Institute Celebrates ACES 2013 Program
The Institute on Disabilities celebrated the completion of its ACES—Augmentative Communication and Empowerment Supports—program on Friday, July 26, 2013, coincidentally the 23rd anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Family members, friends and Institute staff gathered at "The Underground" in the Student Center on the main campus of Temple University.
A signature program of the Institute on Disabilities for more than 20 years, ACES was developed by former Executive Director and Temple University Professor Dr. Diane Nelson Bryen as an innovative approach to helping adults who use communication technology to both master the technology and to direct their future towards independence, healthy relationships, economic self-sufficiency and contributions to society.
Several years ago, a greater emphasis was placed on addressing the needs of young people in transition to adult life.
This year, ACES selected 8 individuals from Pennsylvania and several other areas, to participate in the rigorous, on-campus, two-week program. However, ACES 2013 actually began in early 2012. Institute staff members Carrie Leonhart, Augmentative Communication Services Coordinator, along with Assistive Technology Specialist Jamie Prioli, worked with the participants via telephone calls, emails and in some cases in-person visits.
Several months ago, the ACES program hosted an event, where program applicants met on campus to get to know the staff, as well as the other participants.
After a year of preparation and two weeks of hard work, participants, staff and friends and family were ready to celebrate this accomplishment. The highlight of the event was the presentations prepared and given by each of the participants. They expressed what they enjoyed about the ACES experience, what they learned and what they hoped to accomplish in their life.