COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — Tuesday's South Carolina Assistive Technology Expo showcased many of the latest and greatest tech-savvy options available to people with disabilities.

This free event allowed visitors to experience several different devices, connect with disability services, and participate in 12 educational sessions.

Program manager Rachel Johnson said the expo has been held annually for 31 years.

“I am so excited to be a part of this. I love being the program manager for the SC Assistive Technology Program, but personally I have a disability. I am visually impaired; I am giving back and want to know that there are resources out there for people like me who are visually impaired or have other types of disabilities. Walking through the aisles of these vendors will help you find what you need. , or you might find something you didn't know you needed. And I think it's really good to have that connection and I'm happy to be a part of it,” she says.

Anna Price is an instructor in the National Federation of the Blind's Successful Transition Program, where she teaches independence and assertiveness skills to visually impaired high school students.

She herself is legally blind.

“And to come to a place like this and see the technology that is available to overcome the obstacles that currently exist in the world, it's not only great for me as an educator, but for my students to realize that their goals are absolutely achievable. “It's really encouraging for both of us to be able to show that the possibilities are really exciting,” Price says.

Nearly 60 vendors highlighted assistive technology options, from newly designed wheelchairs and accessibility vans to visual and hearing aids and communication devices.

Malachi Johnson is a volunteer with the nonprofit Able South Carolina.

“That's a good part of why we do this movement in the first place. So that more people can express their needs. They can say what they want changed. “We can raise awareness of new issues that aren't covered,” says Johnson.

Mark Riffle also works with Able SC and is a board member of the Spinal Cord Injury Association.

Even people who are currently healthy may need this technology in the future, he says.

“Whether it's hearing or vision, needing a cane or walker, or any other situation, we'll all get there at some point. So it's important to know the resources available to you. .That way, when you get there, you won't be left wondering, “What do I do now?” he asks.

Mr. Price teaches his students to live the life they want. For us, it's really exciting because we also have access to things like voting and being able to do it independently. ”

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