University of Montana Rural Institute

MonTECH – Assistive Technology Tools and Services

    How Visitable Homes Benefit You and Your Community

    Visitable Home with shrubbery and wheelchair ramp

    Inclusive design approaches like having a visitable home can prevent us from having from having to leave our home and move into an assisted living facility

    A home is foundational to our well-being. For most, our home provides us with a sense of security, safety, and a place where we most often spend time with our loved ones. To me, this means having a roof over my head, safe running water, protection from weather extremities, and creating memories with my family and friends. We all define and describe what home means to us in different ways, but we share the common understanding that home is at the core of our daily lives. Purchasing or renting a home tends to be the single greatest expenditure Americans make. Our home can also play a role in shaping our health and well-being. However, as we and our loved ones continue to live longer than our parents and grandparents before us, we can also expect to experience disability, such as mobility limitations that require assistive equipment like a wheelchair, walker, or cane. When homes include steps to the main entrance, have no bathroom on the first floor, and the door widths are too narrow to accommodate a wheelchair, our home, our very core, is disrupted and negative consequences can occur. To shed some light on this issue, inclusive design approaches like having a visitable home can prevent us from having to leave our home and move into an assisted living facility. Visitable Montana defines a visitable home, or visitability in three parts: 1) home has a zero step path of travel from the main entrance of the home to the street, sidewalk, or driveway; 2) doorways that are a minimum of 32 inches wide and hallways that are at least 36 inches wide on the main floor; and, 3) basic access to at least a half bathroom on the main floor. Accessible design of homes can support people to age in place, to have increased independence and to be socially connected to friends and family.

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    MAEP standers for loan

    We have been advocating standing programs which are generally well-incorporated into K-12 IEP’s, but hardly ever seen in planning for transitions, college and/or work for adults with ID. Please take a minute to read this article regarding standing programs for adults with neurological conditions at
    MAEP has standers available for loan for all ages and body sizes!


    Here are the highlights of the article:
    For decades already we’ve seen standing programs used as a therapeutic intervention for adults with neurological conditions. We’ve known that without such intervention, patients with spinal cord injuries, strokes, traumatic brain injuries or multiple sclerosis spend hours and hours each day in sedentary postures—with devastating results. Sitting for upwards of eight hours a day leads to an increase in mortality and musculoskeletal issues such as pain, spasticity, contractures, muscle weakness, constipation, osteoporosis and difficulty with activities and participation. Common sense and our own clinical experience has shown us how supported standing can alleviate these issues. However, to date there have been no published guidelines to suggest optimal dosing for achieving better health outcomes through standing. This prompted therapists Ginny Paleg and Roslyn Livingstone to put together a systematic review of the literature aimed first at evaluating the evidence relating to supported standing outcomes in adults with neurological conditions and second, presenting the best-practice recommendations for length and frequency of home-based standing programs.
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Programs and Support:

Montana Adaptive Equipment Program

MAEP provides positioning, seating, mobility, recreation and some ADL equipment to Montanans with qualifying developmental disabilities. This grant-funded program may be able to loan adaptive equipment (AE) to children, teens and adults who have a qualifying developmental disability (see eligibility form) and are unable to acquire the AE by other means or need to trial equipment prior to purchase. Our clinical coordinator is available to assist families, therapists, and family support specialists in selecting the best equipment to meet each person’s specific needs.

Montana Assistive Technology Program

MATP provides AT information and services in education, employment, community living, and telecommunications. The mission is to enhance the independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion of individuals with disabilities through consumer responsiveness as defined in the AT act.

Other Programs and Projects 

MonTECH oversees various assistive technology (AT) programs and is continually seeking to expand the AT services and supports available to Montanans. Click here to view other projects and programs offered through MonTECH.