Integrating and Transforming Technology

Greystone’s pursuit to utilize and integrate cutting-edge technology continues as Matt Cersaro, Technology Inclusion Coordinator, provides an overview of the power of technology.

A little over half a century ago, the internet was created. Since then, we’ve seen technological innovations and advances that seem like they are things straight out of science fiction movies.

Much of that technology has changed how we live our lives -- how we communicate, stay connected, travel, source our food and how we are entertained. Technology has advanced our lifestyles. Think about all the ways that technology has changed your life over the last 20, 30, 40 and 50 years. And think about how little that technology has made its way into the hands of those with developmental disabilities.

But that is changing across the country. There are many states and agencies that are looking to make the shift and transform their agencies to technology-first organizations. This transformation requires an agency-wide mindset change. Greystone Programs will not be left behind. That is why we are making a conscious effort to integrate technologies into the lives of the individuals we support. We must embrace a growth mindset and be willing to try new things.

We can invest in utilizing the current technology, building upon what exists and being involved in future developments to assist the individuals in our care. As our CEO Skip Pryce says, “innovation does not happen by itself; there must be a conscious effort.”

Some technologies exist today that can help to support the individuals we serve in many facets of their lives. Technology can increase people’s independence and inclusion in their broader communities, and it can promote a higher quality of life and increase autonomy.

Technological advances are not slowing down. According to Moore’s law, we can expect the speed and capacity of technology to double every two years. We shouldn’t shy away from this effort, instead, we should embrace it fully and find a way to make sure that the individuals that we support can access and engage in the technological advances that we see in our world today.

Technology can bring people closer and it can allow individuals with a developmental disability to access information places and people that they may never have the opportunity before in their lives. Through smart home technologies like Amazon Alexa’s, smart switches and lightbulbs, individuals can realize a more independent lifestyle. Wearable technology exists in the form of Fitbits and Apple watches, which can help track and gather biometric data, potentially helping Staff identify behavioral disturbances before they occur. Artificial Intelligence and Robotic technology can help and support social skills. We are already using our robot friend Milo at the Amenia residence with great success.

Technology can queue independence and daily routines, counteract risks, provide positive reinforcement, provide nonverbal avenues of communication and help support and teach new skills. If we are to truly fulfill our goal of promoting the most independent lifestyles as possible for the individuals we support, we have to “get with the technology” and integrate it into the lives of our individuals.

Source: The Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access.


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