Reader’s Forum – Week of June 24, 2013

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

Bruce wrote:

I would like to thank Terri Winaught for writing about the “Fix the Web” project in the UK. Readers may find it interesting to know that the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts now has a “for profit business” within our nonprofit organization that aims to teach companies, government agencies, educational institutions, and other organizations how to create web content that is more easily accessible for those requiring assistive technologies to browse the internet. We show them how to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) in order to make their websites function better with JAWS, ZoomText, or similar assistive technologies. We will be holding our first ever Consumer Forum in August to invite blind and vision impaired consumers to share their experiences with us to help us identify some New England area companies in a wide variety of categories who have websites that have accessibility and usability barriers. We know that when we approach companies to try to convince them to purchase our evaluation and remediation services, our ability to tell them that there are real consumers who are having trouble transacting business on their sites will make it an easier sell for us.

Anyone who would like more information about our Forum or our services may feel free to contact me directly. Thank you.

Bruce Howell
Accessibility Services Coordinator
The Carroll Center for the Blind
770 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02458
Email: bruce.howell@carroll.org

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Danni wrote:

In response to Alena Roberts – Do We Need a Cell Phone Carrier That Sells Phones for the Blind? I say no! Blind and Visually impaired folks are always hollering about wanting equality and it’s ridiculous to have a separate phone company! What we need are phones or software accessible for the blind that anyone can use! And the phones should be made accessible to all companies not like it is now where some companies have a certain phone while others have other phones!

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David wrote:

Firstly, Perkins must have had some incredible cooks. It must be quite the school. I understand that anyone who went there will let you know it within minutes of meeting you. We at the Louisiana School for the Blind, later School for the Visually Impaired, (guess being impaired was better than plain blind), never had such interesting meals. I do not recall any soufflĂ© or muffins. We had the worst biscuits, flat, and doused with syrup. We never saw real butter on the table. Oatmeal was of a glue-like consistency, and we were told to put milk in it. The milk was naturally cold and that made the concoction even more viscous and nauseating. While I actually like liver, they ruined it as they did Friday fish sticks. It was a major accomplishment for the Student Body to have chocolate milk sometimes at lunch as a choice. That school was not about choice. We never had language classes, nor art or music history, nor interesting PE choices i.e. yoga, dance, and such. You took what you were given and that was paltry! I’m glad mainstreaming is the norm now. While I can see that there is, even now, the need for blind schools for some students, most should mainstream and live in the real world, not a blind make-believe land. I think it is psychologically destructive to a young child to rip it away from family at age six and stick it in this bizarre atmosphere. It’s not, after all, a posh British-style boarding school, but more a factory where blind were vanished away from “normal” people and teachers were rather Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, one way for parental visits, another once parents had gone.

Secondly, Mr. Branco’s thoughts on volunteering and church were interesting. I would first have to get to church. Our para-transit service does not and has never run on Sundays. Cabs can be unpredictable and rides to church have dried up for me since 2005. I’d like to again read even if only sometimes at the church I once attended and once occasionally read at. I’d like to become active though I do have some health concerns that might make weekly attendance problematic. I liked feeling as though I belonged somewhere and that if I needed, maybe someone might help somewhere. You sure can’t expect anything like that from a coworker and probably shouldn’t. Alas, I cannot sing. So choir is out. I’m not a musical blind person. It just saddens me because I did try to get rides. I vividly recall an assistant priest at the church saying rides were not her ministry so I should talk to the rector and the bishop saying it was amazing as a blind person that I could have a spiritual life. Shame on both of them! When I found rides in another town while I was in college, it took months to work out. Maybe, Jesus is busy?

Thank you David F

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