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Old Computers Find New Life in Hands of Children with Disabilities

A nonprofit collects old computers, fixes 'em up and gives them to students with disabilities around the state.

It might seem as though you're buying a new laptop every few years, and just when you do, something newer and better comes out. 

Even older laptops can be useful, though, and some outdated computers in Tinley Park are being refurbished for use by children with disabilities. 

"Just 'cause a computer may be too old doesn't mean that the memory can't be used, or the power cord can't be re-used or the keyboard or a mouse," Greg Grill, of Assistive Technology Exchange Network, told ABC7. 

A service called "ATEN," short for Assistive Technology Exchange Network, is run by nonprofit group United Cerebral Palsy Seguin of Greater Chicago. The service takes donated computers, tunes them up (including erasing the hard drives), and hands them off to students with disabilities throughout the state.

"Technology is a great equalizer for students with disabilities," Grill told ABC7. "It levels the playing field. It allows students to participate in the classroom, speak for the first time, gives them the opportunity for social networking."

Find out more about ATEN.

ATEN is hosting a number of electronics collection events around the city and suburbs this month. Find out how to get involved.

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