GOVERNOR LAMONT ANNOUNCES EXPANSION OF VIRTUAL MOBILITY ASSISTANCE PILOT PROGRAM TO BRADLEY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Aira Service Now Available at New England’s Second-Largest Airport, Increases Independence for Passengers Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut’s 18-month pilot program offering Aira at no cost for individuals who are blind or have low vision has been expanded to now include Bradley International Airport.
Aira is a virtual interpreting service that uses a smartphone’s camera to stream live video to an agent who uses the live video to narrate and interpret what they see, giving users instant access to visual information about their surroundings.
The pilot program originally began on October 15, 2021, and covered bus and train public transportation systems in Connecticut. Additionally, Aira can be used for essential tasks, such as grocery shopping or a health care visit. Since its launch, users have made nearly 900 calls and logged more than 10,000 minutes through Aira. Starting today, the no-cost service is available at Bradley International Airport. Users can use the Aira app as soon as they arrive to the airport.
While visual interpretation is available at some private sector establishments, Connecticut is the first state in the nation to provide this type of service to members of the public for free.
“Whether it’s accessing a ticket vending machine or navigating one of our busy train stations, over the last several months this pilot program has made a difference in people’s lives,” Governor Lamont said. “By leveraging new technology, we can help travelers access vital services in our state. As one of the region’s premier airports and with more people traveling, it’s great news that Bradley International Airport is joining us in this innovative pilot program.”
The Aira service allows users to stream live video to an Aira agent who will in turn provide navigational or other support. At the airport, this may be particularly useful for navigating the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint and screening process, interacting with ticket and gate personnel, exploring retail and dining options, and general terminal navigation.
“We are pleased to be joining this pilot program which will enhance our ability to offer exceptional service to our passengers,” Kevin A. Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority, said. “At Bradley Airport, we strive to make travel easy and convenient for everyone and it is our hope that with the introduction of Aira we will provide a more seamless experience and independence for those traveling who are blind or have low vision.”
The Aira pilot program is a collaboration between the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services. The pilot is being administered by the Connecticut Transportation Institute at the University of Connecticut and is being funded through federal research dollars, making it possible to offer an 18-month subscription at no cost to the user.
“We’re excited to have Bradley Airport now included in the pilot program,” Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti said. “Expanding the use of the Aira app increases access, safety, and independence for those with visual impairments. No matter how someone travels in Connecticut, we want them to reach their destination safely.”
“We are thrilled to see this innovative technology expanding to Bradley,” Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter said. “This public transportation app enhances ease of travel and greater independence for individuals who are blind or have low vision.”
The goal of the pilot program is to evaluate the Aira service and its effectiveness in providing travel assistance when using public transportation in Connecticut, as well as access to essential services. A complete report and evaluation of the service will be available at the end of the pilot program, continuing through March 15, 2023.
For more information on this program and instructions on how to sign up, visit ctrides.com/aira-en.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
Do you have unused or dated medication laying around in your house?
Did you know that the majority of people who misuse medication actually get it from friends and families’ homes?
Do you want to make sure you get old medication out of arms’ reach to your children, grandchildren and pets?
Do you want to keep medication out of the water system?
Mark your calendars for the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, April 30, 2022, from 10am-2pm.
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.
This event, which happens twice a year, is a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs at locations in communities throughout the country.
The October 2021 Take Back Day brought in 744,082 pounds of medication. More than 15.2 million pounds of medication have been collected by the Drug Enforcement Administration since its beginning in 2010.
To find a location near you please visit the searchable map - Local Drug Collection Boxes. The Department of Aging and Disability Services, State Unit on Aging encourages Connecticut residents to be mindful of unneeded medications and to dispose of unused dated medications safely throughout the year in addition to these special “take back” events.
The State of Connecticut has supported a number of police departments and approved pharmacies throughout the state in proper, safe disposal of unused or dated medication. Drop boxes are located throughout the state and are available to people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to confidentially dispose of medications. For information, please visit the Prescription Drug Drop Box Program.
