Step by Step: A Journey into Accessibility and Assistive Technology
The year was 2004 and I just secured a position at a large company. This was the beginning of a new journey for me. But not the journey that I expected. This is an article about my personal experiences as I began to lose my sight. It will discuss my journey from being a person who had good eyesight to a person who now has low vision. I remain unaware if my eyes will continue to deteriorate or if they will stabilize. I will also discuss my views on the importance of accessibility and assistive technology.
Long story short, I was diagnosed with Cone-Rod Dystrophy in 2004. This was a confusing time for me. At the time, I knew very little about accessibility and I felt like my world was crashing down around me. I became depressed, angry, fearful, and lost. It was only once I received a proper diagnosis and became acquainted with assistive technology that I felt hope again. I saw a CCTV magnifier and used screen reader/magnification software like ZoomText. Finally, I felt I could potentially live a normal life and do things I used to be able to do.
Now if you had known me prior to 2004, you would describe me as a hard worker with a sense of humor. But also knew next to nothing about accessibility and accommodation. Don’t get me wrong: I knew about ramps, braille, automatic doors and other ways to make the lives of people with disabilities more inclusive. But I did not really understand what inclusiveness was – or let alone, how it re