May 27, 2003 --
The AT Tech Connnection, at http://www.techconnections.org/forum/index.cfm, is a new resource developed by Tech Connections, designed as a forum for assistive technology users to rate the products they use in a kind of "Consumer's Reports" on products now on the market.
The idea for the project developed because of the difficulty in finding reliable information on assistive technology products. Many disabled individuals get their assistive technology through programs such as vocational rehabilitation, but "for consumers who are purchasing AT products on their own this task can be even more difficult," says the AT Connection's Kimberly Stewart. "Most available information consists of literature created by manufacturers -- with only general product descriptions provided. It is difficult to find user feedback on how AT products have performed in actual use."
Those who use the new forum can "confidentially post product reviews and exchange information with both consumers and professionals in rehabilitation and education. There is no cost or commitment for use of this resource. The AT Connection is not associated directly with manufacturers or suppliers of assistive technology products." To post a review using the submission form, go to http://www.techconnections.org/forum/ATConnectionForm.cfm
The larger Tech Connections project is funded by National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research as one of its Knowledge Dissemination and Utilization Projects. The project works primarily with vocational rehabilitation programs and agencies, rehabilitation training programs, schools and community rehabilitation programs. It also offers a toll-free information service on assistive technology at 877-835-7335 (Voice/TTY) and a variety of training events (for info on the trainings, go to http://www.techconnections.org/training/ To order the training module on "Assistive Technology in Office Settings," go to http://www.techconnections.org/training/Modules.cfm )