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MDRC cultivates disability pride and strengthens the disability movement by recognizing disability as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity while collaborating to dismantle all forms of oppression.

Shirley is a very independent woman – She is her own guardian, living in her own home with support services from her local Community Mental Health. She is also always up for a challenge and relishes learning and developing new independent living skills. She had always enjoyed working primary workbooks. She found them to be entertaining and helped her learn new skills like budgeting, word recognition and counting.

However, Shirley was finding the workbooks harder to complete due to increasing arthritis in her hands, and back and limited dexterity from Cerebral Palsy. She was looking for assistive technology that she could easily hold and manipulate that would allow her to continue learning and enjoying these types of activities. She contacted Traci Comer at The Arc of Macomb County for a free device demonstration through the Michigan Assistive Technology Program.

Shirley holding her iPadOn the day of the demonstration Shirley and her sister Kathy (a great support person in Shirley’s life) were shown the iPad, second generation, in the Otterbox Defender case and a few applications. The iPad and apps are part of the MATP’s neurodiversity kit. Shirley was quickly able to open the iPad, navigate the screen and open applications, despite limited dexterity in her hands. She was presented with some word search applications, sight word applications, budgeting applications, and money counting applications.

Shirley became elated with these applications and was “in love” with them and the iPad. Kathy wanted to get Shirley an iPad that day; however, due to Shirley’s limited budget; she wasn’t sure how to make that possible. Traci provided them with the ATXchange.org website as an option and encouraged them to contact her local CMH for assistance.

As though it was meant to be, a few months later, an email came across Traci’s desk. It was an email stating that Michigan Disability Rights Coalition was updating their Assistive Technology (AT) kits and selling off some older, slightly used equipment. The profit from which would be used to purchase new equipment. One of the items for sale was an iPad, second generation, and a case!

Shirley was the first person to come to Traci’s mind and a phone call was made to her sister Kathy. Kathy was thrilled! She said Shirley would love to have the iPad, and arrangements were made for purchase and delivery. As it happened, the iPad arrived on Shirley’s birthday. Shirley continues to use her iPad every day. She is the ‘tech expert’ at home and at her workshop. She loves to access her workbook applications and enjoys her word searches. She is truly grateful for the iPad and still “loves it”.

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