Helen stands in a sports field using her gold walker_ with her pink manual wheelchair next to her.
Helen Doesn't Hear "Can't", She Hears "Try"
Written by Carmella Rynearson, PATF Funding Assistance Coordinator

What do puppies, kitties, ice cream, and video editing software all have in common? Well, they're some of Helen Macek's favorite things, of course. I first met Helen, a 9-year-old girl from Moosic, PA when she was participating in an All Abilities Walk. I was immediately drawn to her energetic, bubbly personality. 

Helen was an ambassador for  Allied Services' Ryan's Run Campaign that raises money and sends a team of runners to participate in the New York City Marathon. Allied has engaged in Ryan's Run for 7 years, raising $2.1 million to promote miracles in rehab to change the lives of children and adults with disabilities, life-changing injuries, and chronic illness in NE and Central PA. Helen herself receives therapy at Allied two days per week. While Helen raves that she participates in this walk because, "It's fun!", her mother was happy to see that Helen was able to increase her walking from last year.

Woman sits in bedroom in power wheelchair_ in front of various technology including a TV mounted on the wall_ an Amazon Echo_ and an iPad.
What is Generic Smart Home Technology?
Glad you asked, because PATF is about to embark on a campaign to raise awareness about this incredible (and affordable) technology that is increasing the independence of people from all walks of life.

Let's start with the basics:
  • Generic Technology - Devices that can be purchased "off-the-shelf" and used "as is." When used to help an individual with a disability perform a function, generic technology is also called assistive technology (AT).
  • Smart Home - A residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.
Put them together and you have... 

Generic Smart Home Technology

which covers everything from an Amazon Echo that allows a person to turn on the lights with their voice to an app on your phone that is set to turn on a smart lightbulb on your front porch when it recognizes that you've pulled in the driveway. 

But let's hear it from the experts. Check out this quick video of our friend Kirby Smith, of SunKirb Ideas, giving an example of how generic smart home technology can be applied.

While mainstream use of such technology is gaining ground, the application of these devices in the disability community as AT is lagging, with many people still dishing out thousands and tens of thousands of dollars for older, specialized AT. Our goal is to learn about, define, and raise awareness of what this amazing and affordable tech can do for people of all abilities.

Stay tuned this fall as we roll out a Generic Smart Home Technology Campaign.
AgrAbility PA Took Over Our Instagram!

Here's one of their posts:

Man wearing black hoodie and yellow baseball cap stands in a dairy barn with his hand resting on machinery that hangs from the ceiling with multiple tubes.

This young farmer was planning to farm for the rest of his life, but a farming accident threatened to prevent his dream. However, with his determination and AgrAbility's support he was able to get the assistive technology he needed to continue farming! A custom track was installed in the barn where he milks cows. The devices used to milk cows hang on this track and he is able to easily move them around to each cow. A utility vehicle also helps him get around the farm to check on cows, pastures and crops. Thank you @pa_ovr for funding the assistive technology to help this farmer keep working!! #AgrAbility #farming #assistivetechnology #dairy @agrabilitypa
Check out PATF's Instagram to see a few more posts about farming assistive technology from their takeover, and then head over to AgrAbility's Instagram to learn even more about what they do!
Screenshot of YouTube video with frame showing a man using a wheelchair speaking to an interviewer off camera.
Penny Pincher cartoon of woman with lightbulb above her head
Financial Tips with Penny Pincher
What do Cuts to Medicaid Mean in terms of Your Finances?

This video from VICE News interviews one family who will be affected by the proposed cuts to Medicaid. Also interviewed is Nancy Murray, PATF Board Member and President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh at ACHIEVA.

Here are two other articles that describe how cuts to Medicaid could affect Pennsylvanian with disabilities:

Upcoming Events

Transition Conference
State College, PA - August 9-11
The primary purpose of this conference is to expand the capacity of schools, agencies and communities, in partnership with youth, young adults and families, in promoting the successful transition of youth/young adults with disabilities to post-school outcomes of employment, post-secondary education and training, community participation and healthy lifestyles. Visit pattan.net for more information.

Lawrence County 55+ Senior Expo
1928 East Washington Street, New Castle, PA - September 15 from 10am-1pm
The goal of this free event is to provide the senior community with valuable information that they will find beneficial to their decision making. Visit senatoreldervogel.com for more information.

CLASS Annual Health Fair
1400 South Braddock Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA - September 20 from 10am-2pm
Visit pathwayswellnessprogram.com for more information.

Senator Randy Vulakovich's Annual Senior Expo
2326 Duncan Avenue, Allison Park, PA - September 29 from 10am-1pm
The Expo will be host to a variety of informational booths geared toward senior citizens and their families or caregivers. Exhibitors include organizations that provide services affecting health, safety, and welfare of senior citizens. Light refreshments will be provided and the event is free. Visit senatorvulakovich.com for more information.

AmazonSmile logo with soft yellow glowing lights behind it.
You Shop, AmazonSmile Gives

Support us when you shop using smile.amazon.com_ch_23-2953796 and Amazon donates to Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation. 

1004 West 9th Avenue, King of Prussia, PA 19406 | 888.744.1938 | patf@patf.us | www.patf.us