“Enabling Technology” Summit Focuses on Disability Supports, Independence

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 | 09:42am

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

CONTACT: Cara Kumari 
OFFICE: 615-253-2236

DIDD looks at possibilities of integrating technology into its service delivery system

NASHVILLE - The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) held its inaugural “Enabling Technology” Summit today.  The department is exploring how technology solution can assist persons supported in its programs to live more independently.

Approximately 200 DIDD providers, staff, advocates and other stakeholders attended the summit to learn about enabling technology, such as tele-caregiving, remote sensors and mobile applications, to promote person-centered supports and foster independence.  Speakers included several technology providers and a representative with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, which is successfully using technology to support dozens of people in its programs.

“DIDD prides itself on being a national leader in many areas, but we need to catch up on the use of enabling technology,” DIDD Commissioner Debra Payne said. “There are a host of technology solutions that can assist people in fulfilling their life goals, engaging with their communities, and increasing their self-reliance.  It’s important we explore the possibilities to ensure we are giving people in our services all of the options available to allow them to live life on their own terms.”

DIDD has spent several months researching available technologies and how they are being used in intellectual disabilities programs across the country.  The department plans to start testing some of these technologies in its waiver programs in early 2018.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us to make this a reality in Tennessee,” Payne said.  “We are excited to partner with people, their families, and our providers to ultimately promote independence and improve the lives of the people we support.”

Technology vendors who presented at the conferences included Rest Assured, AbleLink, Night Owl Support Systems, SimplyHome, and Sengistix.  Deputy Governor Jim Henry, the first commissioner of DIDD, also provided remarks.

About the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) is the state agency responsible for administration and oversight of community-based services for approximately 8,000 people with intellectual disabilities as well as 4,000 people through the Family Support Program.   Every day, the department strives to support people to live rewarding and fulfilling lives.  It does so by ensuring people are free to exercise rights, engage with their broader communities and experience optimal health.  DIDD is the first and only state service delivery system in the nation to receive Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership.  It has also been recognized as a national leader in its efforts to increase competitive, community-based employment outcomes for people with disabilities.