For the Ohio Department of Disabilities’ supportive technology resources, CLICK HERE
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT REMOTE SUPPORT, CLICK HERE

Technology Project

University Support in Technology Evaluation and Development, or Technology Project for short, is a collaborative enterprise between the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and The Ohio State University Nisonger Center. The project aims to take an in-depth look at the role technology, including remote support, plays in the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families, create a vision for how the use of technology may be improved and expanded upon, and identify technological advances that might benefit people with developmental disabilities by increasing their independence.

This webpage will provide general information about the Technology project; updates; resources for different technologies and technology related services, including remote support;  and is where results may be found, once the project is completed.

 

For more information contact:

Jordan B. Wagner
Coordinator, Technology Project
Tel: (614-688-3155)

University Support in Technology Evaluation and Development

This project is made possible with funding from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.

Scope of Work

Introduction

Fox and Boyles conducted a study in which they discovered only 54% of individuals with a disability use the internet compared with 81% of individuals who do not identify having a disability (Fox & Boyles, 2012). What this illustrates is that having a disability may be a contributing factor that prevents one from having access to technology. It reveals a need to involve those with disabilities in navigating technological advancement for their own advantage.

Technology has influenced the lives of nearly everyone in one manner or another. Most of us take it for granted, perhaps not even noticing the extent to which our everyday activities are either completely reliant upon technological advancement or have just been made significantly easier. Often, technology is developed in a way in which persons with developmental disabilities are excluded from the digital environment. In an age where every year we are more integrated into a global digital society, it is imperative that people with developmental disabilities are not left behind. If people with disabilities cannot utilize the technology others take for granted then they will be left disenfranchised from the way in which society will operate in the future.

Not only is there a need for technology to become more accessible and available for those who have a disability, there is an opportunity to use technology to help promote a more inclusive and independent life for people with developmental disabilities. Currently, in Ohio alone, over 90,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive supports from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD). In recent years, technological advancement has provided an opportunity for supported living services to become, in many ways, less intrusive and promote independence.

One such advance is the use of remote support. Remote support mean receiving assistance from a distance. Rather than receiving support from someone in the home, the same assistance is provided from someone at a different location. The remote support rule defines this as the monitoring of an individual in his or her home by using one or more of the following systems: live audio feed, sensor technology, radio frequency identification, web-based monitoring system, video feed, or other devices. The system includes devices to engage in live two-way communication with the individual receiving services as described in the Individual Service Plan. While remote support are available as an alternative to having staff in the home for many people, at present, only 170 individuals take advantage of this service.

What is the Technology Project?

The Technology Project is a collaborative enterprise between the Department of Developmental Disabilities and The Ohio State University Nisonger Center. The project aims to take an in-depth look at the role technology, including remote support, plays in the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families, create a vision for how the use of technology may be improved and expanded upon, and identify technological advances that might benefit people with developmental disabilities by increasing their independence.

Activities

The Technology Project can be separated into 3 parts:

  • Conduct Focus Groups and Interviews regarding remote support
  • Conduct a national review of technologies that currently enable people with developmental disabilities to live and participate in their communities with less direct support from caregivers
  • Identify areas of future technology development that might benefit people with developmental disabilities

The focus groups and interviews will provide detailed insight into the reception and use of remote support. We will discuss the topic with people who have used the service, people who are closely associated with those using the service, and people who have never used it. This will provide insight into what people like and dislike about remote support as well as provide insight into what barriers may exist that prevent people from trying remote support. With this information, remote support will be expanded and refined.

In order to write a national review of technology, external resources will be leveraged to gain an understanding of the technology landscape. These resources will be everything from news articles to interviews with experts and technology conferences. The review will document the use and reception of technology as well as an analysis of its accessibility and ability to promote independence among persons with developmental disabilities.

Through the Technology Project, a plan will be developed to introduce an independence promoting technology into the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

What are examples of independence promoting technologies?

Technology that provides support to someone with a disability is called assistive technology. There are many different disabilities and there are assistive technologies that support many of them. Examples include: tools used in speech therapy to teach an individual how to initiate specific phonetic sounds; switches which are easy to use buttons for people who lack mobility or the ability to use complicated technological instruments; apps that help someone to communicate; or the use of Google Glass to live stream the daily activities of a man who has a vision impairment, so that someone may assist him remotely.

The technology sought by the Technology Project is something that promotes independent living while reducing the person’s reliance on the need for direct-support staff. To this end there are apps that prompt someone when to get off of the bus; watches that will send GPS coordinates to a trusted contact; cars that drive themselves; devices that will send notifications to someone’s phone when their food has cooled to an appropriate temperature; technology that will turn off appliances when someone leaves the home; etc. There are many examples of technologies that would meet our purpose in some way. The Technology Project aims to find a few that can meet the most needs and promote the greatest amount of independence.

Conclusion

Technology has already shaped the way we communicate and live. With the rapid introduction of autonomous cars, the internet of things, virtual and augmented reality, and wearable technology, the digital landscape and its influence on our lives is about to change in a way that is unparalleled to any change we have experienced to date. The new landscape has potential to be a practical and beneficial alteration. It is an exciting time – one in which people with developmental disabilities will have the opportunity to live more independent and socially engaged lives.

