I applaud Ohio for this forward thinking, but I can’t help but wonder … why wasn’t Colorado the first state to do so?
The environment in our state is so perfect for reimagining how we can use technology to deliver services to our fellow citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
Think about it.
Colorado is home to the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, which works to catalyze and integrate advances in technology that promote the quality of life of people with cognitive disabilities and their families. The Coleman Institute is also the force behind the official declaration of “The Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access.”
Colorado is also home to Families at the Forefront of Technology, a “community where individuals, families, and providers come together to advance and enable technology for people with special needs.”
And I feel very justified in adding Imagine! and the work we do to the list of reasons why Colorado should have been the logical choice for Colorado to be the first state to adopt a technology first approach to I/DD services. In the past two decades, we’ve:
- Created a program for individuals on the Autism Spectrum and their families where they could select their own providers through an online store rather than use a traditional Case Management model;
- Built two technology-infused homes to act as living laboratories for testing and refining technology that can improve lives or make life easier for service providers;
- Piloted a program where individuals served by Imagine! and their families could research provider agencies and the services they provide online;
- Piloted a program where remote monitoring was utilized to allow individuals with I/DD to live independently while still promoting their safety;
- Established a now decade-long collaboration with the University of Colorado wherein engineering students create assistive technology projects designed to improve the lives of individuals service by Imagine!; and
- Created a potential solution to the labor crisis facing I/DD services across the nation by designing an app which takes an Uber style approach to employee recruiting.
Now, I don’t believe that if you’re not first, you’re last …
... so I hold out hope that Colorado, and our entire nation, will follow Ohio’s lead.
Who’s with me?
Then again, what do I know?