Blog Disability Personal Experience

Spotlight IMAGE: Housing Resources

Researching affordable, accessible, and integrated housing is a difficult and time-consuming process. Here at The IMAGE Center, we work with individuals on identifying their options and advising them on various research opportunities to help broaden their research, keeping their access needs in mind throughout the process.

The IMAGE Center is aware of many housing resources in the community which we would like to spotlight for you. Check out our website!

Blog Personal Experience

Occupational Therapy Week Celebration 2021

Visual ad describing OT week. Text transcribed below.
Ad for OT week. Says Celebrate National Occupational Therapy Week April 19-23. Lunchtime chat – Facebook Live vent Friday, April 23 at 12:30

Moderator Dr. Sonia Lawson Associate Professor at Towson University “Career Pathways for OTs” featuring Towson OT students.

Picture of volunteer Helene D. working with a client.

Plus OTs Tell their Volunteer Stories
Daily Social Media Posts at 12:30 p.m. April 19-22.

Sponsored by the IMAGE Center VME Program Service and Towson University OT Community Services.
Blog Disability Personal Experience

Spotlight IMAGE: Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology, also known as AT, encompasses a wide variety of items and techniques from low-tech such as a cane to high-tech software that can read computer screens. The idea behind Assistive Technology is to increase an individual with a disability’s independence.

The IMAGE Center is home to a variety of Assistive Technology programs that we would like to spotlight for you.

“My child loves photography, music, art, and dance. She is a whiz at doing puzzles, word finds, and CandyCrush. Due to it having cellular ability, she'll be able to listen to music, watch movies, and use her behavioral apps to calm herself down in any setting. Most of all this iPad Pro will allow her to live the life she deserves, and to her fullest potential.”  – J’s Mom.
A quote from J’s mom via email about the impact of the AT purchase program for her daughter.

An AT Success Story:

J is a young woman with autism who participated in the AT purchase program to purchase an Ipad Pro that has helped her communicate, practice her social skills, and decreased her anxiety. Here’s what J’s mother told us in an email!

“Thanks to a grant from The Image Center of Maryland, whom helped my child with disabilities get a grant for an IPad Pro with cellular capabilities. Covid 19 made this process became a little more challenging than expected. But, we made it through! This iPad Pro will help to:

  • greatly enhance her social skills, which will help her to gain confidence while trying to interact and communicate with others.
  • at speech therapy, the device is used for receptive, expressive and pragmatic speech. while working on volume, intonation, and enunciation (articulation) of words.
  • help her to express feelings and recognize emotions in others.
  • help to decrease her behaviors and anxiety through better communication. Text to speech, speech to text, behavioral apps., even YouTube, and whatever else she may need to use.
  • gain knowledge and understanding of health procedures using visuals.
  • help her to follow directions more clearly.
  • used for zoom meetings for various activities.
  • duo allows her to interact with friends that have different mobile devices.
  • research with help for volunteer opportunities.
  • it is also being used to assist with technology research to be used for her very loud voice.

My child loves photography, music, art, and dance. She is a whiz at doing puzzles, word finds, and CandyCrush. This Ipad Pro allows her to bring out her best abilities for her disability, and achieve many goals. Due to it having cellular ability, she’ll be able to listen to music, watch movies, and use her behavioral apps to calm herself down in any setting. So, one can see that it is definitely considered an emergency if it is left home. Most of all this Ipad Pro will allow her to live the life she deserves, and to her fullest potential. Thank you Image Center for making the many challenges in her life a little easier for her to adjust to.”

Assistive Technology Purchase program

The IMAGE Center may be able provide home modifications, vehicle modifications and/or assistive technology services to eligible individuals with significant disabilities when needed to achieve the goal of living independently in the community.

These can include non-work related technology items, home modifications and even vehicle modifications. There is a maximum limit of $5,000 per request. Consumers are responsible for 30% of the project costs.

Learn more about the Assistive Technology Purchase Plan.

