Let's be honest--finding assistive technology that works with any of our students with more involved needs can be intimidating, let along pricey! Communication devices can come with astronomical pricetags. What's more nerve-wracking than hoping that you've selected JUST the right technology for a child?! What about a child who needs adaptive switches, or switch-operated toys?! Those things just don't grow on trees!
I've probably said almost every one of those phrases, and so have a lot of my colleagues. Fear not. Each of the 50 states offer assistive technology loan programs, and some even offer "trial runs" of products were are very much like a try for awhile before you buy system. (Can we have that system set up with shoes? Just a thought. Someone make that happen!) Psstt--assistive technology includes communication devices!
Here's a list of assistive technology loaner/trial programs I've found for each of the 50 states. I use this system quite often in my outpatient/early intervention positions, and it's been an absolute life-saver. I've used it to just try a device, grab a piece of tech that I didn't have access to, or use it as a hands-on demonstration to improve parent buy-in. If you're school-based only, you can still use these resources. Just remember--state laws can be really finicky about suggesting parents rent/trial assistive technology, so know your state and district's policy. And if you rent/loan/trial a piece of equipment yourself, you're financially responsible!
Simply find your state listed below and copy/paste the link into a new browser to start perusing what your state has to offer! [This is list is current as of 4/19/2016]
New Hampshire --http://www.iod.unh.edu/priorityareas/assistivetechnology/Services/DemonstrationsandLoans.aspx
New Jersey --http://www.assistivetechnologycenter.org/technology-lending-center
North Dakota --http://ndipat.org/
Rhode Island http://www.atap.ri.gov/
South Carolina http://scatp.med.sc.edu/
South Dakota https://www.sd.at4all.com/
West Virginia http://wvats.cedwvu.org/
Have a resource or website you love in your state that I didn't list? Leave it in the comments or e-mail me and I'll add it to the list right away!