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Bridging the Digital Divide: A Success Story

Written by Miriam Johnson, Inclusion & Accessibility Manager, ATS, United Cerebral Palsy of Eastern CT

Milton suffered a stroke that permanently affected his mobility. He was forced to sell his mobile home and move into an affordable apartment that provided accessibility, but was no longer near his friends and family, leaving him completely alone and isolated. He had not spoken to his brother or sister in over 6 years, and he missed seeing and talking to them.

Milton with his new iPad

After setting up the new tablet for Milton, we were able to add his email address and create a brand new Facebook account for him. We took his photo, uploaded it as his main image, and helped him create 

his online profile to make it possible for friends and family to look him up online. We helped him locate his brother and sister, helped to connect them as friends, and then trained Milton how to message them. We then trained him how to use Facebook Messenger and he and his sister and brother held video calls together for the first time in over 6 years. He was thrilled to catch up with them!

Since Milton only has use of one arm and hand, we set up Google Assistant to give Milton the ability to use voice commands to operate most of the tablet’s functions. We also attached a shoulder strap to the device and set it up uniquely to hang around his neck and balance on his abdomen to make one-handed usage possible.

Categories
Announcement News and Events

New Program Alert: Bridging the Digital Divide

A collaboration between the Department of Aging & Disability Services (ADS) State Unit on Aging & the CT Tech Act Project (CTTAP). 

Bridging the Digital Divide Logo

This 2-year pilot program allows us to have a full-time Digital Divide Coordinator (DDC) at two of our community AT Partner agencies: the NEAT Center at Oak Hill & UCP of Eastern CT.

Our goal is to help bridge the digital divide by providing one-on-one or group services to adults with disabilities (18 and older) and aging adults (60 and older).

Services to individuals includes:

  • Increased access to technology & technology use
  • Providing tech support, troubleshooting, & teaching the use of built-in device accessibility features
  • Increasing access to the community, virtual programming & telehealth, reducing social isolation
  • Connecting Individuals to community resources for ongoing supports
  • Providing tablet technology (with or without hotspot) to individuals 60 & older, if eligible

Why connect with a DDC?

If you or an individual you work with has availability to technology, but struggles to use it and would benefit from some training & support, such as:

  • Connecting to their Wi-Fi
  • Learning to use social media to connect to family and friends
  • Learning to use virtual platforms like Zoom, Teams or virtual community services
  • Learning how to use built-in accessibility features in their devices – speech to text, magnification, text to speech, etc.
  • And more …

Services to Organizations includes:

  • Providing training to entities, such as staff at senior and community centers, libraries, and others who serve the same population, helping them provide access and tech support to their participants.

Why connect your agency to a DDC?

If your organization serves adults with disabilities or individuals 60 and older and you/your staff could benefit from training to be able to support your clients, such as:

  • Learning how to set up built-in accessibility features on your technology or your clients’ technology
  • Learning how to set your clients up with virtual platforms or your virtual services
  • Helping your clients use social media or other internet activities (i.e. online grocery shopping, accessing eBooks, connecting with friends & family etc.)

Contacts:

Contact the CT Tech Act Project for more information by sending an email via our website or by calling 860-803-0588. You can contact a DDC directly at the following:

NEAT Center – serving northwest, northeast and north central CT: call 860-286-3119 or email William.Seaman@oakhillct.org 

UCP of Eastern CT – serving southwest, southeast and south central CT: call 860-288-9520 or email DDC@ucpect.org

The Connecticut Bridging the Digital Divide program is funded by the federal Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Community Living, Expanding the Public Health Workforce within the Disability Network.

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News and Events Resource

Generations On Line (GoL) Offers New Free Tutorials

GoL wants to simplify tools and technology for older adults, helping foster and promote their internet literacy, access and skills, while also helping them overcome any fears associated with electronic media.

GoL is offering free tutorials that may be useful to many older adults who are online users. Visit the links below to learn more:

  1. Using Telemedicine GoL Tele-Medicine Tutorial BlueJeans Welcome (easytelemedhelp.org)
  2. Reading Newspapers Online Digital Newspapers for Seniors (easynewshelp.org)
  3. Helping Older Adults with Smartphone and Tablet Technology Generations on Line Mobile Edition (gol4apple.org), in addition to their Easy Tablet Help for Seniors

Generations On Line Flyer

 

www.EasyTelemedHelp.org

www.EasyNewsHelp.org

www.generationsonline.cog/family