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37th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Becoming Independent: How AT Gave Me Freedom

Date & Time
Tuesday, March 15, 2022 - 3:20 PM PST  
Elite 1-3  

In March 2020, the only assistive technology that I had that gave me some form of independence was my speech device, which significantly impacted my mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Thankfully, I experienced a change of environment and was encouraged to develop independence after 29 years of being nearly entirely dependent on others for all of my support needs. Now, I have many assistive technologies that grant me so much freedom and independence. In this session, I will discuss why having independence through AT is critical, how I developed many of my assistive tools, and outline what I envision for my future. I will then help to brainstorm solutions for any audience members.

The session will begin with a discussion of autonomy and independence and why it is impossible to have one without the other. Some of the research will come from my Master’s project that I completed and defended in December 2020. I will share some details of my personal experience in relation with autonomy and independence as someone who has complex physical and communicative support needs. This theoretical framework will allow the audience to gain a greater appreciation for the rest of the session.

The next part of the session will cover many of the assistive technologies that I use throughout my day to grant me independence to be a 30 year-old woman with a family and job. Some of these tools are easy to create at home and others were not-so-easy, but highly critical. I will share some of my personal experiences and different solutions I tried, pitfalls I ran into, and ultimately what worked out.

After detailing my current situation with AT, I will share some hopes and dreams I have for the future in relation with my AT needs. Some of these include AT that I will need to acquire and learn to use, and others are ideas I have for possible designs that will make certain assistive tools more accessible. This portion of the session will then lead into a brainstorming session involving the audience, to allow participants the chance to share their ideas and concerns and to encourage participants to think outside the box.

My hope for the session is to inspire attendees who may not be reaching their full potential in relation with their autonomy and independence, as well as encourage support systems to consider how they may implement some strategies for independence through AT. I want people to know that it is never too late to start gaining independence and their lives will be richer and fuller because of AT.

This Presentation Link is provided by the Presenter(s) and not hosted by the Center on Disabilities at CSUN. The Center on Disabilities has confirmed, as of March 14, 2022, content linked is relevant to the presentation, but has not been reviewed for accessibility nor will the Center on Disabilities attempt to remediate any accessibility issues in the linked content. Please contact the Presenter(s) with any accessibility concerns.

  • Higher Education
  • K-12 Education
  • Healthcare & Rehabilitation
  • Research & Development
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
Join me to learn how AT gave me the freedom to be my true self. Listen to my struggles and successes with AT and how AT helped me regain my independence from an abusive situation. Then join me for a brainstorming session for your AT support needs!  
Session Type
General Track  
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communications (AAC)
  • Employment & Workplace
  • Evaluation & Remediation
  • Independent Living
  • School-to-Work Transitioning


  • Stephanie Fassov

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