Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Labels That Can't Talk

by Donna J. Jodhan

You got it! Labels cannot talk to me whenever I need to know the contents of a can, box, or anything else. In general, I am able to tell the contents of a box usually by its size and sound. That is, when I shake it. For example, a box of cereal is bigger than a box of shake and bake. However, when it comes to those cans and tins, that's when the fun begins.

Being able to read and decipher labels is one of the biggest problems for me. Not only do I often have difficulty deciphering the contents of a tin, can, or box. It extends to being able to read the label itself. That is, knowing the description of the contents of the package in question. Two irritants; being able to read the ingredients on the package and knowing the actual contents of the package.

My woes often extend to being able to read labels on other types of packages and this includes CDs, labels on electronic products, and so on. Labels can not talk so I need to get sighted assistance to read them. A few years ago a bar code reader was developed to help blind and visually impaired persons read labels on boxes and tins and cans. Some have told me that for the most part, this nifty little device is extremely helpful but it is also very expensive like so many other gadgets that have been developed for us. The bar code comes with a database of over 5000 entries and it is possible to add other entries but in order to do this one has to depend on sighted assistance. As long as there is a bar code on a box, tin, can, or package, it is possible to add it to the database if it is not already there.

The bar code reader has made things easier for us but due to its exorbitant price I am unable to take advantage of it. You can learn more about the bar code reader and more by visiting the Independent Living Aids website at http://www.independentlivingaids.org.

Since writing this, I am extremely excited to tell you that there is another product out; much cheaper, and has the potential to make the lives of blind persons much easier. This product is called the Pen Friend, it was developed in Britain, and is available right here in North America. Check it out as soon as you can! You can start by going to http://www.rnib.org. Great articles on how to lable a variety of items can be found right here in Fred's Head. Click this link to learn how to label items from Fred's Head..

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, an accessibility and special needs business consultant wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

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