Montanans with disabilities need to access equipment, and receive training on that equipment, to enhance their independence. As a federally funded Assistive Technology Act program, we are seeking to address these needs. For our veteran and aging populations, MonTECH’s approach is cognizant of their unique challenges. We best serve them by:
- Housing devices for both the tech savvy and technophobic
- Listening and adjusting training to their comfort level
- Emphasizing independence and pursuit of activities that bring joy
- Involving caregivers and support networks
- Building capacity in Montana
John is a great example of the impact of our work. John wants to order a Big Mac at McDonalds without embarrassment. His difficulty with word recall, combined with a speech impairment, make it difficult for him to order. MonTECH offered John an iPad and provided training with two different apps. BuzzCards allows John to type and save his order on a digital card. Then he simply opens his card and shows it to the cashier. The second app, App2Speak, is designed with seniors in mind. One useful feature allows John to press a button, and a list of questions he might want to ask appears on the screen. Between the two apps and MonTECH’s free training, John can speak for himself now.
MonTECH’s team is actively involved in local and statewide organizations, ensuring the needs of those with disabilities are being discussed. In addition to trainings and demonstrations for the VA, aging services, and Vocational Rehabilitation, we strive to be a known resource for diagnosis-specific support groups. Giving members the opportunity to see devices designed to maintain as much independence as possible is a very rewarding aspect of MonTECH’s work.