Eric, a young man with Down’s Syndrome and an intellectual disability, is always on the move. With family activities, pickleball, basketball, karate, and other community involvement pulling him in several different directions, he found himself overwhelmed with a busy schedule to wrangle. All that planning takes time! Adding to this stress, Eric sometimes forgot whether or not he took his medications before heading to his activities.
Eric enrolled in the St. Louis Arc’s LifeTech program with the goal of taking more control over his scheduling and personal health. He also hoped to find some support with adding new habits to his routine and tools to keep himself from losing his place in the process of completing a task.
LifeTech is one of the St. Louis Arc’s newest programs. This program supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by helping participants to identify personal goals and potential technological solutions, acquiring the necessary equipment, and training new users on how to make their tech work best for them. Support doesn’t end once participants are trained. LifeTech provides ongoing support to participants, in tandem with the St. Louis Arc Help Desk, to answer questions and troubleshoot along the way.
In collaboration with LifeTech, Eric made a plan for what technologies would be most helpful in reaching his goals. LifeTech set him up with a smartwatch, updated phone, a tablet, and a smart medication box, complimented by the appropriate apps, and they got to work on practicing with Eric With a few short training sessions, Eric felt confident in his ability to independently manage his medications. He also worked with his family to develop and adopt the use of a shared calendar for events and scheduling, easing his stress about managing his activities. Eric is also practicing using his tablet to keep track of his established routines and tasks, and to understand steps in new tasks.
LifeTech and their assistive technologies fosters connections by removing barriers. Because they are specifically designed for his goals and needs, Eric’s assistive technology reduces the stress of keeping track of schedules and tasks from his plate. This frees up his time and energy to focus on the things that bring him joy and make him feel empowered—spending time with his peers, playing sports, and being involved in his community.