Infogrip Blog

  • Working My Way Back

    Inspiring story from one of our amazing customers.

    My journey started on September 8, 1995 at 5:30 p.m. I was 47. My family and I were out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. I got up from my chair and said I did not feel good and then collapsed onto the floor.

    Survivor Victor Orr

    I was transported to Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Sacramento, California. Diagnosed with an intracerebral hemorrhage, I spent a week in ICU. Thereafter, I went to a nursing home for a week and then to inpatient rehab for five weeks. At the time, I could not walk or speak. The hemorrhage left me with right-side paralysis of the arm and leg and severe speech problems. I figured my working life was over so I inquired into disability retirement. I was the manager of workers’ compensation programs at the Sacramento office of the U.S. Postal Service.

    After I received and analyzed my estimate of monthly benefits, I was motivated to go back to work. We could not live on disability benefits. I had 2,600 hours of sick leave saved, which would provide me with my full salary for about 18 months. With that timeframe in mind, the work began. First I had to learn how to walk and talk. I quickly found that walking was easier than talking. I worked hard in inpatient therapy, then home therapy and then outpatient therapy, and I learned to walk and talk.

    In March 1996, I received a certified letter from the DMV suspending my driver’s license. This made me determined to start driving. In June 1996, I purchased a left foot gas pedal and a steering knob. The DMV refused to issue me a learner’s permit so I practiced in a school parking lot. Then I had a driver’s evaluation by an occupational therapist, who determined that I could drive.

    On July 10, 1996, I went to the DMV office for both written and driving tests. After a long driving test, the examiner said I passed everything and my license was reinstated. I was proud of this accomplishment because I really needed my license to get back and forth to work.

    That same month, I was given some work assignments to do at home. That only lasted about a week because I knew I had to get physically back to work.

    During my time away from work, I practiced typing on the computer, worked on my speech, and walked as best as I could. I was paralyzed on my right side, but I was determined that the paralysis would not to deter me from working.

    On August 5, 1996, I walked into the office and worked for four hours. Although I had modified my keyboard, I could not type fast enough. In desperation I called the state department that handles rehabilitation cases and told them my dilemma. They told me that they could not offer me vocational rehabilitation, but they gave me the name of a man that typed with one hand. I called him, and he told me about the BAT keyboard by Infogrip. I ordered this wonderful device and quickly learned how to use it. The BAT keyboard is made for both left and right hand use.

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    The BAT one-handed keyboard


    Soon I was able to respond to emails, a big plus because my job entailed lots of typing, including correspondence, spreadsheets and lots of different lists. Soon I was able to type about 35 wpm, which is not great but I was able to get the job done.

    After a month, I was released to work for eight hours a day. Soon after, I was called into my boss’s office and told that the lady doing my job was retiring. He asked if I was ready to resume the manager’s position. “Yes, I am,” I responded.

    At that point, I still had a speech problem and had not been talking on the phone. Talking on the phone terrified me, but I knew sooner or later I would have to conquer the phone. One of my first calls was to a claims examiner at the Department of Labor. I identified myself and gave her the reason for my call. She thought I was an intoxicated injured worker because my speech sounded like I was drunk. I wrote a letter to her boss and explained that I had returned to work and my speech did, indeed, sound like I was drunk. A few days later, I called the claims examiner back and we had a good laugh over that conversation. From then on, if I felt my speech going south, I told the person that I had had a stroke and if they could not understand me, to just ask me to repeat myself.

    Without the support of my family and coworkers, this would have been an impossible journey.

    Throughout the years, one of my main duties has been to educate the medical community on our return-to-work programs for injured employees. I met with many doctors and they were amazed that I returned to work. Being in charge of a workers’ compensation office that covered 11,000 employees was a difficult and frustrating position, however, being disabled gave me compassion for our injured workers.

    One of the highlights of my return to work happened on November 2, 1997. I was selected to deliver the game coin for a San Francisco 49ers game. I was accompanied by my wife, Donna.

