Technology is independence


Can you imagine a world where you were completely dependent on another person to do things for you, take you places, and help you with daily tasks? Chris couldn’t either, and thanks to technology, he doesn’t have to rely on others to be independent.

Meet Chris. Chris is a senior at Ohio Dominican University (ODU) double majoring in business and insurance. During his time at ODU, Chris has played drums in the marching band and enjoyed different social activities. In his free time, Chris loves trying different instruments.

“There isn’t an instrument I don’t have an interest in,” he said.

The piano was the first instrument he learned, but he said it has taken a back seat to the guitar. In what little free time he has left after work, school, and music, one might find Chris working on cars, a hobby he has picked up along the way.

Even as a full-time student, Chris found time to work at Apple as a sales specialist, a job he’s enjoyed now for three years. We asked Chris what his favorite thing was about working at Apple. While some might say the product discount, Chris responded with, “The people you meet. Apple fosters an honest environment where it’s not so much about selling but about a conversation of what the customer wants and needs.”

As a part of Chris’ job, he helps customers set up their new devices and demonstrates what the products can do.

When it comes to technology, Chris embraces all it has to offer. He is eager to show how his new smart glasses and braille display works. His smart glasses are connected to a service called Aira, where he can connect to an agent anytime, anywhere. Chris has used Aira to navigate new places, travel, and even to check the temperature gauge on his grill. “Through technology over the years, I have gained a lot of independence.”

Chris learned to read braille when he was in preschool. Chris shared that a common topic of discussion among people who are blind is “Is braille relevant?” To which Chris confidently shared, “Braille to me is literacy!”

Chris likes being able to use his new braille display to read to himself instead of relying on another person or audio to read aloud to him.

So how does the braille display work? Well to those watching Chris’ demonstration, it was pure magic. But Chris would tell you it’s not magic, but rather a quick connection to Bluetooth. In a matter of seconds, Chris can connect his phone to his braille display and be browsing the web, answering email, and scrolling through social media just like anyone else who is sighted.

Chris was asked how technology has changed his life.

“It has leveled the playing field,” he said. “I remember going to school and trying to do everything by hand. It wasn’t until high school that I started using more technology and developed a real passion for it. It’s insane what technology does for us. I’m holding my breath for autonomous cars. To me, that could be the biggest game changer.”

As someone who is more than familiar with technology, Chris was asked what advice he’d give someone who was hesitant about trying technology.

“Don’t be intimidated by it. I’ve always embraced technology and never approached it with a mindset of worrying if it didn’t work,” he said. “I can’t thank (the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities) enough for your support. Helping me access technology has opened a lot of doors. Having someone that works with me to put together a new plan and ask me what I need has been a big help.”

Chris is looking forward to graduating in May and putting his degree to use.

During a recent visit to the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities office on Columbus Pike in Lewis Center, Chris demonstrates how his new smart glasses and braille display works. a recent visit to the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities office on Columbus Pike in Lewis Center, Chris demonstrates how his new smart glasses and braille display works. Courtesy photo | DCBDD

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