AT @ Work. Tools to Accommodate Employees with Disabilities Revised May 2009 by the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology and Employment Collaborative, with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability and Employment Policy. Assistive Technology in the Workplace.
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AT @ Work
Tools to Accommodate Employees with Disabilities
Revised May 2009 by the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology and Employment Collaborative,
with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Labor,
Office of Disability and Employment Policy
Assistive Technologyin the Workplace
People with disabilities can work!
Disability doesnot negate the
individual’s skills, talent, and knowledge.
Increased pool of potential employees.
Keep trained employees in the
workplace after injuries.
What Is Assistive Technology?
“any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities” (AT Act of 1998, as amended).
"any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device" (AT Act of 1998, as amended).
Low Tech Devices: Inexpensive, easily made, easy to learn, readily available, easy to replace and maintain.
Notebook with communication pictures
Large button phone
PDA with organizing software
Text to speech software
Refreshable braille display
Eye-gaze computer access
Low, mid, and high tech devices can be found:
At common local stores (Home Depot, Staples)
At specialized vendors (Maxi-Aids, Infogrip, Dynavox)
In generic catalogs
On the Internet
Evaluation for appropriate devices.
Selection of the appropriate device.
Coordination with service providers (e.g., therapists, engineers).
Training / technical assistance for the person and supporting individuals (e.g., personal assistants).
Reasonable Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities
Also known as job accommodations.
Modifications or adjustments to job functions, work environments, or “the way things usually are done” so that an individual with a disability gets an equal employment opportunity.
Enable a person with a disability to:
Reasonable accommodations need not be the “best” or “ideal” but need only be “effective.”
The employer does not have to provide an accommodation primarily for personal use.
Accommodations should assist in performing job functions.
A particular accommodation may not be required if it would cause “significant difficulty or expense” to the employer
Another effective accommodation should be sought and implemented
Always ask the person who needs it.
Contact an assistive technology specialist for an evaluation.
Contact Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT).
Contact the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF).
Search Internet, local stores, etc.
Sample Assistive Technology Devices for the Workplace
Remember – assistive technology selection is based on function,
not the employee’s disability!
Big button phone
Cordless amplified phone
Voice Carry-Over (VCO) Phone
TTY with Large Visual Display
Wyndtell (Wireless Device)
Talking Tape Measure
Hand & Stand Magnifier
Williams Sound Personal FM System
Voice Recognition allows a user
to use his / her voice as an input
device. Voice recognition may be
used to dictate text into the computer
or to give commands to the computer
(such as opening application programs,
pulling down menus, or saving work).
Standard keyboard with acrylic keyguard
Slip-on typing aid
Kensington Turbo Mouse
Microsoft Optical Trackball
Penny & Giles Roller Trackball
ErgoRest Forearm Support
Gel Wrist Rests
Resources in Pennsylvania for Assistive Technology in the Workplace
Who can I contact for help?
Office of Disability and Employment Policy
Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania (DRN)
The Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania (DRN) is a federally-funded, non-profit agency that is mandated to protect and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
DRN works with people with disabilities, families, organizations, and advocates to ensure that people with disabilities can live in their communities free of discrimination, abuse, and neglect.
DRN’s mission is to advance, protect, and advocate for the civil, human, and legal rights of Pennsylvanians with disabilities.
Intake and referral
Individual and systemic policy advocacy
Legal advice and representation
Training and education
Among other issues, DRN helps with:
Access to assistive technology devices and services
Employment matters, including SSI and SSDI recipients who want employment
Offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, & Pittsburgh:
Main Intake in Harrisburg:
Assistive Technology Project Director:
Chava Kintisch, Esq.
Philadelphia, 215-238-8070 ext. 210 [Voice]
P ublic awareness, information and assistance about AT
I ncreasing access to AT through demonstrations and device lending
A cquisition of AT devices and services, including device reuse programs and free adapted telephones
T raining and technical assistance about AT
1-800-204-7428 (PIAT) -Voice
1-866-268-0579 - TTY
Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, 610 USB, 1601 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Statewide AT Resource Centers - ATRC
PIAT Assistive Technology Resource Centers
UCP of NE PA
CIL of NC PA
PA’s Initiative on Assistive Technology, Institute on Disabilities
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital
Center for Independent Living of Northcentral PA
Community Resources for Independence, Inc.
