ATFAQ123 – Q1. Secure online meeting tools, Q2. Freestanding adjustable iPad Holder , Q3. Microwave for visually impaired, 4. Deaf-Blind distance communication, Q5. WildCard: One thing you’d like to remain the same after things return to “normal”

Play

ATFAQ Logo

Panel: Brian Norton, Josh Anderson, Belva Smith, Tracy Castillo Q1. Secure online meeting tools, Q2. Freestanding adjustable iPad Holder , Q3. Microwave for visually impaired, 4. Deaf-Blind distance communication, Q5. WildCard: One thing you’d like to remain the same after things return to “normal”

———————- Transcript Starts Here —————————–

Speaker 1:
I have a question.

Speaker 2:
Huh?

Speaker 1:
Like what?

Speaker 3:
I’ve always wondered.

Speaker 4:
What about…

Speaker 5:
Do you know…

Speaker 6:
I have a question.

Speaker 7:
I’ve always wondered.

Speaker 8:
I have a question.

Speaker 9:
I have a question.

Speaker 10:
Oh, I have a question.

Speaker 11:
I have a question.

Speaker 12:
I have a question.

Brian Norton:
Welcome to ATFAQ, Assisted Technology Frequently Asked Questions, with your host Brian Norton, director of Assisted Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. This is a show where we address your questions about assisted 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 hashtag ATFAQ, call our listener line at 317-721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.com. 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 123. My name is Brian Norton, and I’m the host of the show. And we’re happy that you’ve taken some time to tune in with us this week. We have a great lineup of assisted technology questions for you today. But before we jump in to the questions, I just want to take a moment to introduce the folks who are online with me today via Zoom. So the first person is Josh Anderson. Josh is the manager of our clinical assisted technology program. Josh, you want to say hi.

Josh Anderson:
I never get to go first.

Brian Norton:
I know. I’m switching it up today.

Josh Anderson:
Hi, everybody.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. He’s also the popular host of AT Update, and so glad that you are here with us, Josh. Next we have Belva Smith. Belva is our vision team lead with the clinical assisted technology program. Belva, do you want to say hey?

Belva Smith:
Hey, everybody.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Glad you’re here with us, Belva. And then we also have Tracy. Tracy is the in data program manager and oversees our depo, which is our reuse program and our demo and loan library. Tracy, want to say hey?

Tracy Castillo:
Hi, Brian. Thanks for finally mentioning me.

Brian Norton:
I just switch it up every once in a while, or maybe never, so it’s probably really shocked everybody here today. But no, glad you guys are all here with me today. We got some great technology questions, and we’ll jump into those soon.

Brian Norton:
Just want to take a moment though before we do and for new listeners, just talk to you a little bit about how our show works. So we come across various assisted technology questions throughout the week and we put those into a show. We have a variety of ways for people to share their questions with us. That could be through our listener line, that’s 317-721-7124, through email, which is tech@eastersealscrossroads.org or with a tweet #ATFAQ. We also love to get feedback in those very same methods. So as we go through questions today, would love to hear from you if you have some additional information that we could add to our answers, we would love to hear that. You can provide that to us again through our listener line, through email, or sending us a tweet. Please, please do that. Would love to include that with the answers that we provide.

Brian Norton:
So without further ado, we will go ahead and just jump into our questions today.

Brian Norton:
So our first question is, “Hello. I am emailing because with hospitals and doctor’s offices moving toward online health visits, it has me concerned about my security and privacy. What should I be asking my doctor or learning about the tools they are using to make sure they are secure?” Great question. Very timely with what we’re dealing with these days with COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders. I feel like lots of places… I know we as an agency, we’re a comprehensive rehab facility. So we’ve moved some of our therapy services and things like that online too. So great, great question.

Belva Smith:
So I’m really not sure what the appropriate answer to this question is. I’m by no means a security expert. However, my advice to our listener would be secure your end points. So worry about your system and the security that you have activated on your system, and then I feel like you’re just going to trust in your doctor to be secure because let’s face it, they have huge responsibilities and face possibly huge, unbelievably huge fines and could even lose their license if they were to violate any of the security measures that they’re required to follow, as well as to keep your private medical information secure. So I think for me anyway, I would trust in my doctor as much as I do my bank, and I do count on my bank to keep everything as secure and they have security experts that know how to make sure that they’re doing everything they can to keep things safe.

