How does one go about the task of writing about oneself? I really don’t know what to say about me. I could use the thank you notes from the little children whom I speak to in their classrooms. They all say that I’m really cool, but they probably like me mostly for the gadgets I show them. I could quote the clients that I serve every day. They would probably say really nice things about me. However, the majority are in their 90’s with minds that may be starting to go and have low vision. And I am definitely not going to tell you what my wife has to say about me.
I am the access technology specialist at ForSight Vision. The goal of my job is to help blind and vision impaired individuals independently access the same information as their sighted counterparts i.e. internet content, print media, etc. I teach clients how to access information using assistive devices in what I jokingly refer to as “Tony’s Toy Room”.
For reading printed material, we use what is called a video magnifier, which is a camera that takes a video image of text and projects it onto a screen to be magnified. They come in all shapes and sizes; from TV type units with 24-inch screens to portable units with 4-inch screens. There are also Optical Character Recognition devices which take a picture of text and provide speech output so that a totally blind individual can listen to a document being read independently.
I teach our clients how to use computers featuring screen reading and magnification software. The screen reading software reads aloud what is on the screen. With the magnification software, we can enlarge the image on the computer screen up to 36 times.
As you can imagine, there are lots of new technological developments to keep up with in my job. But watching someone read for the first time since losing their vision, or learn to send an e-mail to a family member without being able to see the screen makes it all worthwhile. It’s especially great when it all actually works.