Blind Friend Caught in the Web
I recently telephoned an out-of-state friend to talk. He became legally blind just after birth due to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), which the National Institutes of Health defines as a "potentially blinding eye disorder primarily affecting premature infants weighing about 2.75 pounds or less and born before 31 weeks of gestation." Most cases leave no permanent damage, but in more severe cases about 500 U.S. infants each year become legally blind.
My friend, who I'll call Tony (a pseudonym), age 35, said he had been able as a child to see shapes and colors, but now could sense only light. He uses a white cane. His current concern has been over trying to participate in the digital revolution.
In a telephone interview, he said, "In terms of print, I learned to read Braille when I started school years ago. I was fortunate to have a teacher who taught it. I was able to get a lot of my books in Braille, too. Now I just get Rolling State and Science News magazines in Braille. They don't cost me anything. I also have a Braille Bible that takes up two large plastic crates (to store), and my New Testament alone has four large volumes."
While reading Braille publications comes easy, he finds using the Internet problematic. Online content doesn't come in Braille, of course. He does have a text reader called JAWS, which converts text to speech, but other online content, such as pop-up ads (the worst, he said), videos, photos, and the like, makes perusing many websites impossible.
He said, "One particular website I used to visit, Worldnetdaily.com, reformatted its web page and now it has so many graphics (JAWS) can't make heads or tails of it. They've lost me as a reader because of the change. As for the musical site Pandora.com, I can visit it now, type in an artist and hear music, but I'm unable to add variety, delete music I don't want or give feedback. I've been told Pandora.com is fully aware of its accessibility problems but has no desire to change. So I don't go there anymore either."
He also would like websites to figure out ways to describe videos and photos over his text reader, so at least he could get some idea of content. For example, he would visit Facebook if the site offered blind people basic photo descriptions, such as "three men smiling."
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News HeadlinesCampgrounds Open Along Middle Fork of American RiverAUBURN, Calif. - With the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, the United States Forest Service has announced the opening of campgrounds at French Meadows and Hell Hole Reservoirs
Roseville Flash Crime Report (5.26.17)Roseville, CA- Summary digest of Roseville Police selected activity log covering the period of May 19- 26, 2017.
2017 Acura MDX: classy and versatileRoseville, CA- Now in its eighth year of production by Honda's luxury division, the 2017 Acura MDX is a midsize luxury crossover SUV that is appealing for a variety of reasons.
2017 PlacerArts Summer Concert SeriesAuburn, CA- The annual and free Auburn Summer Concert Series returns for another season beginning June 11, 2017
Affordable Housing Fee Workshops in Auburn and Kings BeachAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County has scheduled two housing fee study workshops in June, one in Kings Beach and another in Auburn
USA Fastpitch Competition in South Placer County this JuneRocklin, CA --USA Fastpitch is coming to Roseville, Lincoln and Rocklin June 2-4 for three days of softball competition.
City of Roseville's $507 Million Proposed Operating BudgetRoseville, CA- The City of Roseville's proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 is available for review
San Juan Water District Receives Excellence in Financial Reporting AwardGranite Bay, Calif. - The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada awarded the San Juan Water District
Sports Stars Join Rocklin Golf Fundraiser at Whitney OaksHall of Famer Willie Brown, Jim Plunkett, Daryle Lamonica, Charles Woodson, Phil Villapiano, Rod Martin and several more Oakland Raiders headline a dazzling field
Silversun Pickups Summer Tour with Third Eye BlindFollowing their upcoming BottleRock Napa Valley performance, this summer, Silversun Pickups will embark on a 30-date amphitheater tour opening for Third Eye Blind. The "Summer Gods" Tour celebrates Third Eye Blind's 20th anniversary
Garland Ranch Regional Park: Tranquility in Monterey CountyCarmel Valley, California - The "granddaddy" of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, Garland Ranch is a fine elder statesman of parks.
Roseville Firefighters Union Blast City's Proposed Staffing CutsRoseville, Calif. - With rising temperatures and fire season upon us, city leaders in Roseville have proposed drastic staffing cuts to the Roseville Fire Department