VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Computer Access and iProgram
A Veteran learns to use adaptive software (Zoom Text) in order to use a computer independently.
The Computer Access Training Program (CATS) assists participants in using large print, speech, and voice access devices for computers. Those who successfully complete the program will be issued a computer, printer, scanner, and software needed to use their computer. The subject matter covered in the CATS program includes e-mail, Internet, and using Word documents. The computer program is separate from the regular rehabilitation program and requires a separate application process.
The average length of stay for the Computer Access Training Program is four weeks. Our department also monitors the latest advancement in the ever-evolving world of technology.
The iProgram is an advanced technology program which is designed to further enhance the independence of individuals with vision impairment or blindness by addressing their basic mobile computing needs. The patients are provided with two weeks of extensive training using a smartphone or tablet computer.
Accessibility for these devices is provided using built-in accessibility programs. One of the accessibility programs magnifies the text while the other provides a screen reader for verbal output. The basic scope of the program includes instruction for the phone (smartphone only), Notes, Calendar, Contacts (address book), e-mail, Internet, basic settings, and Siri.
As time allows, training may also include camera/photos, music, text messaging, reminders, clock, weather, maps, and voice memos. One-on-one instruction is provided by three specially trained Blind Rehabilitation Specialists as well as lab time, facilitated by the technology coordinator, to provide additional instruction in the form of "tips and tricks". A referral may be submitted for additional future training if prescribed by the treatment team as part of their discharge planning.