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Center for Assistive Technology
University at Buffalo, School of Public Health and Health Professions National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)

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About CAT

The Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) was established within the School of Health Related Professions in 1988. CAT conducts research, education and service programs in assistive technology for persons with disabilities and the elderly, in four related areas:

  1. Research, development, and commercialization of advanced technologies and assistive devices. The RERC on Technology Transfer works with inventors, companies, research laboratories and government agencies in the U.S. and internationally, to move new or improved technologies and products to the commercial marketplace. Affiliations with industry associations, the Federal Laboratory Consortium and the National Coalition on Independent Living, form the basis for future collaborations with faculty within the School.
  2. Education Programs for professionals, students, and consumers. CAT staff and affiliated faculty provide instruction on assistive technology devices and services. As a beta-test site for multiple manufacturers, CAT has access to products prior to their commercial introduction. Partnerships with companies offer graduate students unique opportunities to apply their class work, establish internships and develop relationships with potential future employers. CAT offers continuing education programs, which helps professionals maintain their educational links to the school and campus.
  3. Client Assessment & Training Services in computer access for education and employment. CAT's multi-disciplinary Client Service Team provides assistive technology assessment and training services to people with disabilities in the eight counties of Western New York. They also receive referrals from other regions when the client's needs are exceedingly complex. The opportunities for student training and clinical faculty involvement extend to community-based service providers, client employers, the NYS Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI), the NYS Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID), and about fifty school districts within the region.
  4. Dissemination of information about assistive technology devices and services. CAT operates the Western New York Region's Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (TRAID) program, directed from the NYS Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (CQCAPD). This dissemination program works in partnership with the WNY Independent Living Center, thus providing a storefront interface within the community. The Center for International Rehabilitation Research and Information Exchange (CIRRIE) is the nation's single repository for information on rehabilitation research around the world. CIRRIE also operates a scholar exchange program that facilitates faculty connections to related international programs.

Activities within these four areas are multidisciplinary, involving faculty within the school and faculty from other Schools and Departments at UB (examples include Architecture and Planning, Management, Nursing, Law, Communicative Disorders and Sciences, Counseling and Educational Psychology, Mechanical/Electrical/Industrial Engineering, Rehabilitation Medicine and Education).

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