ATFAQ121 – Q1. Staying focused when working from home, Q2. Ordering services online (food, groceries,cleaning), Q3. Cleaning your tech devices, Q4. Wildcard: How has this Pandemic changed your job

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Panel: Brian Norton, Josh Anderson, Belva Smith, Tracy Castillo Q1. Staying focused when working from home, Q2. Ordering services online (food, groceries, cleaning), Q3. Cleaning your tech devices, Q4. Wildcard: How has this Pandemic changed your job

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Speaker 1:
I have a question.

Speaker 2:
Huh?

Speaker 1:
Like what?

Speaker 2:
I’ve always wondered.

Speaker 3:
What about … do you know?

Speaker 2:
I have a question, I’ve always wondered.

Speaker 1:
I have a question.

Speaker 4:
I have a question.

Speaker 5:
Oh, I have a question.

Speaker 6:
I have a question.

Brian Norton:
Welcome to ATFAQ, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions with your host Brian Norton, Director of Assistive Technology at Easterseals Crossroads. This is a show where we address your questions about assistive technology, the hardware, software, tools and gadgets that help people with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Have a question you’d like answered on our show, send us a tweet with the #ATFAQ. Call our listener line at 317-721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org, the world of assisted technology has questions and we have answers. And now let’s jump into today’s show.

Brian Norton:
Hello and welcome to ATFAQ Episode 121, my name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of the show and we’re so happy that you’re taking some time to tune in with us this week. And we have a great line up of assistive technology questions for you today. But before we jump into the questions, I just want to take a moment to introduce the folks who are on the call with me today. We’re on Zoom and recording again from Zoom, because we are kind of at a stay-at-home order here in the state of Indiana, and so we’re trying to honor that. Try to honor the social distancing and those types of things and so working people over Zoom.

Brian Norton:
So first would be Belva, Belva is the vision team lead with our Clinical Assistive Technology Program. Belva, you want to say, “Hey,” to folks?

Belva Smith:
Welcome everybody.

Brian Norton:
Next is Tracy Castillo, she’s the INDATA Program Manager, she overseas our reuse depo and our demo and loan library as part of the INDATA project. Tracy do you want to say, “Hi?”

Tracy Castillo:
Hey everyone, how are you doing today? I’m staying safe. I hope you are too.

Brian Norton:
And then also Josh. Josh is the manager of our Clinical Assistive Technology Program. He’s also the popular host of AT Update, one of our other podcasts here at the INDATA project. Josh, you want to say, “Hi,” to folks?

Josh Anderson:
Hi everybody.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. For folks who are new to the show, just always want to let people know a little bit more about us. So, our show and how it works, is we receive feedback and come across various assistive technology questions throughout the week. And then we sit around as a group and we try to answer those as best as we can. You can contribute your questions to the show by giving us a call on our listener line, that’s 317-721-7124 or emailing us at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org.

Brian Norton:
You can also send us a tweet with the #ATFAQ, those are all ways that we collect information, and get the questions that we try to answer on the show. We also would love your feedback. So, as we try to answer those questions as best we can, if you have anything to contribute, please do, you can give us your information or whatever you would like, your feedback through those channels as well. So please do be a part of the show, we love to hear from folks and would love to more fully answer the questions that we get here on the show.

Brian Norton:
If you would like to share the show, you can find our podcasts in a variety of places. You can find us on iTunes. We have a website setup, it’s atfaqshow.com. You can find us in Stitcher, Google Play Store, really anywhere you find podcasts these days, you’ll be able to find us. You can also go and look for us on a new channel which we’ve been on for the last few months. But I just want to make sure folks know. So you can also find us on Spotify as well. AT Update, Accessibility Minutie and ATFAQ, we’re all up there on Spotify too. So love for you to be able to share that and let people check us out.

Brian Norton:
All right, so our first question of the day is … and again, I think what you’re going to find during this show, is we’re going to cover all kind of questions that focus in on the current state of things, how things are here in the United States, really probably across the world with folks social distancing and stuff like that. We’ve had several questions come in and we’re going to tackle some things related to how we’re all kind of operating in this time.

Brian Norton:
So the first question is, “I have two daughters and both me and my wife work outside the home. Since the pandemic started, I’ve been working from home and I find it really difficult to stay focused in and amongst all the activity with every one being home. Any suggestions for tech solutions to help me stay on task and focus throughout my day?”

Tracy Castillo:
Wow. I saw a Facebook that this reminded me of.

Brian Norton:
Oh really, what was that?

Tracy Castillo:
It was a mom, I could tell it was a mom because she had her children behind her, duct-taped to the floor.

Brian Norton:
Oh nice.

Tracy Castillo:
Later, we’ll discuss on how to remove duct tape safely.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, remember everything that we say on here, we’re not promoting anything.

Tracy Castillo:
Duct tape and a deadbolt lock. I suggest using proper lighting. If you have the right lighting in your office space, it will help you stay on task. As well, I kind of personalize my area, kind of similar to what my area at work looks like. So bringing that element into my home from there.

Belva Smith:
Tracy, can you tell us a little bit about how lighting would help stay on task?

Tracy Castillo:
Well, if you have poor lighting and you’re … I’m in right now in a room with poor lighting, it’s probably less 800 lumens in here. And I want to leave this area, I want to go to somewhere that’s a little brighter and that may be in the area where my family is hanging out. So, that wouldn’t help.

Brian Norton:
I think a big things with lighting is also just making … if you’re not making yourself comfortable, so that keeping your work station like Tracy mentioned, your workstation similar to the kind of the set up that you have at work, you try to set that up at home. And so with lighting, I mean, the more comfortable I am working, I feel like that helps me stay more focused. I think probably for some other folks, maybe it would be the opposite where they need to be uncomfortable to stay more focused. But for me, the more comfortable I am, the more focused I can be. So, that may contribute to that lighting too. Yeah, for sure.

