Technology for All Virtual Summit

JUNE 25, 2024

9AM-11:30PM CT

10AM-12:30PM ET

Come and learn how people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities are using new technology to gain independence and self-determination.

20+ presenters

A photo of Sheena Adams-Avery
A photo of Jessica Daiger
A photo of Rachel Levy
A photo of Pisanach Chinratanalab

20+ presenters

Most of us could not imagine not having our smartphones to use daily for multiple purposes from talking to our family to immediate text messages to reminders of important meetings and dates and even face timing with our family or video conferencing for work.

Technology Virtual Summit, June 25, 2024

Webinar recordings

A photo of Tony Gentry

Tony Gentry, Ph.D.

Smart Homes for Independence

A photo of Tom Keating

Tom Keating, Ph.D.

Apps for Self-Determination!

A photo of Constance Harrington

Constance Harrington, Overcoming Tech

Roadblocks & Detours

Regional In-Person Training Sessions

A photo from Regional In-Person Training Session. A woman stands near a projector screen in a classroom, speaking to seated attendees.
A photo from Regional In-Person Training Session. A man and a woman stand at a display table with various electronic devices and brochures in an indoor setting. The woman is examining a brochure while the man talks. A banner for Signal Services is visible.
A photo from Regional In-Person Training Session with Kyle Millar Rich. A man wearing glasses and a name tag "Kyle" stands in front of a stone fireplace, with his arms crossed and smiling. He is dressed in a grey jacket, and various items are visible on a desk in the background.
A photo from Regional In-Person Training Session. A few people are conversing around a table with various items on it. Two men are wearing name tags that read "Gary" and "Joey."
A photo from Regional In-Person Training Session. A group of people sitting around a round table engaged in conversation in what appears to be a communal or meeting area. Other groups can be seen in the background.
A photo from Regional In-Person Training Session. A group of people sitting around a round table engaged in conversation in what appears to be a communal or meeting area. Other groups can be seen in the background.
A photo from Regional In-Person Training Session. A man in a suit is speaking to an audience in a room. He stands next to a projected presentation slide.
A photo from Regional In-Person Training Session. A group of people sitting around round tables engaged in discussion within a conference room.
A photo from Regional In-Person Training Session. Three people are conversing at a table inside a room.
A photo from Regional In-Person Training Session. Two women stand at a table with various items. One woman in a checkered jacket looks at the items while the other, in black, reaches for something.
A photo from Regional In-Person Training Session. A group of people seated in a classroom setting, attentively listening to a presentation.

Weekly Online
Technology Training Series

To restart in September

Weekly Online Technology Training Series

Tony Gentry Webinar: Smart Homes for Functional Independence

5/14/2024

All times are 10am-11:30pm CT (11am-12:30pm ET). 

Coming in 2024

PAST TRAININGS

Tennessee Training

10am – 11:30pm CT
11am-12:30pm ET

Learn from past attendees

Watch Janet, self-advocates and family members talk about using technology in their daily lives.

Watch the recent Webinar by Tom Keating, on using internet apps to support independence and self-determination for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Navigating the virtual seas of online technologies can sometimes be challenging, especially for individuals with disabilities. However, the rise of new technology has opened up new opportunities for accessible learning and communication, ensuring that everyone can dive into the digital realm with confidence.

Come to the training to:

Training by

A photo of Dr. Mark Friedman

Mark Friedman

Professor,
City University of New York

A photo of Dr. Ruthie-Marie Beckwith

Ruthie-Marie Beckwith

Professor,
City University of New York

A photo of David Taylor

David Taylor

Self-Advocate and
fellowship Harvard University

A photo of David Wetherow

David Wetherow

Founder StarRaft,
Microboards and
Cooperative Housing

A photo of Sarah Phillips

Sarah Phillips

Co-trainer

Join our exclusive learning community to engage with colleagues and experts, dive deeper into topics, and collaborate on innovative solutions.

Webinars by Esteemed Experts

Time: 10-11:30am Central Time
11-12:30pm Eastern Time

4/23/2024

Toni Johnson and Alli Beth Freeman

Session Topic: Enabling Technology: Support for the Employment Pathway

A photo of Toni Johnson and Alli Beth Freeman
More about the webinar

Technology for All webinar on May 1st, 2024, 9:00-10:30am CT (10:00-11:30am ET).

Speaker Bio:
Toni Johnson is an Enabling Technology Coordinator (Tech Champion). She is the recipient of the Governor’s Excellence in Service Award in 2019. She is a graduate of MTSU, with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Toni is also a Certified Person-Centered Thinking Trainer, Advocates in Motion mentor, and a Person-Centered meeting facilitator.

