FSCast #186

July,  2020


GLEN GORDON:  On FSCast 186, we’ll meet blindness consultant Joe Strechay.  He works as a producer on the Apple TV+ series called “See,” making sure that blind people are accurately portrayed.  Plus we’ll get a cameo appearance from Jonathan Mosen.  We’ll demonstrate the new JAWS feature that prevents speech from being cut off when using certain soundcards.

Hello, everybody.  Glen Gordon welcoming you to our podcast for July of 2020.  We’re just coming off of the summer conferences.  That’s common; not so common to do them virtually.  But we had a great time participating in both the ACB and NFB conventions via our various Zoom devices.  It is kind of hard to interact with people if you’re working with a large group of people because you have no idea when you’re speaking if what you’re saying is making sense or putting people to sleep because most of the time they’re muted, we’re talking, and only occasionally when someone’s asking a question or making a comment do we actually hear from them.  But we got some great participation, had a great time taking part in the conventions.  And I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that next year the conventions will be in-person again.

If you’re listening to us on a smartphone, most podcast apps have support for chapters.  And now I’m pleased to say so does FSCast.  Beginning this month, we’ll have chapter marks delineating the various portions of the podcast.  So if there’s something you can’t wait to listen to, you can get there directly.  Unfortunately, I’ve not found an app for the PC that has similar support.  If you know otherwise, let us know by writing to fscast@vispero.com, fscast at V I S P E R O dot com.  I’ll be sure to pass it on to everybody next month.

And speaking of podcasts, our training department has a new one.  It’s called Freedom Scientific Training.  We intentionally did not call it FS Training in the hopes that it would be easier to get your smart speaker to actually recognize the name of the podcast and play it.  We’re coming up with a new episode each week of training content, information that previously you most likely consumed on your PC, and at the same time tried to practice whatever was being discussed on that same computer.  Now you’ll be able to listen to the podcast easily, either on your smart speaker or smartphone or other device, having your PC free to practice whatever’s being taught.  So new podcast every week from the Training Department.  Some great content.  By all means, keep that in mind and keep a lookout for it.

They also have a great landing page for all the training content.  I went and looked at it just today, realizing just how much content is being aggregated on that single page.  And it’s sort of one-stop shopping for everything from the training podcasts to live webinars, webinars on demand.  The old JAWS Surf’s Up content has been repurposed and modernized.  It’s available there.  Lots of other training resources.  Go to freedomscientific.com/training, and you can find all of that information.

Over the last couple of months we’ve been talking about the new JAWS feature that prevents speech from being cut off when listening using Bluetooth headphones or listening on certain laptops.  Fortunately, I don’t have the problem.  So it’s been really hard for me to demonstrate it.  But turns out that longtime FSCast host Jonathan Mosen does.  He has an HP Spectre Folio that shows off this problem really easily.  Jonathan was kind enough to send us an excerpt from his Mosen at Large podcast, where he shows off the new JAWS feature at work.  So Jonathan, it’s all yours.

Excerpt  from Jonathan Mosen’s Mosen at Large podcast

JONATHAN MOSEN:  Let me demonstrate the problem so you can hear what this is like by just running JAWS without this new enhancement that I want to show you enabled.  So I’m going to press a shortcut key that I have assigned to JAWS.

JAWS VOICE:  Ows professional.  Desktop.  Folder view.  List view.  Not selected.  Recycle bin.  One of 33.

JONATHAN:  There you go.  You can actually hear it right away.  It sort of said “ows Professional” because I’ve been sitting here with my laptop making no sound, and it just woke up.  Even this pause is long enough for me to demonstrate the problem.  If I check the window title, “sktop One,” and you can hear that it missed the beginning of “desktop.”  So it sort of said “sktop One.”  I’m going to run Microsoft Word.

JAWS VOICE:  tana.

JONATHAN:  You can really hear it.  My soundcard driver has actually recently gotten worse at this issue, and it’s now hibernating very quickly.  I have my keyboard echo turned off, which probably exacerbates the problem.  But I just don’t need my keys echoing back to me.  I’m going to type “This is a test” and now read the current line.

JAWS VOICE:  “Is a test.”

JONATHAN:  Right?  So you missed the first word entirely there.

JAWS VOICE:  “Is a test.”

JONATHAN:  Is a test.  If I do it quickly enough, if I read the same line twice quickly...

JAWS VOICE:  “T H I S.  This is a test.”

JONATHAN:  So as long as I’m quick enough, and I keep the soundcard alive, I can hear what I’m doing.  Now, of course if you’re navigating word by word, this is a real issue.  I’ll go to the top of the file and now move slightly slowly, word by word.

