Technology First

Under the Technology First Executive Order, the department 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. 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 allows people with developmental disabilities to experience more independence by providing personalized support for daily tasks or by offering care at a distance. Assistive Technology and Remote Support are DODD’s supportive technology-based services. 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 January 1, 2019.


Jason from Auglaize County uses a Nucleus intercom device to call friends for any support he and his roommate need.

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.

QuestionMark.pngOhio has more than 60 assistive technology lending libraries. Learn more about where you can try a device before you buy it.

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)

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

Read Ohio State University's Nisonger Center white paper about "Use of Remote Support in Ohio and Emerging Technologies on the Horizon."

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"How I See It"
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​Robert Shuemak discusses accessible technology