Speaker Bio: Alli Beth Freeman is an Employment Innovation and Community Inclusion Coordinator.

5/14/2024

Tony Gentry, Ph.D.

Session Topic: Smart Homes for Functional Independence

A photo of Tony Gentry
More about the webinar

Session Description: Your home should be a safe haven and support for everyday activities, not an obstacle to function. If you have cognitive, sensory or mobility difficulties, home-based assistive technologies can help. From low-tech grab bars to high-tech smart appliances, an individualized suite of tools can help you manage your everyday tasks, while conserving energy and living safely at home. This talk will survey up-to-date and affordable assistive technologies, informational resources, and funding options for making your house or apartment a smarter, safer, more enabling home.

Speaker Bio: Tony Gentry, PhD OTR/L FAOTA is professor emeritus in the occupational therapy department at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia. He founded the Assistive Technology for Cognition laboratory at VCU, conducting research into the development and utilization of personal health technologies, including smart homes, mobile devices, wearables, and computer games to support people with cognitive-behavioral challenges, and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in this field.

Virtual Summit : Keynote Speaker

6/11/2024

Jennifer White

CEO, Able Opportunities

A photo of Jennifer White
More about the webinar

Smart home devices, smart phones and tablets, these off the shelf tech tools have radically changed accommodation. As a tool of the masses, these devices allow for very strong and affective incidental learning. Immersed in a life where tech is modeled everywhere, lessons, fixes, cool new apps and demonstration of use to navigate the world abound.

With one smart device, a person can access literally millions of apps for a plethora of uses; expressive and receptive communication, focus, self-care, health, organization, travel, access, safety, networking, production, reporting, education, participation, independent living, entertainment, and self-advocacy, to name a few. These tools increase choices at home, access in the community and success in employment.

Join us, to learn more about working models in this revolution!

Completed Webinars

11/1/2023

Shea Tanis, Ph. D

Session Topic: Technology solutions for a complex world

A photo of Dr. Shea Tanis
More about the webinar

PowerPoints from the presentation available soon.

11/29/2023

Tom Keating, Ph.D.

Session Topic: Let’s Get Serious About Self-Determination! Innovative Tools to Make It Happen

A photo of Tom Keating
More about the webinar

Session Description: This session will demonstrate a suite of web-based applications for neurodiverse individuals to understand and communicate their strengths, interests, and preferences entitled the Cognitopia Platform for Self-Determination, It has user friendly routines using multimedia and goals to help neurodiverse individuals self manage their school, work, and life. The app enables self-direction, person-centered planning, and personal story-telling. A module on routines makes it easy to illustrate the steps of any activity with images, video, or text. New routines can be added by scanning a QR code. A calendar provided reminders, tracking progress and accomplishments. Everything can be shared with others.

Speaker Bio: Tom Keating, Ph.D. is founder and CEO of Cognitopia, home of the Cognitopia Platform for Self-Determination, emphasizing self-management and training tools for employment, independent living, and education. He is also a Courtesy Research Associate in the Computer and Information Sciences Department of the University of Oregon. Keating’s perspective in all of his work has been strongly influenced by his experience of 31 years as a caregiver for a brother who experienced autism.

3/26/2024

Constance Harrington

Session Topic: Around the Curve: Circumventing Roadblocks & Detours

A photo of Constance Harrington
More about the webinar

Session Description: Technology adoption is a journey. And, like on all road trips, you can expect to encounter some roadblocks and detours along the way. In this presentation, we’ll discuss some of the most common challenges associated with the adoption and implementation of technology – from funding purchases to obtaining buy-in to locating reputable vendors – as well as identifying strategies for addressing each.

Speaker Bio: Constance Harrington is the Education and Accreditation Manager for SHIFT. She is a nationally recognized subject matter expert on enabling technology. From speaking at trainings and events across the country to advising decision-makers on best practices and policy development to serving as an all-around champion for the implementation of enabling technology – Constance has spent the past 20 years helping people learn about and experience how technology can make the seemingly impossible possible. Constance has earned her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and is a graduate of the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities. She lives in Wisconsin and enjoys exploring the state’s beautiful parks with her husband and daughter.

