Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Birthday flowers from mom

She knows how much I love my flowers but she also knows that I can no longer see them. so what did she do? My beloved mom sent me flowers for my birthday a few months ago, making sure that they were my favorite colors. They were beautiful! They felt just right and smelled just right.

Mom also knew that I love small arrangements and in baskets so she again made sure that it was what I received. Yellow flowers that were all just ready to open their petals. She remembered that my favorite color is yellow and that I love to smell their sweet fragrance.

She did the same when I was sick a few months ago with pneumonia. A beautiful basket of flowers arrived for me on one of those cold winter days when I was battling the clutches of pneumonia. Ah yes! Flowers! One of my favorite things to receive and to give.

Flowers are forever with me. I live for them and I can still visualize them in my mind despite the fact that I can no longer see them. I love to gently touch their petals. Run my fingers ever so gently over them and to smell them. I love to try and tell the difference between the various types of flowers.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and urging you to go out there and tell others how much I enjoy flowers even though I can no longer see them. Come visit me at

Friday, August 26, 2011

My pen friend

This is a really nifty product that I believe was developed in Britain. I use it to label things. It uses special labels to do its work and here is how it operates.

It is shaped like a pen. There are buttons that you can use to record a few words to create a label. You place the pen friend on the special label and press record. You record what you wish to and then stick the label on your desired box or package. Later you can come back to read it by again placing the pen friend on the label and pressing play. Voila! You hear your voice telling you what you previously recorded.

The pen friend is extremely affordable but I hasten to add that there are other products out there on the market that are very similar in function. You can check out these at or at

I’m Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and urging you to go out there and tell others about this nifty gadget.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Using accents to help me decipher

This is the method that I use to help me identify a person’s race. However, I hasten to add that it does not always work. It works if I am curious to decipher one’s nationality but in more cases these days, someone who was born in America or even Canada may not always have an accent that would enable me to tell their true race.

For example, someone of Chinese descent who was born in Canada almost always has an accent of a native Canadian so I would not be able to tell their race. It is even more ironic if I am trying to tell the race of someone who has a French accent having been born in Quebec. These days, there are so many Canadians with French accents and at the same time of different races.

I am always curious to learn a person’s background, culture, and race. Just so that I can get a complete picture of them. Some accents are easier to detect than others. Intonations also help me. The accents strategy still works to some extent but I am not sure how much longer it is going to work for me with the advent of the intermingling of more cultures and races.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and tell others how I use accents to help me decipher.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My cell phone and I

I don’t think that I am any different when it comes to my attachment to my cell phone. Whereas the mainstream person uses their cell phone for so many things such as: making and receiving calls, texting, taking pictures, playing games, and surfing the net, I use it in just two very simple ways. I use it to make calls and to read my mail.

Yes, you heard me right! Mine is a talking cell. It is equipped with software that produces voice output. When I press a key, it is identified through speech. All of the menus are accessible to me through voice output and I can access my address book and make calls being prompted by voice output as I go along.

The wondrous part of my beloved cell phone is that it is equipped with a piece of software called Talks and this software enables me to read my mail. Talks is good for reading such things as mail, labels, and anything that is short in length. The voice is very clear and I do not have any difficulty understanding the output. My cell phone has a camera that snaps the content of the page or outside of an envelope and then it reads it back to me through its voice output.

The trick of the trade here is to ensure that my camera is properly positioned over the text so that when the picture is taken, it is taken properly and accordingly the text is identifiable. It is really not too hard to learn how to do this.

So there you have it. My beloved cell phone and you can learn more about talking cell phones by visiting

I’m Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and inviting you to go out there and tell others about my talking cell phone.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Accessing web based courses

As technology continues to steam along, blind and sight impaired students need to find a way to keep up. It is only going to become more popular so what do blind and sight impaired students do? This is the big question for me who loves to take web based courses.

We can lobby for more understanding from web developers, educational institutions, and professors and teachers. We can start by doing this in an orderly way using logic as our mainstay. We can offer to work with the above mentioned to make web based courses more accessible to us.

There is no doubt about it; we have no choice in the matter and if we have a hope and Prayer of being able to have access to online education and distance learning courses, we must speak up now. Education is one of the cornerstones of society and we as blind persons have every right to be able to access it like anyone else.

If we are shut out from web based courses then there goes another avenue for us to be treated equally. Time for us to identify ourselves.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and share our concerns with others. Visit to learn more.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The challenges with medical forms

Talk about having to part with confidentiality and privacy and there you have it. When it comes to the completion of medical forms, I still need to depend on sighted assistance to do so. If I am at a doctor’s office and I am required to complete a form, I either need to ask the receptionist or the one accompanying me. Or if I have to do it from home, I have to depend on sighted assistance.

One of the things that I would love to see is the introduction of a system where I don’t have to depend on sighted assistance to do this. Maybe some sort of online system or maybe a phone system? If I need sighted assistance to complete medical forms, then I make very sure that the one I ask to help me is one that I trust with my life. My family, or very close friends.

Being put in a situation where I need sighted assistance to help me complete medical forms makes me extremely vulnerable. I am depending on the person to fill in exactly what I say. I am divulging personal information to someone else. My privacy and confidentiality are being exposed. Maybe someone will read this and come up with some sort of solution!

I’m Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and urging you to go out there and tell others about this circumstance. Visit to learn more.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

As a blind baby

Sometimes, when I am in the mood for reminiscing and remembering, I like to ask my mom what it was like for me as a blind baby. Now that my dad is no longer around, he passed on over 23 years ago, she is the only source of reference for me so here goes.

Mom tells me that she knew right away after I was born that something was wrong with my eyes. She was right and she and my dad did everything that they could to help me. First, they managed to get an eye surgeon to operate on me at six months to save my right eye. Then when I was just four, Dad sent me to England along with my mom, granny, and two brothers Jeff and Robert to seek further treatment for my eye. Unfortunately, nothing more could be done at that time.

Mom tells me and my aunts have confirmed this, that I used to amuse myself by taking my heel and banging it against the bars of my crib and then I would burst out laughing. Granny used to hang a balloon over my crib and I would follow it with my vision. At that time, my vision was very limited.

My older brother Robert told Mom that she should adopt a baby sister to keep me company when he found out that I was blind. My twin brother Jeffrey was always very protective and he and I were constant playmates. I had cousins as well who were constantly around me.

I was told that I loved music, loved to play on my own and was never afraid to play with others. I loved company but I also loved to be by myself at times.

So, in every aspect, I was just another baby growing up in a mainstream family except that I was blind.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and inviting you to go out there and share my words with others.
Visit to learn more about blind babies.