Accommodating Your World – “Take Tech to Work”
- Hello everyone, my name is Wayne Henshall. I'm the head of the Come to Work program. But the thing that I wanted to share with everyone here is as you look at your accessible technology I think of it as a tool.
It's no different than utilizing the cane as a navigation mechanism. But what is enhancing about the taking on accessible technology for an individual from the vision loss community in my experience is that it is an enabler. It helps the playing field so that you can be proactive and engaging in the various activities that you go to pursue. Whether those activities are work-related, so as an example when I'm going out to meet with prospective partners and I'm trying to learn about their business I use my smartphone to look up the individuals or the organization on things like the Bloomberg or on LinkedIn or looking their social activities to see what's going on, what's current and relevant for them. Because by being current and relevant I'm not only demonstrating our capabilities as a overall community but I'm also demonstrating that we can harness the power of technology to enable us to compete and not only compete but excel.
I also look at it as a navigation tool, right? So the benefit of being confident in your navigation and leveraging things such as soundscape to be able to have in your ear without covering all your ears the ability to know what's going on around you, so know what things are relative in your space. In my particular situation I have a very limited vision, central vision, no peripheral. So without my head being on a constant swivel I need to know what's going on around me and where I am relative to where I'm looking to go where I'm starting from and where I'm looking to go to.
So that ability to appear confident, navigating along without having like four or five things in my hands and I'm raising up my hands here in front of the camera to everyone to demonstrate that because it's about that confidence right? You're engaging with confidence, you're passionate about the reason that you are looking to have the conversation with the individual, you're bringing your A game as I've been quoted as speaking to many individuals. So I would encourage everyone to think about accessible technology and not just how it can help you do a particular job but it's also helping reinforce your own confidence level. I've told this story a few times and I'm gonna tell it again because I think it's impactful, it's not just always about the work or the job that I'm doing but empowering for me as an individual is being able to go out and go do the shopping and be able to tell the difference with my Seeing AI tell the difference between a Montreal steak spice and the spicy Montreal steak spice that I can help out in our family unit to help out my wife. And especially during COVID times, my wife has breathing challenges. So it is something that we are hyper aware of as we're trying to go out and engage, and even though I have vision challenges we often have to think about, well how can we do this to help our overall team? And I could have just kind of relented and let my wife, my partner here Laura, go do the shopping, but I wanna be part of the solution, I wanna help the family unit be able to move forward. And by doing that not only am I demonstrating our capabilities but I have heard other people had been engaged in such situations where people are saying, that's interesting, what you're doing, what are you using, right? How are you doing that scanning of that activity I was challenged once by a grocery clerk on you can't do that, you can't be scanning things, and then I just said, well let me just help you understand what I'm doing versus what you think I'm doing.
And then by having that conversation that individual not only then understood but they went and engaged their manager and brought back the manager to have a conversation with me. And I know because I've heard from some of our talent pool that some of our talent pool are working in the grocery services. They have a passion for customer service, they have a passion for engaging, and by just leveraging the tools and technology out there it allows us to not only be confident and comfortable and engaging, but we're also demonstrating to the wider community of all the great skills and capabilities that we can bring to the table. So I encourage everyone it's a lifelong learning thing. I am considered myself a technology geek but at the same time I would suggest to you that we all can learn new things.
I learned about the glasses that are put out by Bose sunglasses. So for $250 which is something I had to save up for it's not something you can just come up with at the spur of the moment, but these frames allow me to now instead of having like I have right now, a headphone on I can be navigating down the street as I'm walking to go pick up my daughter or walking to meet with a perspective partner. I can be walking down and my ears are free they're not covered off by something covering them up or an earpiece plugged into them. So by leveraging that technology, I'm not only navigating with confidence, I'm demonstrating the confidence and capabilities as an individual who happens to be a person with vision loss. But first and foremost, I'm Wayne. I'm the Come to Work Head of the program here at CNIB.
And I would encourage all of you to think about that as you go forward and look at what technology can work for you. Thanks very much. - Hi everyone. My name is Shoko Kitano and I'm the Foundation Programs Manager at CNIB BC Yukon division.
