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Tactile Markings for a Restaurant Hostess

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Situation

'Heather' was hired by the Westin Peachtree Hotel in Atlanta to be a hostess at the Sun Dial Restaurant. This revolving restaurant sits atop the city's tallest hotel and has four major seating sections that make a complete revolution every hour. It is one of Atlanta's nicer restaurants and the one with undoubtedly the finest view. Heather is visually impaired, but to the customer does not appear so. She maintains excellent eye contact when she meets someone, and does not need a cane for travel.

Heather encountered one problem with her job. At the base of each of the seating sections, an inch-tall white number designates the booth location - 1 through 4. These numbers were not readable by Heather unless she would stoop down to read them. This was not an appropriate action on the job!


Accommodation

Although Heather does not read Braille, the suggestion to the manager was to simply put tactile markers on the top of each booth. We used clear, self-adhesive bumper pads that are used in the picture framing business. These are about the size of a pencil eraser and were easily attached to the booths. Heather was able to casually place her hand on the booth, and discern the booth location without the customer knowing her action.

This application of 'low-tech' assistive technology seemed good until the manager called to say the pads were disappearing. We assumed the cleaning crew might be rubbing them off, since they were not very visible. Further observation indicated that young children during Sunday brunch were actually peeling them off. We then replaced these pads with short, round-head screws that were colored to match the wood of the booths. To date, this second solution has worked. This minor modification represents a good example of an inexpensive (less than $25), low-tech, assistive technology intervention - a very reasonable accommodation.


Acknowledgements

Jack Gilson, Assistive Work Technology Supervisor

Georgia Division of Rehabilitation Services

From the Tech Connections audio conference:

Exploring the Potential of Employees with Visual Impairments


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