[Athen] International students who are blind

Dina Rosenbaum dina.rosenbaum at carroll.org
Wed Apr 25 08:20:05 PDT 2007

Most of the development of this type of software development has been
done in India. Students who have an interest like this should contact
the India Association for the Blind to see what is already being
done/development. There is braille translation software for Pakistan
(Duxbury) and Dolphin Systems from England has speech programs in
several languages.

Robert Shelton --you can google him--is a NASA scientist who is blind,
and there are many scientists at major universities who are blind,
including MIT.

However, blind persons in Pakistan are not typically rehabilitated like
they are in the US. For example, they might be able to travel
independently, or live independently (ie, family take care of them, and
sight guide them everywhere--no sidewalks to walk independently so no
need for independent travel skills, etc). So these might be greater
issues than their academic abilities.

John Gardner wrote:

> Hello Jean, the answer to your first question is "yes", there have been

> many blind students complete BS degrees in computer science or software

> engineering. It hasn't been easy for most, but things are improving

> somewhat.


> The answer to your second question is yes as well, although a blind person

> needs more than a Tiger embosser to gain access to graphics. She needs to

> use IVEO in conjunction with that embosser, and occasionally may need some

> additional assistance from a sighted editor for really complex graphics.

> However a dedicated blind person can access most graphics without

> assistance, particularly the kinds of graphics common in computer science,

> physics, and mathematics. I know - I do it all the time. On the scale of

> access technologies, IVEO is a real bargain. ViewPlus sells the authoring

> software (IVEO Creator) and a touchpad for $1000. With that combination one

> can create and read accessible IVEO SVG files from any computer application,

> import from PDF, import from bit maps, and scan in from paper documents.

> Pardon me for this self-promotion, but since this is the answer you were

> hoping for, I presume you forgive me.


> Several people have already answered your final question. I agree that it's

> worth keeping up with open source developments. However Terry is mistaken

> about Thunder. Although Paul Blenkhorn, Thunder author, has a rather

> different business model from most, Thunder is not open source. I'll guess

> he's be open to collaboration for making Thunder work in Pakistan though.


> John






> -----Original Message-----

> From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On

> Behalf Of Jean Salzer

> Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 11:56 AM

> To: athen at athenpro.org

> Subject: [Athen] more than one question!


> Hi all,


> I just met with some folks from a small, private college in the area.

> They are interested in learning more about how colleges have accommodated

> totally blind students with computer science majors. We had some discussion

> of assistive technology, however, part of their concern is the world of

> windows and graphics versus just 'code'.


> Question #1 - is there anyone out there who has been able to accommodate a

> qualified blind student through a 4-year degree program for software

> engineering?


> Question #2 - how well can the Tiger embosser and software work with Jaws so

> the students can create tactile representations of the graphics they'll need

> for coursework completion?


> Question #3 - the students are siblings from Pakistan. Their principle goal

> with regard to completing this degree is to create a screen reading system

> similar to Jaws in Pakistani languages. Besides connecting with Freedom

> Scientific, are there any other suggestions for achievement of this goal

> besides them doing it themselves after 4-5 arduous years in a software

> engineering program?


> Thanks in advance.



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Dina Rosenbaum
Carroll Center for the BLind
770 Centre St, Newton, MA 02459

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