Belva Smith:
One thing I will say, and I don’t know, I’ve not done any of the telemed stuff, so I don’t know how you’re actually logging in with the individual. But let’s say you’re going to a website, anytime you go to a website that is secure, in the address bar, which is the address of the site that you’re visiting. On the far left side of that, you’ll see a little padlock. If that lock is closed or in the locked position, then you know that you’re entering into a secure website.

Belva Smith:
Also, if you’re typing it in, if it’s, “hop to this place S,” which Tracy corrected me on that. I think I’m saying it wrong, but it’s actually the HTTPS, the S stands for secure. So if you’re typing it in and you’re using an S, then you can be confident that you’re going into a secure environment.

Belva Smith:
If you’re going into a Zoom meeting, which is what we’re all doing here, again, Zoom did have some security issues in the beginning. And I’m not sure that they’re all 100% secure at this point. But they have made great measures to try and make it as secure as they can at this point, and one of the things that I know our I guess corporate account has enacted is allowing people into the meeting. So if you can’t just jump into the meeting, then you can assume then that it’s also secure.

Belva Smith:
And with that, I’m just going to say I think there is no 100% secure internet action. I mean, anytime you’re on the internet, you do run the risk no matter how secure you think you are of something getting leaked or cracked. It happens to the biggest and the best of all companies. So if it’s not something that you feel comfortable with, then if it’s option for you to get out of it, then don’t do it. But I think in most cases, you’re going to be safe with it.

Belva Smith:
So that’s my two cents.

Tracy Castillo:
Belva, I appreciate the way you were talking about HTTPS, which is the secure link and how everyone can look up there and see if it is secure or not. Sometimes you may receive an error message saying that the certificate needs to be updated. That’s common. That usually happens. I would suggest reloading the page and trying again if that were to occur when you’re doing it.

Tracy Castillo:
I also want to mention that when Brian was talking a couple episodes ago about Zoom and the security issues, I didn’t know of any. So I looked up, I typed in my Google search bar Zoom and security issues, and I was able to find what was going on with Zoom. If you are worried and concerned about your telehealth platform, do a Google search. Research it and see if it has any known issues with it. And if it does, maybe you want to bring those up to your doctor or your provider. But again, the provider is going to be fined heavily if your information is leaked and they knowingly did it. So I would trust that they wouldn’t allow those types of breaches to happen. But for your own security and that you know, you can always search the platform that they’re using and see if it has any known issues with it.

Brian Norton:
So I’m just going to jump back just to some basics too. You might want to also talk to your provider about what equipment you’ll need to be able to do a telehealth visit. I think we all are pretty familiar. Obviously you’re going to need a computer or a tablet with most likely a microphone and a camera. But you may also talk to them about the technical aspects of what it would take as far as your bandwidth, what would be required for folks to be able to participate in those telehealth sessions. I’ve heard oftentimes in order for those types of sessions to work well, you need at least 15 megabytes of download and at least five megabytes of upload speed. So keep that in mind, and talk to them about what type of equipment and what the specifications would be required by their particular software program.

Brian Norton:
And I also think it’s really important too to talk to your doctor. These telehealth, telemedicine appointments are going to be great for a lot of things, but they’re not great for everything. And try to figure out what types of things can you get treated through these telemedicine, telehealth visits, and what can’t you be treated for, what are going to require in-person. And obviously your doctor’s going to be able to help steer you in those directions. They know what’s going to be appropriate and how to deal with that.

Brian Norton:
The other thing I would say too is you also want to talk to your insurance company. I know most of the major five insurance companies basically they have some coverage for telehealth visits but not everything is covered from what I understand. They have some sort of coverage for those types of visits. But definitely talk to them. I mean, they can tell you what’s going to be covered and what’s not going to be covered. And so just to be able to find information out about that would be helpful too.

Tracy Castillo:
You know what, Brian, it just crossed my mind is sometimes it’s not the platform you’re no but maybe your computer is infected. So I also want to bring up that you might want to run… My favorite program is Malware Bites, and I can run it and just see if there’s anything on my computer that is not supposed to be there. That would help.

