Gov. John Kasich signed the Technology First executive order May 24, making Ohio the first state in the country to place an emphasis on expanding access to technology for people with developmental disabilities.
"As we have worked in Ohio to renew economic growth and prosperity, we have made it a priority to leave no one behind -- including those with developmental disabilities," Gov. John Kasich said.
"The advancements we are seeing in technology with remote monitoring and advanced sensors are helping improve the way we care for those with disabilities and significantly improve the quality of life and increase independence for many. We can and should put these breakthroughs to work for the Ohioans who need them."
John Martin, director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, said Ohio is a national leader in technology.
"We have more folks using remote technology, we think, any other state in the United States," Martin said. "We have come a long way since being the first state to have it in our waiver, to where we are today.
"Thanks to Gov. Kasich for really supporting us on this technology adventure that we are on. We are here today because of the support of a lot of folks in our community. We have families who pushed for it, individuals with disabilities who have asked for it, county board folks who their (service and support administrators) have worked with staff and inventors [and] advocacy groups to help move this forward."
While many Ohioans with developmental disabilities face obstacles in their daily activities, as well as in accessing education and jobs, this effort to expand access to technology offers people an opportunity to experience independence and personal freedom, while improving their quality of life.
Under the executive order, Ohio will work with county boards of developmental disabilities to ensure technology is considered as part of all service and support plans for people with disabilities. People and their families can explore how supportive technology can enable them to be more productive and included in their community.
Many new technologies that support people to be more independent include devices that engage in two-way communication or provide step-by step assistance. For example, some devices may help a person maintain a routine or schedule, provide instructions on how and when to prepare a meal, or help them access public transportation. Devices are often items like apps, cellphones, smart tablets, and smart speakers.
The executive order is not a technology-only policy. Instead, the goal is to help people learn more about how to use technology to better their lives.
Technology Can Supplement Work of Caregivers
Personal relationships are an essential part of caring for people with developmental disabilities, and technology can never replace human interaction. However, by increasing the use of technology, Ohio can help address the challenge of recruiting and retaining direct service providers who serve in the disability field.
As the demand for direct service providers is projected to increase, technology is one tool that can help support and supplement those who do the critical work of caring for people with disabilities.
View the signed Executive Order 2018-06K.
Learn more about supportive technology at dodd.ohio.gov.