In December the Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan Program commemorated six years of successfully securing more than $8.6 million in low-interest loans to state residents with disabilities and their families so they can buy equipment and services that help them live, learn, work and play more independently.
The program has made a vast difference in the lives of people like Roger (name changed for privacy). Roger was born into adversity. His mother had advanced ovarian cancer while she was pregnant, a condition neither were expected to survive. Roger was born two months premature in 1951, a time when ‘preemies’ were promptly incubated with high concentrations of oxygen. Today, it is well known that this treatment causes permanent blindness in newborns.
Growing up blind in the 50s and 60s, Roger defied the era’s expectations, earning a master’s degree in human services and nurturing an abiding passion for audio editing. (His parents owned a movie theater while he was growing up, which Roger says sparked this interest). Roger’s work history is long and varied, from his early work in the movie house, to positions in the social services arena, to owning and operating his own sound studio. It’s a history with numerous ups and downs, from taking highly-paid positions in high-tech to experiencing hard times that included losing his business, overcoming an aggressive cancer, and more recently, experiencing sudden and permanent hearing loss.
It was this last challenge that brought Roger to the Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan Program.