The St. Louis Arc’s new assistive technology program, LifeTech, provides a unique opportunity for adults with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) to find and use new technology. The type of technology is tailored to each individual and is used to work towards a personal or professional goal.
For many individuals coming into the program, not having a set goal on day 1 is common. The LifeTech staff helps you identify a goal that will support you in your daily life. Want to communicate easier with your family and friends? Want to be more productive at your job? Want to manage your finances? LifeTech can help you work toward your goal by identifying, acquiring, and learning new technology.
When you begin the LifeTech program, you sit down with a Technology Specialist for an assessment. This assessment can be done at the St. Louis Arc’s office or in your home, and is a series of get-to-know-you questions that explore what you do in your day-to-day life. Do you have a circle of support or a network of friends? Do you work? Do you live with family or by yourself? By learning about your daily activities, hobbies, and routines, the Technology Specialist is able to identify goals and the best technology that can support reaching them.
Collaborate Next Steps
Technology Specialists help brainstorm possible goals. They then work with you to determine which goal you wish to focus on. Everyone’s goal is different, and the technology identified changes from person to person depending on that goal.
Individuals in the program are currently working on a wide range of goals, including wanting to be more focused at work, travel more independently, keep in touch with family and friends, or take better notes in class.
Acquire and Learn
Once you’ve decided on a goal, the Technology Specialists will recommend appropriate technology to help you achieve it. Identified technology is purchased for you with the support of partnering funders. After the technology is purchased, LifeTech offers trainings tailored to your needs and individualized technology support in case you face challenges along the way.
What Type of Technology is Utilized?
The technology varies from person to person. One participant was utilizing a flip phone prior to LifeTech. A goal of increased communication with family and friends was identified, and a smart phone was purchased through LifeTech. The participant then learned how to use features such as speech-to-text and video calls to make communication easier. Another participant wanted to be able to travel more independently. LifeTech has helped them learn how to use transportation apps and Uber to support them in their goal.
Live Your Best Life
The goal of LifeTech is to identify and learn the right technology that helps you live your best life. A new phone alone won’t help you achieve your goals, but learning new skills, improving upon skills, or finding supporting features in your technology can help you increase your independence.
While the program is offered at no cost, individuals must be eligible for SB-40 funded services in St. Louis County, St. Louis City, and St. Charles County and do not have a Medicaid Waiver. To see if you are eligible, complete this quick online eligibility tool. If you or someone you know could benefit from this program, contact the LifeTech team to get started today!