Legislation supporting disability technology advances

The legislation was co-sponsored by Bayonne Assembly members Chiaravalloti and McKnight

Assemblyman Chiaravalloti co-sponsored legislation that would create a task force on disability technology.
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Assemblyman Chiaravalloti co-sponsored legislation that would create a task force on disability technology.

Legislation cosponsored by Bayonne state assembly members that would create a task force to study technology to benefit people with disabilities cleared committee in the assembly in February.

The goal of the legislation, creating a Task Force on Supportive Technologies for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities, is to help people with disabilities find new ways to ease burdens brought on by everyday tasks.

Sponsors of the bill include Assembly Democrats Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson), Angela McKnight (D-Hudson), and Robert Karabinchak (D-Middlesex). The bill was  approved by the Assembly Human Services Committee on Feb. 5.

The charge of the task force would be to study opportunities to expand the use of supportive technologies through policy initiatives, shared services, and other best practices.

Assemblyman Chiaravalloti, a Bayonne native, said that the state must do more to raise awareness for these life-changing technologies and make them readily available to those in need.

Technology can help conquer obstacles 

“Buttoning a shirt, twisting a doorknob or writing with a pencil may seem like simple tasks to some, but they can be extremely challenging for people with arthritis or other disabilities,” Chiaravalloti said. “Supportive technologies, from glasses and hearing aids to buttonhook devices and door levers, help disabled individuals conquer obstacles they may face every day and improve their quality of life.”

Assemblywoman McKnight spoke of her personal experience with the issue. McKnight said that as a caregiver for seniors, she has seen firsthand how a disability can impact a person’s day-to-day life.

“A wide variety of technology exists to help people with disabilities, but they may not be aware of them,” McKnight said. “The mission of this task force will be to find ways to connect more people with supportive devices, and discuss how we as a state can take further initiative to expand their use.”

The task force would expand the use of technology and find more ways to connect that technology with those who would benefit from it. Assemblyman Karabinchak highlighted the deep impact that this technology could have on the lives of people with disabilities.

Karabinchack said that supportive devices are about much more than convenience.

“It’s about giving people with disabilities greater independence, confidence, and freedom,” Karabinchak said. “Any opportunity we have to promote supportive devices is one we should take.”

The bill now moves out of committee and heads to the Speaker of the Assembly for further consideration.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Dan Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.