When: Wednesday, March 20, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Where: Suffolk Independent Living Organization (SILO)
2111 Lakeland Ave.
Ronkonkoma, NY 11779
Did you know that people who cannot use pedals in their car can use hand controls instead? Have you heard of adaptive software that magnifies a computer screen or reads it aloud? Did you know that people with a hearing loss can have captioned phone conversations? All these options are called assistive technology, and attendees at the Suffolk Independent Living Organization (SILO)’s Assistive Technology Fair will talk to those who sell and use these devices.
Assistive Technology at the Fair
The fair will have high and low-tech equipment, Including:
- Closed circuit TVs which enlarge print for people with low vision
- Refreshable braille and braille embossers for people who read by touch
- Ramps and equipment to adapt a van
- Captioned phones for those who are deaf
- An adapted voting machine that enables people with disabilities to vote independently
Assistive technology can be as expensive as a wheelchair-accessible van, or as cheap as a raised marker for the blind. Referring to the use of Braille books and labels, Linda Kirk, Independent Living Skills Consultant at SILO, remarked: “It’s amazing how liberating even a little low-tech raised dot can be. Come be surprised by the technology.”
SILO is one of many cross-disability independent living centers throughout New York State. The agency provides advocacy, benefits advisement, housing information, and other services to help people with disabilities maintain their independence. For example, SILO offers two Medicaid waiver programs that allow participants to use Medicaid dollars to stay out of nursing homes and remain in their communities. This non-traditional approach improves the quality of life for people with disabilities, and according to a University of California study cited in PubMed, it also represents substantial cost savings over institutionalized care. Various recreational and educational groups meet at SILO as well, including a book club, arts and crafts club, and a cross-disability support group. All disabilities are welcome at SILO, and the agency’s focus is on the strengths and abilities of program participants.