Evaluating Technology Options
Technology options for supporting individuals with developmental disabilities have rapidly expanded, and teams are expected to consider “Technology First.” But teams may be hesitant to use technology, unsure about the available options, or unclear on how to balance the risks and benefits of each option. Being equipped with knowledge and understanding that in-person staffing is not necessary in every situation can empower teams to make the appropriate decision for each individual.
Check Your Assumptions
Because in-person staffing is “how we’ve always done things,” team members might consider technology options to be less safe, but that’s not true. Each situation must be considered individually because remote supports and other technology can be just as safe or even safer in the right situations. For example, a person who resists in-person staff may be safer at home with remote supports, or a person who lives independently may feel safer knowing that remote staff are available any time they need them.
Ask the Experts
No one can be expected to know all of the technology options available—especially as new systems are developed. So teams can access the expertise of professionals providing the service and individuals who are using technology in their daily lives.
Many consultation services are available to review an individual’s situation and identify potential technology solutions that can meet their needs. These services are rapidly evolving, so it is important for teams to be aware of how to access the experts who can help them understand what is available.
Technology options are not just about remote supports and programs that are disability-specific. Everyone uses technology to support their daily needs, so teams can consider a broad range of both off-the-shelf and tailored options to meet the identified risks and needs of the individual. Smart phones, smart watches or other wearable devices, smart home equipment or appliances, and many more systems can increase independence while being connected to the supports that keep an individual safe. Ohio has developed numerous opportunities for individuals and teams to explore a wide variety of creative options.
– Lending libraries provide technology for a trial period to see if it is a good fit
– Model technology homes show real-life examples of how technology can be used to support more independent living, and some offer virtual tours