[AI] Fw: Audiobooks restore love of reading for blind teen.
pradeep_banakar at yahoo.co.in
Mon Jul 30 11:13:22 EDT 2007
----- Original Message -----
From: "BlindNews Mailing List" <blindnews at blindprogramming.com>
To: "Blind News" <BlindNews at blindprogramming.com>
Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2007 12:31 PM
Subject: Audiobooks restore love of reading for blind teen.
> Audiobooks restore love of reading for blind teen.
> BY YAMICHE ALCINDOR
> yalcindor at MiamiHerald.com
> Miami Herald - Miami,FL,USA
> Sun, Jul. 22, 2007.
> As a child, Charles Acheson read thousands of pages a week -- the prospect
> of losing his vision threatened his favorite hobby. Congenital cataracts
> left his mother and brother partially blind from birth.
> Charles feared he was next.
> In the seventh grade, Charles came face to face with his nightmare: In
> than five months he went from being a 12-year-old avid reader to almost
> completely blind.
> But using Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, a program designed to help
> physically and mentally disabled readers, Charles has recaptured his love
> reading through specially recorded audiobooks.
> ''It was hard,'' said Charles, now 17. ``I had to stop relying on my eyes
> and start listening to the books.''
> Blurry images now fill Charles' world. Dark burgundy curtains cover the
> windows in his room. Sunlight sometimes makes the chronic pain in his eyes
> worse. He navigates his computer without turning on the screen. Here, he
> sits for hours listening to CDs from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.
> The program has an audio library of more than 109,000 titles, covering a
> wide range of books and textbooks on subjects including history, math,
> science and social studies. It works much like Netflix, where users
> subscribe and make requests; their orders are filled by the company's
> national headquarters based in Princeton, N.J. and mailed to the clients.
> ''The more people we reach, the happier we are,'' said Christine McCarthy,
> regional director of Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, who coordinates
> services for the state of Florida. ``We want to give people a chance at an
> There are more than 120,000 subscribers in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm
> Beach counties.
> Company staff members visit clients at their job or school to train them
> how to navigate the software. Users can also visit the company's recording
> studios in Miami-Dade or Palm Beach for training.
> The subscribers learn how to customize their books by adjusting the speed
> which they're played, and bookmarking pages or chapters much like in print
> Volunteers put in 400,000 hours a year recording and preparing the
> ''I've been here for 25 years and it's a wonderful organization,''
> said. ``The volunteers are so special. They hardly ever see who they are
> working for but they do this work selflessly.''
> Charles' mother remembers struggling to get Charles to use the program.
> ''He wasn't ready to give up his vision,'' Janet Acheson said. ``He wasn't
> emotionally ready to start using it.''
> Five years after losing his vision, Charles has mastered listening to the
> books at 480 words per minute. To the untrained ear, the speed sounds like
> battling chipmunks. But for Charles, it's a way to keep up with
> This fall, Charles will join his older brother Robert at Miami Dade
> Both do their reading via audiobooks.
> ''If I had to sit and read, I'd never finish,'' said Robert Acheson, 19,
> is also dyslexic. ``With this, it's like there's nothing wrong.''
> The dyslexia on top of his vision problems makes reading twice as
> because often he loses track of his thinking while reading.
> But by using the audiobooks, Robert took Advanced Placement classes and
> graduated in 2006 from Robert Morgan Educational Center.
> Janet Acheson, a teacher in the high school's visually impaired program,
> been using the audiobooks since she was 12. She now uses them to keep up
> with her students' reading lists. The Achesons keep at least 50 Recording
> for the Blind and Dyslexic books in their Homestead home. Some titles
> include Great Expectations, HuckleberryFinn, and teachers' editions of
> Despite having to spend several hours a week at doctors offices, Charles
> finds comforts in his audiobooks.
> ''It still bothers me -- something is always going on with my eyes,''
> Charles said. ``I have better things to do like read my books.''
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