Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Too!
For people living with vision loss, the availability of adaptive technology has been a game changer. Thanks to screen reader software such as JAWS, nearly anything that can be done on a computer by a sighted person—from managing finances online, to staying in touch with friends and family through Zoom and email, to ordering grocery delivery virtually—can be done by someone with visual impairment. Technology instruction has become a cornerstone of CVI’s Adult Services program. We conducted 272 technology classes from July through September, making assistive technology our most popular service.
In August, we launched a special Advanced Technology Class for clients who had already mastered the basics and wanted to expand their skills. Building on their existing knowledge of JAWS screen reader software, participants learned to navigate their desktop; work with programs and manage files; use Office Suite, including Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint; and customize computer settings such as font size and display layout.
Keeping their technology skills current helps people with vision loss stay competitive in the job market, particularly for better-paying office jobs. Many of the Advanced Technology Class participants signed up with this goal in mind. Others were drawn to the course for more personal reasons. When asked what he finds himself doing most often on his computer, Kevin, one of the class members, is succinct: “Everything. Just like anyone else. I use email, I do a daily journal, web surfing, Facebook, games, movies, books…you name it, I do it all.”
Ernest Burton, CVI’s Adult Services Program Manager, pointed out that in addition to offering participants the chance to learn new skills, courses like this provide equally vital opportunities to network and socialize with other people with vision loss. Learning how to navigate their computer more effectively allows them to meet people virtually through Zoom and take part in support groups, book clubs, and other activities.
Thanks to a generous gift from the PwC Foundation, this course was provided to all participants at no charge. The grant also allowed us to reimburse attendees their transportation costs on MARTA mobility. CVI is grateful to the PwC Foundation for their thoughtful support and the difference that they make for people in our community with vision loss.
If you or a loved one is experiencing visual impairment, you can learn more about CVI’s technology instruction classes here, or by contacting our Client Services at 404-875-9011.
Your support can help us bring more services like these to people with vision loss! To share a gift with CVI, visit our giving page.