JAWS VOICE:  [Indiscernible small portions of each word “this is a test”] .

JONATHAN:  It’s really difficult to hear; isn’t it.  How do we fix this?  It’s very easy with the latest build of JAWS to address this.  I’m going to go into the Settings Center.  And you can do that by pressing the JAWS KEY with F2 to get to the list of managers, if you like.  But JAWS seasoned users, or those who just are shortcut ninjas will know that you can go into the Settings Center by pressing the JAWS KEY with the number 6 on your number row.

JAWS VOICE:  JAWS Setting Center dialog.  Search box edit.  CTRL+T.

JONATHAN:  The first thing we need to do is load the default configuration because this setting applies across the board to JAWS.  To do that, I’ll press CTRL+SHIFT+D for default.

JAWS VOICE:  JAWS Setting Center default applications.

JONATHAN: We’re now in an edit field where we can search for JAWS settings.  You can fossick around the tree view here to your heart’s content, and you’ll find just how configurable JAWS is.  But I’m going to type the word “cut,” C U T.  That’ll be enough.  And I’ll press the TAB key.

JAWS VOICE:  Search results list box.  Avoid speech cutoff when using Bluetooth headphones or some soundcards, not checked.

JONATHAN:  And there’s an option here called “Avoid speech cutoff.”  And I’m going to press TAB, which will get me into the Help for this feature, and do a JAWS Say All to hear the full description. 

JAWS VOICE:  Bluetooth headphones and speakers shut down after a while of not receiving sound to conserve battery.  If this checkbox is selected, JAWS will keep them awake by constantly playing silence.  You will not hear anything, but your device will remain active, resulting in more consistent speech.  Note that the battery of your headphone/speakers could drain faster if you turn this on.  This checkbox is cleared by default.

JONATHAN:  I must say I have not found anything substantial in the way of battery drain by enabling this feature.  The HP Spectre Folio laptop that I have has phenomenal battery life.  I mean, depending on what I’m doing, it can be anything from five or six hours if I’m doing really aggressive tasks like audio editing, all the way through to 12, 13, 14 hours or more if I’m just doing a bit of basic word processing.  I’ll SHIFT+TAB.

JAWS VOICE:  Search results list box.  Avoid speech cutoff when using Bluetooth headphones and some soundcards, not checked. 

JONATHAN:  And I’ll check this box.  And now I’m going to exit Settings Center by pressing ALT+F4.

JAWS VOICE:  JAWS Settings Center dialog.  You have made changes to default application settings.  Do you want to save them?  Yes button, Alt+y.

JONATHAN:  Yes, I do.  I’ll press ENTER to accept.

JAWS VOICE:  Document, one word, edit.

JONATHAN:  Miraculously, now everything has cleared up.  Night and day, mate.  Night and day.  So if I press the JAWS KEY with T to read the window title...

JAWS VOICE:  Document, one word, print.

JONATHAN:  And it’s fine.

JAWS VOICE:  Document, one word, print.

JONATHAN:  I read a Say line.

JAWS VOICE:  This is a test.

JONATHAN:  And everything is working fine.  So it’s a very simple thing.  It’s just a little checkbox, but it makes the world of difference to people like me who are using particular Realtek sound drivers.

One thing to note:  There is a tradeoff with this.  Because JAWS is sending sound to the soundcard at all times – it’s essentially just sending silence to keep it awake – that means that the soundcard is always on, so audio ducking is affected.  You will unfortunately have to make a choice between whether JAWS ducks the audio or whether this feature is on.

By “ducking” audio I mean that you can have JAWS now slightly turn down what you’re listening to.  If you have music on in the background while you’re working, JAWS will turn that down a little so that you can better hear your speech.  You can’t have that and this feature enabled at the same time.  For me, the user experience has improved so much by enabling this checkbox that I’m glad to forsake the possibility of audio ducking.

[Clip]  “And whispered in the sounds of silence.”  Simon & Garfunkel  [End clip]

GLEN:  Thanks to Jonathan for sending that to us from his Mosen at Large podcast.  He actually does that mostly live.  Quite an amazing three-hour bout of taking emails, taking Twitter comments, talking himself about a variety of technical topics and blindness – all really, really smoothly in real-time.  It then gets excerpted into a podcast.  With chapter marks, might I add.  So if you’re interested in catching Mosen at Large, you can find out about all things Jonathan at Mosen.org, M O S E N dot org.


JAWS Power Tip

GLEN:  Now to this month’s Power Tip.  Here’s one about Excel from Ryan Fleury.

