Comcast Foundation assistive technology grants
Posted on May 19th, 2014 by Rachel
I’m pleased to introduce Charisse Lillie as a guest blogger today – she’s Vice President of Community Investment at Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast Foundation, too.
Comcast’s assistive technology grants making an impact at Easter Seals affiliates
by Charisse R. Lillie
Assistive technology can improve the quality of life for people living with disabilities and special needs, and over the past two years the Comcast Foundation has helped Easter Seals make a big difference in the lives of nearly 25,000 Americans living with disabilities through our assistive technology grants.
One grant helped Javier, a 17-year-old with Down syndrome who receives services at Easter Seals South Florida. Javier was nonverbal and had a hard time communicating with his family or peers until he received an assistive device, made possible in part by one of our Comcast Foundation grants. The assistive device allows Javier to communicate through visual cues. Javier uses it to help him say his name, describe his feelings, and ultimately interact with others around him. His Downs syndrome diagnosis is pretty severe—he may never learn to read or write—but his newfound ability to communicate, along with his participation in Easter Seals’ Culinary Arts program, have provided him an opportunity for a brighter future. He hopes to have a job in a kitchen one day.
In another program at Easter Seals Southeastern Pennsylvania, teachers and therapists are being trained to incorporate iPads into the classroom to help students with autism improve their communications skills. The computers and tablets used as part of the Easter Seals’ Job Corps program have also been enhanced with speech and visual feedback that will help participants develop skills to use in educational settings, vocational programs or in their personal lives.
We are grateful that Easter Seals has been lending their expertise to Comcast in a variety of ways as we focus on making our technologies accessible to the widest possible audiences. Easter Seals work as a testing group for products and services we are adapting for individuals with special needs has been extremely helpful. Easter Seals is also providing guidance on accessibility and disability sensitivity training at Comcast locations and Universal Theme Parks. Easter Seals is a strong supporter of our Internet Essentials program and Comcast Cares Day.
We are inspired by stories like Javier’s, and in 2013 we announced a national partnership with Easter Seals—pledging $6.3 million in cash and in-kind over two years to continue to help with assistive technology efforts—and now we’re looking forward to announcing the 2014 Easter Seals affiliates who will be receiving new grants this year. Comcast is dedicated to championing the needs of diverse communities. Our partnership with Easter Seals enables us to help make a positive impact across our footprint, one person at a time.