For more information about the Take Back day feel free to check out: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day (usdoj.gov).
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CSCU, Aging and Disability Services Announce Digital Accessibility Specialist Training Program at WCSU
Hartford, CT — The Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) and the Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services today announced the launch of the Digital Accessibility Specialist training program at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU). The innovative program is designed to provide career opportunities for individuals with disabilities who are either unemployed or under-employed and to also address a growing workforce need in the state.
According to the US Department of Labor, only 19.3% of individuals with disabilities were employed in 2019 compared to 66.3% without a disability. Coupled with the challenges of gainful employment, the United States has seen a year over year increase of the number of adults 18 years or older reporting a disability. While the national average sits at 26% of adults reporting at least one disability, Connecticut reports 22% of its adults (613,853) having a disability.
The Digital Accessibility Specialist program aims to provide a career path towards gainful employment that also addresses a current and future workforce need to produce accessible content and materials for everyone regardless of abilities or barriers.
CSCU has made digital accessibility a priority, with the Board of Regents for Higher Education passing a system-wide policy in 2020.
“Individuals with disabilities are qualified and productive employees, yet far too often they are left behind in the workplace,” said CSCU President Terrence Cheng. “The Digital Accessibility Specialist program not only provides a specialized training opportunity for folks with disabilities, it also helps meet a key and growing workforce need.”
The Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services, led by Commissioner Amy Porter, houses both the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and the Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind - long-established Vocational Rehabilitation programs that help individuals with disabilities prepare for, find and keep a job. The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services is also home to the CT Tech Act Project, whose mission is to increase access to Assistive Technology for work, school, and community living.
“We applaud CSCU’s commitment to accessibility, and we are happy to partner in this innovative program,” Commissioner Porter said. “Not only does the training program provide skills in an emerging field, it also has the potential to lead to good, competitive jobs for individuals with disabilities.”
WCSU has been a leader within CSCU with regards to accessibility efforts and was quick to volunteer to lead the pilot program.
“We want to ensure that all persons with disabilities at the university, along with professors, staff and administrators, have the information they need to make WCSU as accessible as possible for everyone,” said Dr. John B. Clark, WCSU president. “This program will help us, and every CSCU institution, reach that goal.”
Three individuals are currently progressing through a tailored digital accessibility training program that provides core technology training coupled with real work experience. The goal of this new training program is to provide career paths that address a workforce need for skilled individuals who can support the creation of accessible content and materials for the benefit of all.
David Doukas, Director of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, remarked, “It has been a longstanding goal of BRS to collaborate with the Connecticut State Universities and Community Colleges to create workforce development programs that provide residents with disabilities such opportunities for career success in emerging labor markets.”
The partnership with Western Connecticut State University provides an opportunity for the learners to immediately apply concepts and techniques by supporting the staff and faculty at the university in the creation and remediation of accessible content and materials.
Elisabeth Morel, WCSU’s Director of AccessAbility Services has been coordinating the program locally and shared that “the Digital Accessibility Specialist training program has been an amazing program all around. We have been able to watch the participants grow and learn about digital accessibility, while also applying their skills to directly impact the accessibility of material at WCSU. It is a win, win all around.”
For more information about the available training opportunities at the Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services or if you are interested in hiring a recent graduate of the training program please contact Carly Duffy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Immediate Release
Contacts: Leigh Appleby, CSCU
Kathleen Sullivan, Aging and Disability Services
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Oct 21, 2021
GOVERNOR LAMONT COMMEMORATES NATIONAL DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH
Connecticut’s 9th Annual Disability Employment Resource Fair To Be Held Virtually on October 22, 2021
(GREENWICH, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today joined with state officials and advocates for an event at Greenwich Library to commemorate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, highlighting the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement, particularly during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am proud of the way that Connecticut has been seen as a leader in protecting the rights of people with disabilities when it comes to employment issues, and particularly proud of the many businesses throughout our state that make every effort to include people of all abilities as valued members of their workforces,” Governor Lamont said. “We are at our strongest when we include people of all abilities in our workplaces, and it benefits the entire economy to make sure opportunities and resources are available for everyone.”