Belva Smith:
That’s why I started out saying secure your end point. So you are the end point. So yeah, it’s very important for you to make sure that your technology is virus free and is secure as it can possibly be. And I think most of these telehealth medicines are using tablets rather than computers. I think they’re doing both actually, but tablets seem to be more popular. And tablets tend to be more secure than computers do from the get go. But yeah, I think it’s important to make sure that number one, you have whatever you’re using, the operating system for it is updated, that you’re running the current one, that you’re not running, for example, Windows 7 because Windows 7 hasn’t been getting security updates for quite some time now. So that probably isn’t a good idea, and that you’re anti-virus program, whatever it may be is also up to date. And that you are checking to make sure that you don’t have any junk on your computer before you get started.

Brian Norton:
Right. I think it’s also one of those things too, I think it’s a little scary when you start giving it this new terminology, telehealth, telemedicine, those types of things, and I think that just puts people… Doesn’t put them all that at ease with the technology. Really, I mean, if you’ve used FaceTime or if you’ve used Skype before, those have been around since the ’90s. That’s what they are. They’re just a video phone call so the doctor can see you, you can see the doctor. You can converse with them. They can ask you questions and you can respond back. So there’s nothing weird or crazy going on there, it’s just a video phone call for most folks, for most visits.

Josh Anderson:
So a couple things just going over what you guys said. If you have concerns, ask somebody at the doctor’s office what measures they’re taking to say HIPAA compliant, and they’ll probably be able to tell you. Trust me, they get that question quite a bit I’m sure. Because I know in Zoom, Belva, not only do we have the waiting room, there’s also a tiny little shield with a check mark up in the corner that says everything is encrypted both ways. So that’s just one of the safety measures we have because of that.

Josh Anderson:
And then, Brian, just on something you said, FaceTime didn’t come out until 2010. So that was not from the ’90s.

Brian Norton:
Oh. Skype then. Skype.

Josh Anderson:
Skype’s been out a long time, and I was like, “Wait, the iPhone didn’t even come out until 2008.”

Brian Norton:
Maybe that didn’t even come out in the ’90s. Maybe that’s the 2000s. I don’t know. Well, cool. I would love to hear from our listeners. If you have any feedback, maybe you’re using a telehealth, telemedicine tool and you get questions. Maybe you’re a healthcare provider and get questions. We’d love to hear from you. You can get ahold of us in a variety of ways. The first one is through our listener line, that’s 317-721-7124 or you can send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Love to hear from you. Thanks.

Belva Smith:
Yeah. I think it would be great if somebody is using that. If you could share your experience with the rest of us, that would be great because I’ve not used it and don’t know anyone using it.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. That’d be great. Really appreciate it.

Brian Norton:
All right, so our next question is, “Just wondering if anyone has recommendations for a freestanding, adjustable iPad holder. Currently I’m using my iPad for a telehealth video session and my work meetings and for presentations. At present, I’m propping my iPad up on a tilting hospital table with a book, and it involves a lot of fiddling and just trying to angle it correctly. And it oftentimes will fall over due to the angling which isn’t great midway through you’re doing a presentation. So any recommendations for a freestanding, adjustable iPad holder?”

Belva Smith:
Well I can relate. I am currently propping my phone up because that’s where I have my questions at. I have recently, and I don’t know what kind of adjustments you need for the different tasks that you’re doing. But hey ho, we got someone right here that’s using the telehealth, right?

Brian Norton:
Right.

Belva Smith:
But I just last week got a foldable stand for consumer of mine who’s going to be using an iPad in many different environments and situations, and I got to tell you this was my first experience with this stand. It came from Amazon, but I absolutely love it. And I know I’m not going to pronounce the name correctly. So I’m just going to spell it. It’s Kabcon foldable stand, and it is under $40. And another one that I found on Amazon that looks very similar, again I’m not going to try to say it, but it’s Humixx Design. Both of these are foldable and collapsible, so for my consumer situation, he’s going to be taking this stand with him remotely as he goes to different places. And this folds down very small and fits into a nice little bag to throw in your briefcase or your backpack. But also at the same time, it’s very, very durable. I mean, you really got to give it some force to be able to get it opened up and adjusted. But it has lots of different adjustable, what do I want to say? Adjustable different-

Brian Norton:
Adjustments.

