26 (edited by abdullah_mohammad 2018-06-11 15:42:08)

hi there.
i am a person that lives in a war zone. i have goals and dreems.
i am a student and i am looking for a job.
everything is hard here and it's kinda contributing to what i am going through.
my addoptive family are not open very much and i am struggling with them to voice my oppinions without being crittisized for it.
i will make it though, and i beleive in my self and i won't give up.
and about the homeless people you make it sound like it's there fault. i suggest you calm down and think about what you just said

no despair with life, and no life with despair.

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27

Munawar, the reason I mention the corporate mindset and lack of opportunities to actually use skills a blind person might have, is that I'm seeing more and more people affected by it.

If you will please forgive me tooting my own horn a little bit, I went to one of the most prestigious universities in the Uk and received a degree and a masters (the same university where I'm currently completing my doctorate). It was probably the only place I've ever been fully accepted. Yet of all the friends I made there, either  they haven't actually got into any higher level skilled work and have remained glorified secretaries despite their qualifications, or they have had to take skut workd be required to take specific qualifications for a middle range corporate position set by said corporation or management after! they leave university, even friends with degrees in subjects  as computer science, ppe (that's politics, philosophy and economics).

The plane fact is, we live in a world where increasingly people's individual skills and achievements are not being valued, where the production line is all (really Huxley would be spinning in his grave).

This is true quite outside the disabled community, look at This report from the guardian as an example, (that report is a bit female centric,  though others I've seen aren't).

When people in the mainstream world have increasingly less confidence in actually achieving anything, why should blind people be any better off, indeed they're worse off.

Generally this is why my own philosophy basically has been to find something "useful!" to do, a vocation rather than a career.

As to youtube etc you do raise an interesting point, I confess for me its simply a technological question, since I've not managed to get the recording software or microphone sorted, but again both in terms of my poetry and in terms of my and my lady's voices this is somethign I do intend to look into once I am no longer knee deep in theories of disability.

Btw, to braille0109, Ironcross and others who mention problems with reading speed, effort etc,  a major part of the theory of disability which I'm writing on in my doctoral thesis is involved with the concept of effort and the fact that hay, having a disability makes some things harder big_smile.

I doubt anyone will take any bloody notice even when the thesis is published, hell even if I actually decide I'm not bloody sick of the subject and try to put together an article for publication, however note that the subject is out there.
This is also where the definition of "accessibility" use to classify games on this site comes from, that concept of effort.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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28

***mid way through writing this post I noticed it was turning into a rant about today's education more than saying what goals I have, but I decided to keep it this way none the less***. well, at the moment I am still trying to finish school, and I don't have any goals besides "get that stupid piece of paper into my hands somehow. My problem is that I'm not the sort of person who could be happy with a life of getting up, going to work for 8-10 hours, having maybe 3-4 hours of recreational time before I have to get a night's rest so I can, you guessed it, get up for another day of working as a mindless drone for some big corperation, dependant on them to pay my salary. Personally, I think all this talk about getting a high level education and studdying something that gets you the most amount of money in college is bullshit, at least these days. It might have worked like that about 50 years ago, but today, from what I know experience and connections are the two most important things if you want to get a job, and the blindness factor isn't even considered here. I have just enough residual vision for light perception, but that's it. No cullors, shapes, or depth perception. That means that things I'd be best suited fore are office jobs, and I know that I'd probably go crazy sitting in a cubical all day hammering away at excel spredsheets or reports. I've heard many employed blind people work in iT somewhere, and if you want to know why I don't see myself able to do that kind of work, let's just put it this way. The main reason I won't get into what americans would call the senior year of high school yet is because of maths, I absolutely suck at that, and it often seams as though the more effort I put into things like it, the more the universe throws my work back in my face and mocks me for my pittyfull attempts. I've considered studdying something having to do with music at college, but I still want to graduate high school, because they probably give prefference to graduates. Since my particular school has a pop music major, and you can actually graduate with your chosen instrument, that would look a lot better than having no quallifications or certificates at all. On the other hand, I simply hate how educational systems work. They're supposed to ready you for the real world, for an independant life, and most of all, they're supposed to make you employable. But I can pretty safely asoom that school and college doesn't prepare you in the least for what's coming after. You're also ment to learn, and to gain a wide general knowledge, but I think that there must be other ways of teaching than shoving a load of facts down your throat, and having you spit them back out on command three weeks later, only to forget them again soon after. A model like this may have worked 200 years ago when these systems were innitially thought out, but seriously, times have indeed changed, and the regurgitation of facts has nothing to do with actual work. I know a lot of people, who simply aren't cut out for that type of system, which eventually dropped out. They put a lot of effort in, and really tried to make things work, but it just didn't. Those people were some of the most creative and intellegent human beings I know, it's more like the system trolled them into dropping out. I am one of those people who believes that every person has a nitch, something they're good at and can enjoy working on. It would be better if modern school systems focussed on individual tallents and skills, nurtured those, and put them to the test, rather than forcing you to take in a huge amount of stuff from about 15 different areas of expertese your brain might just not be wired to process.

Bar, bar, bar...
Bar is my name and to go bar is my aim...
Sometimes I'll go "Bad bar",
But in the end its always bar, ahem beer, ahem bar! beer bar!

