The Dutch Prutser's Blog

By: Harald van Breederode

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Archive for the ‘Accessibility’ Category

Does a blind person have the right to have an opinion?

Posted by Harald van Breederode on January 29, 2009

Yesterday evening I was traveling home by train after having dinner with a friend. Suddenly a lady walks into the cabin asking people if they were willing to fill-in an evaluation form because the Dutch Railways are interested in their opinion about traveling by train. So she starts handing out forms and told us she would be back after a while to collect them again. By the time she approached the row I was sitting she paused and starts staring at me and my mobility cane. (I assume). I said “Yes, this is challenging!”. And instead of offering me assistance she said “Indeed” and remained totally silent. I responded with “Well, this says enough” and she continued handing out forms to the other passengers. So apparently it doesn’t matter what I think about the service the Dutch Railways offers me because I am blind. I must admit that I didn’t ask for assistance but I am still not sure if I had to. What I do know is that I felt totally ignored and that didn’t make me happy. So the question is: Do I have the right to have an opinion?


Posted in Accessibility | 11 Comments »

Happy Birthday to Louis Braille!

Posted by Harald van Breederode on January 4, 2009

Today is the 200th anniversary of Louis Braille. It goes without saying that Braille plays an very important role in my life and I am happy that I took the effort to learn it even though many people said that it would be almost impossible for me as an adult to do so. I became blind at age 40 and it took a while before I realized how important Braille actually is. Without it I would certainly have lost the notion of layout and it would almost be impossible to perform any serious programming work. I use Braille mostly on my laptop where I use a Braille display to feel what you can see, but I use it also in my daily life to identify any medicine I might have to take for example.

You can listen to this BBC World Service "The Story of Braille" documentary, or visit the Dutch Louis Braille anniversary website for more information about this important anniversary.

Posted in Accessibility | 2 Comments »