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What's New

ATAC Awards Funding for New AT Projects

The Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center (ATAC) of DRNJ has announced grant awards for projects to expand access to assistive technology services and devices in New Jersey.

The following eight grants have been awarded:

Penns Grove - Carneys Point Regional School District
The Penns Grove-Carneys Point Regional School District will build a collaborative device reutilization program for assistive technology devices that have been purchased by public, charter, and private school districts in Cumberland and Salem counties. This program will provide for reutilization of assistive technology devices that are currently not being used or being kept in storage. These devices were previously purchased for students who are no longer attending or utilizing the assistive technology. The grant will also enable short term borrowing or loans of available and unused assistive technology devices to other school districts (public, private, or charter) within Cumberland and Salem counties.

AssistiveTek, LLC
The purpose of the Assistive Technology for Independence 2017 project will be to expand existing assistive technology capacity of AssistiveTek's partner, DAWN, a Center for Independent Living (CIL) serving Sussex, Morris and Warren counties, especially in supporting underserved populations. Capacity will be expanded by creating partnerships between AssistiveTek and DAWN, increasing staff and consumer knowledge of available assistive technology as it relates to "smart home" technology and how it can be used to support individuals with traumatic brain injuries and cognitive, motor, learning, and communication disabilities; increasing staff knowledge of available off-the-shelf assistive technology; and supporting the CIL's goals of updating and upgrading of its existing assistive technology.

The Center for Assistive Technology & Inclusive Education Studies (CATIES), located at The College of New Jersey
The goal of this project is to provide Assistive Technology training to expand Transition Services. CATIES will educate transition personnel, teachers, high school and college students with disabilities, and parents on how to prepare youth for transition to college and/or employment through the use of iPad technology and instruction in self-advocacy. A series of 15 on-site trainings will be delivered to expand community knowledge and a resource website will be developed to contain up-to-date transition-related assistive technology information.

Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc.
Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc. will provide greater local access to assistive technology and information through public awareness activities, product demonstration, and training in the focus area of Pre-Employment Transition Services. These services will assist students transitioning from school to career to become more independent at home and in the community. In addition to working with various school districts to provide transition services to high school students, staff at Goodwill also works collaboratively with funding partners such as the NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) and the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) to meet the needs of program participants. Goodwill will work with DVRS and DDD referrals as well as staff to demonstrate how specific devices assist transitioning students in completing needed tasks.

Atlantic Cape Community College
Atlantic Cape will enhance the scope of existing assistive technology services available to people with disabilities in Atlantic County and Cape May counties. Many college students with disabilities in this region and across the state lack access to assistive technologies, do not even know they exist, or are not properly trained on their use. The aim of this project is to close these gaps. Workshops and trainings for students, staff, and faculty will demonstrate a variety of assistive technology devices and assistive technology services, with a focus on innovative uses of technology to support individuals with disabilities. Transition training will be provided on assistive technology services for individuals transitioning from school to career.

Alternatives, Inc. - Bridges to Employment
The Bridges to Employment program mission is to provide an outstanding level of career-related services, supporting individuals who are seeking to obtain and maintain competitive employment and employers seeking qualified candidates to fill their employment needs. The Career Development Center will create a device demonstration lab focused on equipment available to meet the needs of all types of hearing loss for the consumers, employers and the community. The lab will be outfitted with modifications, accommodations, and resources enabling employers to hire qualified candidates.

Kingsway Learning Center
Kingsway Learning Center will develop a community-based assistive technology demonstration center showcasing technology supports to meet an array of needs. Monthly trainings will be provided to interested community members on various AT topics.

Advancing Opportunities
The Technology Enhanced Transition project will focus on three New Jersey regions by partnering with Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services offices in Camden, Somerset, and Morris counties. By collaborating with the DVRS staff, a set of trainings will be developed that will help each county make use of assistive technology in support of Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) outlined in the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Disability Rights New Jersey and New Jersey Human Services Commission Announce Completion of Settlement That Transformed State's Mental Health Service System

The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, a national legal advocacy organization advancing the rights of people with mental disabilities, Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ), the New Jersey protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities, and New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Elizabeth Connolly today announced that a settlement agreement expanding opportunities for residents of New Jersey's state psychiatric hospitals to live in integrated settings has come to a conclusion after more than six years.