Belva Smith:
Positions. There you go. That are available with it. And again, the one I really liked was around $40, and then the other one I found was under $30.

Josh Anderson:
So Brian’s talking on mute right now. So I guess I’ll go ahead and go. One that I’ve used quite a few times is the Belkin portable tablet stage, and they make two. One’s a whole lot bigger. So it depends on what you need. But this one sits on a table. It’s a whole lot like what Belva’s talking about. I just like it. It’s lightweight. It’s plastic, but it’s very heavy duty plastic. I mean, you could probably drop it a couple times and not hurt anything. Very adjustable and easily adjusted as far as the angle. I mean, you reach up with two fingers, you can move it back and forth pretty easily if you need to adjust your viewing angle for presentations or for telehealth visits. I just like it, it’s simple. It has one button on the side to open it up and then you just close it up whenever you’re done. You can put it away. It’s a whole lot of the same thing.

Josh Anderson:
And with them saying they’re using the hospital table, if you’re looking to still have this sitting on a table, something like this would work. Or they do make them where they can clamp to the side. They even make them where they can stand on the ground and come all the way up to face level. So there’s so many different kinds. I’ve had good luck with a lot of them. It just depends on your area. The problem I have with the clip one sometimes if your tables not completely stable, if it has any wobble at all, it just makes that terrible. Anytime you bump the table, the wobbles going to be 10 times worse with that arm connected to it. Whereas the stands like what Belva’s talking about or like this Belkin one, if you bump the table and stuff, it’s not going to sit there and just shake like crazy.

Josh Anderson:
But it really depends on do you want to keep it on the floor, do you want to keep it on a tabletop, do you want to attach it to something. And then there’s so many different kinds. And before Brian or Belva get a chance to say, I will say that your local Tech Act probably has quite a few different stands you could borrow to try out and see what might work because you guys always steal that, and I’m taking your thunder today.

Brian Norton:
Wow, good golly, Josh. That’s a great point. Really good point.

Josh Anderson:
I was reading your lips while you were talking on mute.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. We do. We actually do several of those in our loan library. You can find your local state assisted technology program by going to eastersealstech.com/states. So you can look up your local program by looking at that. And I think you’re right, I really love… Belkin has a couple of them. The one that you mentioned, and then there’s also some less expensive ones too and they do a very good job if you just want to hold it up there, put it on top of a table or a surface. They’ve got adjustable angles for viewing. So I really love that Belkin suggestion.

Brian Norton:
I have worked with some portable stands that are floor based and they have basically what’s on the bottom of your office chair. They’ve got wheels and a star base on it. Then they got a pole that goes up and then an arm that goes over so you can use it in a bed or you can use it when you’re sitting in a chair. The only issue with some of those things is when you have wheels on it, it moves. So as soon as you start pressing it, it seems to move. They aren’t lockable wheels that I’ve had on those. Although I’m sure you could probably get lockable wheels for it. There are ones that have the star base, but they don’t have wheels. They just have the floor pads, so you can set that and keep those there as well.

Brian Norton:
But there are a lot of different ones. Probably would be helpful to better understand the use case a little bit. But you can find quite a few portable tablet stands, whether you’re standing, whether you’re using it on a table or from a floor, from a wheelchair, those types of things. So lots of different options.

Belva Smith:
I will say the benefit to the one that Josh was mentioning that has the clamp, the benefit to those is the arm that they’re actually attached to is very flexible. So you can adjust your height as well as the positioning of the tablet. Now with the other ones we were speaking about, they’re more stationary. So you don’t get to adjust the height of the tablet as much as the positioning of the tablet or the angle I guess I should say.

