Monday, April 4, 2011

Writing Blind

Last week I gave a short presentation at the Oklahoma School for the Blind (Parkview School) in Muskogee. According to the school's website their purpose is to "meet the educational needs of blind and visually impaired students who are residents of the state by providing a program to help students reach their maximum potential."

I spoke to a half dozen teenagers about writing - as both a profession and a hobby. After presenting my usual "how I became a published writer" spiel, the students and I talked about what their writing goals were and if they had none, what they liked to read. Their answers ranged from westerns to science fiction to fantasy to mystery to poetry. And although only a couple admitted their interest in writing at the beginning of the hour, by the end, I got a confession out of each that yes, they did have some writing dreams but were reluctant to voice them. Since they "chose" to attend my talk on writing as a profession, I had suspected there were some closet writers in the group. Although running out of time, we talked a little about creating characters and structuring a novel versus a short story. We also discussed the changing publishing industry and how one went about trying to get published.

I'd love to go back and work with them again. It was a lot of fun for me and they seemed to enjoy it. Hey, they were teenagers - sometimes it's hard to tell when they are having fun. But they all participated and I take that as a good sign!

After the class period ended I was shown the library and the technology lab. There's incredible equipment available for assisting those with low vision to read regular print - scanners that will take a photo of a book page, and either enlarge it, turn it into Braille, or format it so it can be read aloud by the computer to the student. One aide, a graduate of the school, showed me how she took notes. She had a piece of equipment that looked much like a laptop without the screen. She typed on a regular keyboard as she listened to a speaker, then could read back what she had written either on a computer later using the software I just mentioned, or by using a touch pad that converted the text into Braille. I watched a teacher type a test at a computer using a regular keyboard and software that turned the text into Braille. She then printed the Braille version out using a large printer. I learned so much and enjoyed every minute.

I hope to be invited back soon!

Rhonda
aka the Southern Half of Evelyn David
http://www.evelyndavid.com/

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries - e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

A Haunting in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

The Sullivan Investigation Series
Murder Drops the Ball (Spring 2011)
Murder Takes the Cake- Paperback - Kindle
Murder Off the Books- Paperback - Kindle
Riley Come Home (short story)- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords


Romances
Love Lessons - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

2 comments:

  1. Rhonda, what a cool experience. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Isn't it great how things have improved for the blind and other disabilities? I'm sure we still have a long way to go though. Thank your for telling us about this.

    Marilyn

    ReplyDelete