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The News Chair

Making an Impact with Assistive Technology

Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

One of the clients I have the privilege of working with is the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads, a program that provides information and access to assistive technology for Hoosiers with disabilities–at no charge.

Not only have I learned about what amazing services INDATA offers those people in need throughout Indiana, but I have also been able to highlight some wonderfully talented individuals who are truly making an impact in the world, particularly the world of assistive technology.

Assistive technology is equipment to improve or maintain a person’s independence; provide a better quality of life; and assist a person in becoming more productive in his or her community.

Laura Medcalf with her dog, WinnieIn July, I talked with Laura Medcalf, the social media content specialist for the INDATA Project. Diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy when she was four and then in a wheelchair, Laura continued to put herself out there to new opportunities and experiences. From camp to college, Laura learned to express herself in a way only she knows how. And now she gets the unique opportunity to combine her love of helping people with her love of writing at INDATA.

“Assistive technology helps people with disabilities live a more independent life,” she said. “INDATA has so many resources and specialists to guide people throughout the state of Indiana with all different kinds of technology, no matter the disability.” Read more of Laura’s story here. Find out why her favorite quote is: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Dr. Therese Willkomm with AT toolsThen, in August, I talked with Dr. Therese Willkomm, Ph.D., ATP. She is called “The MacGyver of Assistive Technology,” and has provided and managed assistive technology services for more than 25 years. Inspired by her dad, Dr. Willkomm is the inventor of more than 1,000 different assistive technology solutions for people with disabilities.

She was recently at INDATA for a special training where she introduced her latest book, “Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes II: Ordinary Items, Extraordinary Solutions.” It is filled with hundreds of color photographs of innovative fabrication techniques and step-by-step instructions for fabricating AT solutions for home, school, work and play.

“Assistive technology helps people with disabilities maintain their health, safety and independence at home and in the community,” she said. “It helps students get their education, go on to higher learning and be successful. It helps create employment opportunities and makes it possible to have a fruitful career. It levels the playing field and helps empower people with disabilities to do and achieve more than they ever thought possible.” Read more of Dr. Willkomm’s story here.

Would you like to learn more about assistive technology and all the INDATA Project has to offer people with disabilities and their families? Check out the INDATA Project website!

Their next full-day, FREE training session is next week on Sept. 11 … and it will give attendees the opportunity to learn how to make play accessible for children with special needs. You can register here. For those who’d like to learn more about adaptive toys that help children with disabilities learn and develop, you won’t want to miss this free training!

 

 

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