Mathalia Speaks Up (With Assistive Technology)

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Thank you, MonTECH, for sharing a story of empowerment through technology and helping us celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

Two women work together at a table wearing masks, one assisting the other, eyes cast on paperwork.
Mathalia at the MonTECH regional center

Mathalia is 26 years old and finds it difficult to make eye contact. She speaks in a quiet whisper, is painfully shy, and she has Down Syndrome.

When Methalia was invited to take an active role in the Consumer Advisory Council of the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, her mother knew she would need additional support to be heard. So Mom and Methalia took advantage of the device loan program of MonTECH, Montana’s Assistive Technology (AT) Act Program.

MonTECH demonstrates and loans assistive technology devices to anyone with a short-term need or for the purpose of trying out equipment before deciding to make a purchase. All State and Territory AT Act Programs provide free device demonstrations and free short-term device loans (or for a nominal fee). In Montana, residents can browse and request devices online. They can also set up a demonstration of equipment to help them consider what to borrow based on their individual needs and goals. In Montana, short-term device loans are available for periods of up to 6 months and most devices are shipped and returned at no charge to borrowers.

From MonTECH, Mathalia borrowed a Winbridge Voice Amplifier. The Winbridge is a lightweight and portable speaker connected to a headset with a microphone. It can be used for 5 to 8 hours on a single charge and takes 3 to 5 hours to recharge. The microphone is on a flexible gooseneck that may be positioned close to the user’s mouth.

A speaker with a headset equipped with a microphone. "WinBridge" is branded on the front.

Mathalia found that with the WinBridge she can be heard during Council meetings. She can also communicate with caregivers and co-workers, and she can vocally participate in meetings for her potholder business.

Mathalia found her voice.

Equipped with the WinBridge, Mathalia co-presented at the 8th Annual Great Beginnings, Great Families Virtual Conference.

Her mother is delighted.

“She can participate in her online prayer group, and people can hear and understand,ā€ she reports. ā€œIt makes Mathalia happy when people can hear her.ā€

Do you know someone who might benefit from a short-term device loan?

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