Connecticut Department of Labor Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo and Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter also announced that their agencies will co-host Connecticut’s 9th annual Disability Employment Resource Fair on October 22, 2021. Held virtually this year, the fair is also co-sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services, LifeBridge Community Services, and Capital Workforce Partners.
“Over the past several months we’ve seen good economic trends – jobs are being added by the thousands, the unemployment rate is down, and more workers are entering the labor market,” Commissioner Bartolomeo said. “We must make certain that everyone is included in this economic recovery. People living with disabilities may face specific health vulnerabilities or other barriers in finding and retaining a job – they need solutions that meet those challenges. Connecticut’s Disability Employment Resource Fair provides that assistance and ensures the disability community remains a vital part of Connecticut’s talent pool and our economy.”
“National Disability Employment Awareness Month allows us to shine a spotlight on inclusive employment opportunities,” Commissioner Porter said. “We are proud of the work the Department of Aging and Disability Services does in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Labor to ensure full access to employment for individuals with disabilities.”
“Disability Employment Awareness Month is a great opportunity for our state to recognize the collaborative work that has been done to improve the disproportionate rates of unemployment and underemployment for so many Connecticut citizens with disabilities,” Department of Developmental Services Commissioner Jordan A. Scheff said. “The Department of Developmental Services appreciates the opportunity to partner with those we support, our providers, our sister agencies, and the business community on access to meaningful employment for individuals with disabilities.”
National Disability Employment Awareness Month began in 1945 to highlight the contributions of the disability community to the workforce and the economy. The U.S. Department of Labor’s 2021 theme for the awareness month is, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.”
In addition to the annual Disability Employment Resource Fair, assistance for jobseekers is available virtually and in-person, including at:
- The Connecticut Department of Labor’s American Job Centers (appointments are recommended). More information is available at portal.ct.gov/ajc.
- CTHires, which serves as a one-stop resource to search for jobs, create a resume, and find training. More information is available at portal.ct.gov/cthires.
- Additional job fair that are scheduled frequently across the state. For a full schedule, visit portal.ct.gov/AJC/recruitmentevents.
For Immediate Release: October 1, 2021
Contact: David Bednarz
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GOVERNOR LAMONT ANNOUNCES PILOT PROGRAM OFFERING VIRTUAL MOBILITY ASSISTANCE WHILE USING CONNECTICUT TRANSIT
New Service Providing Access and Independence to People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision Launches on Blind Americans Equality Day
10/14/21 (HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut is launching an 18-month pilot program offering Aira at no cost for individuals who are blind or have low vision. Aira is a service that enables persons who are blind or have low vision to connect with highly trained, live agents in real-time for assistance using the public transportation system and other essential services.
The Aira service uses a smartphone’s camera to stream live video to an agent who provides the subscriber with instant access to visual information about their surroundings. The Aira agents use the live video to narrate and interpret what they see for the user. This can include how to use the ticket vending machine, navigate one of Connecticut’s busy public transportation hubs, or access connecting services.
The Aira pilot program is a collaboration between the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services. This pilot is being administered by the Connecticut Transportation Institute at the University of Connecticut and is being funded through federal research funding, making it possible to offer an 18-month subscription at no cost to the user. The pilot program’s goal is to evaluate the Aira service and its effectiveness in providing travel assistance when using public transportation in Connecticut, as well as access to essential services. A complete report and evaluation of the service will be available at the end of the pilot program.
“This is an innovative way to use technology to enhance the mobility opportunities for people who are blind or have low vision and provide access to all of the essential services offered in Connecticut,” Governor Lamont said.
“We’re very pleased to offer this service to customers who may have visual impairments,” Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti said. “Our mission is to give all our riders access to vital public transportation services. We’re happy to be connecting people with our state’s extensive transit system to improve their quality of life – getting people to work, schools, health care, and so much more.”
