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FAAST Assistive Technology Program

 

FAAST Blue and White Logo

Some of the services include: This program is available to Floridians with disabilities, family members and service providers. Some devices require that a person experienced with the device is available to assist you and assess your needs.

Gulf Coast Regional Center provides services to increase awareness, access, and acquisition of assistive technology for all Floridians. Regional centers are located  in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, Tallahassee, and Tampa.

Each center provides the following core services:

Information and Assistance:  The Information and Assistance program, one of our core services, receives questions from all over our region about our programs, services, and the field of assistive technology.

We respond to requests for information and will put individuals in contact with other agencies, organizations, or companies that can provide them with needed information on AT products, devices, services, funding sources, or other related disability topics.

To better assist the people we serve, in addition to our programs and services, we have access to an updated database of information related to disabilities and available resources. This program is essential to our organization, it provides people with the assistance necessary to make informed decisions with assistive technology.

Short-Term Assistive Technology Equipment Loans:   Assistive technology devices may be borrowed for a short period of time to assist with:

•        decision making
•        serve as a loaner while waiting for a repair or funding
•        provide an accommodation on a short term basis for a time limited event
•        conduct training, self -education, or other professional activity.

Device Demonstrations: Compare the benefits and features of a particular device or group of devices that address an identified need to help individuals make an informed choice.

Training: Training activities are instructional events, usually planned in advance for a specific purpose or audience that are designed to increase participants’ knowledge, skills, and competencies regarding AT. Examples of training include classes, workshops, and presentations that have a goal of increasing skills, knowledge, and competency, as opposed to training intended only to increase general awareness of AT.

If you need assistance with Assistive Technology Loans, Demonstrations or Training, please contact:
Susan Foster, 850-595-5566 or email at susan@cil-drc.org

 

Our ReUse Center provides the following services:

  • Device reutilization, repair and refurbishment: Consumers may bring in their devices to be repaired and returned to them, or  may donate devices to be refurbished to be repaired as needed and then offered for sale, loan, or given away to other consumers in need.
  • Open-ended device loans: Open ended loans are typically long term with the device placed with a consumer on a permanent basis but done via loan rather than ownership transferring to the client. Consumers can keep a borrowed device for as long as required to meet a particular need.
  • Device exchange activities: Devices are posted on AT list through the FAAST Classified Ads and AT and many devices at no cost to the consumer.  Some devices are local pick up, others will ship. Depends on size and ability to ship.  Consumers may use the contact information provided in the listing to obtain the device.

Click Here Mice for Accommodations – Training Video:  (Or insert URL in Search – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcOlI4BOHYg&feature=youtu.be)

FAAST Inc. Classifieds: Search the new online classified system where you can find new and used AT devices for FREE or a reduced price.

Device Loan ProgramThe FAAST Device Loan Program is a way for people with disabilities of all  ages to try out different assistive devices to best determine those most  helpful for them.  Contact:  Susan Foster, susan@cil-drc.org.


Some of our Success Stories

 

CHANCE PATTERSON

Chance Patterson is a young child with a disability.  He is very expressive.  He is always talking but we do not understand what he is saying.  Essentially, he is a non-verbal, but wants to be a good communicator. He has been trying hard lately to say words. He is a very busy boy. His favorite toys are any type of ball. He loves testing what his body can do by climbing, jumping and running. He only watches Boss Baby and Pocoyo. He is extremely affectionate and very silly. He is a happy boy. His mom suspected he was autistic. He was about 6 months old when she started to realize he might have a disability. As he started to develop and his language was starting to form, he would say a word and then never say it again. We knew something was not quite right. Chance’s doctor diagnosed him with autism in February this year. He put him on a non-stimulant medication to help calm him and keep him focused.  He is extremely busy so the medication was to help him absorb more information and be calmer. The medication is working. It is just a noticeable difference, but a difference. He observes more and is not all over the place anymore. His mom is working hard to get more of his language skills down before school in August. He will be going to Holm Elementary when school starts back.  She is hopeful that he will be able to communicate with her about his day and any issues he may encounter. Chances mom says, Autism is challenging.  She does not know what she is doing but it is an absolute joy to have Chance as her son. He is just fun and interesting and life would not be the same without him in it.

