We have good news to report. MySupport recently won the Best Practices Collaboration Award at the AT&T-NYU ConnectAbility Challenge.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ConnectAbility Challenge celebrates this milestone. But we also know that we still have a ways to go to achieve full equality for people with disabilities.
In the years since the ADA was first passed, everyday technologies have revolutionized the world. For many people with disabilities, technology has been particularly impactful. People with visual impairments listen to audiobooks via phone. Many people with communication disabilities communicate better through an iPad app. And the list goes on.
There’s little doubt that with some energy and ingenuity, new technologies could do even more to improve the lives of people with disabilities. That’s where the Connect Ability Challenge comes in. The Challenge, sponsored by AT&T and the ABILITY lab at NYU, challenged innovators to develop software and technology to assist people with disabilities.
At MySupport, we’re bringing technology to a new and important trend in disability services. Over the last several decades, more people with disabilities have been living in the community. Everyone deserves the benefits of community living - no one should be relegated to an institution or nursing home.
But many people with disabilities still lack choices when it comes to their services. Too often, government agencies dictate which services people with disabilities receive. Details about the provision of these services is also determined by the government.
For many people, this isn’t good enough. In a world full of choices, why should such an important part of everyday life be left to bureaucrats? That’s where MySupport comes in. Our platform allows people with disabilities and their families to find and hire support workers directly. It's like online dating for support workers.
As with online dating, users begin by making a profile. They fill out a questionnaire that asks about their preferences in receiving services. Then, users will be “matched” with support workers who could be a good fit for them. People with disabilities and support workers can talk to each other via MySupport. They can arrange a work schedule. The system even supports billing Medicaid.
MySupport benefits people with disabilities, allowing individuals to choose their own service providers. It also benefits support workers. Instead of working through an agency, support workers can find clients directly. This provides them with greater flexibility in scheduling.
Right now, people with disabilities in the San Francisco Bay area are using MySupport. In the upcoming months, MySupport will also be expanding to other places in California. Thanks to California’s new Self-Determination Program, California residents with developmental disabilities will be able to enjoy greater choice in services. All Californians who receive services from DDS (Department of Developmental Service) will have the option to join the program within the next three years. MySupport is working with Regional Centers across the state to make the program available to people with developmental disabilities as the Self-Determination program goes live. Our partners in the independent living movement are also helping us bring MySupport to seniors and people with physical disabilities as well, because choice should know no boundaries.
MySupport is now live in California and New Jersey, and preparing to launch in January in Iowa. If you are interested in bringing MySupport to your area, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org We can’t wait to hear from you!
Everyone deserves to choose their own support workers. Let’s work together to make that a reality.