the advocacy monitor

Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Policy on Available and Accessible Technology: Overview

Three young people smile while sitting together at a table at the 2016 Annual Conference on Independent LivingNCIL strongly advocates for access to mainstream and assistive technologies (AT) that enable and enhance independence for people with disabilities through supporting the principles of Universal Design, inclusion, consumer control, and peer support as they apply to the use, development, and delivery of mainstream and assistive technologies.

People with disabilities are best served by available and affordable “hands-on” exposure to technology. NCIL encourages the use of Universal Design to make technology inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities and supports legislation and efforts that develop and enforce access standards in existing and emerging technologies.

Assistive Technology Act

NCIL supports funding of the Assistive Technology Act by Congress because it assists consumers in learning about, experimenting with, and acquiring assistive technology in pursuit of their independence.

Thirteen years after the 2004 amendments, many of the state AT Programs, not including the territories, have yet to receive the $410,000 minimum grant award authorized in the Assistive Technology Act. Many states have no Alternative Finance Program or have a limited program. By supporting Alternative Financing Programs and increasing its funding, Congress can help people with disabilities purchase the technology they need.

NCIL was encouraged by Congress’s support of the Assistive Technology Act by infusing an additional two million dollars into the Act to support Alternative Finance Programs and strengthen consumer control measures for new entities competing for those funds.

Updated: March 23, 2017.