Gaining Independence Through Assistive Technology
Reading a favorite book or checking email messages from friends is a common part of a typical day but, for people with visual impairments, these activities may require a little assistance. Thanks to the Low Vision Store at North Central Sight Services, Inc. (NCSS), transformational changes happen daily in the lives of its clients through the use of Assistive Technology. From hand-held magnifiers to wearable devices, the Low Vision Store helps visually impaired people of all ages increase their independence and quality of life.
For Brandon DeArment, technology specialist at NCSS, spending time with clients to connect them with appropriate technology makes his job very rewarding. Brandon started with NCSS three years ago. Brandon previously worked in the IT field for over 30 years. His professional knowledge and his compassion for helping others makes him uniquely qualified to lead the Low Vision Store and its Assistive Technology Lab.
“I love helping people regain their ability to read,” Brandon says. “Their lives are changed through the basic and advanced devices we provide.”
Three years ago, NCSS launched its Assistive Technology Lab to provide advanced devices. Through the support of grant funding, the organization built the lab as part of the Low Vision Store and purchased the necessary devices to make the lab one of the most state-of-the-art facilities in the region. Through the lab, Brandon keeps up with the latest advancements in devices like the Amazon Echo to best serve clients.
“Technology changes rapidly with impressive advancements,” Brandon adds. “I encourage people to visit our store to learn what latest changes might suit their needs.”
In addition to its location at the NCSS office in Williamsport, the Low Vision Store is mobile, traveling to places like elementary schools and nursing homes for evaluations. With its vast geographic footprint, the mobile lab provides life-changing services to clients who lack transportation or awareness of the resources available in the community.
For many clients, the potential cost of Assistive Technology deters them from exploring their options. Through grant support, NCSS works with clients to secure personal grants and low-cost loans.
For Brandon, the trends in technology are exciting as they will provide more opportunities for people with visual impairments. Brandon has seen the transformation of portable E-reader devices, which are used to magnify documents, advance to offer audio commands, liking reading a menu or bus schedule. For individuals with visual impairments, growth in technology will widen the choice and scope of devices.
“We can help people live life to the fullest,” Brandon says. “I can’t imagine a more rewarding career.”
For more than 65 years, NCSS has assisted individuals who are blind or visually impaired to live independently and maximize their quality of life. The organization helps prevent vision loss through education programs and screenings for children and adults. NCSS offers adjustment services for people losing their vision, support services, employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired, and a prevention of blindness program.
For more information on services for people with low vision, contact NCSS at (570) 323-9401.