Technology

Technology toolbox for people with disabilities

The Arc Has the Resource for You!

The need for a service like Tech Toolbox to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities access technology has long been in demand. The Arc decided to step in to help centralize resources in this field. Through a partnership with the Comcast Foundation, The Arc was able to create the Tech Toolbox.

Using the Tech Toolbox directory for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, anyone can find, review, and post examples of technology tools that work well for them.

Using the Tech Toolbox directory for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, anyone can find, review and post examples of technology tools that work well for them.

Staff from across The Arc’s chapter network came together to design a one-stop-shop, peer-reviewed directory of technology products that are effective for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through this directory, chapter staff, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the general public can find, review, and post examples of technology tools that work well for them.

When this project first launched, people had a number of questions: I heard about an app that might help me communicate better or live more independently — is it a good fit for me? What kinds of devices might work for me, if I don’t read, or can’t use a keyboard or mouse?
The Arc listened and is proud to introduce its newest national initiative, Tech Toolbox.

In the Tech Toolbox, you can find devices or apps that are searchable according to the unique needs of people with I/DD. Products are sorted by tags, such as:

User needs:
• Voice commands/spoken text
• Body gestures
• Simple language text
• Symbols or pictures (no text)
• High contrast images
• Large print/screen magnification

Features:
• Touch screen
• Easy to grip and hold
• Durable if dropped
• Mounts on wheelchair
• Word prediction
• Mounts on table

There are already over 500 apps and devices in Tech Toolbox, and the list will continue to grow with your input!

Site users rate each product. You can read stories of how people have used each product, and their judgment of the products’ strengths and weaknesses. Many reviewers are staff from The Arc chapters, who are experienced in helping a range of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities find and use technology. However, anyone can add their products and evaluations — people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their family, teachers, support staff and more! We hope this information equips individuals across the country to find products most useful for their specific situation.

In addition to providing an online directory for you and the public, we have selected a group of Technology Navigator Fellows from across the country who are developing knowledge resources and coaching services to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities better learn to use technology that supports them in all areas of their lives. We look forward to sharing more about the results of the fellows’ work in coming months.

Our world has been changed dramatically by technology, and we believe that it should be accessible to everyone. The Tech Toolbox can help people learn, work, and live more inclusively. Find it here.

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