State Plan for AT (SPAT)
What is the SPAT?
In 2009 the states began a second 3-year-grant-period of federal funding to create greater access to AT devices and services for people of all ages and abilities. The funds were authorized by the AT Act of 1998, as amended. To receive AT Act funding, each state created a "State Plan" in accordance with the requirements of the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) of the U.S. Department of Education. In Massachusetts, the State Plan is the Commonwealth's blueprint for growing and developing MassMATCH--the state's comprehensive program for "maximizing assistive technology in consumers' hands."
What activities are called for by the State Plan?
The plan for MassMATCH is ambitious. Between 2009 and 2011, the Commonwealth is working to continue, build and/or improve services available statewide in 4 areas:
- Innovative financing program--to help more people buy the equipment they need
- AT re utilization/loan/demonstration programs--to help more people find affordable equipment or try out equipment
- Training and technical assistance initiatives--to help human services professionals better integrate AT services and knowledge into their work
- Public awareness programs--to help educate communities statewide about available AT services, supports, and technical advancements.
- AT Regional Centers (ATRCs) are operating in western and eastern Massachusetts; visit them to learn about, try out or borrow a needed AT device. As of 2009, the Short-Term Device Loan Program is available online!
- GetATStuff.org is the assistive technology exchange site for all of New England. Shop for used equipment, post your needs or advertise what you are no longer using.
- The AT Services Directory helps you find providers of AT services and training close to home. MassMATCH has partnered with the New England INDEX to create this AT-targeted search engine.
- The AT School Share helps participating schools maximize their resources and get students the devices they need fast.
- Ask the Expert provides online technical assistance about AT.
- Transition Assistance activities are funded to help people with disabilities use AT to transition from school to community and institution to community living.
- Fund Your AT is an online guide to help you navigate federal, state, and privately funded sources for AT.
- Consumer Advocacy is an online guide to organizations and other resources that can answer questions and provide you with savvy assistance.
- Regional AT Expositions are biannual events providing information and outreach on AT devices and services.
- The Long-Term Device Loan Program for Low-Cost Devices is available to income-eligible people who need equipment that costs less than $500.
Who is implementing the State Plan?
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission is the lead state agency implementing the State Plan in collaboration with 7 additional state agencies. Consumer direction is provided by the AT Advisory Council which is comprised of a majority of individuals who either use AT themselves or are the family members or guardians of people who use AT. Programs and services are provided by a collaboration of contracted providers and state agencies with AT service provision experience.
Where can I read the State Plan?
The Mass. Rehabilitation Commission has created a Reader-Friendly SPAT for FFY2012-FFY2014 to make MassMATCH's plans, strategies, and goals accessible and understandable to a broad community of AT-interested readers.