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By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News When Gov. John Kasich started pushing for technology to help people with developmental disabilities, John Martin was completely on board. He recalled Kasich’s blunt message. “You people are not using enough technology,” Martin said loudly, remembering Kasich blurting out orders. (Martin can get away with that, since both he and Kasich are leaving their jobs at the end of the year.) “He was demanding we use robots,” said Martin, who has a few weeks left as director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Martin knew the answer was in using technology as remote supports, not robots – and he knew Kasich would support that since the governor had declared Ohio as a “technology first” state. Martin visited Wood County Developmental Disabilities on Friday to see how technology is being put to use here. He heard from Chris Doerner, who is able to live by himself in an apartment – thanks to technology. “It helps me be safe at home,” Doerner told Martin and a roomful of people gathered to see the state director. In simple terms, Doerner has sensors in his door, and a two-way TV in his apartment, that allows his family and Wood Lane staff to check in on him. “It’s neater than having somebody hanging around your house,” Martin asked. “Yup,” Doerner said. And when he wants privacy, “you can turn it off,” Martin asked. “Yup,” Doerner replied. That is just one example of using technology to allow someone to live more independently. Yes, it also saves on personnel costs, but the primary goal is to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities. In many cases, technology allows families to place their adult children in independent living situations with far less worry. Martin talked about other technology success stories. He told of a man whose son has autism. The son liked his days to be predictable, with events going in sequential order. The family realized that if their son was up and in the shower at 5:45 a.m., then he would have a good day, Martin said. So the dad installed a sensor, so he could tell if the shower was running at 5:45 a.m. If not, the dad knew to give his son a wakeup call. Technology is being used around the state to increase safety for people with developmental disabilities, while decreasing staff and family intervention….Read More