Anyone who has a mild vision impairment through total blindness, or knows someone who does, is invited to the Technology Fair for the Visually Impaired and Blind. From simple best quality hand-held magnifiers to electronic braille note computers, it will feature the newest technology. Sponsored by the Visually Impaired Support (VIS) Group of Cumberland County, this technology fair is a public service free-of-charge event and will be held Thursday, June 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sonshine Soup Kitchen, 69 Neecham St., Crossville.
“This technology open house opens at 9:30 a.m. with each vendor speaking for 10 minutes… giving an overview of their business and the specialization of the products that they offer,” said VIS President Linda Simmons. “Why is this necessary? Because most visually impaired people don’t realize the equipment that is available.”
Simmons continued, “If the blind and visually impaired have the proper tools, we can do almost anything!”
The following businesses will be demonstrating products at the technology fair that can improve the lives of the visually challenged: Paul Day (TN Low Vision), Mike Self (VFO — Freedom Scientific, Optelec & AiSquare), Kathy Lamb (AdaptiveWare) and Barbara Mora (Eschenbach Display and ScienceBased Health).
These companies make a wide range of equipment, devices and aides for the visually impaired from software, large-print keyboards, magnifiers of every shape and size, monocular/telescopes, digital magnifiers, text-to-speech reading machines, desktop Electronic Video Magnifiers (EVM’s), Braille computers and other Braille appliances. Each vendor will also speak of their business and their products following the service organizations’ presentations. The presentations will begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 10:30 a.m., followed by the open house until 2 p.m.
In addition to all of these vendors showing the latest and greatest equipment, VIS will have certain organizations that offer services for the blind and visually impaired. At 9:30 a.m., the VIS Group will present speakers from the Technology Access Center (TAC), the Tennessee Rehabilitation Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DRS) and the Fairfield Glade Lions Club.
TAC is a non-profit agency serving people in middle Tennessee at any age with any type of disability since 1989. Linda Judeich, executive director of TAC, explains, “With hands-on trials of devices, clients can identify specific devices and tools that improve independence at home, at work, at school or at play. We service a wide range of disabilities, but the majority have vision impairments. These devices may help people with many types of impairment to conduct daily living activities such as cooking, eating and dressing.”
Judeich continues, “TAC offers short term loans of various devices to help identify ones that work for a particular client doing a particular task. We also have a re-use program in which we give away gently used accessible technology devices to users in need of them to promote independent living.”
The VIS Group President Linda Simmons is onboard, stating, “We have been seeking for quite some time to get Linda Judeich and TAC involved in one of our programs. We appreciate their visit from Nashville. TAC will also be participating in the VIS Group’s Focus on Kids program on July 29… an event for blind and vision impaired school children. Thank you, TAC!”
Four dedicated ladies from the DRS, which is a branch of the Department of Human Services, will be representing the Cookeville district which covers the following counties: Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren and White. Chastity Williams and Miche Corner, Cookeville district DRS rehab instructors for services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and their assistant Susie Walker, assists clients in the independent living program. Services are paid through state and federal funding. The independent living program aids their clients by assessing their individual needs and improving their daily life. Referrals may be placed by anyone, including the visually impaired person. If you are experiencing problems with daily living skills and can benefit from these services, please attend the Technology Fair Open House for more information.
Tonya Cherry is a master’s rehabilitation counselor. She serves visually impaired, deaf-blind and deaf and hard of hearing individuals who are seeking employment. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis. If disabled and interested in seeking employment, come to the Technology Fair for more information.
Fred Mundt, the president of the Fairfield Glade Lions’ Club, will be on hand to discuss the services that the Lions Clubs are involved for the community. The next project for Mundt and this organization will be the White Cane Project, which will take place starting the first week in June at several area locations. The VIS Group’s goals align with the Lions Club, and they have supported each other over the years.
VIS President Linda Simmons reiterates the statement, “If the blind and visually impaired have the proper tools, we can do almost anything! Do a favor for a visually impaired person that you know. Bring them to the Technology Fair Open House on Thursday, June 8, between 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sonshine Soup Kitchen on Neecham St.”
For more information, call Linda Simmons at 456-6701 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.