Assistive Technology Innovation

June 22, 2023

AT & Me

The ability to use digital media safely and independently has become a necessity. An increasing number of needs can only be achieved online, such as; applying for a job, scheduling a COVID test, paying bills, and ordering a Uber or Lyft ride. 

AT and Me has been developed to support individuals with intellectual disabilities who receive support from the Department of Developmental Services through Assistive Technology training using a “Peer To Peer ” format to implement a learning and teaching experience.


  • The curriculum will teach individuals how to use digital media and information communication technology (ICT) independently and safely.
  • The goal is to educate 200 people, who will then educate two additional people each, making a total of 600 educated on the uses of technology.
  • Assistive Technology equipment for learning, laptops, cell phones, headphones, hot spots, chargers, and computer backpacks will be provided and given to those who attend the AT and Me class then successfully teach two other individuals.
  • Individuals will need to participate in a Post Learning Survey
  • Individuals will need to list two additional individuals receiving services from DDS that they will teach this training.

AT & Me Application

Conference Attendees: Please complete the AT & Me Form before the day of the conference.

AT & ME Presenters

Kevin Arce

Kevin Arce is one of three Self-advocate coordinators currently serving the Department of Developmental Services North Region (DDS) Kevin attended New Britain High School and graduated in 2014. Kevin attended the CLIMB Program, where he learned about life skills that assisted him in getting his current position at DDS. “The one accomplishment I am proud of is staying true to who I am. Many people try to change who they are to satisfy someone else, but I try to help others while being myself.  I don’t let anyone change who I am, and if I must change, I change for the better in my way.”

There are nine advocacy groups that I serve as a resource to, as well as offering presentations and trainings in Advocacy. Kevin also helps with the Healthy Relationship series with Planned Parenthood and serves on other DDS Committees. “I had always dreamed of having a great job with a great team, and I could not have asked for a better group to spread Self-advocacy with. I learn something new every day.”

Varian Salters

Varian Salters is currently employed at the CT Department of Developmental Services / Self-Determination Division, in the capacity of a Self-Advocate Coordinator.  He works in the DDS Willimantic office 1 day a week & virtual from home. He has served the department for over 17 years and has assisted with the implementation of major policy changes in CT including a change in the Department name from DMR to DDS in 2007, the passing of the “Person First Language Bill” in 2011, drafting the DDS Mission Statement in 2012, and most recently, the “We are People. Call Us by Our Names.” Pledge & Campaign. Varian is currently Living with his mom and working on saving for a condo or house.

He is a leader in the initiation and implementation of several Self-Advocacy groups with various individuals and provider agencies in his catchment area.  Varian’s advocacy groups are long standing, and feature educational and fun topics such as Bullying, Voting, Employment, Healthy Eating, Independence, Healthy Relationships, and budgeting. He has collaborated with Planned Parenthood to facilitate the Healthy Relationship classes series for several years.  Varian has been a member Best Buddies ECSU, for 13 years, other activities he enjoys include Basketball games, Hockey games, Bowling, Going to Flea Markets, Walking, Night to Shine, Special Olympic Mansfield Tolland Track & Field, Will-I Special Olympics Swimming, Dances & dancing. He is an 11-year member of “People First Connecticut” & currently serves on the Statewide Assistive Technology and Sexual Abuse & Prevention Committees.

Accomplishments he is most proud of include Saving for a condo or house, Speaking at AAIDD Regional Conference, Having Hybrid Rock & Roll Express Self-Advocacy Group in Willimantic, taking Partners in Policymaking & Speaking NAMD National Association of Medicaid Directors in November 2019.

Yana Razumnaya

Yana Razumnaya received her bachelor’s in history from Central Connecticut State University in 2012. She lives independently in her own apartment. She has a passion for social justice and individual rights.

Since 2017 she has worked for DDS as a Self-advocate Coordinator her work includes educating individuals regarding their rights and advocacy skills, running community and agency groups, as well as creating virtual programing for the Recreation Department.

Her interests include travel, history, research technology, Pet Therapy and Theatre.