Well, I did talk with Sakina Lanig this weekend, twice in fact. I learned
what she’s been up to, and what her current plans are. First, I learned that
the old Texas Rehabilitation Commission has morphed into the Department of
Assistive <http://www.dars.state.tx.us/> & Rehabilitative Services. It is
the same beast with a new name. DARS has a concept called "Consumer Services
Contract Providers," where providers contract with DARS to offer various
assistive and rehabilitative services. Sakina has passed that hurdle and is
a provider. Her people presently offer day-care for disabled adults who need
that, and rehabilitative services are starting up.
That’s where I come in supposedly. She wants me as an "employee" and her
primary AAC provider. The net result is that DARS would be buying copies of
Xpress-It for Sakina’s clients needing it. We’re not likely talking about
huge quantities, but the important part is that this step gets Xpress-It
official recognition as an AAC solution by a state agency. That has been the
most critical obstacle so far. Sakina also mentioned something about a
(regular?) paycheck for me, but one thing at a time.
It was interesting to talk to Sakina, as she apparently had never realized
the most critical feature of Xpress-It was that it is a typical Windows
program. To my knowledge, every other Windows-based AAC answer-excepting
perhaps Aurora <http://www.aurora-systems.com/> , occupies a computer like
an invading army. That computer can’t be used for much else while the AAC is
running, and such an unnecessary handicap is just another reason for not
hiring the person.
Anyway, Sakina is putting together the Xpress-It proposal this week for
DARS. We’ll see what happens after that.