Skip Navigation
Skip to Footer

Community Connectedness and Technology

Read transcript
Download PowerPoint
Download Additional Resource on AAC (PDF)

Throughout the pandemic, technology solutions provided opportunities for people with I/DD and their families to participate in what used to be inaccessible activities and environments. Today, tools such as virtual platforms, communication technologies, connected communities, and cognitively accessible solutions are applied in innovative ways to decrease loneliness and provide ways for individuals to access religious and spiritual environments. Our presenters discussed the utilization of technology solutions across domains and innovative approaches spiritual leaders are using to reach new audiences and allow greater participation from people with I/DD.

Speaker Bios

Emily Shea Tanis smiling headshotEmily Shea Tanis, PhD, is currently an Associate Research Professor at the Kansas University Center in Developmental Disabilities, Life Span Institute, University of Kansas. She is nationally recognized for her expertise in applied technology solutions, Technology First, cognitive accessibility, and advancing the rights of people with cognitive disabilities to technology and information access. Shea has published articles and investigated the definition of intellectual disability, the measurement of adaptive behavior and support need, the construct of self-determination, federally funded supports and services for people with I/DD and their families, and self-directed employment strategies.

Anne Masters smiling headshotAnne Masters, Ph.D., FAAIDD is the Director of the Office for Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities for the Archdiocese of Newark, where she draws on evidence-based practices to promote synergy between ecclesial statements of faith and pastoral activity. This experience has motivated her interest in the intersection of theology, disability, and pastoral practice within the Catholic Church to overcome stereotypic perceptions and restrictions of individuals with disabilities (and other marginalized peoples). It also provided the impetus for her Ph.D. research. Her previous pastoral experience at the parish level includes parish development, social outreach, liturgy, youth ministry, and director of faith formation.

Rabbi Alan Cook holding a cookie monster puppet seated on his couch, smilingRabbi Alan Cook was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2003. Since 2013, he has served as a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Champaign, Illinois. Rabbi Alan has adopted technology in his synagogue as an additional tool for increasing access to participation of those otherwise marginalized and without a voice. Rabbi Alan is passionate about interfaith dialogue and the Jewish value of tikkun olam, doing deeds of social justice to help make a world a better place for those who come after us. Rabbi Alan is married to Rabbi Jody Cook and they have three children.

Meet the Author

RespectAbility Staff

For more information, email

0 comments… add one

Leave a Reply

Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.

Contact Us

Mailing Address:
43 Town & Country Drive
Suite 119-181
Fredericksburg, VA 22405

Office Number: 202-517-6272


GuideStar Platinum

RespectAbility and The RespectAbility Report is a GuideStar Platinum Participant. Guidestar Platinum Seal
© 2023 RespectAbility. All Rights Reserved. Site Design by Cool Gray Seven   |   Site Development by Web Symphonies   |      Sitemap

Back to Top

Translate »