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Summer 2006 Table of Contents
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Assistive Technology Resource on the Family Center Website

By Patrick Van Geem, Assistive Technology Consultant, TSBVI Outreach

Abstract: This article describes the services available from The Family Center on Technology and Disability, including their database of abstracts about assistive technology resources for students with disabilities. 

Key Words: Programming, blind, visually impaired, deafblind, assistive technology, resources, Family Center on Technology, Assistive Technology database

In early 2005, The United States Department of Education offered a grant to the Office of Special Education Programs for the development of a very large database on issues concerning assistive technology for children with disabilities. The Family Center on Technology and Disability, the program that produces information for the project, gathers resources from books, articles, workshop handouts, video clips, and other websites, then uploads the information on to a website in the form of abstracts. The project is part of a service that the Family Center provides to organizations and programs that work with families of children with disabilities. It is managed by a partnership of organizations that also includes the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA), Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER), Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA) and InfoUse, Inc.  

The more than 600 abstracts included in the database were obtained from a network of some 1900 national organizations. Before information is transcribed as an abstract and then placed on the website database, it is reviewed and evaluated by a panel of in-house professionals from the field of assistive technology (AT). So it continues to stay current, the website <www.fctd.info> is updated periodically. The database provides a wealth of information, and the panel welcomes suggestions from other sources should it not be listed in the resource database.  E-mails can be sent to <fctd@aed.org>.

Searching the database is easy to do. By clicking on the “AT Resources” link (located in the column on the left side of the webpage), two subcategory links will appear in the listing: “Search Reviews” and “Search Review by Keyword”. If “Search Reviews” is chosen, three major categories appear on the webpage: assistive technology; material types; and disability.  Choose the subcategories that are appropriate to the topic(s) of interest by clicking in the corresponding checklist boxes. When all subcategories are chosen, click on the “submit” button located on the bottom right side of the webpage. A search result page appears with titles of abstracts that are also links to other websites. Included under each title is a short descriptor of the topic. The “Search Reviews by Keywords” link will call up a webpage that includes a text field box on the bottom of the page. You can type either an author, keyword, or title in the text field and click on the “search” button. 

The Family Center is committed to the issues of assistive technology. Besides the searchable database, the organization provides other resources such as CD-ROMs, an online conference series, monthly newsletters, and a membership database. The website also has a link labeled “AT Fact Sheet.” This page provides information such as: a glossary of AT terms; what AT is; AT and the IEP; and AT Laws. 

Information on the Family Center on Technology and Disability is listed below:

Website address: www.fctd.info
Mailing Address: Family Center on Technology and Disability
Academy for Educational Development
1825 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202-884-8068
Fax: 202-884-8441
E-mail Address: fctd@aed.org

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Last Revision: September 1, 2010