In episode 157, we spoke with Army Veteran Ursula Draper about her role in the development of an Assistive Technology (AT) program. In this week’s Benefits Breakdown, we take a deeper dive into how this program works and who is able to access it.

The AT program will sound familiar to those who know Darwin’s Theory of Adaptation. The adaptation theory–also known as survival theory, or survival of the fittest–is an organism’s ability to adapt to changes in its environment and adjust accordingly. The Assistive Technology program helps Veterans to do just that.

The AT program, which began in 2008, aims to improve the lives of disabled Veterans by allowing them to maintain independence by completing everyday tasks. It helps Veterans with computer use and accessibility, voice activated technologies, drive control for wheelchairs, and even giving them the ability to turn lights on and off.

VA created four main hubs for instructing those granted into the program: Minneapolis, MN; Tampa, Fl; Richmond, VA; and Palo Alto, CA.

In this episode we look at:

  • How the program started.
  • How a Veteran can apply to the program.
  • Some Examples of the technology being developed.


View the entire transcript here.

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:


Additional Links:

Simone Young is a podcast intern with the VA’s Digital Media Engagement Team. She is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University with a Bachelors of Science in Journalism and Mass Communications and is a graduate of Elon University with a Masters of Arts in Interactive Media. 

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  1. Gary Morin August 29, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Are there captions (for Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons) and audio-descriptions (for blind and partially sighted persons) for this Podcast?

    • Tanner Iskra August 30, 2019 at 10:18 am


      We have a team of interns on it. They, and I’m a little behind but I saw your comment and made this episode a priority for them, you should see it updated in the blog hopefully by the next episode.


      *Edit* At the end of the story, there is a link to download the entire episode.

  2. 2019 Download August 28, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    I love this series..

    • Tanner Iskra August 30, 2019 at 10:19 am

      We love bringing it to you.

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