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MDRC cultivates disability pride and strengthens the disability movement by recognizing disability as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity while collaborating to dismantle all forms of oppression.

Below, you'll find articles on a variety of Assistive Technology topics.  Are you interested in learning more about the Assistive Technology? 

Are you looking for specific information? You can contact us through this form or call our AT Information Coordinator, Jen Gossett  (800) 578-1269 extension 333

General Information About Learning Disabilities

  • PBS Special "Misunderstood Minds":
    The Misunderstood Minds project consists of three elements: The PBS documentary, first airing March 27, 2002; the companion Web site on PBS Online,; and the Developing Minds Multimedia Library.
  • All Kinds of Minds
    The mission All Kinds of Minds provides programs, tools, and a common language for parents, educators, and clinicians to help students with differences in learning achieve success in the classroom and in life. Good descriptions of differences in how people learn. " Every mind is uniquely endowed. As a result, our emphasis on the different ways individual kids learn and find success in their lives has relevance for all kids."
  • Internet Special Education Resources: Special Education Advocacy Services .
    ISER is a nationwide directory of professionals who serve the learning disabilities and special education communities. They help parents and caregivers find local special education professionals to help with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder assessment, therapy, advocacy, and other special needs.

About AT and LD - Overview

  • Assistive technology for kids with LD: An overview If your child has a learning disability, she may benefit from assistive technology tools that play to her strengths and work around her challenges.
  • E-ssential tips: A parent's guide to assistive technology An overview of current technologies to help parents select the right tools for their children with learning problems.
  • LD OnLine: Comprehensive, up-to-the-minute listing of hardware and software products for people with learning disabilities, what it does and where to get it.
  • National Center for Learning Disabilities Resource Locator:
    The LD Resources web site is a non-commercial site designed, built, and run by Richard Wanderman who is an educational technology consultant, well-known presenter, and a successful adult with a learning disability. Find a list of resources from schools to tape recorders to computers and more.

AT for Specific Types of Learning Tasks

The Freedom Stick

Michigan Integrated Technology Supports (MITS) is a statewide program that provides support materials, technical assistance, training, and an extensive lending library focused on improving outcomes for all students. They worked with Regional Support Center: Scotland North and East and Mozilla Corporation to "americanize" free tools to make the MITS Freedom Stick. This USB Flash Drive is designed to provide students with information and communication access on any computer using a Windows or Linux operating system.

Assistive Technology (AT) and Falls

In 2009, the CDC reported that 2.2 million nonfatal fall injuries were treated in emergency rooms, and 26 percent of those falls required hospitalization. Falls are the biggest reason why seniors wind up in nursing homes, with with one in three adults 65 and older falling every year, according to the CDC. About one-quarter of seniors who suffer hip fractures die in the year following a fall, according to Cayuga Medical Center.

It is obvious that we need to prevent falls if we can and detect falls as quickly as possible to reduce the impact of fall-related injury. Can AT help in this critical health issue?

Preventing Falls and AT

First Some Tips from the Mayo Clinic

  • Check with your doctor for medical and medication factors that increase your likelihood of falling and increase the damage you could experience if you do fall.
  • Keep Moving! Check Tai Chi as a way to maintain and improve balance at Wear Sensible shoes
  • Remove hazards (loose rugs, barriers to movement, etc.)
  • Add lots of light to where you live
  • Use AT!

Some basic examples of AT for fall prevention include:

Some other ways to use AT to prevent falls:

  • Using motion to turn on lights
  • Using a clear shower curtain to support body orientation
  • Color contrast on steps
  • Use hip protectors if you have osteoporosis (see resources)

Fall Detection and AT

Home-level Fall Prevention
  • Using motion to turn on lights
  • Using a clear shower curtain to support body orientation
  • Color contrast on steps
  • Use hip protectors if you have osteoporosis (see resources)

Fall Detection and AT

Home-level Fall Prevention

There is a burgeoning industry in systems that detect falls anywhere in the home, and Rating Labs has reviews of the major systems. All these systems cost money-installation and subscription fees-and they typically send notification to a staffed monitoring services.

Personal apps

Because smartphones and tablets have become part of our daily lives more and more, there is a growing list of phone and tablet apps that detect falls. Some were begun to market to people whose exercise activities put them at risk for falls, such as mountain bikers. Others were developed specifically for older people and others who might have higher risk for falls, such as people with ataxia. Personal apps can detect falls wherever you are, since you carry the app in your phone or tablet.

The device needs an accelerometer and a GPS chip to make it practically useful in detecting falls and warning someone that you have fallen. Obviously, you need to be in a place where there is mobile service. Typically the app works by detecting your fall, giving you time to turn off the warning, and sending an email or text message to someone (or in some cases several people) with a note that you have fallen and that you are located at specific GPS coordinates. All of the current ones available need to be considered “beta” apps. That is, they are still in development.


Technology Helps with Independence

After living most of his adult life in group homes, Jeremy Collins has a townhouse in Coon Rapids where, with some help, he can live mostly on his own. See the article in the Star Tribune about how technology is used to help Jeremy and his circle of support.