Happy Learning

Information technology has become an integral part of our lives. More so after the pandemic and the following work/study from home operations. One cannot imagine a life without a smartphone or a computer. Ever wondered if visually impaired people use technology? How does a blind person shop online, book movie tickets or catch the latest news online?

The answer is, just like you and I do it. Persons with vision impairment are also equally dependent on devices for their daily needs. Except they use them a bit differently. Screen reading software on computers as well as phones enables them to navigate using audio cues. What we see, they hear.

Sixty-two-year old Baba Gawade Patil lives in Miraj, Maharashtra. He first experienced vision problems when he was in Class IV. But he managed to see with high powered spectacles and finished his engineering. He was employed as a Junior Engineer with Maharashtra State Electricity Board for fifteen years. Unfortunately, over the course of a few years, Baba lost vision in one eye and then in the remaining eye.

Because of his good reputation, he continued in the job for another two years, but gradually became a victim to discrimination from his peers and seniors. However, he refused to give up and taking help from the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Baba prepared himself for a job role suited for a visually impaired person.

He learned to use computers with screen reading software and switched his work profile to communications. He finally retired in 2017. When his daughter gifted him an iPhone, Baba wondered what use could a touchscreen mobile be to a blind man. Unlike the computer, he could not touch and type using a keyboard. That’s when he sought help from Eyeway.

The helpline counselor not only explained about the inbuilt screen reader called VoiceOver in the iPhone but patiently taught Baba to use all the functions. Over a period of time, Baba regularly called the Eyeway Helpdesk and learnt to use all the features of the phone for his daily needs of calling, messaging, navigating, reading, identifying objects and people etc. He picked up simple tricks to use when accessing the browser, WhatsApp, Twitter and several other applications.

Eyeway is happy to empower Baba to independently engage himself using his smartphone, and perform basic functions without any sighted help. He is grateful to the counselor for a comforting learning experience.