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Assistive Technology for Kansans: Focus on accessible recreation

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In Kansas, it's hunting season and at the Assistive Technology for Kansans (ATK) Tech Center in Parsons the boxes have been arriving for weeks now. The Tech Center is filled with a wide assortment of rifle mounts, bow mounts, autofocus binoculars, switch-activated cameras, fishing gear, accessible camping tents, ground blinds, trekking poles, as well as beach chairs, gardening tools and more. So what's up?

Boy in wheelchair using a fishing pole

With a renewed focus on accessible recreation, ATK is expanding its ability to meet the needs of people with disabilities in a variety of adapted recreation activities. Recently, Sara Sack, ATK program director, traveled to Montana to meet with Dr. Kathy Laurin, Montana Assistive Technology Program, to learn more about the Montana Access to Outdoor Recreation (MATOR) program.

Back in Kansas, Dr. Sack and Sheila Simmons, ATK program coordinator, held a mini-summit and invited Dr. Laurin to come to Kansas to describe the MATOR program and demonstrate a broad variety of adapted recreation equipment. Dr. Laurin was joined by Chris Clasby, also with the Montana Tech Program. Chris provided a virtual review of available hunting and fishing equipment from a "sip-n-puff"* user's perspective as well as talked about new recreation products and solutions. See their work on the Montana Assistive Technology (opens a new web page) web site.

photo of a person using a wheelchair sitting inside a tent

Members of the ATK Advisory Council met with representatives from Kansas Health Policy Authority, Kansas Rehabilitation Services (VR), Kansas Infant Toddler Services (tiny-k), Kansas AgrAbility, Inclusive Community Gardening Project, KATCO, consumers, service providers, and others to learn more about the newly available recreational equipment and opportunities. Much of the newly acquired inventory was available to look at, peer through, sit on, and get in. Energized by the enthusiasm of the attendees, ATK has prioritized making adapted recreation devices more readily available to Kansans through their popular "try before you buy" equipment loan program.

Visit the new ATK website and take a look at the many recreational devices available. Devices can be requested using an email link on the ATK website (opens a new web page), calling the ATK Loan System (785-827-9383), or calling a regional Assistive Technology (AT) Site (800-526-3648).

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