Category Archives: Resources

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and AT Resources and Webinars


Aimee Sterk, LMSW, MATP Staff

MDRC staff members have been working on a multi-year collaborative grant from the Office of Violence Against Women in the U.S. Department of Justice. Through that work, all of our staff has become more familiar with the services and supports available from the domestic violence/sexual assault prevention and support community. People with disabilities experience sexual assault and domestic violence at a higher rate than the general population and these violations can also lead to disability.

How does this all relate to assistive technology (AT)?

In a variety of ways:

  1. Perpetrators may withhold people with disabilities’ access to assistive technology they need as a means of control.
  2. Perpetrators may monitor conversations of people with disabilities, especially people who are Deaf and use communication devices. This is another means of control.
  3. Many shelters are not accessible and need to develop ways to help people with disabilities access AT when they flee a situation.
  4. Sexual Assault and domestic violence program staff may not be aware or capable of assisting people with disabilities who have intellectual, processing, or communication disabilities due to their own lack of knowledge and skills. Access to assistive technology can help.
  5. Apps for PTSD can be useful to survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. For example, I am a sexual abuse survivor and use T2 Mood Tracker to monitor my symptoms, Gratitude! for mindfulness and PTSD Coach.
  6. There are apps and devices for safety like Circle of 6 which lets you send out messages to your friends like “come get me” and gives your GPS location. Circle of 6 also can connect you to resources. There is also Cuff, a jewelry-device that in addition to tracking your steps and location, can be used to call for help.
  7. Survivors who are Deaf and hard of hearing need to know their rights and the systems of help available. Some communication and relay systems keep transcripts of conversations automatically unless the user specifically requests that they don’t. Perpetrators have also impersonated Deaf survivors through electronic communication methods so shelters and survivors may want to develop codes phrases.

Do you know about domestic violence and sexual assault services in your community? Are they accessible? Have they done an accessibility audit? Are they welcoming and able to serve people with all types of disabilities?

A series of webinars on disability and domestic violence/sexual assault is coming up. Put on by VERA Institute of Justice Center on Victimization and Safety, these webinars cover social media and people with disabilities and safety and the ins and outs of AT for people with disabilities and safety. Below are descriptions, dates and links to register.

Engaging People with Disabilities Through Social Media

June 14, 2016

2:00-3:30 pm ET

Do you use social media in your prevention or intervention work? Learn what a group in Austin, Texas found when they initiated a project to explore social media use in their community.

Register Now


Working with Survivors with Disabilities: Understanding Tech Misuse & Online Privacy

June 30, 2016

2:00-3:30 pm ET

When is technology an advantage and when can it be dangerous? Learn from the experts at the National Network to End Domestic Violence as they present about the safety implications you should consider when using social media in your work.

Register Now


The In’s and Out’s of Safety and Assistive Technology

July 12, 2016

2:00-3:30 pm ET

During this presentation, participants will learn about common assistive technology devices, ways that abusers may use those devices to compromise safety, and how to promote the safe usage of assistive technologies.

Register Now


Join us as we fight domestic violence and sexual assault and raise awareness of AT.


Getting the Goods on Information & Communication Accessibility


By Norm DeLisle

push keys with disability access symbols on them and brailleMichigan Assistive Technology Program belongs to the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP). Though ATAP, we have a wide variety of training videos archived and available for review by you at any time.  The videos are 45 minutes to one hour. There is a registration process to help us prove the usefulness of this online video approach to training.

Here’s what is available:

  • Website Accessibility Testing: Tools and tips to help you create and maintain an accessible website
  • Common Accessibility Barriers: In this session we will take a look at some of the common web accessibility barriers that keep people with disabilities from being able to use web sites and web software.
  • Buying Accessibility: Accessibility in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Procurement and Acquisition
  • The Section 508 Refresh: Move toward harmony that exists at the international level that steer us to create and acquire accessible technology products.
  • Accessible PowerPoint Presentations: For presentation authors, an introductory look at how to make PowerPoint documents more accessible using Word 2010 & 2013.
  • Introduction to IT Accessibility: An overview of accessibility, where people with disabilities and technology meet. A discussion about what accessibility is, why it’s vital, and applicable laws.
  • Document Accessibility in Microsoft Word: For document authors, an introductory look at how to make Word documents more accessible using Word 2010 & 2013.
  • Considerations in Multimedia Accessibility: A high-level look at tools and tips to help make audio and video more accessible. Includes some discussion about captioning techniques, such as re-voicing.