Maryland Accessible Telecommunications

The IMAGE Center was pleased to partner with the Maryland Department of Disabilities on the Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program to help individuals with hearing difficulties access telecommunications equipment designed to overcome issues with traditional phones. Our staff member works with individuals to identify equipment that best suits the consumer and provides training and follow-up on the equipment.

Shelf and table with a variety of telephones displayed
Various accessible phones on display at the IMAGE Office as part of our Maryland Accessible Telecomummunications program.

Get more information about The Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) more information about our MAT Evaluations, please visit our page or contact

Ramp Loan Program

In a partnership with the Maryland Technology Assistance Program (MD TAP), the IMAGE Center has a selection of temporary ramps that may be borrowed, free of charge, for up to six months. These ramps can fill in while a permanent home modification is being explored or in the event of a temporary need.

Assistive Technology Library

The IMAGE Center is home to a display of various assistive technology including a modified kitchen. Visitors can see various items available and test them out, including a motorized cabinet to help identify optimal heights for cabinets.

Looking in the cupboard
Two IMAGE staff demonstrate the adjustable height cabinet.

Community Lending Library

Partnering with MDTAP, IMAGE is set to be one of the sites of a Community Lending Library of Assistive Technology. Individuals will be able to borrow AT items to evaluate how well they work for the person before making a financial investment for an item of their own!

Who to Contact about AT?

For more information about our AT Programs, please contact: or call 443-275-9395

Donate Now

Please consider a donation to support our Assistive Technology programs. You can visit our webpage to make an online donation or set up a recurring gift! A gift will help us continue to make these services available within our community.

Personal Experience

I’m Not a Very Creative Person

By Mike Bullis


The title of this blog may seem like a put-down.  In this day and age when everyone is supposed to be positive and filled with belief in themselves, we’re taught that we can do anything.  Just think it up and away you go.  Whatever you believe you can do is possible.

Are you waiting for that dream job at which you will excel and enjoy every day?

Want to become a scientist?  No problem.  Want to invent the next million seller app?  Just believe in yourself and it’s all possible.

Well, frankly, that’s utter nonsense.  The truth is, we’re not all able to do anything we wish.  “Wishing,” as the old saying goes, “doesn’t make it so.”

Each of us represents a set of aptitudes and skills and if we want to do something, and be successful at it, our desires need to be tempered by the reality of what we bring to the table–those skills, talents, aptitudes and knowledge pieces that will make it work.

Being a scientist, depending upon the field, requires meticulous attention to boring experiments that often go on for years and produce nothing exciting, reading thousands of papers to find that one idea that will make a difference in your thinking.  Developing that next cool app requires that you become a code writer and then that you understand what the public wants, not what you want.  It’s very hard work.

When I say that I’m not a very creative person, it’s not a putdown.  It’s the conscious acknowledgement that I don’t come up with many new ideas.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  I leave the inventing to others.  I’m an implementer.  In other words, I can take the ideas that others come up with and do them.  Somebody has to.  Would I like to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffett?  Sure I would, but I’m not them.  I’m Mike Bullis.

And, would I like that dream job at which I excel and enjoy every day?  Sure I would.  But, in the meantime, eighty percent of my day is spent doing the boring and tedious work of managing a Center for Independent Living–budgets to read, expenses to control, employees to supervise, meetings to attend that often seem pointless and endless.  The other twenty percent of my day is spent doing my passion, which is changing what it means to have a disability–advocating, motivating, writing and speaking.  That twenty percent is enough.  I love my job because I get to do the twenty percent.  But, I’ve had plenty of jobs where I got to do far less than twenty percent expressing my passion, and that’s fine too.  It put food on the table.

I do the eighty percent so I can do the twenty percent.  The eighty percent is the daily drudgery of life that must be done so I can explore my passion in those twenty percent moments.

I get the impression from many people with disabilities that they have been handed a load of nonsense when it comes to dreams and goals.  They’ve been told that they should fulfill their dreams and passions and everything will be wonderful.  And, the worst part of it is that the people who are telling them this are lying through their teeth.

