TECH-NJ: 2000, Vol 12., No. 1
When TECH-NJ began twelve years ago, it focused on computer technology which supported school-aged children with disabilities. Now its emphasis shifted slightly to include technology which can support people with disabilities who attend college. This variation came about when the Adaptive Technology Center for New Jersey Colleges was established at The College of New Jersey.
New Staff Positions
In its second year of operation, the Adaptive Technology Center for New Jersey Colleges is actively working towards its mission of increasing opportunities for college students who have disabilities to meet the academic demands of college through access to appropriate technology tools. Through a significant budget increase from the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education, the center has been able to add essential new staff. Ellen Specht is now our coordinator of the Adaptive Technology Lending Program. A student worker has also been hired to provide pick-up and delivery service of oversized equipment. These new positions have enabled Anne Disdier and me to be available for conference presentations and training workshops at college campuses around the state.
Procedures for Borrowing Equipment
The Adaptive Technology Center for New Jersey Colleges maintains an inventory of hardware, software, and assistive devices (see inventory list on page 7) which can be borrowed by college students who have disabilities for a trial period.
The Adaptive Technology Lending Program is designed to provide a trial period for students to determine if a particular technology tool is helpful. It is a short-term loan program, with most equipment being loaned for a period of one semester. When a technology tool is found that meets a student's needs and is needed for on-going coursework, the expectation is that the student's institution will assume responsibility for providing that reasonable accommodation. If needed, the Adaptive Technology Center will provide technical assistance to colleges regarding the purchasing of new hardware and software.
Equipment loans are arranged with staff in the Disability Support Services Office of each college/university. Each college/university needs to submit a signed College Lending Agreement for the current school year before loans can be arranged. Students who would like to borrow an item from the Lending Program need to sign and submit a Student Lending Agreement. Both of these forms can be downloaded from the web site at www.tcnj.edu/~technj/atcenter/two_forms.htm.
Get the Word Out
Recent research conducted at both the state and national levels reveal clearly that the number of students with disabilities who are attending college has ballooned in the past decade. The largest segment of this group are students who have learning disabilities. Consider the characteristics of people with learning disabilities - difficulties with reading, writing, spelling, and/or organizing ones thoughts. Now consider the typical tasks college students must complete regularly - reading, writing, organizing their thoughts, expressing themselves clearly. The Adaptive Technology Center for New Jersey Colleges offers information, training and loans of technology tools which can decrease these students' struggles, anxieties and frustrations associated with reading, writing, and organization. But many colleges' disability support staff, students, and their parents are not yet aware of the value of these technology tools. Please help us reach those students and staff who would benefit most from the Adaptive Technology Center for New Jersey Colleges. Give them a copy of this article, or send them to our web site at http://adaptivetech.tcnj.edu
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