The Work We Do: The Assistive Technology Department at Easter Seals Crossroads

Easter Seals Logo
Easter Seals Logo

The Assistive Technology Department at Easter Seals Crossroads provides people with disabilities the appropriate equipment they need to make their lives easier. Whether it is computer software, screen readers, Braille machines, or wheelchairs, we strive to ensure that all who come to us are adequately helped. The INDATA Project is an entity of the Assistive Technology Department and we are proud to share stories about those who benefit from our services. One such story is that of Jeff Jennings.

Imagine, if you will, being a 15-year-old boy whose favorite hobby is dirt bike racing.  Your 16th birthday is just around the corner when, suddenly, your life is forever changed when you’re in a dirt bike accident.

Meet Jeff Jennings. Jeff suffered a spinal cord injury from his dirt bike accident and now relies on a wheelchair for mobility; however, Jeff does not let this get in the way of obtaining any of his dreams.

Jeff is a recent graduate of Ivy Tech Community College where he obtained an Associate’s Degree in Web Technology & Applied Science.  Prior to graduation, Jeff sought out Vocational Rehabilitation support because he felt he could benefit from assistance in searching for a job. He had heard about the Assistive Technology Department at Easter Seals Crossroads which would assist with any work space accommodations that he might need.

Jeff was referred to Easter Seals Crossroads by Vocational Rehabilitation, a Division of the State Agency of Family & Social Services Administration. He came to Crossroads for support in seeking employment in the information technology field.

While he was here, Jeff worked with Employment Consultant Steve Wright.  After some time, a job lead was forwarded to Easter Seals Crossroads employment staff from Bright House Networks for a Tech Support position. Because of Jeff’s friendly personality along with knowledge in the information technology field, Steve knew that Jeff was the perfect person for this job.

After a series of interviews, Jeff was offered the position. Bright House Networks, being aware of the accommodations that would be provided to make the workplace more comfortable for Jeff, was confident that he would be able to efficiently and confidently tackle the necessary tasks of the job. Because the Tech Support position required a great deal of customer contact on the phone, in addition to a number of clerical tasks, Steve knew it was essential that Jeff receive these accommodations.

Brian Norton, Manager of Assistive Technology, was able to go to Bright House to make the appropriate accommodations to Jeff’s work space. Brian focused on accommodating Jeff’s computer and phone access, as those are the two main components of the job. In regards to phone access, Brian spoke with Bright House about using a Bluetooth headset for handling phone calls. Fortunately, a suitable Bluetooth headset, that provides adequate access to the phones, was integrated into the Jeff’s workstation.  As for the computer accommodations, the Assistive Technology Department  provided an  Intellikeys Keyboard , a USB Numpad, the Traxsys Trackball, and a number of Universal Switch Mounting Arms. Additionally, Brian and Steve made sure that  Bright House raised Jeff’s desk 2-3” so his powered wheelchair would be able to fit comfortably.

Jeff has been successfully and happily employed at Bright House Networks for four months.  Easter Seals Crossroads has received great reports regarding Jeff’s performance on the job.  His Human Resource Manager goes as far as to state that she would like “two more Jeff’s”.  Without the support of the Assistive Technology Department at Easter Seals Crossroads, Jeff might not be where he is today.

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