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

TRPIL to Host Second Annual Assistive Technology Makers’ Fair September 24-25 in Monroeville, PA!

By John Flaherty, Assistive Technology Specialist, Transitional Paths to Independent Living (TRPIL)

This coming September 24-25, Transitional Paths to Independent Living (TRPIL) is hosting the second national Assistive Technology (AT) Makers’ Fair: Making AT for All Conference & Expo in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

TRPIL serves Washington, Fayette and Greene counties in Pennsylvania. We are also the home of the Assistive Technology Resource Center as part of the state AT Act program in Pennsylvania (TechOwl), which has the stated goals of providing public awareness, access, outreach and technical service / training activities. I also work with Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) to provide information about financing options for assistive technology. Additionally, I’ve been a member of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) for several years.

The staff at TRPIL and I are working with local, state and national partners to bring this event to the Pittsburgh area, but we need your help. If you would be willing to share this information it would be greatly appreciated. You can see some of what we did at last year’s event on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/ATMakersNH, and you can register at www.atmakersfair.com. The call for presentations is now open, and we can’t wait to see the latest innovations!

Last September 29, 2018, individuals devoted to creating solutions for individuals who experience disabilities participated in the first national Assistive Technology (AT) Makers’ Fair: Making AT for All Conference & Expo in Concord, NH. Participants, exhibitors, and presenters came from more than 20 states, territories, and Canadian provinces, where they learned methods, materials, and know-how needed to efficiently create everyday just-in-time devices and technologies. The AT Makers’ Fair goal remains to inspire participants to become creative problem solvers, bringing together makers of all abilities to share ideas, develop new skills, and enhance innovations for persons with disabilities.

Planned by a national committee of assistive technology stakeholders led by Dr. Therese Willkomm, the 2018 AT Makers’ Fair was hosted by Assistive Technology in New Hampshire (ATinNH), New Hampshire’s statewide assistive technology program. In a conversation with Dr. Willkomm she shared with me that she really wants to take the AT Makers’ Fair on the road. TRPIL’s goal is to double what was done last year: twice the conference length, twice as many professionals, and at least twice the number of consumers in need of answers that assistive technology can help provide. We are also on schedule to provide CEUs from ASHA, AOTA, RESNA and Act 48.

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