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29

@Munawar
I understand the direction you were intending to take this topic with your questions, but I still think that the discussion here is full of great answers and experiences. As far as Liam goes, (I don't think he'll mind that you pointed him out) I definitely think he's been an inspiration for others in the community to try and do something similar, but maybe it just comes down to a lack of knowledge about setting up a system that can return an income. I think we could see a lot more positive results if we were able to create our own platforms to offer any kind of services for sale. (for example, someone who can sing using various platforms to showcase their work and promote any albums or projects that can be purchased)

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. - Mark Twain

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30

I have an orbit reader20 a new refreshable braille display that is just $449. I really hope that orbit reader 20s go flying off the shelves and that with inexpensive refreshable braille, braille literacy will go up, and employment for blind people will also go up. Braille is for blind people, like print is for sighted people. I also believe I failed and dropped out of college because I relied too much on the computer technology that tries to do too much for you. I let sighted people take notes for me sitting in class listening. If I could re-do that part of my life. I would go back in time with my slate and stylus skills, my orbit reader20 basic book reader note taker and refreshable display, maybe an updated focus 40 blue with basic brf e-braille note taker and book reader... I would sit in class, take my own notes and most likely would have passed. I would have insisted, no learning ally audio books on audio tape! all material must be in unified english braille for me! and grade1 spanish braille since that was my field of study at the time. I wanted to be hired as a language translator back 16 years ago. But because I did not have braille, I failed! Because my ex-wife did not have great braille skills and we both went to the same college. she failed also. if we would have had great braille skills including slate and stylus use, and if we had orbit20s back then. i think we would have passed. maybe not in the subjects we wanted but we would have come out with degrees. and we may still be married today, because we would have been able to get away from her selfish controlling parents. But life did not happen that way. I have an orbit reader20 now. What opportunities will low cost refreshable braille give me now that I have it? Not sure yet. I do know that I missed reading braille these past nearly 16 or so years. Embossers are expensive, you have to have a constant supply of paper, and a big place to store the bulky and multi-volume paper braille. On the orbit20 I can have nearly four hundred thousand volumes of braille in my pocket, a large pocket or backpack, in a dust and liquid and humidity resistant device that's built like a perkins brailler, built like a brick! I ask my sighted son sometimes. hey would it not be easier if you just close your eyes and use a screen reader like I do? just sit and listen to robotic synthetic speech all the time? He always says no! he repeatedly tells me and yes he is only 11 years old. but he repeatedly tells me its just easier and quicker to read everything, all the print with his eyes. Screen readers are available. But he chooses print. And for good reason. The screen reader though for me takes that print and gives me refreshable braille output of whatever is on the computer in many languages. Even nemeth math if i wish. I just don't think that infrastructure was there back 16 years ago like it is more so now.

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31

at crashmaster. I am 36 years old, born in 1982. I have ROP. I never had a job in my life. failed college due to little or no braille materials. came close to having an information tech job in Louisiana. My ex-wife and her horrible parents ruined that opportunity. My parents were good enough to give me a place of my own a mile or so away from them on the other side of town. Then a year ago my biological father died. A blind friend who lives a 40 minute drive away told me that since he died I may qualify for a much much better social security program. I checked, i qualified, so now due to my biological father working quite hard his whole life. I am in a much higher social security program. But I think its all luck, or fate? not sure. had my friend not told me about trying to qualify for this higher social security program based on my biological father's death and the fact he is on my birth certificate, I would never have known and would still be just barely getting by. still, i would love to get off every social security program with a good $40000 or more per year full time good paying job.

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32 (edited by Jason SW 2018-06-11 22:41:08)

I won't get into my long, complicated school life. I'll just say that I started having issues after the first grade, and it only got worse.
I honestly think I've forgotten over 90% of everything I ever learned in school. The topics just weren't interesting, and I think the biggest problem, especially in high school, was that I really didn't have any friends, and I really didn't know how to approach people or what to say. This depressed me, so my grades suffered. Not that they were anything to be proud of in the first place, to be honest.
So on top of that, I started having issues with depression and social anxiety, and the therapists I have been to since then have been completely unhelpful, as have the medications.
I did eventually graduate high school, though it took me two extra years to do it.
Anyway...
Basically, I've recently noticed that I go through phases. There are several months where I get bored, and I feel like I want to do something even remotely worthwhile with  my life, and then a phase lasting even longer where I feel completely unmotivated. Then the cycle repeats.
Though I've never tried to note exactly when these phases start and end, I've recently wondered whether the unmotivated phase always begins towards the start of the summer months, and ends in the middle or near the end of the fall months.
The reason I wonder this is because it can get quite hot here, and it's a wet heat. And heat and humidity just makes me want to sleep all day long.
Also, I like the times of the year when it stays dark longer.
There are other issues which I won't get in to here, but this is probably the main reason that keeps me away from college and jobs. I just don't feel at all confident that I will be able to stay motivated for longer than six months, if even that long, and I'd rather not drop out of college, or get fired from a job.
I did try to look for jobs a few times, and I looked into college two times, but I realized that it just wouldn't work out.

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33

IMHO....

I don't feel like the whole system is to blame. I feel like there's two huge issues.

1. Services and their attitudes toward blind people

2. Soity

First off, I feel like the various blind services are as much to blame as anyone, I wasn't ever taught how to write a CV, or conduct an interview, or social skills, it was all mobility, cooking skills, and so forth, nothing about preparing for applying for a job. In high school, a bunch of us kids were pulled out of PSHE classes. Every week, without fail. Later learning oh that hour was used for useful things like CV writing, or sexual health, or (and this is my favorite) putting a condom on a banana. Social services weren't any better either, nobody ever sat down and said hey, you neeed to work on X Y Z or a job.

I got shuffled around to A2E or A2A  (remember those, British guys?) and told nobody would want me besides 9-5 sitting in a cubicle filling in data entry five days a week. No thanks. I know from family what working 60 hours a week is like...

So,got talking to somebody who is now retired from the flooring industry and asked as a hypothetical...what would it take to get me working at your company?

I got told, quote

You'd need to pay for your own tuition and courses and learn Jaws and Windows computers since that's what blind people usee

I explained about NVDA and Macs and Linux as an example, I got told something very interesting, that (and I've no idea if this is true or just rumor), that at the time two years ago, there were tax breaks for using 'blind' software, which was of course, only one piece of software. Which as it turned out...I'd STILL have to pay for, the employer didn't.

