Meet the experts: John Clower, access technology specialist

14 January 2020

Welcome to our new audio series, "Meet the Experts", which lets you hear directly from Vision Australia service providers about how they support people who are blind or have low vision to live the life they choose.

In the first of the series we hear from access technology specialist John Clower. 

From using your mobile phone to calling a friend or reading the screen on your iPad to a more complicated task like creating a spreadsheet on your computer, John explains exactly how a Vision Australia access technology specialist can assist you in any number of your technology goals.

You can listen to the full conversation with John here or on the player below or read on for a transcript of the program.

Stella: An access technology specialist assists people make the most of their technology but what do we mean by technology?

John: Technology is basically machinery that we use to assist us in achieving a goal. It can be something as simple as using a phone to call a friend or something more complicated like using a computer to create a spreadsheet.

Stella: Why is it important to use an access tech specialist - can’t we figure it out for ourselves?

John: It is possible for most people to figure out technology eventually but it requires quite a bit of patience. Most Access Technology Specialists here at Vision Australia are blind or have low vision so we understand some of the issues and we have a wealth of experience. So if someone comes to us wanting to use an iPhone we might be able to give them some strategies to further access something they may not have thought of.

Stella: What’s your approach when working with people?

John: I like to ask people what they like to use the technology for and I focus on that. For example, recently I worked with a woman in her late 90s who has never used a smart phone. She was petrified of breaking the phone and didn’t believe she’d ever be able to use it. She was in tears when she was able to send her grandson a text message. This is what technology can do – provide a connection to everyday life. The technology then becomes less scary because it’s helping people do something they really want to do.

Stella: Can you assist most people?

John: I believe so. There are people at all different levels but at any level we are all still learning.

Stella: What advice would you give to someone seeking more information?

John: A great place to start if you’re looking for general information or some rudimentary training is Vision Australia’s AT Help Desk on 1300 84 74 66 or email  athelp@visionaustralia.org.

Find out more about how John and other Vision Australia access technology specialists can support you here or find and contact your local Vision Australia office here

You can also listen to our weekly Talking Tech podcast, which includes discussion on the latest from the world of technology.