Link: NYTimes on being Deaf-Blind in the USA

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Anindya Bhattacharyya has a story in the New York Times about his travels as a deaf-blind man in the U.S.:

WHEN you are deaf-blind, technology is an ever-present companion. I travel with a laptop for e-mail, phone and Internet access. I use a G.P.S.-equipped Braille Note note-taker to get information about my surroundings. To communicate with others, I have a Screen Braille Communicator with two sides: one in Braille, which I can read; the other an L.C.D. screen with a keyboard, for someone who is sighted.

This type of story, though, infuriates me since it fits within the general genre of "disabled people can do anything with patience and the help of others," which tends to mask the larger issues at hand.

For example, in most areas of Japan, someone who is deaf-blind would be eligible for at least 40 hours a week of guide-helper assistance, if not 168 hours a week (full-time 24/7). So Mr. Bhattacharyya would not have to rely on the kindness of strangers, but instead have a full time care attendant paid for by the government. Why should the government pay? Because we feel it's one of the responsibilities of a modern state.* We should expect it as naturally as we expect roads to drive on, police to control crime, and publicly funded education.

< font size=-2>* That being said, conservative elements within the Japanese government are trying to backpedal this as quickly as possible, as reported on this web site.

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on August 30, 2005 2:30 PM.

Link: Verizon drops EVDO price to $60/mo was the previous entry in this blog.

Link: Being an Otaku has its benefits is the next entry in this blog.

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