AbleNet Announces First Recipient of International Assistive Technology Grant

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AbleNet Inc., a world leader in assistive technology products for persons with disabilities, announced today that PACER Center's Simon Technology Center in Minneapolis, MN is the first of five recipients of The AbleNet International Assistive Technology Grant Program. The $2000.00 grant was used to purchase assistive technology for the Spastics Society of Karnataka (SSK) in Bangalore, India.

Mary Pawlenty Photo

It is wonderful to see this global collaboration to advance the opportunities for children and adults with disabilities. I am proud of the work done in Minnesota and Karnataka, and I know that as this collaboration grows, we will see great benefits for all with the support of corporate partners such as IBM and AbleNet.

AbleNet Inc., a world leader in assistive technology products for persons with disabilities, announced today that PACER Center's Simon Technology Center in Minneapolis, MN is the first of five recipients of The AbleNet International Assistive Technology Grant Program. The $2000.00 grant was used to purchase assistive technology for the Spastics Society of Karnataka (SSK) in Bangalore, India. By early 2008, the SSK will open the first comprehensive assistive technology center in India that will enable children and adults with any disability to learn, communicate and participate comprehensively in all walks of life. The center is a joint venture of the Spastic Society of Karnataka, PACER Centre and IBM India.

The Assistive Technology Center for Education and Life Skills Training at the Spastics Society of Karnataka has been modeled after PACER Center's Simon Technology Center. Assistive technology is specialized hardware or software that is used to help increase, maintain or assist the functional capabilities of people with disabilities.

"The AbleNet International Assistive Technology Grant Program is being offered to enhance the company's efforts to raise awareness of and provide greater access to, assistive technologies for persons with disabilities around the world," said Adam Wing, Senior Director of International Business at AbleNet.

Mary Pawlenty, shown in photo, wife of Tim Pawlenty the Governor of Minnesota in the U.S., visited the Spastics Society and unveiled the first plaque for the centre. Ms. Pawlenty said: "It is wonderful to see this global collaboration to advance the opportunities for children and adults with disabilities. I am proud of the work done in Minnesota and Karnataka, and I know that as this collaboration grows, we will see great benefits for all with the support of corporate partners such as IBM and AbleNet."

"The technology center will promote inclusiveness and education aimed at reaching out to many children and adults with disabilities. This endeavour is a result of the hard work done by all the volunteers and support offered by the PACER Center and IBM," said Rukmini Krishnaswamy, Director, Spastics Society of Karnataka.

PACER Center will provide training for the Spastics Society staff. It has solicited corporate donors and assistive technology vendors to contribute technology, financial gifts, and volunteer time to help build and support the center. IBM has donated the hardware and Accessibility Works software. IBM consultants and volunteers will also help support this center.

The center will work towards making the benefits of technology more accessible to children and adults with disabilities. Through a collaborated effort involving parents, professionals and consumers, the center will provide numerous services such as technology consultations, workshops on technology-related topics, individual training and library facilities.

Shanker Annaswamy, Managing Director of IBM India, and Bridget Ames, Coordinator of PACER's Simon Technology Center, were present.

"Congratulations to PACER Center's Simon Technology Center. The work they provide will impact the lives of many. AbleNet is proud to be supporting and growing the assistive technology community on a global scale," said Jen Thalhuber, CEO of AbleNet.

About AbleNet
AbleNet, Inc. offers a complete line of assistive technology products, including communication aids for non-verbal individuals; access aids, such as switches and wheelchair mounting devices for individuals who require physical supports; and classroom tools that can be used by any individual student or during group activities. The company is also recognized for developing research-based special education curricula that meet state and federal mandates.

AbleNet is accepting grant proposals until December 20th, 2007 from any non-profit organization that currently provides assistive technology implementation or education programs in China, Russia, India, South America and Africa. More information at http://www.ablenetinc.com/press/releases/11_01_2007_intnl_grant.aspx

Located in Roseville, Minnesota, AbleNet, Inc. is an ESOP company that employs 35 people and sells its products through a network of distributors in 49 countries. AbleNet's products and programs have been used in tens of thousands of classrooms nationally for more than 20 years. For more information, visit http://www.ablenetinc.com.

About PACER
Founded in 1977, PACER Center was created by parents of children and youth with disabilities to help other parents and families facing similar challenges. Today, PACER Center expands opportunities and enhances the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families. PACER is staffed primarily by parents of children with disabilities and works in coalition with 18 disability organizations. The Simon Technology Center provides a variety of core services to help children, families, and professionals learn about the use of assistive technology. For more information, visit http://www.pacer.org.

About Spastics Society of Karnataka
Located in India, the Spastics Society of Karnataka is a Non-Government Organization (NGO) dedicated to the welfare of persons with Neuro-Muscular Disorders and Developmental Disabilities.

Spastics Society of Karnataka (SSK) started off as a branch of the Spastics Society of India in the year 1982, and went on to become autonomous in the year 1994. SSK is located on a 5 acre campus donated by the Government of Karnataka in Indiranagar, in the garden city of Bangalore. For more information, visit http://www.spasticssocietyofkarnataka.org/

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Adam Wing

Mary Kay Walch
AbleNet, Inc.
651-294-2218
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