In May, Linda Bonnar, M.A.,CCC-SLP/ATP was invited by Kennebec Valley Community College to present to their graduating occupational therapy students as part of a week-long focus on assistive technology and augmentative communication.

Linda is a speech language pathologist and assistive technology professional who serves as the director of Communication Pathways at Pine Tree Society.

“My goal was to empower students who are coming into the field to learn more about assistive technology and opportunities to partner with other professionals,” Linda said. “For example, when we’re looking at access methods for communication devices, some people have motor challenges and occupational therapists can help us explore alternative access for a person who has limited use of their hands.”

Simply put, assistive technology is any device, app, piece of equipment, or product that makes it easier for someone with a disability to live more independently. In its simplest form, assistive technology can be as basic as using a piece of Play-Doh to wrap around a pen to make it easier to hold or finding the perfect on/off switch for a person who can’t physically use their hands. At its most complex, assistive technology can be an app designed to aid in communication or an eye gaze system for speech.

As these graduates begin their careers, Linda also introduced them to Pine Tree Society’s demo and loan program. 

“Pine Tree Society’s assistive technology demo and loan library is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a resource library of assistive technology that people can try,” Linda continued. “With the option to test drive a new tool before buying, it not only saves money, it also helps people to find a tool that’s the right fit for their needs by trying it out before making the decision to buy.”

Pine Tree Society’s Demo and Loan project is funded in part through a partnership with MaineCITE. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 207-386-5930 or email

Up next: In September, Linda will present a webinar for MaineCITE on augmentative communication.

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