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, February 01, 2016

Who is Paul Ferrara, APH's new social media coordinator?

As a child, I remember receiving many Braille books and noticing that on the first page, at the bottom they said, “American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, Kentucky.” Having grown up in Delaware—yes Delaware is an actual state—I had no idea where this Louisville, Kentucky was. It seemed like a faraway place. I also remember receiving an abacus, periodic table and protractor from APH but never imagined I would associate myself directly with APH in the future.

I attended Sanford School, a private school in Delaware from sixth grade through high school. Then I attended Gettysburg College, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Eventually, I would earn two masters degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the reason I came to Louisville originally.

Except for my time in seminary when there were a few blind or visually impaired students, I was the only blind student at my high school and college so I learned to live in the sighted world. As a result, a career in the blindness/disability field seemed unlikely for many years.

I began working for Citibank in 2008, expecting that my position there would be temporary; at the same time, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up—a scary thing to think when you are well into your 30’s. In 2011, although I cannot remember exactly what caused it, a light seemingly came on in my head. I was working with my computer and my screen reader, and I realized that assistive technology was not just a tool or a hobby for me; it was what I wanted to immerse myself in and make my career field of choice. For the next two years, I worked seemingly in vain, unable to find a suitable position and feeling like I had no hope of a career change. Then, however, the director of what was then APH’s Accessible Tests Department (now Accessible Tests and Textbooks) offered me an opportunity to do part-time assistive technology consulting. I tested test publisher websites and their sample tests for accessibility, recommending modifications when necessary. While I continued seeking any available full-time assistive technology position, I waited patiently also for a suitable job to become available at APH. After slightly more than two years of waiting, I obtained the social media coordinator position. I am pleased to have the opportunity to tell APH’s story on this blog as well as our other social media sites. I look forward to interacting with each of you. You can expect a diverse array of content focusing on APH’s mission and also focusing on products and services that assist the blind and visually impaired community. Let us enjoy this journey together!


Paul Ferrara

Social Media Coordinator

American Printing House for the Blind

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