So I changed tack, I know a few guys who fit carpet for a living and drive 40 ton wagons for a living, I asked them what they'd think about a blind guy or girl in their offices, and they worked for a fair few companies, some abroad too, one that went under in Germany actually. I got responses such as oh blind people want to work for my firm, all the way up to yeah I'd be happy but we'd get shit from a blind service for not consulting with them, all the way up to a sales manager saying, off the recordd, Look, I'd love to hire  blind person but we're not prepared to put up with the bull the blind services want us to, we can't take the easy route or they'll bad mouth us to our customers and suppliers.

Now, things may have changed in the two years but I'm not holding out hope.

Secondly:

Society, I feel like society has a very very skewed view o blind/disabled people for any number of reasons, chief among which is 'they ar not normal'

Next the system is rigid,you work, fine, you lose your benefits. Brad in post #3 said it best, why work when he can get disability money.I feel that's a problem or a mindset too

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34

One thing I'll say about education, is yes, depression is a problem and lack of friends contributes to this.
I am fairly sure all of  my qualifications would have been higher had I not been battling depression at the time.

That being said, at the same time education  represents not just a regurgitation of facts, but also an ability to learn skills such as critical thinking, writing etc, even in a none science subject. Though I doubt any of my qualifications will result in me getting actual financial compensation in the future, at the same time I don't regret acquiring them, both because  have taught me valuable skills which I find useful myself, (especially since I wish to eventually be a published writer), and because they prove to the sighted world as a hole  assumptions about blind people's abnormality and stupidity are generally wrong.

@Josh, interesting you mention braille. I took all of my own notes at university using a laptop with sueprnova and the speech turned down low. This was a skill I got during my a levels before I started uni and is one of those valuable skills I mentioned through education. had I not been forceably taking notes I doubt very much I'd have been able to pass exams etc, since the act of note taking itself is a great aid to focusing the mind.

Similarly, I personally never used braille as a reading medium beyond the age of fifteen and would never have considered it at university simply because of the large amount of reading material I had to get through. mostly I used my disabled student's allowance to pay others to read me books, which was especially needed for things like references, finding and reading article abstracts etc.

@@JaceK, I feel your a little over simplifying if you see matters in a state of "blind people get bennifits so blind people don't bother working"

Firstly, is the question of effort as I said,  even if! a blind person is going to get employed if basically they're going to have to do nothing but work and sleep, have no social interactions, no leisure activities etc, then they're going to get burn out pretty quickly, indeed one of the great problems with the existing benefits system is it provides no way to take part time work and sustain an income.

Another problem however, is that of the simple fact of lack of skills. In the past a person would learn a skilled trade, heck up until about the 1950's even working in a shop was a skilled trade due to the need to work out change, prophets and book keeping by hand, wrap and pack items with no recourse to microchips etc. The problem however, is instead of technology removing the mental drudgery to allow people to be more human and creative, people have been put into the production line factory model, meaning that effectively you have a lot of jobs that both teach and require no skills but a specific action, EG data entry or shelf stacking by a pre determined bar code system.
This not only puts blind people at a basic disadvantage, but also means a more serious social problem, since hell if basically all your offering people in terms of "work"  literally nothing by way of stimulation or logic or creative output, then people aren't going to be motivated  do it.

stiulll worse, is the social effect, since where in the past "work" also provided a large part of a person's social interactions and sense of  community, these days that just plane doesn't happen owing to the amount of temporary contracts, stratified executive class system, lack of skills, and general dehumanisation in the work place, and of course add blindness and all the social isolation that goes on top of that into  mix your onto a none starter.

There are rare exceptions such as my brother with his job as a lawyer, and people who are engaged in work such as counselling, but in general I suspect that unless a person has a job that gives a specific skill set and identity to go with it, but currently since essentially these days "having a job" is almost synonymous with dehumanisation of course people aren't exactly going to be eager to take up the prospect.

A great article I saw recently was headed "any job that doesn't make the world a better place is bullshit" which pretty much sums up the situation.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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35

I want to raise some points with a few posts here.
first, post 28.
it's interesting that you raise the high qualification in order to get a decent job thing. while I fully agree that if one has connections, they can get a neat little place.  experience and a piece of a4 paper, that says you got this and that, is unfortunately still a bigger issue than it seems. even just to apply for courses, the first thing they look at are your grades, not as to why you may have gotten them. I was 3 marks off my 5th c grade, and as a result, I had to do 1 additional year of college, where I almost did 3 additional units that I got nothing for, before they switched me over to another course, then of course, now the gap year. all because of 3 marks.
then you wrote: On the other hand, I simply hate how educational systems work. They're supposed to ready you for the real world, for an independant life, and most of all, they're supposed to make you employable.
completely! agreed. I pretty much learned more from google at this point of time. schools aren't what they used to be 50 years ago. sadly, they now teach what your examiner will require. essentially, you have to learn what you're given, never mind how that shit will never in your life time, help you. and the things you should learn, you never will. I've said this in the past to others as well. it is just what it is, I guess.
post 29. Liam doing walkthroughs, streams, the occasional game release every now and then. I don't know him as a dev, but all those streams and things, I find them pretty neat. he pretty much keeps the community together, and that is quite a big thing these days.
post 30. while it is true that I used a braille device in school, one can get through it without using braille. if I had to use a braille machine, without any ways of the device speaking, I would have never made it. I relied on speech 90% of the time. sure, I miss my braille display, and my spelling is worse than it used to be, but thinking what if, what then won't help. sorry if this is a bit harsh, but thinking of braille displays, getting sighted to take your notes won't work. was JAWS on a laptop not an option at the time?
as for paper and embosser, I don't know about the embosser, but my brailler was more than happy with regular print paper. it worked like butter on bread. couldn't afford regular braille paper, so had to manage some way or another.
and no offence, but I'm yet to find anyone who can read braille faster than say, eloquence with rate 80. braille slows me down, but that is quite subjective, I guess.
post 32. same struggles with finding friends in school as well. it only gets worse when they team you up with 3 random strangers, they don't know how to approach you, you know you're being ignored, then the teacher writes us as we can't work together. well if I get ignored, I'll return the favour thank you very much. as for the phases, I've noticed similar patterns with myself. I'm perfectly fine during the summer, when it's nice and warm, when the days are long, and when it's not miserable, but the winter is usually pretty bad. with that said, as long as I'm doing something, and I don't have time to think about things, I'm usually not doing too bad. last week I was hyper as fuck, this week, I'm getting by, I guess.
33 touched upon something. writing a CV when 14 years old. in all seriousness, WTF am I supposed to write in it at that age? of course they never really told us what we should write, we were told to make one. anyway, the entire year failed their beautiful business class. not like anyone cared about it, business was a replacement/fill in for those of us not taking an additional language.
sex education. well, when I was told to put the condom on the plastic rod, I was laughing for 2 minutes, asking myself how will that exactly help me in life? are they thinking that we will be in bed before applying for a job, and they would much rather accidents and or abortion didn't happen? it's absolutely pointless.