Belva Smith:
Well, and my first thought was eye strain, you’re going to probably experience more eye strain if you’re lighting isn’t appropriate for your needs. And I just heard on the news … and I don’t know what state this was happening in. But I did hear that some of the hotels are actually renting rooms for people to use as their office.

Tracy Castillo:
Can you send me that link?

Belva Smith:
And it’s primarily because most of us, a lot of people are like me and I don’t have a designated workspace. I mean, and it can very difficult and especially if you’re a family that’s got little ones running around or ones that happen to go to school. And I did hear that here in Indiana, we’re in Indianapolis, we had a couple of our major big hotels that are actually totally shutdown now because they just haven’t had anybody coming in. So I thought, “Well, that’s kind of a smart move from the hotels we have to think okay, so maybe we can’t get an overnight’s stay, but we can rent these out for five or eight hours a day and give people a quiet, designated place to get their work done.”

Brian Norton:
Right. Yeah, no that’s really smart, interesting. I didn’t know they were doing those kinds of things. I worked with a lot of folks who kind of struggle with staying on task and focusing during the day. Some of the things that I’ve used just in my traditional job that I think have been helpful for me, as I’ve been working from home. I’ve got two daughters here, one’s a junior, one’s a freshman in high school, my wife works. And so the first few weeks of this staying at home, it was really a challenge for us, all to kind of live in the same space.

Brian Norton:
And I think we’ve adjusted well. I think, I was talking to Josh at one point about keeping your work routine, the same work routine you have at work, keep that same routine here. So that can just kind of help set the tone for the day. But thinking about technology, I think about noise canceling headsets, I’ve got a pair of headsets that actually do some artificial noise canceling for me. I don’t know what it quite does, but I flick a switch and it kind of puts me in this little sound booth for myself, where just sounds around me get drowned out so that I can really be attentive and focused on whatever I’m working on.

Brian Norton:
There are some expensive ones, but there’s also some less expensive ones as well. Libratone, Q-Adapt Earbuds are pretty inexpensive, there’s an NC, Noise-Canceling Headset from Amazon, that’s about 50 bucks. Then you can get the more expensive ones, but I don’t think they’re necessarily needed. But Bose has several of their headsets are noise canceling and they do a really good job of just cutting out the background noise. If someone walks down the hall or is talking or watching TV, you can drown all that stuff out and stay on task and stay focused using some headsets and things like that.

Belva Smith:
I think our personal assistants can be very helpful, whether it’s Siri or whatever they’re calling. What’s the one on Google called? Bixby.

Brian Norton:
I don’t know.

Belva Smith:
[crosstalk 00:10:20] or Alexa. Okay, Google. It’s going to mean that you’ve got to take a few minutes, each day or each week to basically set the task list or schedule list up. But just getting a nice reminder that at 2:00 o’clock you should be attending this meeting online or helping the kids with their schoolwork, whatever.

Tracy Castillo:
[crosstalk 00:10:48]-

Belva Smith:
And then-

Tracy Castillo:
Thanks for reminding me Belva. Yeah, I’m sorry. I spoke out of turn.

Belva Smith:
Oh, oh, I activated my Google. Did you hear? She stopped there and then she goes, “Wait, I think I have a problem.”

Brian Norton:
Nice.

Josh Anderson:
Some other tech that can really be helpful is like on these video calls and stuff, the mute button is really helpful.

Belva Smith:
Yes, Josh.

Josh Anderson:
Because, yeah, I’ve been muted 90% of the time and probably will be for most of this call. I don’t know if this really technology, but right now Bubble Guppies is working really well. It’s a good time to keep the little one occupied. But another thing, and trying to keep the work schedule works really well if it’s like a week. We’re going on week what? Five, six?

Brian Norton:
Six.

Josh Anderson:
Now or something like that.

Tracy Castillo:
No idea.

Josh Anderson:
So kids are bored and everything else. So maybe being able to adjust your schedule a little bit to you know, “Hey, at noon, I don’t have any meetings. So let’s spend an hour outside or doing something.” Or kind of doing something together, it gives them something to look forward to. And maybe it will keep them out of your business. I used the Forest app for some stuff, it’s an app on your phone, you bring it. If you close that app, it takes away … or it kills your plant, I mean something like that. What was nice is that, it has this little timer on there.

Josh Anderson:
So for older kids you can kind of set that on your phone and maybe set your phone on the other side of your desk and they can walk in and see how long it is until they can back to you.

Brian Norton:
I love that. Yeah, it’s some sort of visual timer.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah, kind of a visual timer. And though they’re talking about alerts, I know I get an alert 15 minutes before Zoom meetings coming, so it’s really great. I can make sure that I can have a headset on or be where I need to be. Or try to get the baby doing something to keep her occupied for a minute. So those can be really, really helpful too. But it can be hard. But you always do have to remember it’s kind of hard on them too and it’s all new situation for them as well. So you got to kind of take that into account while still being able to get all your work done.

Brian Norton:
In this season, I think we all need to … employers especially. I mean employers, employees, family members, I mean all of us need to just be patient, have a lot of grace for the things that are going on-

Belva Smith:
Take a deep breath.

Brian Norton:
… around us. I mean, Josh, I’m looking at you today and you’ve got your … how old is your daughter?

Josh Anderson:
She just turned 17 months.

Brian Norton:
17 months and so she’s crawling allover you while you’re reading a book, while you’re helping us record our podcast. I mean, it’s like we just have to have grace with people to let them … they’re in a different situation and we need to kind of just adjust as we go, and be flexible with folks. However, just trying to get things done can be a challenge. I know for my wife and I, we’ve kind of found … and I know that’s not possible for a lot of folks depending on where you live, the size of living space that you have. It’s just not possible for you to find that extra space for you to be able to kind of have your own space.

Brian Norton:
And so if you-

Tracy Castillo:
Well, you [crosstalk 00:13:43] Brian-

Josh Anderson:
The baby [crosstalk 00:13:44].

