Dumb post to the Stargardts Facebook group

acollins at icsmail.net acollins at icsmail.net
Mon Apr 8 12:18:43 EDT 2013

Well, it's an interesting idea.  Maybe you could get some others here to
contribute their stories and experiences.  If you think what I wrote to
the list would help, feel free to use it.  If you do, I think you should
either get my friend Keith's permission, or delete his name from what I

Maybe you could give the book an interesting title, like "Blindness, The
Challenge, and The Experience".

>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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