By MATP Staff Member Laura Hall
As we prepare to celebrate the freedom of our nation this holiday weekend, I can’t help but to also think of assistive technology (AT) and what a great time it is to also celebrate the freedom, pride and inclusion that AT provides. Whether it be a wheelchair, a hearing aid, a magnifier, or even elastic shoelaces, assistive technology not only makes daily life easier but provides freedom to move, communicate, learn, and enjoy our hobbies. You only need to check out our success stories to see the impact that AT has had on so many people in our communities. If you haven’t yet explored the freedom that it provides, consider a device demonstration, which can provide you with a hands-on experience with AT in an area you may be struggling with.
Assistive technology pride is a hard concept for some people to grasp. Society tells us that we should hide our AT to be seen as “less disabled”. Unfortunately, this mindset sometimes prevents people from obtaining or using the equipment or devices they need. At the Michigan Assistive Technology Program, we take a different view. AT is something that is a part of who we are…a part of our identities. The freedom and independence that it provides is something that should be celebrated, not hidden. Equipment and devices can be customized to reflect your personality and style. For more information on AT pride, check out my previous blog post “Let Your AT Pride Shine”. We also have a entire webinar devoted to the topic: “AT and the Disability Identity”.
This weekend, friends and family will be gathering to celebrate Independence Day. Ideally, these gatherings would include everyone, but oftentimes simple barriers prevent people with disabilities for participating fully or participating at all. Did you know that many times simple assistive technology items and small adjustment are all that is needed to create a truly inclusive event? Adapted eating and serving utensils, clear and accessible pathways, and inclusive games for everyone are just a few examples. Our recent webinar, “AT for your Accessible Picnic” can provide you with a host of other ideas that work for any type of event.
We wish you a happy and safe Independence Day. As you celebrate the freedom of our nation, keep in mind that the freedom, pride and inclusion that assistive technology affords is also something to be celebrated!Tweet