Having had personal experience with how technology can support people who are blind or have low vision to lead independent and active lives, Adam Morris decided he’d do something to help others with vision loss.
A keen user of assistive and other technologies, Adam, who is completely blind, signed up to join Vision Australia’s Individual Peer Support Program to assist others.
“I’d heard about the program and I do like to try and help people so I thought I’d give it a go,” Adam says.
“Technology has always been something I’ve been interested in and I’ve had some experience with running some mailing lists about different technology topics so I thought that would be an area where I could help,” he says.
Through the program, Adam is matched with others from the blind and low vision community he may be able to support. Through phone conversations Adam will be able to provide tips and strategies around how technology can support his peers and also act as a general outlet for those he is matched with.
“I’ve had one peer so far that I’ve given a bit of advice to and it’s definitely been something I’ve enjoyed and I’m looking forward to helping as many people as I can,” he says.
“I hadn’t done anything like this before, but the training is great and really gets you ready for it. It helps to give people somebody to talk to, so I think if you can listen and relate to what the other person is saying then that really helps as well.”
Along with the fact that he enjoys helping people, Adam says he was also motivated to join the program given just how much of a difference technology can make in the lives of people who are blind or have low vision.
“For a lot of people who are blind or have low vision technology is what allows them to carry out everyday tasks at home or hold down a job so it’s really important that people know what’s available to help them.
“Things like the voiceover function on an iPhone can make a huge difference, but there are a lot of people who don’t know about that.
“Everybody is different, but I’ve come across a lot of people who are also resistant to using screen reading software as they want to make the most of their remaining vision. That’s understandable but I think it’s important people know how much of a difference using the right bits of adaptive technology can make and how you can use different things together to get the most benefit.”
Along with discussing how different technology can support people who are blind or have low vision, Adam believes it’s important people with vision loss discuss challenges they face around current technologies.
“There are a few things out there that are a common annoyance for a lot of people who are blind and it think it’s important we talk about them so we can share any ideas about how we can work around them.
“One big thing is that touchscreens are becoming more and more popular for things like ATMs and EFTPOS machines and even on appliances like washing machines without any tactile feature or audio outputs.”