Technology Circle – Welcome

Welcome to The Arc of Massachusetts

Technology Circle of Support

The Arc’s Technology Circle of Support will supply you with discovery tools and resources that will help you find the right technology to make things easier for you and your family. The information we provide on tools and resources will grow over time and never be complete, as technology is always developing and improving.

Finding Solutions Through Supportive  Technology

In Massachusetts, supportive technology refers to devices and systems used to increase independence and community integration of individuals with disabilities. It can be used in the home, at work or throughout the community. Supportive Technology includes two services, Assistive Technology (AT) and Remote Supports Technology. 

Assistive Technology (AT) are products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living activities. 

Remote Supports Technology are communication and monitoring technologies used to assist people in their homes and communities while minimizing the need for onsite support staff presence and intervention.

How do we use technology? Let’s start off with a look at some basic examples of things we want to do and ways that technology can help. 

  • I can’t see things at a great distance so wear corrective eyeglasses that help me to see clearly.
  • Sometimes I forgot appointments and tasks and to overcome those problems, I first used pads of sticky notes to remind me. Now I’ve graduated to the Calendar and Reminders apps on my smartphone and that keeps me on track.
  • I had to rely on other people to explain what I was trying to say because my disability affects my speech and voice. Now my new iPad has Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) software that help me communicate directly with people.
  • Because of my lack of fine motor control, it was hard for me to use my old coffeemaker. With the new machine I just bought, I can put a coffee pod in it, clamp down the handle and press “Start!” I love coffee!!
  • Before I go to work, I can ask my Amazon Echo what the weather is like outside. Then I know how I should dress comfortably.
  • I was worried about living alone, but with my new video doorbell, I can see and talk to the person at the door and decide if it’s OK to let them in my house.

Whatever you want to call it – supportive technology, everyday personal technology, or smart-home technology – it’s all designed to help you.  They are low-tech and hi-tech tools that enable us to do things for ourselves. 

This journey does not start with tools – it starts with identifying the challenge of a task, where we want to accomplish the task and why it’s important to us.

Thinking it Through

Dr. Joy Zabala created the SETT Framework to help us discover supports for a person with disabilities.

S = Self, the person. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What do we know about them?

E = Environment. What different environments does the person experience? Home, work, community, etc.

T = Tasks. What tasks is the person trying to accomplish? What are the native abilities and the obstacles that the task presents?

T = Tools. What tools and training can we suggest that might help them accomplish these tasks? 

Technology Forward Report

A Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Task Force (Task Force), launched in November 2019, included representatives of the DDS, ADDP and The Arc as well as other experts, service providers, and community members, developed a report to advance the use of supportive technology among individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and autism. The Task Force’s report, titled “Technology Forward” will be posted here. Some outcomes from the collaboration included changes in the federal home and community-based waivers to allow broad reimbursement for assistive technology and remote support. In addition, the administration developed a new line item for technology for the 2021 Fiscal Year. Separately, additional recommendations from The Arc and ADDP and certain Task Force members are located here.

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