As of 10/1/2017, this manual has been retired. For current policies, procedures, and standards for the Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Division, please refer to the following manuals:

In this manual, references to DARS now refer to TWC. The manual includes both links to public content and links to content available only to staff.

Chapter 7: Assistive Technology Unit

7.1 Introduction

The Assistive Technology Unit (ATU) is located at the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center, 4800 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas.

7.1.1 Definition

*The term "assistive technology device" means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.*

*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.5(b)(7)

7.2 Mission

The mission of the Assistive Technology Unit is to work in partnership with consumers and staff members of the Division for Blind Services to provide technology evaluation, demonstration, training services, technical advice, and information that support consumers in reaching employment goals.

7.3 Who Can Be Referred

Counselors may refer vocational rehabilitation consumers of the Division for Blind Services to the Assistive Technology Unit.

7.4 Services

(Revised 02/13, 03/13)

7.4.1 Demonstration

Provides an overview of one or more types of assistive technologies. Usually requires two hours or less. May be conducted for consumers, as well as employers or other groups. No recommendations for equipment purchase are made based on the results of a demonstration. There are no prerequisites.

7.4.2 Evaluation

Assesses different pieces of technology in a specific category to determine which most effectively meets the vocational/educational needs of the consumer. Usually completed in one day.

7.4.3 Training

Provides basic training to consumers in the use of assistive technology equipment. Usually requires 3 to 5 days.

7.4.4 Prerequisites for Evaluation/Training

The consumer must meet the following prerequisites for evaluation and training:

If the consumer will be evaluated for or trained on the use of a braille embosser or braille note taker, then he or she must read contracted braille at 50 words per minute with 80 percent accuracy.

7.4.5 Special Considerations

If the consumer requires special accommodations because of a physical limitation, medical condition, or learning disability, or if the consumer is employed and the evaluation is for job retention, before submitting a referral, contact the Assistive Technology Unit to request a waiver of the typing and/or braille requirement.

7.4.6 Referral Process

The process for referral is as follows:

  1. In ReHabWorks, complete a service record. The system automatically delegates the action to the ATU administrative technician.
  2. Be sure an EAS report is in the electronic case record or email a copy of the report to ATU at ATU@twc.state.tx.us.
  3. ATU staff members schedule the requested service with the consumer and field staff.

7.4.7 Follow-Up

The ATU Specialist enters a case note (places a report in case notes) entitled Report—Equipment Recommendation, containing specific assistive equipment recommendations with proprietary justification for these recommendations as required.

Field staff may need to arrange for specific training for job or school related tasks with a contract vendor following ATU evaluation/training.