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36 (edited by TJT1234 2018-06-12 12:25:45)

connor142 and braille0109, I don't think education to the end of school (about age eighteen or nineteen in most countries) should be focused on preparing you for the real world except for the core academic skills of good reading, writing, arithmetic and basic science, geography, history and a healthy lifestyle. I think education should be about giving you exposure to things that you just can't learn as easily once you've left school like music, foreign languages and an appreciation of good literature. Learning the skills that are required on the job should be taught at college/university. What skills do you think schools should teach? braille0109, you say yourself that Google is effective for learning certain things, so what do you think the purpose of school should be apart from learning the core academic skills I've written above? There was a discussion on what subjects students should learn at school this morning on a nationwide Australian radio station that goes into the question of what sskills schools should teach in quite some detail, looking at it from the students', policy-makers' and educators' viewpoints, and I think the discussion was quite interesting. You can listen to the item here.

braille0109, I have to disagree with you about using braille. I think that it was the tool that has been the most important to me in my school life. I use synthetic speech, but braille allows me to examine the intricacies of text in more fine detail than audio allows. As well as helping with spelling, grammar and punctuation, I found that it helps when I studied Mathematics and Science, and I also find it easier to retain information through braille.

Dark, I disagree that being blind takes more effort than being a sighted person would. If a blind person receives good-quality training for a substantial period of time and applies the skills they have learned, they will be able to do the same kinds of things as sighted people in relatively similar timeframes. It has been proven that blind people can attain reading rates similar to sighted people, hold jobs of a similar rank and participate fully in all facets of society in which they so desire. Don't think I am putting all of the blame on the blind people, because I think that at least some of it does fall on the sighted professionals who work with the blind, but I feel that blind people are in part responsibile for their own futures. Note that I am not specifically targeting people who have posted on this thread because I do realize that many of you have been extremely unfortunate with your search for employment.

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37 (edited by Jason SW 2018-06-12 16:10:37)

After I left school, Braille only became more and more irrelevant to me. These days, the only time I read Braille is when I'm in an elevator, or the very, very rare Braille menu at restaurants.
Fortunately, by then, I had already developed a very good sense of how words were spelled. I always try to make sure that I am spelling words correctly, and if I find out that I've made a mistake, I go back and correct it later, if I can.
The only thing that annoys me about text to speech systems is that they're far too forgiving of spelling errors, Especially ESpeak. I wish that synths would deliberately mispronounce misspelled words, heh.
Well, at least those words that it thought were probably misspelled. I suppose the synthesizers would have to come with dictionaries to match from.

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38

I am in the camp of people that believe that if one can't both read braille and can't at least use a perkins brailler with some success, they should be considered illiterate.. Being blind isn't an excuse to forgo learning to read and write, even if it's not reading print, or writing with a pen.

Bar, bar, bar...
Bar is my name and to go bar is my aim...
Sometimes I'll go "Bad bar",
But in the end its always bar, ahem beer, ahem bar! beer bar!

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39

Braille is largely irrelevant to life after school because there just isn't enough of it, and it is way too expensive. For sighted people, print is everywhere, everyday. They can read and talk at the same time. Of course you haven't read much braille since school; for most people, Braille effectively comes from school. You can't walk out to your local bookstore and find braille stuff. Braille displays are laughably pathetic compared to their price (even the Orbit 20, but it's such a game-changer maybe that makes up for it?). Hardly any restaurants have Braille menus. Labels? Instructions? Random notes passed during class? Sticky notes left on your monitor you never use? None of these are in Braille. It's like being literate in the stone age. And there are so few of us, and Braille is so expensive (in terms of production and space) that it's not reasonable to demand this changes.
LCB is the first place I've ever been where Braille was a writing system, instead of a state-mandated accommodation. Not the state school for the blind, or WSB, even though Blind people and Braille books were present at both. And I wish English had better intensifiers than profanity so I could express how big a deal this was without going PG13. My roommate is in the middle of a broadcast and I need to give information quickly? Hello, note-cards. Quick references that a phone without an Ultrahal-style knowledge system is inefficient at? Do like sighted people and carry a binder. Need to leave physical evidence you were somewhere? Leave a note. Pen-and-paper games work almost as well as slate-and-stylus games (if people could slate a wee bit faster, I'd drop the "almost". Real-time tests, worksheets, etc, where e-mail is not ideal? Paper.
The dining room had a bookcase full of cookbooks. The "activity center" (read: laundry and occasional potluch building) was full of books. Between the library, the Braille classroom, and the backup Braille classroom, the Center itself was full of books, not in some out-of-the way dungeon-crawl guarded by Victorian nannies, but right behind you. The woodshop lobby had a bookcase in the hallway leading to the restroom.
It's kinda hard to read off a phone in the middle of meal-preparation, if there's anything messy about the process. Luckily, there are plastic pages fit for Braille, meaning they can be cleaned, meaning that, in a pinch, they can be referenced mid project. And you know how writing things down is supposed to help people remember them better? Yeah, I have found that Braille >>> digital in that regard.
Braille doesn't suck because Braille inherently sucks. Braille sucks because we are a tiny, majority poor minority. Being literate in Egyptian Hieroglyphs is great if you're in Ancient Egypt, but if you're in China, what's the point? (Also, China kept the same writing system for, like, 5000 years. Modern English is only about 500 years old. Being literate in Chinese would be equally useful in 100CE and 1000, but Modern English would do you little good in 1000CE.)
And this is why I like Microsoft's Seeing AI so much. Because text is everywhere, and now I can actually read it. It's still a bit clunky compared to Braille, but you can take it anywhere.
It is not a substitute for writing, however. You can't fill out paper forms, and that is a problem. And I think I should go start a social media poll to see how many sighted people would give up handwriting over their dead bodies.

