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by LDA Adult Committee

Small group of professionals meeting in a libraryThere are many resources, technology devices and services that can help persons with learning disabilities learn, work and organize responsibilities more effectively.  Make a plan to put each of these action items on your 2014 resolution list.

Enroll in a Free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. There are hundreds of technology-related courses provided through universities across the country. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs). MOOC’s are a recent development in distance education.  To learn about MOOC’s visit YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW3gMGqcZQc.

Download Dragon Dictation Voice Recognition Application.

If you struggle with writing it’s time to reduce the stress in your life by starting off the year by downloading the Dragon Dictation App from iTunes. This app is free! This is a voice recognition application that is powered by NaturallySpeaking. The Dragon Dictation App is just one of hundreds of apps which can increase your daily productivity.

Track down an Assistive Technology Lab.

Reach out to know your State Assistive Technology (AT) Program.  Contact the Director of your State Assistive Technology (AT) Act Program to find out what Assistive Technology services they can offer. State AT Act Programs receive federal grant funds to support access to assistive technology devices and services.  They do not pay for or provide grants to purchase assistive technology, but they typically offer technology labs that demonstrate and loan devices for trial or short term use.  Many programs can also help people consider strategies for obtaining technology and host technology State conferences.   To locate your State Assistive Technology Program, go to  RESNA’s Catalyst Program.

Incorporate Assistive Technology in your Individual Work Plan.

Reach out to the Job Accommodation Network (JAN).  JAN offers resources to job seekers and employers on everything from assistive technology, information on your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and data on helpful job accommodation solutions. Connect with JAN  on-line or on their toll free line at 800-526-7234.

Invest in an Assistive Technology Assessment.

If you are unemployed, want to go to work and believe that your disability is a barrier to your getting or keeping a job, contact your state vocational rehabilitation program or your State Assistive Technology Program and ask them about having an Assistive Technology Assessment.

Even if you are employed, and you believe your job is at risk, you may qualify for “job save” services, meaning that vocational rehabilitation services may be able to help you continue to work where you are currently working or elsewhere using skills you have or can learn. Call the vocational rehabilitation office closest to your home to make an appointment with an intake worker or vocational rehabilitation counselor.  If you have trouble locating a vocational rehabilitation office in your state, you can contact the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at RSA or 202-245-7325 and ask to speak with the liaison for vocational rehabilitation programs.

Learn about Assistive Technology Barriers. Understanding barriers will help inform you of how to incorporate technology into your daily lives.  For information about the types of difficulties a person with a learning disability may experience and technology solutions, visit DOIT .

If you can attend the 51st Conference of the National Learning Disabilities Association of America February 19- 22, 2014, in Anaheim, California, be sure to visit the AT Solution Lab in the exhibit hall. Spend time in the lab trying out different technology solutions and learn about the many technology-related resources available.