North Dakota Assistive heading to Washington, D.C. for National Assistive Technology Awareness Day

Assistive technology includes devices that assist people with disabilities or the elderly

FARGO, N.D. — Step into this simulated home at North Dakota Assistive and at first glance you may not notice anything different about it than any other living room.

But take a closer look and you’ll see things like voice-activated blinds and doorbell alarms that light up and vibrate.

These are just some of the technology devices found inside ND Assistive’s model home.

“For somebody with a disability, it makes things possible. They’re not only able to control their environment, but they’re able to enjoy their environment,” says ND Assistive Program Director Jeannie Krull.

But assistive technology isn’t just about smart devices.

“It can be something that you’re used to, like your smartphone, or it can be something that was actually built, like a prosthetic, or a communication device for somebody who can’t speak, but all of those things are assistive technology, as long as they are helping someone with a disability do something they can’t do anymore or were never able to do,” says Krull.

Even the most simple technology can help a blind person differentiate between two things that feel identical to the touch.

ND Assistive was started back in 1993 under the Assistive Technology Act Program.

Now, assistive technology is progressing faster than ever and serving thousands of people of all ages across the Red River Valley.

But there’s a risk that federal funding for the program could be cut.

That’s why Krull is taking her expertise to Capitol Hill in March to fight for those whose lives wouldn’t be the same without the program.

“I remember one guy, he said, ‘I’m free. I’m finally free,’ and I was like, it’s hard to, yeah it’s pretty cool.”

She says no matter what your age or needs are, ND Assistive can help bridge that gap between ability and disability.

Krull will be heading to Washington D.C. on March 4th, which is National Assistive Technology Awareness Day.