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Now Imagine the Blind Business Owner...

As a founder, and now retired entrepreneur, I know all too well that growth potential for business depends on the availability of accessible information regarding regulatory and policy changes, and also may be the difference between success and failure. In the beginning, as a person who is blind, the journey of starting and growing a business was a daunting task filled with pitfalls and many information challenges. I encountered more than my fair share of people who could not believe that a blind woman could succeed. I was troubled by the attitude of many people with respect to their consistent belief that blindness prevented me from being successful, which created needless attitudinal barriers.

World Braille Day 2015 -- In honour of the dots!

This day (January 4th) marks the birthday of one Louis Braille who, in 1824, at the age of 15, devised the tactile code now known as braille, used by those who are blind to read and write in much the same way as the sighted use print and handwriting.

  • Braille is critical for students who are learning to read and write and who will not otherwise gain the same appreciation for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Braille is critical for those who work: research has shown that among those who are blind, the vast majority of those who are employed are also braille users.

Blind sex offender skips jail: Corrections cannot accommodate blind prisoners

The accused, blind since the age of 16 as a result of a car accident, worked with the City of Calgary as a spokesperson and presenter on issues of blindness and disability. He has represented Canada at the Paralympic Games in 1984 and 1992. (By my reckoning, he must be at least in his 40's as a result.)

The accused, who has a prior criminal record for fraud over $5000, was convicted in 2012 of assault and sexual assault involving a friend. The question of sentencing -- and whether it would be proper for the accused to "be sentenced to a period of incarceration in a correctional facility given that he is blind and requires 24 hour assistance from his guide dog" -- was considered by a judge of the Alberta Provincial Court in April of this year: [R. v.

My Initial Thoughts on the iO Dock from Alesis

On April 7, 2012 I purchased a new product called the iO Doc from Alesis.

The iO Doc is a docking station that allows the iPad to function as an external audio interface that works with music software such as Sonar and Protools. Further, the docking station can function as a standalone audio recorder and surface control console. These apps can be downloaded from the apple app store, and I can tell you that there are hundreds of software applications available that work in conjunction with the docking station and iPad. Since this is a professional docking external interface, the unit has the best in shielding with regards to noise and audio quality.

The docking station is laid out to make it very easy to locate the volume controls and connections.

Talk to the President March 2012

Greetings fellow AEBC members and I hope that all is well with everyone. 

Ah yes!  March is all but gone and soon April will be with us.  I hope that everyone is getting ready to have a wonderful spring. 

I would again like to thank everyone for their feedback and my question at the end of this update is an important one which I am asking you to really give some thought to.  I believe that this question will help your board to better understand what vision you seek for the AEBC.

My quote for this month is:

Are Blind Drivers Going to take over the Roads?

A video of a blind man piloting one of Google's self-driving cars has swept across the Internet over the last couple of days. In case you missed it, the video is available with audio description here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?src_vid=cdgQpa1pUUE&annotation_id=annotation_979835&feature=iv&v=peDy2st2XpQ

Learn to Become and Entrepreneur through the Hadley School for the Blind

In a recent post by Anthony, he talked about the strategy of going into business for oneself as a potential response to an unsuccessful stretch of looking for employment.

I've known this approach to work for some in the past, and, since reading his post, I've come across a resource that may prove very helpful to anyone considering the path of self-employment.

The Forsythe Center for Entrepreneurship (FCE) is part of the Hadley School for the Blind's Adult Continuing Education Program.

According to the website:

Marco The Clown: Making Your Own Way

Marc Proulx is a member of the AEBC's Brantford chapter.  Blind since the age of 12, Marc has tried time and again to secure employment and end his dependence on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) for survival.  He has not had much success with that effort.  But rather than simply complaining about the discrimination that employers often exercise (intentionally and otherwise) against blind and partially-sighted applicants, Marc has essentially gone into business for himself - as a clown.

In a recent profile published in Brantford's The Advocate, Marc is quoted as saying:

To disclose or not to disclose: Saying nothing to a potential employer until you have no choice

The question of when and what to disclose to a potential employer can be a difficult one.  For those who are totally blind, or who are only marginally partially sighted, this might not present as much of a challenge: you can't very well hide the guide dog or the white cane.  But for those who have low vision, and who may or may not even be legally blind (but require accommodation nonetheless), the waters are quite a bit murkier. 

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