When Your Disability is New: Part 3 “Assistive Technology for Independent Living”

I recently picked up the special chair I must use following the eye surgery I’m scheduled to have. The procedure I’ll be going through is called a vitrectomy, and the chair is called, of course, a vitrectomy chair. It looks like the kind of chair you’d sit in when you get a massage. The interesting thing is that there is so much assistive technology out there to help in whatever situation you find yourself in.

Assistive technology (A.T.) is any device or item that allows a person with a disability to increase their independence or improve their quality of life. We use so much A.T. in our daily lives that we often don’t think about it, but when you find yourself learning to cope with a new disability, checking out what’s available in A.T. is a wise move.

The vitrectomy chair is only a part of what I was able to get from the Medical Supply store. Another A.T. item included in the package is a pad that helps you sleep face down. Keeping my head down helps with healing.

I’ve been checking out other types of A.T. I can use to help with my independence if my sight does not improve or worsens. There are magnifying glasses to help when I’m working with crafts and a program on my computer that will read aloud to me anything that arrives in written form.

Special software exists for screen magnification on the computer, and I can adjust background colors to make it easier to read. A closed-circuit television system allows people with visual impairments to read books, magazines, newspapers, labels on bottles and cans, etc. While I am busy healing for the next few weeks, I’ll be listening to audio-books; I’m looking forward to that part of my recovery!

Whatever your disability, there is probably something in the way of A.T. that will help you live a more independent and more satisfying life. If you are wondering what might work for you, Disability Network/Lakeshore staff are standing by to help you learn what items are available, what they cost, and how to pay for them. Call us at 616-396-5326 for more information.