Accessible Media presents: Jeff's Day

Uploaded by AccessibleMedia on 24.05.2011


>>Jeff: I was fully sighted
for the first 13 years of my life.

I think it would be great to be able to see my kids,
to be able to see my wife,
but I've been blind for the majority of my life.
Sure, I may not be able to do everything
that I might have wanted to do,
but it's a part of me,
and it doesn't stop me from doing anything.

My commute is about 2 hours each direction.
Walking around through the park,
I like to hear the sounds of the birds.
I'm hearing the squirrels running on branches.
You can feel that the ground beneath is soft
and there's twigs laying down from falling out of the trees.
Boy, stay on the front of the path.

I need to hear the sounds of traffic.
You know, a lot of people want to know how you get across,
and they think that the dog is looking at the streetlight,
when in fact it's my job to determine when it's safe
for us to cross, and one of those cues
is the roar when my parallel traffic
starts to move. The roar of the engine is my cue to go.

I will use things you might call sound shadows.
Two houses down from me here there's a green box,
so when I'm coming back from walking Spencer to school,
I know that I'm two houses away,
because I can hear the electric hum of the green box.
Spencer is my oldest, he's 7.
He has a fairly good understanding that I can't see,
but Asher is only 3,
and I don't think he yet fully understands.
Quite often, he'll say, "Look at me, look at me, look at me."
And I don't have to know what he's doing,
as long as I look in his direction,
he's satisfied with it.

Union Station, if you've ever been through it,
it's organized chaos. You have to pay very close attention
to where you're going. There are so many people around,
it's sometimes hard to get a flow.
You hear the sounds of the ticket machines popping
and people maybe purchasing lotto tickets,
then maybe they're checking their tickets,
and you're hearing if they're winners or losers.
The sound of a locomotive engine is very loud in there
and it carries and it makes it difficult
to discern other subtle noises
and sometimes to identify
which direction other sounds may be coming from.

I do have dreams.
My dreams are visual. They're fuzzy, though.
I think they're quite similar
to what I imagine my surroundings being
on a regular basis.
They may be clear when I'm dreaming about things
from back when I used to be able to see,
but anything that I'm dreaming of that's new
is all right out of my imagination,
so there's not a great deal of detail,
but I understand what's going on,
and it's just like my regular life.

When I get off the subway, it's another walk up the street.
I'm imagining it in my head
based on what I'm hearing around me.
I'm walking past, I know,
a church that's been there for a long time
and there's always people passing by.
It's a rainy day.
I'm hearing a lot of sounds of rain and the cars.
As they drive down the road,
they're making more noise than normal
because they're traveling through puddles and whatnot.
That sound is then bouncing off the walls
of the buildings around.
I find it very difficult to assess the traffic
when it's raining,
but I think, for the most part,
a blind person travelling
is more efficient than a sighted person travelling
because we're not looking at everything around us.
With a dog, there's a lot of tactile feedback
that you can get through the harness
that allows you to follow the dog
in what appears to be a seamless method.
I've been doing it for 25 years now,
so it's something I've become accustomed to
and it's just another aspect of my life.

Yeah, I certainly do derive a lot of information
through the sense of touch.

I trail along the wall and use the bumps in the wall
to know when I'm approaching a corner or coming to a doorway.
My office is great.
I think I'm treated very much as an equal.
My coworkers sometimes forget that I can't see,
which I think is a compliment.

I get home around 6 o'clock.
There's a lot of wrestling that goes around in my house.
Quite often it's me on the bottom of a pile of two of them.
Then it's just a matter of sitting down
and watching some TV before bed.
That's our chance to just kind of unwind from the long day.
>>Descriptive video: Oscar feeds the flames with a photo
of he and Emma both dressed as Elvis.
>>Jeff: Having the described video is amazing.
It's like a whole new world.
I don't have to wait then for someone to tell me
why people laughed three seconds ago.
I can be with the program,
and it's much more inclusive at that point.
I think television is part of society, right?
It's where we get our information from.
It's where we get our entertainment from,
and being able to access that medium
on a par with everybody else in society is fantastic.

>>Announcer: With TV that describes what can't be seen,
print that reads what can't be read.
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