The idea for EnablingTech.ca came as we sought to support people who wanted more independence. We know that people can live with more control over their lives and surroundings when they are empowered by technology; this is true for all of us.
As we tried to think about ways to connect people with the right technology, it occurred to us that there was no resource for people, families, and supporters that really attempted to present solutions through a lens that prioritized people with developmental disabilities (and certainly no resource that was not selling any products). So an idea was hatched, partnerships were formed, and a free community resource was started.
About the site:
- There is no budget, so we needed to find something low-cost. We chose to use Shopify as a platform to feature products because the "marketplace" approach lent itself nicely to our goals. We disabled the shopping cart, but kept the reviews section in hopes that people will leave their experiences and expertise, the idea being that reviews are focused on our community alone.
- We don't sell anything. No one is paid and no one profits financially.
- We need others in the community to participate. Our goal was to create a starting point but we hope that others will contribute their tech, their stories, their reviews, and their experiences.
- We recognize that tech costs money. For many, the idea of using tech to enhance independence is a great idea but could be hard to afford.
- We hope to add a "grants" section, or something similar, so that people can be connected with financial resources.
- We plan to communicate with government, businesses, and community partners to illustrate how value is added through investment in technology for people.
- We hope to work with the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (in concept and on an individualized basis) to demonstrate that upfront investments in technology can improve outcomes for people in the long term, which benefits the community as a whole.
How you can help...
- Spread the word. Please tell your networks, including non-DS partners like schools, community groups, businesses, etc.
- Contribute. We will include your tech, your stories, your ideas, and we'll give you credit too! (you can also remain anonymous)
- Write a review on a product we currently have featured.
- Tell us about grant opportunities that we can link-to on the site.
- Don't let this die on the vine. Enabling technology should be an ongoing conversation- let us know how we can become more relevant for you, the people you support, and your teams!