Students enrolled in the University of Mary Physical Therapy (PT) program recently explored assistive technology (AT) with a purpose at the IPAT Demonstration Center in Bismarck. Dr. Mary Dockter, PT Department Chair, in collaboration with Peggy Shireley, an IPAT Senior AT Consultant, created an exceptional hands-on experience for the students.
Each student was given a case-study involving real-life elderly individuals experiencing disabilities in the Bismarck-Mandan area. Students were asked to identify their areas of need, and then research possible AT devices to bridge the gap between ability and disability, which is also the mission of IPAT! After a brief introduction to the layout and workings of the Demonstration Center from IPAT staff, students used it to find both high- and low-tech solutions related to their case study.
Connecting the students to IPAT’s Home First Showroom iPad app while at the Center proved to be a springboard for ideas and an excellent resource. Using the app, students navigated through the rooms on the virtual home tour and were able to see various AT devices in action. This resulted in spirited dialogue and generated new ideas for AT solutions among the students! As a result of this collaboration, students had an increased understanding of the power AT holds for those who are aging in today’s society, and more importantly, they had two AT solutions for an actual individual in need.
IPAT’s demonstration centers in Bismarck and Fargo are available to all North Dakota residents. Visitors are encouraged to schedule an appointment and have the opportunity discover the impact AT may have in their life.