RYAN FLEURY/JAWS VOICE:  Hi.  Here is one that has helped me and many clients use Excel.  To turn on column and row title reading in Excel, do the following:  Open a spreadsheet you are working with that contains column or row headings you would benefit hearing as you navigate the data.  Move to the intersecting cell where the row and column headings meet.  Note:  You can select more than one row of headers.  This is very helpful on complex spreadsheets.

Press INSERT+V for the Jaws Quick Settings menu.  You are placed into an edit field, where you should type the word “Title.”  Down arrow to Title Reading Detection and locate.  Define Name Column and Row Titles Override and set it to “On for All Files” or just the current file if appropriate.  It will be tied to the filename, so be sure to name and save the file before going through this process.  You can use the SPACEBAR to toggle between the various options.

Once you have got it set to what you need, TAB to the OK button and press ENTER.  Now as you move around your Excel sheet, you will hear the title reading option you selected.  And these titles are spoken in the message voice, so it is easy to determine the exact content of the current cell while hearing the appropriate headings.

GLEN:  For those of you who may ask why this option isn’t enabled by default, the answer is actually twofold.  So in the case of what Ryan was talking about, you actually need to know which row and which column have the row and column headers, respectively.  But more importantly, Excel has a feature now where you can take any big chunk of cells and turn it into a table.  It essentially means that the top row and the left column is considered to be headings.  And in that case, JAWS automatically recognizes what is and isn’t headings, as long as you don’t have title override turned on for all spreadsheets.  So I recommend if you follow Ryan’s advice and do that, that you only do it for spreadsheets where there are explicit Excel tables as part of them.

And for sending in his Power Tip, Ryan gets an extra year on his JAWS license.  If you’d like to put your name in the hat with a Power Tip, if we use it, you’ll get that same benefit that Ryan did.  Write to us at fscast@vispero.com.


Interview with Joe Strechay

GLEN:  With me now is Joe Strechay.  He’s spent the last 20 years working in blindness services, starting out in Florida; spending a lot of time at the American Foundation for the Blind, starting their CareerConnect program; Director of Blindness Services for Pennsylvania; and he’s now a producer on a series from Apple TV+.  It’s called “See,” set several hundred years in the future, after a virus wiped out most of the Earth, and the people who remained were all blind.  In this series, everybody is blind except for these two twins, who are born of course to blind parents.  And the series revolves around those parents trying to protect the twins and help navigate them through the world.

So with that little bit of a background: Joe Strechay, welcome to FSCast.

JOE STRECHAY:  It’s a great pleasure to be on.  Thank you.

GLEN:  So you’re now totally blind; correct?

JOE:  That is correct.

GLEN:  But it has not always been so?

JOE:  That is true.  I lost my vision over time.  I was legally blind at 19, and low vision for a number of years.  And then later, like, totally blind.

GLEN:  I think it’s hard to say, “Tomorrow I’d like to consult for the entertainment business.”  How did that all come to be for you?

JOE:  That’s true.  You know, I feel like it was like building blocks.  Like when I was in my undergraduate, you know, I studied media effects and how the media portrays different populations and minority populations and classes on that, and gender communication, and how gender roles are portrayed, as well, and got to do studies on that.  And started, because of that, started looking at how disability and blindness more specifically was portrayed in media.  And I was skeptical of what I would see.  I’m like, am I supposed to be like that?  Is this what I’m supposed to be like?  You know, you see the movie “At First Sight” with Val Kilmer, I’m like, I don’t know.

GLEN:  Did it have a face-feeling scene?

JOE:  It did.  It definitely did.  It definitely...

GLEN:  Okay, good.  It’s sticking within the general scope.

JOE:  In its genre, yeah; you know?  So he was a massage therapist, as well, yeah.

GLEN:  Oh, perfect.

JOE:  Not that we don’t have a lot of massage therapists, but, you know.  So, you know, I started looking at these films.  But in my graduate work at Florida State we had a class where psychosocial around blindness, and we reviewed books and movies and stuff.  And then one of my other classes we watched a film.  We got to choose films to watch and write about it and how that portrayal was.  So I really started watching them and really thinking about it.

And when I was at AFB, I started writing about it.  You know, I started writing about popular culture and portrayals of blindness and disability and reality shows.  And because of CareerConnect, I started interviewing really prominent people who are blind or low vision who were out there doing things, whether in the media or not.  And I guess my name started getting out there, and some shows came to us, like the USA Network “Royal Pains” came to us, and I worked on two episodes with their writers’ room.  They’d tell me the situation they’re going through, and I would give them how I might talk about it, what I might notice, what I might do and all this so they could write it into the story.

