Recently I have been reflecting back on my own use of assistive devices. As an occupational therapist, we are often recommending assistive technology or adaptations and modifications. The trick is getting our clients to use them. I have a whole host of devices for low vision that I am spotty at using. I know I need to use them and they would help me a lot (decrease fatigue), but sometimes I just don’t. The trick is getting me to use them. I am not much different than any of the students I work with.
I think one of the main reasons why I choose to take off my glasses and look close to the paper or computer screen (my MO) instead of getting out a magnifier, is that I have not been properly trained to be proficient and efficient in the use of my adaptive devices. This is ESSENTIAL when teaching clients the use of adaptive devices. You can’t just hand them the technology (low or high tech) and expect it to work for them, as it was done for me. It is very important that the individual has buy in and that they are trained so that they feel comfortable and confident in using the device and it feels easier to use the device than not.
With my work, traveling to and from 7 different schools on the bus, I am not able to carry around a device for every little thing. I need to simplify. Instead of carrying magnifiers, my CCTV, monoculars, and my iPad; I have simplified it to one monocular, a magnifier app on my iPhone, my work iPad and laptop.
I need to dedicate time to practicing and becoming proficient at the use of my tools. This is hard to do when I am barely keeping up as it is and to take the extra time to go slow and learn these tools. It would have been much easier if I was taught these skills at a young age or even better when I was given these tools only a few years back.
I need to keep this all in mind as I work with my OT students and as I work harder to learn to use my tools more efficiently. I need to be patient with myself.