CBVI offers blind and visually impaired New Jersey residents assistance in acquiring assistive technology that is necessary to gain or retain employment. Assistive technology is defined as any item, piece of equipment, or system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is commonly used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.
CBVI’s Technological Support Services assist consumers to have direct access to computer equipment and other information technology. The goal of providing Technological Support Services is to minimize barriers to task performance by taking into account the consumer’s specific needs, as an individual who is blind or visually impaired. The agency’s Technological Services Specialists (TSS) are responsible for maintaining and staffing four comprehensive and up-to-date Regional Technology Assistance Centers (RTAC) located throughout New Jersey.
Each RTAC is stocked with a variety of assistive technology devices and is open to the public by individual or group appointments. Three of these labs are located in each of the CBVI Regional Offices (Newark, Freehold and Cherry Hill) and the fourth is operated in partnership with the NJ State Library Talking Book and Braille Center in Trenton, NJ.
Additionally, TSS staff perform technology assessments and skill evaluations for consumers who are seeking employment and require equipment adaptations to assist in their work and/or educational environment. The specialists make recommendations suitable for each consumer’s unique situation, for the purpose of enabling the individual to efficiently address his/her professional or academic responsibilities.
Following the evaluation, a comprehensive report is completed by the TSS which includes recommendations for equipment, software, integration and/or training. Recommended training is time limited and specific goals are linked to tasks and learning objectives via vocational training or on the job. The report specifies the number of training hours anticipated to allow the consumer to reach the specified proficiency in the needed skill sets. Training is provided one-on-one with consumers at their home, training locations, or work-site.
The TSS staff also install, setup, and configure recommended equipment for consumers on-site and provide brief instruction on proper utilization of assistive technology.
The TSS staff work with outside agencies, businesses and institutions to evaluate work environments with respect to accessibility for visually impaired employees. The specialists also suggest appropriate solutions to outside agencies that would make these workplaces and the software applications they use more compatible with assistive technology.