Washington, DC – The Arc is thrilled to announce that it is a recipient of a $1.4 million grant from Google.org. Made through the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities, the grant will support an online search, recommendation and coaching platform that will help people with cognitive disabilities find and adopt technology to live fuller lives.
With Google.org’s support, The Arc will expand the features and services around its Tech Toolbox, a place to find, share, rate and review technology for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD). More than 20 million people in the United States have a cognitive disability. The number of apps and assistive technologies available to support this population is growing rapidly, but the outcomes they promise are rarely backed by evidence, and it is difficult to match the right tool to the unique and evolving needs of the individual.
“At Google, we know that good things happen when you help people find the right information. We’re thrilled to support The Arc’s efforts to make it as easy as possible for people with disabilities and their families to find the right technology to meet their needs. In the long run, we see the Tech Toolbox becoming a go-to resource for information about the ways that technology can change the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by sharing information about solutions that really work,” said Jacquelline Fuller, Director, Google.org.
The Arc will build a web platform that uses profile data and expert reviews to help people with cognitive disabilities and their caregivers easily identify the technologies that are most likely to produce positive outcomes based on evidence from people with similar profiles.
“People with disabilities, their family members, providers, and friends are seeking out technology to help them lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Even though many of The Arc’s chapters have already started to address this demand, with great success, not enough is known about how this constantly evolving marketplace is meeting their needs, and how information from their experiences can be harnessed to make greater strides in the field. We are excited to be working with Google, a company synonymous with innovation, to connect our network and individuals to their know-how in the technology space. It’s going to be an exciting journey as we partner with them to build this capability,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.
The Arc will use its national service provider network to deliver more than 100,000 targeted and personalized technology recommendations over the next two and a half years. The platform will be open to the public and, at scale, will reach millions of individuals and their families.
In 2014, The Arc started building the Tech Toolbox because of the need for a service that helps people with I/DD access technology. Through a national partnership with the Comcast Foundation, The Arc was able to launch a beta version of the platform in 2015. Staff from across The Arc’s chapter network came together to design a one-stop-shop, peer- reviewed directory of technology products that are effective for people with I/DD. Through this directory, chapter staff, people with I/DD, and the general public can find, review, and post examples of technology tools that work well for them. The Tech Toolbox currently contains nearly 500 apps and devices.
The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of more than 665 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423