by Thomas Mills
Tulsa District Public Affairs Office
A representative from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs gave U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District personnel a presentation on aids for people with visual disabilities, October 12.
The presentation was part of the Tulsa District’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2016 observance.
“Today’s presentation introduced to many a few of the challenges that individuals with visual disabilities encounter every day,” said Neldia Watson, Tulsa District Equal Employment Opportunity Manager. The presentation, Watson said, showed that technology has removed many barriers to employment for visually impaired individuals.
Richard Davidson, Visual Impairment Services Coordinator with the VA in Tulsa, brought a number of tools designed to help the visually disabled.
“Our job is to make people more dependent,” he said. The equipment he displayed included magnifying glasses, both traditional and electronic, and even sonar devices that give a warning when walking toward objects.
Davidson, himself a veteran with a visual impairment, said some veterans, if they lose their sight, think their life is over. The tools the VA offers to them, he said, can drastically improve their quality of life and their ability to contribute in the workplace.
According to the Department of Labor NDEAM is a nationwide campaign celebrating skills and talents workers with disabilities bring to our workplaces.
The National Disability Employment Awareness Month history dates back to 1945 as the National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. In 1962 the word “physically” was dropped from the name, to acknowledge individuals with all types of disabilities, and in 1988 federal legislature expanded it to a month and changed the name to NDEAM.
The main point, said Watson, is people with disabilities are vital contributors to the organization and each person brings unique skills and abilities to the job.
“Equity, dignity, respect, and cooperation among all individuals are essential values in the work environment,” said Watson.