Up your accessibility chops by viewing those videos that will help you the most!

This entry was posted in Accessible Formats, Resources, Universal Design, Web Accessibility on by Norm DeLisle.

Buy the AT you need, sell what you don’t with the ATXchange!


By MATP Staff Member Laura Hall

Two blue stick figures with oppositional arrows between the,


Assistive technology (AT) has become so ingrained in my life that I found myself looking for it at various garage sales this past weekend.  If only I could find that perfect backup powerchair that fit me correctly and had all the supports and functions I needed…

I know the chances are really slim.  An even better place to find used AT equipment for sale or up for donation is the Michigan Assistive Technology Program’s website  Like a Craig’s List especially  disability-related equipment, the ATXchange allows you to search for AT by phrase, keyword, or category.  If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can also list an item as “wanted”.  Who knows?  Maybe another user of the site has that exact item!

Perhaps your child has outgrown their AT, a family member has passed, or, like all of us, you just have stuff lying around. Listing it on the ATXchange helps that people who actually need assistive technology find it.   Buying a used item (or finding a donated item) may enable someone to have assistive technology they could not otherwise afford.  Providing as much detail in your listing as possible, and including photos typically increases the number of views it receives.  Our article, Using the ATXchange: Buying and Selling Tips also has great information about buying and selling.

Just a few of the many items currently listed for sale include:

  • Pedlar Leg Exerciser
  • 2005 Chevy Express 1500 AWD High Top Wheelchair Van
  • Amtryke AM 12 (child tryke)
  • Leather Electric Lift Chair

Do you have a Beasy Transfer Board, a wheelchair ramp, or an Easy Stand 5000?  Check out these listings for people in search of these items.

Have you had success buying or selling an item on the ATXChange?  Let us know!


Parenting with a Disability


By MATP Staff Member Laura Hall

Laura holding a sleeping baby. His head on her chest and her cheek resting on his head

Several nights ago, as a newly married couple, my husband and I were lying in bed talking about our desire to have a baby.  We both are confident that we are fully capable of having a child, taking care of a child and being amazing parents.  Yet, as we were having this discussion the issues of lack of information about parenting with a disability and social stigma came up.  Although both of us had been around babies and young children, neither one of us has much experience with the day-to-day tasks of childcare.  I have been told many times that I am not capable of being a parent, or should consider adopting an older child.  As a person in a wheelchair with Cerebral Palsy, I found that many of the parents with children in my world were overly cautious when it came to allowing me to hold and care for their babies.  As a result, I don’t have much experience with feeding, or changing a diaper, or lifting a child because they were always carefully placed in my lap and I was watched with a careful eye.  We know if we do become pregnant that we will have to educate ourselves, practice, and find assistive technology (AT) that will meet our needs as parents.

For this reason, I am so excited that the Michigan Assistive Technology Program is holding a webinar on “Assistive Technology for Parenting with a Disability” on April 27th.  Preparing for the webinar has been extremely informative, but also a bit of a roller coaster ride emotionally, as so little is written on the topic, and much of what is written focuses on the challenges of parents with disabilities, the debate about whether they should be parents at all, and stories of parents who have lost custody of their children on the basis of disability.  However, finding resources like Through the Looking Glass, that provides trainings and publications on the topic or the Disabled Parenting Project which highlights assistive technology for parenting, a support community and more, have given me hope and confidence.  Even more encouraging are the stories we have heard from parents with disabilities, describing the ways they have used both commercially available products and their own ingenious modifications or methods to handle childcare tasks.  We hope that you will register and join us for this innovative webinar that will challenge stigma and show that people with disabilities are, and can be wonderful parents.

Are you a parent with a disability?  We would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below.