Reader’s Forum – Week of October 28, 2013

For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.

Cheryl wrote:

I would like to hear from job-seekers who use JAWS and who apply through Career Builder, beyond.com, etc. I recently had a sighted computer trainer visit me to see if my complaints about these sites were real or if there were navigation techniques I didn’t know. What we found:

When checking boxes to indicate my education, we learned that the box which spoke the word “no” actually was the “yes” box. So all my responses would have been incorrect. In addition, JAWS failed to read or even indicate a whole section of the application.

So, what do other Ziegler readers do when they must navigate difficult job applications? I have no choice but to pay people to do this work so it will be done quickly and efficiently. Please respond in the magazine or e-mail me at wadecher@msu.edu.

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Nelson wrote:

To anyone who calls the Tell-Me telephone numbers across the nation. I’m in Florida and the number I used to call seems to have been disconnected. If you have working numbers from the state you live in, if it’s a 1-800 number or a 1-888 please share it with me and all of us so we can continue getting the scores of games news updates and more. You can also E-mail me: carebear40@bellsouth.net

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James wrote:

Now that the government shutdown is history, I think it’s time we examine the quality of leadership we are getting in the United States.

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate the quality of leadership at two. Our United States treasury is spending nearly one trillion dollars more than it takes in every year. We as a nation cannot afford to spend more than we take in indefinitely. Simply stated: big government cannot determine its priorities.

When conservative legislators attempt to have a rational discussion about this, they are called names, such as legislative arsonists, hostage-takers, and terrorists. During the shutdown our present president called his opponents terrorists and hostage takers. One decade ago these names were reserved for our enemies overseas, who actually performed these activities. Therefore, I believe the quality of our political discourse has hit an all-time low. I believe that we in America deserve much better than that.

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Abbie wrote:

I’m writing in response to Lynne Tatum’s article regarding adaptive software to help with social networks. I use the system access mobile networks socializer. It works well with Facebook. I can easily read status updates, post comments, and open links. You still have to create an account, change your profile, and write on friends’ walls on the main page or m.facebook.com. The socializer can also be used with Twitter and Skype, but since I don’t use these programs, I don’t know how it works.

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Eric wrote:

Regarding Zerline’s comments: Zerline, Mr. Calhoun here. I concur with you. Sandra, let me ask you a question. If I ask for assistance to get across the street, why is it that ignorant people tell me that I need a dog? By that logic, the same logic, if a sighted person asks for help, they get helped? Think about it: in 5 months, (March 21,) I will be 40 years young. What difference does that make? I was born blind. Why can’t partially sighted people have guide dogs?

I’d like to leave you with one more question: If you got the opportunity to rescue a Labrador, Golden retriever, or German shepherd, why wouldn’t you pass it up? Some of us should consider dog rescue, and give those dogs a second chance at life. Just another option to consider, instead of going away to get trained, especially if you cannot afford it or cannot stay away from your community.

When should you stop your advocacy? Answer? Never! This has been proven time and again by the California Council of the Blind on touch-screen voting machines. In Alameda County, a lawsuit is winding its way through the courts. The Alameda County maintains that blind people don’t need the assistance of independent voting machines, they can get the help of a sighted assistant. At the CCB Convention, it was announced that CCB has asked the case to go forward, and the judge concurred with CCB. The County filed a “motion to dismiss,” which has been denied.

We need to hold counties above reproach when IVM’s aren’t working, and for when there are glitches, or when there is no backup IVM. Congratulations, CCB!

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Karen wrote:

In the Reader’s Forum some Ziegler readers have been critical of questions sighted persons ask us. I believe there is a more positive way to approach sighted people’s silly and well-meaning questions.

Through interaction and experience I have learned approaching these questions with patience, humor and kindness is superior approach. However I have not always believed this.

As a young college student and a new member of the NFB I had a markedly different point of view. Wasn’t the organization’s philosophy that members should demonstrate how independent we were? I adopted a new approach when sighted students and adults asked me if I needed assistance with mobility issues. With moderate impatience and “I can do it myself” attitude I often refused assistance.

I soon learned this approach was alienating and now ask if I need assistance. I started using the approach of educating people, which I did before joining this organization.

When living in a senior citizen apartment complex I learned that many older people wanted to feel useful when asking if I needed assistance. They were upset when I turned their well-meaning offer down. I learned to accept help, thereby striking up interesting conversations.

Throughout the years I have enjoyed answering people’s questions. I have tried to educate sighted people about how I cook, do laundry and even understand a perception of color. I now empathize with people who have age related vision loss.

I have educated people with my writing and the questions my instructor asked help me clarify my writing when describing how I do everyday things as a blind person. People do not know how we cook, do laundry, match up clothing, put on makeup, or manage money. As part of a course, on schooldays I was a guest speaker. I delivered a ninety minute speech, part of it being a question and answer period. I described my years at Perkins using the book the history of Perkins as a resource. Time flew by as people asked me loads of questions. Everyone loved the speech and the upbeat way I gave it.

So instead of criticism and anger, use kindness, patience and humor when approaching the sighted public. It goes further; you may make friendships, start interesting conversations and help someone who may be losing their vision. As the adage goes “you get more people with honey than lemons.”

Thank you for reading.

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In response to Bob Branco, Edward writes:

One day, my managers scheduled a meeting at room 410. At 9:00 AM, I went to the 4th floor and found room 410 with help from coworkers. At 3:00 PM I was waiting for my lost managers to find room 410. It seemed funny to me that the managers picked a room which they could not find.

During my walks for a week, people would say, “hello, are you lost?” So, I told myself that I am not taking it anymore. During this walk, a man said, “hello!” Before he could say another word I said, “are you lost?” The gentleman was totally befuddled that I could ask him that question. He immediately said, “no I am not lost!” I said in response, “that is good to know.” Then, I kept walking with a big smile on my face.


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