Very often when somebody tells a person with a disability to “follow your dream” they mean this, “I don’t have any idea what you can do with your disability.  In fact, I don’t have the first clue what I would do if I were you because I’d be devastated.”  So, they spout all this nonsense about following your dreams because they don’t believe you can do anything and sure hope you’ll come up with something.  They want to be positive and so send you off on some dream exploration.

My advice is pretty old fashioned and simple.  Figure out what you’re good at.  It’s usually something you like well enough to do, even when it’s hard and you’re tired.  In other words, figure out what you’re willing and able to do that matches your skills and abilities.  What did you get good grades in in school?  Did you do better than most people in some area?  Explore that.

And, in the meantime, get a job, almost any job.  Forget about your dream job and just learn the discipline of having to show up every day at a particular time and place and do work!  Yes, just plain old work.  It develops your work muscle, which is important.  Along the way, you’ll discover your strengths and you’ll perhaps learn your passions.  But, it starts with simple old fashioned work.

Work isn’t just something that was invented by employers to keep us down, although that might just be the result.  Work is something that stretches us and helps us develop physical, mental and emotional discipline.  Those are pretty important skills to have.

If, at first, you need to volunteer, do it!  It may help you see what work life is all about.  It may help you find what you’re good at.  Whether you get paid isn’t important at first.  Just getting in the workforce and seeing what is expected and how you measure up are the important skills you’ll gain.  And, if you do begin contributing to the bottom line of the organization through your efforts, most employers will hire you.  If they don’t, you have still gained the knowledge and work muscle that you’ll need for that next opportunity.

So, I won’t be going to work tomorrow as an inventor, and that’s just fine with me.  But, when someone invents something really cool, I’ll be glad to use it.  And that really makes me happy.  I wish for you the knowledge of what you’re good at and, along the way, just maybe, you’ll find your passion.


Personal Experience

Constraint – Induced Movement Therapy

By Lisa Labre

My son Chase has cerebral palsy which for him affects the right side of his body.  His entire right side is weaker than his left side. This has affected his ability to do anything that requires the use of both hands. I found out about the Constraint –Induced Movement Therapy Program at Kennedy Krieger and that my son was eligible for the program.

The Wikipedia definition of Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy is a type of rehabilitation therapy used for improving upper extremity function in individuals who have had a stroke or damage to the central nervous system.  The goal of the therapy is to improve use of the affected limb.  There are a variety of restraints used to keep the intended limb from moving. The therapy was discovered by  Dr. Edward Taub,  who’s infamous animal testing gave birth to the animal rights group PETA.

In layman’s terms, Constraint –Induced Movement Therapy is when the unaffected hand and arm is secured in a way to prevent movement. Therefore, making the affected hand and arm the only option for use.

He first attended the Constraint-Induced Therapy during the summer months so it wouldn’t interfere with school.  Therapy began with the therapist securing a cast on his left arm that covered the hand and went a little past his elbow. This ensured that there would be absolutely no help from the left arm and hand. He had to completely rely on his right arm and hand for everything until the therapy was completed. He attended Occupational Therapy Monday through Friday, three hours a day, which targeted the use of his right hand and arm.

Practitioners have said that repetitive exercises with the affected limb help the brain grow new neural pathways, which has become known as neuroplasticity. After a few weeks the therapy was done and the cast came off. At first, my son was unaware he could even go back to using his left hand and arm. He continued to use his affected right side. It wasn’t until 24 hours later that he realized he could start using his left hand and arm again.

Chase is now seven years old and has retained some of the strides he made with the therapy. He has since repeated the constraint program and is due to start the program again in August. His affected hand and arm has a more relaxed position. He is now conscious of being able to use both hands in everyday situations.  His left hand and arm will always be dominant but, I think with time, maturing, and more therapy he will improve. It seems like new ideas and therapies are always replacing the old ones. In my experience the constraint –induced therapy had a time tested positive result for my son.