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Access to assistive devices, technologies, and related services is critical for individuals with disabilities and chronic conditions for all ages. However, millions of Americans do not have access to the assistive devices and technologies that they require to maximize their health and quality of life.
Sample assistive technology devices included:
• Wheelchair or scooter
• Hearing aids
• Walker, cane or crutches
• Aids for bathing or using the toilet
• Orthopedic equipment
• Other home modifications for movement
• Other aids for daily activities
• Communications and reading equipment
• Oxygen or respirator
Individuals with disabilities are only half as likely to have access to the Internet as those without a disability: 21.6 percent compared to 42.1 percent (National Telecommunication and Information Administration 2000).
Many individuals with disabilities continue to live without needed services or devices. They are often wrongly denied IT and/or AT by school systems, public and private insurance sources, and employers, among others. But since Information and Assistive Technology can be right, disabled people may have recourse if their request for funding is turned down.
All government programs and most private insurance contracts have an appeal or review process that individuals can turn to if denied benefits.
Understanding entitlements and laws will assist in successful advocacy efforts regarding an individual's right to Information and Assistive Technology.