Reader’s Forum – Week of August 26, 2013

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

Sally wrote:

In response to Bob Branco’s, “Would you bring your child to church?” The answer is a resounding, “YES!” I would think most intelligent parents would bring some small quiet item for the infant/baby/toddler to entertain himself with. Of course there are always going to be crying babies and it is the parent’s responsibility to take the child out to the vestibule and try and quiet them. Maybe the children are too young to understand God, but “train up a child in the way he should go and he will not stray from it.” A baby at the dinner table doesn’t understand that he is to sit up straight, chew with his mouth closed, and asked to be excused when done eating but if you don’t bring the child up to the dinner table until he is an “appropriate” age, you will have a monster on your hands. The reason parents bring their children to church is so they will get used to it and learn how they are supposed to behave in church. I think it would be absolutely ridiculous to not include your child in your worship service.


Eric wrote:

What are some of the ways you deal with sighted people who grab your arm without asking if you need help? A lot of times I run into people in Los Angeles who are oblivious to the fact that I may go slow, or slower, than usual, thinking they want to help me, but in doing so, they are harassing me. How do you handle aggressive people violating your personal space?


Erin wrote:

Bob, sorry but that is a really selfish opinion. Know why? Because we mothers of young children need church too, and maybe a lot more than you do, since parenting a young child is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting! Yes, we try to keep our Little Ones quiet, buy taking them out means that we have to leave too, especially if they are in that clingy phase and won’t stay in the nursery. I’d ask you next time you hear a baby or toddler in the service to please say a prayer for the weary parents, and then thank God that they are raising the next generation to appreciate church. If you don’t like the noise, maybe you could offer to take a turn sitting in the foyer with the baby, missing the service, so the parents can actually enjoy some spiritual refreshment for once.
I have to add that my husband and I have been raising kids for nearly a decade now, and have never once found someone who was willing to watch our kids for us so that we could go to church and enjoy the service. If we want to attend church, our kids have to come too, because finding someone to watch our kids is difficult, expensive, and sometimes impossible.

I’ve been in that lady’s shoes plenty of times, and I Thanked God for the scrap of service I did get to attend, and prayed that my fellow churchgoers would have grace on me and my unhappy baby.


Gerardo wrote:

Responding to Op Ed with Bob Branco – Would You Bring Your Baby to Church? Definitely not! How many times would I accompany my parents to church, and (even worse with my 70% hearing impairment not allowing me to really immerse in the mass) imagine the distractions of small children running around, making baby sounds and the like? I thought why don’t they have some kind of child care in churches?


Beth wrote about what Cheree said about the iPhone:

Congrats on your iPhone success and I have never thought it impossible for a totally blind person to use an I-device. By the same token, the notetakers are still very important. In what other tech circumstance can you find all instructional info on a device in one place, i.e., the device manual? How else can you carry a Braille and speech device in one unit, if that is what you choose to use? Where else can you find an E-mail list where users and staff can interact and help each other with their specialized device, as is true of HIMS? How about the vagaries of Bluetooth, which I understand can be flaky, no problems with the basic notetaker. I cheer the blindness-specific devices, long may they stick around!


Karen wrote:

Hi to all Ziegler readers in Reader’s forum. Here are more reasons you should own a Writer’s companion. If you are writing an essay, article, poem or story there are occasions when you cannot find the right word to suit a topic or thought you are writing about.

This small book can be useful at this time. You can flip through pages looking at many subcategories, to find the right word. I have done this many times and the right word appears to help clarify what I am writing about.

This book can aid students to improve their writing and receive better grades. For writers, this handy book will make your article, poem or story stand out to prospective publishers.

I keep finding new reasons to use this handy little book for articles, stories or poems.

I believe this is a good argument as to why every blind person should learn Braille. It is our literacy and writing phone numbers and addresses and notes for school as well as looking up the spelling and choice of words is important. A Writer’s companion can go anywhere with you in a backpack or tote bag when you are at a library or in school. Seeing you read braille is educational for everyone.

One last note about this book, it makes word usage, clarity and spelling truly accessible.

Thank you for reading.


Mary wrote:

I’m so glad Lynnette Tatum spoke up in favor of using a cane. I started out with fiberglass canes in the 1960s, and had my first one at age fourteen when blind high school students attending public schools in parts of the San Francisco Bay Area had mobility instruction a couple times a week. Later on, it was great to grab my cane and run out to college classes every day. For thirty years, cane in hand, I hurried to the bus stop, day in and day out, and then used it all the time at work. These days I don’t travel as much, but I’m glad to say that I’ve used a graphite cane for over fifteen years and appreciate the roller tip and the new method of sliding it on the ground rather than tapping. As Lynnette says, “I never leave home without it.”


Christine wrote:

In reply to Bob Branco. I have taken a baby to church, and a toddler. As a toddler my daughter was horrible. As I was too embarrassed to keep her with me and I was on my own, I removed her immediately each week and took her to play in the area where the babies and toddlers would come out at a pre-arranged time. Except on special occasions, children and older babies come out of our service once we finish singing hymns, only very tiny babies or visitors might stay in with their older babies or, rarely, toddlers. In our church everyone accepts that sometimes children can’t sit still and nor would they expect them to. I do find this off putting, but I also know from being able to see enough that any child able to speak is too fascinated by my use of a monocular or head mounted binoculars and causes a bit of a whispered nuisance far too much. But why should I be unable to join in if I’m causing the nuisance inadvertently? Trying to acquire words to materials sung on a weekly basis in an accessible format in the type of church I go to isn’t possible – no one can keep it up for more than a week or two before they forget though their hearts are in the right places, their brains’ aren’t.