Brian Norton:
Right. The two that I’ve played with that have wheels on their base, one is called a Levo, L-E-V-O, deluxe iPad floor stand and then the other one’s called Aidata, which is A-I-D-A-T-A, iPad/tablet stand. You can find both of those on Amazon, and they worked really, really well for me. They allow you to connect smaller devices, 7.9 inch devices, all the way up to 17 inch devices, your large format iPads. So think about that when you’re looking at those as well. How big is the device you’re trying to hold and does the stand actually hold that stand of device as well.

Brian Norton:
So other comments on that? If not, we’ll open it up to our listeners. So if anybody who’s listening has any comments on that, maybe you’ve used a floor stand or some sort of stand for an iPad or a mobile device, tablet, love to hear about it. You can give us a call on our listener line, that’s 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Thanks.

Brian Norton:
So our next question is, “Does anyone have any recommendations for microwave for someone with a visual impairment who lives alone and is on a fixed income? He’s in his 60s, but he’s pretty tech savvy.” So any suggestions for him as far as a microwave is concerned?

Belva Smith:
Well, you can take any microwave. For example, my microwave we have put bump dots on just a couple of the buttons. For example, the five so that Todd can locate the five and know which way to go to get to the other numbers. So bump dots are a very cheap inexpensive way to accommodate any microwave. But there’s also now the Amazon… I don’t want to set her off. A lady microwave that’s available, and it’s not that expensive. I did not before the show look the price up, but compared to other microwaves, it is really not that expensive. Now it’s my understanding that, for example, if you want to put in a frozen dinner, you can tell it to cook on high for four minutes and it will do that or if you want to make popcorn, you can say, “Make popcorn.” So your voice controlling it basically. You do still have to be able to get to the microwave and open it and get the food put in there.

Brian Norton:
It’s $60 on Amazon.

Belva Smith:
I thought it was [crosstalk 00:24:30]-

Brian Norton:
It’s really inexpensive. It’s not a big microwave by any means, but it’s only $60. Works really well.

Josh Anderson:
Don’t you have to have an Amazon device, right? It doesn’t have Alexa built in.

Belva Smith:
You do. But you can get a Dot nowadays for like $20.

Josh Anderson:
True. True.

Belva Smith:
In fact, I just got one for free for signing up for Sirius Radio. The Dot, and that’s all you would have to have is the Dot, and those are just really inexpensive now and very, very easy to learn to use too. So don’t get worried and think that, “Oh well, it’s just going to be too complicated for him to figure out.” You’re saying that this individual is pretty tech savvy, so my guess is within probably just a couple of hours of playing around with it, he’s going to be fixing anything that’ll fit in that microwave.

Belva Smith:
But the simple solution for already microwaves is just to see the bump dots. You can also use Velcro. I don’t really like using anything other than the bump dots because you want to keep the front of your microwave clean, and it’s not very easy to do if you do like the Velcro or things like that. And also, if the bump dot falls off, which we’ve been four years with this microwave, and we have lost one of the four buttons that we’ve put on. And that’s with cleaning it regularly. So they do tend to stick pretty good.

Belva Smith:
Another thing I would suggest is you could possibly consider trying to find one of the old style microwaves that maybe is not digital but is maybe the turn knob button. We actually have an air fryer that is the turn knob, and what’s great about that is we’ve marked where the medium temperature is and then from there, he knows he can go lower or higher. And then just turn the timer all the way on, and use your A lady to actually set the timer. So if he wants to cook a corn dog, for example, he’ll just put it in there on high, turn the timer all the way up and tell the A lady to set a three minute timer. When she goes off, then he goes and turns the air fryer off and it’s done. So the turn knobs are better than digital for folks that are low vision. I don’t know if those microwaves are even still available, but they might be.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, and I was going to say also if you’re looking for just a… You mentioned Velcro, obviously the bump dots. I’ve used a glue gun before. If you just put a glob of a glue gun on there, I mean, that’s just melted plastic. It’s a lot like a bump dot. I’ve also seen people… I haven’t done this myself, but I’ve seen folks color code buttons as well depending on what your visual impairment is. Perhaps you see certain colors better than others. Color coding the buttons might work. There is also puffy paint out there that you can use as an alternative. So there’s lots of different options. Puffy paint you can get at pretty much any craft store, Michaels or really any do-it-yourself hobby or craft store you can probably find that stuff with puffy paint. But lots of different variations to be able to just mark a typical microwave.

