The New York State Office of Children and Family Services awarded a grant to the University at Buffalo for the “Equipment Loan Closet.” Funded through June 30, 2019, the project enables individuals with visual impairments to loan various assistive technology devices, for retention or obtainment of employment, or participation in education.
The $30,000 grant will help ensure that equipment is available for loan to individuals in need, specific to the Western New York area. The assistive technology devices available through the loan program include; iPads and laptop computers, talking digital recorders, adaptive keyboards, mice, magnification and screen reading software, Pen Friends, braille displays and note-takers, handheld and desktop magnifiers.
“In my experience it has been life changing for clients, school age to adults, for enhancement of educational, vocational, daily living, and recreational access to the technological world,” stated the Equipment Loan Closet project’s lead, Ms. Kimberly Naus.“Some of our clients include people attending school or working in the fields of banking, business, teaching, dispatching and legal positions, which enables them to continue their day to day educational or employment tasks having access to the NYS Loan Closet Program. This program is our tax dollars working to enhance our community’s quality of life in providing opportunities and independence.”
Ms. Naus is the director of Client Services for the University at Buffalo Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) in the School of Public Health and Health Professions. She provides assistive technology services for the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped and NYS Adult Career & Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation school districts and employers. CAT was established in 1988 and explores the functional utility of assistive technology devices and services in support of persons with disabilities.