Technology First


In May 2018, Gov. John Kasich signed the Technology First Executive Order, making Ohio the first state in the country to place an emphasis on expanding access to technology for people with developmental disabilities.

Under the executive order, the department will work through the Technology First Council and with county boards of developmental disabilities to ensure technology is considered as part of all service and support plans for people with disabilities. The executive order is not a technology-only policy but aims to help people learn more about how to use technology to improve their quality of life and how they can experience more independence and personal freedom.

Supportive technology, which helps a person accomplish a task or provides care from a distance, includes two services: Assistive Technology and Remote Support. All Medicaid waivers cover the cost and maintenance of equipment used for Remote Support service delivery. DODD expects the proposed Assistive Technology rule to go into effect in early 2019.

From left: Ali Rahimi, Medforall; DODD Director John Martin; Patti, technology user; Jason Umstot, Licking County Board superintendent; and OOD Director Kevin Miller during the Technology First signing.

Assistive Technology Virtual Home

Assistive technology includes devices like those that can turn off a stove when a person isn't using it or cellphone applications that provide step-by-step assistance with recipes. The upcoming Assistive Technology service rule will make the purchasing process simpler for all Medicaid waivers and ensure a person's provider will have continued access to education for the devices.

The kind of supportive technology each person uses will be different, depending on the kind of support they need. Click through some of the options available in the rooms below.


Renee Wood, from Lucas County, speaks about how she uses her Amazon Echo, and explains why it can be helpful for other people with disabilities (Full Screen)
Join DODD on #TechTuesday
Share a photo or video of how you use your technology! Use the hashtag #TechTuesday on social media, and tag @doddohio in your post so we can share. We encourage people who use tech, providers, or businesses to showcase what tech can do.
Instagram Icon.png Watch Kalynn use her iPad to talk about connecting with her long-time friend here. #TechTuesday

Remote Support

Remote Support, sometimes called remote monitoring, is a Medicaid service per OAC 5123: 2-9-35. The service offers a person with a developmental disability the support of a direct service provider even when the provider is not in their home with them.

Remote Support uses two-way communication in real time, just like Skype or FaceTime, so a person can communicate with their providers when they need them. A person can choose supports like sensors that call for help if someone has fallen or cameras that help monitor who is visiting a person's home.

How to Start Using Remote Support

Have a conversation to identify why a person with a developmental disability uses direct care staff and if their health and safety needs can be met remotely.
a1.png Have a team meeting where the person accessing services, their providers, and service and support administrator can talk about which needs might be met remotely, for what hours, and how backup support will be provided.
a1.png If the person chooses remote support, the provider that will act as a backup to those supports will be the one to choose the vendor for the technology and equipment needed. If the backup support is unpaid, natural supports like family or neighbors, the person, or their guardian will choose the vendor.
The service and support administrator works with the team to amend the individual service plan, or ISP, to include detailed protocols for the new remote support.
An ISP that includes remote support should detail backup support contact information and what to do if the person wants to turn off remote support equipment.
Remote Support provides services at a distance (Full Screen)


See how Brad uses technology for support (Full Screen)

Ohio Technology First Council

The Ohio Technology First Council will make recommendations to develop state policy encouraging the use of supportive technology and will identify best practices, effective partnerships, and additional options needed to assist people in gaining access to technology.

Council Members

Director John Martin, Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities

Director Kevin Miller, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities

David Lewis, chief operating officer, The ARC of Ohio

Jenny Rousculp-Miller, superintendent, Clark County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Carolyn Knight, executive director, Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council

Marc Tasse, director, Ohio State University Nisonger Center

Jamie Steele, executive director, Ohio Valley Residential Services

Kathy Phillips, executive director, Turning Point Residential

Howard Collins, parent advocate

Robert Shuemak, self-advocate

Click the icon above to see more presentations (Full Screen)

Watch presentations and reacaps from the Ohio Technology First Council. The council meets monthly through 2018.
View July presentation PDF

QuestionMark.pngOhio has more than 60 assistive technology lending libraries. Check out the Ohio Assistive Technology library, where you can try a device before you buy it.

If you need assistance, contact your local county board of developmental disabilities about possible resources.