John works in one of the New Jersey’s One Stop Career Centers as an Employment Counselor. He recently returned to work after surgery for carpel tunnel syndrome in both wrists.
Upon his return, as per his doctor’s orders, John was unable to type for longer than ten minutes at a time. This was a problem for John; in order to complete his essential functions, he needed to be able to manage cases through the state computer database. This included writing letters, documenting case notes, and other activities that required a good deal more typing that he could complete in 10-minute stretches.
Advancing Opportunities’ Assistive Technology Services Department conducted an assessment and several new tools were introduced into John’s routine. The solution consisted of installing voice recognition software on John’s computer. Instead of typing reports, John now speaks into a small microphone and his words are converted to text.
Overall, the new technology worked well and presented a viable solution. There were two minor issues John needed to work around though. The first challenge required coordination with the IT department — to have the software installed on the state computer and the permissions set to allow John to use it. Two phone calls and one visit later, John was ready to go.
The second obstacle was noise. John’s work station was in a cubicle, amid a maze of other cubicles. Plus his desk was near the copy machine and a busy intersection of hallways. John’s microphone sometimes picked up the ambient noise. John hoped he would get his own office out of the accommodation… Instead, his work station was moved to a less hectic spot in the office. Since he relocated, the microphone works just fine.