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Computer / Magnification for Customer Service Rep.

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Situation

Vivian was a middle school band instructor for over 20 years before she lost her vision due to Optic Neuritis, which caused progressive visual loss over several years. She says being accustomed to listening made it somewhat easier to adapt to a world without vision. Her disability occurred before the American's with Disabilities Act was passed and she never pursued, nor was she offered, a chance to discuss a return to work with job accommodations.

Vivian's ophthalmologist referred her to the Low Vision Clinic at the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta, Georgia and eventually to the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Program, formerly the Georgia Division of Rehabilitation Services. She received computer and customer service training sponsored by Goodwill Industries, and was offered a position as a Customer Service Representative in the call center of a bank.

During the two month period between hire, acquisition of equipment, and actual return to work, Vivian agreed to attend a workshop on the screen reading software, JAWS, given the nature of her progressive visual loss. This training proved to be critical due to the loss of her remaining vision several months after return to work. While she could initially see the computer screen with magnification, this episode left her with only minimal light perception. She now uses the services of a guide dog to aid with mobility and transportation.


Accommodation

1.A closed circuit television system (CCTV) was recommended for viewing written bank material. Her CCTV used split screen technology, which allowed her to see the image from the CCTV on one side and the PC display on the other half of the screen. Vivian was able to use the CCTV until her progressing visual loss made this impractical.

2.Screen magnification software was installed on her PC to magnify both the text and graphics on the computer screen.

3.Screen reading software was purchased to convert text into computer synthesized speech, once Vivian realized magnification alone was not sufficient.

4.The workstation was reconfigured and enlarged to accommodate Vivian's service dog.

5.To help Vivian more easily move around the building, key swipe doors were modified so that the door handle does not need to be turned and doors can just be pushed open. This benefits all employees.

6.To handle the filing and paperwork, her employer created directories of employee information and memos on disk. When paper is needed, there is a person available to assist with reading and filling in forms.


Accommodation List / Sources

•A CCTV, such as the Genie Pro by Telesensory, is currently available for $3295 at http://www.telesensory.com.

•JAWS 4.5, Job Access with Speech, by Freedom Scientific, a screen reading software, is available for approximately $895 at http://www.freedomscientific.com.

•Screen magnification software, such as Zoom Text Extra, by AiSquared, Inc. costs $395 at http://www.Aisquared.com.

•A dual channel headset is available from sources such as Radio Shack for less than $100.


Acknowledgements

This case study was originally documented by Tech Connections, a NIDRR-funded collaboration between United Cerebral Palsy Associations (UCP), the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access at Georgia Tech (CATEA), and the Southeast Disability Business Technical Assistance Center (SE DBTAC). Training materials featuring this case study can be purchased through the Work RERC.


[1] http://www.workrerc.gatech.edu