Nicole smiles proudly for a photo

Goal: Independence at Home and School

Diagnosed with Central Nervous System Lupus and other disabilities, Nicole started losing her vision a few years ago, significantly impacting her day-to-day life and making her goal of earning a college degree more and more challenging. Nicole was introduced to the Easterseals Massachusetts Assistive Technology (AT) program through her Department of Developmental Services (DDS) case manager. ESMA Assistive Technology Specialist, Victoria C., met with Nicole, identified her needs, and described AT devices that would be useful. Nicole had never heard of many of these devices, and she describes their first meeting as transformative. She became optimistic about regaining her independence and reaching her goal of earning college degrees.

Victoria first identified OrCam MyEye as a solution for reading, object detection, facial recognition, and more. Nicole was able to trial the device by borrowing one from the ESMA Assistive Technology Regional Center and immediately knew this was a perfect solution. In addition to getting this device, other AT provided to Nicole included a laptop with a larger screen and visual impairment features, a larger monitor, an iPad with many accessibility features, and Alexa devices that connected all her technology, helping her stay organized as well as able to communicate with people in other areas of her home.

“The day Victoria brought my new equipment to my home was truly life-altering,” said Nicole. She added, “Victoria was incredible at identifying my needs and what technology was available to help with those needs.” With the help of AT along with dedication and hard work, Nicole reached her goal of graduating with a Paralegal Certificate and an Associate Degree in Legal Studies. Along the way, Nicole’s confidence and leadership skills led her to become President of the Delta Alpha Pi and Phi Theta Kappa honor societies, a member of various school clubs, and a recipient of numerous academic rewards. Nicole is passionate about advocating for people with disabilities. She frequently shares her story with others and was a presenter at a DDS Assistive Technology Fair.

Nicole expresses eternal gratitude for Victoria’s guidance in teaching her how to use the new AT devices and that she is now able to enjoy much more independence in all areas of her life. Although Nicole had achieved significant academic success, she dreamed of teaching disability law one day. This new goal would require a bachelor’s degree in either criminal justice or legal studies. To accomplish this goal, her DDS case manager thought Nicole would benefit from additional support and referred her to begin working with ESMA’s College Navigator program. Her ambition to pursue a career in teaching disability law reflects her commitment to fostering positive change and advocating for people with disabilities.

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