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Dear Editor...

Dear Editor:

I just received in today's mail the brochure and Canadian Monitor that you sent. I have read them both with great delight. Thanks so much! I wonder if it is possible to get a cassette of Issue #1? If so, I sure would like to add it to my library.

I have added the address of the NFB:AE into our mailing list so that you will receive our Blind Washingtonian in print, braille and cassette.

As you know, I edit the NFB of Washington's newsletter. I would like to, if possible, get a print or computer disk copy of your article on white canes for reprinting. I thought it was great!

Yours in Federationism, Albert Sanchez, Editor Spokane, WA

Dear Editor:

I congratulate you on the quality of The Canadian Monitor. I found it very interesting and thought-provoking reading.

As I write to you today, it occurs to me that this is the first time in many years that I can sit down and quite independently write a letter.

Slightly more than a year ago I was able to purchase the equipment which makes it possible for me to have become so independent. I bought an Arkenstone Open Book scanner, a computer with a JAWS screen reading program for both DOS and Windows 3.1 and a Deck talk voice card, which has made it possible for me to read printed material which I did not have access to in the past. I have experienced the joy of being able to read, write and edit my own correspondence independently. This technology is equally as important to me as a blind person, as a wheelchair is to a person who cannot walk.

Living in Saskatoon, I have been lucky to know other persons who have similar equipment. So if problems arise, and they frequently do, I can pick up the telephone, discuss the problem with someone and solve it. However, people who do not live near others with similar equipment may experience insurmountable problems and become very frustrated.

Therefore, I propose that The Canadian Blind Monitor should provide a column where readers might exchange technology tips. I would be interested in hearing about blind people's experiences on the Internet and a good accessible software program to use on the Net.

Cordially Yours, Judy Prociuk Saskatoon, SK

Good suggestion Judy, we will be happy to consider articles and tips on technology. In the meantime, you may be interested in a new diskette published by the National Federation of the blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, MD 21230. The diskette contains the most complete up-to-date reviews of access programs available anywhere. It sells for $5.

This is in response to Beryl Williams' article on audible pedestrian signals.

Thanks to the philosophy of the NFB:AE I'm both a dog guide user and a cane user.

I'm writing in response to your article about audible pesestrian signals. I have experienced both crossings with and without audible signals. I can tell that the lights are green when traffic is flowing parallel to me. I also cross with the crowd of pedestrians at busy intersections.

The audible pedestrian signals in my area are bird call signals. They are only activated when the pedestrian pushes a button on a light pole. On the one hand they are somewhat helpful. However, I've found it to be a pain trying to find each light pole as each is located on a different part of the curb. In some ways this problem defeats the original purpose of making travel easier for the blind. You have to waste time that could be better used living your life rather than searching for these light poles. Sometimes I haven't bothered. I've ignored the button and used my old fashioned tried and true method of street crossing.

You mention that it is hard to travel in winter because landmarks are obliterated, it is quieter because of the snow, and people wearing winter hats can hear less. Better, more intensive mobility training in winter would help. It's true that the snow obliterates the old landmarks, but people should be taught how to find and use new ones. A longer cane also helps. There is no reason why a reasonable fit blind person should not be able to travel safely and efficiently in winter.

In your article you say that many legally blind persons do not need to use a long cane or guide dog and that audible pedestrian signals would be a help to them. I have observed that many of these people stay in their old mystified notion about how we, the totally blind, can manage on our own. They do not listen to us when we suggest that they use blindness techniques in conjunction with their remaining vision. Many of these people are scared of traveling in the dark because of night blindness. Yet they have the mistaken notion that they are better off than a totally blind person who travels at night (like myself). I travel safely and independently at night. I am more concerned about safety issues that affect women than about blindness.

Audible pedestrian signals are okay where there is no steady traffic flow. However, I believe it would be more helpful if blind people could receive good training in the skills of blindness. We need the tough love required to encourage one another to use those skills even when it seems frightening. They can work for us no matter what our stage of life.

Sincerely, Janet Erikson, Kelowna, BC

ZZ - Disregard this link; it is used to trick spammers.