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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Computer Training, Round 2

It seems like nothing in my life can ever be accomplished on the
first try. No skill can every be mastered during the first round
of training. It doesn't matter if it's technology, sign
language, mobility or physical therapy. It's a constant cycle of
learning and work.

Am I complaining about this? Not really. After all, life is
about the pursuit of knowledge and skills. It's what humans are
here for.... to struggle, overcome, learn and conquer.... and do
it all over again and again.

So now I'm in round two of computer training. This is something
I so very much need. I've had great difficulty with my
computer and learning how to use Jaws with a braille display. I
was not satisfied with my first trainer and the state couldn't
find any one else to work with me. So I've been trying to do it
on my own for a year.

It seems that my state VR counselor has been so focused on a
trainer who can work in my home and would be comfortable
teaching a deaf-blind person. The problem is that there aren't
many such people. My original trainer had to commute two hours
to get to my home. They even started looking for someone out of
state to travel here to help me. No wonder they couldn't find

Ironically, there is a major center for people who are blind
located about an hour away. I kept asking to go there. I said
I'd travel there for training in the center. VR kept dismissing
the idea.

Finally they are letting me try it. So yesterday I went to the
center for an evaluation meeting. I really liked the people at
this center and we were able to communicate well together. My
being deaf-blind does not seem to be an issue. We had a good
meeting and talked over everything that I want to learn.

The trainer told me that he won't start by teaching specific
tasks. He'll begin with general navigation skills. Sounds good
to me! That's exactly what I need.

They will have me bring in my computer and braille display. They
will upgrade me to Internet Explorer 8, Jaws Version 11 and
anything else I'm lacking. They will check all my settings and
make sure they are right for my needs and current skills. Then
they will teach me in the center on my own computer with my own
braille display. What an awesome plan!

The only trick is that I have little time before my arm surgery
and then I will need to recover. We want to fit in as much
training now but without completely overwhelming my mind, if
possible. Hopefully after my surgery, VR will let me go back for
more training. I will have to work it in around my college
schedule but I think I can manage a day or two per week to
attend training at the center this Fall.

I am very excited about this plan. I so badly need this kind
of training. Maybe this will be the right match for me this

So here's the score. I'm on round two of computer training,
round four of sign language and round six of physical therapy.
I may soon start round five of mobility. Learning... It's a
process that never ends.

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