FAQ

Ten Questions and Answers about DakotaLink

  • In just one sentence, what is DakotaLink?
    • It is South Dakota’s program for linking you to assistive technology devices and services, in situations where your day-to-day functioning is impaired due to a disability, injury, or aging.
  • What are assistive technology devices?
    • Any product, whether commercially manufactured or homemade, that helps you overcome a functional limitation. Devices can be as simple as pencil grips or as sophisticated as cars with driver adaptations. These devices ensure access and full participation in the community, school, workplace and home.
  • What are assistive technology services?
    • Evaluations/assessments, followed up by any assistance that helps you acquire a device and learn to use it. Assistive technology services could also mean guidance in working through any difficulties with the device that may arise, or referral to other specialty agencies.
  • What is the long-term plan behind DakotaLink, and who is responsible for program delivery?
    • The state of South Dakota committed to this program in 1992 and contracts with Black Hills Special Services Cooperative to make it operational across the state. Guided by an advisory council where the majority of members have disabilities and use assistive technology themselves, or are family members of people who use assistive technology, DakotaLink staff prepares a statewide assistive technology plan every three years. Certified assistive technology specialists based in Aberdeen, Brookings, Rapid City and Sioux Falls deliver the programs services. Click here to read South Dakota’s assistive technology plan.
  • As a program contracted by the state, why are fees sometimes charged?
    • The federal Assistive Technology Act of 1998 as amended in 2004 provides DakotaLink with funds restricted to specific uses. For example, that funding can never be used to buy devices for individuals or to provide a comprehensive assistive technology evaluation. While many services are free, in order to be more comprehensive, DakotaLink is encouraged by the state and federal government to provide additional services that can happen only on a fee-for-service basis.
  • Can DakotaLink direct me to assistance programs that help pay for assistive technology devices and services?
    • Yes. There are other agencies and organizations in South Dakota that provide funding to qualifying individuals. The staff at DakotaLInk can provide you information on existing financial resources.
  • I’ve seen certain assistive technology devices photographed and described online, but where can I actually experience them?
    • At one of the four DakotaLink demonstration centers located in Aberdeen, Brookings, Rapid City, or Sioux Falls. Obviously DakotaLink doesn’t own every device available, but it has a sampling for demonstration, including new and innovative ones just now available.
  • What if I see the demonstration of a device that’s a possibility for me? Can I try before I buy?
    • Yes. DakotaLink has a device loan program from which devices in stock may be borrowed for up to two weeks to help decide if a device is right for you.
  • Do I need documentation of a disability or condition in order to use DakotaLink?
    • No. DakotaLink services are for anyone with a need. Clients range from school children struggling in the classroom to senior citizens whose functional limitations are part of the natural aging process.
  • If I decide a device is right for me where do I go to purchase it?
    • DakotaLink staff can provide you with information and referral to a wide variety of assistive technology vendors and manufacturers who do business in South Dakota as well as nationally.