“We are excited to be part of this pilot program,” Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter said. “This innovative technology provides real-time access to information, maximizing mobility, engagement, and independence for individuals who are blind or have low vision.”
Nyema Pinkney Cranford, a global continuous improvement manager for a leading aerospace company, has been an Aira user since the discovery of the product in 2016. “Aira has changed how I approach life,” she said. “I feel I can go anywhere with more confidence and accuracy. Whether traveling, doing things at home, church, or with friends, Aira is my companion. It has been a real game-changer for me. The agents are always patient, courteous, and knowledgeable. We even celebrate our successes together when I complete something that would have otherwise been anxiety-filled or taxing. I trust the Aira agents because they really work to help me get things done. Grocery shopping, online purchases, Uber – name it. Aira is always there as my personal helper to see how to live, not watch life pass me by.”
Connecticut’s Aira pilot program will launch on October 15, 2021 – which is also Blind Americans Equality Day – and continue through March 15, 2023.
For more information on this program and instructions for how to sign up, visit ctrides.com/aira-en.
For Immediate Release: October 14, 2021
Contact: David Bednarz
Office of Governor Lamont
Contact: Kafi Rouse
Connecticut Department of Transportation
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For Immediate Release: July 12, 2021
Connecticut State Officials Offer Tips for Older Populations and Individuals with Disabilities on Ways To Prepare for Hurricane Season and Summer Storms
During the summer months and into the fall Connecticut is often impacted by severe weather including tornadoes, tropical storms and hurricanes with the potential to cause long-term power outages, the need for evacuation to a shelter and property damage. Older populations and individuals with disabilities may have different needs in times of severe weather. Now is the time to prepare yourself, family members and friends for these hazards by having a plan and ensuring you have an emergency kit in place to meet your specific needs.
“Tropical Storm Elsa, last week, was a reminder as to why everyone needs to prepare for hurricane season by having an appropriate emergency kit for their needs and having a plan on where they are going to go should they need to evacuate” said Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James C. Rovella. “Public safety is equally important for all of our communities, especially those who are most vulnerable and historically underserved”.
“It’s important to plan ahead in the event of power outages, evacuations and other emergencies, especially as an older adult or a person with a disability,” Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter said. “Use available resources and support networks, and make sure you have an emergency kit that meets your individual needs.”
Preparedness Tips for Individuals With Disabilities and Older Populations:
- Contact your local government’s emergency management office. Many local offices can add you voluntarily to a list of people with disabilities so they can be helped quickly in a sudden emergency. These lists are solely for the purpose of assistance in an emergency and will not be shared for any other reason.
- Ensure you have a support network and keep a contact list in a watertight container in your emergency kit. When creating your emergency kit, consider the unique needs you may have, such as for a service animal, medical equipment and more. Click here for Disability-Specific Tips from the Department of Aging and Disability Services.
- Inform your support network where you keep your emergency supplies. You may want to consider giving one member a key to your house or apartment.
- Be ready to explain to first responders that you need to evacuate and choose to go to a shelter with your family, service animal, caregiver, personal assistant and your assistive technology devices and supplies.
- Plan ahead for accessible transportation that you may need for evacuation or getting to a medical clinic. Work with local services, public transportation or paratransit to identify your local or private accessible transportation options.
- If you use a communications device or other assistive technologies, plan how you will evacuate with the devices or how you will replace equipment if lost or destroyed.
- Plan how you will communicate with others if your equipment is not working, including laminated cards with phrases and/or pictogram.
- Throughout a severe storm or hurricane have a plan to check on neighbors who may need assistance such as infants, children, older adults and people with disabilities. If you have immediate needs including food and shelter, state resources are available: To find 2-1-1 services available in your area or to search for resources, visit https://www.211ct.org/ or dial 2-1-1.
Before, during and after disaster events, such as major storms, it is important to stay informed and have a plan. For tips, emergency kit planning, communications needs preparedness materials in different languages and more download the CT Prepares App and visit Ready.gov.
