continued. A previous requirement of the grant was to service only Department of Rehabilitation clients. With the finalization of the grant, this client base has expanded to private pay and workers' compensation cases. The mobile lab now contributes to the previously established on-site Computer Access Technology lab at TransAccess. TransAccess is currently developing projects with other agencies and foundations to supply computer access evaluations and equipment for people with disabilities.


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