Monday, April 27, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Window Eyes, Jaws, and other text to speech programs have transformed technology in ways that allow the blind/visually impaired individuals to have access to materials, programs, internet, etc. With our world moving more into the technological way of doing things, text to speech programs allow blind/visually impaired individuals to take part in the uprising trends. I personally use Window Eyes and love it because the key strokes are easier to learn. I have Window Eyes downloaded on my computer, to which I take to class and type my notes. However, when I take my computer to class, I make sure I have my headphones because I don’t think my Professor wants to be competing with my Window Eyes, lol. The fact is, without my Window Eyes program, it would be a lot harder for me to perform the daily tasks at school and my internship.
Although Window Eyes is a great tool to have, like other technology, it does not work with a lot of programs. Being in school, I found out how difficult it is to navigate visual programs such as the graphs/charts in Microsoft and the statistical program, SPSS. When my Window Eyes program does not work, it can be frustrating because there is the need to get the task accomplished. In addition, it can be difficult explaining visual programs to sighted individuals, especially when Window Eyes is not working properly. For example, when trying to explain the SPSS program, it was hard because without my Window Eyes working properly, it was like I had to navigate through the menus without any sound; just memory. It is also hard for me to try to explain something without actually being able to do it. When helping others, especially a person using a text to speech program, it is important for sighted individuals to have patience and understanding.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I can honestly say that I grieved over the loss of my eyesight by experiencing shock, sadness, and eventually, acceptance. What helped me to cope with my situation, was knowing that I could express my feelings to my family and have them listen. However, although my family listened to me with a compassionate ear, they enabled me not to feel sorry for myself. Over time, I accepted the reality of my situation and began asking myself what am I going to do to overcome the devastation of the change within my life? In my case, the answer was returning back to school. I enjoy learning and being knowledgeable about a variety of issues. In addition, continuing my education and obtaining the goals I set for myself. Enrolling back in college, allowed me to continue on my path of one day being able to help others. Throughout my education, I realized that not only was I learning from the professors, but they were gaining knowledge and experience from me about teaching students who are blind. Many of my professors have told me that I have helped them have a new perspective on teaching and they will carry that on with them in future classes. As a person who is blind, I realized that a lot of my co-workers, friends, peers, and professors have learned a lot from my experiences. For example, one of my friends wanted to hang out with me, but she was hesitant in asking me to go see a movie because she didn’t think it would be fun for me. After my friend had professed her feelings, I told her that I go to movies all of the time and I enjoy going to the theatres. As a matter of fact, I still engage in a lot of the same activities that I once did before; the only difference is in the way I do them. Some activities that I enjoy are listening to audio books, going to the movies, playing computer games, hanging out with family/friends, and going shopping. Whatever your interests are, try to find some alternate ways where you can still enjoy them. It is important to remember that everyone is an individual who copes differently and at different paces. The point is that we all have some inner strength within us, and as my mom always says, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Stevie Wonder once said, “We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.” Everyone has the potential to overcome their obstacles; it’s just finding that inner strength to do so.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
In past decades and especially in today’s society, the media such as television, films, documentaries, etc. have impacted people’s perceptions, such as the way he/she views others. The media is a source of information that can influence a person to think one way or another; which can be both a positive and a negative at the same time. For example, the media can either debunk or enhance society’s stereotypes about various groups such as blind/visually impaired individuals.
With the huge presence of the media in mind, I decided to conduct some research on the amount of television shows that have depicted blind/visually impaired individuals and the messages that are being conveyed. Out of all the major networks such as, NBC, ABC, and CBS, I found that only one of these three networks portrayed blindness through a main character. The network that has depicted blindness on more than one occasion is ABC with 4 shows. Although NBC/CBS also had blind/visually impaired characters on some of their shows, the parts were guest roles and the storyline was not ongoing. In ABC’s General Hospital, One Life to Live, and Desperate House Wives, at least one of the main characters, who were once sighted, suddenly lost their eyesight. The duration of the blindness for these characters was a part of the storyline for months, but not a whole season. The blindness was lifted from these characters due to a surgery that restored their sight. The fact is that many blind/visually impaired individuals are unable to regain their eyesight; however, that does not mean hope has subsided. I still have hope of one day being able to see again.
In terms of ABC’s 4th show, Blind Justice was a sitcom solely based off a blind detective who again, was once sighted, but suddenly lost his eyesight. What sets this drama a part from the other shows, is that this one is based off of the blind character and the weekly storylines are about his experiences. In my opinion, the show had a lot of positive representations, but also gave way to some stereotypes that persist in today’s society. Blind Justice started running in the 2nd week in March of 2005 and was taken off the air in June of that same year. All in all, my findings found that ABC had the most shows with depictions of blind/visually impaired individuals. However, if you can think of anymore shows or want to add any comments, please do so!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
A person that is blind can do any of the activities listed in the poll: ski, golf, bowl, swim, appreciate art, horseback ride, go to the movies, go to an amusement park and go to a concert. Golf and appreciate art did not receive any votes. There is the United States Blind Golf Association and their moto is “you don’t have to see it to tee it!” There are many museums that have art that can be touched; art can also be described and there are blind photographers as well! Those that are visually impaired or totally blind can lead normal and fulfilling lives just as those who are sighted.
I do fun stuff with my sister Robin all of the time. We had the most fun when we got her to go on Space Mountain at Disneyland...I tricked her by telling her it was the Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride. I know…I know I should be ashamed of myself for lying to her. But I’m not! She had the ride of her life! LOL! Afterwards she said she had a blast! My sister and I go to the movies all the time, my 6 year old likes to sit next to my sister and describe to her what’s on the screen. It’s funny because my daughter Imani doesn’t quite have the whispering voice down so we always have to tell her to lower her voice! For the most part people don’t mind…however there was one incident that happened a couple of years after Robin went blind that was just heart wrenching. We had gone to see the Passion of the Christ. The movie was in a different languages, I think Aramaic, Hebrew and Latin so there were captions; I was trying to describe the movie and read the captions to Robin, although I was whispering into Robin’s ear what was going on some people near us got irritated…to see the tears stream down my sister’s face because she couldn’t enjoy something as simple as a movie was just so hard to bear. We later bought the DVD because it was descriptive and she was able to watch it at home. Luckily a lot of movies we see now are comedies and are loud anyway so noone notices me describing to Robin. She pretty much just follows the story line. The scenes that I have to describe are the non-verbal scenes. A group of us got together to go see Sex and the City…loved it! However, there was a lot of non-verbal scenes that I just refused to describe to my baby sister…so I just told her “by the sounds of what you hear, I’m sure you know what is going on!” She’d just say “yeah, I got it, no need for you to describe it!” Whew thank goodness!