Re: More: Re: Fw: Python help needed immediately -- simple Electronic Ballot Printer

From: Douglas W. Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Fri Jan 11 2008 - 14:47:47 CST

On Jan 11, 2008, at 2:27 PM, Barbara Simons wrote:

> Hi, Dick. You should definitely check what I'm about to say with
> Noel,
> who is blind, but my understanding is that relatively few blind people
> read Braille, now that computers can read texts for them.

Even when computers did not read texts, it was estimated that only ten
percent of those who could benefit from reading Braille could do so.

Part of the problem is systematic. There are many schools that teach
Braille to blind children, so most who are born blind or who are blinded
as children have the opportunity to learn Braille. Unfortunately, not
everyone who has the opportunity to learn Braille does so.

And then, there is a second problem: Many people are blinded after they
are through with school. Consider macular degeneration and other
age-related failures in addition to accidents and acute illnesses that
can blind people. It is estimated that 25 percent of the 65 to 74 year
old population has macular degeneration. These are folks who cope
by using big print and magnifying glasses -- at least initially, but
depending on how the problem develops, this can pretty well destroy
people's reading ability.

It is my guess that in many cases, the assistive technologies that
provide
the best benefit to this elderly population with failing eyesight will
not be identical to the technologies preferred by those born blind or
blinded as youths. I guess this, in part, based on the frequency with
which I have heard lines like "you can't properly evaluate assistive
technologies unless you were born blind." That line suggests that the
technology in question might not be the best choice for someone who
spent
75 years reading before their vision failed.

                Doug Jones
                jones@cs.uiowa.edu
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Received on Fri Jan 11 16:16:33 2008

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