Ask an expert
By Donna J. Jodhan
Each month I will be responding to a question; chosen from a pool of some of
the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and
continue to be asked.
This month, I’d like to respond to a question that is often asked by several
persons of the mainstream world; how can access technology software be
integrated into mainstream hardware.
I believe that when I disclose my response to this, you would be quite
surprised to see that it is already being done. Just ask Apple how they did
it and I thank the late Steve Jobs for having had the insight, daring, and
leadership to do it. I hope that other companies can follow suit much
sooner than later.
Steve Jobs and his leadership and vision has enabled Apple to make it
possible for the IPhone, IPod Touch, and IPad to become most accessible to
blind persons. What magic has this man carried out in order to make this
possible? Thanks to Voice Over technology, we as blind persons can now
navigate a touch screen and thanks to Larry Lewis of Flying Blind, I can now
use my IPad to keep in closer touch with the world. You see, I am presently
receiving some expert training from Larry with a product called the Braille
I am using my Braille Pen which simulates taps to navigate around my IPad.
I can do everything that a sighted person can and I can hear everything as I
use my Braille Pen. The Braille Pen is made up of a keypad that is like a
braille keypad on a Perkins Brailler. There are six keys for writing, a
joystick for navigating among and around icons, and combinations of keys to
It is my hope and that of other blind persons that Apple’s lead will be
followed by other manufacturers and that this will make it much more
affordable for us to be able to purchase mainstream technology without
having to incur additional costs for access technology. If Steve Jobs and
Apple can do it, then surely! It can be done by others.