Most of us feel completely lost if we misplace our smartphone or tablet. Somehow, over the years, it has become just as essential as the other items on our mental checklist when we leave the house – Car keys? Check. House keys? Check. Smartphone? Check. While there was a time in the not-too distant past when smartphones and tablets did not even exist, they have now become the items that keep us connected to our friends and colleagues, keep track of where we are supposed to be and when, store humorous “selfies” that we cannot bring ourselves to delete, and so much more.
For anyone with a developmental disability it is much more critical, and different forms of technology can be used to overcome the barriers that have been a hindrance to meaningful engagement with his or her community in many different ways. Fortunately, Easter Seals Hawaii offers an invaluable service called assistive technology.
Specialists in assistive technology work directly with the Easter Seals Hawaii participants to provide equipment and services that empower the individual to minimize their challenges at home, at work, at school, or in their daily lives. For instance, people who have difficulties with hearing, vision, or mobility could potentially use modified touch screens, communication devices, adaptive software, and/or alternative keyboards. These technologies are designed to maximize the skills of each individual and could potentially be used to help job-seekers perform essential skills.
At school, tablets, iPads, computers, and other devices could be used to help the students comprehend and keep up with the curriculum. Since there are hundreds of potential options available, the assistive technology specialists serve as an essential resource and help identify the most useful and targeted application, depending on the exact needs of the participant.
How can you help? It’s easy. If you or anyone you know is upgrading to a new computer, laptop, or handheld device, consider donating your used equipment to Easter Seals Hawaii. It could help shape someone’s life, help them succeed at school or work, and will guarantee to make them smile.
Please contact Kelly Ikeda Ellis, Development Office, with donations at (808) 529-1709 x1163
In Hawaii, Easter Seals Hawaii is one of the largest organization that provides services from birth which (if needed) continues throughout their life. Initially, behavior services are provided to help the recipient overcome the challenges they face. Early intervention by the assistive technology specialist is extremely helpful for both the individual and the families, and it is never too early to engage with a specialist. Once the technology has been identified or modified to fit the needs of the individual, the assistive technology device grows and evolves as the persons become more familiar with how to use it. This is a critical step in Easter Seal Hawaii’s overarching goal of helping to empower every individual to move from dependence to independence, and realize their full potential.