Welcome to the Georgia White Paper Technology Project

Bridging the Digital Divide for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The Purpose of the White Paper Technology project is to:

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Provide the Council with research that identifies the trends, needs, national comparisons, and recommendations for how the Georgia Council in Developmental Disabilities can increase access to new, emerging, and current assistive/adaptive technology for people with intellectual/ developmental disabilities.

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Identify the major strategies that are successful in overcoming the barriers experienced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to using technology in Georgia and other states.

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Develop recommendations for implementing these strategies in Georgia, particularly for people in rural and underserved areas.

Welcome to the Georgia White Paper Technology project

an initiative aimed at breaking down barriers and improving access to technology for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the state of Georgia.

Georgia White Paper reports and products:

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Interviews were held with 45 state officials and tech experts from 15 states with Enabling Technology Initiatives. The states included:

  1. Ohio
  2. Missouri
  3. Minnesota
  4. Colorado
  5. Connecticut
  1. Massachusetts
  2. Washington, DC
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Michigan
  1. Tennessee
  2. Pennsylvania
  3. Washington
  4. Wisconsin

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The White Paper Technology Project is funded by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities

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To guarantee that no one is left behind in the digital age

The Georgia White Paper Technology project will shed light on the latest trends, pressing needs, and potential solutions from the states making the greatest progress.

Sign up here to receive updates, research insights, and the final White Paper report.

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

Equipment
and Devices
Broadband
internet

Affordability

Tech
Support
Computer
skills

And Self- Confidence

A man using his laptop in a loft bedroom sitting at his desk

Gear up for an electrifying tech adventure! Mark, Ruthie-Marie, and their dynamic team are launching two cutting-edge projects in Pennsylvania and Tennessee this fall. Brace yourself for weekly virtual training sessions, captivating webinars featuring national experts, and an exhilarating virtual tech summit. Plus, get ready to join the vibrant Community of Practice, where knowledge-sharing knows no boundaries. With self-advocates as co-trainers, this tech extravaganza promises to be unforgettable.

October marks the kickoff of the action-packed weekly training sessions, spanning 6 sessions of high-octane learning, each lasting around 1 1/2 hours. But that’s not all! Prepare to be blown away by a series of 10 webinars delivered by renowned tech gurus, recorded and available online for your convenience.

Don’t miss out on this mind-blowing opportunity! Visit www.mytechforall.com to dive into the future of technology, or sign up at http://eepurl.com/ilsF0H to stay in the loop about upcoming training events. Get charged up and be a part of the tech revolution!

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 although it may be adapted or modified.

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

Like Janet, and 100 Other Philadelphia self-advocates and family members during the PhilaZoom training funded by the Visions for Equality and Philadelphia Intellectual Disability Services

Or 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.

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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