DIDD Enabling Technology Summit

November 17th from 1 to 5 p.m. Central
November 18th from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Central

Millennium Maxwell House Hotel
2025 Rosa L Parks Blvd
Nashville, TN 37228
Google Map Directions

To book hotel room at special rate follow the link: Enabling Tech Summit


Tech-living: Community Living in the Digital Age
Shea Tanis, Ph.D.

The digital age has transformed how we live, work, and play. However, people with ID/DD and their families continue to fight for technological equity and access as the digital disability divide widens. It is time to reimagine community living considering the digital age and modernize expectations, policies, practices, and products. This presentation will focus on technological disruption and how the disability community can take advantage of new opportunities to advance tech-living and drive innovation. 

Technology First
Jerry Bernard, CEO Charles Lea Center

This presentation will provide an overview of key components and challenges when implementing a Technology First approach to services. The focus will be on providing specific tools that can be used as organizations begin to operationalize their services towards enabling technology. Leadership, change management issues, service models, and project management principles will be discussed as potential tools to support organizations as the progress through this transformation. Practical ideas and solutions will be offered for this transformational process.

Voiceitt – Independence Through Voice
Sara Smolley, Co-Founder & VP Strategic Partnerships | Voiceitt

Voiceitt's speech recognition technology is designed to recognize and translate non-standard ("dysarthric") speech.

In a pilot study in Tennessee completed in collaboration with DIDD and ARC Tennessee, participants with dysarthric speech correlated with cerebral palsy and other underlying conditions used their voices to perform basic daily tasks independently. By integrating its customized speech recognition technology with Amazon Alexa, Voiceitt provides a new dimension of independence and quality of life for people with speech and motor disabilities and a useful tool for those who care for and about them.

How to Get Companies to fund Commuter Benefits
Ryan McManus, CEO and Founder of SHARE Mobility

What if companies offered transportation as an employee benefit like healthcare? 9 Million jobs are unfilled and companies cannot find people to work (at least not within walking distance or a bus ride). On the other side, employees are ready and willing to work. But 85% of companies in the US do not actively offer IRS Commuter Benefits. Employees are spending thousands of dollars each year after tax to pay for their commute with hourly workers spending 15-30% of their household income driving to work. When no car means no job, employees and companies suffer together. In this presentation, Ryan McManus will share his experience helping companies use mobility-as-a-service and commuter benefits to help companies fill jobs and retain employees.  Learn from the successes of companies that used transportation as a benefit to fill open jobs and get people to work. 

Virtual Reality Technologies to Enhance Interventions for Developmental Disabilities
Brenda K. Wiederhold, Ph.D., MBA, BCB, BCN, Virtual Reality Medical Center, Interactive Media Institute

As society moves further into the digital age, and as younger generations expand their technological literacy, Virtual Reality and related technological tools will become ever more important in improving access, efficiency and outcomes for those with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

This presentation will give examples of the use of VR in prevention, training and treatment, with a specific focus on our work with ASD, including skill acquisition training for navigation of public transportation scenarios (air travel, bus, trolley, subway and pedestrian safety) and socials skills training in work and social environments.  Pilot studies indicate that we can improve training transfer, self-advocacy, independence and quality of life through the use of advanced technologies such as VR.  Currently, we are building on past research and moving towards the development of mobile intervention systems that can increase access to services for those most in need.  From inexpensive mobile head-mounted displays (HMDs) to other wearable technologies, there is considerable potential to create more individualized interventions for those with ASD and related conditions.