My Request To Popular Tech Sources
I have a request for places like Twit.tv, The Verge, arstechnica, and other popular sources for tech information. Produce a few articles or segments now and then about the technology making lives better for people with a disability.
I’m not asking for a weekly or even monthly item, but maybe focus on one area of disability a couple times a year.
This is why I’m asking. There was a time in my life when I did not have a disability. Contrary to what some out there may think, not every person who is blind was born that way.
I had a job at a small alarm company here in Kansas City. I usually worked the midnight shift and things were often pretty quiet around 4 AM, especially on a Sunday morning. I would have the television on, just for some background noise, as I was the only person in the office at that hour.
I remember a early morning, community interest show one Sunday. They interviewed a local guy who is blind and showed how he could still use a computer. Remember, at the time I had 20/20 vision and no disabilities.
That show stuck in my head, as I was a long time computer geek. I said to myself, if I ever become blind, at least I’ll still be able to use a computer, life won’t be so bad.
Fast forward about two years and I’m in the emergency room after going from perfect eyesight without glasses, to having no vision in one eye. That happened in less than twenty four hours. Another twelve hours or so later and I was totally blind in both eyes.
The one thing that stuck in my mind was that early morning community interest show and I told myself, you can still use a computer, life isn’t so bad.
That was all twenty four years ago and while the two rare forms of lymphoma I had back in 1994 are long gone, I’m still totally blind and am still using a computer. Yes, life isn’t that bad.
So I’m asking these popular sources of technology information to help share info from time to time. There are many disabilities out there and technology that can help make life better for each category, even things for people who have more than one disability.
Maybe there will be someone like me, or a friend or family member who sees your article or episode and files it away in their brain until the time comes they can share it with someone.
This is an amazing time in history to have a disability. My focus of course is what I know and use. To live in a time when both smartphone platforms have free built-in accessibility services, broadcast television has tv shows that include a descriptive audio channel so I know what is happening visually in what I’m listening to. Even streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Video produce new shows & movies and include description for their content. Talking thermostats, blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, digital assistants like the Amazon Echo or Google home are all available.
I use many of the same smartphone apps that you use. I send & receive text messages, help whoever is driving navigate to our destination, and even sometimes make a phone call.
Many people who have a life changing event may not know of what is available. When I became blind in 1994, I didn’t know anything about being blind. I didn’t have any family members or friends who are blind. It was that one show that got me started and that is why I ask these sources of tech info to produce and share the information to help others.