April 30, 2014

Staff Perspective: Why I Love My iPhone

Photo: A person's hands holding an iPone

By Beth Hiseler, WBRC Living Skills, CATs, and iProgram Instructor

When a tech savvy, visually impaired staff member handed me his iPhone a few years ago, I have to admit I didn’t recognize a good thing when I felt it.  As a blind touch typist and braille user for decades, I was very comfortable using a keyboard; it seemed like the perfect way to communicate with a device.  The iPhone had no keys—only a few buttons—and its touch screen made me feel disoriented and powerless.  I rushed back to my Nokia cell phone.  Maybe it wasn’t smart, but it had all those reassuring tactile buttons.  If I got an iPhone, would I be able to answer my calls before they went to voicemail?
But, over the years, they wore me down.  The iPhone and iPad took the WBRC by storm.  Veterans were more interested in them than any other part of our programs.  I’d had some training with the phone at work, but when my students came to Living Skills class with more knowledge about the iPhone than I possessed, I decided I’d better get one of my own.
When I brought my new iPhone home, I was fortunate to have a tech savvy friend to set some things up for me the way instructors do for their veterans at the WBRC; the Apple Store staff were pretty helpful too.  At the beginning, it wasn’t all smooth sailing.  I had to practice quite a bit to get comfortable, but it was more fun and more functional than I had thought it might be.  I learned to tap, double tap and swipe to let the device know what I wanted to do, and I could definitely answer calls before they went to voicemail!  I could also download books and music and actually preferred the phone to the computer for these activities.  The weather, news, stocks and more were literally at my fingertips.  There was also Siri, who performed various activities when I pressed a button and asked for assistance—placing calls, checking the temperature, setting alarms and reminders—she was more limited than a human, but she really could handle a lot of tasks quite quickly and efficiently.  There were, I discovered, apps for identifying money, bar codes, and colors, and they all worked on this one little device.  If you’re feeling like a new adventure and are willing to spend some time coming up the learning curve, some day, you might find you love your iPhone too!

CLICK HERE to lean more about the WBRC iProgram

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