For various reasons I attend a number of different denominational churches, and sound is far more intrusive in some buildings than in others. I hardly notice the sound of one or two children in a modern building but in one of our churches perhaps built as far back as the 12th century which has fantastic acoustics, even the sound of one baby bounces around the walls and its far more distracting.

On the other hand, I can’t deal with a child in a concert hall at any concert not specifically aimed at children. One cry or sound of a chattering child and my teeth are on edge. I didn’t take my daughter to a concert until she was well into her primary school years and she knew much more about the accepted behavior at concerts than most children as my husband is an audio engineer and we have done a lot of recordings of amateurs and professionals. Bored she was, but she knew better than to speak to me. Now she’s an audio engineer in her own right but has chosen not the concert hall (unless working with her dad as his assistant) but a radio station manager!

I think unless children learn from adults in all situations they won’t learn to attend formal functions at all. We have to give them a bit of leeway – they won’t learn these skills at school any more as I did at boarding school.


Jan wrote:

Regarding whether a baby or toddler should be brought to church, there are two sides to this issue. First of all, it depends on what kind of church it is. As a child, I attended church, probably the same denomination Bob is referring to. This type of church is noted for not having facilities conducive to young children. In those cases, parents shouldn’t bring their kids or should be prepared to take them out if necessary. From the time I was 23 years old, I’ve been attending a different type of church. In all the churches I’ve attended since then, there have been nursery facilities where the children are cared for, given religious instruction if old enough and the parents are able to attend the service knowing that the children are cared for. In two of these churches the nursery workers have been able to see and hear the service while caring for the children, with the help of speaker systems and one-way mirrors.


David wrote:

1. Algebra: No descriptions on any blackboard in any college algebra class was going to help me. I got a reader/tutor and we checked in with the graduate assistant teaching the class from time to time. The TA was, I think, pleased to have the problem go away. I was basically on my own with the reader. I did the same for a predicate calculus and symbolic logic class. Sometimes, you just need to change the playing field, not level it! I did, however, try to take a math placement test but the head of the department was a ditz. A female friend of mine went and he fell over himself getting her the test. Duh. I was also told by a linguistics professor that blind people could not do linguistics. Another genius at LSU, I guess.

2. Man on Bus: No one won here. This guy had some serious problems. I think everyone was at fault some here. It was not an either/or situation. It did remind me of an incident in about 1990 in Philadelphia when the president of the NFB of Pennsylvania would not take a seat on a bus, but wanted to stand like all the other late-comers had to on the bus. They stopped the bus and everyone had to get off and it was a zoo.

3. White Cane: I like using braille. I think it’s neat and exotic and clever. But the cane I feel ties up a hand, is tedious, and a fair, not great, substitute for eyes. But what can I do. If I skip it, I would crash and burn, no bat-echo travel ability.

4. Church: Some denominations, i.e. Episcopal, have a Sunday school running concurrently with services. The parents bring the kids there, and the parents attend services, and the kids come back in just before Communion. I know Catholic churches have cry-rooms. That might be an option. But once when I was in one, the parent gave her six-year-old a coloring book. She had no intention of encouraging the larrikin to attend the priest’s sermon or anything.

5. I am assuming the tandem bikers had usable vision. I’d not think it’d be safe otherwise. It sounds like a very neat journey. Maybe, they’ll write a book. Wish we had tandem biking here in the fall and winter when it’s actually cool enough to ride outside. Louisiana can be blistering in the summer.

6. I think it’s fascinating the NVDA works so well. I have friend who use it. I will soon be using either CASE CATylist of Eclipse for a scoping job and do not think NVDA works with either platform and am doubtful that anyone would enable it. Also, I wish someone would make a simple cheap scanner app. I could just scan my mail and cut and paste it to MSWORD. None of all the bells and whistles than Openbook has that exhaust me. Ditto for Duxbury. It will cost me over $700 to get both software packages upgraded to a 64-bit platform. Yuck.


Deena wrote:

In the Reader’s Forum of the August 5, 2013 edition of the Ziegler Magazine, Kit described about certain phone applications that really fascinated me. I wonder if Kit can answer my following questions to clarify my doubts as to their utility in my particular case.

Presently, I am using Nokia E71 and Nokia E5. Can the Ariadne GPS application be installed on my Nokia E71 and Nokia E5 to give me the same benefits as it does in case of Kin? In other words, is this application compatible with the above said phones?

Is the Look Tell Money Reader local or universal? Does it work only in case America / Dollars or can it be used to identify currency of any country? Is Indian Rupee one of the 20 mentioned currencies that one can identify with the help of the Look Tell Money Reader?

What is TapTapSee and in which areas is it helpful?

How to get those applications and from whom?

If those applications are not compatible with my above said phones, which particular phone can he suggest for me to make best use of those applications?

Kit: please let me hear if you can.

One Comments

  1. To David: In regards to your comments on OCR applications, you do not need to use specialized software if you do not want to and have access to a screen reader. Since NVDA is free and open source for Windows, and VoiceOver is included on Macs there is no reason to not have access to a screen reader. Then for Windows at least, you can use commercial applications. I use both OmniPage and FineReader. Both of them can export directly into Microsoft Word. Their initial purchase prices may be a bit expensive depending on what version you choose, but maintaining them is cheaper than purchasing or maintaining the specialized software you describe. There are still places and uses for that software, but if you have decent screen reader skills, there is no need to in effect pay for yet another screen reader. (This is actually what you are buying, an optimized interface to OCR. Most of these pakcages, such as OpenBook, use the commercial products I mentioned in the backend to do the actual OCR work. Therefore as you probably have guessed, the accuracy is the same.)

    To Deena: the software you are talking about such as TapTapSee runs on the iPhone and other iOS based devices from Apple. There may also be Android versions of some of those apps, or equivalents. I am not aware of this type of software for the Nokia phones you mentioned.