“Enabling technology empowers individuals to dream of new possibilities where every person can live a life of their choosing. It should be less about a person’s needs and more about their abilities, capabilities, and potential for success through natural supports.”
- Allen Ray, SimplyHome
This year’s ARC of NC State Conference will feature key presentations by SimplyHome and a Western North Carolina family who uses SimplyHome technology on a daily basis to support more independent living. This year’s conference takes place September 8-9, in Charlotte, NC, and brings together self-advocates, families of people with disabilities, and I/DD professionals to create an informative and inspiring experience aimed at supporting people with disabilities as they pursue their personal goals for work, home, and community.
SimplyHome’s conference presentation will engage families to discuss the life-changing effects of assistive technology and smart home options for people with disabilities. SimplyHome will also partner in a panel on Assistive Technology. David Maennle, an individual who uses SimplyHome technology, and his mother, Becky Garland Hopper, will both participate in this panel, discussing how David’s use of assistive technology supports his vision for his life.
David Maennle’s story (“David’s Vision”) is a great example of how technology can promote independence and create customized outcomes for people with disabilities. David Maennle is an accomplished young man who won’t take no for an answer. Diagnosed with down syndrome as an infant, David has established very specific goals for his home, workplace, and community. He has graduated from Western Carolina University’s University Participant program, formed friendships with people with and without disabilities, successfully completed internships related to emergency medical care and athletic injuries, obtained a job with the Graham County EMS, and frequently volunteers in his community. David’s coworkers attest that he is a valued member of his workplace and his larger community. David also serves in leadership for the advocacy organization NC-TASH.
David’s mother Becky, an outspoken advocate for inclusion, also has a unique perspective on the use of technology to promote independence for people with disabilities. Becky not only functions as Treasurer for the North Carolina TASH, but also works as Finance Officer of Graham County, NC. Because of her position in finance, Becky is keenly aware that David’s chosen lifestyle not only promotes his desired goals for his life, but ends up being a cost-effective way to support people with disabilities.
David uses a SimplyHome system (a customized integration of assistive technology) to promote residential safety, to adhere to a daily schedule, and to enable his family members to provide a natural level of support without intruding on his independence and privacy. David utilizes customized verbal prompts and various sensors throughout his home to reach outcomes related to cooking his own meals, completing a morning routine of self-care before he heads to work, ensuring he meets his health needs every day, and accessing help quickly if needed.
Comparing North Carolina’s typical costs for providing group home or institution-based support services to someone with disabilities similar to David’s, Becky has calculated that David’s chosen, independent lifestyle, supported by assistive technology, saves the state almost $100,000 annually.
“Beyond cost, the big factor is his quality of life, and his ability to navigate life himself, which is priceless.”
- Becky Garland Hopper
David continues to set and meet goals for his life, whether it be his goal of building his own log cabin, caring for his own bluetick hound, or continuing to work with area emergency services in Western North Carolina.
What can technology do for you and your family? Do you have the courage to change the way you and your loved ones live? Are you ready for technology to step in and provide the independence your family members long for? We’re on this journey together.
Thanks to the willingness of David and other individuals to share their stories, SimplyHome is engaging in thought-provoking discussions on customized technology solutions that promote independence, dignity, and person-centered planning in the lives of people with disabilities.
Sources & Additional Resources:
- “A Day in the Life: David’s Vision” 3/20/15. http://www.adayinthelifewithdownsyndrome.com/davids-vision/
- “David’s Vision.” 10/19/15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfxBtINiGkg&list=PLRS-Gp9IXsTa6pwh28KZsrHMFLQ3Ed_tG&index=8
- Hopper, Becky Garland. “Cuts to Medicaid Will Devastate the I/DD Population and Particularly My Son’s Quest for Independence.” 6/6/14. http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/submissions/cuts-to-medicaid-will-devastate-the-idd-population-and-particularly-my-sons-quest-for-independence/
- Jackson, Philip. “Pedal, Nick, Pedal.” 4/23/12. http://www.thewesterncarolinajournalist.com/2012/04/23/pedal-nick-pedal/
- Morgan, Marlon. “WCU hosts discussion on inclusion.” 6/23/2016. http://news-prod.wcu.edu/2016/06/wcu-hosts-discussion-inclusion/
- “NC Council on Developmental Disabilities Honors Two Advocates at Annual Awards Reception.” 11/19/15. http://nccdd.org/news-media/press-releases/255-nc-council-on-developmental-disabilities-honors-two-advocates-at-annual-awards-reception.html
- “NC-TASH Chapter Leadership.” 8/31/16. http://tash.org/chapters/nc-tash/
- “News 13 WLOS Person of the Week” 12/27/13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpUkzHGS-K0
- “Postsecondary Education and Intellectual Disability: A Great Match for Students, Families, Colleges, Communities.” 8/31/16. http://www.cidd.unc.edu/docs/psea/Brochure-NCPSEA8-14.pdf
- “TASH Conference Speakers: David Maennle.” 8/31/16.http://conference.tash.org/speakers/david-maennle/