To enhance the lives of all Marylanders with disabilities, older Marylanders, and their families by helping support access to assistive technology (AT) devices and services.
Recipient Highlight - Debbie's Story
In 2013, Debbie lost sight in her right eye. In early 2021, she suffered a detached retina in her left. That year, she had three surgeries, ending with the insertion of a scleral buckle and silicone oil in her left eye to save what vision remained.
Debbie has worked for the same firm for 30 years. Following her surgery, she could only work in the office for a brief period. “I was unable to see the computer or safely navigate my way around unfamiliar places. I was going stir crazy sitting at home, paying my family and friends to be my eyes so I could continue to earn my paycheck while working remotely” she tells us.
Debbie connected with Hoover Low Vision Rehabilitation Services at GBMC, and after overwhelmingly positive experiences working with their staff, she was referred to MDTAP.
With the help of AT Clinician, James Whitney and AT Specialist, Denise Schuler, Debbie borrowed and tried a number of devices to support her in the workplace. “Denise also provided invaluable information on disability rights, ride share opportunities and guidance on the documentation required by my employer to return to the office to work.“, Debbie says. She felt pushed to stop working following the loss of her sight, and utilized these resources to advocate for her guaranteed return to the office.
“The equipment I continue to use from MDTAP has been paramount in me being able to do my job” says Debbie. “Being able to borrow these visual aids from MDTAP has afforded me the opportunity to keep working and not have to spend thousands of dollars on equipment.... Thank you from the bottom of my heart! ”
Recipient Highlight - Ayanna's Story
Ayanna was becoming increasingly frustrated with the unreliability of her transportation options. She’s a wheelchair user, and found it difficult and arduous to get where she needed to go consistently.
After an especially discouraging experience, waiting over twelve hours for transportation to and from a 15 minute appointment, only to end up heading home after dark along inaccessible sidewalks, Ayanna and her mother decided to find a better way. They reached out to Ayanna’s DDA Coordinator, who suggested they contact MDTAP. Ayanna’s mom spoke with ATLP Director, Tanya Goodman, who lead them through the application process, and before long, they were approved for a loan to purchase their own accessible van. “Ms. Goodman was so very understanding and extremely helpful in the entire process“, she says. Now, Ayanna can safely and reliably get where she needs to go every day.
B is a high school student who has a malignant, progressive brain tumor. She was having difficulty with her wheelchair breaking down and needed help.
B worked with someone from the Transportation department within the school district, who contacted two different Physical Therapists, one of whom reached out to the Lollipop Kids Foundation (LKF)- one of MDTAP’s partners in reuse. LKF provides free, refurbished equipment through their loan closet.
LKF was able to obtain a power wheelchair and arrange to have it delivered to the high school via a local wheelchair vendor. Power wheelchairs can cost upwards of $10K and usually take six months or more to get into the hands of students when insurance is billed.
Just two weeks after this process began, B is independent with her mobility in her wheelchair!