Community members learn how technology helps with disabilities

3 years 4 weeks 20 hours ago Tuesday, June 23 2015 Jun 23, 2015 Tuesday, June 23, 2015 6:10:53 PM CDT June 23, 2015 in News
By: Zivile Raskauskaite, KOMU 8 reporter

COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri residents had a chance to learn more about technologies that increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of individuals with disabilities Wednesday.

Services for Independent Living (SIL) invited community members to a Lunch and Learn event where specialists introduced assistive technology equipment.

Mary W. Jackson, from Mexico, said she wanted to learn more about special apps and magnifiers to improve her poor vision.

"Today I learned about the digital magnifier that you can hold and just read everything on the screen,"Jackson said." I think it's wonderful, that's an advanced, that I didn't know about."

She said technologies help people to feel more independent and do things by themselves.

"If you know what is out there that you can take advantage of, it can help you", Jackson said.

During the meeting, SIL and Mizzou Therapy Services introduced technologies that improve communication, poor vision and hearing impairments. The devices include mobile phone sound amplifiers, digital magnifiers and various electronic devices to improve verbal communication.

"It provides an opportunity for people with different disabilities to be more independent," said Shawna Dunnoway, an occupational therapist at Mizzou Therapy Services. 

Dunnoway said, for people with disabilities, there are some different ways to get a wide range of assistive technologies. Some are deemed medical necessities, thus people can acquire them through Medicare or Medicade, private insurances, or through Missouri Assistive Technology.

Jeffery Pilgram, who is an access specialist at SIL, said new assistive technology devices can be very expensive, so it might be helpful for people to try it before they buy.

SIL consults people who are interested in assistive equipment. People can set up an appointment, or ask specialist to come to their homes and help to choose the best technology to improve their daily lives.

SIL serves seven counties: Boone, Audrain, Callaway, Montgomery, Randolph, Howard and Cooper. More information about the assistive technology can be found at the Services for Independent Living website.

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