Improving The Quality Of Life Through Technology
The Assistive Technology (AT) Lab at Harbor Regional Center assists children and adults in leading more independent lives through the use of assistive technology.
The power of assistive technology to improve the quality of life for most individuals with disabilities is now widely recognized. It enables our clients with developmental disabilities to participate more easily in family, school, work, and community activities.
In the HRC AT Lab we provide:
- Client consultations and evaluations
- Equipment set up and training
- Education and support to clients and families on how Assistive Technology can enable individuals with disabilities to become more independent, improve communication with others, etc.
Clients and their families interested in receiving an AT Lab consultation should contact their Harbor Regional Center Counselor. The Counselor will complete a brief intake form for them. A representative of the AT Lab will contact the family to obtain additional information and to schedule the consultation.
Contact Assistive Technology Lab staff at (310)543-0611 or send an email to the AT Lab at Harbor Regional Center for more information.
Staying Safe And Independent
How Technology Can Help
Can technology be used to keep a child or adult with special needs safe? More and more technological devices and applications are being developed for just this purpose! Here are a few of these devices and how they work.
The Leo Watch can be worn on the wrist of a child or adult and can keep track of their location. Inventor Jason Sullivan thought it would be an effective tool for locating lost children, caring for adults with Alzheimer’s disease, and prevention of child abduction. The waterproof watch features a GPS signal for locating the wearer, a panic button that calls 911 if the wearer needs help, built in voice communications, emergency contact information, and a tamper proof lockable wrist strap. The Leo Watch is scheduled to be launched next spring for an expected price of $250. For more information go to http://leowristwatch.com/ .
The PocketFinder is a small personal GPS locator device that provides information to caregivers, who are able to locate the wearer through a website or mobile application. Caregivers can receive alerts if the wearer goes outside of a designated geographic zone, They can be worn by people or pets, or attached to wheelchairs, vehicles, backpacks, luggage etc. The cost of the device is $150, plus a monthly service fee of $12.95. For more information go to www.pocketfinder.com.
Apps for your Mobile Device
AbleLink Technologies has developed several apps for use on the iPhone, iPad, or windows devices. The Community Sidekick app for an iPhone was developed to increase the safety and mobility of an individual with special needs in the community – perhaps while the individual is learning mobility skills, or for someone who may lose their way and needs a little more support. It sends automated emails to let a friend, family member or other caregiver at regular intervals, on the user’s location. The Community Sidekick App is available at the Apple App Store. For Windows mobile users, the WayFinder uses GPS based audio and visual cues to support independent travel for the user, and can provide customized prompts for navigating a travel route. Caregivers can send a text message and receive an automatic return text message with a map link to the traveler’s location. The WayFinder is listed at $799. To learn about more AbleLink Technology developments for the support of people with cognitive disabilities, go to www.ablelinktech.com.
Companies like Alert1, Phillips Lifeline, Life Alert, SimplyHome and Sengistix operate emergency response systems which can be used to support independence for seniors and people with disabilities in their homes. They range from a simple device worn at home, to a complex system of sensors that can be installed within a home setting to support family caregivers, supported living agencies, or licensed residential services. Such systems and devices are able to monitor activity within the home, and detect problems or unusual activity such as falls, wandering, smoke or carbon monoxide, etc. and send alerts to trained responders at call centers. For more information go to: www.lifealert.com, www.Alert-1.com, http://philips.lifelinesystems.com/, www.simply-home.com/, and http://sengistix.com/
Support from Law Enforcement Agencies
In our area, the Torrance Police Department Return Home Registry is a program designed to assist citizens and officers in locating lost and wandering persons of all ages with conditions that would make it more difficult for them to find their way home, such as Alzheimer’s, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, etc, and other special needs. The registry maintains a searchable database that can provide police officers with information they need to locate, identify and return lost family members. The voluntary program is offered at no cost to participants. Families and caregivers can submit a registration form online to be entered into the online database. For more information, go to https://www.torranceca.gov/government/police/community-affairs/return-home-registry.
Local Assistive Technology Resources
El Camino College, THE HIGH TECH CENTER
16007 Crenshaw Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90506
Phone: (310) 532-3670 / Toll Free: 1-866-ELCAMINO (1-866-352-2648)
Web Site: http://www.elcamino.edu/academics/src/hightech.asp
Hours: Monday thru Thursday: 8:00 A.M – 6:30 P.M.
Description: The High Tech center for the disabled opened in 1987 with State Funding from the California Community College Foundation and the State Department of Rehabilitation. The first grant purchased four computers; the Center is now an integrated lab providing lab experience for a variety of Educational Development Courses, Individualize Training of Assistive Technologies, open stations for continual skill improvement and technical support for diverse needs in the academic labs across campus.
11110 Alondra Blvd.
Norwalk, CA 90650
Phone: (562) 860-2451
Web Site: http://www.cerritos.edu/dsps/
Hours: Monday thru Friday: 8:00 A.M. – 5 P.M.
Description: We purchase, install, and support the computer programs provided by Cerritos College for use on the campus. This software includes screen readers, screen magnification programs, and text to voice programs.
CSU Long Beach, The High Tech Center
1250 N. Bellflower Blvd.
LA5 – Rm 173
Long Beach, CA 90840
Description: The High Tech Center provides computer support services for students with disabilities and maintains a consultant relationship with faculty and staff. The center also provides one-on-one training and small group demonstration sessions for students, faculty and staff members to develop their knowledge about and skills in the use of adaptive technology and access devices.
Disabled Resource Center
2750 E. Spring Street, Suite 100
Long Beach, CA 90806
Hours: Monday thru Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Description: Attendant registry, housing benefit, advocacy, peer support/ Ils, information and referral. We provide information and referral, independent living skills, training and help with finding housing, personal care assistants, and help with benefits.
Libraries with AT access
Katy Geissert Civic Center
3301 Torrance Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90503
Hours: Mon. thru Thurs: 10 a.m – 9 p.m.; Fri. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Torrance Library Branch:
El Retiro Branch/ Henderson Branch/North Torrance Branch/Southeast Torrance Branch/Walteria Branch
Hours: Mon. thu Thu.: 11a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sat. 10a.m. – 5 p.m.
Description: Assistive Technology – Equipment designed to help people with disabilities make better use of library materials and services
List of Assistive Technology providers
Assistive Technology Inc. - www.assistivetech.com
Prentke Romich Company - www.prentrom.com
Saltillo Corporation - www.saltillo.com
Madentec Corporation - www.madentec.com
DynaVox Technologies - www.dynavoxtech.com