The Power of Access and Technology

IMG_1057As a Social Work Intern at Easter Seals Greater Houston, I am always astounded by the wonderful opportunities that our support services and resources provide to our clients. I wanted to take the time to share with everyone the transformation I have seen in our adult clients in the LEAD (Life Enrichment for Adults with Disabilities) through the assistance of technology.

We recently received new IPADS for the program (thank you anonymous donor from National Charity League!, AT&T and Comcast), and the elation of “owning” a new, shiny, and most importantly, customizable and current device is continuously evident on all of our client’s faces. Everyone in our program, even our most senior of members, have quickly learned how to use this new tool to expand their independence through communication, education, and social apps. We have worked together, along with our Apps expert in our BridgingApps program, to personalize and meet the needs of our clients. There is a visible increase in confidence in everyone’s eyes and they are so excited to be able to take part in so many things that they have been hearing about…why should they be excluded? Being able to access and use an IPAD has made our clients feel empowered, more in control and more a part of A COMMUNITY.IMG_1053 I felt this defining moment after learning that my clients were using their Ipads while making their long trips to their destinations on Metrolift or to plan social events and activities. Another experience was learning that some of our clients were using the Ipad apps to find more customizable voices for communication! Everyone was happy to find out that they could choose warmer, more human voices instead of the generic ones available on other AAC devices . This allowed them to choose how they wanted to be represented via their technology communication. The opportunity to use IPADS for our adult program has really made a difference in their lives. This tool has allowed for more independence and learning that is matched to each user’s interests and goals.

Emmony Pena, Social Work Intern, Easter Seals Greater Houston, from U of H Graduate Collage of Social Work

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