Reader’s Forum

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In response to “Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Everyone Likes to Play Games Including the Blind”:

I also like Jim Kitchens’ audio games for the blind. Of course, the price is right, too, because he makes them available for free.

One of my favorite games of his is Monopoly. Sound effects are great and I play it with my 8-year-old son, who is sighted. He played this before he understood the board layout, but the next Christmas, he also received the board game version, so he could put the physical layout in place with what he knew from already playing and loving the game with me on the pc.

Even though he has the board game, my son still loves coming into my study and asking to play Monopoly with me on the pc. He calls the SAPI computer voice Jim Kitchens, because it says it is “by Jim Kitchens.

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In response to Tim Hutchin’s previous reader’s forum comment regarding note takers in college classrooms:

I agree with Tim H. concerning the use of notetakers by blind college students. This skill should be a part of each student’s IEP! I am a blind teacher of the visually impaired and I have never used a notetaker while attending several colleges. I used tape recorders, micro-recorders, slate and stylus, and the Braille Lite to notetake during class lectures without an issue. I know many blind students who rely solely on their assigned notetakers to notetake for them. However, what happens when their notetaker doesn’t show up to notetake for them for a given class? Who will take notes for them when they work and have to attend meetings, workshops, conferences, etc.? We must prepare our blind students to notetake while in high school. Otherwise what good is the IEP anyway? I have noticed that many sighted teachers of the visually impaired will not include notetaking in the student’s IEP goals? Why not? Blind college students can competently acquire and master this skill with some practice. What would we think if sighted students required assigned notetakers for their college classes?

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In response to requests about your summer activities:

You asked for interesting summer events. From the sixth to the tenth of July, the town of Hartlepool was the venue for sixty tall ships taking part in the tall ships race. I attended and sighted friends described the ships. There were a million visitors and each night ended with fireworks. There was also an international village plus music bands. It was a most moving occation. My only complaints were that the guide was not available in alternative format and the ground around the tall ships I visited was uneven. Maybe one of your U.S. readers was over in Hartlepool and it would be interesting to have their views.

Sincerely,

Franek Kozorowski, Hartlepool, UK

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In response to “Op Ed with Bob Branco – Does Society Really Believe What It Asks?”:

I always enjoy the op ed articles but I was particularly amused by the one concerning stupid, thoughtless inquiries made of us by the normies. I’ve never been asked about the blind store which sounds like a place where one either buys window treatments or a place to hide from ducks, but I’ve been frequently asked about my superior sense of hearing, if my white cane means I’m going hiking and do I need my husband to help me give a urine specimen. I nearly lost my cool at this last one, but I always feel I may be the only blind person a normie has met and I need to represent with dignity and grace. I also had a stranger pray loudly over me while I was attempting to eat my lunch at the Red Lobster. I know she meant well, trying to heal what she saw as my poor blind body so she did not get a garlic cheese biscuit up her nose.

As a formerly sighted person myself, I try to remember if I was that clueless. Did I ever ask a blind person to say something in Braille? Or try to help them to a bench in the mall when they didn’t want to sit down? I hope not.

Oh, and Bob, sorry, but I didn’t get you that Braille chicken. I only had enough Braille money to get myself from Blind World back to the unenlightened streets of Sighted City.

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In response to “Tactile Texting for the Blind”:

This is another device, where sighted people are making what they consider to be beneficial, without consulting accessibility consultants or real-life users. There is no need for such a device, with iOS4 on iPhone and iPod Touch having full Bluetooth Braille output and input without the need to touch the iDevice, controlling it all from the braille display. iOS4.1 brought this functionality to Bluetooth keyboards, where one can have complete control of iDevice from keyboard, iOS4 brought text input.

Why create, purchase and learn another input method, when there are far more effective and familiar ones?

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In response to my story about the bus driver and the service dog:

Your story about the driver objecting to the service dog reminds me of an experience that my wife and I had with a friend several years ago. We had reservations at an area dinner theater. In the lobby, personnel tried to bar her from entering the theater with her dog. She pointed out that it was illegal to bar service dogs. Theater personal threatened to call police. She urged them to do so. While waiting for the police, my friend entered the theater and joined the rest of the party. After a few minutes, someone came and apologized. I doubt that any more service dogs have been denied access to this theater.

Virgil A. Cook

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