Equipped for Success
One man breaks down employmentbarriers to help those withdisabilities excel in their careers.Another guides wounded servicemembers through rehabilitation,re-teaching one how to brushhis teeth. One woman leads aninitiative to provide free tools tothose with disabilities, while a warveteran returns home and ndsthe need for these tools to helptransition to civilian life. Together,these individuals harness thepower of assistive technology.Retired Army Capt. MatthewStaton quickly learned how thiskind of technology could help himovercome obstacles. Staton, directadvisor and staff assistant to thesecretary of the Army on woundedsoldier matters, medically retiredfrom the Army in August 2007because of a cognitive disability,following two deployments toIraq. Service as a platoon leaderexposed him to multiple improvisedexplosive device blasts in Balad,Iraq. He was also injured in 2004with a gunshot wound to his left hipand upper thigh. Two years after hewas medically evacuated to FortCarson in February 2004, he wasinvolved in a trafc accident aftera car sped through a stop sign,hitting his vehicle as he traveledto a town hall meeting to updatefamily members and spouses onthe status of the battleeld.“I saw stars on several of theseoccasions … but never lostconsciousness,” he says. Statonwouldn’t know the long-term effecthis injuries would have until hereturned home and began histransition to civilian life.At home, Staton realized hisneed for assistive technology.The medications Staton takes toalleviate migraines, leg pain andcomplications from his injuriesslow his cognitive functioning. “Irealized there was a problem whenI couldn’t remember any of the veitems my wife asked me to pickup at the grocery store. I’d end upbringing ten things home, only oneof which she asked me to get.”These types of disabilities oftendirectly inuence performance atwork. “If it’s not written down orrecorded, the conversation didn’thappen in my mind,” says Staton,reecting on how memory prob-lems affect work productivity. TheDepartment of Defense Computer/Electronic Accommodations Pro-
From both physical and mentalstandpoints, wounded warriorsovercome a multitude o obstaclesrom the injuries they sustained.