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Access Technology Specialist

POSITION:          Access Technology Specialist

REPORTS TO:          Director of Access Technology

JOB CLASSIFICATION:     Full Time

WORK ARRANGEMENT:     Hybrid

SALARY RANGE:          $65,000-$75,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE:     Open Until Filled

JOB PURPOSE

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, headquartered in downtown San Francisco, is looking for a full time Access Technology Specialist to fill a valued role in our growing Access Technology Team.

Do you enjoy behind-the-scenes work that helps visionary executives at a remarkable organization invent its future? Are you attracted to work which helps thousands of people with disabilities in the bay area and beyond? The LightHouse for the Blind in San Francisco is looking for an Access technology Specialist to support Access technology program.

The LightHouse for the Blind is a storied organization now employing 130 staff with an annual budget of approximately $17 million. Our new headquarters in downtown San Francisco is transit-friendly and is attracting worldwide notice for its progressive and innovative programming which helps blind people every day. We are looking for an Access Technology Specialist is responsible for providing technology assessments and training to blind and visually impaired students both one on one and in group workshops. Specialists work with each student to define learning goals, present material in a clear and comprehensive manner, and document instruction in the Lighthouse database. Specialists stay current on the latest access technology, and the accessibility of mainstream apps, to provide high quality assessments to students. Specialists work on Lighthouse consulting projects in the areas of accessible design and user research.

This position may be for you if:

  • You keep pace with the latest in mainstream and access technology.
  • You are interested in the interactions between people and the technologies they use.
  • You enjoy spending significant parts of your workday interacting with students
  • You enjoy explaining technical concepts to others.

Role Overview:

This role will conduct comprehensive assistive technology assessments. In addition, they will work with students to define schedules, goals, and objectives for technology training.

This position will deliver one on one technology training to blind and visually impaired students on a variety of technologies, at Lighthouse, at work sites, and in students’ homes. This individual will also design and deliver group workshops on current technology topics, design and deliver corporate trainings related to accessibility. The Access Technology Specialist will also provide accessibility feedback on products and websites as part of Lighthouse access technology consulting projects.

Keep accurate and timely records of student progress in the Lighthouse database.

Other Job Duties:

  • Other duties as assigned.

QUALIFICATIONS

Education:        

Bachelor’s degree in education, Rehabilitation Teaching, Computer Science, or comparable degree/experience.

Experience:

  • 3-5 years of In-depth knowledge of the following operating systems:
    • Windows
    • Mac OS
    • iOS
    • Android

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of web accessibility standards.
  • Proficiency in the UEB Braille code.
  • Fluency in a second language in addition to English.

JOB ACCOUNTABILITIES

  • Elevated level of emotional intelligence to relate to students at all levels of adjustment to blindness.
  • Demonstrated ability to convey technical knowledge in a clear and approachable manner.
  • Ability to learn innovative technologies from documentation and tutorials.
  • Advanced user of screen reading and magnification software for desktop and mobile operating systems.
  • In depth knowledge of non-visual techniques for information access including:
    • Efficiently navigating websites
    • Using apps and software to access printed material
    • Using GPS apps for navigation
    • Demonstrated ability to create lesson plans
    • Demonstrated ability to conduct comprehensive technology assessments

WORKING CONDITIONS

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is an equal opportunity employer to all. We strive to maintain a scent-free environment and a drug-free workplace. We also operate under a mutual “employment at will” policy.

Equal Opportunity:

LightHouse is an equal opportunity employer. LightHouse policy and the law prohibit discrimination and harassment based on an individual’s race, ancestry, religion or religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices), color, age (40 and over), sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin (including language use restrictions), marital status, medical condition (including cancer and genetic characteristics), physical or mental disability (including HIV and AIDS), military or veteran status, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and related medical conditions, denial of Family and Medical Care leave, height and weight, or any other classification protected by federal, state, or local laws, regulations, or ordinances.  Our policy and the law prohibit co-workers, third parties, supervisors, and managers from engaging in such conduct.

LightHouse personnel are employed on an at-will basis. Employment at-will means that the employment relationship may be terminated, with or without cause and with or without advance notice at any time by the employee or the Agency.

We strive to maintain a scent-free environment and a drug-free workplace. Employees are expected to behave in accordance with these objectives.

