There are three main types of disabilities: (1) you’ve had it as long as you can remember, (2) you got it in an instant, (3) it developed over time.
This is true for all different disabilities.
- Physical: (1) born without a leg, (2) lost a leg in an accident, (3) got an infection and had to amputate a few toes but the infection spread and had to have more and more leg amputated.
- Mental: (1) born with a learning disability, (2) suffered a stroke or head trauma, (3) have Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite this obvious truth, I think it doesn’t occur to many people that this is also true for the blind.
Auggie Anderson, a character in the TV series Covert Affairs, was blinded in an explosion while serving in Iraq. He continued working with the CIA as a tech operative, using a braille keyboard and other fancy equipment.
Many people lose their vision after their formative years, like Auggie, but not all of us are as fortunate as fictional characters. What would you do if you lost your vision today? You’d start listening audio books, right? And rely on an assistant to help you navigate new places? The best way for the blind to earn their independence is through braille.
I think most people assume that a blind person knows how to read braille, but I imagine this is so difficult to learn as an adult and the opportunities to learn is far lesser compared to that of a child. So what can you do?
I have a few fancy technical solutions for you too!
Voice Stick: If you can’t read braille or it’s too costly to buy books printed in braille, now you have another option. Read a normal book using the voice stick. Pass the stick over the text you’d like to read and voila! The text is read to you through a pair of earphones.
Braille Interpreter: “For blind people who can’t read braille.” Sometimes you won’t have written text to scan and have to rely on braille to, for example, find a bathroom. The voice stick wouldn’t help you because you wouldn’t know where to scan. If you scan random walls and hope for the best, when nature calls, it will not be kind.
There is some really cool gadgetry out there. And it’s not just for CIA agents! 😉