Thirteen Minnesota citizens, educators and organizations were recognized April 14 in the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda for their commitment to removing barriers to independence for people with disabilities.
The Minnesota STAR Program’s Excellence in Assistive Technology Awards honor individuals and groups that remove barriers to independence through the use of assistive technology (AT). AT is any device that maintains, improves or increases function at home, school, work and in the community. Examples include a pencil grip, a desk riser for accommodating a wheelchair and a communication device that generates speech, controls appliances and performs computer tasks.
Among the award recipients are pioneers in the field of assistive technology, educators, professionals and consumers who promote the use of assistive technology. Individuals and service providers who have risen to the challenge of changing the lives of people with disabilities who use assistive technology were honored as well as two remarkable individuals who have taught other students, their teachers and others across the state about how they use assistive technology.
STAR is Minnesota’s Assistive Technology Act Program, administered through the Minnesota Department of Administration. The STAR program is federally funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended in 2004 (P.L. 108-364). The acronym STAR stands for System of Technology to Achieve Results. The mission of the STAR program is to help all Minnesotans with disabilities gain access to and acquire the assistive technology they need to live, learn, and work in the community.
One of these award winners, Anita Schermer of St. Paul, is a board member for Access Press. Schermer was one of the Lifetime Achievement award winners