Pennsylvania's Assistive Technology Lending Library

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General Questions

  • What assistive technology is available and how do I borrow it? A complete list of devices can be seen in the Equipment List. Requests for devices can be made by you, a family member, friend or advocate, or someone who is helping you with your assistive technology needs (e.g., a therapist, teacher, rehabilitation counselor). Go to How do I Borrow to see the borrowing procedure.
  • My loan period isn't over but I want to send the equipment back early. What should I do? Contact your local Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC), and they will speak to the Hiram G. Andrews circulating center about requesting an early pick-up from UPS.
  • My loan period is almost over but I need more time with the equipment. Can I request an extension? An extension may be granted, IF there is no one else waiting for the equipment. If a consumer is waiting for the equipment, an extension CANNOT be granted. Extensions must be granted at least two days before the actual due date. Extensions that are requested after that time period will NOT be granted.
  • How long is an extension and how many times can I request one? An extension is two additional weeks after the initial loan period. Two extensions may be requested. After the second loan period has ended, the equipment must be returned to the Hiram G. Andrews Center (HGA), via UPS.
  • My loan period is over but I don't want to wait around for UPS to pick up the equipment. What can I do? Contact your local ATRC and they will contact the HGA circulating center regarding creating a shipping label so that there is an option to drop off the equipment at a local UPS location.
  • My client is a school-aged student who needs to try a speech generating device, however, PA's Lending Library has a long wait list. Are there other options? Contact the vendor of the equipment. They often let potential buyers try their equipment for a specific length of time. Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) is also another option. PaTTAN has a library of assistive technology available to local educational agencies for a six week loan period.

Device Loan Request Form

  • Why do borrowers have to complete a Device Loan Request Form? The Device Loan Request Form is used to let the staff of Pennsylvania's AT Lending Library know exactly what devices are being requested, and gives us information about who will be using the equipment.
  • Why don't you have a way for people to complete the Device Loan Request Form on the web? The law requires that we have an original signature on file. However, the form may be printed from the website. In addition, a "shopping cart" option is now available in the Equipment List, to fill in the device inventory code, name and replacement value on the form for you.
  • What address should I use for delivery? Devices may be shipped to the recipient, to a friend or family member, or to a service provider. Just remember that the whoever signs are the "responsible party" in Section 4 of the Request Form is responsible for the device from the time it is accepted from United Postal Service (UPS)! If the delivery is being made to a large facility with many departments and offices, it is important that the address be as specific as possible. It is sometimes helpful to check with the "mailroom" to find out what procedure should be followed to assure delivery and pickup.
  • Why does the borrower have to sign the Device Loan Request Form in two places? It is important that the borrower understand his or her responsibilities when borrowing assistive technology devices, some of which are quite expensive. Software companies whose products are in the inventory want borrowers to know that copying or distributing loaned software is against the law. The signature for the Release of Liability is to make sure that none of the parties involved in the administration, supervision, or operation of the AT Lending will be sued regarding any damages, injury, or losses that occur in connection with a device loan.

Delivery and Pickup of Devices

  • Why can't I get an exact date for delivery or pickup? UPS provides delivery and pickup service for the AT Lending Library. They require a three-day "window" for all shipments. When you are notified of an approximate delivery or pickup date, that date will usually be the first day for delivery or pickup.
  • How do I pack up the device for pickup? Every device has an inventory list enclosed in the shipping case or box. Please compare that list to the items in the case to make sure nothing is missing. Make sure that devices are well-padded and firmly situated in the case, particularly fragile items. For kits that have many components or are difficult to pack, there may be a photograph in the kit that shows how items should be packed for shipment. If the items were not adequately packed, borrowers may be liable for damage that occurs in return shipment.
  • I don't have a shipping label to send equipment back. What should I do? When the UPS driver comes, they will have a shipping label for each of the packages being picked up.
  • Is there a charge for unsuccessful UPS attempts at delivery or pickup? There is no charge to borrowers; the AT Lending Library is charged for shipping. Borrowers can help the AT Lending Library contain shipping costs by following the delivery and pickup instructions carefully.
  • Who should I contact if there are problems with delivery or pickup? Contact your ATRC first, and they will get in touch with the Circulating Department at the Hiram G. Andrews Center in Johnstown.

Suggesting a New Item

  • What if the AT Lending Library doesn't have the item I need?If the item you want is not in our Equipment List, you can suggest a new item.
  • How are decisions made about what items to order for the AT Lending Library? One of the guiding principles of the AT Lending Library is consumer responsiveness. Our goal is to make sure that the AT Lending Library contains items that are needed and wanted by Pennsylvanians with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians. One of the ways we make this decision is to look at the items that are most frequently requested and those which have a waiting list, and then order more of those items, or similar items.
  • What criteria are used when reviewing suggestions for new additions to the AT Lending Library? First, the item must meet the federal definition of an assistive technology device. (See What is AT?.) As a result, you may notice that the AT Lending Library contains some items which are "generic" (e.g. items designed for the general public) as well as highly specialized items which would only be useful to people with disabilities. Another principle guiding us is the consideration of items that are useful to a range of people: Pennsylvanians of all ages, with different disabilities, and with needs for improved functional capabilities for a variety of tasks and in a variety of settings.
  • What are some things you would not add to the inventory, and why? Consideration is given to the size and weight of an item (is it something that can be shipped?) and whether or not it is something that would need to be installed. For example, although a stair glide is certainly an assistive device, it is really too large to ship and it is an item that must be physically installed in a home. We also must consider hygiene in making some determinations, as we are not equipped to sterilize items. As a result, items like bath chairs and talking glucometers are not available. Although some eating utensils are available in the Helping Tools kits, these are meant for demonstration purposes only. In addition, we do not have items used primarily for mobility (e.g. canes, walkers) because of potential for injury if these are improperly recommended or used.
  • How often are items ordered? An effort is made to order items throughout the year, to reduce waiting lists for items and to make sure the flow of new devices into the AT Lending Library is continual and responds to the needs of borrowers. Lending Library staff review new suggestions periodically, at least every other month. If you have made a suggestion, your suggestion will be acknowledged and we will let you know whether or not the item(s) will be ordered.

Borrowing Software

  • What considerations should I keep in mind when I am getting ready borrow software from the AT Lending Library? You will need to know whether or not you have a PC (IBM compatible, with Windows operating system) or a Mac (Apple computer). The descriptions of software in the AT Lending Library contain information about what platform and operating system version is needed. All software comes pre-loaded on a laptop. Along with the software, the laptop is included in the total replacement cost of the loan.

    Also, consider whether there are additional software and hardware items that you will need to fully access the program. Examples of these items may include keyguards and special keyboards (like "Intellikeys"). If items like that are needed, be sure to include those items on your request form.
  • What does it mean when the item description says the software must be "pre-loaded?" This means that due to licensing or other restrictions, we cannot send you the actual software CD, and the software will be pre-loaded onto a laptop computer. So, if the description says "pre-loaded" you must also add a laptop to your request form.

Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service