Who Are We?
From Left to Right: Kevin, Jennifer and Tony
Meet the Icebreaker Team!
The Icebreaker Project is composed of a small team of Assistive Technology professionals who use technology to improve the lives of severely disabled people on the island of Taiwan. We strive to restore dignity to the lives of the severely disabled, whether it be the paralysed housebound patient who needs computer access or the child with learning disabilities who needs a device to participate in school activities. We may be small but with over 15 years experience in this field and hundreds of case evaluations we are sure that the multi-function service we provide is personal and professional. We are a fully Taiwan government registered association.
Jennifer Chang - 張嘉純
A graduate of Kaohsiung Medical University and post graduate of The University of Southern California, Jennifer has over the years gained significant clinical experience with a wide range of Assistive Technology. She is also involved in bringing assistive technology to severely visually multiply disabled young children. She has run many seminars around the island on Assistive Technology at the request of the government.
Tony Lin - 林中竹
Graduate of the Chung Shan Medical University in Taichung, Tony has extensive clinical physiotherapy experience as well as many years of working with Assistive Technology, both in the Special Switch and Computer Acesss areas. Tony is our specialist for solving any positioning related problems and is also an Assistive Technology Consultant for Jin Men, which is one of Taiwan's major outlying islands. Tony is also very active in running Assistive Technology seminars around the island.
Kevin Gallagher - 葛凱文
Kevin, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, is the electronic engineer part of the Icebreaker Team. Leaving the Hursley design lab of IBM in Southern England, he came to Taiwan in 1990 on a 2 year volunteer program. After that he was active in the establishment of Taiwan's first Assistive Technology Centre and has remained in this field since. Swapping the rolling hills of Hampshire for the paddy fields of Taiwan has had its challenges, but it's the meaningful work in seeing peoples' lives changed using technology that has kept him here so long.
Originally the three of us were together in "The First Social Welfare Foundation" in Taipei but seeing the great need to establish a community based Assistive Technology service we decided to leave the security of the large employer and act on our intuitions. Forming what we call "The Icebreaker Team" we now are totally focussed in the area of Assistive Technology. It has been a rough road trying to keep our head above water financially but the rewards we get from seeing lives changed by technology are what keep us going.
We are committed to:
What do we do?
In fully believing in the right of every disabled person to a dignified and meaningful life, we are committed to using technology to improve the lives of those disabled most in need. Taiwan is a very technology conscious country but all too often those with severe disabilities are deprived of technologies benefits. We want to change this situation and use technology to greatly increase their quality of life in terms of communication, leisure, employment etc.
Herein lies perhaps our most important area of service. Our team may be small, but we offer a very professional assessment service in the area of computer access, special switches and communication aids. In our many years of working together we have amassed a considerable amount of knowledge in getting disabled users up and running with alternative access computer devices. We also offer help in the area of wheelchair positioning etc. There is little point in making someone computer accessible if you do not first solve any positioning problems. Make them comfortable first and then introduce the computer. As we cover the whole age range, we work with children with special needs who need devices for classroom interaction and basic communication as well as adults who may be paralysed and need a special computer interface for contact with the outside world.
Assistive Technology Seminars
A small team such as ours can only take on so much direct case work, but we can share our experience with others, with the hope of reaching out to more people in need. To do this we run frequent Assistive Technology seminars for therapists, special education teachers, parents etc. Attend one of our seminars and you will not learn much in the way of new theories or wonderful expensive imported devices, but you will leave full of practical and useful information full of our own case studies which you should find very useful in your own work.
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