October 8-10, 2009, Macon Georgia
I performed my dramatic one woman show, Vibrations of Laughter -the story of Annie Sullivan, as a keynote before an appreciative audience of teachers for the blind. They graciously gave me a standing ovation. Actually two standing ovations, One for the Annie Sullivan and the other for the evening’s entertainment piece “Blind People Shouldn’t Vacuum” another one of my one-woman shows, sub-titled “An irreverent comedy.”
The next day during my talk on literacy I was interrupted by applause twice, once when I said, “Every morning when the American sun touches my cheeks I feel like blossoming because as a blind person In America I found so many opportunities and privileges.” The next applause interruption came after my statement, “Today there is no reason to be blind and dumb.” I went further to explain what I meant by the word dumb—not to be educated enlightened and informed. For though blind people cannot see to read, there is an amazing array of aids to make text accessible for reading, writing and research. Each one of these marvelous teachers was there to learn more about the latest technology and how to assist their students.
The exhibitors displayed talking software, voice activated software, sound screen savers, the latest in Braille and large print. As an example of what a visually impaired student can have today, a large flat screen with a camera was on display. The student can point the camera at a smart board and see what has been written on the smart board enlarged on the flat screen in front of the student. With a specialized pen the student can even take tests on the screen. I drooled over all the aids that make learning so much easier than in my days as a student in South Africa. (I think I’ll follow this post with one on going to school blind in the old days in South Africa.)
When I speak to school children I say I wrote my book See the Ocean with my ears. I continue to explain how voice output software made it possible for me to become a writer speaker and performer. As I met the teachers for the blind and visually impaired at the conference my heart rejoiced over the work they do to uplift and educate those who need it most.
I repeat, each morning when the American sun touches my cheeks, I feel like blossoming.