For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.
In response to Op Ed with Bob Branco – Lack of Skill Results in Labeling, Becky wrote:
I have a few thoughts on this subject.
I hope that all of us visually impaired folks will look at individual people, instead of the skills that they do or do not possess.
When I was younger, I went to a blindness convention, and was ridiculed because my mobility skills did not me certain standards. However, I travel alone, work, and do fine with my seeing eye dog.
I know that some blind people do use the excuse of blindness for not doing certain tasks. This is of course, not acceptable. However, I think a high expectation, with a kind and accepting attitude goes far in helping any person conquer their fear.
In response to Op Ed with Bob Branco – Lack of Skill Results in Labeling, Beth wrote:
I’m in my 50s and have never mailed a letter and there are plenty more things I’ve never done, such as check writing. I use other means to get things accomplished, including human helpers, phone systems, and e-mail. I am not a poster person for blindness abilities. My life’s purpose is not to show what the blind can or cannot do. My purpose in being here is to love and help others. What other people think of me or of the blind as a group is of no consequence. I know myself very well and am comfortable in my own skin, since we are human beings, not human doings. I know my abilities, I understand what I now cannot do and I choose what I want to try or learn, based on self-knowledge and desire, mixed with other personal factors.
In response to Op Ed with Bob Branco – Lack of Skill Results in Labeling, Ruth wrote:
Your column on ‘Labeling’ is well taken. The absolute best thing that ever happened to me was the sincere interest in my future, exercised by my physician that rendered me attending Blind School and Rehabilitation even before I was without sight.
Right now I know a wonderful woman who, also, is going blind. I have done everything but pick her up and carry her to the center. She continues to feel her way around town, requesting help from strangers, rather than go and learn to be an independent blind person.
For all who read this magazine, and still have faltering sight, find your local rehabilitation center for the blind, and learn to carry yourself in a manner that enhances your personal self image, and detracts from your disability.
Blindness is not a sentence to nothingness; but rather a journey to enrichment.
In response to Op Ed with Bob Branco – Lack of Skill Results in Labeling, Mina wrote:
I cannot mail letters either. It’s not because I am blind. It’s because postal letters require actual writing on the envelope to know where the letter should go. The postal system should allow Braille to be used when writing down addresses on the envelope.
I also find it odd that the writer talks about sticking stamps onto letters. I guess they are not aware that there is a Free Matter stamp that you can use. Just press the self-inked stamp on the upper right corner of the envelope.
But as I said, the real problem is that we are required to write out the addresses with ink. This has to be changed. Why can’t we use our beloved Braille system to address all our postal mail?
In response to Op Ed with Bob Branco – Lack of Skill Results in Labeling, George wrote:
I was horrified at Bob’s attitude toward a fellow blind person’s inability to mail a letter, especially Bob’s reasons for such condemnation.
While Bob admits that he does not know why this person is unable to send old fashion snail mail, he is quite willing to jump to his own conclusions and assume that this man’s inability to do so is due to an “unwillingness to learn,” simply because he is blind.
Whatever the reason for this man’s inability to send a letter, if indeed there is any reason whatsoever, is none of Bob’s or anyone else’s business. He has a right to live life as he wishes, and he does not have to live up to anyone else’s expectations other than his own.
Then Bob goes on to say that “its men like him who give us the reputation of being stumbling, bumbling, lazy people when we’re not.”
All that, Bob, simply because one person doesn’t want to be bothered with mailing a letter? This is total absurdity!
To shift your feelings of inadequacy on another person, in a feeble attempt to show that you and your friends are not incompetent, is not just wrong, it’s cruel. Shame on you.
In response to Feature Writer John Christie – Making Mainstream Tech Support Work for You, Allison wrote:
I’ve had pretty good luck with tech support. There were times when I had to remind the representative that I was totally blind, and that it didn’t matter how I changed the font, I still wouldn’t be able to see it. Although some reps were briefly thrown because I don’t use a mouse, to their credit, they hung in there with me and we got the job done.
I also want to extend kudos to Envision America. The recent deal they had for the Summit I.D. Mate made it possible for my husband and me to buy the unit. Coming up with $1,200 would have been next to impossible, but being able to pay for this wonderful unit over time made it doable for us, and I’m sure, many others.
I’ve called them with a couple of questions, and they’ve always been extremely helpful and friendly. I wish there were many more companies like them.