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Meet Tyler Eckel!
Tyler Eckel has seen it all! Despite having limited vision, Tyler has what he calls, a “mind’s eye,” which certainly comes in handy. For ten years now, Tyler has worked for Qwest Field – starting when it first opened as Seahawk’s Stadium! He memorized the map of the stadium his first day on the job. As a greeter for sports events, Tyler is able to point people in the right direction to help them find their seats.
Right now though, he asks people for their seat number and then tells them where to go. He’d like to have a portable CCTV magnifier (a device that enlarges print onto a screen) so that he can read the ticket himself. Assistive technology “is my sight connection,” says Tyler. Having used assistive technology most of his life, he knows just how valuable it is, and how expensive it can be. Portable CCTVs, for example, range in cost from $600 to nearly $2,000.
Tyler has been saving money in the Access Fund’s Individual Development Account (IDA) Program for almost three years. Through this program, Tyler’s savings are matched – doubling the money available for purchases of assistive technology. He has already used his savings towards dentures (essential for his job as a greeter and, of course, daily life!) and a desktop CCTV. He is still saving for the portable CCTV. He has tried out several and is looking for the one that best fit his needs. Tyler first heard about the Access Fund from his mom and also from the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind -- where he holds down a second job.
Tyler is an individual with many talents and experience in a variety of jobs and settings. While he enjoys the jobs he has now, he also knows that he is capable of so much more. He uses the wonderful analogy of a caterpillar that hasn’t yet cocooned.
What Tyler would like to do is work within schools to educate students on how to engage a person with a disability and to inspire those who have them. It is the simple things, like when explaining where something is to a blind person, making sure you say “it’s to your left” rather than “over there.” Tyler really enjoys helping people, whether it is finding their seat or teaching Braille. He always tries to meet people where they’re at. He even taught a friend how to read Braille by using puff paint -- a creative, fun and user-friendly product.
Among his many skills, he also knows a bit of sign language/tactile-sign language and in his free time he enjoys hitting the ski slopes with Ski for Light. Tyler is an avid collector and has a key chain collection consisting of about 4,000 key chains. He uses different categories such as household items, relaxation items, carabineers, and his personal favorite, phrases. You can name something and Tyler probably has a keychain for it, it’s an impressive collection!
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