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AbleLink Technologies announces WayFinder

January 26, 2011

Colorado Springs, CO – AbleLink Technologies today announced the release of WayFinder, a SmartPhone-based software program to enable people with intellectual and other cognitive disabilities to take the bus or light rail more independently. WayFinder provides personalized guidance to individuals to successfully navigate a transportation route using audio and visual cues generated based on their GPS location. WayFinder can help users walk to the bus stop and take the bus to school or work, and then follow a similar route back home. An optional tracking feature is available as well that allows a family member, caregiver or other person to track the exact location of a WayFinder user in real time via instant messaging and Google Maps.

Being able to freely access the community using public transportation allows people who do not drive to get to work, visit friends and family, and go shopping or to the movies whenever they choose, without having to be dependent on others to get from one place to another. There are many organizations that provide supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and travel training typically is a high priority for these organizations given the impact it can have on improving the quality of life of people with special needs. For example, ARCA (www.ARCAOpeningDoors.org) of Albuquerque provides community-based services, including travel training and transportation support, to over 600 children and adults with developmental disabilities in central New Mexico. They recently began a pilot project using WayFinder with the individuals they serve.

“ARCA's mission for 54 years has been to create opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities,” said Ed Kaul, Community Services Director for ARCA. “We are thrilled with this new opportunity to provide people with tools for increased independence. Taking a bus, alone, to the grocery store and returning home might sound like a simple task for some people. For others, it is a freedom only dreamt of. Our pilot program with AbleLink Technologies has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for many people.”

WayFinder has been developed through a research project funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research as well as through projects funded by the National Institutes of Health. A description of the initial research was published in the December 2010 edition of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, a publication of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.*

WayFinder can be used as a stand-alone application on selected GPS-equipped SmartPhones and is available directly from AbleLink Technologies, Inc. (www.ablelinktech.com). Additionally, the software can be added to mobile product suites (Pocket Endeavor Suite or Community Integration Suite) to work in concert with AbleLink’s other programs designed for people with cognitive disabilities, such as their simplified scheduling program or picture based cell-phone, which work seamlessly with WayFinder.

About AbleLink Technologies
AbleLink Technologies, (www.ablelinktech.com) has been a pioneer in the field of cognitive support technology since 1997. Daniel K. Davies, Founder and President, began working in the area of cognitive technology in 1991, developing straightforward electronic task-prompting systems for individuals with intellectual disabilities. During the past 14 years AbleLink has received over 60 grant awards for research and development of technology for individuals with cognitive disabilities, as well as for technologies to support seniors with aging in place. Mr. Davies has received numerous accolades for cognitive technology leadership, including the prestigious 2006 Katherine M. Swanson Equality Award from the Tech Museum of Innovation and the 2004 Leadership Award from the Technology and Media Division of the Council for Exceptional Children.

Today, AbleLink provides an array of desktop and mobile applications that allow individuals with intellectual and other cognitive disabilities, or those with age-related conditions, to access many everyday technologies, including cell phones, email, and the internet. AbleLink’s extensive research and development work has resulted in cognitive support technologies that promote self determination and independence on the job, in the home, at school, and in the community.

For more information contact:
Rich Herold
AbleLink Technologies
719.592.0347, Ext. 121
rich@ablelinktech.com

*Daniel K. Davies, Steven E. Stock, Shane Holloway, Michael L. Wehmeyer (2010) Evaluating a GPS-Based Transportation Device to Support Independent Bus Travel by People With Intellectual Disability. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: December 2010, Vol. 48, No. 6, pp. 454-463.

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