The Ohio State University is a leader in technological innovation and research. It is the perfect organization to recognize the affect technology can have on persons with developmental disabilities.

Partners

  • The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities
  • The Ohio State University, Nisonger Center – University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

Project Team

Jordan Wagner, Technology Project Coordinator.
Christopher Steiner, Support Analyst.
Daniel K. Davies, Project Consultant – Founder and President of AbleLink Technologies.

Marc J. Tassé, Ph.D., Project PI.

References

Fox, Susannah, and Jan Lauren Boyles. 2012. Disability in the Digital Age. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center. http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/08/06/disability-in-the-digital-age/.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Jordan B. Wagner
Coordinator, Technology Project
Tel.: (614) 688-3155 Office

Technology Project resources

Remote Support

A part of the Technology Project involved investigating the use of remote support. You can find more information about remote support by following this link.

Videos

The Coleman Institute of Cognitive disabilities created the Declaration of Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access. The video below details this declaration. The declaration can be signed by following this link: https://www.colemaninstitute.org/declaration/.

 

Renee Wood is a member of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council Technology and Communication committee. She uses technology to assist her with everyday tasks such as turning the lights on and off and creating a grocery list. Watch the video below to hear her perspective on technology use!

Todd Stabelfeldt uses technology to increase independence in and out of the home. Watch this video to see how Todd uses everything from voice control to a connected home to promote independence in his own life.

Originally for the 2008 Coleman Conference on Smart Home technology and personal support technology, this video, released before the iPad was introduced, is often cited as a positive vision for the way in which technology could be used to promote independence for individuals with developmental disabilities. While not all of the technology existed at the time, nearly all of it exists today. Here is a breakdown of the technology in the film and what some examples may be: http://www.ablelinktech.com.* 


Website Links

DODD.ohio.gov/technologyfirst


Documents

Technology Project: Scope of Work

Executive Summary – White Paper: Use of Remote Support in Ohio and Emerging Technologies on the Horizon

White Paper: Use of Remote Support in Ohio and Emerging Technologies on the Horizon

Remote Support fact sheet

The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities One-Page guide to remote support


News Articles 

Columbus Dispatch Article about Remote Monitoring

Pipeline Quarterly 2014: DODD’s Newsletter about Remote monitoring


*The Ohio State University Nisonger Center does not endorse any specific company or organization*

Technology First
On May 24th, Governor Kasich signed an executive order to make Ohio a Technology First state. Modeled after Employment First, a Technology First state is dedicated to the adoption and promotion of technology options that may be used to better someone’s life.
As a result of this executive order, a Technology Fist Council has been created. By the end of 2018, this council will:
  • Make recommendations to develop state policy to encourage the use of supportive technology
  • Identify areas where sufficient support is not currently available for technology access
  • Identify best practices for organizational collaboration to increase supportive technology
  • Recommend ways to integrate supportive technology into existing programs
  • Develop educational materials about the ways in which supportive technology may be beneficial to individuals with developmental disabilities

Videos of the Technology First Council sessions can be found below.

https://youtu.be/hgzgoekuXB4?list=PLZ1qXvA8kYSnICeuA3wyno2Z39W0w0qdJ


2018 Remote Support Grant 
In collaboration with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, The Ohio State University Nisonger Center awarded eight $20,000 grants to Ohio County Boards of Developmental Disabilities and Councils of Governments.
Each grant aims to support initiatives to expand remote support availability in Ohio. The ongoing workforce crisis often leaves County Boards of Developmental Disabilities and providers without sufficient staff to fill vacant positions. Ohio is now a “Technology First” state and the grants offer to advance this mandate by harnessing the benefits of technology to mitigate the workforce crisis and promote independence among individuals with developmental disabilities. “We look forward to partnering with these 8 county boards and COGs in growing the use of technology with people with developmental disabilities around Ohio,” said Dr. Marc J. Tassé, Director of the Ohio State University Nisonger Center.
The 2018 Remote Support Grants call for proposals was announced at the 2018 TechSummit held on June 15. Since then, 17 grant applications were submitted. Grant applications were reviewed by a group of 3 reviewers and while all were unique and competitive, the available funds permitted us to select eight grantees.
We are pleased to announce that the following applicants were awarded a 2018 Remote Support Grant:
• Clear Water Council of Governments, in collaboration with Crawford, Erie, Hancock, Huron, Marion,
Morrow, Ottowa, Seneca, and Wyandot County Boards of Developmental Disabilities.
• Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities, in collaboration with Licking and Perry County
Boards of Developmental Disabilities.
• Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
• Mid-East Ohio Regional Council, in collaboration with Belmont, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, and Noble
County Boards of Developmental Disabilities.
• Portage County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
• Southwestern Ohio Council of Governments in collaboration with Butler, Clermont, and Hamilton county
boards of Developmental Disabilities.
• West Central Ohio Network, in collaboration with Auglaize, Champaign, Darke, Hardin, Logan, Mercer,
Miami, Preble, Shelby, and Union County Boards of Developmental Disabilities.
• Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
In the coming weeks, a description of each grant will be publicly available on this website. We thank all who applied and encourage applicants to apply for future grant opportunities