Dumb post to the Stargardts Facebook group

Bill Cox waywardgeek at gmail.com
Mon Apr 8 12:05:22 EDT 2013

At one point I wanted to collaborate with Sina on a book about being blind
in the age of technology, where stories like your's and Sinas would make
excellent examples throughout the book.  Then I got busy at work, and now
I'm more busy than ever.  I still like the idea, though.


On Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 7:17 AM, <acollins at icsmail.net> wrote:

> Hi Bill and all.  I think we need to keep in mind that as far as
> blindness is concerned, each of us have different experiences when it
> comes to learning to deal with our blindness.  Some of us get lucky, and
> find ourselves in contact with people who can teach us that blindness is
> not the end of the world.  Others have a more difficult time, and have
> no one who can help shield them against the terrible attitudes that most
> of the world has concerning blindness.  My friend Keith Watson was a
> draftsman engineer, before he slowly began to lose his sight.  Like
> Bill, he fortunately ran in to some of us on the Speakup list, who could
> give him advice about what kind of help was available, and not allow him
> to sit around feeling sorry for himself.  He went back to school, and
> his company moved him over in to their ip department.  He has since gone
> to work for a company monitoring the quality of accessible documents
> they produce for the Social Seccurity Administration.
> On the other hand, there are guys like me, who have been blind all my
> life.  I went to the local state school for the blind here in Iowa.
> Then because I was just out of high school, and didn't really know what
> I wanted to do with myself, I attended a one year course at our state
> comission for the blind, where I learned a lot of coping skills and
> attitudes that I didn't pick up when I was in school.  The upshot of it
> all is that I went to tech school, got a job as a machinest, got laid
> off, went to computer school, and got a job in tech support for one of
> our state universities.  I worked as a machinest for ten years, and then
> worked as a tech support consultant for the university for 25 years.
> I think it behoves all of us to spread the word that being blind is not
> the end of the world.  Is it sometimes difficult?  Yes, but so is life
> in general.  The glass is either half empty, or half full.  Each of us
> gets to decide individually.
> Many others here could tell similar stories.
> Gene Collins
> >I just posted the following to the Stargardts group on Facebook in
> response
> >to a post from a kid who was asked to write about what it's like to go
> >blind, for a publication in Canada.  She posted her opening, and asked
> what
> >we thought of it.  I found it wanting.  She said she could not see the
> >professor's face.  This is what I said:
> >
> >For the first two years, I lived in denial. Losing central vision meant
> >losing my job, my house, and the ability to raise my kids. It paralyzed me
> >with fear, and threatened everything I cared about. Yet I was lucky.
> Losing
> >sight meant losing my ability to program, which is the skill that has
> >defined my value to the world. I found a blind mentor who showed me that
> it
> >is possible for the blind to be outstanding programmers. I began to
> >contribute to software for the blind. I worked so hard at improving such
> >software, that I sat too long at my computer and gave myself blood clots,
> >which moved to my lungs and came close to killing me. Still, I was lucky.
> >What is it like to slowly go blind? The world crashes down around you and
> >you fight dragons every day to stay alive. That's if you're lucky, like
> me.
> >For the rest, possibly the majority, I fear it may be far worse. I was
> >lucky in that I had the chance to build something I cared about
> desperately
> >before losing central vision. It gave me the will to overcome the
> >obstacles. What is it like for kids losing vision while going to college?
> >That's what really breaks my heart. They don't yet know what is worth
> >fighting for. Not seeing the professor is no big deal. How many of you
> >people out there with Stargartds have learned speed listening? Do you know
> >the potential you have, and the value of the life you will lose if you
> >don't fight for it? I'm lucky, because I got to build that life before
> >losing vision. I grieve for all the kids who will never get the chance to
> >know why they should fight so hard.
> >
> >I don't think any of the kids out there with Stargardt's will suddenly
> >change their lives because of my post, but you guys, and especially Sina,
> >have changed my life.  Thanks for showing me that my central vision
> >impairment need not cripple me, and for the chance to help write the
> >software I need.  I am using Speech Hub, Mary TTS, and NVDA just to write
> >this email.  Working together, we can build great tools like Speech Hub,
> >and great organizations like the Accessible Computing Foundation.  We can
> >make a difference one vision impaired guy at a time, or at least try like
> >Hell.
> >Bill
> >_______________________________________________
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> >Speakup at linux-speakup.org
> >http://linux-speakup.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/speakup
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