The question isn't Braille. The question is functional literacy. Digital text and text-to-speech has brought down loads of communication barriers, but as Chris Hoffstader pointed out, that hasn't put a dent in the blind unemployment rate. Yet, how different are the Braille literacy rates among the employed vs unemployed?

I kinda always hated the idea of segregating into communities of just blind people. I mean, what would be the point? I'd be curious to see how well such a community could function on various metrics, but it sounds like a messed up thing to filter for when finding a place to live.
But when you're no longer buried in excuses, and you have functional literacy, and even if you're a small community embedded in a larger one, you're sufficiently visible that the way you get treated when going about your daily business is much, much less stressful due to people knowing better... holycrap is that what it's like to not be disabled?
I imagine this is half the reason that encounters with wild NFB membbers are so irritating. (The other half is from the holier-than-thou types.) It's not the NFB, but they have their meetings and seminars and indoctrination, which convince some that it is. No, it's being an independent individual in a community where you don't have to struggle for access to civilization. I'd say "functional community", but it doesn't have to meet even that high a bar. LCB devolves into cliques and drama easily, and introversion is particularly difficult when you're surrounded by blind people. Never mind the people who hold their (sometimes exaggerated) skills up as a status signal, or the dubious things that come up in Seminars, etc. But the point was not to be a functional community or a church.

I am not, however, claiming that ubiquitous Braille, or higher concentrations of blind people would solve all our problems. ... Actually, scratch that. I am claiming those would solve some of our problems. there are many others yet to contend with.
I could deconstruct today's society, and how we got here. But talking about how all the advice we ever heard was wrong misses the point. I'd like to innovate I'd like to build things. I'd like to contribute to a non-terrible world. Why can't I? Because something is terribly wrong, something which resists its own solution. Why does anyone ever fail, blind sighted or otherwise? Blindness is a convenient excuse, and amplifies existing problems, and gets bad responses from people who can make things worse.
The 1990s were the last big spurt of Utopianism. Blind people didn't fail to live up to that; everyone did. This problem is a hard one, and if everything we're doing now isn't working, maybe it'd be good to look at what has worked, then zoom out a bit to avoid getting stuck on one detail that misses the overall picture.

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40

@38 agreed, especially during school, because you can forget getting a job if you spell like words are sounded out, they'll chuck your résumé in the bin immediately. Forget passing college either unless you want to pay someone to proof it for you, and you'd have so many marks on the damn thing, or so many instances of corrections in ms word track changes, like holy shit. After school, maybe, maybe not but at least you now know it if you ever need it. Everybody has their preference, and their own workflow. Part of the skilleset we have is figuring out what's best for us as far as getting things done quickly.

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41

I think part of it is that many people feel discouraged, and the people in their immediate vicinity also feel that they are helpless and want to take care of them. It ends up just being easier to live off the system, especially when the system penalizes you for trying to get out of it. I am thinking of how you get a large chunk of SSI money taken away for only working a small amount, or your money is taken away completely if you try to get scholarships for college. I have had both happen to me.
I think another thing is that many people think only of themselves and not necessarily the bigger impact of their actions, and what happens when many other people do likewise.
One of the people who interviewed me for my volunteer position said they didn't think I could do it, but I tried anyways, and here I am, in my 3rd semester past my trial period. I think many people with disabilities are sheltered, or treated specially, and when they get in to the real world that could often care less if they can't compete, they feel dejected, and don't want to continue if they don't have to. I think the government assistance programs are good for people trying to afford technology, or going to college or a training program, or have recently been disabled, but I think many people take advantage of them, and use them as an excuse not to try harder at looking for work, and if they don't need to, why should they if it is never going to work. The thing is, it might, and you would probably be better off once you started working.

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42

I just got an email this morning with a list of government jobs. Filtering out those which are clearly not entry level, those which require a background I lack (I think the FAA is looking for senior attorney, if there are any down-on-their-luck US JDs around), and the PR/HR stuff, we're left with... public announcements for the FAA, presumably at the closest airport with an opening. I thought the PA system was generally used by people who have more generic jobs, of which doing announcements is a subset, but apparently the FAA made it a dedicated position. The details in the listing lead me to believe this was specifically so they could hire more disabled people. I have to assume things to be announced would be provided in accessible formats.
I mean, I guess I could. There is a small airport on the opposite side of town, maybe 10ish miles away, and I don't think there are any bus stops all that near to it (you'd think an airport would be prime bus-stop territory, but this one is so small and so far from everything that it's not surprising). The next nearest airport is about an hour away by car, and the starting pay they list is $26000ish, varying with location, which would not be enough for me to hire someone to spend 4 hours driving me back and forth every day (there was a shuttle service from my town to that airport, but it folded several years ago). Anything else would almost certainly require moving, with the possible exception of the one airport that my local airport connects to, which, well, $30/flight about 5years ago, IIRC, and if that's $30 for the round trip (lol) and 5 days a week, that's $600/month flying back and forth, and we're back to making less money than SSI. Moving would also be expensive.
So, uh, if I can get paid $2k/month to sit at my local airport for ... is it 8? 8hr/day, almost certainly having absolutely nothing to do for 90% of the time, when it'd be a thousand times cheaper to install an automated announcer, I guess that'd be kinda like an improvement. I mean, as things are now, I can move around and otherwise not atrophy during the day, but I'm also getting devoured by the annual Vampire Plagues in a place that's falling apart, so, uh, maybe that'd be an improvement? Especially if I can find an excuse to multitask and therebye get work done on things that couldn't be accomplished by a phonograph. So, uh, should I look into whether or not this would be local? Or does it being something that could have been automated by the time that airports existed make it an even bigger waste of tax-payer money than sitting at home struggling to make crappy video games?

