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CLIFTON PARK: Center opens up options

One stop shopping.

That's how Maxcine Johnson described the new Center for Disability Services Assistive Technology Center in Clifton Park.

Johnson, 53, of Albany, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 33 years ago. She got involved with the center through her neurologist Dr. Daniel Silverman, the center's medical director.

"This is fantastic," Johnson said. "I am so happy to be a part of this new technology that's helping people with disabilities, giving us access to our community, letting us be as we should be " people. The center is making that happen."

The center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building on Thursday, June 14.

The facility, which began construction last fall, provides a range of services to people with disabilities such as assessment, consultation and training. Half of the 4,800-square-foot building is a "living laboratory," where patients learn how to use assistive technology customized for them. The other half is the center's health-care center.

"The services offered here are to a diverse group of individuals," Silverman said. "Our mission is to enable and empower people, particularly those with disabilities, to lead healthy and rich lives."

Assistive technology is designed to help people with disabilities be more independent and regain abilities they have lost. Silverman said it can be as simple as a magnifying glass or as complex as a motorized wheelchair.

Examples of assistive technology that were demonstrated at the center include a sink that moves up and down, a touchpad used to move a wheelchair, and a wheelchair seat formed to the shape of the user's body.

Leigh Bagg, a physical therapist for the past 20 years, demonstrated some of the assistive technology at the center.

"Technology for the disabled has just blossomed, especially in the last five to 10 years," Bagg said. "It's been very exciting to watch."

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