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Remote Support and Virtual Job Coaching

Remote Support and Virtual Job Coaching

By Daphni Steffin

Director of Assistive Technology & LifePrint Management

When you think about Assistive Technology (AT), many things may come to mind. A communication device, an adapted switch, maybe even an iPad. As we start to think about the iPad, we realize that not all AT is exclusively for people with disabilities. After all…isn’t all technology in some way “assistive?”
 
Some of the most progressive developments in the world of AT are centered on the use of mainstream technologies in new ways. Video calling technologies such as Skype and FaceTime make it possible for people with disabilities to have real-time interaction with a friend, family member, caregiver, or job coach. We are exploring the value that these technologies can add to the quality of supports we are providing to people at The Arc Baltimore through some very exciting and innovative pilot projects.
 

Our Community Living Division is using video calling technology like Skype to provide remote support to people in their homes. In collaboration with a telesupport company called Rest Assured, we are providing a blend of remote support and in-home support services. Picture a woman living independently in her apartment. Using the latest and greatest camera and sensor technology, a telesupport provider checks in with her a few times a day to make sure she is safe, asks her if she has taken her medications, and makes sure her home is secure. The telesupport giver gets an alert if the smoke detector goes off, and can be reached at any time with the push of a button.

Our Community Employment division has launched a separate pilot project, exploring the use of FaceTime for virtual job coaching. People with disabilities working in the community with job coach supports can use their iPhone to FaceTime with their job coach. This empowers the individual to access real time job coaching even if the coach is not on site. We are excited to see how people thrive in integrated employment as in-person job coaches fade out, but are a FaceTime call away if needed.

The Arc Baltimore utilizes FaceTime technology
for virtual job coaching in the workplace

Technology advances at a rapid rate, and The Arc Baltimore wants to be well-informed of the new benefits it provides for people with disabilities. These pilot projects demonstrate our awareness of both cutting-edge and mainstream assistive technology as well as our commitment to integrating it into our support models.

For more information about our Assistive Technology department and the services we provide to individuals receiving supports from The Arc Baltimore, please feel free to contact me at dsteffin@thearcbaltimore.org or 410-296-2272 x 5206.

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