As our country prepares to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, I’m happy to report that Easter Seals Massachusetts is one of the six recipients of the 2014 – 2015 Comcast Assistive Technology Grant Fund.  This fund, established in 2012, was created to help empower individuals living with disabilities by expanding assistive technology training and services available to them.  The other affiliates receiving the grants from the Comcast Foundation are: Easter Seals Florida, Easter Seals Washington, Easter Seals Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Easter Seals Arkansas and Easter Seals Headquarters in Chicago.

Nearly 25,000 Americans have benefited from the expanded assistive technology training and services at Easter Seals affiliates around the country since the fund was established in 2012.  This is the second time Easter Seals Massachusetts is receiving this grant and we have some really wonderful success stories to share.

Bobby, who attends Bridgewater University, has a disability that reached the point where his speech was slurred and hard to understand, and he was unable to hold a pen. Tiara, joined the Easter Seals Youth Leadership Network to meet other young people with disabilities and to become more involved in her community. Both of these individuals were determined to overcome these challenges.

Thanks to the Comcast Assistive Technology Grant Fund, our affiliate was able to provide Bobby and Tiara with the assistive technology and support that they needed to better interact with their family, friends and community.

The grant allowed Bobby to use a device that converts typed words and pre-programmed phrases into speech, enabling him to take part in his classes and talk with his friends, medical providers and anyone else he meets. The device also has features that will enable him to continue to communicate as his disability progresses.

Tiara was able to participate in her community by using an app that helped her navigate public transportation. As a result, she and other Easter Seals youth leaders were able to lend a hand during Comcast Cares Day in Boston last April. She also recently used her skills to join Boston’s disability community at a celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act at City Hall Plaza.

Disabilities can present many obstacles for individuals like Bobby and Tiara, but with proper therapy, education and training, these hurdles can be overcome. With the support of the Comcast Foundation and Easter Seals, Bobby, Tiara and others with disabilities are getting access to assistive technologies and support to help them address life’s challenges and achieve their personal goals.