Tech tools help people overcome the challenges of disabilities

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Guam – The University of Guam’s Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research & Service on Saturday hosted the Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT) Fair at the Agana Shopping Center.

The annual GSAT event is among the highlights of the observance of the Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. 

The event offered information about the various programs, services, and equipment available to children and adults with impairments involving hearing and/or vision, mobility, speech and communication, or cognitive and developmental.

There is a device that makes voting more accessible.

If cost and affordability is an issue, GSAT offers financing programs that would provide assistance for those in need of such services.

According to a GSAT representative, the AKUDI Loan Program provides assistance to Guam residents in need of assistive services. Those who are applying for the program must be either an individual with a disability or a family member of a person with a disability.

Individuals interested in the program would have to provide documents that contain information about their income and a verification of their disability.

The AKUDI program has two subprograms One is the Goal Assistive Technology Program, in which the individual would have to verify that the money borrowed from the program is going toward the purchase of an assistive device.

The representative said many of the program’s clients have said that their assistive devices have improved their quality of life, including parents of children with autism or a speech disability.

“The purpose of our program is to help you find the device that works best for you,” the representative said.

The TeleWork Program is for those who are interested in starting up their own business.

Candice Perry, the Developmental Disabilities Council’s second vice chair of the executive committee, said there are employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

“What I want them to know is that individuals with disabilities can go get jobs, working at Payless or whatever else,” Perry said. “You want to be able to be a little more self-sufficient, to be empowered and do things and get out there and interact, yeah? You’d like to get that paycheck too, yes? Yeah! Yes! That’s true, actually.”

Also participating in the GSAT Fair was the iCanConnect Program,  a national deaf/blind equipment distribution program. Together with the Helen Keller National Center, the iCanConnect Program offers devices to individuals with combined vision and hearing impairments.

Representative Leah Neuman told PNC about the program’s eligibility requirements. “[For vision loss], we need a vision test or proof of what type of vision you have. For hearing, we need an audio-gram,” she said. “We [also] look at your income level. We have all this information on our icanconnect.rog website.”

Applications can be filled out through the GSAT office located at the University of Guam. The GSAT’s phone number is 735-2490/1.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.