Emma Croken, Rachelle Bernier & Marla Calder

Biography | Biographie

Emma Croken attended Glasgow Caledonian University where she obtained her Masters in Occupational Therapy. She has been a practicing occupational therapist for 3 years and has worked in the field of Assistive Technology at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada during this time. In this role, Emma helps clients with access to mobile devices, computer access, environmental controls, technology for emergencies and wheelchair integration. In addition, Emma works as a Research Coordinator on the Connected Communities research project which is exploring whether educating seniors about smart home technologies impacts independence, social isolation, technology use and perceptions of safety and comfort.

Biography | Biographie

Rachelle Bernier is a Rehabilitation Engineering specialist at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation. Rachelle adapts or builds custom assistive equipment, devices, or toys for people with disabilities. Rachelle thrives on providing practical, effective and safe solutions that bring smiles to people’s faces. While working closely with the assistive technology and augmentative communication groups, Rachelle also provides technical and research support to the entire centre.
Prior to working in the clinical rehab setting, Rachelle worked in the private sector providing engineering services for the manufacture of ambulances, emergency response, and accessibility vehicles, as well as for the manufacture of cell therapy related medical devices.
Rachelle is originally from Ontario where she completed her Biomedical Mechanical Engineering degree in Ottawa, and moved to New Brunswick in 2015 to complete her Master’s degree at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering. Rachelle fell in love with the province, her work, and her fiancée and is happy to call New Brunswick home where she is now raising her new baby boy.

Biography | Biographie

Marla Calder has been a practicing occupational therapist for the past 22 years who has worked in the field of Assistive Technology for more than 15 years at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada. She most frequently assists clients with home environmental controls, mobile access, wheelchair integration, research and adapted video gaming. She has also published in OT Now, AACPDM, ACRM and presented at ACRM, Rehab Week, ATIA and Closing the Gap. Most recently worked with an interdisciplinary team to launch the first accessible video gaming clinic in Canada, Game Changers.

Booth Summary | Sommaire de kiosque

Accessing the Digital Economy with a Custom Mouse

The twitch and lift switches are accessible switches that address the needs of people with degenerative disease or severe paralysis that provide increased accessibility in a simple, user-friendly manner. Both switches provide a digital switch output that could control switch adapted devices or directly communicate with a computer as an HID mouse. Since developing early prototypes of the twitch switch and the lift switch at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation (SCCR), the uptake and interest of these devices have grown significantly. Funding from the federal Accessible Technology Program enabled us to improve prototype designs to establish repeatable, affordable, and easy to manufacture designs, published on an open source platform with Neil Squire Society’s Makers Making Change. Currently in the research and quality improvement phase, twitch and lift switches are being sent out throughout North America for people with disabilities to test out and provide feedback. The project will result in a total of 100 devices available for donation.


Smart Home for Independence, Social Interaction, Safety and Comfort in Aging Individuals – Connected Communities

Over a third of older adults in New Brunswick have a health condition that affects their activities of daily living. Mainstream technologies can provide inexpensive and easy to use devices that can promote connectedness, reduce isolation, and increase independence among older adults and decrease the stress on their caregivers. However, older adults may have concerns about the safety, usefulness, and cost-effectiveness of these technologies or be unsure of which ones are right for them. The Connected Communities program aims to address these barriers to technology use and increase the use of these technologies to age in place. A team at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation has developed the Connected Communities program to provide older adults with the opportunity to hear about, and get a hands-on opportunity to try, assistive technology while presenting it in a way that relates to an individual’s daily routine. The program includes six classes presented by an occupational therapist. The classes will address concerns such as isolation, aging at home, and supports for daily living.