Getting Started

What Kind of Technology Is Available?

The use of technology among individuals with disabilities is becoming increasingly more mainstream, funded, and has established practices and implementation processes.

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology provides help with communication, environmental manipulation, and integration into the community. Many of these come in the form of smartphone and tablet apps, personal home assistants (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home), and commercial software. These technologies can be easily integrated into any care plan at home, at work, or on the go.

Remote Support Technology

Remote support technology allows people to get the support they need without having support staff physically present at all times. Remote support provides increased independence and improves the safety and security of the persons served.

View Minnesota Department of Human Services policies regarding utilizing these technologies in the Resource Library.


Why Utilize Technology?

Technology has the ability to increase independence and self-sufficiency for people living with disabilities. It is a powerful tool that can easily be overlooked when deciding on what care options are best. The use of technology not only helps the individual receiving support, but also family members, case managers, and providers as well.

  • Increased Independence - It is found that when individuals are provided with tools to control more of their lives and the physical presence of caregivers is reduced through remote supervision, individuals try to and do more for themselves.
  • Extend the reach of caregivers/direct support professional (DSP) - In this time of critical staff shortages, technology enables DSPs to supervise, observe, and offer guidance to more individuals when needed without having to be present waiting to be needed. Technology helps to reduce passive caregiving time, allowing caregivers to be more effective when they are present.
  • Improved tools to deliver person-centered supports - Technology enables more personalized service allowing caregivers to bring the individualized support to the person when s/he needs it.

How to Begin?

It all starts with a conversation—a collaboration between providers, families and persons served, and case managers. From discussions, a plan is put in place, funding is found, and installation and training begin. Following implementation, measurement and evaluation continue to occur, ensuring the solution is working as expected and pinpointing areas for improvement and expansion.

The state of Minnesota has worked to develop methods, funding, and tools for the use of technology. When having the conversation regarding implementation, teams should discuss what is currently happening and how technology resources might apply/benefit the individual(s) they are supporting.

  1. Start the Conversation
  2. Begin Planning
  3. Seek Funding
  4. Implement Technology
  5. Measure Success


Find the Resources that Matter to You:


Learn the keys to a successful conversation and be ready to answer common questions from self-advocates, family members, and case managers.

I am a Provider

Family & Self-Advocates

Learn how to start the conversation with case managers and providers to identify goals and outcomes technology might be able to assist with.

I am an Advocate

Case Managers

Begin the conversation with self-advocates, family, and providers to find the right mix of technology uses available to implement in care plans.

I am a Case Manager








Resources for Getting Started



ARRM Technology First Policy

ARRM Technology First Policy

Technology First aims to promote and expand access to technology supports for people with disabilities to assist in maximizing control over their daily lives, and to look first to assistive technologies when creating or modifying care plans. 

Measurement Guide and Checklist Example

A form that can be used as a starting point for assessment and evaluation of technology supports.

Asking the right questions

Assessments for remote monitoring—and technology in general—help teams ask the right questions to identify goals and outcomes technology may assist with. Most technology service vendors and many service providers have their own assessment process to help fine tune outcomes and recommend specific tool options.

New legislation just passed

Required Technology Discussions

New legislation goes into effect on August 1, 2017, requiring technology supports be discussed as part of all 45-day planning meetings for people with disabilities. These meetings establish the needs of the individual receiving services, their personal goals, and the supportive services necessary to meet these objectives.

Apartment Ready Checklist

This checklist is to be used when a client/team feels an apartment setting would be an option for a client.

A Trip to PACER’s Simon Technology Center

For people looking for assistive technology resources to help them, or those they care for, live more independently, Pacer Simon Technology Center (STC)  is one great place to start.

From Legislative Sessions to Conference Sessions

Upcoming Conference sessions on technology at the ARRM Annual Conference

Utilizing technology to not only provide opportunities for greater independence, but to also assist with the declining workforce is not necessarily a new topic, but it is one that has made it to the top of many individuals lists due to recently passed legislation in Minnesota.

With a Little Help from Your Friends

Technology sounds like a great addition to care plans. You’ve heard it can help increase independence for individuals with disabilities, and assist with staff management and how staff do their jobs. But where do you start? How do you turn conversations into actionable strategies? How do you find the specific technology supports that will work for the individual?

Propelling a Technology Movement

Having started a remote support company nearly 14 years ago, Dustin Wright, founder of Disability Cocoon, is no stranger to the disability services landscape. His new venture, Disability Cocoon—a disability technology catalyst organization, is bringing the disability community together through events like technology festivals (or conferences).

Technology 101: The Conversation

The first video training course, “Technology 101: The Conversation,” guides providers, support staff, case managers, and families through the steps necessary to have thoughtful, shared conversations regarding the addition and use of technology in care plans.