Contact: Eric Scoville
Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection
Contact: Kathleen Sullivan
Department of Aging and Disability Services
(860) 874-5295 (cell)
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Lt. Governor Bysiewicz, State Officials Mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Highlight Programs that Help Support Older Adults Living in Connecticut
Today, Lt. Governor Susan joined state agency and community leaders to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and highlight the programs and systems in place to support older adults living in Connecticut.
During Monday’s press conference, Lt. Governor was joined by Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull; Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter; Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Dr. Miriam Delphin-; Mairead Painter, Connecticut State Long Term Care Ombudsman; Department of Social Services Deputy Commissioner Kathleen Brennan; Dorian Long, Social Work Services Director for the Department of Social Services; Barbara Cass, Branch Chief for Healthcare Quality and Safety for the Department of Public Health; Department of Banking Outreach Coordinator Kathleen ; and AARP-CT State Director Nora Duncan.
“Every day, our state agencies are working tirelessly to protect our seniors and ensure they have the support systems needed to maintain their independence. As we mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, it’s crucial that we come together to prevent elder abuse. Elder abuse can happen to anyone – a family member, coworker, friend or neighbor. But knowledge is power. By arming our older adults with the education and resources they need to safeguard their personal information and ensure they feel safe in their communities, we can better prevent elder abuse,” said Lt. Governor .
Launched on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day aims to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of seniors by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes impacting elder abuse and neglect.
Each year, an estimated 5 million older adults are abused, neglected, or exploited. Older Americans lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could be used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and medical care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living.
“Abuse and neglect of older adults is a trauma that needs to be brought further into the sunlight of public awareness,”said Dr. Deidre S. Gifford, Department of Social Services Commissioner and interim Department of Public Health Commissioner. “Our protective services social workers are seeing various types of maltreatment, including physical, emotional and even sexual abuse, along with neglect and financial exploitation. Raising awareness is so important because elder abuse can easily go undetected and unchecked unless family, friends and neighbors join mandated reporters in getting involved to stop it. We thank the dedicated professionals across state and local government and our non-profit and law enforcement partners for their outstanding work in safeguarding and serving older adults.”
“We strive to create programming to educate, empower and support our older residents and their families so they know their rights, live in a strong community, and retain their independence in ways that are personally meaningful,” said Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter.
"Elder abuse is an incredibly important topic that is important to us at DCP year-round," said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. "Specifically, we regulate home maker companion agencies, that help provide the opportunity for our older family members to remain independent by supporting them with day to day tasks. We also work with our partner agencies to warn families about fraud and scams that target the elderly. We encourage anyone who has questions, or needs support to contact our office. Remember, if someone calls, emails, or comes to your door, and they seem like a scam artist - follow your instincts, ignore them, and contact us. I want to thank our sister agencies, all of the organizations we work with on this important issue, and the Lieutenant Governor for her leadership."
“Social isolation has long been one of the leading factors contributing to the financial exploitation of older investors. The unprecedented, but necessary, quarantines to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus have taken social isolation to a new dimension for many seniors, making them more vulnerable to financial exploitation,” said Banking Commissioner Jorge Perez. “While financial abuse can happen at any time, perpetrators often strike during times in a senior’s life when they may be more vulnerable, such as during a health crisis or after the death of a loved one. Everyone should be more vigilant in these uncertain times.”
“The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is honored to be able to participate in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and help to increase awareness about this very serious issue,” said Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-. “Seniors and their families can access our senior outreach and engagement program in every region of the State. This program provides person-centered, strengths-based, and culturally sensitive services that can help to stabilize behavioral health symptoms and improve overall quality of life while older adults remain integrated in the community, ‘aging in place.’ These services can help to reduce the risk of abuse.”
“I am thankful that state officials and our Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut partners are committed to strengthening the network that works with older adults in our state to keep them safe and strong in the setting of their choosing,” said Mairead Painter, State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut.
