Aug 29, 2014

rehabilitative mental health services group photo in class

Posted on Aug 29, 2014


Having used a customized communication device since her early teens, Lori has seen technology make considerable advancements in those years. She uses an ECO2 device not only to communicate with others, but to perform her data entry work at Rise’s Data Ability program in Crystal.

Seven years ago, Lori Mayo had the opportunity to be one of eight people in the U.S. to attend a special two-week ACES course at Temple University in Philadelphia where she honed her computer and technology skills. She was eager to share what she learned with others.

“Lori is a natural leader among her co-workers,” said DTH Coordinator Maureen Trost, who was able to accompany Lori to Temple and works with her at Data Ability. “She is extremely proficient with her ECO2 device using Bluetooth technology. She also uses this device to send and receive text messages.  It’s amazing – and Lori is absolutely the perfect mentor to share her enthusiasm and knowledge with other data entry clerks.”

Every other Thursday afternoon, a small group of Data Ability co-workers gather to increase their proficiency. People use several different kinds of devices, including an iPad, ECO2, and Dynavox, depending on the individuals’ specific needs. Lori engages them in specific topics of conversation with the goal of improving their knowledge of their devices’ functions and capabilities.

Lori has really helped her co-workers expand their use of their communication devices. For instance, when Kari Wagner learned more about how to use a Bluetooth device in conjunction with her ECO2, it increased her data entry productivity more than 20 times!

“She’s awesome!” Kari said about Lori by selecting words and phrases using an infrared dot on her eyeglasses. As Kari composes, her ECO2 speaks for her.

Eric Peterson uses an iPad and indicated that he thinks it’s fun to get together with the group and learn new things. Corey Johnson, who communicates through a Dynavox, agreed wholeheartedly.

Although Medical Assistance will pay for the device itself, MA doesn’t cover other necessary things like batteries, battery chargers, repairs, programs, or Bluetooth devices. These are all items that people could request support from the new Advancing Lives Funds to cover. This article appears in the September 2014 issue of the Rise Reporter.

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