Pennsylvania's Assistive Technology Lending Library
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Pennsylvania's Assistive Technology Lending Library Policies and Procedures
Device Loans to Pre-Service Professionals and University Faculty
Effective Date July 1, 2011
Review Date: October 7, 2016
It is important that future service providers - educators, therapists, physicians, architects, information technology professionals and others - understand the scope and potential of assistive technology (AT) to improve the lives of persons with disabilities. Providing "hands-on" experiences to college/university students can be an effective way to introduce AT (as well as introducing the procedure for requesting a loan from Pennsylvania's Assistive Technology Lending Library [AT Lending Library]). Accordingly, pre-service professionals (e.g. undergraduates in education; masters' degree students in speech-language pathology) and their instructors are eligible to borrow devices for classroom-based assistive technology-related projects. However, the needs of borrowers with a disability will always receive priority over requests from pre-service professionals or faculty when borrowing for professional development or training purposes. In addition, a large volume of requests within the same time frame (e.g. from 30 students, whose project is all due the same week) may strain both the manpower and financial resources of the Lending Library.
The purpose of this policy is to accommodate higher education faculty and their students and provide them with important AT experiences, while assuring that the AT Lending Library is still able to meet the needs of Pennsylvanians with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians.
Equipment may be borrowed by pre-service professionals enrolled in any Pennsylvania institution of higher learning and/or faculty of those institutions. Faculty are encouraged to consider options to balance the benefits of these hands-on experiences with the needs of Pennsylvanians with disabilities and the resources of the program.
When an ATRC receives a loan request from faculty, or notices several requests for training emanating from a particular college/students, the ATRC should identify and contact the responsible faculty member and discuss the following. These alternatives can expedite the process by minimizing the number of requests and increasing the chances that the requests can be accommodated:
- The faculty member or instructor ("Instructor") may borrow one or more "Helping Tools" kits or the "General Demonstration" kit (e.g. HP-GEN-DEMO). These kits are comprised of many different low to mid-tech items, usually packaged in one or two large cases. They have been designed for instructional use rather than for device trial by people with disabilities. Except in the case of very large classes, there should be sufficient items to have students experience a range of devices by borrowing just one or two kits. The Instructor signs as the responsible party on the Device Loan Request Form (Request Form), and is responsible for the replacement cost of any items not returned.
- The Instructor develops, with his/her students, a list of devices and/or kits to be shared among the entire class, and requests them all on one Request Form. The Instructor accepts responsibility for all devices. If the Instructor is notified that an item is not available, s/he will make an alternate choice from the Equipment Catalog. If more than five devices are needed, the Instructor must discuss this with his/her regional Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) contact to obtain approval to borrow the additional devices.
- The Instructor can structure the assignment such that students are assigned to work in small groups, borrowing two devices or one kit PER GROUP. Each group will complete a Request Form, and one student from the group will be the primary contact person and the responsible party.
Regardless of the option selected, THE REQUEST SHOULD BE RECEIVED AT LEAST TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE OF WHEN THE DEVICES ARE NEEDED.
In the event faculty is requesting an item for which there is a long waiting list, the ATRC should advise faculty that it is highly unlikely the item will become available during the semester and ascertain if the faculty member still wants the loan request processed. The ATRC should suggest an alternative item that does not circulate frequently, utilize onsite equipment, or refer to the device vendor/manufacturer.
If a student is borrowing a device in order to work with an individual with a disability (as well as fulfill a class assignment), the name and information of the person with a disability (the Recipient) and not the student's information should be in Section 1 of the Request Form. If a person with a disability will be using the device, the regular policies regarding loans to people with disabilities will apply.