NORTHAMPTON — ServiceNet, a nonprofit mental-health and human-services agency based in Northampton, has been awarded a contract of up to $200,000 per year by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to enhance assistive-technology support as part of a DDS Technology Forward initiative.
ServiceNet will use the funding to assess and implement assistive technology solutions catered to the unique needs and environments of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (ID/DD). ServiceNet’s Strive Clinic, which currently offers physical, occupational, and speech and language therapy for individuals with ID/DD as well as those with brain injuries, will collaborate with individuals and their caregivers to identify specific technological needs based on the environment and skill level.
Assistive technology encompasses various areas, including communication devices equipped with pictorial symbols, touchscreens, and voice-recognition software. These devices can empower non-verbal individuals or those with limited speech abilities to express themselves and build stronger connections with their peers and caregivers.
Assistive technologies can also support daily living through smart home systems, wearable devices, and task-specific aids. These technologies can facilitate improved time management, organization, and independent-living skills, enabling individuals to gain greater autonomy, build self-confidence, and actively participate in their communities.
Through this initiative, each recipient of assistive technology will benefit from goal-oriented weekly training sessions with ServiceNet’s Strive Clinic staff, plus regular check-ins and reassessments to help them make the most of the technology’s capabilities.
“The Department of Developmental Disabilities contract is a great opportunity for ServiceNet to expand our accessible technology support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Western Massachusetts,” said Abbas Hamdan, senior vice president of ServiceNet’s Developmental and Brain Injury Services division. “We are dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of people we serve, and this grant will play an exciting part in achieving that goal.”
This opportunity is not limited to current participants in ServiceNet’s Developmental and Brain Injury Services programs; it is available to any eligible community members seeking to enhance their quality of life through assistive technology.