“PURA appreciates the importance of this day and joins with other state agencies to raise awareness around elder abuse and neglect. Especially in these uncertain times that we’re all living in now, we need to protect our elder community as we’ve seen certain scam activities heighten. In response to COVID-19, we have put in place protective actions that prohibit public utility service from termination. PURA reminds residents to always be vigilant if approached with a service offer or threat of service termination, and to call their utility company directly or PURA’s consumer affairs unit with any questions,” said PURA Chairwoman Marissa Gillett. “For more information on available resources in response to the public health crisis, such as payment plans and the shut-off moratorium, please visit PURA’s COVID-19 Resources page at https://portal.ct.gov/PURA/Consumer-Services/PURA-COVID-Actions.”
“World Elder Abuse Awareness Day gives AARP a chance to stand up for those who need a voice and offertools to those who want to raise their own voices. The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a nationwide interactive platform available to everyone. Here in Connecticut our team of peer volunteers and community partners help bring the program’s fraud fighting power to communities,”said Nora Duncan, State Director for AARP CT.
Director of Communications
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
CT Tech Act Receives $75,000 Quality of Life Grant from
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for the Connect to Tech Program
The CT Tech Act Project, a program within the State Department of Aging and Disability Services (ADS) is proud to announce that it has been awarded $75,000 as part of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation National Paralysis Resource Center 2020 High Impact Innovative Assistive Technology (HIIAT) grants program. Four HIIAT grants totaling nearly $300,000 were awarded nationally. The Quality of Life Grants Program, which includes the HIIAT program, supports nonprofit organizations that empower individuals living with paralysis. Since the Quality of Life Grants Program’s inception, more than 3,250 grants totaling over $30 million have been awarded. Funding for these new cycles of grants were made possible through a cooperative agreement with the federal Administration for Community Living.
The HIIAT Quality of Life grants program funds one-year grants of up to $75,000 to state and territory AT programs funded through the State Assistive Technology Act for innovative, one-time programs or services that through assistive technology devices or services, increase access to services, increase the independence or inclusion of people living with paralysis, their family members and caregivers.
“In every way imaginable, 2020 has been a very difficult year for the organizations we support and those living with paralysis that we serve,” said Mark Bogosian, Director, Quality of Life Grants Program at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. “It is my deepest hope that these high impact, innovative projects and the assistive technology they deliver will alleviate some of those difficulties that many within our population have faced and will continue to face. These are promising endeavors being carried out by great leaders in our field, I have great faith in their success.”
The CT Tech Act Project will use the grant to work with three Assistive Technology partner agencies, Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), EASTCONN and the New England Assistive Technology (NEAT) Center at Oak Hill and two local hospitals - Gaylord Hospital and Hartford Hospital - to provide inpatients with spinal cord injury or other paralysis causing condition access to Assistive Technology services and devices through AT demonstrations and AT lending to allow them to experience how AT can enhance their quality of life and help them to maintain and/or increase their independence as they return home after discharge.
“We are very excited to have an opportunity to make a significant impact on individuals as they transition home, helping them to maintain or enhance their quality of life and independence.” Arlene Lugo, CT Tech Act Project Program Director stated. She added, “We wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of receiving this HIIAT Quality of Life grant and we thank the Reeve Foundation for their support.”
About the Reeve Foundation:
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information, and advocacy. The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) is the support side of the Reeve Foundation’s twin missions to provide “Today’s Care” and to strive for “Tomorrow’s Cure” and offers a free, comprehensive, national source of informational support for individuals living with paralysis and their caregivers. We meet all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability and hold the BBB’s Charity Seal. For more information, please visit our website at www.ChristopherReeve.org or call 800-539-7309.
About the CT Tech Act:
CT Tech Act Project’s mission is to “increase independence and improve the lives of individuals with disabilities through increased access to Assistive Technology for work, school and community living.” Learn more at www.CTtechact.com
(860) 874-5295 (cell)
(973) 379-2690 ext. 7123
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 15, 2020
The Department of Aging and Disability Services Recognizes
October 15 as National Blind Americans Equality Day
The Department of Aging and Disability Services (ADS) is pleased to recognize October 15 as National Blind Americans Equality Day. This is a day that has been set aside for more than half a century to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Americans who are blind or visually impaired.