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    Victor with his wife and caregiver Donna


    Throughout the years, I have had lots of ups and downs in my job, but overall I enjoyed my journey and it certainly paid off. I could not have accomplished this without the support of Donna and my sons, Victor and Richard. Also, without the support of my immediate manager and coworkers, this would have been an impossible journey. They looked out for me while offering assistance when needed and tons of encouragement and support. I was motivated and determined to make my return to work a success.

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    Victor delivering the game coin at a 49ers game in 1997

    In January 2006, 11 years after my stroke, I retired from the Postal Service. At the time of my retirement, I had approximately 41 years of federal service and received credit for my unused sick leave.

    Today, I am still paralyzed on my right side, however, I am still leading an active life. I attend three support group meetings every month. We have a 25-foot travel trailer, and we love to go camping in it. I have learned how to set it up and it is a breeze for me to tow. I could write a book on how to hook up and maintain a travel trailer with one hand and a not-so-steady leg.

    In summary, I have learned that with motivation and determination most things are possible. Never give up!

  • Environmental and Low EMF Consulting

    Sometimes we come across others helping people with unique needs. Conrad BioLogic is one of those companies. Its a customer of ours business and I thought I would pass it along. Here is a brief description from his website.

     

    Reducing chemical and EMF exposures in homes and workplaces to keep healthy people healthy, and to help persons with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and Electrical Sensitivities.

    http://www.conradbiologic.com

  • AbleNet Acquires BIGtrack Trackball Product Line to Expand Computer Access Offerings for Persons with Disabilities

    IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    CONTACT: Joe Volp: 651-294-2223 or jvolp@ablenetinc.com

    AbleNet Acquires BIGtrack Trackball Product Line to Expand Computer Access Offerings for Persons with Disabilities

    AbleNet, a world leader in manufacturing and distributing assistive technology for persons with disabilities has acquired the BIGtrack trackball product line expanding distribution of this popular computer access tool worldwide.

    ROSEVILLE, Minn. – May 3, 2013 – AbleNet, Inc. announced today the acquisition of the BIGtrack product line from Infogrip, Inc., a leading provider of assistive technology products. The acquisition includes the BIGtrack and the switch adapted BIGtrack. Both products incorporate a 3-inch trackball making them the largest trackball computer access tools available.

    "The BIGtrack products are well regarded and AbleNet is enthusiastic to include these computer access tools in our assistive technology portfolio for global distribution,” said Jen Thalhuber, AbleNet CEO. "The BIGtrack switch adapted trackball uses AbleNet switches for increased access for individuals with more significant disabilities which makes this product a perfect fit in our offerings.”

    According to Aaron Gaston and Liza Jacobs, co-owners of Infogrip Inc., the acquisition of the BIGtrack product line will benefit people with disabilities because of AbleNet worldwide distribution channels and premier position in the market. They noted, "BIGtrack has been an important product for us for more than a decade and AbleNet will increase the availability of this important computer access tool through its extensive global reseller network."

    The BIGtrack’s large ball requires less fine motor control than a standard trackball and it is ruggedly built. It has a left and a right mouse click button located behind the trackball to avoid unwanted mouse clicks. The bright, large 3-inch trackball helps make mouse movements easy and accurate and the oversized buttons make mouse clicks simple for those with poor motor control. For even more access, the switch adapted BIGtrack comes with two standard 1/8" plugs for two switches. Its left and right mouse clicks have been adapted so that you can use a switch for activation.

    This large trackball is also perfect for kids of all ages, especially children in preschool. The large trackball is easy on little hands and is simple to use. The BIGtrack is easy to install and works on any Windows or Macintosh computer that has a USB or PS/2 port.

    About AbleNet
    AbleNet is an international company and industry leader in providing educational and technical solutions to help children and adults with disabilities lead productive and fulfilled lives. This includes a complete line of communication aids for nonverbal individuals; access aids, such as switches and wheelchair-mounting devices for people who require physical supports; and special education classroom curriculum and software that both enhance and help ensure learning progress. Our products are used in hundreds of thousands of homes, clinics and classrooms in the United States and across the globe. AbleNet is an ESOP company located in Roseville, Minnesota. For more information visit www.ablenetinc.com.

