Earlier in 2018, Search began a new initiative to bring technology into our 30 Supported Living homes.
The initiative was started for two reasons. First, Search participants greatly benefit through using technology to connect with their family, friends and wider communities. Programs like Skype can improve the relationships that our folks have with loved ones who are not able to visit regularly. Having access to the internet can also help individuals and the staff who work with them keep up with community events. Our second reason for implementing technology in the homes is the potential to help our staff with efficiently completing required documentation.
As of spring 2018, all of our 30 Supported Living homes are now equipped with a Chromebook laptop. The Chromebooks are primarily for staff use, but can be used with individuals if they are interested. The Chromebooks are being used as a trial to identify which participants would like to have a laptop of their own. We also have iPads in many of our homes for our individuals use for everything from playing games to watching videos or following schedules.
Some individuals use technology for entertainment only, but there are others that use devices for picture schedules or to gain skills in areas that would be difficult to learn without the help of technology. It is up to each individual in how they wish to use their devices, but the benefits can be vast.
In the future, we want to expand the use of the Chromebooks for our staff to assist in documentation. We also want to identify individuals who could use more access to technology and assist them in getting privately owned iPads or laptops. Our hope is that the connections to family, friends and community provided by this technology can be extended to more people throughout the agency.