Increasing access

According to White House officials, computer use and Internet access for people with disabilities is half that of people without disabilities, and a PC configured with assistive technology can cost from $2,000 to $20,000.

As part of his New Freedom Initiative, President Bush wants to increase funding of the 15 federal Rehabilitative Engineering Research Centers to accelerate assistive technology development.

He also wants to provide funding for the Inter.agency Committee on Disabilities Research. Although it was established to coordinate assistive technology research within the government, the committee has no authority and no budget, according to the White House.

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