Brian Norton:
Or I got to say we have the Amazon Alexa microwave in our assisted technology lab, and it took me literally four minutes to set it up with our Alexa. It’s very, very simple. The pairing takes no time at all, and what I’ve realized is we had another Alexa enabled microwave in there, but it wasn’t made by Amazon. It would lose connection, and it was difficult to set up when it would lose connection. This one we haven’t had any problems with since we’ve connected it and paired it. So it’s pretty easy to use, very intuitive as far as the set up is concerned. It might be a great solution for this person.

Josh Anderson:
Going off just what you guys said, if the Amazon one isn’t… If they don’t have internet, they don’t want to talk to it, they don’t want it listening to them, they don’t want to have to tell it to microwave popcorn from 10 feet away when you have to walk up to it and put the popcorn in anyway. There’s tons of different microwaves out there. If you can find a place where you can try them out, find one that’s simple that only has the buttons you need. The less buttons to mark, less buttons to accidentally hit. I know me, you could get rid of every button that isn’t a number. I’ve never hit a popcorn button. I’ve never hit any of those buttons.

Belva Smith:
There are just those talking microwaves I think. I think those are still available, but they were, as I recall, they were extremely expensive. The first one I looked at was $300 when you could buy a microwave for $60.

Brian Norton:
Right. And Josh, you were talking about safety, privacy, those types of things. I think I’ve seen, you had a company on or something that you can put over the Alexa or an Alexa device to or an Echo device to be able to limit the privacy.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah. There’s a device, it’s amply named Paranoid. You set it on top of your Amazon device. I don’t know if it works on the Google devices either. So the Dots and everything actually have a mute button with them. So you set this thing on top of there, and essentially it’s a voice activated switch. It can only hear one word, and the word’s paranoid. So when you say it, it’ll push the mute button so that it can listen to you again. Or I think they have another device that you put on top and it plays white noise so the device can’t hear you, or if your device doesn’t have a mute button, you can ship it into them and they will put this device into your device.

Brian Norton:
Interesting. Very cool.

Josh Anderson:
For those of us, my Amazon device is in this tool chest right behind me. Unplugged, just sitting there hidden because I don’t…

Brian Norton:
Every once in a while I see it peak its head outside the top of your tool chest back there.

Josh Anderson:
[crosstalk 00:30:38].

Belva Smith:
Stop listening.

Josh Anderson:
It has its own podcast. It just steals our ideas.

Brian Norton:
Right, right. Tracy.

Tracy Castillo:
I was going to say that on mine, Christopher came outside yesterday and told me Alexa said something to him. I said, “Oh, okay.” He’s like, “No, I didn’t say anything to her.”

Brian Norton:
She just wants you to know she’s there.

Brian Norton:
I would love to open this up to our listeners. If you have been in this situation, maybe you have a microwave that you’ve used and loved and maybe simple enough or techy enough for this particular individual to use, love to hear about it. Phone number’s 317-721-7124 or you can send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Love to hear from you. Thanks.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is, “I am hard of hearing and have low vision and struggle to communicate with my friends and family whether by computer or phone. Any suggestions?”

Belva Smith:
Yeah. I was wondering if they’re talking about a landline phone or a smartphone, but we’ll just address it both ways. For the landline, there are special telephones made by CapTel that can not only… They have extra loud speakers but they also can display what’s being spoken in text on the screen so that you can see it and hear it. And I understand that they’ve partnered with Sprint now so there’s a sprintcaptel.com website. My understanding you can actually get these phones for free in some cases. However, I had a couple of folks that have tried to get them for free and were not able to. So I don’t know if there’s certain qualifications that you would have to meet in order to be eligible to get one of the CapTel phones for free. But that’s C-A-P-T-E-L.com or sprintcaptel.com. Both very good websites to go and take a look at.

Belva Smith:
And then for the cellphone, I’ve done all kinds of interesting things to help individuals with the cellphones. First of all, you have the option of trying out a Bluetooth speaker. I’m sorry. Yeah, Bluetooth speaker or earbuds. And all earbuds are going to be different, so which one would be appropriate is hard to say without actually getting it in your ear and trying it. But for example, I have clients that use the…

Belva Smith:
I am not looking at you guys. These guys are making faces at me, you guys.

