Assistive Technology on the Job With Nancy Jo Geise
Hi, my name is Nancy Jo Geise. I work for Networks for Training and Development, Inc. I am the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Liaison. At my job, I maintain the library of assistive technology (AT) and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. I also file, act as the host for those who come to use the office, help with day to day things at the office, and am a co-presenter at trainings about AT and AAC.
I also will meet with people who are just beginning to explore AT and AAC to give them encouragement and to show others what is possible for people to express themselves as well as be more independent. • I am currently taking The Communication Mentors’ Course through Networks where I am learning more about how everyone communicates and how we all can support everyone’s communication because everyone has something to say!
But today I want to talk to you about my job and all of the assistive technology I use at my job. • All of my life I have had to use some form of communication system…
As a little girl I learned sign language. When I was in school I met a lot of people who didn’t know sign language. My family and others helped me get my first communication device. I used a Dynavoxand it was a great choice for me when I was in middle school, but is was very big and heavy and I had to carry it around in my backpack.
I have always used different ways to talk to people. I have used a Dynavox, a Chat PC, sign language, and I will also use a pen and paper to write things down.
When I decided that I didn’t want to use my chat pc anymore, I did the search on what else was out there with some help from other people. I made the decision to get the iPhone as well as an iPad after I had the chance to try it out. They are both easy to use and really help me to easily and quickly talk to people and share information.
I now use an iPadwith different communication application and the one I use the most on my iPadis Speak It. I also use my iPhone with an application called ProLoQuo2Go. I send text messages and emails, too. I just started using Skype, too, which is great so I can stay in better touch with my coworkers and attend meetings virtually when I can’t be there in person.
I also used easy things in my life so I can do my job more independently. I have a job coach, Crystal, who helps me sometimes. Jessica helps me when I need it, too. The people who support me in my life are called “soft” Assistive Technology. But I use “hard” Assistive Technology, too, like the iPadand iPhone.
The assistive technology I use at work are easy things. I use an extra large dry erase calendar which shows two months at a time to help me keep track of what is coming up at work. I keep another dry erase board by my desk for quick reminders and notes
I also use a daily to do check list, a reminder list I fill out and a reminder sheet for people I need to talk to about different things.
I also keep a One Step Communicator on my desk which I have recorded with, “Jess, I need your help.” when I get stuck and need some support from Jessica. Sometime, I will also instant message Jessica through Google Chat if we’re both busy and I just have a quick question.
I also use a large paper holder for when I need to copy something on to the computer, a touch activated lamp so I can easily control the lighting in my office, and a talking alarm clock.
On my laptop, I use the accessibility features which were already built in. I made the screen larger, made the cursor and mouse bigger and easier to see, and also have short cut icons on my home screen so I can quickly get to my email, timesheet, or other important document. We are always looking at new and easier ways to do things so I can really be independent at work.
But… we all need people to support us and I think that is the assistive technology I might use the most. People support me to do my job really well. We all need people in our life to help us out. Because of all of this great assistive technology and more, I’m able to do my job really well!
Here are some pictures of me over the years so you can see me growing up…