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10-26-16 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--New Technology Helps NJ’s Developmentally Disabled Gain Independence

State agency, advocacy groups pair people with disabilities with devices that can help them live on their own, go to school, work

Efforts to help individuals with a disability live independently date back nearly a century in this country, but technological innovations in the past decade have greatly expanded opportunities for people to live, learn, and work on their own terms.

In New Jersey, the state works with a network of nonprofit agencies to connect thousands of residents each year with programs, technologies, and other assistance that can help them do more on their own. These advocates are finding new allies in high-tech devices like tablets and smartphones, products that continue to become more affordable and approachable as they evolve.

Assisted or adaptive technology is a broad category, experts note, that refers to anything that can help anyone do something better — including items like a phone, which benefits most people, regardless of ability. For individuals with physical disabilities, these technologies include basic structures like ramps and grab bars or specially designed products like wheelchairs and Braille-based keyboards and printers, which enable those who are blind to read and write.

Solutions for those with developmental disabilities have been somewhat more elusive. But new technology has led to products that can sense when a person is in bed or not, remind individuals to take their medicine, or synthesize a human voice to help those who can’t be easily understood on their own.


Lilo H. Stainton | October 26, 2016


Star Ledger--Getting N.J. school funding right and help control property taxes | Opinion

School funding is New Jersey's endless ordeal. No matter how many times this immense issue has been pushed toward a successful solution, it just rolls right back onto the taxpayers — and our children.

New Jersey has many issues to confront, but many of them revolve around school funding. Property taxes. Tax fairness. Real estate value. Our children's future.

As the Assembly speaker and chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee, we recognize New Jersey's constitutional educational mandate, and our moral responsibility to our children demand that we provide opportunities and eliminate obstacles for all students, regardless of their circumstances.

We also recognize New Jersey has not properly funded its schools. It's a longstanding problem that should have been resolved years ago, but remains festering due to economic struggles and political ideology.

The status quo is unacceptable, but the ideas proposed by Gov. Chris Christie and another approved by the Senate are unacceptable options.

That brings us to the Joint Legislative Committee on Public School Funding Reform, our proposal to fairly fund schools in our state free of politics and ideology.

This commission would be modeled after the 2006 committee that devised the current school funding formula, the first school funding plan deemed constitutional by the New Jersey Supreme Court in nearly 30 years.

The main problem has been the state's failure to fund it. The provisions have been ignored and overridden. 

We believe this is still the model, but it's been 10 years, so we can now take a look back at what was right and wrong with that formula.


By Vincent Prieto and Marlene Caride on October 24, 2016 at 11:09 AM