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43

post 36. so you don't think that education around the age of 16 to 19 shouldn't be focusing on the real world. you've raised some valid points, and up to a certain point, I would even agree with you. but look at the US, for instance. just how many people quit after high school? they leave at the age of 18, for one reason or another, (not just blind, this includes sighted as well) and they've got no life experiences at all. while we could argue that they shouldn't have left school, it isn't that easy, and we all know it. some have to leave for health, others leave for family, or whatever other issues. those people are unlikely to ever be employed, since no qualification, and no experience.
as for core academic subjects. I completely agree that everyone should be taught the basics of history, science, math, and whatever else. but when we get into complex math, that unless you're a math teacher you will never need, what's the point? not to mention what's called exam boards. in the UK, there's like 3 or 4 of them, all of them being different, with different questions. each school gets to decide which exam they make you sit at the end of the school year. which only causes further issues in terms of grades. studying something like history for 5 6 years, when one has no interest for it, or studying the intire periodic table, is just absolutely not necessary in my opinion.
so what I think schools should teach. there are some things that google can just never teach us. I would personally like to see more about managing money, for instance. and no, not at the age of 16, when people think they know how to spend their money. learning  to deal with money, and just general housing problems that come with age, should happen before we get our own money. some parents are more over protective than others, school is a perfect place where one can learn things they could otherwise miss out on.
as for using braille. I have never, in any of my posts, have said that I find braille a waste of space. in fact, quite the other way round. I have been throughout school with a note taker, and I'm not intending on changing that any time soon, even though I'm a fairly advanced windows user. braille is pretty much what taught me English, even though I hate reading it. however, if no access to a braille display, and I need to have access to my notes, I will rely on speech, purely because asking a sighted to take my notes for me won't help. in other words, my point with that was that if something doesn't work, you find another work around. especially if the school is at fault, sometimes we gotta be self independent. kind of goes back to what josh wrote, wishing how we did this and that unfortunately won't get us anywhere. I mean, maybe if I gave a shit about science or geography, I would have probably came out with better grades. things that I was interested in, I past.
also, post 36, you wrote that the blind can do what the sighted can. specifically, If a blind person receives good-quality training for a substantial period of time and applies the skills they have learned, they will be able to do the same kinds of things as sighted people in relatively similar timeframes.
again, I actually agree with you on that one, except people are scared to employ us, and that training is harder for some to find than it is for others. please note, I'm not bashing anything what you've said above, I have simply responded to your points that were raised in response to mine.

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44

Hmmm.
Interesting points.
Back in my earlier years, remember a version of myself, blind, poor helpless and dumb.
I slept, ate, and sat in the sun.
I was happy.
I know that wasn't real.
Now I am smart, been there done that, but I know to much now, far to much.
Do I regret my education.
No, I want to get somewhere in the world.
But at the same time, there is a part of me and that part is growing by the day that says yes.
What have I gained from not being poor helpless retarded blind guy knowing whats going on round him.
I have no idea, part of me hopes something but part knows nothing at all.
I do wander if I could go back in time if I would tell myself to remain as I was.
Its not real, I know that, its not a life, I know that, but it was my life, it was nice, and I liked it.
Now I deal with the same life but I know that the life I live is not a real life as was pushed down my throat at school.
But thats my path, if it was the only path, if I didn't know any better, then maybe I would be better off inside.
I remember sitting in the sun, not knowing any better, and not giving a fuck to the news, the world or anything, just the simple life.
I can't turn back time, I know to much about real life now.
And so I continue.

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45

I just saturated my brain reading most of posts 11 to 44, so I'll be generalizing some thoughts here:

I will start by saying that I am quite fortunate. My family moved to an area with a really accommodating and advanced school system, even though they knew their city taxes would be higher in order to fund it. The school officials did their very best to ensure that I and my brother, who are both disabled, were given the proper accommodations and worked closely with my parents to ensure they were suitable. There was rarely ever a time when work would be done for me, but many times when it was adapted to ensure that I was able to do it while retaining the spirit of the material. At the middle and high School level there were advanced classes, of which I took full advantage, and allowed me to compete at the top level of my school. I had a respectable GPA, and I felt like I learned a lot, and the support system was phenomenal all through school.

In university, the disability office ensures that my textbooks are accessible, but other than that I do it on my own because I am used to that now from school. There is no one taking notes for me, and no one helping me walk around, because my parents made sure I had the necessary mobility training paid for by the government money. I am on Social Security now, and along with my scholarships I am doing all right. My goal is to get a job in compter security, and I feel that that is quite attainable. I wonder if I will feel differently if after 2 years of job searching, I have come up empty, and I want to start doing feelance work to make some additional money right now because I know that I have design skills that could be put to use such as sound editing, which I have thousands of hours of experience doing (I've been oding it for almost 8 years now).
Soft skills are also really important: being able to talk articulately to people, to read their emotions and modify your responses based on them, to work well in a team, delegate responsibilities among team members, be diligent and punctual, and to be albe to use intuition to predict causes and effects, are all important for my future employment.

