[bct] Angies thoughts on blindness

  • From: "randy black" <black@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 22:14:18 -0600

Angie, I'm always impressed with your posts. They are thoughtful and say
In a perfect world, blindness would be a mere physical nuisance.
Sometimes that's all it is. Other times, blindness really does get in
the way. To act otherwise would be foolish. I'm currently using Oracles
ISIS software to navigate the student database.
While JAWS gives me decent screen access, there are times when having to
take extra steps to access the information efficiently takes extra time
and makes me less efficient than others doing similar work to myself.
We've gone through an upgrade. One of the changes is that user favorites
that used to be maintained on the personal pc now are integrated into
the program in such a way that they are stored remotely. So clicking on
a links list which used to give me an almost instant response now takes
several seconds while my pc talks with the program software located
wherever. Some of my slowness is my mediocre knowledge of all the power
current screen readers have. But having to take 2 or 3 steps to complete
what a sighted person does all at once does get in the way.
The key is trying to figure out where my lack of knowledge ends and
blindness issues begin.
I hope this post makes sense and I invite any comments.
Have a great weekend.
Randy Black

-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Angie Matney
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 6:14 PM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: Jake's wonderful e-mail about blindness

I wanted to add some thoughts to this thread.

First, I think it would be great if we could say that blindness were a
physical nuissance. I think that until relatively 
recently, we could say that it could be reduced to that level for a
number of people. I think that, if things in our society 
had developed in a different way, we could still say that. But nowadays,
we have to deal with things like quiet hybrid 
cars; variable-length traffic lights; captchas and graphical
verification codes; touch-screen ATM's; and a host of other 
consumer products that are no longer guaranteed to be accessible. I
remember trying to buy a Walkman about a year 
ago. Yeah, that's right--a genuine cassette-playing Walkman. <grin> At
first, I thought, "Isn't it great that I can use the 
net for this, since I don't have anyone sighted to go to the store with
me?" But as I did my research, I began to worry that 
I wouldn't even be able to find a cassette player that was accessible. I
did find one (though it is not perfect). This was at 
the time when I was living in a dorm during the first year of my second
grad school program. (And, BTW, moving back 
into a dorm after years of...*not* living in a dorm is a really strange
experience.) I couldn't even use many of the laundry 
facilities in that dorm because they used touch screens.

So, anyway, I think that certain things conspire to make being blind
more complex than it inherently has to be. My 
perspective is naturally colored by my experience. I have always been
blind, and if I could drive (and I believe that *will* 
happen eventually due to technical advances), I'd probably never think
about being able to see. I like the part of the 
"nuissance" philosophy that inspires me to realize that blindness
doesn't have to define me. It is a characteristic, and it 
does cause some unique problems. But I'm still capable of a lot, and I
can and should set the same types of expectations 
for myself that I would set if I could see. But on the other hand,
nothing is that simple.

These are just my opinions--no offense is intended.


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