Assistive Technology

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In 2018, Ohio became one of the first ever Technology First states. That means when people with disabilities meet with their support teams to plan for the future, technology is considered first, before any other type of assistance.

We were thrilled by this news at LCBDD because we firmly believe that technology can open doors to connection and independence. We approach technology in a person-centered way to connect you with options that work for you and your family.

What are my technology options?

Remote supports:

For many years, this was the first thing people thought of when they heard of assistive technology. Remote supports allow an off-site direct service provider to monitor and respond to a person using cameras, screens and other devices. In this set up, two-way communication is established so the provider can check in on the person, and the person receiving services can feel safe and can contact someone if a situation comes up.

This often leads to an increase in independence, especially if the person needs support occasionally, or reminders throughout the day.

Remote supports become a part of a person’s ISP and the person agrees on when the support is given and how they will communicate. The provider will have a copy of the person’s ISP and will work to make sure the direct support professionals interacting with them are as consistent as possible. They will be treated as another member of their support team.

Check out these videos to learn more about some ways Ohioans have used remote support:

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Assistive tech:

Sometimes we refer to this as “off the shelf” technology. It can include smart devices (such as Alexa or Google Home) apps and other electronic devices (such as a Ring doorbell or a Nest thermostat.) These options are often inexpensive and can be purchased and installed easily.

Often these options are taken for granted, and not seen as assistive technology. But for someone with a disability, they can be a huge game changer. The ability to set up reminders, switch on the lights, or turn on a favorite movie gives people with disabilities more control and independence. 

Assistive technology becomes a part of your ISP and can be the only technology you use or can be used with remote supports.

Check out some great example of assistive technology in action:

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The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities has created this virtual walk through of a smart home:

How can I pay for it?

  • Waiver: All waivers in the state of Ohio can now be used to fund remote supports or assistive technology. Depending on your waiver and the service needed, there are different rules and financial limits that apply. Your waiver might also pay for training, so a provider can come into your home and teach you how to use the technology. The best way to find out what your waiver allows is to talk to your Service Coordinator. 
  • FSS funds: LCBDD provides Family Support Services (FSS) funds to people we support and their families to purchase certain items related to their care and daily lives. You will have to buy the item and show a receipt and then you will be reimbursed. Talk to your Service Coordinator before you buy the item to see if it is eligible for reimbursement

 

  • Purchase on your own: If you choose to buy a device on your own, you will have control of what you do with it. However, you will have to learn to use the device yourself.

Lending Libraries

Lending libraries are a valuable tool for people with disabilities and their families that allow them to try out a piece of technology before making a purchase. Many libraries will lend devices and items free of charge and send them by mail. 

Find a library closest to you by clicking here to view an online map. For more on how this map was created by the Ohio DD Council, click here.

Here are a few resources in central Ohio:

Ocali Lending Library: https://www.ocali.org/project/lending_library

Assistive Technology of Ohio https://atohio.engineering.osu.edu/

Other resources

Missing something you would like to see here?  Have a piece of technology that has really changed your life, and want to share your story? Email anna.jeffries@lcountydd.org and let us know!

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