Assistive Technology Supports a Full Life
Linzey poses in her van with her service dog.
A Borrower Story 

At 31 years of age, Linzey is living a full life! In 2009, she founded a service dog training organization, Phoenix Assistance Dogs of Central PA (PAD). Linzey is PAD's Director, and lives with 17 dogs, several of them in her training program. She also manages the training and care of another 11 dogs that live with volunteers and owner-trainers. Additionally, Linzey teaches pet dog training group classes, provides follow-up support to her service dog recipients, and all the while, still finds time to have an active social life with friends and family!

Diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at age 2, Linzey's life has developed into a quest to help others in the disability community find the independence and quality of life that she found with her first service dog. By necessity, this quest has involved using assistive technology in all aspects of her life.

For instance, Linzey takes notes on her iPad during training sessions because it's easier to hold a tablet than a pen and paper. She stays in touch with friends, family, and clients by texting or video chatting because a phone is too heavy to hold up to her ear. Linzey's home modifications include a paved path that leads to the training room in the basement as well as a track lift on the ceiling that helps make it possible for safe transfers from her wheelchair to her bed.

With a loan from PATF, Linzey and her family purchased an adapted van which she uses to visit friends, shop, and teach classes. Linzey points out that assistive technology doesn't just allow her to get things done, but advances in technology are the difference between efficiency and empowerment. Her favorite aspect of her vehicle, for example, is that her wheelchair can be locked into the front passenger space. "There's nothing like going on a date and having to sit in the back seat. The most empowering thing about this van is the ability for me to ride in the front."

And, while some of the devices Linzey uses are complex, others are very simple -- such as the motion-activated stapler she uses in her home office. As Linzey says, assistive technology provides the support she needs so that she can devote her life to the things she cares about the most - her family and friends, her dogs and supporting her community.

Learn more about our Low-Interest Loan Program here.
Kimiko stocks shelves at her job at a local pet store.
Employment First

In March, Governor Tom Wolf issued an executive order to establish administrative policies that competitive and integrated employment shall be considered the first option when serving persons with disabilities of transition and working age in Pennsylvania.

Read the Employment First Executive Order here.
Governor Wolf signs ABLE bill.
PA ABLE Bill is Law!

On April 18th, Governor Wolf signed PA ABLE into law as Act 17 of 2016. Hooray!

Get all the details about PA ABLE here.
Penny Pincher has a lightbulb moment.
Financial Tips with Penny Pincher
Understanding Saving Limits for People Who Receive Government Benefits

If you receive financial assistance from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or services from one of Pennsylvania's Home and Community-Based Waiver Programs, make sure that your total resources (that includes the total of your checking ans savings accounts) are within the program guidelines. For example, if you receive SSI, the total for your countable resources cannot be more than $2,000. Exceptions are made for your own home and your own car for essential transportation--the value of these items is not counted against the $2,000 resource limit.

The Waiver guidelines are a little more flexible, but there are still strict limits on how much you can earn each month as well as the total amount of countable resources you may have and still maintain your services.

One of the reasons why PA ABLE becoming law is so exciting is because, in general, ABLE account funds will not affect eligibility for SSI, Medical Assistance (Medicaid), or other federal means-tested benefits! Funds can be used for a wide range of community living expenses, including assistive technology, housing, education, and transportation.

For information about Pennsylvania's Waiver programs, visit the Department of Human Services' website,, and click on "For Disability Services" on the left-hand side of the page. For more information about PA ABLE visit
Upcoming Events

2016 Spring Autism Conference
King of Prussia, PA - May 6 from 8:30am-4pm
This conference offers diverse workshops and a resource fair. Leading experts present on a wide variety of topics including educational best practices, medical news, legal rights, family issues, and the latest in technological advance s. PATF CEO Susan Tachau will be presenting from 11am-12:15pm on the topic: Assistive Technology: What Is It & How Can I Get My Loved One What They Need?  

Next Steps into Adulthood
Philadelphia, PA - May 7 from 9am-4pm 
A one-day workshop and resource fair for individuals with autism, their family members and support professionals where experts in autism, psychology, behavior, education, law, health care and social work will share ideas, resources, and tools to help pave the road to a more independent adult life. Attendees will participate in small-group discussions related to navigating ASD as an adult.

Senior and Disability Resource Expo
Springdale, PA - May 13 from 10am-1pm
This expo will feature a variety of informational booths geared toward senior citizens, individuals of all ages with a disability or multiple disabilities and their caregivers. One of the best attended events we go to! Come visit us at our table!

Parent Youth Professional Forum (PYPF): Supplementary Aids and Services w/ an Emphasis on Assistive Technology
Tannersville, PA - May 23 from 8:30am-12pm
PYPFs provide support, gather input from families, youth, and other stakeholders; and improve services for children and youth with disabilities and special health care needs.
New Castle, PA - June 1 from 10am-2pm
PYPFs provide support, gather input from families, youth, and other stakeholders; and improve services for children and youth with disabilities and special health care needs. 
AmazonSmile: You shop. Amazon gives.
Support PATF While You Shop

Don't forget, if you're shopping on Amazon, log in through AmazonSmile and choose PATF as your charity to support using this link: It operates the same as and a portion of every purchase you make will be donated to our programs.

There are lots of ways to support PATF's work. Learn more about how you can help us carry out our mission.
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