Our Partners

A photo of Dr. Shea Tanis

Shea Tanis

Professor,
University of Kansas

A photo of Rachel Levy

Rachel Levy

VoiceiTT

A photo of Jessica Daiger

Jessica Daiger

SafeInHome

A photo of Constance Harrington

Constance Harrington

Director of Education
TechFirst Shift

A photo of Tom Keating

Tom Keating

Cognitopia

A photo of Steve Sutter

Steve Sutter

CreateAbility

A photo of Mark McKeown

Mark McKeown

Millar Rich

A photo of Tony Gentry

Tony Gentry

Director
Virginia University

A photo of Sheena Adams-Avery

Sheena Adams-Avery

Pathfinder

A photo of Chris Patterson

Chris Patterson

Night Owl Supports

A photo of Pisanach Chinratanalab

Pisanach Chinratanalab

People First

A photo of Jennifer White

Jennifer White

CEO
Able Opps

Toni Johnson

Toni Johnson

Tennessee Department
of Developmental
Disabilities (DIDD)

A photo of Alli Beth Freeman

Alli Beth Freeman

Tennessee Department
of Developmental
Disabilities(DIDD)

Tech Host Agencies

Many thanks to the Tech Host Agencies. Each agency is supporting at least five people with disabilities to fully participate in the training.
  • St. John’s Community Services (Ryan Tempel)
  • Journey’s In Community Living (Felicia Martinez)
  • Developmental Services of Dickson Co. (Travis Saine)
  • Evergreen Life Services (Natasha Shipley)
  • Core Services (Filarelli)
  • BIOS (Amy Crowe)
  • Community Options (Meika McClendon)
  • Helen Tucker Center (Candice Burkheart)

The Digital Divide is Generally Defined As a Lack of...

Equipment
and Devices
Broadband
internet

Affordability

Tech
Support
Computer
skills

And Self- Confidence

The Purpose of The Technology For All Project

For people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to have and use the same amount of technology the average American does to enhance their independence and self-determination.

Over the past two and a half years of the COVID Pandemic we have trained 5,000 people

People With Disabilities
0
Family Members
500
Support Coordinators
0
Professionals
500

Listen to Their Experience

Some of the 3,000 people and advocates trained at the Nebraska Person Centered Planning Initiative, funded by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Nebraska Council on Developmental Disabilities. Their experiences are just a few of the thousands we have trained.

Their experiences are just a few of the thousands we have trained.

And with a world increasingly reliant on digital means, the divide will keep growing… Unless we stop it.

Who Are We?

Blue Fire, Inc. is a small consulting company co-owned by Dr. Mark Friedman and Dr. Ruthie-Marie Beckwith. Both have 40 years’ experience teaching and training people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in advocacy and technology. Dr. Beckwith is the former ED of TASH and State Advisor to People First of Tennessee. Dr. Friedman is the former State Advisor to Speaking For Ourselves, Vice Chairperson of the Pennsylvania DD Council, technology researcher at Temple University. Both are currently Adjunct Professors at the City University of New York.

Over the past two and a half years of the COVID Pandemic we have trained 5,000 people with disabilities, family members, Service Coordinators, educators and professionals online through projects with the DD Councils in Nebraska, Michigan, Vermont and the City of Philadelphia using a virtual video conferencing platform.

Based on our experience in social change and advocacy, we have found training to be a critical element to create systemic change.

In order to address it, we will...

Train a critical mass of people to create a tipping point.

Conduct the training over multiple times to allow deep learning to occur.

How Our Training Works:

A total of 25 Weekly online training sessions targeted to people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, family members, Service Coordinators, educators and professionals on topics such as: Using Zoom, Staying Safe on the Internet, How to obtain Low cost Internet services through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and the LifeLine program, Using an Internet Browser, and more.

Weekly training sessions will focus on the known best practices and methods to most effectively teach and support people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to use technology to enhance their independence and lives. The training will focus on off the shelf technology that is widely available, used by the general public and less expensive than specialized technology. Two self-advocates will serve as co-trainers in all the sessions.

Tech Supporters will be recruited, nurtured and trained to help people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities use tech to enhance their independence and self-directions.

A Community of Practice will meet monthly to share stories, collaborate together and learn how to overcome issues and problems.

People identified from the Tech Supporters group will serve as paid presenters to tell their stories of success and challenges at conferences and disability gatherings.

Ten Webinars by national experts in the field of Technology First and Enabling Technology from other states successfully implementing technology for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Virtual Technology Summit will promote the use of tech for independence and self-direction. It will feature experts in the field, share success stories in Pennsylvania and nationally including providers, families and people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Project Advisory Committee (PAC) – 25 people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, family members, Service Coordinators, AT experts, educators and professionals will serve on the PAC.

Tech Host Agencies will support people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to participate fully in the training sessions.

Get A Sneak Peak At What It's Like. Join an Upcoming LIVE Webinar Training

Constance Harrington, SHIFT
Shea Tanis, Professor, U. Kansas
Jordan Allen, Assoc. Comm TN Dept of DD
Gerald Bernard, Charles Lea Center
Jason Ray, Simply Home
Doug Meeker, Life Sherpa
Sheryl Burgstahler, Professor, U. Washington
Jessica Daiger, Safe In Home
Ken Smith, AbilityTech
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