Tracy Castillo:
… I have not met one person who’s been through this before. So you talked about showing a little grace. And I think that’s extremely important, to just be patient with everyone. Because no one’s done this before and everybody is figuring this out at the same time. So, I think that’s very important to remember.

Brian Norton:
So I love to hear from other folks, our listeners, if you have other options or other things to think about, which means being able to stay focused or on task throughout your day in the midst of working from home or being around lots of distractions, we’d love to hear from you about what some of your solutions are. You can do that in a variety of ways. You can give us a call on our listener line, that’s 317-721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org, we would love to hear from you. Thanks so much.

Brian Norton:
So here’s our next question, “My state has a stay-at-home order in place and since that started, I’ve heard about several services where I can order something online and have it delivered to my house. Are there any services like this that you’ve heard of and would be useful for persons with disabilities who find themselves in a similar situation to mine? Things like groceries, takeout food and other types of things like that.”

Belva Smith:
Yeah, again ATFAQ, because I think we have had this question in the past. But it’s good to have it again now. Because this is something that’s relevant to pretty much everybody right now probably. But yeah, when I broke my hip and was unable to drive or barely walk, I couldn’t obviously do our grocery shopping and stuff. So I at that time signed up for Kroger online shopping I guess. And they give you the option to either have it delivered or you can have it picked up. They do have a small delivery charge and to be honest with you, I don’t know exactly … it’s between 5 and $10.

Belva Smith:
Currently, because I’m trying to obey our stay at home and stay out of grocery stores, and the stores and stuff, in the time that we’ve been home, I’ve been taking advantage of Meijer and Kroger. Meijer will also have a small home delivery charge. But to pick up is free, so basically to get started with this … and I don’t know what area this individual is contacting us from. But a good Google search will let you know who your local people are that are able to delivery.

Belva Smith:
And pretty much in our state, I mean even Menards has a delivery service now. So pretty much all of them will do some sort of delivery for you. But basically you get online and create an account with whoever you choose to do your shopping with. So I for example have my Kroger account and my Meijer account, with that you connect a credit card. So you also are getting your payment without any interaction, which to me I’m finding that to be a huge deal right now. Because every time I have to hand my credit card to somebody it makes me go yikes. So once you have the account created, you can start your shopping list.

Belva Smith:
Now there was a time about three weeks ago where my wait time to pick my groceries up from Kroger was about four days. And I think that’s because they were just so overwhelmed. Recently though, in fact tomorrow, I placed an order yesterday and I’ll be picking it up tomorrow. Meijer seems to be much quicker, but getting a pick-up time with Meijer is very tricky. I found the best way to do it is to get on early in the morning and that’s when they populate their pick-up times I think, and it’s easier to get something scheduled.

Belva Smith:
And what I have found is a lot of college students, we right now have so many students that are at home from college and trying to find jobs but can’t. Meijer and Kroger are both using college students to do the personal shopping for you. And it’s very convenient because for example, if you have Lay’s Potato Chips on your shopping list and they don’t have the Lay’s Potato Chips, then you’ll get a text message that says, “Hey, we don’t have Lay’s, but we have Ruffles. Can we substitute?” So they’ll give you that opportunity then to say, “Yes,” or, “No.”

Belva Smith:
And then also, if you look at Instacart. I know a lot of stores are using Instacart. And we currently have several fresh markets that are open in our area. And if you sign up for an Instacart account, and it’s the same kind of thing. You’re just going to create your account, connect your credit card, they’ll actually go to the fresh markets and shop for you and get you fresh produce. And again, there is going to be a small free for a delivery. But I found getting groceries to be very simple. Now if you have a Meijer account, you do have the option of shopping in the other departments other than the food.

Belva Smith:
However, I am not sure that they’re allowing that at this time. Because I know at one point, they had Meijer and Walmart block off the TV sections and stuff like that so that you weren’t able to be shopping for that. So I don’t think you can do that right now. And then yeah, I’ve also used them with a screen reader. So, they’re frustrating at some points, anyway just trying to make sure that you’re getting the right size and the right number of items that you want. And with a screen reader, it can be a little bit more challenging. But it can be done.

Belva Smith:
So a quick Google search should tell you who in your area and then just set up your account and go. And then I’ve also heard Facebook … I don’t use Facebook, but I’ve heard that Facebook has got some volunteers that are calling themselves like helping hands. And if you contact them, they will go do your shopping for you and bring it to you at no charge.

Tracy Castillo:
I like what you said about all the different options. And you mentioned the wait times. So I looked up Walmart. And I was going to do it though Walmart, but every time I went there, it was like saying like give you two days to choose from, this offer is full. But my problem was if I didn’t have my list of things I wanted to buy next to me, I get distracted it. And it’s kind of hard to do online shopping for groceries, it’s a difference ballpark. So I’m going to be lazy and I’m going to do the food delivery option and just have it already made up for me.

Tracy Castillo:
I like to use Uber Eats. So I just get on my Uber Eats, see what’s in the area and have it delivered.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, and I’ve noticed a lot of our local restaurants are doing free delivery too. Like [crosstalk 00:21:20].

Tracy Castillo:
Because we want to keep those places in business during-

Belva Smith:
Exactly.

Tracy Castillo:
… this pandemic.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, with Burger King in our area, you can do a no-contact pickup or they will deliver for free. So not only are they doing-

Tracy Castillo:
I think Burger King’s going to be okay. I’m talking about your locally-owned, your mom–and–pop shops, they’re also teaming up with DoorDash. And you could use DoorDash to shop those places and DoorDash also is doing the no delivery fee. One time when I was working with DoorDash, I did a couple of pickups from Walmart. So if you’re with DoorDash, they do, do the food delivery as well as some small grocery delivery as well.

