How Technology Improves Self-Advocacy for People With Disabilities

By Sara Porcaro | Jan 25, 2022
PCSEPP, BHDDH, Employment, Opportunity, IDD, Disabilities, Rhode Island, ADA, Empower, Equality

It's the first impression we make that sets the tone for the new relationships we build. Whether meeting new friends, coworkers, or supervisors, the idea of striking that first impression just right can be daunting as we think of the right words to say, the right things to bring up first. And for many of us, it'd be much more helpful to simply be able to curate our interests, personal facts, and other ways of self expression into a neat video package to show new people instead. That's why in the Person Centered Supported Employment Performance Program (PCSEPP), participants seeking a career they love learn how to do just that--and the films they make, called Self-Advocacy Films, are a fantastic tool to put their best foot forward in their job search!
The PCSEPP program is one that pairs job-seeking individuals in the community with highly trained employment professionals to lay the foundation for a fulfilling, exciting career. Perspectives, the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center, and AccessPoint RI are all committed to providing top quality employment services to participants while they also make use of the resources from Skills for Rhode Island's Future, Able Opportunities, Inc., and the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMASS Boston. Some of those resources include iPads to learn to make films and navigate the internet on, and Career Developer Brittany Dorrance is one of the many professionals there to help participants learn to navigate their new technology.
"Everything is tech-based these days," Brittany says. "Not many individuals we support have always had access to technology, though, and that's why it's so important programs like PCSEPP give them the tools to learn: so they can thrive in their jobs and communities. It's exciting to see technology become more integrated into accommodations."
Participants with Perspectives are taking technology classes to help them learn, practice, and stay up to date with the technology they have access to in PCSEPP. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, individuals showing up for in-person classes make sure to take the necessary precautions to stay safe, such as masks and social distancing, but they're happy to do so in order to stay seeing the friends they make in class. It's become a great way to build new relationships, and have fun--especially since they learn how to do things like follow recipes online and share their creations with their peers. And it makes the learning experience that much more enjoyable, with learners walking away with the tools to make self-advocacy films and other graphics that give them more independence in how they meet others.
"They're able to have complete control over how they represent themselves to others, and that's powerful."
"The iPads become a conversation tool," Brittany notes. "It's something that makes communication that much easier, and it isn't so hard to carry around, either. And with the self-advocacy films, they're able to have complete control over how they represent themselves to others, and that's powerful."
There's few things more empowering than being able to know one is putting their best foot forward. The benefits in being able to present oneself exactly how they want to be seen, one of the most important being a sense of confidence and self-realization, make self-advocacy films an incredible tool--both in familiar and friendly settings and in the workplace. As individuals in PCSEPP continue to learn new skills and challenge themselves on their search for their dream career, we know they're going forward with supportive, dedicated professionals behind them and plenty of opportunity ahead!
If you or someone you know is interested in expanding your business with dedicated professionals like the ones participating in the PCSEPP program, reach out to Perspectives' Employment Team at employmentservices@perspectivescorporation.com, or call (401) 294-3990!


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