Using Assistive Technology On the Job: 8/14/19

Work It Wednesday!

Continuing our conversation about success on the job, and the belief that recognition for a job well done should happen throughout the year, we are  sharing success stories once a month. We are calling this “Work It Wednesdays”, and offer today’s story.

If you wish to share a success story with us, please send them care of Michelle Sparling at

Using Assistive Technology On the Job…
August 14, 2019 – Nancy Jo Geise

Hi, my name is Nancy Jo Geise. I been working for Networks for Training and Development, Inc.  for 10 years. I am the Database and Resource Specialist.

Photo of Nancy Jo
Nancy Jo

I want to share how assistive technology has affected my life and also talk with you about my job.  I’ve always used different ways to communicate with people. I have used language boards, a Dynavox, a Chat PC, and sign language. I will also use a Pen and paper to write things down. When I decided that I didn’t want to use my Chat PC anymore I did the search on what else was out there with some help from other people.  I made the decision to get the iPhone as well as an iPad after I had a chance to try them out.  They are both easy to use and really help me to easily and quickly talk to people and share information.  I now use an iPad with different communication applications, and the one I use the most on my iPad is Speak It.  I also use Speak It and sometimes Prologuo2go on my iPhone.   I also send text messages and emails and just started using Facetime and ZOOM.  It is a great way to stay in better touch with my coworkers and attend meetings virtually when I can’t be there in person.

My first 4 years at Networks, I worked at our office in Sunbury maintaining the library of assistive technology (AT) and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. filing, acted as the host for those who came to the office, helped with day to day things and was a co-presenter at trainings about AT and AAC. I also met with people who were just beginning to explore these areas to give them encouragement and show what is possible for people to express themselves as well as be more independent.  I also completed the Communication Mentors Course™ which was created by Networks.

To do my job more independently, I use easy things in my life.  I have a job coach, Crystal, who helps me.  My supervisor, Jessica, helps me when I need it too.  The people support in my life is called soft assistive technology. Things like the iPad and iPhone are called hard assistive technology.

Some easy AT I have used in the office is an extra-large dry erase calendar which shows two months at a time to help me keep track of what is coming up at work. I keep another dry erase board by my desk for quick reminders and notes, use daily to-do checklists when I get stuck and need some support from Jessica.  I will also instant message Jessica though google chat if we’re both busy and I just have a quick question.  I use a large paper holder for when I need to copy something on to the computer, a touch-activated lamp to easily control the lighting in my office and a talking clock. On my computer, I use accessibility features which were already built-in.  I made the screen larger, made the cursor and mouse bigger and easier to see and also have short cut icons on my home screen so I can quickly get to my email, timesheet or other important documents. 

I am now working from my home office.  I continue many of the same job tasks as before, but I have learned some new jobs as well such as converting VHS tapes to DVDs, distributing flyers around the community, scanning evaluations and sign-in sheets from trainings, hosting the Community Bodywork Clinics we hold monthly, as well as entering data from training evaluations and generating the training evaluation summaries.  I’ve also started conducting research to develop resource listings.

We are always looking at new and easier ways to do things so I can be really independent at work. However, we all need people to support us, I think that is the assistive technology I might use the most. And because of all of this great hard and soft assistive technology, I’m able to do my job really well.

…Submitted by Nancy Jo Geise