March 21, 2006.
CHICAGO - In an effort to accommodate people with visual impairments in need of technical support, The Chicago Lighthouse has established a telephone assistive technology support line.
The toll free number for the new service is 888 TCL (825) 0080.
"We're excited to have an opportunity to make it easier for people with visual impairments to take advantage of the many technological advancements that are now more readily available," said William Bielawski, program manager for adaptive technology and office skills training at The Lighthouse.
Bielawski noted that any blind or visually impaired person could call the support line regardless of what product they're using.
"It can be any hardware or software relating to assistive technology as long as the customer is visually impaired," he said.
"We also encourage calls from teachers and other individuals who work with people who are visually impaired as well as other interested parties."
Servicing the calls is Ray Campbell, a former engineer with Lucent Technologies who now works in The Lighthouse's Adaptive Technology program.
"Our intent is to offer a one stop place where people who are blind or visually impaired can get the assistance that they need," he said.
"I can listen to what JAWS or WindowEyes is saying and walk him or her right through their problem."
Campbell added that if he can't resolve the issue over the phone, he will schedule an on-site visit as long as the customer resides in the Chicago metropolitan area.
The program was made possible when The Lighthouse successfully matched a $41,000 grant from the Boeing Company Foundation.
"We're tremendously grateful to Boeing for their support and we intend to use the help desk in strengthening our level of customer service and showcasing The Lighthouse as a national leader in adaptive technology," Bielawski said.
Celebrating its centennial this year, The Lighthouse is one of the oldest social service agencies in Chicago. It is regarded as the most comprehensive agency of its kind in the Midwest and a model agency.
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