Thursday, September 17, 2009

COAT Access

One of the coolest things I have been doing is going to the hill. We are advocating for an assistive technology bill. This is the COAT Bill which basically calls for better assistive technology for blind and deaf people primarily though others as well. It has been a great experience in learning what are the essential things to say to a staff member on the Hill and what isn't.

Also this week, I have been getting to know our VP and Director who are both wonderful people. I am the only intern so establishing an office rapore is a lot of fun. They are both really nice and approachable which is helpful. For example, they asked me to go to the Hill and told me to take a taxi and that was kind of expensive. At first I was nervous about asking for reimbursement but I basically phrased it such that either way was fine with me and I was just inquiring but it turned out they did and their openness made the question a lot easier to ask. Also, they are very open about talking about blindness and as well as assistive methods. I find this helpful because I am visually impaired and have a degenerative disease. I will never go totally blind-just really bad eyesight but still their openness is really helpful and maintains an open and supportive environment.

I have been doing this like working on survey processing about access technology, and contacting respondents when questions or further information was needed. This I know is a really important policy tool so I am thrilled to be working on it. In policy research, people's input is important so as a tool for opinion gathering it is really interesting.

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