Sunday, July 10, 2011

TCDD Seeks Enabling Technology

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) plans to award funds for up to three projects that will promote collaborations to develop new or existing technologies. The hope is that the technologies will enable people with developmental disabilities to participate more fully in society since the number of people with disabilities is expected to increase as baby boomers acquire disabilities as they age and/or soldiers return home with injuries.

Some technological tools frequently used by people with developmental disabilities are specialized and disability-specific which means that these technologies typically are in the category of assistive technologies. However, many of the tools that can improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities can also be used by consumers that don’t necessarily have disabilities.

Some examples include smart phones and related software applications, social networking tools, subtitles for language translation, voice-recognition software, global positioning systems can also help people with cognitive disabilities move about independently.

Since technologies being developed for the public are not necessarily related to disabilities, with adaptations and proper marketing these technologies might also assist people with disabilities live more independently. Also these technologies can include remotely operated robotic tools, long range monitoring and sensing equipment, microchip-enhanced cards or wristbands, and tablet computers with software applications.

Although it is recognized that there is an obvious financial benefit for technology companies to market their new technologies to the general public but at the same time, these companies should market these same technologies to people with developmental disabilities.

This TCDD RFP (Enabling Technology: Collaborating for the Future #2011-05) requests that partners work together to implement an innovative model to demonstrate how existing or new generic technologies can be used in a cost-effective way to support people with developmental disabilities reach their education and/or employment-related goals. A model may be considered innovative if it is not currently in existence in Texas but has been demonstrated to be effective in other states or countries.

One partnership stipulation is that people with developmental disabilities and/or their family members must be involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of activities funded by this grant. Each partnership must serve and/or benefit at least ten people who have disabilities.

Applicants are encouraged to be creative in the development of a project idea. TCDD intends to demonstrate approaches that are new or relatively unknown in Texas. Some suggestions for project ideas may include:

• Using remote monitoring/sensing technology, accessible communication equipment to support individuals on the job or attending school
• Exploration and or piloting the use of robots for simple tasks in school or the workplace
• Expanding social connectivity technology to bring about tangible changes in daily lives
• Demonstrate how face recognition software and or gaming technology may support or develop skill in recognizing and responding to social cues in the workplace or in school

Eligible grant applicants can include public agencies, private not-for-profit agencies, schools, and private for-profit organizations.

Up to $750,000 per year is available for the three projects from TCDD with the proposal due July 28, 2011. Telephone conferences were held in June but you do not have to participate in the telephone conference to apply for this grant.

Go to to find individuals and organizations seeking partners to collaborate to develop a proposal.

Go to to view the RFP or email Joanna Cordry at or call (512) 437-5410 for more information.