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February 3, 2021 @ 7:59 am

Season 4 Ep. 76 Braille Broadens Opportunities with guests Gary Mudd and Jayma Hawkins 2-3-21

If you are listening to this podcast, you probably appreciate a good book. You can pick up a paperback or read a digital copy on your e-reader whenever you have spare time. But imagine if you didn’t have the ability to see the words on the page? Blindness doesn’t make a person any less of a book lover but it sure does make reading them more complicated.

We assumed that technology would make things easier for people with visual impairment, and while it can help, it can also complicate things. Even recording our podcast took on unique challenges when we realized that one of our guests wouldn’t be able to read the questions we sent in the same ways that our former sighted guests did. When there was a snafu with recording and we thought to text our guests, we had to remember that the text might have to then go to audio format. How long would that take? Was that immediate or was there a delay? Would the remote recording technology pick up not only our guest’s voice but also the voice dictation from the computer at the same time?

Though sighted, Carrie and I were definitely blind to some of the complications that life with visual impairment can mean when it comes to the world of reading.

Our guests this week, Gary Mudd and Jayma Hawkins, from the American Printing House for the Blind, generously recorded with us twice to work through complications. Gary, who became blind at the age of 12, has recently retired from his role as VP of Government and Community Affairs and Jayma is the National Prison Braille Director.

Gary and Jayma talk to us about how braille books are produced as well as many other products that help visually impaired students be successful, how braille production programs in prisons produce braille books for students but also create newfound skills and confidence in inmates, and how one blind mother’s desire to read books to her sighted children helped create the Braille Tales program in coordination with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Books Mentioned in this Episode:

1- Katie the Catsitter by Colleen A. F. Venable
2- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
3- Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani
4- Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

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