His mom is single mother with no support system. There is no involved father, no grandparents… no one.  She explained that for the most part when it comes to necessities for Chance, she relies on the many outside.

Chances has three older siblings, Andrew- 26, Justus- 19 and Hayley- 16.  Not only does Chance’s mom deal with Chance and his disabilities, her older siblings also have their own set of issues and needs.  Andrew, her oldest son just recently returned home. Justus has eating disorders and underlying mental health issues. Hayley also deals with anxiety.

Chance’s mom said her plate is full and is a lot to deal with and she gets by believing in her and the many wonderful people along the way that allow themselves to be used for good.  She said, like the CIL Disability Resource Center (CIL-DRC) and the Florida Alliance for Assistive Service and Technology (FAAST) Gulf Coast Programs.

She says the CIL-DRC and FAAST programs have been extremely helpful, and did not make it hard to do either.  With all she has going on, limited funds she would have never be able to get Chance a communication device or the software.  Resources like CIL-DRC and FAAST make a world of difference in each day of our lives.

She wanted to say “thank you” and if she could play a role by informing the public about resources that in supporting their children, then sharing her story is a pleasure to do.

Chance sitting on a maroon couch with his Go Talk

Chance Patterson


Bluebee Pals and Florida Alliance of Assistive Services

Kayle Concepts recently welcomed the Florida Alliance of Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) to the Bluebee Pals Project. The regional centers received Bluebee Pals to use with clients during evaluation sessions, training activities and instructional events. FAAST is a state-funded program that provides device demonstrations and loans to help customers select assistive technology equipment that will help with activities of daily living and communication.

Warren Jernigan and LaVesta FeaginThe Gulf Coast Regional Center is part of the Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Pensacola, Florida. LaVesta Feagin, an AT Specialist at CIL, works tirelessly to provide seniors with equipment to better access their environment and live active lives. LaVesta began working as a volunteer through a Career-Transition Program and then was hired as the AT Specialist.. She primarily works to provide the elderly with items from their “senior kit” including car canes for stability, car caddies, swivel seats, lifts, power chairs, and weighted eating utensils. However, she is faced with another crucial tasks of helping customers all over the Gulf Coast find Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices that will help them communicate effectively.

Mom and Son and BlueBeeLaVesta has delved into this area with a thirst for knowledge that has guided her journey as the centers only AT Specialist. LaVesta was faced with limited experience working with children and AAC devices but was up for the challenge! She has used Bluebee Pals to engage children as well as the seniors at CIL with much success! She connects Bluebee to her trial AAC Devices including the Tobii Dynavox, the iPad with Proloquo2Go Communication App, Android devices, Kindles and even smart phones! “I was excited about how they can be used with so many devices because they are Bluetooth enabled” she stated.

iPadProloquoComCard

 

LaVesta hosts a “Foster Grandparents” program which connects seniors with children. Both populations benefit from the shared experience of chatting, playing games and now interacting with Bluebee Pals! “The kids and elderly loved activating the Bluebee Pals with the iPad and AAC app (Proloquo2Go)! They could talk to the foster grandparents with the Bluebee Pals and even had the grandparents using the iPads!” -LaVesta Feagin

 

Zebra BlueBee PalThe Bluebee Pal’s biggest fan at Gulf Coast FAAST is Hannah. LaVesta works with this 17-year-old student with Autism who without question always lets her know if she is interested in a new activity or tool right away. “She will let me know right away if she is not interested in something and she absolutely loves the ZebraBluebee Pal that she has named June. I checked out the Bluebee Pal’s recommended apps on the website and downloaded Toca Hair Salon. Hannah loves hearing the hair salon sounds through Bluebee June and is so engaged.”

“Bluebee Pals are a good price-point for people because AAC is expensive. Not only is it an affordable price, but there are a variety of animals for kids. It offers people different choices.” – LaVesta FeaginLaVesta Feagin is an AT superstar, working hard to engaged seniors and children during FAAST activities as well as for AAC evaluations. We love that Bluebee Pals are helping her in this endeavor. We salute you LaVesta!…..https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-project-participants/

Hannah Stanwood uses her favorite animal, “Z” for Zebra