Kansas AgrAbility Program
The Kansas AgrAbility program is a partnership between Kansas State University, the University of Kansas and Southeast Kansas Independent Living. John Slocombe, PhD, KSU serves as project director and Shari Coatney, CEO, SKIL, Sara Sack and Sheila Simmons, Assistive Technology for Kansans (a project sponsored by the University of Kansas) serve as project Co-Directors. The many collaborating partners include County Extension educators, Centers for Independent Living, Rural Independent Living, Easter Seals, Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Kansas Livestock Association.
The program has identified four levels of service for farmers with disabilities, their families, and farm workers with disabilities. The identified barrier of limited rural rehabilitation ties necessitates a strong focus on public awareness (Level 1: Public awareness, grassroots advocacy, general accommodations, and AT solutions). The project coordinator collects and develops materials, and along with the Ag Specialists and Ag AT Specialists disseminates to the collaborating partners. This grassroots network will assist in identification and referral of consumers. Training and public awareness activities will reach 1,000 Kansans annually.
Access to the Kansas AgrAbility program is streamlined through use of a toll-free number 1-800-KAN-DO-IT, which is located at the five regional AT Access Sites to provide information, referral services to agricultural resources, and basic product and strategy information (Level 2: Information and referral, product solution packets/research).
When more intensive services are needed, the AT Access Site staff connects the caller with the Ag AT Specialist serving their region. This level of service (Level 3: Technical assistance, customized accommodation, and AT solutions) provides more in-depth technical assistance, on-site evaluation, and modifications customized to meet an individual’s needs.
The Ag Specialists, Ag AT Specialists, and the local team conduct an on-site evaluation. Some requests require assistance from specialists in areas such as low incidence specialized farm operations, some forms of fabrication, and complex mobility/safety issues. This expanded team is considered a Level 4: Customized accommodations.
The program offers a peer-to-peer counseling network and is guided by a state consumer advisory group. Training session evaluations and measures of consumer satisfaction with services and appropriateness of recommended accommodations are routinely collected.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
John Slocombe, PhD, Kansas State University: Principal Investigator;
Shari Coatney, Southeast Kansas Independent Living;
Sara Sack, PhD, University of Kansas;
Sheila Simmons, MA, University of Kansas;
Kerri Ebert, BA, Manhattan
Nancy Stork, Salina
Jeannie Sharp, Oakley