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Illinois’ first assistive technology conference offers innovative ideas

Aug 01, 2017

Trinity Services’ National Association of Qualified Developmental Disabilities
Professionals held Illinois’ first-ever assistive technology conference, A Day Long Look at Assistive Technology, June 6-7 at the Tinley Park Convention Center.

The event was held in partnership with the Coleman Foundation and the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities and was attended by hundreds of people interested in finding out about ways assistive technology can enrich the lives of people with disabilities.

Greg Fenton, director of the IDDD, opened the conference with a brief speech
welcoming all attendees.

Innovative ideas on topics including iOS devices, new and emerging forms of
AT, how to help people achieve greater independence and success with AT, using AT
to find and sustain employment, and remote supports, were presented by Alice Brouhard, Bridget Gilormini, Luis Perez, Jackie Tijerina, Mary Held, Richard Ellenson,
Connie Melvin, Richard Harrington, Dustin Wright and Duane Tempel, respectively,
on Day 1 of the conference.

Day 2 was full of hands-on AT fun for a smaller group of attendees. Melvin and
Harrington led a class full of eager learners on a mission to construct a variety of
low-tech devices that could assist people in numerous ways. Projects included jars full
of floating glitter and sequins that people can use to soothe themselves during times
of stress; an industrial twist-tie wrapped around a spoon handle that people with
limited hand mobility can wrap around their wrists and use to eat; a flexible PVC
pipe figurine that can be used to hold books and tablets; and much more.

Throughout both days, attendees were encouraged to share their experiences on
the event’s app, ask questions and take notes to use their newfound AT knowledge
to help others.

During a closing speech for Day 1 of the conference, Fenton said he hopes that
Illinois can become a leader in the field of assistive technology, using the solutions
AT offers to help create new possibilities for peoples’ lives.

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