I’m Skylar Covich, the new Access Technology Specialist at Braille Institute Santa Barbara. I have been totally blind since birth. This has not stopped me from having a variety of experiences like earning a doctorate in political science, being one of the most active administrators on Wikipedia, downhill skiing with Paralympic athletes, and singing the Mozart Requiem in a choir by ear.

Skylar holds his baby son Peter who is sitting up on the top of a table. Most importantly, I’m the father of a 3-month-old baby boy, Peter Joseph. Along with my wife, who has full vision, we balance work, care for our child, and other responsibilities and fun activities just like any other family.

Part of our story is the baby was born the week I started my job at Braille Institute! There is no doubt the current remote work arrangement made the adjustment easier; I have often held Peter while typing emails, or during meetings when I can be muted most of the time. The phone is easier than the computer to use one-handed, so I have also held Peter while practicing with new phone apps, linking new devices to my wireless network through phone apps, and having phone calls.

One of our favorite activities is to listen to music. Using my computer with JAWS, I can quickly find music on YouTube or Spotify, whether it’s a general genre playlist or a more specific album or song. I make sure the music is playing through speakers rather than Bluetooth headphones when I want Peter to listen with me. When Peter is upset, I find he will often calm down right away once I turn on music. I’m glad I have technology at my fingertips to help me do this swiftly.

Braille Institute understands how important music is to many of us. In one-on-one appointments, classes, and workshops, I can help you find the music you want to listen to with greater ease and variety, using devices ranging from the smart phone to the Victor Reader to smart speakers to the computer. You can also learn many other web browsing, writing, and computer maintenance skills.

Braille Institute is here to help regardless of where you are in your life. I am excited to learn with you and help you! And who knows, maybe Peter will make a cameo.