  • Beamz Interactive, Inc. Adds Infogrip To Integral Channel Sales Network

    Beamz Interactive, Inc. Adds Infogrip To Integral Channel Sales Network

    Infogrip Launches Beamz Classroom at American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Trade Show in San Diego April 27th-29th, 2013

    April 27, 2013 - Scottsdale, Arizona - Beamz Interactive, Inc. (OTCQB: BZIC), a music product and technology company, announced today a new partnership with assistive technology, special education and ergonomics experts, Infogrip.  Infogrip is now carrying Beamz Classroom, an education-specific offering that uses music to drive learning and includes instructional content and original music geared toward K-12 educators, Occupational and Physical Therapists.

    Beamz Classroom will be featured at AOTA held at the San Diego Convention Center Today through Saturday—booth 113.  Beamz Interactive, Inc. and Infogrip will together showcase the benefits of using Beamz in educational and therapeutic settings to target conceptual development, motor skill development, rehabilitation and much more.  Infogrip will be hosting a give away drawing on Saturday, April 29th, wherein the winner will receive Beamz Classroom.

    “We are very excited to be partnering with Infogrip,” said Mary Jo Barry, Beamz Sr. Marketing Manager.  “They are a well-respected, long-standing company in the accessibility and special education markets. Working together will absolutely improve our presence in therapeutic settings—a segment in which we fit perfectly.”

    About Beamz

     

    Based in Scottsdale, AZ, Beamz Interactive, Inc. (www.thebeamz.com) has created a new interactive laser controller technology that can be used to develop new market opportunities in a wide variety of music, game, education, therapy and consumer applications. In its first application, the Company developed an innovative new music technology and product offering that brings music to literally everyone in a manner that has previously not been possible. Beamz allows people that have no musical background or training to play and enjoy music within minutes, yet it has the depth to enable accomplished DJs, artists and musicians to perform, compose and create very sophisticated interactive music. Beamz Interactive’s technology portfolio includes multiple patents, patents pending and trade secrets covering interactive music, software, laser-based controllers, gaming applications and related designs and devices.

    About Infogrip

    For over 25 years, Infogrip has been the world leader in assistive technology, ergonomics and special education solutions. Our extensive experience and product knowledge enables us to match you with the best product that fits your needs. We know that every person with a disability requires something unique and that "one size" never fits "all" in our industry. That's why our customers receive the individual attention they need to find the product that is right for them. We truly believe there is a solution out there that can make using a computer possible for every person with any ability. With our many years of experience we can piece together the best solution for your individual needs. Sometimes this is a single product and other times its using several different products to make one perfect solution. If we don't sell the product we feel would fit you best we will refer you to a company that can help you.

  • iKeyboard Big Hit at CSUN Conference

    The iKeyboard is a genius product that attaches to your iPad giving the user a tactile experience when using the built in on screen iPad keyboard. We showed it for the very first time a couple of weeks ago at the CSUN conference in San Diego and everyone loved it.

    http://www.infogrip.com/ikeyboard.html

  • Kindle Fire Winner from Closing the Gap Conference

    Congratulations to Joy Lyons! Joy was the winner of our Kindle Fire drawing at the Closing the Gap conference.

    Joy says, "The kindle fire arrived and I love it! What a wonderful surprise to win this drawing! Thank you very much!"

  • ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association)

    ATIA 2013

    January 30 – February 2, 2013

    Caribe Royale All-Suites
    Resort & Convention Center
    Orlando, Florida USA

    Booth #514

  • CSUN International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference

    February 25 to March 2, 2013

    http://www.csun.edu/cod/conference/

    Booth #522

    Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel

    San Diego, CA

  • Closing the Gap 2012

    October 15-19, 2012

    Booth 315

    http://www.closingthegap.com/conference/

    DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bloomington
    7800 Normandale Blvd.
    Bloomington, MN 55439

  • AOTA (The American Occupational Therapy Association)

    April 25-27, 2013

    Booth #113

    San Diego Convention Center

    San Diego, CA

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