The University of Guam's Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education held a weeklong workshop on assistive technology.

Have any of you heard what assistive technology is? Well, the Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT) held a workshop at The Westin, featuring the director of assistive technology in New Hampshire, Dr. Therese Willkomm who gave an overview of what kind of technology this is.

"Assistive technology is any device or system that is created or used or manufactured or commercially available that you can use to maximize independence in all life functions at home, school, work or play," she explained.

Dr. Willkomm shared the kinds of assistive gadgets that were made throughout the whole workshop. "The kinds of devices we were making here were things out of lockline, cellphone holders, iPad holders, fidget items," she added.

"Or using recycled election signs and making cellphone holders, making abacuses for children who are blind. All the things you can do very very quickly on the fly. Sensory boards, fidget items, busy boards. Here’s another example of a book holder, mounting solution and making things that are portable, collapsible, bendable and again, out of just ordinary items that people often discard," she continued.

Now you may ask yourself how assistive technology can help those on Guam. Dr. Willkomm gave an example of how it can be a big help to our island community. She said, "Learning disabilities, what if you have a learning disability and you go to school? The teacher gives you these handouts. How can you take out of your pencil case, clamp it onto the table, put a phone on it, hit the record and it will scan it and read it into your earbuds. So it’s great for students with disabilities to be able to succeed in school."

Dr. Willkomm added that this kind of technology can benefit those on island that have physical, sensory, vision, hearing or cognitive limitations. For those interested in learning more about assistive technology, you can get in touch with the Guam Cedders at (671) 735-2490 or 2491. You can also send them an email at [email protected].