Lackawanna College Occupational Therapy Program Hosts Assistive Technology Event

Members News

On Thursday, Nov. 30, the Lackawanna College Occupational Therapy Assistant program hosted an Assistive Technology Fair in the OTA lab on campus, open to the public. In addition to Occupational Therapy Assistant program staff and students, the event was attended by area occupational therapy students, practitioners, and other Lackawanna College employees. The spacious area housing the OTA program was an excellent fit for area vendors to display their unique and specialized equipment and services.

The fair included familiar and cutting-edge assistive technology and services that enable individuals to live more independently, safely, and vibrantly. These devices and services create a context that better engages and supports the individual’s level of function. Vendors at the fair provide services across an age span from early childhood through adult rehabilitation to aging. Students and the public participated in live demonstrations and learned how to assess the need for, document reimbursement for, and access alternative funding solutions for assistive devices and services.

PM Medical, Hanover Township, provided familiar low-tech assistive technology, durable medical equipment, with a unique opportunity for students to learn from the provider about the specific and critical documentation needed for reimbursement requirements. PaTTAN, PA Training and Assistive Technology Network, presented their full-service provisions of education, consultation, and technology to support the needs of students in the classroom, including a discussion of the inter-professional teams and roles they support.

United Cerebral Palsy’s Assistive Technology Resources Center presented their services and lending library of low- and high-tech devices, creating an excellent alternative access option for individuals unable to afford purchases of this nature. Additionally, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation taught fair-goers about their unique programs for not only assessing needs for assistive technology but also providing a variety of funding options for access to high-end technology. Penumbra was present, providing opportunities for attendees to experience virtual reality devices, the REAL system, for therapeutic recovery and skill development, as well as pain management and wellness.

As these cutting-edge, research-based therapeutic interventions begin to become standard within the profession, it is critical that occupational therapy assistant students have access and experience to enter the profession in a knowledgeable and prepared manner. Those looking for a safer option for aging in place in NEPA were represented by NeighborWorks NEPA. One of the many vibrant services that this critical program offers is to provide education for and install assistive technology, as well as home repairs, enabling a person to age in their home environment and community for longer.

Together, this group of vendors represents a segment of human services that partners with occupational therapy to support an individual’s ability to engage in the things that matter—the things they want to “occupy” their time. The Lackawanna College Occupational Therapy Assistant program desires this annual Assistive Technology Fair to be a resource not only for area occupational therapy students and practitioners but also for members of the public seeking information and the ability to experience the technology.