I have a degenerative eye condition that's genetic, so I was born with it but I was diagnosed when I was about nine years old. Ever since I have been going blind, and now I am legally blind. So today I wanted to share with you what I use for assistive technology to be successful in my role. There are four main categories, one, Windows accessibility feature that's built-in.
Number two, ZoomText, number three, JAWS, and number four my smartphone. So for the built-in accessibility features on Windows I use two functions. One, is reverted color and the other one is Read Out Loud function. So for the reverted color, I use black background and white font on top so there's high contrast. And for the Read Out Loud function I use that to read short emails, texts, short documents something quick that I can use both my eyesight and my hearing in order to access the information as fast as possible.
For the second one, which is ZoomText, I use that for magnification purposes and also for reverted color for documents, websites that are not compatible with windows built-in accessibility feature. So that's how I use that for. And then the third one is JAWS. So long text documents anything that really I have to be on it for a while I use JAWS to read it so that I don't have to use my remaining eyesight which my eyes get very tired very quickly. So in order for me to be working long hours I need to also be cognizant of that, so I use JAWS for that reason. And then the last one is my smartphone.
Something as simple as the built-in magnifier app that usually comes with the Android or the iPhone when you purchase it, I use that different color and magnify hard copy papers, for example, receipts. So receipts are submitted to me so that I can approve them, and in order to review them, I use the app. I can use another app called Seeing AI and that one reads out loud what it says on the hard copy in this case receipts, so that's another one that I use as well. There's way more to it than what I'm just describing right now.
But in a nutshell that's what I use for assistive technology devices and everyone's different this works for me and for now. So I have degenerative eye condition as I said so my eye condition, my eyesight's changing over time. So for me to use, do all media, meaning speech as well as magnification, that's very important so that when I need to use speech more as my eyesight deteriorates it's going to get smooth transition. So that's basically how I use my assistive technology devices, and I hope that this helps for those of you who are just looking into exploring what works for you, important that you look into all the devices that are available and find out what works for you for your situation and for what purposes for what type of role or jobs that you have, or you will have. So, yeah, I hope this helps thank you so much, and bye for now. - Hello, my name is Alfredo del Arenal.
I am the CNIB Foundation Technology Coordinator at BC. I'm partially sighted and colorblind. My eye child just started when I was a teenager. When a friend of mine shot me with a pellet rifle at near distance into my left eye. I had a severe retinal detachment. However, my eye doctor was able to save my eye.
Then a few years later, I developed what it's called a macular hole on my right eye. This was most likely caused since I also have high myopia since childhood. This is a less common type of near-sightedness where the retinas are more fragile. Because of the macular hole, I lost most of my sight on my right eye, and I can cope with my left eye using a hard contact lens. Due to all these challenges and after many surgeries I developed glaucoma on both eyes.
And although the glaucoma somehow controlled, I do struggle to read sometimes or do activities in low light, dark, or too bright environments. My professional is successful, well, first of all, I did not let this challenge is getting in my way just to adapt to my circumstances. On my day-to-day, I most have to deal with adjusting the brightness or contrast features of my devices and changing background color sometimes. If I have to read a long document or website I also use the speak to screen features on my windows laptop or iPhone or iPad.
You can do so many things with technology in these days regardless of your level of patient. So never give up. Thank you for listening to my story and take technology to work workshop. Bye for now. - Hi, my name is Anna Booth and I work with CNIB Foundation and I'm the Outreach Coordinator for the Come to Work program. In regards to my vision, I have reduced central vision.
In terms of my peripheral vision I have a little bit less than average, and I helped a lot of color contrast. Because of my reduced central vision I am very slow when I try to read emails or documents because I can only see either part of a word or one word at a time. So how can I continue to be professionally successful? By using assistive technologies. So I use a mix of windows build-in feature for high contrast. I use a bit of magnification and lately I've been starting to use JAWS as a screen reader, and I love it. So JAWS helps me to read all my emails and all my documents so I can read fast.
It helps me to identify typos when I'm trying to edit while I write. So my editing time now is much lower. And of course it increases the quality of the work that I produce.