Belva Smith:
And then also, I noticed that this person had laundry options on the list. I did again a quick Google search and I found that in our area, we have a company called Laundry Care Bizz. And they will come and pick up your dirty laundry, take it, wash it, dry it, fold it or dry clean it and bring it back to you. Now, what I couldn’t find out with that is how much are they charging to do that. And I’m sure that there is-

Tracy Castillo:
What was the name of that one?

Belva Smith:
Laundry Care Bizz. So Laundry Care B-I-Z-Z.

Brian Norton:
Interesting. I know there is app called Tide Cleaners or a service called Tide Cleaners that did that as well. I don’t know if they’re still in business or not. But, I don’t know about you, but-

Belva Smith:
They are still in business Brian. And for our first responders, a couple of weeks ago, they were actually doing it for our first responders for free.

Brian Norton:
Really.

Belva Smith:
[crosstalk 00:23:11] the laundry and deliver it back.

Tracy Castillo:
When I was downtown, I noticed some of the longtime laundry shops are no longer whatever they’re names used to be, now they’re the Tide Cleaners, and that’s interesting. Some of these places that have been around for generations are no longer there, they’re Tide Cleaners.

Josh Anderson:
So I’ve got to do pickup a little bit more, if I do want to actually go and support those local business just because I live in a delivery desert basically. I’m just far enough outside of town, that they still haven’t kind of expanded. But I known there’s other services that are available. Yeah, Brian, the Tide Cleaners is a good one, if you are looking for those laundry services, also look at the Angie’s List and things like that. There’s a lot of independent folks that essentially just do that on the side and probably even more of them now just as they try to find things to do and be able to continue working.

Josh Anderson:
But then there’s other services that will come to your home too. I talked to my dad on the phone last night, and they just had their dog groomed in a mobile grooming service. The person just came, parked in their driveway, they took the dog out, they took the dog, cleaned the dog up and gave it back to them. So you might see more and more of those kind of things too. Maybe some of those essential services that you can’t really go to anymore. You might be able to just have come to your home now. And hopefully that’s something that sticks around and continues.

Belva Smith:
Well and I think too if you have a church group or if you’re a Facebook user or whatever, you can probably look and find maybe a youth … again, I’m looking at the college students because I know that they’re all just like the rest of us. They’re struggling to find employment, but you might be able to find a member of your church that would be willing to do your grocery shopping, take your laundry for you. I did hear in New York, two college kids got together and created a small business called Helping Hands. And that’s basically what they were doing, is they were delivering food, groceries and whatever, medications.

Belva Smith:
Oh, and that’s another one that wasn’t on the list too Brian, is medication. Getting your medicine delivered is a little more tricky than getting your food delivered. But I do believe that Walgreens and CVS can both deliver medications. I’m assuming that probably has something to do with the type of prescription that you’re trying to get delivered as well.

Josh Anderson:
Well, I know Walgreens even started … you pull to their drive-through, tell them what you want, they’ll go shop for you and bring it to the drive-through window.

Belva Smith:
Actually yeah, I had experience a couple of weeks ago, Josh. I was looking for alcohol swabs and I didn’t want to go in the store. So I just pulled up to the drive-through window and asked them if they had any. Now, I will tell you the first one that I pulled up to, the lady said, “You’ll have to come inside and look.” And I was like, “Well, I don’t want to.” But when I pulled into the second one and asked, she was like, “Oh, I don’t know, let me go run and see.” And she came back with them and I was like, “Oh, thank you so much.”

Belva Smith:
So I guess it probably depends on how busy they might be at the time. Because we have to keep in mind too, most of these places that we discussed, a lot of them are understaffed as well. I mean, they’ve got skeleton staff trying to keep the businesses going. So it might take them a little bit longer. And so again as we mentioned earlier, patience, right?

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, absolutely.

Tracy Castillo:
Everyone.

Brian Norton:
And I just think about … we’ve had this question before about delivery services and how impactful that is for the disability community being able to have things delivered instead of having to go out and do that yourself. And I just think, maybe this is just kind of furthering that cause of having really nothing outside the realm of possibility being, either delivered or brought to you in some way, shape or form. I mean you think about all the things we’ve mentioned here, we talked about grocery. We’ve talked about laundry options, fast-food options, medicine.

Brian Norton:
And again talking about Josh, you mentioned Angie’s List, there are lots of independent places doing just about anything for you at this point in time. And I wonder if that will stick around after things kind of get back to some sort of normalcy we’re not sure exactly what that will look like. But it will be interesting to see where things go from here, to see if these things continue to expand and continue to be available beyond the time that this virus is around. So, it’d be interesting.

Josh Anderson:
I feel like they probably will, because I know at least here in Indiana, they’re talking about starting to open up businesses and things. But you have to kind of have a plan in place on how you’re going to social distance. So if you can’t fit as many people in your restaurant you still need a way to be able to sell your goods and services without having people physically there. So, I [crosstalk 00:28:16] see a lot of these things … they might change a little bit, but I think you will see a lot of it kind of stick around.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, I hope so. I think it was a game-changer when these things started happening before and I think just to see that expand, there’s nothing but good that can come from that. So especially for folks with disabilities and what it can do for them. So, we’d love to hear from other folks, if maybe there is other services that you know of beyond the ones that we’ve mentioned that would be fun to share with other people, love to hear from you.

Brian Norton:
Feel free to give us a call, our phone number is 317-721-7124, let us know what you know. But then also you can send us an email if you’d rather do it that way. You can send an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Love to hear from you, thanks.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is, “In the midst of COVID-19, I’ve heard that our technology specifically things like our phones, computer keyboards, etc are some of the dirtiest things that we have. How do we suggest we go about cleaning them?”

Belva Smith:
Well, Brian, you actually did a special news thing. So we’ll let you-

Brian Norton:
Jump in-

Belva Smith:
… share with our listeners, yeah.

