5 Steps You Should Think About Before Buying Assistive Technology, Part 2

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

*The following is a guest post from Mark Flores of Handi Enterprises, Inc. In this five part series he discusses assistive technology and the process each person should go through in purchasing it. Come back each week for a new article about buying assistive technology. You can view Part 1 here

Prices in the assistive technology industry are out of reach for most of our customers.  So much so that most of them need to access outside sources of funding in order to buy it.  As an informed consumer we recommend that if you think you need to secure outside funding in order to afford adaptive technology, do some research as to the funding sources that may be available to you.  In Alberta, there are several governmental and nongovernmental resources that you may be able to access to help you.  Some of the funding programs that we work with from a government perspective include programs like: ACETS, ICAN, REACH AADL AHS, and DRES just to name a few**.  Click here to learn more about how these programs may be able to help you.  If you find that these government programs just are not for you there are a number of nongovernmental organizations who may be able to help.  Check with a disability organization that serves you to see if they offer this type of funding.  Here are a few that we work with: Canadian Paraplegic Association Alberta (CPA,) Easter Seals Alberta, and the Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta (CPAA.)  If you have access to disability insurance many of these companies can help you access assistive technology.  Here is a list of Canadian disability insurance companies that might be able to assist you.  Two notes here: many of these programs have their own eligibility criteria we recommend that you check with the ones that you would like to use to make sure that you meet their eligibility requirements.  Some of these programs also offer assessment services so that they along with the assistive technology company that you use can ensure that you are matched appropriately.
Our experience working in the industry has taught us that the most successful adaptive technology implementations have been with clients that are not afraid to be their own advocates.  Let us face it in this world of funding things happen; assessments can take forever, funding applications can get misplaced, you may be low on the priority list or you may have been rejected and have to file an appeal.  In these situations one should not be afraid to advocate for themselves by 1st, contacting continuously the particular funding programs to which you applied just to let them know that you are still in need.  Some funding programs will go as far as to put your request on a wait list or deny your request outright just to see if you are willing to go through the appeals process.  A good assistive technology company will help clients identify what funding sources will best work for them.  However, we can only take you so far in the application or appeals process because we have to maintain positive relationships with the funders that we work with.  Make no mistake, in this game it is the most active bird that gets the worm.
As a customer you hold the ultimate power; the power of choice.  What I mean by choice is your ability to choose the assistive technology company that will best fit your needs.  Most assistive technology companies are resellers; this means that we have the ability to bring in a number of products from a number of different manufacturers.  This does not mean that the company you choose has the technology that you are looking for.  So when you are evaluating assistive technology companies make sure that the one you want to use can get the products that you need.  You also want to make sure that the company you use knows what they are doing.  As a client you want to make sure that the company you choose to go with has the proper certifications and experience to install your product as well as to teach you how to use it.  When exercising your right to choose you should be looking for an assistive technology company that is known for their great customer service.  A good customer service team should realize that the process of implementing and making sure that your client is successful at using assistive technology does not just end when the sale is completed and your money is in their bank.  What makes assistive technology company great is how hard they are willing to work for you.  Do they offer more than just the products and installation?  Do they offer extensive after sales support?  How far are they willing to go to help you not only get the technology that you need, but to be able to use it successfully?
**Champions assists both clients and employers to complete their necessary paperwork required to access Disability Related Employment Supports (DRES). Contact us today to learn more about how you can access funding for assistive technology. 

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]