Assistive technology for ease of work

Dhavan Umredkar is a 47-year-old visually impaired person from Nagpur, Maharashtra. In 1996, he was employed in one of the departments under the Central Government. Unfortunately, ten years later, Dhavan started experiencing sight loss and was later diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. His gradually deteriorating vision slowed his pace of work, which led to his transfer to a different department that required non-technical work. However, the lack of basic skills training made him face many challenges.

A few years later, he read an article about a visually impaired person who uses assistive technology to live life with blindness. The Editor of the newspaper put him in touch with the Eyeway Helpdesk. Our helpline counselor apprised him of the various kinds of assistive technology and their uses in daily living and work situations. Soon, he learnt how to operate a computer using a screen reader, video magnifier, optical character recognition (OCR) software, etc. all of which helped him carry out his work efficiently.

He connected with Eyeway again to obtain a government circular that states the provision of assistive aid to persons with disabilities. The counselor informed him about the guidelines under the Department of Personnel Training (DoPT) and sent him a soft copy highlighting the important points. He forwarded the same to his senior officials who then sanctioned his request. However, the OCR software he was provided with scanned only documents written in English and most of his documents were either in Hindi or Marathi. Dhavan shared his concern with the counselor and was doubtful about convincing his seniors to allocate funds to buy another OCR software.

For this reason, the counselor assisted him in drafting an application to his administration stating the need for a Marathi reading OCR and requesting them to provide for the same. The counselor also made him understand that it is the duty of the government to help in making workplaces accessible for all and that he should not hesitate to request for what is necessary. He was also told to attach his medical certificate in support of his application. Dhavan was thankful to the Eyeway team for their timely support and guidance.