Brian Norton:
So there is something to that. So the first thing, I think there’s two steps in the cleaning process that we have to look at. The first is just cleaning it, removing soil and dirt, and stuff like that. I know that’s not necessarily what we’re trying to get at. We’re talking about more sanitizing with the question, is what I’m kind of … disinfecting. It’s kind of what I’m sensing, but I think the first thing, the first step in the cleaning process is removing just basically the dirt from your devices.

Brian Norton:
And I think what we should all do is the first thing we should do as we start to think about how we’re going to clean our devices, is we need to consult the manufacturer’s care instructions to figure out what type of chemicals and cleaning supplies are appropriate for whatever device we have.

Brian Norton:
And from what I understand and what I know recently is that’s been changing quite a bit. I think before Apple used to say, “Don’t use things like Chlorox wipes or other kinds of things on your phone or those types of things because they’re harsher chemicals and they would affect the screen.” But now in the midst of this COVID-19 situation we find ourselves in, they’re kind of saying, “It’s okay, you can do it up to 1,200 times or something like that where those would not affect your devices, or the screen very much.” And so those things are changing but always consult the manufacturer care instructions to really see what they say or the appropriate types of cleaning tools and supplies to use.

Brian Norton:
When you think about disinfecting … so I’d done a lot of research recently. Just because we operate a loan library and we’re delivering devices throughout the state of Indiana, and really all of the assistive technology acts which there is one in every state and every territory. They have programs like this where we loan devices to folks. And we’ve really had to up our game. Well, not necessarily up our game because it’s been pretty high for a long time in the way we go about cleaning devices and taking care of the devices that we have.

Brian Norton:
But we really need to kind of take a closer look at what our policies and procedures are. And so in doing so when you disinfect things, it’s not about spraying them down and wiping them down right away, in order to disinfect something, it’s really how long does the surface stay wet. And so thinking about what we do as we care for things in our library, it’s not just about spraying it down and then wiping it down real quickly. What we want to do is spray it down, get all the excess moisture off of it, don’t let that sit on there, because that creep into the crevices and get into the circuitry or the computer stuff that’s behind the outside shell of your device.

Brian Norton:
But we want to make sure that we maintain and keep it wet for a period of time and that can range in the amount of time depending on the type of cleaner you’re using. But sometimes just if you’re using a Chlorox wipe, just lay the wipe on top of the device, let it sit there for you know whatever period of time whether that’s a minute or four minutes depending on the cleaning solution, just to let it maintain its wetness, because that timing is what really disinfects stuff. It’s not necessarily a quick spray down and wipe down. It’s how long does the surface remain wet and that’s going to then have the proper way to kind of make sure that you’re disinfecting stuff.

Brian Norton:
One thing that I’ve noticed recently too is there aren’t very many supplies out there, and that’s really kind of been a concern of ours as we’ve got 2,500, to 3,000 items in our loan library and we’re sending those out at this point. And we want to make sure that we maintain the highest level of cleaning and making sure that in health and safety for not only our staff but our consumers during this time. And so not having the proper cleaning supplies has been hard. And so what we’ve found is there are a lot of easy ways to make your own disinfectants.

Brian Norton:
So as long as you’re using some sort of alcohol base. So we use rubbing alcohol, isopropyl, 70% or above will kill the germs, and so you can do that. You can mix a third of a bottle of isopropyl rubbing alcohol with a third bottle of vinegar, with a third bottle of hot water and then that will get you a nice cleaning solution and a lot of it to be able to clean things. But again consult the manufacturer’s care instructions, I think that’s really important. Don’t get it too wet, you don’t want to get that water down into the crevices and hurt things and then … just be careful as you do it, be thorough.

Josh Anderson:
So Brian and you brought up a good point that a lot of those cleaning supplies are really hard to find right now? There is a device called foam PhoneSoap soap.

Belva Smith:
Oh, [crosstalk 00:34:49] to talk about that Josh

Josh Anderson:
Oh, I got you Belva, I’m hitting you before you started talking. But no, I think we mentioned it like last year on the holiday episode at Assistive Technology update. But yeah, it’s essentially it’s a box just a little bit bigger than your cellphone, you put in there and it uses UV light to really sanitize. But I think there are 80 to a little over 100 bucks, there’s a couple of different kind of versions. But it’s supposed to kill all bacteria, kind of really clean them up, and you don’t have to worry about getting it too wet like some of those things that you kind of mentioned.

Josh Anderson:
And then a lot of times … and I don’t really know the alcohol solution probably on them isn’t enough, but I use lens cleaners on my phone a lot-

Belva Smith:
I do too Josh.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah, the little lens wipes-

Belva Smith:
Yup.

Josh Anderson:
They work great, and they really clean off finger prints and stuff. So maybe if you just use a little bit more of kind of the rubbing and alcohol on there, it might be enough to be able to kill some germs and kind of get them a little bit better.

Belva Smith:
Yeah. I use my glass cleaners on my phone and then I just use Chlorox wipes pretty much on everything else. Unfortunately I had a couple of them here at home because I’ve been trying to buy them ever since this shutdown happened and I have not been able to get them. The same thing with my Lysol spray, I can’t get that either. But one thing that I would like to recommend, if you’re cleaning a keyboard, and this is kind of important, because your keyboard really is the most disgusting device that you touch on a daily basis.

Josh Anderson:
Hey speak for yourself there Belva.

Belva Smith:
Yeah. I suggest now even with a laptop this can be done, but with your desktop keyboard, pick it up, flip it over and pound it on the table a little bit and you’ll be surprised how many crumbs will come out of that.

Brian Norton:
Or keys will come off the keyboard.

Tracy Castillo:
I don’t think Brian would like to see me doing that to my computer.

Josh Anderson:
Maybe, pound it on the table isn’t the right word.