All employees at LightHouse are hired for an indefinite and unspecified duration and consequently, no employee is guaranteed employment for a specified length of time. Employment is at the mutual consent of the employee and LightHouse. Accordingly, either the employee or LightHouse can terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause (“employment at will”).

Who We Are:

LightHouse has an audacious mission – to transform the lives of the 40,000 blind people in the greater Bay Area and beyond. We do this through tech design, disability advocacy, consultation, classes, and community formation in San Francisco, our four satellite offices and Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa. We are a fun, fascinating, widely diverse, warm, and friendly community. We work in downtown San Francisco in a 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art workspace renowned for its universal design, steps from Civic Center BART. LightHouse is working for nothing less than to change the future for blind people and the wider community.

Within a five-minute walk are the world headquarters for Twitter, Uber, Dolby, Zendesk and many other tech giants. Within three blocks are all the principal building for Northern California’s federal, state, and local government. Also in our neighborhood are many theaters, San Francisco Symphony and Opera, the Asian Art Museum, and dozens of other key cultural anchors of the entire Bay Area.

The successful candidate will join a unique organization in which blind and sighted professionals work together at every level. Our governing Board of Directors, management and staff are all composed of roughly equal numbers of blind and sighted people, a parity unprecedented in our field.

Founded in 1902, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides skills, resources, and community for the advancement of all individuals who are blind or have low vision. Our innovative programs have been featured in 60 Minutes, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal and beyond. The blind community comes to LightHouse to learn how to travel independently with a white cane, to rejoin the workforce, use accessible technology, and meet a community of mentors and peers.         

From unique tactile maps to an unparalleled camp for blind campers, to a world prize for blind ambition, LightHouse offers programs unavailable elsewhere.

Learn About Us:    

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

1155 Market Street, 10th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94103

www.lighthouse-sf.org

Employee Benefits:

The LightHouse offers a rich package of benefits, including medical, vision and dental insurance. Employees are eligible for an employer-matched 401(k) plan, Employee Assistance Program, among many other benefits.

Compensation: 

Depending On Experience; industry competitive with range of $65,000-$75,000

HOW TO APPLY

Please submit a cover letter, and résumé in word processing document in Microsoft Word attachments (no PDFs please) and employment application, to hr@lighthouse-sf.org, including the job title in the subject line.  The full job description is available here: http://lighthouse-sf.org/about/careers/.

How TMAP Reinvigorated How Angela Reynolds Serves Students

How TMAP Reinvigorated How Angela Reynolds Serves Students

Since 2016, LightHouse’s Media and Accessible Design Laboratory (MAD Lab) has been continuously developing their innovative Tactile Maps Automated Production (TMAP) software and perfecting its outcoming product. TMAP, a tool to generate tactile street maps, has grown since its early days and has become a widely used Orientation & Mobility (O&M) tool among O&M instructors and blind and low vision travelers. The expansion of TMAP is due to MAD Lab’s reliable presence at O&M conferences, webinars, and various blindness podcasts and presentations.

We are proud to announce that TMAP has made its way across the world! We chatted with O&M instructor Angela Reynolds of the Orientation and Mobility Association of Australia (OMAA) about her experience with TMAP.

How did you discover TMAP?

“I heard Greg Kehret [Director of LightHouse’s MAD Lab] talking about TMAP on Kassy Maloney’s podcast ‘A Step Forward’ in February this year. I thought it sounded like a great practical resource and immediately created an account and started experimenting with it.”

What was your experience/relationship with tactile maps before discovering TMAP?

“I commenced working as an O&M in 2001. Early in my career, I had access to PIAF [Pictures in a Flash] machines in the offices I worked in so I would create tactile maps when required. For the last 15 years I’ve worked in a country region in northeast Victoria, and I’ve worked from home, our office is a three-hour drive away. This means I don’t have a PIAF machine or any type of embosser at my disposal. If I need a tactile map, I have to be very organized and create and order the map at least three weeks in advance to ensure I had it in time for the O&M session. At times, I have to admit, it was difficult to be this organized or predict the need for a map this far ahead. Sometimes during a session, it would become clear that a client would benefit from a map to increase their spatial understanding of a travel route, but I simply couldn’t get the map created in time for the next session.