To address some major points here:
Primary/High School sucks: This is actually a legitimate problem and something we should be fixing. The all-blind school method isn't a good sollution either: many blind people, after leaving  those schools, are totally stumped when they realize that there's no one to tell them what to do, plus the classes mve really slowly so an advanced student would just get bored. One does learn some independent living skills there though which is the upside. The downsides to public schools are that sometimes they are not very accommodating, which makes the blind student miss out on some learning. Another  big problem is bullying / being ignored by the other students during interaction time, which, if it happens at an early age, can sour the blind person's opinion of peers for a long time. I still view people with suspicion and I believe that it is rooted in my treatment during elementary school, where the other students merely tolerated me at best. Unfortunately the problems with school can't account for the fact that some people are just lazy, and don't really want to try. The problem this time is that for sighted people, they have alternative options if they don't really want to try hard at school. A lot more than blind people do. Sighted people, for example, can go into apprenticeships in construction, or auto repair, or cooking, and though blind people might be able to do some of those, they will inevitably be slower, so it's already hard for them to even get in. So college is the best and most optimal option because the college can't really deny you if you meet the requirements.
College: College for me was about getting work done, and keeping my scholarship which meant keeping my grades at a certain level. College means freedom though, and a lot of people do wasteful things with their time. I do too; I play a lot of games still. If a blind student wasn't really prepared by high school, college will be a rude awakening. No one is there to tell the student what to do, and that's a jarring change for some as I said above. The worst part is that a lot of them didn't realize this going in, and then drop out when they get swamped by work. And as a person who spends 16 to 18 hours in the classroom every week, I will say that there is plenty of time to complete the work. Perhaps we could save a lot of trouble by allowing blind people to try a semester of 1 college class as an audit, as in they wouldn't get a grade for the class but would be assigned the work, and they could decide whether or not to do it. If they didn't do it, well, they are obviously lacking the requisite discipline to keep up with even a single class and are unfit for college. Otherwise, they probably could do all right. Unfortunately this option is costly in terms of time, as our lives are pitifully short, and wasting 5 months just seeing if you're ready is costly. Plus what colleges would agree to that?
Alternatives to college for blind people: A lot of people are looking for gainful alternatives  to college and unfortunately those are hard to find and they do take time. There is no really easy get rich quick scheme for most. This discussion comes up quite often with some of my blind friends. We have looked into a lot of other options. Massage is one, but you need to have the hands and the satmina to do it, and in the US it's not government supported and thus the most profitable way to do it is by yourself. This of course takes time, because you need to acquire clients and market yourself, and either rent office space or section out part of your living area for it. There's freelance work, but freelance work is quite unstable. And all of these self-employment schemes require that you write down exactly how much you made so that it could be taxed.
Getting a job: Getting a job is ridiculously hard. Blind people are underestimated from the get go because of their blindness, and unfortunately that's something we can't change in a hurry. A huge problem is that, well ... a lot of blind people aren't helping the case for the job-finders because they are enjoying their government money at home. It does rankle me, I will admit, and I am not afraid to call them out. Because i do understand that it is often easier than going through that rigmaroll. It's honestly a sort of catch  22 in the current situation. We really need to change the social security laws, to say that you will only get paid if you are doing a reasonable amount of work to try to find employment. A reasonable amount is subjective and based on the individual. For example if the individual just lost his job due to a factory accident and had to get surgery on his dominant hand then it would be unreasonable to expect him to be filling out job applications. But if the person is healthy, and can type, and can use the computer proficiently, then he needs to be showing evidence of completed job applications or informational interviews, or something. The US doesn't give enough money to people to live on (it's about $700 a month usually when the bare cost of an apartment can be higher and that's not including internet or phone service usually), but they are also too lax about giving it out. Wouldn't it be better to give the people who are actually trying to get off the system more money as they try, as a reward for trying? I'm only talking about the US here but other countries' welfare programs are probably not all too different.

About youtube channels: I don't think that most  of us have those. A big reason is because there would be no video; Liam only just recently got a face cam so that people can see him. Before he had that, people would just see a blank screen except for a little message saying hat liam was blind and put your headphones on and listen.

Plus I believe that blind people need to become more creative and think outside the box. We live in a sighted world and most of the resources we read are geared toward those people We need to use our brains more instead of just googling.

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46

Also, @45:

Not just students ignoring you, the staf not knowing how. I'm not goin to call anyone out school/staff wise but I do know rom experience that blind schools are not exactly flexible at having differing student abilities, as you touched on....but...education as a whole isn't flexible and is to test oriented.

But point is, you can go to a staff membr and say I need X Y or Z and they'll go off and do the paperwork and then it's a whole balancing act of alright, we need X money out of the school budget for accessible stuff but if we get it Y activities are scrapped and Z school trips won't happen. In many cases, schcools don't hav enough money for disabled students and/or prioritize one disability over another, a wheelchair bound student or  a deaf student. This can come from presssure from councils or advocacy groups as well as from the staf and their inheerent biases as wel as parents.

As for YT channels, There was a series of vids done asking if there's too many Youtubers in general, and a lot of good points/counterpoints in those videos....

My take from all that is this. Yes and no, yes there are but at the same time they chase the easy payof, the high subs, the....whatever is popular. Let's b real here, Liam will never be as popular as Pewdipie or any of the top guys simply because being blind is a lightning rod for critics on Youtube. It's a lightning rod for people to tear down even the slightest thing about anyone online, or, haters gonnna hate.

So, I'm trying to say instead o all following what is popular, branch out, do different things, make what YOU want to make instead of what's popular. No, you may not et more than 50 subs or 100 subs but that doesn't mean anything. Also avoid pissing off biggger creators with fanbases that can tear you down. See countless instances of this happening.

Also, avoid drama too, er, drama channels or being featured on any.

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47

My experience seems to differ a bit from the norm.

Went to university in 2002, thought I wanted to be a teacher. A lot of personal problems, some accessibility issues, it all exploded.

