Be sure to stop by Jack’s table at the November 3 event. He will be among the most amazing people you will meet that day and you will have the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people. Jack has been totally blind since he was 17 but while he may be blind, he is definitely not handicapped.
Jack’s mother had German measles when she was pregnant with him and he was born with low vision. However, he could still see well enough to see colors and he remembers the sky and trees. As a boy he played baseball. But by the time Jack was 17 he was totally blind.
He attended the Texas School for the Blind in Austin, Texas. Today, Jack is the Sales Manager for Blindness Products for Christal Vision, a company based in San Antonio, Texas that specializes in selling cutting edge technology that can be used by persons with low vision as well as those who are blind.
Jack has used computers in his daily life and at work since the early eighties when technology for making computers accessible to blind people was in the early stages of development. His work experiences have included working as a processing technician in a large hospital, owning and managing restaurant, director of the rehabilitation department at an agency serving blind and low vision individuals. He has also served as an educator of prospective employers about blindness, and developing relationships with them for the potential securing of employment for clients.
His career aspirations rose to new heights when he began training blind and low vision people in the use of the latest technology. He has trained students throughout Texas including many local community colleges.His students have taken their new computer knowledge and obtained jobs with a myriad of local and national companies, as well as with the federal government.
The laptop computer Jack is sitting at in the photo is not a special braille computer. It’s a regular laptop—just like the kind sighted people use. Jack’s typing accuracy rivals that of any sighted person.
The equipment in the background is called “Clear View Go”, a product sold by Christal Vision. To use this device, set a printed page beneath the screen. A live video camera streams the image to the screen and displays it on the screen. People with low vision can read the text. Clear View Go easily folds up for carrying and weighs about 7 pounds. Another version of this device converts the image of the printed word to spoken language.
Jack Hickman is also a maker. His entire garage is a woodworking shop (he had to add on a carport for his truck—no he doesn’t drive it. He hires drivers). I hope he will bring an example of his maker woodworking talent to our event too. Be sure to stop by his table and meet Jack. If he were the only reason for coming to our event, he would be worth it.