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May 2017


Ohio AgrAbility (OAP) hosted two Peer-to-Peer workshops in April. OAP staff presented information on new assistive technology, how to create an emergency action plan for home and farm, and considering obstacles and dangers specific to living with a disability. Staff also shared information on Extension programs and proper disposal of medications. Clients and staff discussed how to promote OAP services, and what other Peer-to-Peer activities they would like us to plan; all the clients requested more meetings and more opportunities to meet other farmers who are involved in Ohio AgrAbility.

Rural Rehabilitation Coordinator Randy Joseph and Disability Services Coordinator Laura Akgerman spoke to Opportunities for Ohioan's with Disabilities (Ohio's Vocational Rehabilitation service) counselors and supervisors about Ohio AgrAbility, and how OAP works with OOD to serve farmers in Ohio. The counselors were very interested in hearing about OAP assessments and expressed interest in learning more about the modifications and assistive technology that can keep farmers working on the farm. OAP has enjoyed a very positive work relationship with OOD, and has provided several other training workshops for the counselors and supervisors.

University of Dayton engineering students with modified shovelFor several years, Ohio AgrAbility Networking Coordinator Kent McGuire has been working with an innovative engineering class at the University of Dayton on engineering projects specific to AgrAbility. This has provided an opportunity for the students to learn more about assistive technology and universal design and apply it to real life situations. Student designs included a modified shovel, a grabber/cane, a rock picker-upper, arm cuffs to assist with lifting and carrying, and a lever for a spigot handle. Most of the students do not have farm backgrounds, so it also serves as an introduction to farming and agriculture in the state.

Disability Services Coordinator Laura Akgerman attended "The Opioid Crisis in Ohio: Seeking New Solutions from the Community" training and advocacy event at the Ohio Statehouse. Ohio Governor John Kasich spoke briefly at the event and thanked the attendees and presenters for their interest and advocacy. Governor Kasich told the group, "Legislators will not solve the opioid crisis. It will be solved in neighborhoods, and schools, and by groups like this one who work in the communities. Anyone who thinks legislators can solve this is an idiot." Gov. Kasich is known for speaking his mind, and his words brought plain-spoken levity to a serious topic.

Submitted by Laura Akgerman