Easterseals Southern California launched its Technology Lending Library in the summer of 2022. This new program provides technology and training to people with disabilities throughout Los Angeles County.
We sat down with Reese Peterson, the Director of the Technology Lending Library at Easterseals Southern California, to answer your most asked questions about this new service. Reese has been with Easterseals since 2017, serving as both a Program Assistant and an Outreach and Engagement Specialist. He started working with the Technology Lending Library as a program director in January 2022. Reese brings a great combination of program experience, community resourcing expertise, and knowledge of technology to this position.
Give us a brief overview of the Technology Lending Library initiative:
The purpose of the Technology Lending Library is to provide Laptops, iPads, JayPads (an Android tablet with a self-charging stand and a Zoom auto-join feature), training, and support to people with people disabilities who receive services at the five participating Los Angeles County Regional Centers (San Gabriel/Pomona, North Los Angeles County, Frank D. Lanterman, Eastern Los Angeles, and Harbor Regional centers).
How did this project come about?
This project came about to address the need for people with disabilities to have access to technology. There has always been a digital divide in the disability community, but the COVID-19 pandemic really highlighted this issue. In response, the five LA County Regional Centers were given grant money to create technology lending libraries. ESSC applied for this grant and now provides services to those five Regional Centers.
How will the Technology Lending Library make a difference?
The Technology Lending Library is the first step in closing that divide for those who do not have the means of obtaining technology, allowing them access to tech and the ability to maintain a person-centered life style; we know technology is not going away anytime soon.
Tell us about the adaptive technology features provided in this service:
The Technology Lending Library has provided many traditional adaptive and assistive technologies such as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) software and adaptive hardware. However, our most barrier-free equipment is the JayPad. This tablet allows everyone to use technology, no matter their disability.
What kind of training and assistance will Easterseals Southern California provide?
ESSC provides both in-person and remote training for any technology related needs, including:
How to utilize Zoom meetings so that a person can attend Adult Day Services; Instruction on utilizing basic features of the iPad and Dell Laptop; and more in-depth training on the JayPad specialty tablet. Additionally, ESSC provides an IT HelpDesk that is available to assist users Monday – Friday.
Who is eligible for this program?
Any Regional Center consumer at the five participating Regional Centers (San Gabriel/Pomona, North Los Angeles County, Frank D. Lanterman, Eastern Los Angeles, and Harbor Regional Centers).
How many people do you anticipate this project serving?
We anticipate serving 500 or more individuals and their families. The project is scheduled to go on for two years, but our goal is to continue providing this service indefinitely through on-going funding. With additional funding, we hope to serve many more people who receive Regional Center services.
How can someone get involved?
Someone can get involved by reaching out to their Regional Center Service Coordinator at one of the participating Regional Centers (San Gabriel/Pomona, North Los Angeles County, Frank D. Lanterman, Eastern Los Angeles, and Harbor Regional centers) and requesting a referral for one of the three technologies offered.
Learn more about Easterseals’ Adult Day Services
Easterseals Southern California’s Adult Day Services offers support so individuals with developmental, physical, cognitive or multiple disabilities can live independently, gain social and daily living skills, and become active members of their communities.