I have personally used the first two organizations. All three of them are free lending libraries. One offers free shipping (Tadpole), the others don't. You don't need a "school account" for any of them, you set up an individual account. Tadpole and ATILL have a great online library with photos. NCATP online library is nonexistent, but that's probably because they have so many centers throughout the state, and encourage folks to come in and put their hands on the equipment.
|Where the Wild Things Are|
Tadpole's website is very user-friendly, though still under construction. It will be terrific when complete. That being said, there is tremendous value in taking a field trip there to see and hold all the different things they have to lend. It is a wonderful resource for therapists, teachers, and parents alike.
|Assortment of SAT|
NCATPThe North Carolina Assistive Technology Program (NCATP) is a state and federally funded program that provides assistive technology services statewide to people of all ages and abilities. A few blog-posts back I wrote about the AT Classifieds that are run by NCATP.
NCATP offers a device loan program to help individuals try out equipment in the location they will use it: at home, work, school or recreational activities. It’s a “try before you buy” approach which helps individuals and funding agencies make wiser choices. NCATP offers a wide range of assistive technology devices including augmentative communication ( for people with limited speech), computer access, low-vision aids, assistive listening, aids for daily living, switches, environmental controls, adaptive toys and recreational devices.
The NCATP library tends to be mid to high tech equipment, very current, and rather breathtaking. It's hard to find a place with a deeper selection and staff who are more knowledgeable.The NCATP Centers are spread across the state of North Carolina with locations in Raleigh, Sandord, Winston-Salem, Greeensboro, Elizabeth City, Rocky Mount, Wilmington, Sylva, Morganton, and Charlotte.
NCATP staff respond to individual requests about the benefits of AT, device options, information on funding resources, and the use of specific devices. Staff research the inquiry and provide the information in person either on-site in the AT Center or in the home, school, work or community setting or via phone, email or U.S. mail. Consumers or family members are not charged for this information. However, if training on a device or formal evaluation is needed, there are fees for these services.
Assistive Technology Initiative Lending Library (ATILL)
Resources may be checked out for thirty days and must be picked up at the Assistive Technology Demonstration and Lending Site. Requests for devices may be made by you, a family member, a friend or advocate, or someone who is helping you with your assistive technology needs (e.g., a therapist, teacher, rehabilitation counselor).
Of the three, I am least familiar with ATILL, and have not used them yet, but I was very excited to hear they are "in business"! The more the merrier. Tadpole is where I go when I need switch activated toys, or education supplements. NCATP is where I send families who are interested in test driving multi-thousand dollar devices.
I would wager that other states have similar programs. If you not in North Carolina, but can speak to similar resources in your State I'd love to hear about it, with a web-link, and likely other readers would too!