“To address these gaps, I crafted my own maps. I used a variety of materials to do this such as cardboard strips pasted onto cardboard to create street maps. Often clients would assist by creating the braille labels so it would be a collaborative process. Other times I’d create a quick map when we were on the go during an O&M session by using a magnetic board and magnetic strips and symbols that I’d created, often embellished with Wiki Stix, foam stick on symbols and tactile dots. I’ve made maps out of lollies [candy] with children and larger street maps out of cut out pieces of wood, sandpaper and felt.

“I think maps are so important to develop spatial understanding so people can start to create a mental map of the areas they’re travelling through, so I pursued many options to create maps, however it was time-consuming because of how long it took to create a map.”

How has having a TMAP account affected your work?

“I’ve been so excited to discover TMAP! It has filled some major barriers that I was experiencing with my capacity to provide good quality and timely maps to clients. I’m very impressed with how easy it is to use, the ability to set a scale to provide a big picture map or a more detailed smaller view of an area, the north compass rose, the key and the embedded braille, braille, did I mention braille?! The braille is a major game changer. The other aspect of TMAP to create tactile maps is how quickly I can create a map, it’s so fast and I can quickly download it to my computer and email it through to another staff member and request them to put it through the PIAF machine for me.

“Since I’ve had access to TMAP is has reinvigorated my passion for tactile maps. It’s also resulted in me revisiting and thinking about the development of foundational O&M skills and how to teach tactile mapping skills to both children and adults. Map reading is a learnt skill, and the skills of tactile mapping are learnt in a graded and methodical way.  Even with the emergence of GPS technology there remains a strong need for tactile maps to increase spatial skill development, mental mapping and to use as a tool for enhanced and accessible learning of travel routes and environments.

“Due to the maps being sourced via Open Street Maps I find that the resulting maps are accurate and can really add value to the development of the conceptual understanding of the shapes of roads. And the TMAP software is working well in Australia and the fact that it’s free is also so exciting.”

How have your clients responded to working with TMAP?

“I have been providing services to a lady for a number of years on and off. She lost her vision due to retinoblastoma when she was 17 months old. She is an avid map lover and often requests maps from me so she can increase her spatial understanding of the areas she travels. Prior to TMAP, I had been crafting cardboard street maps and trying to put them together to create a big picture of the two towns she travels in regularly. Each map took me about 2 hours to make and there were issues with scale when we put them together. I am no cartographer! She was doing the braille labels and we’d stick them on together. Ultimately, I couldn’t keep up with her requests for maps, she wanted more, and I didn’t have enough time in my day to make the maps. This year when I discovered TMAP I was able to pump out multiple tactile maps for her so quickly and we spent several hours excitedly going over the maps together. This is also the other aspect that I really love about TMAP tactile maps, is the ability to sit down and share the experience of reading and looking at a map. She had the Braille version, and I had the text version and we read the map together in a really natural way. It felt accessible to both of us. Through TMAP, she learned that the street she has lived on for 25 years had a pronounced curve, it was curved like the shape of a horseshoe or the print letter U. She had always thought her street was straight.”

Since LightHouse chatted with Angela, she presented a paper at the Orientation & Mobility Association of Australasia online Symposium in Australia back in September. Our MAD Lab director, Greg Kehret, joined Angela for a joint presentation about TMAP. There has been a very positive response following the presentation, and several more O&Ms in Australia have created their own TMAP accounts and are starting to experiment and create tactile maps for their clients, as well. Nothing fills our hearts and fuels our ambition and dedication more than hearing feedback like Angela’s. LightHouse is thrilled to see MAD Lab’s services are vastly expanding and positively changing the lives of blind and low vision individuals worldwide. “I often highly recommend TMAP to other O&M’s,” Angela tells us.

Don’t have a local embosser but still want TMAPs for you or your students? No problem. LightHouse can produce the maps and mail them to you. Order online at Adaptations.org or call 1-888-400-8933.

Adaptations Has New One-of-a-Kind Products

Adaptations Has New One-of-a-Kind Products

It’s a new month, and our online store Adaptations has exciting new products to shop for. One of the greatest benefits of shopping with Adaptations is our collection of one-of-a-kind items designed and produced in-house by our Media and Accessible Design Laboratory (MAD Lab) team that are sold exclusively online at Adaptations.org. And what’s even better, these new MAD Lab products have arrived just in time for the gift-giving season.

One of our featured products this month is a Braille booklet containing a calendar filled with holidays, religious observances and culturally significant dates as well as a comprehensive list of blindness-specific events and days to remember. It also contains key LightHouse contact information, no need to go online to find a number to call us. This compact 5×8-inch booklet is packed with great information and is the first of its kind. Never forget an important date or event again with MAD Lab’s excellent newly designed Braille calendar.

