Deanna Quillen, or Dee has been enrolled in our Assistive Technology (AT) Individual Development Account (IDA) Program since December 2012. The IDA Program is a matched savings account program where people with disabilities will receive a one to one match for every dollar they save. Once the savings goal has been reached, the funds can be used to purchase assistive technology.
For the past two years Dee, who is legally blind, has been saving for assistive technology that can support her with her volunteer duties as a Foster Grandparent, and with her daily technology needs. Through the IDA program, Dee has purchased quite a bit of technology, including a cane, an iPad and in November 2014, a new iPhone 6 Plus.
The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus offer many accessibility features for blind individuals and individuals with low-vision. For Dee, the iPhone 6 Plus allows her to have a larger screen making it easier to read magnified text. Also, the voiceover feature and Siri, allow her to easily navigate through her phone by reading text on the screen aloud and responding to voice commands.
In 2006, Dee lost her peripheral vision due to Glaucoma and Optical Rosacea, and after seven eye operations, she was deemed legally blind and unable to maintain employment. Dee currently is living off of Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), and very modest retirement income, and like all of our IDA participants, Dee is a considered low-income.
Dee uses her iPhone 6 Plus to help navigate the public transportation system to get to and from her volunteer work, the grocery store, and other places around town. Dee moved to the Washington Peninsula in hopes of adjusting to a less complicated lifestyle. It is there that she currently volunteers 4 days a week for 4.5 hours a day at Ocean Park Elementary School. She mentors first graders on their reading skills. The volunteer work requires regular use of her iPad, which she purchased with her IDA to support the mentoring of her students. Dee uses the iPad to look up subject matter in larger print very quickly and provide the students with additional information, pictures and diagrams.
After purchasing her iPad, Dee told us:
“I now feel like an integral part of the school because I have the equipment to help me keep up with the demand of up-to-the minute information for the children. I could never have imagined affording this equipment without the help of the IDA Program. It has inspired me to live more independently and efficiently and to give back to the community.”