Using assistive technology to increase productivity
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
When Gaylord experienced retinal detachment as a result of his diabetes, his life changed. Suddenly the vision in his right eye deteriorated and there was little that surgeries or medications could do to prevent this. A deterioration in his left eye followed and this gave him no choice but to change his career path as an electrician. A job he loved for its hands on and practical nature.
Thinking outside the box, Gaylord saw a connection between becoming a mortgage broker and his previous trade and had the courage and determination to pursue this idea. In this new position Gaylord provides a valuable service to his clients, with the added bonus of expertise both in mortgages and with his background in trades in the building industry too. But what of his vision?
With his new visual impairment, Gaylord was struggling to read and fill in forms, and get through the paperwork required to provide the best and most efficient service for his clients and to run his own business.
“Filling in the forms that usually would take an hour, took me half a day or even more. I just couldn’t see and I had no help. I decided enough was enough and contacted my local MLA Alana DeLong to see if anyone could help me. And that’s when I found Champions.”With the help of Lori James, Champions’ Client Services manager, Gaylord was able to find the help he needed. Lori helped Gaylord to apply for Disability Related Employment Supports (DRES) funding. DRES is a provincial government program which provides assistance to people with disabilities, and to employers, to help make the workplace more accessible. Modifications may include specialized software, workstation modifications, accessible work areas and washrooms, or ASL interpreters. In Gaylord’s case he needed assistive technology.
On the service he received from Champions Gaylord commented, “Lori was just great, anytime we needed anything or had any questions, she was there like a dirty shirt, she was really excellent.”
Lori assisted Gaylord in his DRES application, guiding him through the paperwork, communication with Alberta Human Services and the requirements including letters of support and medical documentation. As for Gaylord, he’s the proud new owner of a Merlin 24” HD and a Compact HD7 electronic magnifier which is a portable device he can take when visiting clients.
Now that Gaylord has been able to get back into the workforce, his productivity has increased by 60%. His new assistive technology enables him to see more clients which, in a commission based job, has led to more security. Outside of work Gaylord and his wife are happier and more at ease. The anger and frustration as a result of his vision loss and the resulting barriers he faced at work are no longer there. He’s proud to be helping people with their housing decisions and is proud of himself for being pro-active and breaking through his personal barriers.
We’re proud of you too Gaylord, congratulations.