Digital Inclusion Week is October 3 – 7 this year, and we are excited to highlight some of the ways Easterseals Southern California (ESSC) is working toward closing the digital divide for people with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Turning Our Moment into Movement,” signaling a turning point and time of action for the digital inclusion movement.
While the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology for day-to-day living, the digital divide continues to grow for some communities, including those with disabilities. Digital Inclusion Week aims to raise awareness of solutions addressing home internet access, personal devices, and local technology training and support programs.
Easterseals SoCal is proud to be involved in several projects and collaborations that advance digital equity among the disability community and beyond:
Technology Lending Library
The Technology Lending Library program provides Laptops, iPads, JayPads (an Android tablet with a self-charging stand and a Zoom auto-join feature), training, and support to people with disabilities who receive services at North Los Angeles County, San Gabriel Pomona, Eastern Los Angeles, Frank D Lanterman, and Harbor Regional Centers.
To learn more about this program and how to access services for you or a loved one, check out our blog post.
JayPad Tablet Training
As part of the Technology Lending Library program, Easterseals SoCal provides JayPad training to people with disabilities who are referred by one of five participating Regional Centers.
HealthJay’s Barrier-Free JayPads are Android tablets with traditional touchscreen, a self-charging stand to support the tablet, and an auto-join feature. This feature allows individuals to receive services, telehealth, and phone calls with no action needed on their part.
“This product, developed by Health Jay with Easterseals’ support, helps people with physical and mobility disabilities be independent with its unique auto-join feature,” said Reese Peterson, Program Director.
For more information about JayPad training through the Technology Lending Library, visit our website.
Hear Our Voices
Hear Our Voices is a multi-pronged program supporting Easterseals SoCal participants of all ages who are impacted by communication delays or disorders resulting in complex communication needs.
Through a series of grants and by partnering with the Department of Rehab, Easterseals is able to provide short- and long-term access to iPads with advanced communication applications for those who are in need.
Jessica Miller, Vice President of Therapy Services at Easterseals SoCal, said, “Hear Our Voices closes the digital divide by providing access to specialized technology for participants of every age who demonstrate complex communication needs, may benefit from a communication device and have had difficulty accessing resources.”
Interested participants can reach our Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Specialist and team by emailing email@example.com for more information. The program is always accepting gently-used iPads to help support this growing program. You can send us an email for more info on how to donate!
Easterseals SoCal has partnered with the LA City Mayor’s Office Angeleno Connectivity Trust (ACT) Program to provide free Wi-Fi hotspot wireless internet devices to students in Los Angeles who are struggling to access online classes and support services.
This initiative provides 100GB per year for five years of free internet service for 18,000 eligible students in Los Angeles. Students must meet specific criteria to be eligible for the program.
One participant’s mom, Angelina, stated, “The hotspot has allowed us to access a specific online reading resource while in speech [therapy] sessions. Having internet access creates a more productive connection between speech and relevant curriculum for my child.”
You can sign-up for the ACT program and access a free Wi-Fi hotspot by calling Easterseals hotspot phone number: (657) 207-5784 or email: ESSCHotspots@essc.org.
Easterseals SoCal is proud to support Digital Inclusion Week as we continue to find ways to ensure people with disabilities have access to technology so they can live independently in their communities. More information about Digital Inclusion Week can be found on this website.