Imagine wanting to read your whole life, but repeatedly finding that goal out of reach. For one person Aspire supports, this was his reality.
“He was so frustrated whenever he needed to read something. Previous programs that tried to teach him to read weren’t successful. He wouldn’t recall what he’d learned the day before and get frustrated,” said Samantha McLaughlin, Clinical Associate.
The situation wasn’t looking hopeful, but he wanted to be able to text his partner and read instructions and a menu. He didn’t like always relying on others whenever a need arose. It was time to adapt to his needs and try a different way.
When Samantha finished her recent training on adaptive technology at ATECH in Connecticut, she thought of this supported person. “We went to the ATECH website to look at reader options for him.”
What they found was a device called OrCam Read. It’s a small, handheld device that can read text out loud from any screen or printed surface. A trainer came to the home to show Aspire employees and the supported person how it worked. He’s been using it for a few weeks now.
The reader has made a huge difference in his life. He takes it with him to the supermarket to read labels. He brings it to his day program where they are incorporating it into reading lessons he is doing there. He is texting with his partner.
Samantha reports, “He’s so happy and excited not to have to rely on the staff anymore. He learned really quickly how to turn it on and off and use the volume control.” It takes some practice to learn how to point it accurately, but he’s getting the hang of that too.
Technology is rapidly improving to the point where devices can vastly improve a person’s independence, as it did in this case. Funding is available through a variety of avenues, including state grants and waiver-funded adaptive technology funds.