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Kasich Signs Executive Order to Put New Technologies to Work for Ohioans with Developmental Disabilities

COLUMBUS—Ohioans with developmental disabilities will now have the opportunity to improve their lives with the help of innovative supportive technologies thanks to the new “Technology First” initiative launched today by an executive order signed by Gov. John R. Kasich.

“As we have worked in Ohio to renew economic growth and prosperity, we have made it a priority to leave no one behind – including those with developmental disabilities,” said Kasich.  “The advancements we are seeing in technology with remote monitoring and advanced sensors are helping improve the way we care for those with disabilities and significantly improve the quality of life and increase independence for many.  We can and should put these breakthroughs to work for the Ohioans who need them.”

“Technology First” is the product of efforts launched in the Governor’s last budget that called upon the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities to explore the use of technology such as apps, cell phones, smart pads, and smart speakers to augment the supports delivered by caregivers. 

Examples of the kinds of supports provided under “Technology First” could include smart speakers to control lights and other home items, call buttons that can alert remote caregivers, or receive reminders or prompts, as well as customized sensors to detect medical emergencies such as seizures or check in on someone who isn't moving around the house in their usual routine. Other assistive technologies may provide instructions on how and when to prepare the evening meal, to help a person maintain a routine or schedule, and how to access public transportation. The goal of “Technology First” is to expand the use of these technologies in order to serve more Ohioans with developmental disabilities. 

In 2012 Gov. Kasich launched “Employment First,” which put a priority on helping Ohioans with development disabilities find living-wage jobs in real workplaces, replacing the longtime policy of assuming Ohioans with development disabilities were only capable of working in sheltered workshops. As a result of “Employment First,” more than 9,600 Ohioans with development disabilities are working in real jobs in their communities – a 34 percent increase since 2012. 

The executive order also will create a new council to make recommendations, set benchmarks and foster partnerships that will help to expand the use of supportive technology for Ohioans with developmental disabilities. 

A copy of the executive order can be found here and a fact sheet can be found here.