Reader’s Forum – Week of January 22, 2013

For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.

In response to Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – Sadly Adding to the Statistics, Young wrote:

I remember vividly how devastated I was. At the end of dotcom burst, I was laid off from a decent job as a software engineer and had to look for a job right away. My son was four, and my wife was in school. Because too many programmers were laid off, there weren’t many chances for me to get a new job.

I joined a BEP program and ran a cafeteria for next three years. Fortunately, I am back to computer field now, but it was very hard.

For all those who are looking for a job or recently lost one, hang in there. Tomorrow will be a better day!
In response to Contributor Wesley Derbyshire – Experiencing Descriptive Video Service, Beth wrote:

Serotek’s System Access Mobile Network has hundreds of described movies, you must be a member to have access. Blind Mice Mart Megamall movie vault is a free repository of described movies for those interested.
In response to Contributor Valerie Moreno – There’s Something About Braille, Duane wrote:

I grew up in New York in the 1950’s and 60’s, where, at the NY Institute for the Education of the Blind, we received all materials in Braille. We were encouraged to use slates and styluses for writing; and we had one of the best Braille libraries in the entire country. Throughout my career as a parish pastor, I wrote and read sermons, took notes and wrote down phone numbers, created lists and did a host of other things using Braille. I can’t imagine life without it.

Braille has been especially useful for spelling words because I can visualize how words appear in Braille. I rarely use any spell-checking applications that are part of all word processing programs. It saddens me to hear that many of today’s young blind students are being deprived of the literacy Braille offers, mostly because local school systems are persuaded that cutting back on Braille usage will save dollars.

Learning to read and write gives us who are blind the opportunity to be on the same page with sighted colleagues in the workplace.
In response to Contributor Valerie Moreno – There’s Something About Braille, Regina wrote:

I would like to conquer with Valerie Moreno and Larry P. Johnson, who talked about Braille and its importance. I became blind at the age of one, where nobody can’t remember a thing. At the age of seven, I was taken to a Mission Catholic school for the blind headed by the Catholic Nuns from Holland, who did a very commendable job of teaching me Braille. I have grown with Braille and it has become part of me as well as a friend indeed. With Braille, I’m able to do anything a sighted person can do, like reading, writing, taking down notes in any meeting independently, and another big advantage with Braille is that I can read and write under my blanket without electricity. Each time I’m given a Bible Text to read to the Congregation in my Church, people remain astonished and this makes me feel very proud of myself; I even still use Braille Watches as they make me feel that equality with sighted people who use their sight when telling the time on their watches.

Let’s assume Louis Braille did not invent Braille, how could blind people have learned to be literate? It’s therefore in these lines that I totally agree with my two Ziegler reader friends, Valerie and Larry who have brought up this Braille issue with high recommendations towards it. It’s very true that listening is not learning, and that we should continue to value Braille as our illiteracy liberator. Of course, the new technology is very welcome, too, but should not make us blind people ignore Braille completely; instead, this advanced technology should explore more avenues to more advanced Braille, only then shall the soul of our beloved Louis Braille rest in peace.

To sum it up, Braille has made me to be who I am today, and without it I would have been completely doomed. Long live Braille: our Fingertalk.
In response to Feature Writer Steven Famiglietti – Online Training, Cheryl wrote:

I have found webinars particularly difficult as a newspaper reporter. The reason is that the presenters are constantly showing charts and graphs. If I want to report on this information, I can’t stop the presentation and have a sighted person explain it to me. I can’t capture the image and print it out and show it to someone. I’m so busy taking notes on what the person is saying that I can’t possibly take notes on the visual aspects at the same time — especially because I have no vision.

I hope there soon will be technological tools to capture such images.
In response to Feature Writer Ann Chiappetta – Going to the Gym, Anne wrote:

I go to a group called Third Eye Insight. It’s physical fitness for the blind and visually impaired. Their website is:
In response to Feature Writer Ann Chiappetta – Going to the Gym, Dave wrote:

Gym membership has been discussed recently. As a long term member of a local facility, I must admit that the accessability of the equipment has diminished over the years as touch screens have been added to most of the stations. Now I was away from the facility for a year and a half as I had a stroke in 2011. Now, I am being shadowed every time I go out there, as they are afraid of me hurting myself. Admittedly, my formerly favorite place, the free weight area, is at least for now out of bounds for me, by choice as balance is not what it once was. Generally though, the atmosphere for me seems less welcoming after the stroke. I hope I can change this.

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