Belva Smith:
[crosstalk 00:36:52] for 15, 20 years it’s fine. And I know that they say that you can use a can of air. I actually … everybody is laughing, okay because I did have a client that complained about it. But I’d know that they say that a can of air will get that stuff out of there, and it will get some of it out of there. But I promise you if you did both techniques, you’ll get more out with … And I’m not saying beat it on the table, just pound it on the table.

Brian Norton:
That was the same to me.

Tracy Castillo:
I would have to handle them differently.

Josh Anderson:
All right on the next week’s show, we need to describe the difference between beating and pounding.

Belva Smith:
Right. And [crosstalk 00:37:29]. I would say just to get it wet, Josh said about the PhoneSoap, it has specifically been tested and proven that it will kill the germs of a lot different viruses. But most importantly the influenza and the Rhino virus. Now of course we don’t know what it’s going to do for the Coronavirus or COVID-19, because it hasn’t obviously been tasted for that.

Belva Smith:
But it also is good for your keys, your credit cards, your smart phone, your headphones or earphones, whatever. And the good news is it will charge while it’s cleaning. So, it’s kind of a two in one. And I’ve actually seen these devices in airports before they became available as a home device. And I unfortunately debated at Christmas time whether or not to get one because QVC had a great deal on it and I decided against it, and I’m so sorry now that I didn’t do it, because I think it was on sale for $69. And of course it comes in all fantastic colors too.

Belva Smith:
So it’s now … I did check this morning, it’s now unavailable, just like all the other cleaning supplies. But I probably will put that on my must-have list following all of these sanitary cleaning items coming back onto the market.

Brian Norton:
You might want to order that now so it gets delivered by Christmas.

Belva Smith:
Oh exactly.

Brian Norton:
I will say we have ordered … we actually have a UV wand for our library. However we needed to get a new battery pack for it. We’ve ordered for more of those. I think the things that those UV wands are really effective with are the soft-sided packaging types of materials that you might have. Think about carrying cases like your backpack or the places where you put your computers where you don’t want to get them wet, right? You don’t want to get them wet, and have to let them dry, the UV wand will do I think a pretty good job and that’s using UVC light, it’s not using a black light, because that’s a different type of UV light. You’re using UVC light that helps kill those.

Brian Norton:
And the exposure to that UVC light is what gives it the ability to be able to kill that bacteria. And there are some varying studies on the effectiveness of those. But I think from what I understand it’s a pretty good way of helping to clean and kill bacteria. It doesn’t take care of the soil, it takes care of the bacteria on those devices. The other thing I’ll mention, and since Belva was talking about pounding or beating, I’ll just say be gentle with your devices, don’t use excessive force. And that’s where there is a probably distinction between pounding and beating, but-

Belva Smith:
[crosstalk 00:40:39] should have said tapping.

Brian Norton:
What’s that?

Belva Smith:
Tap would [crosstalk 00:40:45]. Maybe I should have said tapping.

Brian Norton:
Tap, yeah. Tap your keyboard, that’s a good way to … yeah.

Belva Smith:
Yeah.

Brian Norton:
Because using excessive force, you don’t want to force the moisture down into the crevices of your different devices and then cause damage that way. And so just keep those things in mind, kind of three helpful tips. Always look at the manufacturer care instructions before cleaning. Be sure to remove extra moisture that may be left behind by either a disinfecting wipe or spray. And then be gentle, don’t use excessive force while trying to clean because that can cause further damage, physical damage to the device.

Brian Norton:
But I’d love to kind of know what folks are doing with their devices, those types of things. I just think we don’t think about it very often. Whatever our hands touch, whether that’s the grocery car, whether it’s a gas pump, whether it’s anything and everything that we come in contact with during the day, when we pick up our phone and all of that is transferred to our phone.

Brian Norton:
And that’s why it gets so dirty and that’s why it’s always important to think about that and to be able to clean those devices. And so I’d love to hear what other people do to keep those things clean. And you can do that by giving us a call on our listener line that’s 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org or send us a tweet with the #ATFAQ, we’d love to hear from you, thanks.

Brian Norton:
And now it’s time for the wildcard question. All right. So our next question is the wildcard question. This is where Belva has come up the question that we haven’t had a chance to prepare for. So, Belva what do you have for us today?

Belva Smith:
While keeping on topic, the wildcard question is based upon our current epidemic state. And we know that it’s way too early to even begin to try to access the damages that this COVID-19 has caused. But what we do know and what is very clear is I think that it has prominently changed the way that society is going to function. We all will and already have had enormous impacts on how consume, how we learn, how we work, and most importantly how we socialize and communicate.

Belva Smith:
So, my question to you all is, I know we’re assistive technology specialists, but as a technology specialist in general, how do you think that this pandemic has changed or will change what you will do moving forward? Brian you go first. Brian you’re muted.

Brian Norton:
So for me I think you’re right. It’s going to have a tremendous impact on how we move forward. I don’t think people are going to be ready to jump back in and start getting together in large groups of people anytime soon. I think it will take quite a bit of time for us to get over it. I think I kind of try to look at the positives, I think this has been kind of a forced opportunity for folks to explore different ways to connect with people and hopefully they’ve taken advantage of the time. I think funding sources, I mean we’re in disability services here.

Brian Norton:
I think funding sources like Medicaid, all the different waiver services, Western Indiana, we have waiver services, I think vocational rehabilitation and other groups of people have really kind of had to think about and use remote technologies to be able to serve their people. And I think once you let the cat out of the bag, you’re not going to be able to put the cat fully back in the bag. And so people are going to have to continue to provide services in this way.

Brian Norton:
And I think it’s really again that opportunity. I think we’ve learned as a team in our clinical team as we serve folks that there are some benefits, there are some interesting opportunities that we can take advantage of to save people time, to deliver services more efficiently. My biggest concern with all of this is just the long-term effects that it’s going to have not necessarily for our generation. But when you spend $4.4 trillion or where about, somewhere around in that range, how are we going to move on from that. I mean that’s a federal budget for a fiscal year we just spent in the last couple of months.