Fast-forward to 2013. Yes, it took me that long to get over my issues...but wait, it gets worse. Started IT in a college setting. This was more accessible, better support, but my heart was never really in it. Thought it was a good way to get into the corporate/professional world and figured it'd be decent money. Bumped along for two and a half years, succeeding some, failing some, until finally I flunked out, didn't tell anyone about it, hid for an entire year and then finally came clean. Lost a couple of friendships, got my family upset with me, lost my fiancée too. I can't blame any of them.

Now here I am. I'm single, admittedly, but I started school in January of 2018. Profs are friendly, schoolwork is about 97% accessible - and when it's not, I tell them so and they accommodate where possible - and I am absolutely loving the field. It's social work, for the record, and I wish I'd found it about twelve years ago.

I've determined a few things about myself during this journey.

1. I'm internally driven. this means I don't care about the letter grade I get, but I do care about the impact my grades will have on my ability to help people/my ability to progress. May seem an inconsequential split, but it helps to define why IT didn't work out. Among other things, I just didn't care enough; I think that to some extent I was doing it because I was expected to do something, anything.
2. I really don't like taking government money. I've done it. I'm still doing it. I know that is what the system's there for. But once I get gainful employment - I graduate next April, so after that we'll see - I intend to work hard and support myself. I do not feel entitled to help because I'm blind, though I will take it if I need it. I cannot support the old lifestyle of just floating along and letting the world happen; been there, done that, and it made me as unhealthy as I've ever been.
3. Technology is getting better and better, and I'm having an excellent time in school in a field I really and truly enjoy. Self-awareness has gone up, and the stuff I'm learning is extremely practical. Okay, yes, I'm being asked to regurgitate info to some extent, but I'm also putting those theories and ideas into practice via assignments, weekly roleplays in class, not to mention just plain old observation and critical thinking. Some fields are better for this than others, and I daresay college is probably better for this than university.

So yeah. That's my story in a rather small nutshell.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

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48

speaking of blindness specific schools, the people I've talked to from there, I've got a few names on my mind but I won't put them out, almost seemed to be close minded. I still don't think blindness specific schools are healthy. they pretty much teach us their way of doing things, and some will not find the alternative. hence I'm glad I was always in mainstream, this way, I actually feel as if I've achieved something. it would be fun to compare a blindness specific school, even thought of going for opened days for the hell of it, but over all, am glad.

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49

On the education front, I personally disagree on the usefulness of education, though of course bare in mind I'm someone who's currently doing a doctorate, so my position is by its nature rather biased.
When taught properly, learning a subject such as history, science, ethics etc is not just about the material, it is about learning skills of evaluation and critical thinking.
to take one example, I recall a case in which a history teacher when I was about eleven presented us with an old newspaper article from the early 20th century which said "in the raign of good queen Bess even the poor  provided for"

he then presented us with a summary of the actual poor laws active in Britain in the reign of Elizabeth the first, the laws which said anyone guilty of vagrancy would be whipped from one end of the county to the other for a first offense, then have their hands and feet cut off for a second offense, clearly showing that what the news paper said was a load of bollocks.

He then pointed out that the news paper was written in the mid fifties, shortly after the coronation of guess who, Elizabeth the second.

Yes, this taught us about Elizabeth the first's poor law, but more importantly it taught us about the difference between primary and secondary sources of information, and even a level of bias, in other words, it taught us not just the bare facts of history, but how to actually study and examine history.

This is the sort of thing that one can learn from education. Indeed I have been quite surprised that a couple of people have mentioned to me that my own subject, philosophy is either A, completely disregarded in the business world, or B, seen as inherently valuable since it teaches the skills of critical thinking and argumentation.

of course, this isn't to say all! education is like this, I'm infinitely familiar with the various issues at school, from social problems, bullying etc, to inherent issues with equipment, teaching and whatever. Then of course, is the extra need for self advocacy, and so on.

In general I'm afraid I completely disagree that the fact a blind person can! achieve similar success to a sighted person in a given field is not an indicator of how much effort that success actually cost them, this is why I tend to wish that the bennifit system would allow for some degree of halfway house where a blind person could take a part time job and recieve some money for assistance.

One blind doctor of chemistry I once new actually said that while he'd totally bucked the system, succeeded in a subject most people thought visual, he'd only done so by basically having no social life whatsoever.

Unfortunately, the more I tend to look around,the more it seems to be that your actual level of achievement, commitment,  or ability has  very little to do with a person's actual success, its far more a matter of who you know, how your perceived, and what people in power actually are willing to give you, which in the case of blindness seems not too much.

of course, you do need to do the best you can, live independently and get whatever qualifications your able to, and getting those qualifications will not be easy, but after that your pretty much stuck.

then again this situation describes most of the western world, since sadly the economic arguement that compitancy in any field actually translates into income is generally a load of double think by those at the top of the system who are favoured by the god of oligarchy. This is why if your blind and already start with a major minus on your stat sheet thanks to public opinion and effort you might as well take what you can get and run with it.

then again, I will also admit that my opinion of humanity as a hole, and the collective assumptions that tend to govern how humanity is organised tends to be pretty low, for all my opinion of individual humans isn't, so feel free to take this with a grain or two of salt as well.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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50

Once I've been pounding the pavement looking for work, I'll tell you how it goes. I don't feel like I'm living off crumbs in the education system right now. I feel just as valued and respected as everyone else (by both staff and classmates, I mean). And our classes -are, in fact, teaching critical thinking. This is why we discuss things, talk about where mistakes were made/what decisions were good, and why. I'm not saying this is the norm, and as I said before, it might be the difference between college and university. I know of plenty of blind people who grind it out every day at jobs they hate or which are extremely difficult. I know of people who have extremely bad fortune trying to find work. I also know of success stories, and I'm hoping I'm one of the latter after all this time. I guess we'll see.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

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