“We participated in camp this year because we knew it would be a great opportunity for our daughter to be around others who had similar needs, but also to be more confident with technology and herself, and we are so grateful for the experience and we thank you so much.”
ABOUT ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY SERVICES
MEET OUR TEAM
ABOUT ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY SERVICES
Since 1991, Assistive Technology Services has been connecting individuals with disabilities to devices, resources, and trainings to help them navigate a tech-driven world as independently as possible. Whether you are facing vision loss, mobility loss, want your child to be introduced to devices to help them excel in school, or simply want to be trained on the accessibility features on your iPhone, our Assistive Technology Professionals are equipped to assess your needs, connect you to technology or training, support you through the transitional period of becoming familiar with your device, and beyond.
Signal Centers Assistive Technology Services uses a person centered approach to help individuals with disabilities locate and learn how to use technology that can help increase independence and improve quality of life. We begin with a discussion/consultation to identify specific problems they may be experiencing, then demonstrate some technology options that could helpful to resolve those problems. The individual is then able to try some of the options using a hands on approach. Many of the items are available on a free 30 day loan, other times our staff can guide an individual to the vendor or vendors where some of the items can be purchased at a reasonable price.
Instruction and Connection
Vision loss affects just about everything we need to do in our daily lives. Signal Centers is where you’ll find people who understand.
Our Vision Services staff help identify and address personal goals at work, school and home. We provide instruction in tried-and-true skills for daily living, mobility, reading, communications, and computer use. We teach foundational skills for self-reliance. We answer questions about the many high-tech devices on the market.
Anyone experiencing functional vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses, including blindness, qualifies for our services. “Functional vision loss” interferes with any type of task such as reading or walking around comfortably, some or all of the time.
Adjustment to Blindness: Clients are invited to participate in one of our weekly group sessions, remotely. Group members share their stories about their struggles and successes after vision loss. We use the Zoom platform and conference calling. If needed, we can call people in, so there is no requirement to be able to dial the phone or use a computer to join.
Assistive Technology Try-Out Program: Find out about what works for you and what doesn’t before purchasing new technology.
- Magnification and audible readers to access print information
- Safe and effective kitchen aids
- Cell phones and computers with accessible programs
- White canes and accessible GPS technology
Accessible Computer Technology: Whether you need magnification, speech-to-text options, or a combination of adaptive computer software, Signal Centers offers individual and group instruction. We specialize in JAWS (Job Access With Speech). Taught by Byron Meador and Amanda Jones.
Apps Class: Interested clients can learn to use Apple (iOS) apps available for a variety of tasks.
Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Instruction: Learn to use tools and strategies for getting around safely and comfortably, indoors and outdoors, by yourself and/or with a companion. O&M skills were developed specifically and uniquely for people who are blind or have low vision. Taught by our ACVREP-Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist, Larisa DeZayas, COMS.
Low Vision Network: For the medical component of services, we collaborate with the low vision optometrist (LVOD) at Southeastern Vision Rehabilitation and an occupational therapist (OT) who specializes in low vision therapy (LVT) at Siskin Rehabilitation Hospital. They ensure our clients who have usable vision receive the best possible prescriptions for glasses, lighting, and magnification and learn how best to use these tools for reading and daily living. We can help refer you to these providers.
Confident Living Classes (on hold due to Covid-19): We empower participants to accomplish daily living tasks in relaxed, fun, supportive classes.
- “Cooking Without Looking” class
- Dining Skills/ Locating Techniques
- Independent Living Skills
Advocacy and Interviewing Skills: We provide information and coaching specific to those with low vision looking for employment.
Have you or a loved one experienced vision loss? For more information, contact Lana Little at 423-698-8528, Ext. 501.
Communication Device Training
Our Assistive Technology Professionals are equipped to assess and train individuals with communication challenges, whether you have a child that was born without the ability to speak, or you have more recently acquired speaking difficulties. We can assess your needs and provide you with a range of technology from low-tech alphabet boards to high-tech Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices. For more information about the kinds of services and support we can provide, visit our grant website, Tennessee Talks.
