GVRA's Shirley Robinson: A Personal Account of the Impact and Importance of Accessibility

The integration of accessibility within information and communication technology (ICT) has a very powerful impact on the quality of life and level of independence for individuals with disabilities. Shirley Robinson, Georgia’s first Rehabilitation Unit Manager for the Blind with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, GVRA, understands this firsthand.

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Shirley gradually lost her vision from an eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa. Many of the tasks that she carried out visually at one time in her life are now done non-visually through a combination of low tech and high tech solutions. As a braille user, she relies on braille labels to identify items within her office such as folders. She also relies on screen reading technology when using her smartphone and computer to access electronic information.

Shirley’s formal education as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, along with her own adjustment to declining vision, has given her a keen understanding of the needs of blind and visually impaired consumers whom she serves. In 2008, she completed the Vision Specialist Certification Program through Mississippi State University’s Graduate Studies Program. In 2010, Shirley successfully completed the Executive Commitment to Excellence in Leadership (EXCEL) training program through the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia.

Shirley has achieved these accomplishments through a great deal of hard work and determination. She acknowledges that these achievements would not have been possible without the ability to access electronic information and assistive technology solutions.

View Shirley's video on using low tech and high tech solutions to achieve greater independence.

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