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New Smart Home Helping Intellectually, Developmentally Disabled

ALIQUIPPA (KDKA) - NHS Allegheny Valley School unveiled its new smart home Thursday.

The new home uses high-tech devices to help people, who are intellectually and developmentally disabled, develop skills to help them be more independent.

"This is what the future of homes for these challenged people are going to look like," M. Joseph Rocks, the Chairman and CEO of NHS and AVS said.

The home's design features several examples of smart technology, including motorized kitchen cabinets, adjustable height sinks and cook-tops, window blinds that can be controlled using tablets and a heating and cooling system that can be remotely controlled as well.

"We also have the stove, and this is an induction stove," Carol Erzen from NHS Human Services said. "So, the stovetop stays cool at all times. So, if I were a person and I put my hand on that stove, there's no worries that I could be burned by the stove."

The home is also a green, or environmentally-friendly, building.

The entire home was designed as part of the school's Intermediate Care Facility of the Intellectually Disabled program.

A group of people live together in the home, getting the support and care that they need to help them thrive within the community.

The goal of the program is to help participants live fulfilling lives and be productive citizens, all while maintaining lives that can be as independent as possible.

"They get to live more independently," Rocks said. "That's a part of what our mission is, independent living. And for them to have the same style of life that we have."

"They wanted to have more freedom," Erzen said. "And to be comfortable in their home, just as we all want to."

Roughly 1,000 people live in smart homes like the one unveiled in Aliquippa on Thursday.

Four people are already living in the new smart home.


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