Assistive technology service provider

Assistive technology service providers help individuals with disabilities acquire and use appropriate Assistive Technology (AT) to help them participate in activities of daily living, employment and education.

There are few pre-service programs that provide degrees for assistive technology service providers. Instead, the field consists of an interdisciplinary group of rehabilitation engineers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, suppliers, educators and other professionals who specialize in assistive technology issues. AT professionals typically have a degree in one of these other fields, but will have additional training in assistive technology.

Professional organizations for AT service providers include: the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA), AAATE (Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE), ARATA (Australian Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association (ARATA), and Rehabilitation Engineering Society of Japan (RESJA).

Since the profession includes people with such varied backgrounds, over ten years ago, RESNA developed three credentials that recognize a demonstrated level of professional competence in the service provision of Assistive Technology:
* Assistive Technology Practitioner (ATP) - A service provider who is involved in analysis of a consumer’s needs, fitting and training in the use of a particular device.
* Assistive Technology Supplier (ATS) - A service provider who is involved with the sale and service of rehab equipment, assistive technology and commercially available products or devices.
* Rehabilitation Engineering Technologist (RET) - A person who applies engineering principles to the design, modification, customization and/or fabrication of assistive technology for persons with disabilities. An individual must obtain the ATP credential prior obtaining the RET credential.

Credentialed service providers must meet specific education and professional experience levels, and must demonstrate knowledge of assistive technology, as shown by passing a credentialing exam. According to RESNA, several thousand individuals hold these credentials.

Assistive technology service providers may specialize in several areas of assistive technology, including job accommodations, computer accessibility, vehicle modifications, architectural modifications and home modifications, augmentative and alternative communication, environmental controls, positioning devices, seating and mobility, sensory aids, and learning accommodations. They may be affiliated with hospitals, state vocational rehabilitation programs, schools, assistive technology companies, or disability organizations.

External links

* [http://www.resna.org RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America)]
* [http://www.aaate.net AAATE (Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe)]
* [http://www.e-bility.com/arata/ ARATA (Australian Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association )]
* [http://www.resja.gr.jp/eng/index.html RESJA (Rehabilitation Engineering Society of Japan)]


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