Involvement of People With Disabilities

Involvement of People with Disabilities


Indicator of Quality -- Assistive Technology Reuse 

Involvement of People with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities are involved in critical aspects of the AT reuse program.


Rationale: The involvement of people with disabilities is assumed to heighten sensitivity to the issues and circumstances of serving others with disabilities.


Key Factors for Consideration

Individuals with disabilities are involved:

§         On the Board of Directors and/or Advisory Council (if they exist)

§         In the acquisition of used AT

§         In customer intake or determination of eligibility

§         In matching clients to appropriate devices

§         In training customers to use the devices

§         In providing follow-up technical assistance

§         In marketing or promoting the services of the AT program


Estimates of the number of Americans with disabilities range from 33.7 million to 54 million. Disability cuts across age, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic class. Sometimes it is temporary, sometimes permanent.


As Kathie Snow contends and titles her Web site, “Disability is Natural.” The challenge is one of inclusion. How can all citizens, regardless of ability or disability, share in the fabric of everyday life – including involvement in community organizations such as assistive technology (AT) reuse programs?

This is not just a matter of benefit to the people with disabilities, but of the contributions they will make to reuse programs when afforded the opportunity to participate as leaders, workers or volunteers.


To involve people with disabilities, programs need to consider the following actions in recruiting or soliciting participation:

Provide physical access to the facilities. Provide information access for people to become informed about the program. Teach the staff to use People First Language and to be sensitive to the dignity of all individuals. Form alliances with groups that represent people with disabilities of various types. Actively seek the participation of ALL people. Allow the would-be worker to define the boundaries and barriers to participation and see how much can be done to accommodate the person.


Selected References for Additional Information


Families & Allies Working Together: 10 Commands for Involving People with Disabilities


Mjelde-Mossey, Lee Ann. “Involving People with Disabilities in Volunteer Roles,” Journal of Social Work in Disability & Rehabilitation, Vol. 5, No. 2, June 2006, pp. 19-30.


Rural Practice Guideline: Involving People with Disabilities as Members of Advisory Groups, Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities, The University of Montana Rural Institute, March 2004, Rev. Sept. 2007.


Snow, Kathie. Inclusion: The Natural State.



Please note that by selecting an Internet link you will be directed to an external site, and the Pass It On Center does not control the content of the site.



This work is supported under a five-year cooperative agreement # H235V060016 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and is administered by the Pass It On Center of the Georgia Department of Labor – Tools for Life.  However, the contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the Department of Education, or the Georgia Department of Labor, and you should not assume endorsements of this document by the Federal government or the Georgia Department of Labor.






































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Other Information

Title: Involvement of People With Disabilities
Module: Organization
Author: Trish Redmon
Audience: Administrator
Sub Title:
Organization Source: Pass It On Center
Last Reviewed: 09-21-2009 4:17 PM