WBU-NAC region(Senior group) Fine Work
“RECEIVING INFORMATION THROUGH FINGER-TIPS FROM COMMUNITY”
Canada Penny Leclair(59/Female)
I have always been blind. Until 1997, I accessed Braille from the CNIB library. I could purchase subscriptions to magazines in Braille, or order them through the CNIB library. All my reading material was through CNIB library. I purchase Braille books now at a more reasonable price than 15 years ago. Today how I access Braille has changed. I still access Braille as I used to, but now I have added other techniques to acquire information in Braille. I am an independent woman who is Deaf-Blind.
Braille is the number one method of accessing information for me. I also receive information through a tactile method of communication called British Two-Hand Manual. I live alone so that having access to Braille is very important to me.
I can create Braille by using a slate and stylus, Perkins Brailler or Braille printer. By using software, a computer and Braille display I can also create Braille. I make labels for items of food, and clothing. I use Braille labels on appliances, various plastic banking cards and electronic devices.
Banks have had third party contractors producing information they provide to their customers in Braille. I request these services. Bell Canada now does the same thing.
I have devices that have Braille displays. One is a TTY, special device for the deaf, where you type back and forth and read information over the telephone line. Using this device I read Braille while others read the print on a screen. I interact with hearing people with this device and a third party service provider called Bell Relay Services. By using a third party that can hear what is spoken, and type the short message to me, I read this in Braille, and reply by typing my responses to the third party provider, who reads the information I type to the person with hearing. I also have a note-taker with a Braille display, a calendar, and a calculator, as well is the ability to function as a note-taker. I can put several books in plain text format into this note taker and read it anywhere.
I purchased a bar-code scanner which is connected to my computer and Braille display. A database of products and their bar-codes allows me to know what a product is, and read instructions related to each product. I can add bar-codes of new products into the database and type in information about the product.
I have discovered how to make use of this specialized equipment and a computer to increase accessible information in my community.
I am fortunate to live in a province of Canada, Ontario, that has government support so that I can own a Braille display and computer equipment. But these devices alone don't provide much useful information related to my personal independence. I rely on community services to e-mail information to me, so that I can file it on my computer and access the information using a Braille display. Often, if I explain my situation, a service provider will send me a Word file of information, ranging from menus, product manuals, materials from workshops or forums, and other documentation. Sometimes I ask volunteers to type printed information, which is not in an electronic format, into an e-mail message so that I can file this on my computer. In other situations, I scan information which then can be saved as a word document and accessed that way. When I receive exceptional services, I ask for their business card and get someone to read it to me; then, I can type it into my computer, by first having all the information relayed to me in my tactile language of British Two-Hand Manual.
When Web sites are accessible I can create my own files and copy information directly from a web site, and access the information using my Braille display.
Some of the businesses that provide information, via e-mail, for me to access directly are: