AbleLink News

AbleLink releases Emergency Response Desktop

June 10, 2020


COLORADO SPRINGS, June 09, 2020 --

A total of 500 adults with developmental disabilities will receive full access to Windows software designed to provide timely COVID-19 training and much-needed tools for communication and independence at home.

The Emergency Response Desktop Suite (ERDS) is a collaborative effort among AbleLink Smart Living Technologies, the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities at the University of Colorado, and the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council.

Joelle Brouner, Director of the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council, shared “Our commitment at the Colorado DD Council is to be proactive and innovative by providing accessible tools to foster effective communication and promote access to important information on COVID-19 in a dynamically changing world for all our constituents throughout the state.”

Based on AbleLink’s Smart Living Desktop software, originally released in 2017, the ERDS is a highly customized version that provides access in the following key areas:

  • Safe and simple web browsing, including links to news and other community updates

  • Picture and audio button navigation

  • Voice recording and text-to-speech email

  • Step-by-step task instruction, including COVID-19 related guidance and safety training

  • Weekly health surveys

“Social connectedness and accessing important online information have never been more important. Our Smart Living Desktop Suite enables individuals with IDD to stay in touch with family and friends, as well as independently access recreational and educational activities available through the Internet.”
-Dan Davies, AbleLink Founder and President

The ERDS was released in May 2020 and is available to Coloradans with developmental disabilities who are living independently, have been displaced by the Coronavirus, are living with family members or are members of the state self-advocacy network. To use the software, individuals will need an email address, an internet connection, and a computer running Windows 10. An engagement form can be requested by contacting CDDC’s Joelle Brouner at or the Coleman Institute’s Shea Tanis at

“A beautiful collaboration between public, private, and advocacy organizations, this new and exciting software provides much-needed access to technology solutions for people with IDD and their families during these uncertain times. The Colorado Emergency Response Desktop builds social capital through customizable communication tools; it empowers people with IDD by providing them with cognitively accessible information about the Coronavirus and tools on how to respond effectively, and it encourages health and wellness through diverse interactive videos and tutorials curated from national and international resources on topics such as mindfulness, exercise, recreation, and leisure. The software also promotes self-determination through weekly interactive probes, self-advocacy opportunities, and step-by-step guides to home-living tasks. But most powerful is that the Colorado Emergency Response Desktop provides people with IDD opportunities to engage in the digital/virtual community that has been systemically and culturally denied. During a pandemic this software promotes dignity and equity and can literally be life-saving.”
-Shea Tanis, Coleman Institute Co-Director for Policy and Advocacy


AbleLink Smart Living Technologies ( is the nation's foremost expert in the development of accessible software for individuals with cognitive disabilities. AbleLink researchers have conducted over 80 federally funded research and development projects, with dozens of published journal articles and book chapters documenting the benefits of cognitive technologies. Core products include WayFinder, ATLAS, and Smart Living Suites for desktop and mobile use.

The Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities at the University of Colorado aims to catalyze and integrate advances in technology that promote the quality of life of people with cognitive disabilities and their families. The Institute has been the national leader in advancing The Right of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access though research, policy and practice. (

The Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council ( is a 24-member body appointed by the Governor to advise the Governor and General Assembly on matters impacting persons with developmental disabilities. The DD Assistance and Bill of Rights Act mandated the creation of a Council on Developmental Disabilities in each state and in all U.S. possessions and territories. Colorado's Council functions independently, advocating for the development and implementation of public policy to further the independence, self-determination, and community inclusion of (Coloradans) living with developmental disabilities.


Copyright © 2020. All Rights Reserved.

you can view the web version of this release with images and links at

Read All News