Another new Adaptation’s exclusive MAD Lab creation is truly the perfect holiday gift for all the blind and low vision Lord of the Rings fans out there. Check out this fun and accessible Middle Earth Tactile Maps Bundle. Emerge yourself in a world of legends, grand adventure, and of course hobbits, as you explore these fantastic maps! This is a must-have for the Lord of the Rings fanatic in your life.

You can browse our new MAD Lab products, as well as the whole MAD Lab collection by visiting Adaptations.org. If you need assistance shopping, have questions for our knowledgeable staff, or are seeking advice on which product will best suit your specific preferences and needs, email Adaptations at adaptations@lighthouse-sf.org. You can also give us a call at 1-888-400-8933, or chat with us via the Be My Eyes mobile app by finding LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired under specialized help. Happy shopping, everyone!

MAD Lab Creates Accessible Maps for Local Parks

MAD Lab Creates Accessible Maps for Local Parks

LightHouse provides business and government accessibility services to those who have low vision, are blind or Deaf-blind. One way we do this this is by partnering with other organizations and city and county-wide task forces on projects and programs across the Bay Area to promote accessibility. LightHouse’s Media and Accessible Design Laboratory (MAD Lab) has their accessible handiwork displayed all over museums and other public spaces in the Bay Area.  Now   we’re venturing outdoors!

In May 2020, the MAD Lab partnered with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) on a long-term project creating accessible tactile signage and outdoor exhibits in parks and outdoor recreational spaces in the Bay Area.  Our team devoted hundreds of hours in design, production, project management (and love, of course!) to bring durable, in-place tactile maps and informational plaques to eleven different GGNRA parks.

This project began after the culmination of Gray vs. GGNRA, a landmark settlement agreement to significantly improve access to GGNRA parks. This agreement is the first comprehensive settlement in the country that will increase the accessibility of a federal park system, and MAD Lab has been engaged with GGNRA, providing solutions and services every step of the way. These new maps and Braille park guides will significantly improve access and enhance the experience for thousands of GGNRA park goers with blindness, low vision or mobility disabilities for generations to come.

MAD Lab’s work is proudly displayed at Muir Beach, Fort Mason, Fort Funston, Battery Alexander, Gerbode Valley, Mori Point, and Eagles Point. Among the next parks to have MAD Lab signage are Crissy Field, Tennessee Valley, and the Presidio Coastal Trail. We encourage all our community to go out and explore these maps and outdoor informational signage in person. And when you do, tag us on social media @lighthouse_sf on Twitter and @lighthouseblind on Instagram.

To learn more about the products and services MAD Lab provides you can visit the MAD Lab section on our website. To contact the MAD Lab with questions or inquiries, contact madlab@lighthouse-sf.org.

Learn About Accessibility in Zero Gravity at Our White Cane Day Event, 10/15

Learn About Accessibility in Zero Gravity at Our White Cane Day Event, 10/15

Please join the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired virtually this Friday, October 15 for a White Cane Day Event, “Will There Be Space for White Canes in Space?

LightHouse partnered with SciAccess Initiative for the launch of a new program, Mission: AstroAccess which will take a group of 12 cross-disability ambassadors on a series of weightless parabolic flights on October 17. The ambassadors have visual, hearing and mobility disabilities and will test various designs for accessibility in zero-gravity and high gravity environments by performing targeted tasks during the flights.

Now’s your chance to meet the four ambassadors who are blind at this Friday’s White Cane Day Event.

What: LightHouse White Cane Day Celebration – “Will There Be Space for White Canes in Space?”.
When: Friday, October 15 from 11:00 am to noon Pacific
Where: Online via Zoom or phone
RSVP: Register for the White Cane Day Celebration on Eventbrite. After you sign up, you will receive information to join the event using Zoom or the phone. You may also email Sheri Albers at SAlbers@lighthouse-sf.org for the event details.

Now, here’s a little bit about the four blind ambassadors you’ll meet this Friday.

Sina Behram

Sina Behram

Mr. Behram is an accessibility consultant, computer scientist, researcher, public speaker, entrepreneur, and founder of Prime Access Consulting. He was recognized in 2012 as a White House Champion of Change for his doctoral research work enabling users with disabilities to succeed in STEM fields.

