Recommended Reading for November 23
There was no recommended reading on Friday because I forgot I hadn’t done one for the day after the Carnival. Oops!
I recently watched a Ted talk that focuses on the idea that how we feel about something is totally based on our perception. It seems to me that in ore for us to improve braille literacy, we are going to have to change people’s perceptions. Organizations like the NFB and ACB are already doing things to help change people’s attitudes towards braille, but I think we can go even further.
Many people are choosing to learn sign language because they think it’s cool. So the question is how do we make braille cool? I think we have to start with children and teens. When we’re younger, we tend to me more likely to accept change and set trends. With this in mind, I have a few ideas of how we can make braille cool in the eyes of our children, and if we can do that, then maybe that will translate to the adults in their life.
I love to read, and I’ve been doing it ever since I was able. My wife is also an avid reader. But we are blind, and so are many of our friends. The organization I lead, the National Federation of the Blind of New York, is made up of blind people. Although many of us read everything we can get our hands on, we can’t get our hands on very much to read.
There are services for us, of course. Government entities and nonprofit organizations convert books into Braille, audio or digital form for our use. But only about 5 percent of all books published undergo such a conversion. The largest collection of books in Braille and audio form in the United States has, perhaps, 70,000 circulating titles in its collection. A few more selections are available as commercial audio books, but these are up to three times as expensive as print books.
I’m sure you’re thinking, how does my petting a service dog undermine his relationship with his person?
Well, it works in two ways. First off, my service dog works for me because he believes I am the most awesome person in the world and that all good things come from me. All petting, all praise, all toys, all games, his soft fluffy bed, all food, all treats – that all comes from me. Secondly, if someone other than me pets him, he starts thinking…oh, people will pet me. If people will pet me, it’s worth paying attention to people rather than my partner. If he pays attention to people rather than to me, I could have a nasty fall (among other things) – one that could injure both of us. Keep in mind when you read this that the average person who works with a service dog is more likely to be hurt, and hurt badly, by a fall. We tend to have service dogs because there is some kind of physical fragility or injury to us already, after all. When you’re dealing with guide dogs, I think the risk is even greater – a distracted guide dog might walk his person into traffic!
I. Cannot. Afford. A. Place. Alone.
My maths are simple. I have an income, which I get from the state until they figure out what sort of job I can handle with my disability. That income is all I have. Anything I might earn by teaching two hours a week (which I do) is subtracted from that income. That means that I cannot raise my income in any way. Unless, of course, I do so illegally, which would be pretty stupid considering the risk of discovery. My income is what it is and cannot be adjusted upwards. At all. Not until I get some help for my disability.
In the news:
Study Unravels Mystery of Dyslexia
New research may provide an answer as to why children with dyslexia often have difficulty hearing someone talk in a noisy room.
Dyslexia is a common, language-based learning disability that makes it difficult to read, spell, and write. It is unrelated to a person’s intelligence. Studies have also shown that patients with dyslexia can have a hard time hearing when there is a lot of background noise, but the reasons for this haven’t been exactly clear.
Now, scientists at Northwestern University say that in dyslexia, the part of the brain that helps perceive speech in a noisy environment is unable to fine-tune or sharpen the incoming signals.