Disability seminar to feature assistive technology

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Self-Help Credit Union will host a free event from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Wilson County Public Library featuring disability rights experts, device demonstrations and information on various financing options available.

The event is sponsored by Disability Rights North Carolina and will feature several organizations including Diversified Opportunities, A Caring Heart, Wilson County Schools’ exceptional children’s division, the Upper Coastal Plains Area, Aging on Agency, Trillium Health Services, the Wilson County Department of Social Services’ adult intervention program, Wilson Fire/Rescue Services and Eastern Carolina Chiropractic Center.

Assistive technology enables people with disabilities to compensate for certain impairments and care for themselves and their families. Access to these technologies is limited in low- and middle-income communities, owing to factors such as high costs and lack of financing. For people who are uninsured or whose health plans do not pay for assistive technologies, options include going without or paying for the items out of pocket.

“We are trying to make sure people with disabilities in the community will have their needs met,” said Demetrius Cox of Self-Help Credit Union. “The most important piece is to connect with organizations and service providers for the disabled community in Wilson to educate the public on an individual and organizational level.”

There are more than 6.8 million Americans who use assistive devices to help them with mobility, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. That group also includes 1.7 million wheelchair or scooter riders and millions of others who use mobility devices such as canes, crutches and walkers.

Other examples of assistive technologies include hearing aids, cognitive aids, including computer or electrical assistive devices, computer software and hardware, such as voice recognition programs, screen readers and screen enlargement applications.

Device demonstrations will be conducted by the North Carolina Assistive Technology Program.