Three Rivers Center for Independent Living
United Cerebral Palsy of Northeastern PA
Life and Independence for Today
Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living
United Cerebral Palsy Central PA
Additional AT Resources in PA
The Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) is a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities and their families purchase the assistive technology devices and services they want.
PATF serves people with all disabilities, family members, and older adults, regardless of where they live within Pennsylvania. PATF can help people of ALL income levels, but individuals must have an ability to repay a loan.
Provides low-interest loans, mini-loans / mini-grants, information about other assistive technology programs in Pennsylvania, and information about other possible funding sources in Pennsylvania.
Provides significantly lower interest rates, extended repayment periods, flexible eligibility requirements, and rescue payments.
Consumer choice program. Borrowers choose the technology they want from the vendor of their choice!
888-744-1938 [Toll-free voice/TTY]
1004 West 9th Avenue
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Independence is priceless…we help make it affordable
The Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Programs assist Social Security beneficiaries with transitioning from dependence on public benefits to paid employment and greater economic self-sufficiency.
Pennsylvania has three WIPA Programs: AHEDD, Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania (DRN) WIPA Program, and Goodwill PASSABCO.
Help Social Security beneficiaries who have received a Ticket to Work and are interested in working.
Help Social Security beneficiaries understand work rules and regulations.
Recommend work incentives that can maximize income and healthcare options.
Help Social Security beneficiaries understand how returning to work will impact benefits.
Connect Social Security beneficiaries with Employment Networks and other employment support services.
AHEDD is a private, non-profit company established in 1977 with a mission to serve the community as a catalyst in the employment and development of persons with disabilities. AHEDD operates an array of employment programs by partnering with business and persons with disabilities through a network throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Vice President: John Miller
(717) 763-0968 ext. 118 [Voice]
Serves Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties
Project Director: Phyllis Hilley
Serves 36 counties in Eastern Pennsylvania.
Project Director: Corey Nelson
The Pennsylvania Business Leadership Network (PA BLN) is an employer driven program designed for business leaders to promote hiring practices that enable qualified people with disabilities to enter and succeed in the workplace.
The emphasis of the PA BLN is to create opportunities where employers can communicate, peer-to-peer, to provide candid and frank assessments of hiring successes and challenges.
Provides employers with access to a network of their peers as well as opportunities for training, positive public relations, an increased number of applicants with a disability, and a centralized source of information.
Part of a national initiative of about 43 chapters of BLNs in 32 states.
Project Director: Stacy Kyle
717-763-0968 ext. 115 [Voice]
The Pennsylvania Client Assistance Program (CAP) serves as a vital link between vocational rehabilitation, independent living, and people with disabilities in the community.
CAP advises applicants and clients of services available under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
CAP provides information and referral about Title I of the ADA.
CAP provides outreach to unserved / underserved populations.
Helps individuals pursue administrative and legal remedies to ensure protection of their rights under the Rehabilitation Act.
Helps individuals to resolve questions or concerns about vocational rehabilitation, independent living, and other services funded under the Rehabilitation Act.
Provides systemic advocacy on issues impacting the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services.
888-745-2357 [Voice/TTY - toll free in PA]
1617 JFK Blvd., Suite 800
Philadelphia, PA 19103
“The statewide advocate for people with disabilities: ensuring that vocational rehabilitation is open and responsive to your needs.”
The Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council Employment Committee’s goal is to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities by working with employers, trade associations, Centers for Independent Living, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and others crucial to the employment of people with disabilities.
Coordinator: Melissa Simmons
(717) 364-1732 ext. 106 [Voice]
2 North 2nd St., Suite 100
Harrisburg, PA 17101
All services are eligibility based, individualized based on need, and may only be provided in relation to achievement of an employment goal (with exception of the specialized services in BBVS).