In recognition of World Braille Day, this story from the Washington Assistive Technology (AT) Act Program highlights what more people need to know: loaner equipment may be available should your own device fail!
“Judith” is DeafBlind and relies heavily on her Freedom Scientific Focus 40 5th generation braille display for distance communication. She uses it for tasks such as sending and receiving email, surfing the internet, and accessing social media on her computer.
Braille displays are high-tech devices that Bluetooth-connect to smartphones or computers and convert text (from webpages or documents) to lines of braille on a “refreshable” surface made up of pins that rise and fall. They also have keys for writing and for navigating mobile and desktop computers.
Judith’s device is rugged and well-designed. It retails for over $3,000.
But everything fails sometimes.
Judith was devastated when her device stopped working and needed repair. She knew she would be without it for several weeks. Imagine losing access to your phone and computer for that length of time. Now imagine how important those devices are if you experience both vision and hearing impairments!
Luckily, Judith learned she could borrow the same device model from WATAP to use while hers was out for repair. She was so thankful, particularly during this time of social distancing. It’s never been more important for Judith to stay connected to family and friends through technology.
Short-term device loans are an important service of the State and Territory AT Act Programs. AT device demonstration and loans allow the public to learn about, get hands-on, and even borrow assistive technology for any reason or interest. Individuals with disabilities of all ages borrow equipment to learn if it is right for them before making an expensive purchase. Family members, caregivers, therapists, educators, and other professionals also borrow equipment for use by someone they know or with whom they work. This includes the opportunity to borrow equipment to fill a short-term need, such as when equipment is out for repair or needed to accommodate a temporary disability.
If AT you rely on breaks or goes missing … don’t stop working your job, studying, communicating with friends and family, or accessing your community!
Find your State or Territory AT Act Program and learn what is in their device loan inventory. WATAP has an online inventory of 435 items with loan terms of three weeks at a time. Washington is one of thirteen states with inventories browseable from this device loan webportal.
Stay within the stream of your life, uninterrupted.
Learn more: Vision Assistive Technology – the What, When, Who and Why from AT3 Center