COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed an executive order that will ensure disabled people receive more help from advanced technology.
Kasich was flanked by a robot named Milo when he signed the order last week, creating a "technology first" initiative designed to help those who use wheelchairs and developmentally disabled people.
Under the program, technology will be emphasized by the state Department of Developmental Disabilities when evaluating care plans for disabled residents. Devices include smart speakers, customized sensors and video monitors.
The state plans to invest in 10 robots that cost $5,000 each and help autistic children read social cues and communicate better, Kasich said.
A 10-member Ohio Technology First Council will be created to help guide policy as well.
The new technology will be covered by private insurers and Medicaid, according to department director John Martin.
Columbus resident Patty Ruble said her new wheelchair has custom sensors that keep track of her location and help with navigation.
"This has given me a freedom, independence. I can keep on doing my thing with my life," Ruble said.
The move has received positive feedback from the Ohio Center for Autism.
Kasich acknowledged that government can become "stuck in the past" but praised the efforts the state is making with new technology.