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Assistive Technology

TechOWL (formerly PIAT) helps people with disabilities explore the tools and technology they need to be independent. TechOWL is Pennsylvania's Assistive Technology Act program. TechOWL has 9 regional centers across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

We have many different programs and projects including:

  • A statewide technology Lending Library - "try before you buy"
  • Answering questions and providing information to Pennsylvanians about Assistive Technology
  • Demonstrations to help people find the best technology to fit their needs
  • Training and events
  • ReUse accepting donations and finding homes for lightly used equipment
  • Free Special Phones for people who can’t use a typical phone
  • iCanConnect for people with both vision and hearing loss

TechOWL is part of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. To find out more about us, please visit our website or contact us at

"Assistive technology" (AT) are tools used by people with disabilities. AT is often created to solve a problem caused by a disability. Eyeglasses, wheelchairs, listening systems, and grabbers are all kinds of AT. Many examples of generic technology are also AT. One example is a hiking stick. Created for everyone, a hiking stick can also be AT for a person who needs it. Inventors created voice-activated devices for everyone’s convenience. However, some people need to use voice activation because of a disability.

There are many kinds of AT. Here are just a few examples:

Moving – wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, prosthetic devices

Seeing – glasses, magnifiers, text-to-speech

Hearing – hearing aids, amplifiers, captioning

Thinking – medication reminders, lists

Eating – special utensils and dishes

Talking – microphones, computers, pictures

Demonstrations - Request a one-on-one demonstration of a device with one of our Assistive Technology specialists. TechOWL has Assistive Technology Specialists stationed throughout the state of Pennsylvania and provides services to PA citizens in every county. TechOWL wants to help you make an informed decision about the technology that you will use.

Training/Presentations - TechOWL's Assistive Technology Specialists are highly knowledegable on a wide variety of areas within accessibility and assistive technologies for the home, community, and for all ages and abilities. We provide individualized training for professionals, students and community members in Pennsylvania on a request basis.

Lending Library - TechOWL houses a FREE assistive technology lending library where Pennsylvanians can borrow an assistive device from us and test it out for 3 weeks. TechOWL strives to help Pennsylvanian’s make informed decisions about assistive technology before buying expensive equipment. Shipping and pick up are FREE and to your door.

TechOWL: Along with educational and professional development resources, TechOWL strives to provide Pennsylvanian’s access to assistive technology through several different programs.

  • Used Equipment Exchange – TechOWL is a central hub for a state-wide Used Equipment Exchange. On TechOWL’s site, you will find a library of Used Equipment registered as well as a network of partners across PA that also provide lightly used equipment in need.
  • Free Special Phone - If you have difficulty hearing, talking, seeing, thinking or moving, TechOWL has a phone that could help you! Currently, TechOWL has over 20 landline phones and 10 smart devices that we provide to persons who qualify for our program.
  • iCanConnect - TechOWL's partnership with iCanConnect provides communication access to Pennsylvanians who have both hearing and vision loss.
  • Virginia Del Sordo Fund - The Del Sordo Fund is a small grant that is administered by TechOWL and is considered a “last resort” option. This is a one-time only award. The maximum award is $200.
  • Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) - PATF is a statewide non-profit organization that offers 0% interest and low-interest cash loans with extended repayment terms for Pennsylvanians with disabilities that need to purchase assistive technology. PATF also provides information about other potential funding sources and free consumer credit counseling.