Guest Author - Dean Ingalls
A large selection of assistive technology/equipment that can help overcome vision loss/blindness is available. The problem is discovering what type of technology works best for you. The issue is compounded when trying to order the equipment from an online store. This article discusses some tips and recommendations for help with selecting and ordering assistive technology/equipment online.
The first recommendation is to check out your area for any vision organizations and talk to them about what type of equipment you need. Next, investigate your area for any vision centers that may be located in or around a hospital or vision testing center. Most of the vision centers have some forms of assistive equipment that you can use at the store which can help you make sure the equipment is right for you. Finally, some retail and technology stores will stock some types of assistive technology providing the opportunity to physically investigate the technology and decide if the technology fits your needs. For example, Radio Shack carries a small selection of talking watches. I recommend you visit your local Radio Shack, Best Buy or other technology store and discover what types of equipment they carry.
The other method I recommend for deciding what to order online is locate other vision impaired individuals in your area and talk to them about the different types of technology they use and ask them what equipment they think would be right for you. Visiting your local school, college, training center for the Blind or state division of Blind Services are all good places to obtain information about assistive technology. If you visit the State Department of Rehabilitations specifically the Department of Blind Services and open a case then the organization will complete a technology needs assessment for you. The assessment will identify exactly what types of assistive equipment you need.
If you can talk to another vision impaired/blind person who is presently using a type of assistive equipment you are interested in would greatly reduce the chance that you will order the wrong item from an online store and have to return the item.
I recently purchased a sport talking watch and when the watch arrived I discovered the watch was showing signs of a defective battery. So, I decided to take the watch to Radio Shack and have the battery replaced for the same cost of shipping the watch back. If the battery was the problem then replacing the battery would fix the watch and I would not have to wait for the company to receive the defective watch and send a new one.
Unfortunately, the watch did not work after replacing the battery. I then knew I needed to work on returning the watch for a new replacement. When I called the company and told them about my situation they politely said, “Discard the defective watch” and they informed me that a new watch would be shipped immediately without additional cost incurred. So, even though I went through some difficulty I was given a new watch that arrived two days later. I really like my new watch and felt the company helped with the frustration of getting a defective watch by quickly sending a new replacement watch. .
Ordering from an online store is a gamble and sometimes frustrating but if you do some investigation and determine what to order the process can provide you with some very helpful technology/equipment.