Originally recognized as “White Cane Safety Day” in 1964, the day has evolved beyond showcasing the mobility and access that canes and service animals afford people who are blind or visually impaired, to the broader focus on the many contributions to society made by individuals with blindness or visual impairments.
“We are pleased to join the community in celebrating these successes that have removed barriers in education, employment and community involvement,” Commissioner Amy Porter said. “With our mission of maximizing opportunities for the independence and well-being of people with disabilities and older adults in Connecticut, we are committed to working in partnership to further these achievements.”
On this day of celebration of the accomplishments of so many individuals from across the state and the nation, ADS invites the public to view examples of successes in employment by visiting the agency website and reading the personal stories of such individuals through the following link: https://portal.ct.gov/AgingandDisability/Content-Pages/Bureaus/BESB-Partnerships-for-Success.
(860) 874-5295 (cell)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 21, 2020
REOPENING GUIDANCE NOW AVAILABLE FOR SENIOR CENTERS TO PROVIDE
ON-SITE VISITS, PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
The Department of Aging and Disability Services today released guidance for senior centers that will allow them to begin to welcome participants back to their facilities. The guidance, developed in partnership with senior centers, municipalities and state and local health representatives, will provide the centers with the discretion to expand the virtual programs and services that they have been providing during the pandemic beginning September 1.
Governor Ned Lamont said, “While we know older adults are considered a more vulnerable population for COVID 19, this pandemic has caused many residents to also feel negative effects from social isolation and loss of independence. We believe the many programs offered by senior centers are important to the quality of life for these Connecticut residents.”
Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter said, “With this guidance we were trying to strike a balance between health and safety and the ability to access programs that support the independence and well-being of older adults. These services provide a critical path to increase social connections.”
Dianne Stone, President of Connecticut Association of Senior Center Personnel (CASCP, the statewide association of senior centers in CT) said, “Connecticut’s senior centers have been doing an incredible job at supporting older adults as they stay home. As anxious as we are to welcome everyone back in, we want to make sure that we do it safely. That is why we are so appreciative of the partnership with the state in establishing this guidance, giving us a starting date and a roadmap of things that we need to consider as we determine how and when we can safely invite people back.”
Guidance provided to senior centers as they begin their reopening planning includes:
- Capacity limits
- Cleaning protocols
- Use of Personal Protective Equipment
- Contact Tracing
- Training and Certification
The entire reopen guidance document can be found on the DECD website under Phase II of the reopen guidelines. Your local Senior Center will be making decisions regarding specific opening timelines and available programs.
For information on COVID-19, please visit www.ct.gov/Coronavirus. Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance, or text “CTCOVID” to 898211.
(860) 874-5295 (cell)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
THE DEPARTMENT OF AGING AND DISABILITY SERVICES CELEBRATES 30 YEARS
OF ACCESS UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
(HARTFORD, CT) – July 26, 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most important pieces of legislation for people with disabilities – the Americans with Disabilities Act. This law, commonly referred to as the ADA was a watershed event in expanding access and protecting the rights of all Americans with disabilities.
The Department of Aging and Disability Services celebrates this important civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
“We at Aging and Disability Services embrace our mission of maximizing opportunities for the independence and well-being of people with disabilities and older adults in Connecticut,” Commissioner Amy Porter said. “The agency works with people with different disabilities, helping to break down barriers in employment, education and other facets of daily life. On this important anniversary we renew our ongoing commitment to justice, equality and opportunity for all residents with disabilities.”
Aging and Disability Services joins the National Council on Disability and the ADA National Network in marking the breaking of barriers by asking Connecticut residents to share how the ADA has impacted your life in 30 words or less, or 30 seconds or less for audio or video, using the hashtags #30onADA30, #ThanksToTheADA and #ADA30 in your social media feeds. Feel free to follow and tag us on our social media accounts, below.
