Technology is found everywhere in our world today and is used by billions of people worldwide for many different activities. Yet, for many people with cognitive disabilities, there is still limited access to these tools for everyday living. To address this lack of universal access, The Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities facilitated a series of discussions with leaders from national disability organizations, self-advocates and family members, and experts across disciplines to draft, ” The Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access”.
This document commonly referred to as the “Declaration,” is a statement of principles that clearly outlines a course of action to ensure the estimated 32 million Americans with cognitive disabilities are meaningfully included in our technology-driven society. To date, over 1,900 individuals and organizations have endorsed the Declaration. Colorado, Maine, California, and Pennsylvania have also enacted legislative initiatives supporting the principles summarized in the Declaration.
The purpose of the DIGS is to create widespread awareness of technology innovations and supports to expand and enhance opportunities for people with cognitive disabilities. Through this awareness and promotion of the Declaration and DIGS projects we intend to continue to influence both state and federal policies and practices to allow for equitable access and community inclusion.
Below are the 2017-2018 DIGS recipients. Their proposals demonstrated creative and effective approaches to increase awareness and promote implementation of the principles outlined in the Declaration.
Peer-to-Peer Technology Solutions
TIP Squad at Ability Beyond
The Technology Innovations for People (TIP) squad is an educational training and internship program established in 2015 by Ability Beyond’s Senior Leader of Assistive Technology Solutions, and is comprised of young adults with disabilities who research, assess, pilot and implement mainstream technology into the lives of their peers with developmental and physical challenges. Not only does the program bridge the gap to life-changing technology for people who face myriad barriers to independence, but it also creates a path for STEM training among young people with disabilities who are underrepresented in the field. The ultimate goal of the program is to maximize through mainstream technology social inclusion, self-determination and quality of life for this population.
The intent of this program is to further the principles of the Declaration thru an educational campaign integrated into the development of a sustainable,business model for the TIP squad.
Outreach / Educational Efforts
|Website||MyAbility Declaration Appeal|
Internal Communications Examples
|Direct Email to Ability Beyond Staff|
Digital Media Arts Education Lab
The Lab provides comprehensive technology training to enable people with I/DD to master digital and pre-employment skills. The Arc of the Capital Area in Austin, TX will embed the Declaration and it’s principles of access to technology and information into its curriculum, in order to raise awareness and promote adoption of the Declaration among self-advocates, family members, service providers, and the community at large.
Declaration Informational Kiosk
Self-Advocates Design Products
Families at the Forefront of Technology
This project focuses on promoting the principles of the Declaration by providing critical technology training / learning labs to direct service providers and case managers in under served areas throughout rural Colorado. Representatives from Families at the Forefront of Technology will conduct six express learning labs from May 2018 – July 2018 in an attempt to increase awareness of the opportunities technology offers people with special needs and abilities, particularly as it relates to self-determination. The training’s will feature an introduction of the Declaration, hands-on technology demonstrations, and presentations by self-advocates to the people whose services they depend on.
Project Presentation – General Overview
Tech Bridges: Inclusive by Design
In an effort to educate and expand the impact of the Declaration, SABE will create a new Technology Expo component for the 2018 National Conference. The Technology Expo will highlight the Declaration and provide newly developed materials explaining how individuals and regional chapters can advance legislation in their states. The SABE Technology Expo will also include a series of technology related presentations, the distribution of SABE’s “Technology Handbook, Version 2”, access to newly developed “My Technology” information videos and opportunities to sign onto the Declaration. The ongoing collaboration with the leading national network of advocates provides a unique opportunity to further educate and investigate access to technology and the impact on community inclusion.
SABE 2018 National Conference “Let’s Make It Happen! Disability Rights are Civil Rights”