Monday, July 16, 2012

Review of Assistive Technology: The Future is Now

This week I went to the 14th Annual AT summer Institute. What an amazing event! The event was sold out in registration with over 300 RSA counselors, techs, teachers and therapists to name a few. The event took place at the Glendale Civic Center and took place over two days. 
The event kicked off on Wednesday with a continental breakfast and Keynote speaker Dr. James Nuttall. Dr. Nutall was legally blind as an infant and was later diagnosed with dyslexia. IN his adult years he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In his presentation he discussed how technology both low and high tech, throughout has life has allowed him an independence that as a child he couldn’t dream of.
After the keynote participants took a break to meet the exhibitors including, yours truly. Other exhibitors included the Ability Center (Vehicle Modifications), ADL Solutions (Home Modifications), AzTAP (funding resource), ViewFinder Low Vision Resource Center, Arizona Center for Disability Law and many others.
Throughout the rest of the day presentations were given in the many rooms of the Civic Center. Presentation topics included Workplace Accessibility and Assistive Technology, iPad Applications to Support Reading, Writing and Note Taking,  and Social Media and the Disabilities Community.
Day two (which happened to be my birthday!) included a second Keynote Presentation from Edward Myers III, Esp of the Center for Disability Law. What an amazing presentation! He invited the audience to play a game of Jeopardy addressing the many laws related to disability and technology. The audience was truly engaged and I found myself thinking.. “If law school was like this, it would be more tempting.”
Day two also included more presentations on technology and tech resources such as “Live Long and Prosper with Arizona Rehab Services,” “Low Cost AT for the Classroom” and “How Modifications and adaptive Equipment can Impact One’s Life.”
The end of the day included door prizes for all the vendors, participants and presenters. Door prizes included low vision aids, tote bags, water bottles ect. Now, I am a fairly unlucky person (when it comes to "winning things"). If you buy a scratch ticket, I should not be the one to scratch it. I don’t think I have ever one a prize via raffle tickets, unless everybody wins a prize and in that case, I’m sure my prize broke before I got it home- because that is just how unlucky I am.  So of course I put my raffle ticket in the biggest prize. My theory is, if the lottery Gods are ever in my favor- I want it to be for the biggest jackpot.
ADL Solutions of Tempe Arizona got Best Bath Solutions to donate a $2500 gift certificate for a bathroom modification.  And guess who won?! I am so thrilled and determined to make good use of such a generous prize! 

When the day was over (and I headed home to my birthday dinner!),  I felt pleased to have been given the opportunity to learn more about Assistive Technology and to meet some of the great RSA Counselors whom I have spoken to 100 times but never known what they look like! 

Written by: Molly Hennessy, Patient Care Coordinator/Office Manager