To access the press release click here

ThinkWork! Study Looking for Parents of Student with IDD

Research shows that families are essential in the employment process for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). But often, the messages families receive about employment are conflicting, and can vary between service systems.

The Family Engagement in Online Employment Planning Intervention is looking for parents of students with IDD to participate in a study to see how Facebook Messenger might be used to coach families on planning for employment. This study is part of ThinkWork! at the ICI.

The study uses Facebook Messenger, as well as The Arc's Build Your Plan tool, to see how a well-planned and individualized engagement strategy might improve families' beliefs about employment for their family member with IDD.

Interested participants can complete the screening survey here.

SAMHSA's Mobile Resources To Support Behavioral Health

SAMHSA has resources that can help address some of the toughest mental health and substance use challenges, including suicide prevention, bullying prevention, behavioral health following a disaster, and underage drinking prevention.

  • Suicide Safe helps health care providers integrate suicide prevention strategies into their practice and address suicide risk among their patients.
  • KnowBullying provides information and guidance on ways to prevent bullying and build resilience in children. A great tool for parents and educators, KnowBullying is meant for kids ages 3 to 18.
  • SAMHSA Disaster App provides responders with access to critical resources—like Psychological First Aid and Responder Self-Care—and SAMHSA's Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to help responders provide support to survivors after a disaster.
  • Talk. They Hear You is an interactive game that can help parents and caregivers prepare for one of the more important conversations they may ever have with children—underage drinking.


Disability.gov Offers Information Guides on Disability Benefits, Programs, and Services

Finding reliable disability-related information and resources can be time consuming. That's why Disability.gov has developed a series of 14 guides about topics such as disability benefits, housing assistance, job training programs, and financial help for families with low incomes. Other guides cover services that promote independence for people with disabilities such as home health care, programs for caregivers, assistive technology, and more.

Each guide begins with a series of “quick links” that answer many frequently asked questions. Disability.gov’s Guides to Information & Resources also connect you to information about local organizations that offer programs and services that promote the inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities in their communities. To learn more, visit http://www.Disability.gov.

New Call Line Dedicated to Help People Coping with Opiate Addiction

The MHANJ's new call line, NJ Connect for Recovery, is dedicated to providing counseling to people who are coping with addiction to heroin or prescription drugs and their family members. Please help us raise awareness of this valuable service by forwarding this message to friends, family members and constituents. For more information, go to http://www.njconnectforrecovery.org/material

The Inclusion Campaign Website Launched

Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ), Education Law Center (ELC), the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE) and other advocates launched “The Inclusion Campaign” (http://www.inclusioncampaign.org) website. The website is a resource for families, educators and other advocates regarding the landmark 2013 legal settlement with the New Jersey Department of Education to educate more of the state’s students with disabilities in an inclusive environment.

For more information, contact: Gregory Joseph, 646-346-4289, gregoryj@amplifyinc.org

CMS Publishes EPSDT Benefits Guide for Children and Youth

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just published a go-to resource for anyone interested in improving child health: EPSDT - A Guide for State Coverage in the Medicaid Benefit for Children and Adolescents. The Guide was produced by CMS in collaboration with the National Health Law Program, under subcontract to the NORC at the University of Chicago.

The Guide is intended to help states, health care providers and others to understand the scope of services that are covered under EPSDT so that they may realize EPSDT's goals and provide the best possible child and adolescent health benefit through their Medicaid programs.

Click here to download a copy of the guide.

Disability and Veterans Community Resources Directory

Recently, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) launched a new database to help contractors find qualified workers with disabilities and veterans, and to assist contractors with establishing relationships with national organizations and local community groups that have access to these workers.

Contractors, as well as others, can visit OFCCP’s Disability and Veterans Community Resources Directory on the OFCCP Web site at http://www.dol-esa.gov/errd/resources.html. For more information and resources, visit http://www.AskEARN.org.

Traumatic Brain Injury Resources

















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