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Connecticut's assistive technology program aids the disabled


Not all residents of New Haven, Connecticut, may be able to fully comprehend the trauma of a serious disability. Whether physically permanent or temporary, disabilities can have a long-term impact of the psyche of the injured person. A loss of functionality, in particular, is most difficult to cope with, as it can result in drastic changes to a person's lifestyle and livelihood. Luckily, the latest innovations in technology are useful in restoring some ability to such individuals.

Such "assistive technology" can be any gadget which can either substitute or complement a natural skill. In many cases, such devices can be "low tech," with interventions not requiring high levels of engineering. The use of walkers by people with leg fractures, or canes by the visually impaired, is one example of lower level technology. Then there are "mid-range" tools like televisions which can display closed captions for programs or hand-operated wheelchairs which, while not highly complicated, still require some degree of external support and education.

More severe and usually permanent disabilities, which can, for instance, be caused by a spinal cord injury, may only be overcome by major technological assistance. Again, given that patients so injured may have undergone long-term medical care, there is need for rehabilitation and training before they can use high-technology, including prosthetic aids. Many of these tools are custom-built, or calibrated, for each patient. All this usually means a great deal of expense for the patients and their families.

In Connecticut, it is easier for patients to avail assistive technology through the state's Tech Act Project, whose programs include financial assistance for those with disabilities. Through the project, patients can also obtain information about where to purchase and even sell or exchange devices. Agencies associated with the program also act as enablers, through providing demonstrations and helping recycle assistive technology.

Source: CTTechAct.com, "Connecticut Tech Act Project," Accessed on Aug. 8, 2014

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