Website: www.sinabahram.com

Dr. Mona Minkara

Dr. Mona Minkara

Dr. Minkara is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Northeastern University and leads the Minkara COMBINE (Computational Modeling for BioINterface Engineering) Lab researching pulmonary surfactant. Mona is also a 2019 winner of LightHouse’s Holman Prize for Blind Ambition and used her funds to document her independent travel around the world through her YouTube channel “Planes, Trains, and Canes”.

Website: monaminkara.com

Zuby Onwuta

Zuby Onwuta

Mr. Onwuta is a Harvard-MIT trained innovator, US Presidential Service Award recipient, US Army Veteran, and founder of both Think and Zoom and Future of Disability. He is the patented inventor of Brain control for Blind Assistive Tech, a solution that reads and responds to human brain waves and provides hands-free vision augmentation and reading assistance.

Website: zubyonwuta.com

Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen

Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen

Dr. Wells-Jensen is an associate professor of linguistics at Bowling Green State University where her research focuses on social aspects of human colonization, astrobiology, disability, and the relationship between language and thought.  She studies the ways in which alternative sensory inputs influence the evolution of scientific thought and is currently writing a book about disability and space.

There’s an App for That: Select the Right Tech, App Edition is June 25

There’s an App for That: Select the Right Tech, App Edition is June 25

Whether you love accessible technology or have a love/hate relationship with it, knowing your options is power. For years LightHouse has hosted Select the Right Tech, a gathering where blind and low vision consumers from all over the Bay Area can get hands-on with the best in accessible technology and talk directly to representatives from different companies in an exhibit hall hosted at LightHouse headquarters. During the pandemic we’ve found innovative ways to connect tech and consumers remotely.

This year’s virtual Select the Right Tech, App Edition will feature developers of mainstream and blindness-specific mobile apps. Don’t miss this chance to ask your questions to the makers of the apps you love and to learn about apps you haven’t tried yet.

Select the Right Tech, App Edition takes place on Friday, June 25 from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm. Here is the schedule:

1:00 pm Welcome to LightHouse
Presented by Erin Lauridsen, Director of Access Technology

1:10 pm Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.
Presented by Will Butler, VP Community

1:45 pm Microsoft Soundscape
Microsoft Soundscape uses 3D spatial audio to promote a person’s mobility and independence by enhancing their awareness of their surroundings by calling out landmarks and points of interest from where they actually are.
Presented by Melanie Kneisel, Software Development Engineer

2:15 pm Spotify
Spotify is a digital music, podcast, and video service that gives you access to millions of songs and other content from creators all over the world.
Presented by Philip Strain, User Research and Accessibility Lead

2:45 pm Voice Dream Scanner
Voice Dream apps are designed for accessibility, and Voice Dream Scanner is a fast and accurate OCR scanner for everyday use.
Presented by Winston Chen, Founder and Developer

3:15 pm Aira
Aira is an app that utilizes your smart phone’s camera to connect with professionally trained agents who provide visual information to accomplish tasks, navigate and enhance your experiences.
Presented by Jenine Stanley, Director, Customer Communications

3:45 pm GoodMaps Explore
GoodMaps Explore helps people who are visually impaired navigate safely and efficiently.
Presented by Mike May, Chief Evangelist

This event is free and open to all, those who RSVP in advance will be eligible to win door prizes.

RSVP to Select the Right Tech: App Edition!

LightHouse thanks Oracle for their generous sponsorship of this event. So, put it in your chosen calendar … app!

LightHouse Introduces “Touching the News”

LightHouse Introduces “Touching the News”

Have you ever been reading a news item or watching it on TV, and thought to yourself: “I wonder what that picture is?” Ever witnessed a meme on social media go viral and want to get your hands on it to really understand what it is? As people who are blind or have low vision, we are surrounded by visual information there is no other way to experience without somebody else interpreting it for us, usually by describing it verbally. That, of course, is great. We love and appreciate the thought and effort that goes in to doing that. But what if you were delivered, into your mailbox, a tactile graphic associated with a news story. So you could then emboss it yourself, or have it raised on swell paper?

That very thing will be coming to you in the next couple of weeks. You will also get the opportunity to choose from a list of proposed graphics each time, and the one with the most votes will be the one produced that week.

