My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired and to break misconceptions that exist regarding the blind and visually impaired community.
Unemployment has always been high among those in the blind and visually impaired community. Some research shows that in 2017 the unemployment rate was at about 70 percent. There have been many advances in technology that make it possible for a person to work without sight.
Screen readers make computers accessible by using text to speech software. Artificial intelligence is now being used to provide image descriptions although these are not always reliable.
There are now portable braille displays with refreshable braille that converts everything on a computer or phone screen into braille.
There are now tactile drawing sets that turn a drawing into raise lines so a person can feel the drawing. There are talking scales and calculators and measuring tools that make it possible to complete many tasks.
Today I want to highlight some of the jobs that are held by those who are blind or have low vision.
A blind scientist
Mona Minkara is a computational chemist and is a professor at Northeastern University. Read more about her and the tools that allow her to do her job here.
A blind lawyer
Jack Chen is a lawyer for Google. Learn how e is able to do his job in the video below.
A visually impaired graphic designer
Angela is a graphic designer who has low vision. Learn more about her story in the video below.
Some extra thoughts
I hope that these examples prove that a blind or visually impaired person is capable of holding a variety of jobs. Society has to be more open to this fact and begin to give those in the blind and visually impaired communities more opportunities.
A few accommodations can go a long way when you are seeking to include a blind or visually impaired person in the workplace.
Lucy Edwards is a UK based broadcaster, Youtuber that also happens to be blind. She made a video discussing the accommodations that help her do her job as a journalist. I want to point out that every person that has a vision impairment is unique and may need different things. I think that this video gives a general overview of what is commonly helpful in these situations.
I hope that more workplaces will take these first steps to inclusion and consider expanding their group to include people with disabilities.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and it is also Blindness Awareness Month. I want to take this opportunity to share some information regarding employment and the blind and visually impaired community.
It is widely known that the unemployment rate for those in the blind and visually impaired community is very high at about 70 to 75 percent. I want to focus on sharing examples of blind and visually impaired people in the workplace. I want to bring attention to the fact that blindness is not an obstacle and the job may get done a little differently but it will get 100 percent done.
The video below shows the various assistive devices that are available and how a blind person gets their work done at the office. I hope that all employers will watch this and be open to hiring more people in the blind and visually impaired community.
Meet Chris Downey, a blind architect who did not let his loss of sight stop him from continuing to live his life. He continues to design by implementing adaptive techniques such as tactile lines. Now, he designs with the blind in mind. Learn more about his story here.