Last month, we welcomed visitors from the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as occupational therapy students from New Orleans’ own Delgado Community College. In hopes of expanding not only access to assistive technology, but also our own community outreach, we guided each of these groups through the use of AT devices.
Members of the Northern Mariana Islands’ Council on Developmental Disabilities’ (http://www.cnmicdd.org) Assistive Technology Program, headquartered in Saipan, visited for a week of technical assistance. The Northern Mariana Islands, home to about 60,000 people, is composed of 22 islands and islets in the western Pacific Ocean, located between Japan and Australia.
The council’s visit focused on policy and program development, including the adoption of LATAN’s assistive technology leasing program, which you can learn more about here: https://www.latan.org/at-financial-loans-leasing/. Despite the distance between individual islands, plans were also made to expand AT services across the Commonwealth.
Similar to LATAN, the DD Council’s mission is to promote systems change to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families have the same opportunities as others in the community. They work to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities play a vital role in the design of and access to quality delivery of services, supports and other assistance and opportunities, which ultimately increases their independence, productivity, integration and inclusion into the community.
We also provided an Inservice on Assistive Technology to a cohort of Occupational Therapy students from Delgado Community College. Students toured the Demo Center and received hands-on training on the use of devices, as well as education on LATAN’s programs that increase access and acquisition to AT in Louisiana.
Here at LATAN, we envision a future in which individuals who use AT can achieve greater independence, are more satisfied with their lives, and have greater access to their communities. Through community outreach programs like this, we get closer and closer to achieving that goal.