Meet Sam

Sam is a retired physician in his 70s. He was originally enrolled under the Division of Blind Services Older Blind program, and was encouraged to participate in various classes and events. After 9 months of inactivity, despite regular invitations, the Division of Blind Services advised his case be closed.

However, during the pandemic, Lighthouse case managers could recommend new clients for support under the legislative grant. Sam was proposed as a candidate, as he had requested technology training but was unwilling to make the physical trip to the office. The Lighthouse instructor contacted Sam and he was indeed interested. Sam’s vision had decreased and he struggled with accessing his iPad and iPhone. Sam was pleased to be able to receive services from his home.

First, the instructor reviewed Sam’s functional vision, current skill level, accessibility options, and training goals. The majority of Sam’s daily living activities and needs were being met, so his primary goals were to access his iPhone to read emails and texts, perform internet searches, read audio books, and tend to paperwork. Sam was leery of using voiceover as he knew there was a high learning curve, and also wanted to use his remaining vision. Simpler accessibility options, Speak Screen and Speak Selection, provided him with the tools he required. Additionally, Sam was provided with a list of Siri commands to easily input and read calendar appointments, read unread texts, and access additional functions on his phone.

Sam’s instructor helped him sign up with the Talking Book Library (TBL) program and the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) app administered through the National Library Service. An outspoken Republican, Sam was under the impression that the TBL only offered “liberal books.” He was assured that the program is apolitical and he would be able to find titles that suited his interest. After TBL approved his application, his instructor taught him how to use the player to set bookmarks, rewind or fast forward, use the sleep option, and search for book titles or authors. During a follow-up lesson, Sam reported that he was thrilled to be using the program and had found materials he enjoyed, to the extent that he was considering joining the monthly Library of Congress book club. Sam was encouraged to attend, as long as he could follow the rules (no politics or religion!).