You might find yourself thinking: “I wish I could get my hands on one of those Oscar statues”, well, now you just might, even without being at the Academy Awards. Space travel might be your obsession and you’re itching to know what the helicopter is like that recently took off from and landed on Mars.

There will be more in the coming days but if you are interested in subscribing to this new free service, send an email to ttn@lighthouse-sf.org.

Join LightHouse for an Insider’s Look into the Comcast Innovation Lab

Join LightHouse for an Insider’s Look into the Comcast Innovation Lab

Please join us for a conversation with a true pioneer in the accessibility field, Tom Wlodkowski, Vice President of Accessibility for Comcast. Tom Wlodkowski and LightHouse for the Blind invite you to learn about new advances in accessibility for Comcast products.

The event will be hosted by LightHouse for the Blind Senior Director of Programs, Scott Blanks, and Erin Lauridsen, Director of Access Technology. Participants will hear about the numerous innovations Tom and his team have created. From the award winning Xfinity X1 Voice Guidance text-to-speech interface and the web-based Xfinity Adaptive Remote, to implementing a dedicated support center specifically tailored for customers with disabilities, Tom and his team define the strategy to ensure current and future Comcast products and services are accessible for everyone.

This is a unique opportunity to hear more about the Comcast Accessibility Lab, which provides an interactive atmosphere where accessibility features are at the forefront of everything the team does as they strive to find the next breakthrough for those with disabilities.

When: Tuesday, December 1 from noon to 1:00 pm

Register for this event, via the Eventbrite page. RSVP by November 23. The first 100 folks to RSVP will receive a code for $20 to enjoy a meal from Grubhub during the event.

For more information, contact events@lighthouse-sf.org.

Welcome to Windows 10

Welcome to Windows 10

Come join the LightHouse access tech team as we explore features and functions of Windows 10, yes Windows 10.

Do you have concerns, are you skeptical, do you wonder why you can’t stick with Windows 7 instead of learning a new operating system? The time has come to make the transition and we will help to allay your concerns and share our knowledge of the differences between Windows 7 and Windows 10. We will point out some of the new features of Windows 10, explore similarities and differences between the two operating systems and explain why the transition has become necessary.

You must be an enrolled LightHouse student to participate. To sign up for the class, contact Shen Kuan at 415-694-7312 or skuan@lighthouse-sf.org This class is free to participants through support from the City of San Francisco’s SF Connected program.

Tech Trainers Unite: LightHouse Hosts Blindness Technology Trainers Conference

Tech Trainers Unite: LightHouse Hosts Blindness Technology Trainers Conference

From October 22 through 24, LightHouse’s Access Technology department hosted their second annual Blindness Technology Trainers Conference. Trainers from blindness agencies and other organizations across California gathered to discuss strategies on training blind and low vision students on a variety of accessible technology needed for communication and day-to-day life, from smartphones, to screen readers, to magnification and more.

This year’s theme was Serving Students with Multiple Disabilities. Trainers discussed working with students who experience a range of access needs along with blindness. Topics included: working with students who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, working with students who use alternative methods to input text because of motor or learning disabilities, and working with students who have traumatic or acquired brain injuries.

The conference included both group discussion and presentations. Kathy Abrahamson, LightHouse Director of Rehabilitation Services, and Accessibility Evangelist Lucy Greco, presented. The conference keynote on Access Technology and Brain Injury was delivered by three guests from the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Executive Director Sassy Outwater-Wright, Director of Rehabilitation Therapy Services Megan Briggs and Amy Ruell, Director of Adjustment Support Services. The keynote provided trainers with a variety of perspectives and experiences to consider when they returned to training their students.

Conference participant Matthew Morgan, who works at the Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Stockton, said of the group discussion at the conference, “The questions we posed to each other were great. They were hard and they were challenging.”

Erin Lauridsen, LightHouse Director of Access Technology, noted how powerful it is when blindness technology trainers come together to share ideas. She said, “Technology changes rapidly, and one instructor can’t know everything, but together as a group, the level of knowledge and expertise in the room was truly impressive.”

Erin Lauridsen and student
Erin Lauridsen, LightHouse Director of Access Technology, speaks during the conference.

Professional development opportunities like this conference help LightHouse’s knowledgeable Access Technology staff continue to provide students with high quality training that considers a student’s individual needs. For more information, visit our Accessible Technology webpage or contact skuan@lighthouse-sf.org.

This conference was made possible thanks to a generous grant from Ability Central.

Photos by Sarika Dagar