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News | Nov. 18, 2022

DLA Aviation opens assistive technology testing room on DSCR

By Natalie Skelton, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Employees with disabilities at Defense Logistics Agency Aviation on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia are now able to test out assistive technologies that could help them reach peak performance at work.

One of the primary resources available to DLA Aviation for assistive technology equipment is the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program, which was established by the Department of Defense in 1990. CAP provides remote assessments for individuals who qualify for and could benefit from assistive technology but do not know what they need. The program also provides training on various assistive technology equipment and software.

CAP has a wide variety of options to offer, but not every suggested option from CAP is a good fit for every employee. A technology demonstration room located in the DLA Aviation Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity was established on DSCR so employees could test options before committing to placing an order.

DLA Aviation EEOD Specialist Tonya Custalow-Pearsall said the demonstration room has stand-alone pieces of equipment that do not interface with DLA Aviation systems, such as different keyboards designed for ergonomic issues, and large print keys or color contrast keys for individuals with low vision.

"There is a desktop closed circuit television that will take hard-copy printed materials and magnify them on a screen to a level that is easier for an individual with low vision to read, and there are assistive listening devices for individuals who are hard of hearing and are now using hearing aids," Custalow-Pearsall said.

New hires with disabilities or employees who acquire a need for assistive technology may require a reasonable accommodation to perform essential functions and duties and can request a RA at any time. Requests are made to your supervisor first as part of the interactive process, and then to the EEOD.

Custalow-Pearsall noted that not all assistive technology will work with Aviation systems and hardware; the EEOD office can help employees determine which technology can be used to perform their specific job functions. The demonstration room has a computer with approved assistive technology software installed that is available to the workforce. If employees find the software useful, they can have it installed on their specific work computer for use.

"This opportunity to explore options is not only open to current and potential assistive technology users but also to supervisors or trainers of individuals who use or may use assistive technology," she said.

"A visit to the demonstration room can provide some hands-on insight into the issues and barriers that the assistive technology user is experiencing. Understanding at the training and supervisory/management level serves to enhance the working relationships of everyone." Custalow-Pearsall said.

Employees who are interested in making an appointment to meet with a specialist to see the new demonstration room should contact Custalow-Pearsall to coordinate a date and time. If you are ready to enter the RA process, please begin the conversation with your supervisor, then reach out to EEOD Disability Program Manager Monica Warren.