“Have you ever heard the sentence ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’?“
Charles Umaña asks this question to Autumn Hester, a student enrolled in AHRC New York City’s Melissa Riggio Higher Education Program at Kingsborough Community College, in an effort to demonstrate a typing exercise. The sentence, Charles explains, uses every letter of the alphabet. “When you have some free time and you want to practice your typing, remember that phrase,” he encourages Autumn. Together, they try out the exercise.
Charles is helping teach Autumn this and numerous other functions on her iPad, which she received as a participant in the Individualized Technologies Strategies-Balanced Incentive Project, (ITS-BIP). “This is a grant-based research project where the primary goal is to correlate technology with independence,” Charles said. “Technology is an important factor in everyday life. We use it on a regular basis, but not all the people we serve have access to it or know how to use it.”
About the ITS-BIP Project
Thirty-two people from across three departments in AHRC New York City, (Adult Day Services, Employment and Business Services, and Residential Services) are taking part in the project. Charles, along with Tenzin Pao Dhashi and Glenna Sasiadek (all of whom are Individualized Technology Strategy Specialists), works with a specific group of people and assists each one of them for an hour per week, providing individualized technical support based on their needs. The ITS-BIP is supervised by Philip Proctor. People needing varying levels of support and many types of assistive technology are involved in the project. For example, Charles says, he is working with a person whose primary device is the HAPIfork, a utensil designed to assist people with difficulty eating in practicing safe mealtime habits. Among the goals for people in the project are health, academic success, employment, stress management, and community and social skills.