(860) 874-5295 (cell)
June is Pride Month!
While each year this month honors and celebrates the LGBTQ community, COVID 19 has reminded us of the many struggles our friends in the LGBTQ community continue to face in the areas of accessing healthcare as well as the privilege of receiving services from a system free of bias and discrimination. During this challenging time, The State Unit on Aging would like to take this opportunity to make available some critical resources developed by our partners, the LGBT Resource Center , Lambda Legal, and The Diverse Elders Coalition.
SAGE and the Human Rights Campaign unveiled the Long-Term Care Equality Index in April 2019, which “promotes equitable and Inclusive Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older People in Long-Term Care Communities.” The website is www.theLEI.org.
Lastly, there are hotlines specifically geared towards addressing social isolation as well as free legal counsel for LGBT older adults experiencing discrimination and or unfair treatment.
- SAGE Connect
- The LGBT Elders Hotline 1-877-360-LGBT
- The Lambda Legal Help Desk 1-866-542-8336
A cause of celebration is that we are pleased to share the link from Governor Lamont, announcing the June 15th landmark SCOTUS ruling that affirms the rights of LGBT employees in the workplace:
(10/15/19 HARTFORD, CT) – Today, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter presented an official proclamation on behalf of Governor Ned Lamont recognizing October 15 as Blind Americans Equality Day in the State of Connecticut and as a day to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Americans who are blind or visually impaired.
By His Excellency Edward M. Lamont Jr., Governor:
An Official Statement
WHEREAS, for more than half a century our nation has set aside one day every year to honor the contributions of Americans who are blind or visually impaired, and in that time we have built a more just and more inclusive society. We will continue to build upon these successes and remove barriers to education, employment and community involvement; and
WHEREAS, every day, Connecticut residents who are blind or visually impaired enrich our communities and demonstrate the inherent worth of every person, and can also rightfully take pride in their contributions to the rich economic and social fabric of our community; and
WHEREAS, the government encourages employers, in both the public and private sector, to recognize the capabilities, skills and potential of citizens who are blind or visually impaired; and
WHEREAS, October 15th has formerly been known as White Cane Safety Day across the United States since it was declared by Congress and the President in 1964; and
WHEREAS, white canes and guide dogs have come to symbolize not only enhanced personal freedom through mobility, but equal rights and equal access for persons who are blind, as well as reminders to society of the many successes of these hardworking individuals in their communities and places of employment; now
THEREFORE, I, Ned Lamont, Governor of the State of Connecticut, to celebrate the past achievements and future potential of all of Connecticut’s citizens who are blind or visually impaired, do hereby proclaim October 15, 2019 as
Blind Americans Equality day
In the State of Connecticut.
(8/16/19) Across the nation – including in the state of Connecticut – genetic testing company representatives are offering “free” genetic tests to Medicare beneficiaries. While this may sound harmless, in reality it is dangerous. These companies can steal people’s medical identity and falsely bill Medicare, draining the system of needed funds.
(7/28/19) Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has signed legislation renaming the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) to the Department of Aging and Disability Services.
No Barriers, Wells Fargo Announce Winning 2018 Global Impact Challenge Schools & Open Teacher Applications for 2019 Opportunity
(3/25/19) A team of five Windsor, CT students was one of two teams awarded $5,000 to implement their winning project to help make Mystic Seaport Museum, a popular destination for visitors from around the world, more accessible for visitors who are blind or have low vision. The team of five young women, led by two teachers, Dennis Gallant and Beth Borysewicz of the Children’s Services program at the Connecticut Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) took part in the national Global Impact Challenge, sponsored by No Barriers USA and Wells Fargo & Company. The challenge is designed to address diversity, accessibility and inclusion challenges in local communities. Three of the five team members have vision loss and are served by DORS.
Fraud Alert from the Office of Inspector General regarding Genetic Testing of Medicare Beneficiaries
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about a fraud scheme involving genetic testing.