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Technology pilot program allows people with disabilities to live independently

BRISTOL, TN (WJHL)- Technology is enabling people with disabilities the option to live on their own. The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities recently got funding to launch an Enabling Technology pilot project.

For Carl Lipford, it's a dream come true. He lives in Bristol and is the first person in the state to try this transition in to independent life through the use of technology in his home.

"I like to clean and do all kinds of stuff, wash my dishes and everything," Lipford said while talking about his new place.

Lipford has dreamed of living on his own for years.

"He's always talking about living on his own, wanting to have his own place," Allen Selby said. Selby has worked with Lipford for years as a Direct Support Professional for Core Services of Northeast Tennessee.

Now instead of 24 hour care, Selby takes Lipford to and from Lipford's job and is on call if he needs anything.

"(He) has really just suddenly become more independent than we ever saw when he was in supported living home with 24 hour support staff," Nicholas Filarelli with Core Services of Northeast Tennessee said.

His home is equipped with technology to target his specific needs. Some things in his home include a video doorbell, a sensor on the oven that alerts staff if the oven is left on, and an emergency bracelet. If Lipford pushes a button on his bracelet, staff is immediately notified on their phones.

Though Lipford is the first to make this transition, DIDD's hope is that others will take part in the program, using technology as a key to independence.

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