Have you ever experienced difficulty getting items out of the pantry or hangers off the clothing rod because they were out of reach? Electrically powered assistive devices can be implemented into a home to assist with retrieving items that could be out of reach! With the use of an electrical switch or button, items can be easily brought to a level of reach.
Assistive technology can help make homes more accessible, helping individuals with disabilities increase their independence within their own homes and also promote aging in place for older adults. Here at Clarkson Hall, ATREC has implemented a range of assistive technology into the smart apartment. Students are able to get a hands-on experience to different devices that can be used within the homes of future clients. Community members can come in and use the different devices to see if any fit their personal needs before purchasing them.
Here in the Clarkson OT Department, we are busy getting ready for the 8th annual Assistive Technology Expo. Some of you may know the event as the "Adirondack Assistive Technology Expo", which has previously been held at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. But this year, we have some exciting changes on the horizon.
Let's face it. Change is hard. But the changes we've made to the expo are all in response to the feedback we've received from YOU - our past participants, our community of service providers, and our future participants! While it's impossible to make everyone happy, we hope this "evolution" of the AT Expo will serve you well.
So, let's explore some of the changes we've made, and the reasoning behind it.
NEW VENUE - The Wild Center is one in a million and has served us well as our past venue, surrounding us in all of nature's glory. However, space was limited and didn't really allow us to grow the event or to explore alternate formats for scheduling. By moving the event to Clarkson University's campus, we have a wider range of instructional spaces, have easy access to our OT and assistive technology resources, and we've made it easier for student participation (our future AT providers!!). We will always be grateful to the Wild Center for being such fabulous hosts over the past seven years!!
NEW DAYS - The previous Monday/Tuesday scheduling of the AT Expo has always been based on the availability of the Wild Center. However, we've reviewed the feedback from past attendees to find out what works best with everyone's busy schedules. Some prefer weekdays, while others find it hard to get away from work and would rather attend on a weekend. We've compromised by shifting to a Friday/Saturday schedule in an effort to accommodate as many participants as possible!
NEW CONTENT FORMAT - We're keeping our traditional breakout style presentations for Day 1. This is an opportunity for attendees to gain information from experts in the field on current technology products and strategies in condensed, 60-minute sessions. But we've also heard your requests to add more opportunities for hands-on content to the Expo. In line with emerging trends towards creating custom, DIY assistive technology solutions, Day 2 will be entirely hands-on, project based. Participants will have the opportunity to choose the projects most interesting to them - we supply the guidance, materials, space and time, and you keep what you create!
NEW REGISTRATION OPTIONS - Participants now have the option to register for both days, or only the day of their choice. Lunch is no longer provided, as it was just too expensive to feed all of our attendees, presenters, staff, volunteers and students!!! Eliminating this has prevented us from having to raise our registration fees. Now attendees can purchase meals in advance from Aramark, bring their own brown bag, or grab a quick lunch in town.
NEW FRIDAY EVENING EVENT - Our new Friday evening event is free and open to the public so that we can reach a wider audience. The evening event includes exhibitor tables, student posters, and our keynote performance. Complimentary appetizers will be served, and there will be a cash bar. Attendance Friday evening is optional, of course, but we hope you'll consider joining us and bringing along your families, friends, clients, and anyone else who could benefit from learning more about AT!
SOME THINGS ARE TOO GOOD TO CHANGE - We'll still be offering CEUs from AOTA and NYPTA, we'll still have knowledgable and interesting speakers, and you'll continue to have the opportunity to network with fellow AT "peeps". Most importantly, you'll still be glad you came!
So join us on November 2 and 3 at Clarkson University for the CUOT Assistive Technology Expo! See you there!
At Clarkson University's Department of Occupational Therapy, we are excited about harnessing the power of technology to support individuals with disabilities, whether this means using low-tech solutions such as adaptive equipment fabricated with cardboard and PVC pipe, mid-tech solutions such as iPad apps for study skills, or high-tech solutions such as eye-gaze technologies to access a computer. Who knows, maybe the best solutions are still to be discovered through innovative tools such as 3D printing!
As an AT resource, we look forward to the opportunity to serve our communities of students, individuals with disabilities, families and caregivers, and other service providers. Our OT students benefit the most when their learning focuses on meeting real-life needs and challenges. What can we do to help you?
Lisa Tebo, OTD, OTR/L, ATP