Belva Smith:
I have clients that use the Bose Bluetooth speaker connected to their cellphone, and that will get really loud. So it makes it pretty easy to hear. We also are partnered with the Perkins School for the Blind to provide services for the ICanConnect Program. That’s all one word. ICanConnect. And that is a national program that provides communication equipment to individuals that are both hearing and visually impaired. Now it does not mean that you have to be totally deaf, and it does not mean that you have to be totally blind. But you do have to have a certain level of vision loss and hearing loss. You also do have to meet some income guidelines.

Belva Smith:
However, don’t let that scare you. If you have the dual sensory loss and think that you may qualify, regardless of your income, I would recommend going ahead and applying and let them determine. But if you go to icanconnect.org or if you go to the eastersealstech.com website, there’s a link there that you can gather all the information about what level of vision and hearing loss you should have and also what the income guidelines are. Again, they will provide the equipment and the training free of charge as well as the support as long as you have the equipment.

Belva Smith:
Most important thing is to remember that that is for distance communication just as this listener is suggesting. Their difficulty is communication with their friends and family, whether it’s through the phone or the computer. So yeah, check that out if you think that you might qualify. And either way you, whether you go to the eastersealstech.com or you go to the icanconnect.org, you’re going to wind up back with a connection to us at Easter Seals so we can answer any questions or get you the application that you might need.

Brian Norton:
And they’re a nationwide program, is that right?

Belva Smith:
That is correct. Did I not say that?

Brian Norton:
Well, I was going to say, if you’re from Indiana, you’ll end up back with us. If you’re from another state, you’ll end up with whoever is the provider within that state.

Belva Smith:
Right.

Brian Norton:
Again, this is all free as long as its distance communication related. And with our listener, it will depend on how hard of hearing you are. So there’s some stipulations about how hard of hearing you are and then what your low vision really is, what’s your visual acuity is to really make sure that you qualify for the program. But it’s a great program. We’ve been involved with them for how many years?

Belva Smith:
Since the beginning. We were there, how many? No, it’s more than that. It’s more than that. It’s closer to eight. We were there from the inception. So it’s been about eight years I’m pretty sure. And when you go to the website, yes, you’re right, Brian, you will choose your state. So if you choose Indiana, then you’ll wind up back with me. If you choose Ohio, then you’ll be connected to whoever is providing the services there in Ohio.

Brian Norton:
Cool. Excellent. Well, hopefully this has answered their question well. I think that’s some really great resources. ICanConnect. Again, you can go to their website, it’s icanconnect.org or you can go to eastersealstech.com. And I think if you put a /icanconnect, all one word, it’ll take you to the landing page for ICanConnect. And really all the links on our website will send you back to their main site, but you have those main questions that you can try to seek more information about through our site as well.

Brian Norton:
Love to hear from folks. If there’s a particular device or technology that you used for folks that have been in this situation, would love to hear from you. You can give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Love to hear from you. Thanks.

Josh Anderson:
And now it’s time for the wild card question.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is the wild card question. What is it that you wish will remain the same once things start to get back to normal?

Belva Smith:
I thought about this. I’ve been thinking a lot about this throughout this whole thing. For me, it’s cleanliness. I think with the outbreak that we had, especially at our meatpacking facilities, it just goes to show how lackadaisical all of us have become with cleanliness and our own hygiene. I use a lot of public restrooms because I’m on the road doing my job, and sometimes I’ll walk into a public restroom and decide, “Yeah, I don’t have to go that bad,” and just go on down the road. I really hope that if nothing else comes out of this that we all learn how important it is to keep our surfaces and to keep our hands as clean as we possibly can. I mean, let’s face it, we’re going to touch germy things and we’re going to touch dirty things. But let’s take the few seconds… I mean, what are they saying? 15-20 seconds for washing our hands, to wipe down any kind of a hard surface and remove the germs from it. It’s just a few seconds yet so, so, so important. And it’s not just COVID that we need to be concerned about with this. I mean, there’s lots of germs out there that we could be killing just by wiping things down. So that’s what I hope. I hope we all stay cleaner.

