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For Debbie Roberts embracing technology training was not only necessary to do her outreach work but it also became a game changer that opened her world up after losing her sight. 

"It just feels amazing because before I was just sitting at home. And didn't have any technology to contact my kids or others," said the 41-year-old.

Six years ago, Debbie lost her sight due to drug use. Turning her life around, she started working with the Elizabeth Frye Society to help others. But she needed to learn some skills to navigate her vision loss and gain back her independence. 

She became involved with CNIB through orientation and mobility training. After learning how to navigate with a white cane, she began technology training, so she could work. 

Receiving a computer, she learned the basics of her computer: how to type, how to read and send emails with the new programs on her computer, JAWS and Fusion. The voice over technology enabled her to navigate her computer without her sight.

Then CNIB invited her to be a part of a CNIB iPhone Pilot Program and she said yes. She was given a phone and began more technology training to learn how to use it. 

In typical Debby style, she dove into learning it. She played around on her phone discovering different apps and learning how to text. 

Her world opened up, "I am not scared to go out on my own. I can call someone if I get lost."

She also became more connected to the people in her circle. "I am texting my daughter all the time. It really connected me with work because they can get a hold of me and send emails." 

For others with vision loss Debbie has this advice about technology training, "Try it. It is quite easy. It seems scary and difficult at first. If you take baby steps it is like learning how to walk again. Just keep practicing. You will get the hang of it." 

Now she has goals as technology enabled her to see her future again. "I am getting braver on my computer, so I can start back up in school and finish my grade 12." 

For more information about technology training contact the Regina office at 306-525-2571 or the Saskatoon office at 306-374-4545.

Read more articles from the 2019 January CNIB Saskatchewan issue of Insight:

To read the entire newsletter in an accessible word document click here

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