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Independence Through Technology
Services
Jaws, Window Eyes, Magic, and ZoomText Training

Upon losing vision one need not also lose access to the computer, Internet and the possibility of employment. CSB devotes significant resources to train clients in fully accessing their computers through the use of today’s popular screen readers, such as Jaws, Window-Eyes and ZoomText. CSB trains clients in the CSB office, in their homes and in their workplaces.

Lynn Zelvin, our trainer, is proficient in almost all current popular screen readers, screen magnification software, and office suites. That proficiency goes a long way in transforming the lives of her clients.

 
Hebrew Braille Training

CSB takes great pride in its unique and innovative Hebrew Braille training program. Without the ability to read Hebrew Braille, a blind person is unable to access the hundreds of volumes of praying and learning texts available today both through CSB and abroad. Typically, a blind client becomes an effective Hebrew Braille reader after one year, after which they are free to read and learn both in electronic Braille and embossed Braille. The perseverance and practice-time demanded of a once-sighted person to learn Braille is very great indeed.

What makes the CSB Braille training program unique is the special fund set aside for both trainer and trainee. CSB pays both the trainer and the trainee during the learning process. Typically, the training is a small part of the process while the trainee is required to set aside hours upon hours of practice, which at the initial stages can be very frustrating. The monetary incentive provides a very effective motivation, and CSB has seen great success with this training framework.

 
General Support and Training

CSB provides support, training, and custom programming for many disabled clients. The computer needs of many clients demand hardware and software requirements significantly beyond the scope of standard computer professionals. There are literally hundreds of software and hardware packages designed specifically for any given disability.

CSB is one of the few organizations employing a team of technicians and developers proficient in the vast majority of these technologies. Some of these technologies offer more standard packages such as voice recognition software (e.g. Dragon Naturally Speaking), while others include obscure switches designed for clients with extremely specific and limited bodily motion. CSB evaluates these solutions as they emerge and plays a critical role in advising clients as to which technologies will or will not work for them.

 
Technology Support for Providers

CSB is an information center for the technology needs of its clients. CSB enlightens individuals daily about products or services of which they were previously unaware. The cumulative knowledge of technology in the CSB office is astounding. For example, many speech therapists are unaware of some of the most effective communication devices. CSB informs them of these technologies. Another example: A client was prepared to spend for their daughter thousands of dollars to purchase and install a school desk containing a very costly touch panel screen. CSB informed them that what was needed was a pen based panel and not a touch panel.

Additionally, CSB has been called upon to make presentations in rehab facilities to display new and complex technologies. Most recently, CSB was asked to train a group of personnel in a rehab facility on the Ipad and Iphone for voiceover technology, and to show them how to assist their clients in the use of these devices.

 
Technology Evaluation at Rehab Centers

Disabled clients attend technical evaluations at the various rehabilitation hospitals [such as Helen Hayes and Rusk]. These centers, which provide a great assistance to clients with mild to severe disabilities, also evaluate these clients as to the various technologies apropos to their specific disability. However, in acute situations, clients have received equipment worth ten of thousands of dollars which was in effect useless for their needs.

It is quite difficult for a client to make an informed decision about sophisticated technological devices without using each for an extended period of time. CSB therefore accompanies its clients to these critical evaluations to assure that they choose the proper device. The rehabilitation centers appreciate CSB’s input because CSB assists in the testing process, and because CSB trains its clients at their home -- a service not provided by the rehab centers. The process is thus beneficial for all parties involved.

 
Speech and Communication Devices

CSB provides installation, support, training, and custom programming of Dynavox Vmax, Maestro, and Series 5 systems. CSB works with dozens of speech impaired children who use these systems for communication. CSB has designed software for Yiddish and Hebrew speech, games and story books which stimulate speech, and hardware setups to mount these devices to wheelchairs, beds, and specialty tables.

Several veteran speech pathologists in the tri-state area distribute CSB software to their clients and provide training on Hebrew communication boards and special holiday game boards. CSB has developed several innovative communication boards for these devices and has also been called upon by these professionals to create specialty boards for unique communication situations.

 
Eye Tracking Communication Device Support and Training

Sadly, CSB services are expanding most quickly in its division that assists clients suffering from extremely severe physical and communication disorders such as ALS, MS, MSA etc.. CSB is currently working with many ALS patients to provide them the best possible quality of life through eye tracking systems -- their only means of communication.

CSB trains and supports clients on the Quickglance, Mytobii P10 and C12 and C15, Eyemax, and Eyegaze systems. This involves the installation, support, training, and custom programming of these eye tracking systems. Additionally, CSB adds necessary software programming to supplement these systems for Hebrew and Yiddish languages and for feature requests of each client.

CSB success in expediting the training and communication of new clients results largely from its ability to integrate support, training, and programming into a single streamlined package.

 
Workplace and School Integration

CSB plays a vital role in the seamless integration of clients into school or the workplace. CSB addresses every aspect of the technologies necessary for integration. These include screen magnification, text to speech and speech to text software, electronic Braille systems, paper forms and electronic image conversions, specialty keyboards, mice, trackballs, keyguards, embossers, Braille and audio note takers, and almost always a few pieces of custom written software to fill in the gaps.

Many employers are very willing to hire someone with a disability provided that they can be a truly productive member of their company. Sometimes, though, the technological requirements for a given area of employment make this a formidable task. CSB uses its resources of time and expertise towards the employment and school integration of each client. This sometimes includes software installation and training to make a computer easily accessible; in other circumstances it involves alterations in a company’s internal software to accommodate this accessibility. Most schools and employers permit CSB to make the necessary adjustments to facilitate a seamless transition for the new employee.

 


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