Top Five Funding Resources for Assistive Technology in Pennsylvania

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 from 4:30 – 5:15 p.m.

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Description: For people with disabilities and health conditions, as well as older adults, assistive technology (AT) can greatly improve quality of life. But AT can be expensive and accessing funding can be complicated, making it difficult to get the exact device you want, when you want it, and from the vendor of your choice.

Every year Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) helps hundreds of people navigate the maze of programs and funding options for AT. In this webinar, presenters David Gates, PATF Board Member and Senior Attorney with Pennsylvania Health Law Project, and Susan Tachau, PATF Chief Executive Officer, will lead you through the top five funding resources for AT in Pennsylvania and offer some insider tips on funding AT from personal experience.

Join us to learn about:

  • Creating an assistive technology funding strategy;
  • Choosing a funding resource for your AT in Pennsylvania;
  • How to braid multiple funding resources;
  • Advocating for what you want and need; and
  • Appealing funding denials.

This session is part of Money Talks, a free webinar series on financial empowerment for people with disabilities hosted by Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF). Learn more at


  • David Gates, Senior Attorney, Pennsylvania Health Law Project – David Gates is currently a Senior Attorney with the Pennsylvania Health Law Project where he has worked since 1991. Mr. Gates has been representing families and adult consumers in efforts to access services and supports under Medical Assistance and other forms of health insurance and public funding since 1976. He previously worked for the Bucks County Welfare Rights Organization, Bucks County Legal Aid, State Sen. Roxanne Jones, and the National Health Law Program in Washington DC. Mr. Gates is currently a member of the ISAC Autism Subcommittee and the Autism Insurance Advisory Committee. Since 2009, Mr. Gates has done 100 trainings throughout the state, training more than 4500 persons. He is on the Board of Autism Living and Working, a nonprofit serving adults on the autism spectrum, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation, and the Center for Independent Living of Central PA.
  • Susan Tachau, Chief Executive Officer, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation – Susan Tachau is the Chief Executive Officer of Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF). Susan is passionate about expanding financing opportunities for people with disabilities in order to access assistive technology. A proven leader and program developer, Susan is responsible for the overall management, advocacy efforts and fundraising activities of PATF. Susan serves on a several Boards of Directors and advisory committees, including as a Director of the National Disability Finance Coalition and the National Disability Institute. Susan is married and the mother of three adult children, two of whom have disabilities. She has a B.A. from Colorado College, a M.A. from the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, and a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Colorado College.
  • DJ Stemmler, Administrative and Fiscal Manager, HIV Prevention and Care Project – DJ Stemmler works as an Administrative and Fiscal Manager at the University of Pittsburgh’s HIV Prevention and Care Project. DJ worked previously as an Occupational Therapy Assistant and as a Rehabilitation Engineering Technician. She was also a Program Manager at Three Rivers Center for Independent Living, where she managed the Community Services Program for People with Physical Disabilities and their Assistive Technology Program. And she worked twelve years as a Program Administrator at UPMC’s Center for Assistive Technology. In 2014, DJ adopted a child from Russia and was the first single parent with a disability to adopt a child with a disability internationally. DJ has her bachelor’s degree in Human Service Administration from Chatham University and lives in Pittsburgh. In addition to her work in the field of assistive technology, DJ uses a range of devices herself and has firsthand experience navigating a variety of funding resources for assistive technology.


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