Category Archives: Assistive Technology, Accommodations, & Adaptations

Networks @ 25! …Honoring our Assistive Technology Advisory Group…

Networks @ 25 logo

 

 

 

Can it be??!!

Unbelievably, yes, Networks is now 25 years old!

While it’s certainly time to celebrate, it is also important to remember all those who have traveled with us, helped us, challenged us, cheered us on, & joined with us over these amazing 25 years.  You helped us realize our vision & assisted us to become more of who we are today.

Photos of Networks from the past 25 years with a 25th birthday candle in the middle

Together we have

  • fought injustices & discrimination
  • encouraged others to find & raise their voices
  • re-imagined schools, workplaces, communities, & lives
  • assisted groups to coalescence around important issues
  • found solutions (or at least some parts of solutions) to change the world to embrace ALL people.

We are still going strong & look to the next 25+ years of hard but exhilarating work.

But first, we will be taking time each month this year to look back, honor, & celebrate.

——————————

A Thank-You to our Assistive Technology (AT) Advisory Group…

Several years ago, Networks established the first of 4 advisory groups.  This and subsequent advisory groups were born out of a need and wish to look more deeply at the work we have offered to people, teams and organizations with deep heartfelt desires to assist in creating lasting change and to provide alternatives to the status quo of traditional support systems.

The AT Advisory Group (connected to our service area, “Technologies for Independence and Control”) was a guiding light as we re-thought deeply (and sometimes painfully), “Should we continue to do this (specific) work… how can we re-offer our skills to others… what areas should we (and should we not) focus…” and more.  During the beginning of this Advisory Group we, at Networks, were seriously thinking about our focus and the delivery of Technologies for Independence and Control in the face of questions at that time coming from the outside world.  We chose to invite not only friends of Networks, but also people in and outside of the “field” who would bring to the table highly objective insights and considerations of this very work.

While some on this Advisory Group have since moved on after offering us their personal and professional assistance, we wish to sincerely thank each and every person who was a guidepost along the way.

Each advisory group functions a bit differently – with a different scope and set of goals – all offer us, and the world at large, unique considerations.  Their opinions and points of view continue to be invaluable and create opportunities to push ourselves further organizationally and dream of a future which is bigger, brighter, and more inclusive than it is today.

To read more about our service area, “Technologies for Independence and Control” and to also see who is currently members of this AT Advisory Group, please read further here: http://www11.networksfortraining.org/services.php#technologiesforIndependenceControl

What is NOT assistive technology?

Recently on a listserv (Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology – www.qiat.org) , a question was posed which caught my eye, “What is and what is not assistive technology?”

WHOA!  That could be a pretty heavy question…!

question marks

What?

At Networks we think everything is assistive technology (AT) and are always looking and exploring different, new, and creative AT, accommodations and adaptations.

What unrolled on this listserv and the responses were nothing short of fantastic and did not disappoint.  If anything, it spurred us to think even more deeply and fully confirmed so much of what we’ve known for years.  We’ve been in situations where a support person didn’t feel AT should be afforded to a person because they saw it as a “crutch”  (my brain was boggled!) where, in fact, it was (in the end) a full support for the person in question to do their job (yes!  a paid job in the community earning a competitive wage!) more effectively.  There are still SO many misconceptions and false beliefs surrounding assistive technology, accommodations, and adaptations.  Part of this is, potentially, just CALLING it assistive technology — these two words alone sets apart things as special and only for a particular group of people…  But, this is a conversation (and posting!) for another day.

We compiled nearly all of the thoughtful responses below.  But, before you read further, ask yourself…  what IS and what is NOT assistive technology?  We hope you’ll leave you thoughts in the comment section & let’s get the conversation started!


What is Assistive Technology, Accommodations, and Adaptations?

 AT is….

  • a game changer
  • access, transforming
  • problem-solving access
  • about asking “how can we…?” and “what can she/he do with the right support?”
  • about discovering new strategies and tools to expand access and opportunity
  • about building the best toolbox
  • a team effort, including the person
  • a process of involving more than just the person to access potential
  • goal driven
  • a dynamic process
  • evolving and constant research
  • (can be) magical
  • a journey, not a destination
  • a tool
  • a process
  • a tool used by a person
  • to express themselves and interact with the world
  • dynamic and ongoing
  • everything
  • a set of words that creates something “special” for a person / creates a separate group (not good!)
  • a state of mind, analogous to the maker movement
  • a state of mind is not all that compatible with the status quo and business as usual

 AT is not….

  • a crutch, cheating
  • quantifying deficits
  • about justifying why something has always been done a certain way
  • done
  • always high-tech
  • a magic wand
  • one size fits all
  • causing an unfair advantage
  • an immediate fix
  • a destination
  • a specific device/app/piece of equipment
  • the complete solution
  • a persons identity [i]
  • a product
  • thinking for a person
  • making connections between ideas for a person
  • analyzing information for a person
  • completing an assignment for a person
  • providing an unfair advantage for a person
  • a one-time event
  • without continual attention

[i] Unless the person using the AT defines it that way

Adapted from QIAT (Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology) Listserv, November 2017