By Emily Flynn, Program Coordinator for Ability Tools
This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Liu for our “Get to Know Your AT Advocate!” blog series. Amy is an AT Advocate at Center for Independent Living that has locations in Oakland and Berkeley. Amy has been an AT Advocate for over two years now. She also recently won our “Show Off your AT” Video contest. View her video here: http://www.abilitytools.org/video-contest/vote.php
1. What is your background and / or interest in Assistive Technology (AT)?
I’ve always loved AT and I was a computer trainer in college. While I was attending graduate school and studying Marriage and Family Therapy, I had a part-time job as an AT advocate. After graduating that part-time job turned into a full-time job because I loved assistive technology so much.
2. What is your favorite part of being an AT Advocate?
My favorite part about being in AT advocate is definitely learning about new technology constantly. I also love being able to introduce that new technology to those in need.
3. What is your favorite AT and why?
This is a hard question because my favorite piece of AT is constantly changing. It also changes depending on my needs. For example, if I’m traveling, my accessible traveling apps are my favorites. I also love my smart phone because it has so many accessibility features and I use it every single day.
4. How have you seen AT really make a difference in someone’s life?
I have been very successful in connecting people with the right assistive technology by referring them to the Ability Tools Device Lending Library in nearby Hayward at CRIL.
I also recently hosted a session for the company Freedom Scientific at our center, where they performed demonstrations of different pieces of assistive technology. There was a woman there that was a parent of a child with low vision. She explained to me that her daughter was struggling with being able to see the writing on the board in the front of the class. After that demonstration by freedom scientific the woman found a piece of equipment that she believes may be able to help her child. She was so excited, and I was so happy that to be able to connect her with this company.
5. What item(s) would you really wish that you could have to loan out or give away?
I actually have an idea for an AT invention. I would like to see someone invent a device similar to Google Glass for individuals with low vision. These glasses, though, would be able to read a street sign or an informational sign or whatever is in front of the person while they are walking or passing by. This would help people that have low vision that want to get out more and explore the city that they live in. I know the technology is out there and there’s two products that are separate that can do these tasks, but I believe those products should be put together as one AT device. It would be a very successful piece of AT!