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New pilot project helps increase independence for individuals with disabilities

A new pilot program is available to help increase the independence and safety of Ramsey County residents with invisible disabilities.

The Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) is partnering with Aware Services, LLC and the Saint Paul Police Department to offer a free pilot project that uses mobile technology to help individuals with autism and other invisible disabilities live more independently and securely in the community. The invisibility of these disabilities can put the individuals at risk, as they often exhibit behaviors and traits that emergency responders can misinterpret as being intoxicated, uncooperative or evasive.

A new technology-based project called the Vulnerable Individuals Technology Assisted Location Service – or VITALS – helps make the invisible visible. The program uses a beacon and mobile app that allows individuals with an invisible disability to voluntarily disclose their diagnosis to emergency responders.

Pilot program in Ramsey County

AuSM, VITALS and the Saint Paul Police Department are launching a limited-time pilot study and are looking for individuals with disabilities ages 15 and older to participate. Ideal candidates live in, work in or go to school in Ramsey County and spend time in the community independent of a caregiver.

Individuals selected to participate will receive one beacon and free service during the pilot test and for up to three months after the test. For more information, contact Jonah Weinberg at 651-647-1083.

Applications are due Friday, Feb. 3.

Learn more about VITALS and the pilot program

Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - 2:06 p.m.