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WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 09, 2012, 10:14 PM

Technology providing a world of opportunities for those with disabilities

Fargo-Moorhead (WDAY TV) - The iPad, iPhone and iPod have changed how we communicate and work. Those who live with disabilities are finding that all this new technology is opening up a world of opportunities.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

The iPad, iPhone and iPod have changed how we communicate and work. Those who live with disabilities are finding that all this new technology is opening up a world of opportunities. At Friendship Incorporated, clients that had trouble reading or visiting with family on-line are now connecting in a big way.

What a great way for Dean Jacobson to start a Monday - talking with his sister Deann who lives in Texas. Dean, who has autism, lives independently and pays his own bills, but communicating has always been a problem. With the iPad, he and his elderly mother Skype. His sister talks with Dean at least once a week.

Deann O’Lenick – Dean’s Sister: “I have to applaud Friendship. Friendship really took it on and the adoption of the technology really says how they feel about the people they work with; allowing them to have contact with their family.”

Friendship Inc. has been experimenting the last few months with iPads, unsure how clients with disabilities would adjust to technology most have been unable to use. What a surprise.

Dori Leslie – Friendship Inc: “Sometimes what we realize is it is not about the disability but the ability. They have so many abilities with the iPad. It’s amazing to watch them work so fast.”

Jay Sorum was never able to use computers before because of his physical limitations. A keyboard and mouse-pad have been out of the question. Now he takes photos with his iPad, plays video games, even checks email. Friendship says so many apps are out there now for their clients, simple things we take for granted.

Mary Olstad – Friendship Inc.: “Another great thing is you can set these up for voice activation. As you read it will tell you exactly what is going on, which is amazing.”

Friendship has 375 clients up and down the valley. Not all will be able to use an iPad, but for those who can, some windows of exploration just opened up.

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