Innovation – especially in DisabilityTech – takes community, collaboration and communication. The Howe Innovation Center is working hard to connect and convene the folks who are out there helping us ignite the spark of change in creating a more accessible world.
Lauren Ladino from Newton, Massachusetts, is one of those people. She began volunteering with the Howe Innovation Center in the fall of 2022 and has been an incredible addition to our team. Get to know her in this community profile.
About a year – I started volunteering in the Fall of 2022.
Initially it was because of my background in elementary and special education. I thought that while I was at school, I could volunteer and work with the kids [at Perkins]. Then Lisa [Mosca] introduced me to Sandy [Lacey] at Howe. I know technology is a huge part of disability advocacy and education, but it’s never been a focus of mine. So it’s been great to research all the different accommodations and technology that’s out there.
I really like working with Sandy and Dylan [Black]. The whole experience has been really informative and a step outside of my comfort zone.
I’m a second-year at Boston College Law School, and my focus is on education. I’ve always known I’ve wanted to work on child advocacy which could translate to things like child welfare, juvenile justice, and disability law. Last Fall I interned with the EdLaw Project, and got into disability rights. They focus on advocating for kids with IEPs, making sure they have access to the services and technology they need.
I’m surprised that there’s a lot of technology but it’s not necessarily broadcasted as much as it should be. I spent a lot of time searching and searching for quality websites that explain the technology, who sells it, and where you can buy it. The information is really hard to find – that’s why the database that Howe, Dylan, and Sandy are putting together is so important. It’s very organized, and a potential fix to the problem of searchability.
It’s hard to squeeze in reading for fun while I’m at school, but I’m a huge fan of mystery books. My favorite is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. It’s a good starter book for people that are interested in mysteries.
I grew up with cats and dogs, and love animals, so I’d have to say hanging out with my cat Parker, who I got two years ago. I also like longboarding with my friends in my hometown (Dartmouth, Massachusetts) but don’t have much time to do that during the school year.
I’m vegetarian, and Italian food has a lot of great options, so I’d definitely pick Italian. Maybe fettuccine alfredo. Although, I’m a sucker for a good enchilada, so one of those!
Definitely do it!
Perkins offers a range of opportunities. Depending on how much time you have, they can make it work. So for someone like me who is busy with school, I’ve been able to make it work volunteering with Howe, and have been able to step out of my comfort zone and learn a lot.
Although this upcoming year I’ll have more time, so I’m thinking about other volunteer opportunities at Perkins as well. There are also opportunities like the Everybody In! Walk/Move for Perkins for people that are looking for one-day opportunities to volunteer.
Want to learn more about volunteering at Perkins? Contact [email protected] for information.
Want to learn more about the Howe Innovation Center – including how to join our community of folks committed to creating a more accessible world? Visit us at Perkins.org/Innovation.
Innovation can’t happen without all of us. Together, we can solve real accessibility problems.
If you want more from-the-front-lines perspective on what’s happening across the DisabilityTech market, join the Howe Innovation Center community. You’ll get members-only access to resources and insight that’s not available anywhere else, including our white paper, Defining DisabilityTech: The Rise of Inclusive Innovation.