Teen Takes on Tertiary Education with Assistive Technology

The Assistive Technology Library makes a big difference for Dallon, who has congenital cataracts, as he embarks on his tertiary education at Nanyang Polytechnic

The Assistive Technology Library makes a big difference for Dallon as he embarks on his tertiary education at Nanyang Polytechnic.

20-year-old Dallon Au was born with congenital cataracts. With no vision in his right eye and just 30 per cent in his left, Dallon found the going got harder as his sight was simply too hazy to make out the numbers and signs on the tiny screen of the calculator.

He approached his special education needs counsellor, Ms Belle Chia, at the Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), where he is studying infocomm security. After assessing Dallon’s situation, she introduced him to the Orion Ti-30Xs, a talking scientific calculator which is an Assistive Technology (AT) device available at the AT Library. AT refers to items or equipment that is used by persons with disabilities to improve their functional capabilities.

The Orion Ti-30Xs talking scientific calculator
The Orion Ti-30Xs talking scientific calculator

Ms Chia was able to tap on the AT Library@NYP – a facility that was made possible with the collaboration of the school and SPD in October 2019. It features a series of AT devices so that students with special educational needs can test and try out different devices – to check out their suitability – and take short-term loans too. These short-term loans mean students can still access AT, while waiting for their purchased devices or when their own devices go for repairs.

AT Library@NYP set up in 2019 by Ms Ng Su Li, a NYP Special Needs Counsellor, with SPD
AT Library@NYP set up in 2019 by Ms Ng Su Li, a NYP Special Needs Counsellor, with SPD

Dallon was able to try out the Orion Ti-30Xs on a short-term loan. It features a large display, and large tactile keys. The scientific calculator also reads out Dallon’s inputs, and the calculated output.

Dallon trying out the Orion Ti-30Xs at home
Dallon trying out the Orion Ti-30Xs at home

With the loan, Dallon was able to assess if the calculator was suitable for his needs.  He said: “The library benefits students who need devices urgently. At the same time, the loan allows us to explore the different devices and determine if they suit our needs, before we decide whether to buy one for ourselves, so I am really thankful for that.”

Dallon at the AT Loan Library@NYP
Dallon at the AT Library@NYP

The use of AT has definitely made a difference for Dallon as he is now able to work through his business statistics module with confidence, ease and accuracy.  He remains appreciative and hopeful for the future.

This article is contributed by Ms Kosheela Ragavan, Special Education Needs Counsellor, Student Care & Guidance, Nanyang Polytechnic.

References:

https://www.rnib.org.uk/eye-health/eye-conditions/congenital-cataracts

https://www.spd.org.sg/assistive-technology-2/

http://www.orbitresearch.com/product/orion-ti-30xs/

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