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Technology Access Center Opens in Fargo

December 9, 2002

Bismarck, N.D. - Area residents with disabilities or changing abilities will soon be able to try out specialized equipment that may solve some their individual challenges. The Department of Human Services' Interagency Program for Assistive Technology (IPAT) has opened a new Technology Access Center in Fargo. Staff will hold an open house, Thursday, December 12, from 3 to 6 p.m., at the center located at 3509 Interstate Boulevard, north of Perkins restaurant. Assistive technology professionals affiliated with the agency's Vocational Rehabilitation Services Unit will demonstrate adaptive equipment and discuss the assessment and training services available through the center.

Judie Lee, Director of the IPAT Program, explained the benefit to area residents. "People are familiar with mobility equipment like wheelchairs and scooters, but they often don't know about the other equipment that is available, which can really enhance lives. For example, a simple hand-held device may help an individual communicate in spite of a medical condition that makes speech difficult. We provide adaptive equipment that helps people with disabilities or changing abilities to communicate, and to maintain their independence and their quality of life," Lee said.

She described the new center as comprehensive. It features a wider array of adaptive equipment than other assistive technology centers in the state and will be staffed by people trained in different areas of expertise, such as low vision, communication technology, or adaptive computer equipment. The Technology Access Center also houses an equipment loan library.

Lee said the center should complement the local health systems. "We will work with health care providers, school systems, employers, people who provide services to the elderly, and others to meet the needs of their customers," she said.

The Technology Access Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Individuals are urged to call (701) 239-7228 or (800) 265-4728 to schedule an appointment.

IPAT is affiliated with Vocational Rehabilitation Services and is a program of the Disability Services Division of the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

Contacts:

Jeannie Krull, Regional IPAT Coordinator, (701) 239-7228
Judie Lee, Director, IPAT Program, N.D. Dept. of Human Services, (800) 265-4728
Heather Steffl, Public Information Specialist, (701) 328-4933

 

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