Written by Allan Friedman, CFILC's Technologies Manager
The Internet has made finding used assistive devices both easier and challenging at the same time. In the past people looked to local organizations or classified ads in their newspapers. Today, items can be posted on websites like craigslist, freecycle, oodle, ebay, abledata, as well as any of a number of websites run by non-profit organizations that serve the disability community. There are so many places where used equipment is posted that searching online can be quite time consuming with as many misses as hits.
So, we’ve developed and added a number of search tools to ATnet.org that can help you find what you’re looking for.
First, there is the AT Services Directory, a database we developed several years ago and continue to refine. It contains almost 1100 records of providers who sell devices, provide services, funding, or repair AT. It also contains records of organizations and businesses that provide training, customization and many other services. Click here to use the directory to find new devices or related services near you.
We recently added two new search tools developed by fellow Assistive Technology Act projects in Nebraska and Colorado. The Nebraska Assistive Technology Partnership developed the AT Exchange; a website where used devices can be sold, given away or borrowed.
The AT Exchange is a place where you can post classified ads for used devices you would like to sell or give away and allows you to post want ads for items you are searching for. You can also search the inventory of 13 AT device lending libraries around the state. These libraries will lend devices for 30 – 60 days (sometimes longer) to fill a temporary need or so you can try before you buy. And it’s all free! Click here to access the AT Exchange.
Our most recent addition to the site is the AT Finder, developed by the University of Colorado’s Assistive Technology Partnership. This handy search tool allows you to search for used AT on Craigslist, Ebay, Ebay Classifieds, and Oodle in a single search. Using your search terms and zip code, you can find assistive devices posted on any of these sites and get results tailored to your location and needs.
At the AT Network we believe used equipment fills a need and is good for both the environment and the pocket book. In addition to the tools I’ve described above, we’ll be adding links to other sites where used AT can be found as well as more tools to help you find the right device.
We hope you find these tools useful. Just remember that any devices or equipment you find should be based on a professional evaluation and recommendation from an Assistive Technology Specialist to assure proper usage and fit. You can find AT Specialists on ATnet.org; just check the AT Services Directory or give us a call at 800-390-2699.