Technology has become increasingly important for seniors who want to stay connected with family members, pay bills online and take advantage of telehealth options. Signal Centers is excited to move forward and help seniors in our 10 county area to assist seniors with digital literacy skills and accessibility features. We have two certified assistive technology specialists who have served over 100 clients yearly. Our ATPs will work directly with each participant or in small like groups to explore existing technology or create modifications that can make access for those older adults much easier and efficient.
For more information call 423-362-4960.
Depending on the need, assistive devices can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. This provides an enormous barrier for those seeking more independence. Assistive Technology Services has access to a wide range of technology available for loan. Whether you want to try before you buy, or are just exploring your options, our device loan program is an excellent, no-risk way into the world of assistive technology. We are also capable of referring you to specific vendors that offer more permanent, low cost solutions as well.
In many cases, our ATP’s can refurbish older technology to meet today’s standards. This helps us get low cost technology into the hands of the people that need it.
Our Assistive Technology Professionals are experts in assistive devices. Come in for a demonstration of a particular device and flatten the learning curve in a low pressure, casual, friendly environment. We are here to help connect you to the technology you need.
In an increasingly digital world, accessibility is at the forefront of everyone’s minds from Human Resource professionals to web developers. We host an annual conference in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day to facilitate conversations about the importance of digital equity and access.
2019 Signal Centers Accessible Technology Summit
With four breakout sessions ranging from Accessibility and the Law to Accessible Web Design, this event brought together 200 accessibility professionals and members of the community, and concluded with a fantastic keynote presentation from Harvard Law School’s first DeafBlind graduate, Haben Girma.
2020 Signal Centers Accessibility Awareness Series
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our 2020 conference was relocated to a virtual platform, which allowed us to access a much wider audience. We facilitated 8 webinars over the course of a month, with topics ranging from Voice Technology to Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology. The series kickstarted with our keynote speaker, Jared Spool, with his presentation “Moving from Disability Accommodation to Universal Design.” You can access the recordings to this series on our YouTube page below:
Toy Adaption Workshops
A large part of what we do is educating the general public on what assistive technology is and the many forms disability can take. We often bring in corporate groups to participate in toy adaptation workshops as a way of facilitating a conversation about disability and the role of technology in promoting equity and self-sufficiency for those with disabilities. If you are interested in participating in a toy adaptation workshop, contact the AT Center (link to contact page), and we can schedule an individual or group visit.
We also partner with local and regional colleges to provide internships and workshops for students representing a wide range of disciplines from aspiring Assistive Technology Professionals to Physical Therapists.
|Jessi Meredith OTP Video
|OTA Students Adapted Tech
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Assistive Technology
Assistive technology is any equipment used to maintain, increase, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Examples of assistive technology include:
- Augmented communications
- Power chair
- Digital magnifier
- Large-button keyboard
- Switch toy
- Doorbell for hard-of-hearing
- Adaptive telephone
- Mouth joystick
What if I don’t know what services I need
This is more common than you might think. We encourage all prospective clients to come in for a free in-person consultation so we can assess your needs and map out a plan for you.
What is the cost of your services
Because of our gracious donors and many of the grants that help fund Assistive Technology Services, many of the services we provide are free. Those services that do have a cost are based on a sliding scale. This is one of the things we can discuss in your consultation. Don’t let cost be a barrier to you getting the help you need.
Vision Loss Services
Much of the work we do in vision services has to do with rehabilitation, developing confidence for those with vision loss, and perhaps most importantly prevention of vision loss. We take a proactive approach when it comes to helping our clients, and it is our desire to stave off additional loss of vision if possible.
How do I get started with AT Services
If you are interested in receiving Assistive Technology Services, contact us to set up a consultation. During that consultation, we will get to know you a little better, assess your needs, identify your personal goals, and outline an individualized care plan. We will also discuss any associated costs for our services.
For more information, contact Lana Little, ATS Director, at 423.629.4174 orLana_Little@signalcenters.org.
Photos and Videos
Check out photo and video testimonials from the amazing people we get to serve and work with on a daily basis.
|AT Serves During COVID
|Virtual Vision Academy
|DeafBlind Sailing Day
|What does Visual Impairment Mean?
|Elementary Tech Goes Home