Tiny K - Infant Toddler Assistive Technology Services
Kansas Infant Toddler Services was the first state agency to develop collaborative activities with Assistive Technology for Kansans. The initial intent of the contract was to encourage local infant-toddler teams to consider the assistive technology needs of the children and families they serve and to develop relationships between local providers and the regional AT Access Sites. These activities resulted in increased attention to access issues for infants and toddlers in addition to introducing a new resource that was particularly important for rural networks.
The scope of the contract has remained somewhat constant, but there has been a change in how the services were used over time. The primary activities of the contract are comprehensive assistive technology assessment, regional and state training, and loan of equipment. Initially, assessment requests were limited to children who needed access to adapted toys and communication solutions. After the first few years, there was a leap in requests for support in the areas of feeding and mobility. In the past two years, almost all assessments have been requested for children with multiple disabilities and low incidence syndromes and disabilities.
Local infant toddler teams are encouraged to participate in the comprehensive assessments conducted by evaluation teams. These experiences in conjunction with participation in annual training activities appear to have influenced the capacity of the state to respond to children’s and families’ needs. Local infant toddler teams are reporting that they are comfortable independently conducting simpler assessments.
Loan of equipment has saved thousands of dollars for both public funding agencies and families. Infants and toddlers are allowed to borrow equipment to determine if it meets their needs. Trial use of equipment or lease of equipment not part of the ATK Loan System inventory have prevented family service coordinators and parents from funding inappropriate technology. In some cases, families have been able to borrow a piece of equipment for as long as the child needs it. The loan policy for infants and toddlers is to allow the piece to stay in the home for as long as the child needs it, unless another child needs to try it out.
This collaboration has resulted in systemic change. Kansas Medicaid changed its policy on powered mobility for toddlers after an assessment provided documentation of a toddler’s need for powered mobility. In subsequent years, Kansas Medicaid modified coverage of powered mobility from only rental to purchase. Special Health Services increased its scope of coverage to include augmentative communication supports, software, adapted peripherals for computers, and other types of assistive technology. Without the type of documentation provided by these assessments, these changes would minimally be delayed for Kansas’s children with disabilities and their families.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE)