FAAST Assistive Technology Program


Gulf Coast Regional Demonstration

and Recycle/Reuse Center

Some of the services include: This program is available to Floridians with disabilities, family members and service providers. Some devices require that a person experienced with the device is available to assist you and assess your needs.  Gulf Coast Regional Center provides services to increase awareness, access, and acquisition of assistive technology for all Floridians.  FAAST provides access to AT through multiple programs and locations. The state headquarters in Tallahassee provides the home base for the Statewide Device Loan Program and the New Horizon Financial Loan Program as well as coordinates and manages legislative activities for the advancement of AT related initiatives. Throughout the state, there is a network of twelve (12) Regional Demonstration Centers and five (5) Regional Reutilization Centers.

Each center provides the following core services:

Information and Assistance:  The Information and Assistance program, one of our core services, receives questions from all over our region about our programs, services, and the field of assistive technology.

We respond to requests for information and will put individuals in contact with other agencies, organizations, or companies that can provide them with needed information on AT products, devices, services, funding sources, or other related disability topics.

To better assist the people we serve, in addition to our programs and services, we have access to an updated database of information related to disabilities and available resources. This program is essential to our organization, it provides people with the assistance necessary to make informed decisions with assistive technology.

Short-Term Assistive Technology Equipment Loans:   Assistive technology devices may be borrowed for a short period of time to assist with:

•        decision making
•        serve as a loaner while waiting for a repair or funding
•        provide an accommodation on a short term basis for a time limited event
•        conduct training, self -education, or other professional activity.

Device Demonstrations: Compare the benefits and features of a particular device or group of devices that address an identified need to help individuals make an informed choice.

Training: Training activities are instructional events, usually planned in advance for a specific purpose or audience that are designed to increase participants’ knowledge, skills, and competencies regarding AT. Examples of training include classes, workshops, and presentations that have a goal of increasing skills, knowledge, and competency, as opposed to training intended only to increase general awareness of AT.

If you need assistance with Assistive Technology Loans, Demonstrations or Training, please contact the  Assistive Technology Specialist, 850-595-5566 or email at info@cilnwf.org

Our ReUse Center provides the following services:

  • Device reutilization, repair and refurbishment: Consumers may bring in their devices to be repaired and returned to them, or  may donate devices to be refurbished to be repaired as needed and then offered for sale, loan, or given away to other consumers in need.
  • Open-ended device loans: Open ended loans are typically long term with the device placed with a consumer on a permanent basis but done via loan rather than ownership transferring to the client. Consumers can keep a borrowed device for as long as required to meet a particular need.
  • Device exchange activities: Devices are posted on AT list through the FAAST Classified Ads and AT and many devices at no cost to the consumer.  Some devices are local pick up, others will ship. Depends on size and ability to ship.  Consumers may use the contact information provided in the listing to obtain the device.

FAAST Inc. Classifieds: Search the new online classified system where you can find new and used AT devices for FREE or a reduced price.

Device Loan ProgramThe FAAST Device Loan Program is a way for people with disabilities of all  ages to try out different assistive devices to best determine those most  helpful for them.  Contact our center to see what we have available.  Our FAAST State Office also has a large variety of AT available for short term loans.  We can help you with either of these loan processes.

Success Stories

John Collins Pictured with the Gripware Round Scoop and Melamine Dish and Kinsman Weight Utensils

I appreciate my experience with the Gripware Round Scoop Melamine Dish and Kinsman Weighted Utensils for adults.

I was able to enjoy fettuccine alfredo with shrimp. The unique curvature of the plate made it easier for me to independently finish the entire bowl of pasta by myself. Usually, I have difficulty retrieving the last bites of noodles during meals because of the flatness of traditional plateware because of my fine motor challenges. In addition, the non-skinned feature of the plate made the food stationery, that’s making it easier to retrieve the entire meal.

Furthermore, the weighted utensils made it even easier for me to maintain the shrimp and pasta; in order to enjoy the meal more independently. The weighted nature and sure grip design of the utensils made them easier to both pick up and utilize more readily than standard flatware. Both product lines made the dining process both easier and more enjoyable.

I would highly recommend both of these products to anyone who may have either stability or fine motor concerns while eating. The cost of these items is/will be vastly outweighed by the sense of dignity and Independence which the person experiences when using these items…

Thank you to both F.A.A.S.T. and the Center for Independent Living of Northwest Florida for the opportunity to experience both of these much needed and useful items; both of which will positively impact the lived experience of all who try them!

Chance Patterson

Chance Patterson is a young child with a disability.  He is very expressive.  He is always talking but we do not understand what he is saying.  Essentially, he is a non-verbal, but wants to be a good communicator. He has been trying hard lately to say words. He is extremely affectionate and very silly. He is a happy boy. His mom suspected he was autistic. He was about 6 months old when she started to realize he might have a disability. As he started to develop and his language was starting to form, he would say a word and then never say it again. We knew something was not quite right. Chance’s doctor diagnosed him with autism in February this year. He put him on a non-stimulant medication to help calm him and keep him focused.  He is extremely busy so the medication was to help him absorb more information and be calmer. The medication is working. It is just a noticeable difference, but a difference. He observes more and is not all over the place anymore. His mom is working hard to get more of his language skills down before school in August. He will be going to Holm Elementary when school starts back.  She is hopeful that he will be able to communicate with her about his day and any issues he may encounter. Chances mom says, Autism is challenging.  She does not know what she is doing but it is an absolute joy to have Chance as her son. He is just fun and interesting and life would not be the same without him in it.

She says the CIL of Northwest Florida and FAAST programs have been extremely helpful, and did not make it hard to do either.  She wanted to say “thank you” and if she could play a role by informing the public about resources that in supporting their children, then sharing her story is a pleasure to do

David using Text Speak with Susan Foster Assisting

In Memory of David Boaz

David using Text Speak with Susan Foster Assisting

David had throat cancer which affected his ability to speak. Prior to coming to CIL of Northwest Florida, the only way he could communicate with others was to write notes back and forth, which was time consuming and frustrating for David.

CIL of Northwest Florida and FAAST staff explored various options to improve David’s communication ability.

Ultimately, David decided on the “TextSpeak”, which is a device that translates typed text into speech.  His last few weeks he was able to communicate with his family.

David and his family were very grateful for CIL of Northwest Florida and FAAST for assistance!

GCRDC Training Videos and Webinars

QMedic – AT to Promote Independence

Keeley Washel is the Southeastern Territory Rep with QMedic, a personal emergency response system provider. We will hear all about the services and devices QMedic has to offer that will enhance the independent living community.

Eric Reed discusses the New Horizon Loan Program, an alternative assistive technology finance program under the Assistive Technology Act of 2004, Section 4 (e)(2)(A). The purpose of this program is to assist individuals with disabilities finance assistive technology at reasonable interest rates. While the NHLP still has requirements for credit and debt to income, they are typically more flexible or lower than traditional banking requirements.

AT to Promote Independence Webinar
Series – Featuring Smyle Mouse, Part 1

Uday Parshionikar will present on the Smyle Mouse, software that provides easy and precise computer mouse control and adaptive switch access, without the use of hands. It is designed for people with disabilities / difficulties of hands.

AT to Promote Independence Webinar
Series – Featuring Smyle Mouse, Part 2

Uday Parshionikar will present on the Smyle Mouse, software that provides easy and precise computer mouse control and adaptive switch access, without the use of hands. It is designed for people with disabilities / difficulties of hands.