December 2013

Wishing our partners, clients and supporters health and happiness this Holiday Season and prosperity in the New Year.
The Utah Assistive Technology Program
Alma Burgess, Amy Henningsen, Cameron Cressall, Clay Christensen, Faye Hauser, 
Lois Summers, Marilyn Hammond, Sachin Pavithran, Storee Powell, Tom Boman
Clay and Cameron repair a wheelchair in the AT Lab.
Winter can be tough on power 
wheelchairs and scooters.
Here are some tips to maintain them from 
the Utah Assistive Technology Lab:

  • Avoid locations where freezing temperatures are expected. Store in a dry place; if this is not possible, keep a tarp over the chair and keep batteries charged.
  • Keep batteries at a high state of charge - this keeps them from freezing, which will destroy the cells.
  • This can be done with a trickle charger. (They can be purchased at most automotive part houses for around $50.00 or online.)
  • Check the electrolyte level (This is the dilute solution of sulfuric acid and water). In other words, if the battery is not a sealed type, remove the caps and make sure that the water level is full. Note: Use only distilled water!
  • If the chair has air tires versus solid tires, make sure the air pressure is at manufacturer specification (when the temperature drops, so does the air pressure in tires). This will help the tires avoid unusual wear patterns.
  • If not using the chair during winter months remove batteries and store in cool dry place (between 50-70 degrees).


For further questions regarding power chair maintenance, Utahns can contact the Utah Assistive Technology Lab at (435) 797-0699, ext. 1.


Have a student with a disability?
Have you talked about AT for your child's IEP?

Six facts you should know about assistive technology in education from the Disability Law Center of Utah:

  1. School districts and charter schools are required to consider the use of assistive technology (AT) for every student receiving special education services. This should not merely be a box that is checked on the individualized education program (IEP); there should be a conversation about possibilities for AT to help your individual child access education.
  2. An IEP should ensure access to the general education curriculum. If your child needs AT in order to access the same content as the other students, the school is required to provide it.
  3. Even if a student doesn't need an AT device for academic purposes, the school may be required to provide it in order to help with functional skills, such as communication, mobility, independent living or social skills. Functional skills are also part of a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
  4. A child does not necessarily have to receive special education services in order for the school to pay for an AT device. The student may also receive AT under the equal access to public education programs protected in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
  5. Sometimes schools are required to allow students to take home AT devices, depending on if it's necessary for the child to receive a FAPE. For example, if a student needs the device to complete homework assignments, they may be permitted to take the device home.
  6. The Disability Law Center helps advocate for students to receive the AT devices and services they need. Call 1-800-662-9080 or visit us
    online at www.disabilitylawcenter.orgfor more information. 

This is general information. It is not intended to be legal advice. Only an attorney can give you legal advice to help you with a problem or answer a question.


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