Conducting the Assessment



Slide: Conducting the Assessment

Video 3

Welcome back my name is Bryen Yunashko, my name sign is Bryen. Our first two videos taught you how to conduct a meaningful interview.  But you’re not done yet! It’s now time for the technological assessment.  There are four different aspects involved with the technical assessment.

Start off by gathering environmental information.  Second, you want to identify what the consumer’s technological goals are. Third, provide them with the opportunity to try out different equipment.  And lastly, you need to document all your findings.  After completing each of those four steps you'll be able to make a successful recommendation.

Slide: Gathering information

But let’s begin with the first part of the technical evaluation, gathering information. 

Gathering environmental information is key to a successful recommendation.  For example, what do their home or office spaces look like?  Include factors such as lighting, noise volume, available space, furniture, etc.  Also, include the layout of the space. If you were to give them a large piece of equipment, would there be space for it? These are all things to keep in mind as you are making your notes.

Internet access falls under this category.  Do they have Wi-Fi at home? If so, do they know their password? If they don't know this information, do they know who to contact to get their password?  Are they able to change settings in their router?

In addition to internet access, ask about tele-services.  Do they have a landline and/or cellular service? Inquire about their current service providers and ask if they’d like to keep their current companies or try a new provider? They might like to switch to Verizon, AT&T or Sprint.

It’s also important to take a current inventory of equipment they already have. They might already have a computer and a CCTV.  Make sure to make a complete list of equipment including model numbers. Don’t forget software counts as equipment too.  Regarding software, make sure to note the version they are using. This is important as softwares frequently release updates and they could be using an outdated version.  For example, they could have version 1.0, but you know that version 4.0 is currently available.

Lastly, ask them to do something very simple on whatever equipment they have.  They could, for example, send an email or make a phone call.  This gives you the opportunity to see how they use their current equipment.

Slide: Identify Consumer’s Technology Goals

It’s now time to identify your consumer’s technological goals.  It’s best to let the consumer volunteer their goals.  If the consumer does not immediately offer their own goals, you will want to work with them to develop clear technological goals. The consumer might already have equipment but they don't know how to use it. Thus, one their goals could be receiving training to make efficient use of their current equipment.  From time to time the consumer might have a goal that is unrelated to your program.  If this occurs you’ll have to explain the parameters of your program.  If their goal does not meet the criteria for your program, make sure to refer them to an organization or individual that can help.  Remember, part of your role is to be an advocate for the consumer. This means that you should be a wealth of resources for them.

Slide: Demonstrate Equipment

It’s now time to demo different pieces of equipment that they could receive through your program. But before you do this, you should observe how they use their current equipment.  For example, if while using their cellphone you notice they have it extremely close to their eyes, this could be an area where you might have a piece of adaptive equipment to offer. Or they could just need more information about their device’s built-in features. If information is not enough, it’s time to put your kit to use!  You can demonstrate equipment that is related to their goal, and even equipment that might not be directly related.  Remember, you are the expert. The consumer might not know about certain types of equipment, so they won’t know to ask for it.  You can demonstrate various phones, softwares, laptops, screen readers, and braille displays. As a note regarding braille displays, there are generally three categories they fall into. There are small, portable braille displays, medium sized displays, and braille notetakers.  Each type has their own purpose.  As the consumer is using the equipment make sure to gauge their reaction.  If for example while they are using a braille display, you notice them struggling to read the braille output, this might mean they are not ready to use a braille display.  Instead of offering the equipment right then and there, you could refer them to braille training, and once completed they would be eligible to receive a braille display. 

Do not be afraid to discuss particular cases with your partner organizations.  Everyone’s ultimate goal is the same, to ensure the Deaf Blind person has the equipment they need to be successful.  It’s impossible to bring every piece of equipment to their home. So, for some consumers this might mean setting up a follow up appointment at your office.  It’s often helpful for the consumer to actually feel the piece of equipment, especially if we are talking about TTYs or braille displays.  Each display has a different feel. Some displays might be harder to read than others.  You also can’t bring big screen TVs to a consumer’s house.  In this situation I typically ask the consumer to go to a store and try out three sizes: 60, 55, 40 inch, and report back with which they preferred.  All of this information is documented in my notes.

Slide: Documentation

It's important that you document everything that you find out from your meetings. Make sure to identify your customer’s goals and figure out how they can use technology to improve their life.  And don’t forget to inquire where they will be using that equipment. Their home? The office? Or on the go? Do they have reliable access to the internet? What are their needs for mobile technology?

In addition to the environment, document your observations during the evaluation.  While using a screen were they right up next to it, or farther removed? Did they turn the lights off to be able to access a screen? What were their braille skills like?

Documenting all these observations will make compiling your final report and recommendations much easier.

Slide: Conclusion

Now you are done with your technological assessment.  It’s time for you to head back to the office and make your final report. Our next video will help you construct that report and make your best recommendation. See you next time.