Meet David and Tony: Enjoying a Technology-First Approach

The latest video from TN DIDD tells the story of David and Tony, participants in the Enabling Technology program in Tennessee.

The latest video from TN DIDD tells the story of David and Tony, participants in the Enabling Technology program in Tennessee.

Today we want to introduce you to best friends who are enjoying increased independence as a direct result of Tennessee DIDD’s Enabling Technology pilot program. SimplyHome is an Enabling Technology and Education partner with the pilot program.

Meet David and Tony. These longtime friends had staff support 24/7 until recently, when they moved into a home of their own. In the past, however, both men had been able to live more independently with family members. Now, technology has enabled them to return to greater independence.

As the video opens, you can hear a quiet breeze and crickets lazily chirping. Two friends sit in their backyard, enjoying a beautiful summer day.

“It’s my first time having a house like this,” David says. “But also it was my dream, having something like this…This is helping me grow, helping me be more independent.” When describing his daily routine, which now involves the support of enabling technology, Tony highlights the automated verbal cues he receives: “That man calls every day and lets me know about my blood pressure.”

Niniz Martha, a DSP who helps support David and Tony, can see big changes since the move: “They’re very independent, and they really enjoy being in this house. I think this makes such a big difference for them… They’re very proud of themselves and they’re growing.”

Todd Meise is the Residential Director at Prospect, Inc., an agency that provides supports to David and Tony. He sees the change not just on an individual level, but organization-wide: “We heard about enabling technology. Agency-wide, we’ve transformed our agency and our culture, to make it Technology First.” (Read more in our blog post about the Technology First movement.)

Todd also notes that the planning process is very collaborative: “We started by meeting together and talking about their daily routine. They [David and Tony] are the first person you want to talk to, because it’s their vision. And we looked at how technology would support them every step of the way.”

Tony’s aunt Ruby, who also works as a DSP for Prospect, Inc., was unsure about the move – but only at the beginning: “At first when they were talking about everything, I didn’t want to go for it, because I didn’t realize how it would be or how it would work. But after I looked at how it would be, that made me feel real good about the technology that they have out there now. It gave me the responsibility of letting him go and do this, because this is what he wants. He’s very happy living here.”

Watch the full video below.