Need adaptive equipment? Try these resources

Posted May 09, 2011, at 4:55 p.m.

Since 2008, Maine people with disabilities who need assistive technology  — also known as AT or adaptive equipment — and their families have used two recycling programs, Get AT Stuff and TEC-Assist, to get items they need and to save money. These services are offered statewide and welcome more people to use them.

Get AT Stuff is a free classified ads web site where people wanting assistive technology and those looking to sell or donate can connect. Items can be listed for sale or free. There is no listing fee.

Developed by Maine’s Assistive Technology Program, Maine CITE, along with the other New England states, Get AT Stuff has allowed users of this service to exchange over 450 devices for vision, hearing, mobility, environmental adaptations, computers, recreation, sports, and adapted vehicles. Individuals, families, senior citizens and organizations, such as schools, use this service to get the devices they need or want, often for a fraction of the cost.

Bob McPhee, a sports writer from Dixfield, ME, values the service .

“The Get AT Stuff website … provides a valuable service to Maine citizens,” McPhee states. “It has helped connect people from Maine and throughout New England with an opportunity to advertise for durable medical equipment and adaptive equipment. Also, it is two-fold because individuals looking for devices can see what’s available. In these tough economic times, in addition to state and federal restrictions, purchasing these would be nearly impossible.”

TEC-Assist is located at the Technical Exploration Center in Bangor, a community outreach program of Husson University. TEC-Assist accepts donations of “gently used” equipment such as manual wheelchairs, tub seats and safety accessories, sanitizes and restores them to good working condition and makes them available for purchase at a nominal service fee, approximately 50-80% less than the original price.

TEC-Assist arranged over 80 purchases of discounted assistive technology in its first year, saving Maine customers over $18,000.

Lynn Gitlow the director of the program reports that TEC-Assist receives new items daily. “Yesterday we had a series of high end walkers in great shape donated to us” says Gitlow. She goes on to note, “TEC-Assist is not competing with vendors who sell items covered by insurance but rather our equipment is available for those who do not have insurance or have used up their insurance. Maine people can also purchase items not covered by insurance such as bath equipment like tub benches. TEC-Assist also has pediatric equipment that can be used in schools; something to consider given tight educational budgets.”

The Technical Exploration Center is located at 34 Summer St., Suite 2A, in Bangor. TEC can be reached by calling 207-992-9270 or toll free 866-274-0029 (Voice/TDD).

For more information, contact the Maine CITE Coordinating Center in Augusta at 207-621-3195 or iweb@mainecite.org.

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