Brian Norton:
I think about our kids and what they’re going to be burdened with long-term, I think that’s going to be something that will be a challenge for them. But you know, I don’t know, at this point it’s a day-by-day thing. I think we’re just going to have to see how things start to play out, how things get back to some normalcy. But I think there are some positives that can come out of it.

Josh Anderson:
And I agree with Brian, I mean I think at least looking at the clinical IT program, I think we’ll do a little bit more things remotely as far as with folks. I mean we’ll still have to meet with them in person probably for some evaluations, for some setup and installation. But I think part of that setup and installation will be teaching them how do you Zoom or kind of other tools so that we can do those things remotely.

Josh Anderson:
I see our full-day trainings kind of changing because usually we try to pack as many people in a room as you possibly can, and that might not be an option for quite a while. But we have managers meetings at Crossroads every day and talk about our programs and what going back to work looks like. And I look at our program, and I am like, ours really won’t change much, because we’re very rarely ever in the office together anyway. Besides kind of for group meetings and a lot of those can really probably move to Zoom or just be a few people in a room and everyone else kind of coming in remotely.

Josh Anderson:
So service delivery looks a little bit different, but in our actual working world, when it kind of gets back to some semblance of normal, I think it will look a lot like it did. Just because like I said Belva and you know this, we’re rarely ever in the office. And even if we are, you’re probably like the only one. Very rarely is there more than one person and we’re not on top of each other. There’s a little bit of space kind of between, so I think those kind of things might not really change.

Josh Anderson:
One thing that I hope we kind of see is maybe more people being able to work from home, just because that’s a great accommodation for individuals with disabilities. So, I mean if you really think transportation is a huge barrier for a lot of folks, it can be a giant expense. So being able to work from home, I mean especially for those folks who may be a little bit in more rural areas that don’t have any great public transportation options. If they could work for some place down town, Indianapolis but live out in the middle of nowhere, as long as they got good internet access, they could have their office right there.

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah. So the remote working from home I think is going to be a big thing. Before COVID happened, we had a lady that worked in the depot as a volunteer. And at that time remote working from home was not really heard of as much. And I know that she was trying to get employment in different places. And it took her a long time for a business to hire her because she wanted to work from home.

Tracy Castillo:
And I just think that nowadays, we’ve all been forced, our hands were forced. We had to show that we could … we had to do it. It was either we work from home or you don’t work at all. And so now that we’ve been forced to see that, “Oh, this is possible,” I think that option, it’s on the table now for people to work from home. And I think that there’s going to be a lot of benefits not only for the individual but for the businesses as well.

Belva Smith:
So for me I know as you already pointed out Josh, one of the things that we’ve decided as a whole for our clinical teams, we will now be incorporating some sort online meeting software, and a basic training for every consumer that we meet with that’s going to be using a computer or a tablet. Because we found out that being able to reach out to people through some sort of an online meeting program, it’s important. And a lot of our clients have never even heard of one, never seen one, have no clue. So I know that’s going to be one of the things that are going to change for us.

Belva Smith:
But I think for myself personally, the other day when I went into the office briefly to pickup some stuff, I was waiting for the elevator door to open, and I had already thought in my mind, “Oh, I don’t have on any gloves and I’m touching that elevator button. Okay it’s all right. I’ve done it a million times, right?” The elevator is coming down, I hear someone cough and I think, “Oh no. I’m getting ready to get on that elevator.”

Tracy Castillo:
[crosstalk 00:50:27] is in the room.

Belva Smith:
Exactly. And these are things that I never gave a second thought to in the past, touching my face. They’re telling us that we can’t touch our face, or we shouldn’t touch our face, our eyes, our nose, our mouth. I can’t tell you, just as an experiment, take half a day and think of all the times that you touch your face.

Josh Anderson:
Or just look at your own picture in the Zoom meetings and realize how many times you touch your face in a day.

Belva Smith:
Exactly. I think we’ve also learned from this experiment … it’s not an experiment, it’s a real life pandemic. But I think we’ve learned how important having internet access in each and every home is going to be. We have many many students here in our state that have not had internet access to do the remote learning, let alone having the tools to be able to do those remote exercise-

Brian Norton:
Hey Belva, I read a report recently that in Indiana, 40% of Indiana doesn’t have reliable broadband internet access. We have a lot of areas in Indiana, and so 40% or maybe it was reversed, maybe it’s 60%. But it was either 40% or 60% of Indiana doesn’t have reliable broadband access, and you’re right, that’s going to have to change.

Belva Smith:
Yeah. And not only for the students, but even for our elderly. I think that one of the things that I’ve noticed too is how important our older generation needs to understand how to use some very basic technology. We’ve had plenty of situations where family members can’t actually have a one-on-one contact with their loved one, but they’re happy to do it through a tablet. I heard a report where one of the actors recently bought 1,000 iPads to be distributed to some assisted living places, and then their family members so that people could communicate that way.

Belva Smith:
But if you think about it, if you’re 80 years old, or 70 years old, even if you’re 20 years old and you’ve never used a piece of technology, it’s not going to be as easy to learn how to do that.

Belva Smith:
So, I just think having internet access, easy-to-use technology, I also think that home builders and remodelers and those kind of folks will probably have a lot more request or at least a lot more suggestions for making our home smarter so that we can use our assistance once again, if you think about it, all the light switches, all the facets. All the different things that we touch in our home on a daily basis that could be controlled by simply saying, “Turn that light on.” Or now they’re even shown touchless facets for our home and stuff like that.

Belva Smith:
So I just think that … Oh, and last but not least, every home having a dedicated workspace. I’ll be the first one as I said earlier, I don’t have a space in my home that I can use for a dedicated workspace. I have to make sure that Todd is being quiet in the background and that I’m not being interrupted by other things as I’m trying to work, especially like doing this recording because I’m in the center of the house. So, my voice is carrying throughout the whole house, so there is no privacy, there is no quiet dedicated workspace which also makes separation of home and work very difficult.

