Access to AT #AT4Lockdown

Facilitator: Catherine Lynch, Technological University Dublin

All CHAT participants are keenly aware that the majority of those who need AT don’t have access to it, due to the lack of an AT Ecosystem in Ireland. Those who have access have limited supports in training, technical support and review. Those who don’t have any AT are further disadvantaged in the current crisis, where reliance on remote communications with service providers and other circles of support (Personal Assistants, families, carers and friends) may be made even more pressured by the lack of appropriate AT access.

Issues raised

  • Access to “know how” – what technology/AT is available and how to use existing tools people may already have at home: eg. How to access a family tablet if alternative methods are required (voice, switch, alt keyboards/mice, etc)
  • Maintaining, repairing and tailoring/tweaking equipment : a viable maintenance service
  • Infection Control: Clean equipment and cross contamination
  • Training in use of technology when people get it
  • Connections/Support Networks: How to connect with people including those who have supports and those who don’t
  • Researching and trialling new technologies where older basics work but are not necessarily used (phone call, mail). Particularly identifying easy to use tech solutions.
  • Importance of acknowledging diversity: no one tool suits everyone – different requirements, preferences, knowledge bases, needs.
  • Message: When you overcome basic access issues, other issues come to the fore – e.g. training, maintenance, funding. (This links with Digital Skills discussion.)

Resources identified:

  • Open existing forum to CHAT members
  • Diversity of solutions being applied in recognition of the fact that one size does not fit all.
  • Back to Basics – remember there are simple solutions also, e.g. phone call, letter.
  • Be resourceful. Use the resources you have already, link with people to help identify these (e.g. tools/apps on phone). There was a concern that looking for funding takes time so advice on/creative thinking on how to use resources already in the home is very important
  • Some tools/products in use include Team Viewer and Bomb Grab -with the reminder one product will not suit all and that GDPR considerations must be examined to ensure safety and security.
  • Maintaining/repairing equipment – service providers are available and can provide e.g. letter for Gardaí re reason for travelling; gloves; ensure advice on Infection Control is provided: essential in current context.
  • Key message: Keep it simple.

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