Josh Anderson:
Zoom meetings. I got to admit, I’m tired of them by the end of the week, but they are better because I don’t know if over the course of the last year, I’ve been in a meeting where at least one person was in Zoom then. And they’re not really there. You know what I mean? They might as well not be there. They might have some input or something like that, but it’s not the same as being there in-person. When everybody’s on Zoom, you seem to get more done. You’re looking at each other as opposed to all looking down at your phones, except for Tracy who’s looking down at her phone right now. But that’s okay.

Tracy Castillo:
It was not. That was [crosstalk 00:40:03]-

Josh Anderson:
I was just kidding. I’m just kidding.

Tracy Castillo:
There’s a movie after you, Big Fat Liar.

Belva Smith:
In a real meeting, you guys wouldn’t have all been sitting there making faces at me like you were.

Josh Anderson:
You see, that’s much, much harder to do in-person because if someone walks in, we all look like we’ve lost it. I mean, it is nice to just be able… Brian, you and I have had some meetings with folks out of three or four different organizations. There’s no way that if that was in-person all those people would have shown. They’re just too busy. I mean, I can’t wait to get back to doing more evaluations, training in-person, stuff like that, some things in-person. But I got to admit, Zoom meetings as far as team meetings and stuff, I feel like we get more done and we’re more connected with it. So I guess I hope that stays.

Josh Anderson:
And some of the remote training and things. It’s nice to be able to see three people over the state of Indiana in one day without nine hours of driving, especially when winter comes back. It’ll be real nice. So I guess those are the few things.

Belva Smith:
So Josh and I want clean Zoom meetings.

Josh Anderson:
Sanitized Zoom meetings.

Tracy Castillo:
I know what I want. So I told Brian about this a long time ago. My husband is from the Dominican Republic, and they have a different culture over there. And one of the things I thought was real fascinating, so we went to his aunt’s house. Although we may have been on vacation, everyone else was still working. But we went to his aunt’s house, it was around lunch time. People came home from work to have lunch, and I thought that was amazing. I think I am just going to be missing my family at lunch time because I’ve been eating with my family every lunch. Well, it’s two now here. We haven’t had lunch yet. I always just thought that was nice. So just being able to regroup with the family and catch up midday and then go back about doing our stuff. I’m going to miss that. I’m looking forward to getting back to the office and getting ready to go to different restaurants. Yeah, that’s where I’m at right now.

Brian Norton:
No. I feel all of those. I mean, I do agree with Josh, Zoom meetings. I feel like we’re more attentive and focused. I agree with Belva. Just cleanliness, I mean, what an eye opening experience this has all been for everybody. And then with Tracy, the same thing. I love time with the family. I love the flexibility that we’ve been offered the last several weeks. This is week 10 for me. I think we’re probably all at week 10, and I cannot believe it. But it’s been really nice just to be around family more and to spend more time with folks. I hope that doesn’t completely go away. Hopefully there’s some sort of a mix of that stuff moving forward, but excited to see where things go. So sounds good.

Brian Norton:
Well, hey, I want to thank everybody here. I want to thank you guys for being here with us to help answer these questions. I want to give you guys an opportunity to say goodbye to our listeners. So Belva, I’ll let you go first.

Belva Smith:
Thanks for listening, everybody. See you in a couple weeks.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. And then Tracy.

Tracy Castillo:
Goodbye, everyone. See you or hope you get to hear me next time.

Brian Norton:
And then Josh.

Josh Anderson:
See you next time, folks.

Belva Smith:
Wash your hands, everybody.

Brian Norton:
That’s right. That’s right. Also, send us your questions if you guys have questions or your feedback if you have feedback. 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 a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ or an email to tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Would love to hear from you. Have a great one. We’ll talk to you later. Bye bye.

Brian Norton:
And it seems like every week we have at least one blooper. So here you go.

Belva Smith:
Somebody’s not muted.

Brian Norton:
I screwed it up.

Belva Smith:
Oh my god, can you imagine it trying to describe…

Brian Norton:
Wait, wait, wait.

Josh Anderson:
Not in the…

Belva Smith:
Oh my god.

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