Belva Smith:
If you do have that dedicated workspace in your home … and not just workspace but educational space. Like my grandkids, when my daughter … because she designed their home. And when she designed their playroom, she made sure that she had two educational nooks for the kids. So, Madeline has her own space and Oliver has his own space, which who knew that it would become their home-schooling spot, it was really supposed to be a homework spot, but they’re fortunate to have that. So, I just think a lot of things are going to change, and we’re going to think about things that we just never thought of before. But-

Tracy Castillo:
[crosstalk 00:55:11] you might have something on that. And if you are my friend on Facebook, you know that I’ve been having a hard time with work and keeping my kid in school. A few months ago, maybe it was about four months ago, Indiana had this saying called, “Wear Red for Ed.” And I think a lot of parents nowadays are going to see how important their teachers really are and some the stuff that their teachers are going through and how they’re not being compensated, and they’re just not.

Tracy Castillo:
I think after this, I think people are going to have a new perspective on what our teachers are going through on a daily basis-

Belva Smith:
Well, I know us here in Indiana, it’s became very clear that our students don’t have the tools that they need to be able to … now some of them do. Some of the-

Tracy Castillo:
Our main school in IPS, and when they started the e-learning. I’m privileged, I have computers my kids could use, but there are several kids that don’t have anything to do their education on. And that’s Indianapolis, that’s downtown, that’s the majority of the kids, so.

Belva Smith:
Yeah. And you’ve got parents that have happened to share their laptop with their kids. So they’re trying to work from home on their laptop while also allowing their kids to use the laptop to do their e-learning.

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah. And they’re not only using their laptops. Kids, you can tell when you’re in the Zoom meeting that the children are doing their e-learning on phones.

Belva Smith:
Okay, yeah.

Tracy Castillo:
And that’s apparent, they’re just … got a little phone in their hands and that’s how they’re supposed to be doing the classwork.

Belva Smith:
Yeah. But the good news is there is a light at the end of our big virus tunnel.

Tracy Castillo:
Is it? [crosstalk 00:57:04].

Belva Smith:
There is. And we’re going to come out with a different perspective and a different way of doing things, but things will resume. I do see Josh that we’ll be attending concerts at some point. Out concert’s in July, when is yours?

Josh Anderson:
August, but I’m doubtful. I’m pretty doubtful, that will be one of the last things.

Belva Smith:
Yeah. I haven’t heard, but I’m fingers crossed, and I’ll be there, but I’ll have a mask on. So it will be different, but I will be there.

Brian Norton:
You know the other thing that I hope doesn’t change and will stick around after all this is done is our ability, the dress code that have at work. Because I am so comfortable in a pair of jeans or shorts, and a T-shirt. At least I have a Easterseals Crossroads logo on it. But I hope the dress code lightens up a little bit, and we can be a little bit more comfortable especially when we’re just in the office for a day, when we’re not with clients or with folks. And so I mean obviously for those days we’ll have to dress up a little bit more, but I’m kind of loving the relaxed dress code, it’s kind of fun.

Belva Smith:
Well, my dress code’s already changed Brian, because I will be wearing gloves and I will be wearing a mask, so.

Brian Norton:
Right. Well yeah-

Belva Smith:
And I like your background, I want you to send that to me.

Brian Norton:
Will do.

Tracy Castillo:
Well, I like the dress code thing, but like I said just a moment ago, I’ve only wore socks one time this week.

Belva Smith:
I haven’t had makeup on since march 13th, not a drop.

Josh Anderson:
Me neither Belva, not a bit.

Belva Smith:
Really?

Tracy Castillo:
Well, you look different Josh.

Brian Norton:
Awesome.

Tracy Castillo:
[crosstalk 00:58:50] lashes, right?

Brian Norton:
Awesome. Well hey guys I want to thank you guys for the show. I want to also just let our listeners know that they can get a hold of us. So if you have any questions that you’ve thought of or any feedback to the questions that we answered today, want to let you guys have the opportunity to call our listener line, that’s 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org or send us a tweet with the #ATFAQ, love to hear from you.

Brian Norton:
And we definitely want your questions, in fact without those, we don’t really have a show, so be a part of it and let us know. I want to thank the folks here on the panel with me today. First, I’ll just give those folks an opportunity to say goodbye, Belva.

Belva Smith:
Thanks everybody, keep listening and stay safe.

Brian Norton:
Tracy.

Tracy Castillo:
Thank you every one as always, always grateful, stay safe and we’ll see you next time.

Brian Norton:
And Josh.

Josh Anderson:
Thanks everybody, can’t wait to see you next time.

Brian Norton:
And Penelope.

Josh Anderson:
Say bye, bye.

Belva Smith:
Oh, she’s waving to us.

Tracy Castillo:
Aww, beautiful baby.

Josh Anderson:
Thanks for being a helper.

Brian Norton:
All right guys, have a great one and we’ll talk again next week. And it seems like every week we have at least one blooper, so here you go.

Belva Smith:
Hey, as an ex race car driver, I can tell you, if you can’t duck it, you can’t fix it. So Josh and Tracy switched squares on my screen. It’s like they got up and traded seats.

Josh Anderson:
Well, now I can’t see anybody, so, that works even better.

Belva Smith:
Didn’t see your name. [crosstalk 01:00:25].

Josh Anderson:
Oh, now you all went away … oh now I can see you guys again.

Brian Norton:
Information provided on Assistive Technology FAQ does not constitute a product endorsement. Our comments are not intended as recommendations nor is our show evaluative in nature. Assistive Technology FAQ is hosted and produced by Brian Norton, its editorial help by Josh Anderson and Belva Smith, and receives support from Easterseals Crossroads and the INDATA Project. ATFAQ is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more of our shows at www.accessibilitychannel.com.