The Maine Department of Education submits a three-year State Assistive Technology (AT) Plan to the federal DHHS, Administration for Community Living (ACL). The plan describes how the state will meet the requirements of the Assistive Technology Act, as amended in 2004.
Maine’s AT Plan is designed to improve access to and the acquisition of assistive technology devices and services for individuals with disabilities of all ages through a comprehensive statewide program.
History of Maine CITE Program
In 1989, the Governor appointed the Department of Education (DOE) as the lead agency for the Maine CITE Program. The Office of Special Services within the Department assumed responsibility for overseeing the activities of the Program.
The Program started with the Department of Education, the University of Maine System and Alpha One as the original partners. Partnerships broadened over the years to include private and public entities that provide AT devices and services to Maine people of all ages and disabilities. This partnership is now known as the Assistive Technology Consortia and includes the following organizations:
- Spurwink ALLTECH
- C.A.R.E.S. Inc.
- Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies
- Disability Rights Maine
- Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
- Educational Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Children (ESBVIC)
- IRIS Network
- Mainely Access
- Maine Parent Federation
- mPower Loan Program
- Pine Tree Society
- University of Maine at Farmington
- Maine AgrAbility
Maine State AT Advisory Council
The Maine CITE Program also has a State Assistive Technology Advisory Council made up of individuals who represent state agencies, users of AT and family members. Members include:
- Janice Breton
- Jan DeVinney
- Deborah Gardner
- Pauline Lamontagne
- Robert (Bob) McPhee
- Annette Stevens
- Anne Marie Riley
- Matt Roix
- Marc Roix
- Lisa Whitis
- Gil Whitmore
AT State Plan Goals:
The Maine CITE Program focuses on the goals of improving access to and the acquisition of AT in Education, Employment, Community Living, and Information Technology in collaboration with the AT Consortia.
In addition, the Maine CITE Program supports several AT Consortia members to conduct specific activities as described below.
State Financing Activities
The Maine State AT Plan identifies an alternative financing program. The State’s long standing revolving loan program, mPower, provides affordable low interest, cash loans to Maine citizens to buy AT that they want and need as well to make home modification changes.
Device Reutilization Program
Spurwink ALLTECH operates a refurbishing and reassignment program that provides low cost, lightly used refurbished AT devices to consumers, families, children and seniors in Maine.
The Maine CITE Coordinating Center, in partnership with New York and the other five New England AT Act Programs, manages a web-based AT device exchange called GetATstuff.com. This is a free classified advertisement service for individuals to buy, sell or donate AT devices.
Device Loan Programs
Short-term Device Loan programs are provided through Spurwink ALLTECH, the University of Maine Farmington, Pine Tree Society, CARES, Inc. to expand the loan services and device inventories statewide. These “try before you buy” loan programs are essential in offering Mainers the chance to determine the benefit of using AT in their own life.
Device Demonstration Program
Training and Technical Assistance Activities
The Maine CITE Coordinating Center provides Training events including the use of distance learning technologies. Events are developed in collaboration with AT Consortia members and other interested entities. Training focuses on AT Education, Employment, Community Living and Information Technology & Telecommunications, as well as on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM).
The Maine CITE Program continues to provide Technical Assistance to agencies on AT related issues that will impact AT policy and provision of AT services in Maine.
The Maine CITE Coordinating Center engages in a wide variety of Public Awareness activities. The guiding principle for Public Awareness is to integrate AT information into existing information networks and to promote AT device and AT service resources.
The Maine CITE Coordinating Center’s website features information on AT resources, training events, accessible information technology, service providers, funding options, telecommunications and universal design.
The Maine CITE Coordinating Center materials such as “Tools and Ideas for Easier Living” continue to be distributed. New materials that describe AT Consortia organizations and their services, AT vendors and AT policies continue to be developed.
Conferences and Exhibits
The Maine CITE Coordinating Center exhibits at statewide conferences to demonstrate AT devices and promote information about AT, resources, and Maine service providers.
Information and Assistance
The Maine CITE Coordinating Center staff responds to inquiries about AT and provides Information and Assistance (I & A) services. AlphaOne also provides I & A services to hundreds of inquiries each year.
Coordination and Collaboration
Maine has a strong tradition of collaboration as part of its history. The AT Advisory Council members and AT Consortia partners help to broaden the Maine CITE Program’s communication and involvement across Maine to meet the ongoing challenges of assuring that AT is included in changing state policies.