I also, because they don't have to depend on my eyes, I can work for 10 hours, 12 hours if I need without getting tired, which is a really big advantage. Finally, I'm also learning braille because as my eye condition progresses, I want to make sure that I have all the tools I need available to me, so I can work with any new situation and be able to continue to be successful. So thank you so much. Bye.
- Hello everyone. My name is Ali Khalil, Program Lead of Innovation and Technology at the CNIB Foundation, Alberta. I am a individual with vision loss. I've been visually impaired since I was seven years old. And today I'm gonna talk a bit about how assistive tech has helped me accommodate my world in my personal work and school life.
There's a few different pieces of tech. I've kind of created an equation for myself a formula per se. So I use a screen magnifier and a screen reader together called fusion, so ZoomText and JAWS to navigate any application or web browser on my PC. And I also use a iPad and my iPhone and the built-in accessability features and accessible apps that you can download that utilize your camera.
So I've kind of gone through the accessibility list on both devices and personalized it specific to my eye condition. And then I've also downloaded the apps that helped me with reading any physical documents, so I use apps such as Seeing AI, Voice Dream Reader and Voice Dream Scanner. Seeing AI, I use the short text function to read any business card or receipt if I have a manual so a document of 10 pages, I can use Voice Dream Scanner to take a picture of all 10 pages save it in one file upload it to my Voice Dream Reader app and just hit play and just listen for that information. So I can accommodate myself right away.
But at the same time once you figure out what equipment that do you need to be successful you always wanna make sure that you're comfortable. So finding what accessories compliment the devices that you use. So with my screen reader and screen magnifier, I made sure that I purchased a very good chair for comfort. And I also bought a wireless Bluetooth keyboard that is very handy, you don't have the extra cords all around. And I also bought a Bluetooth mouse that really helps me place it anywhere I want on my desk without those extra cords around, and I also have my glasses. So these glasses really help enhance contrast.
So when I'm using it, it really helps me when I'm using a computer. It really makes things stand out. So I'm using everything together so this is the equation of all the accessories and technology that I've kind of put together that work best for me, so with that being said, I hope this helps you understand that it's not just one piece of tech that's gonna help you, it's gonna be three or four. And the way you figure out how it works best for you, that comes in time so it's all about trial and error.
So I hope this video helps you guys understand how important it is to really figure out what works best for you what equipment compliments your skillset to be successful in any environment whether it's personal or school or work. Thank you, and I hope you enjoyed. - Hello everyone. My name is Gunjan.
I work for the CNIB Foundation as a Program Lead for Innovation and Technology. And generally when I tell anybody that I work for the technology department, the most common responses, wow, aren't you legally blind? How do you see the computer? And it's normal to think that but so to be successful at my job with CNIB I use a multiple different assistive technology. And assistive tech can be anywhere with screen magnification on my computer screen. So I can magnifying my screen quite a bit in order to read emails. I also use the narration option that is provided by Microsoft to be able to read all the emails any large documentations, and I can change my settings, I can change my contrast, I generally prefer white or black. So I have the ability to do that.
And if I'm working with a hard copy document what I would use is a handheld portable magnifier. So with this, I can place a hard copy document, place my magnifier on top, and actually zoom in as much as I need to and be able to do my work as efficiently and effectively like anybody else. So if you have questions or if you're ready to get back out there and work in a professional environment, contact CNIB and we'd love to help you learn some of the technologies that we have and help you feel more confident and independent at work. Thank you so much. - Hello, my name is Lynn Jensen. I have been working as an Independent Living Skills Specialist at Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada for over 19 years.
I lost all of my sight suddenly and unexpectedly 23 years ago. Looking back a key to my professional success is most definitely technology. My technology toolbox is overflowing with high and low tech aides, such as my computer screen reader JAWS, my iPhone with VoiceOver and apps like Be My Eyes, Aira, KNFB Reader and Google Maps.
My Victor Stream for text and audio files. My PenFriend for labeling. My Abacus and of course, braille. I am constantly experimenting with different technology in an effort to maximize my independence, efficiency and ability to engage with my audience. Often, it is the low tech tools that went out. You don't have to be able to read braille at lightening speed.
Sometimes a couple of words on a few lines of an index card, it's all you need. Works for me.