I worked on some documentaries, and I worked with some casting agencies where they were casting people who were blind or low vision for commercials or shows, helping them reach out to the community.  And this really vague notice came in, it was like, uh, “We need some assistance with someone with a cane on set.”  Eventually I find out it’s Marvel’s “Daredevil.”  And I helped them reach out to the community, and they were interviewing people up in New York for a position to work with them as a blindness tech or consultant.  And they ended up asking me to interview.

And so I go in and meet with the producer, executive producers, the director, different departments.  And they’re like, well, we really like you, but the final decision goes to the lead actor.  And so I meet with the lead actor, and he’s like talking to me and whatever.  And then he’s like, “Well, can you start teaching me?”  I’m like, I guess I have the job?  I didn’t say that to him, but I said it to one of the producers.  I was like, “Do I have the job?  Do I get paid for this?”  And they were like, yes.

GLEN:  And this was Charlie Cox; right?

JOE:  Yeah, it was Charlie Cox, yeah, yeah.  And he’s the nicest guy I’ve ever worked with, really.

GLEN:  So did you have a clue of how to proceed, given that you had not done this before?

JOE:  Well, I knew what I didn’t like in other shows, like including Fox’s “Daredevil” with Ben Affleck and all these other movies and shows.  And I knew what I didn’t think was right.  And I train people who are blind or low vision with sleepshade.  And I train them, I start off with the beginning, building on that.  I did that with Charlie, you know, building up his skills, and probably not totally preparing him for some of the stuff because I learned later on that he was scared during certain points.  But he also videoed me, like recorded me doing things.  And he knew more about my movements than I really did.  He showed me how, like, different things that I did that I didn’t know.  And he taught me some things, as well, about my eye movements and about the neurology around eye movements that I’ve used since that point.

And my life really changed because Charlie Cox was on Seth Meyers, “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” interviewed talking about our work together.  And I didn’t know who would know I worked on the show or not.  They were so secretive.  I wasn’t even allowed to say “Daredevil” until he told people on TV that I worked on the show.

GLEN:  Yeah.  So, lucky for you, he opened the door.  And then presumably you could do your own publicity stuff related to it.

JOE:  That’s right, yeah.  And after it, you know, Netflix and them wanted me, like there were requests for me to do some press.  So I did a little press here and there.  I did a local article in West Virginia that got picked up by like a hundred newspapers, which was pretty cool.

GLEN:  When I first started googling you, it was one of the first things I found.  So yes, it seems to have gotten a lot of press.

JOE:  It did.  And, you know, it was a great experience.  And I went on and worked on Season 1 and then kept doing my AFB job and working with CareerConnect.  And then I left AFB to go be the director of the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services.  And literally I flew up to Pennsylvania, and I was supposed to start my new job on Monday morning.

On Friday morning I get a phone call, and I answer, and this woman says she’s a producer for a new show.  One of their other producers worked with me on Marvel’s “Daredevil.”  And she said the creator of the show is the lead actor, and she’s going to be portraying blindness, and there’s also going to be a child version.  And she would love to work with me for the next month or so, like can I be in New York for a month or so to do in-depth training and stuff?

And I’m like, “Well, it’s not the best timing.  I’m starting a job, a full-time job on Monday.  What I could offer you is that I could come hop on a train in like an hour or two and head to New York, and then train back Sunday night, and then have meetings during the week in the evenings with different departments and keep doing that over and over again, if that would work.”  And she’s like, yes.  And so I hopped on a train, and then I was working with Brit Marling for “The OA” within, you know, within hours.  And spent my weekends in New York working with her.

And she’s, like, totally different than Charlie.  She’s very experiential.  So we went under sleepshade for, like, hours and hours in a row.  Like her and I, one day we were walking around for, like, I don’t know, on and off about six hours, including stopping for lunch someplace, under sleepshade.  And she never took her sleepshade off.  Like Charlie would tell you, I was taking him through the streets of New York, and one time he wanted to feel what it was like to travel at my speed when I’m like flying through the streets and all the street crossings.

So I did a human guide, and I did a wider cane technique, and I just started flying through intersections and crossings, and we went for like 12 blocks.  And he said that later on he did an interview where he was so scared he was lifting up his sleepshade.  And he was like, he said he was just so scared.

GLEN:  I’ve been known to trip when I’m going fast.  I don’t know that I’d be wanting to guide high-price talent here.

JOE:  Well, truthfully, I didn’t bring much – I didn’t put a lot of thought into that at that time.  So like with Brit I was like – so at street crossings I was like, I’m going to guide you on the street crossings.  She was walking on her own all the way.  We were in Jersey City, and we walked around like six hours, like all over.  And she’s just amazing.  She really puts herself into it.  And we had many experiences like that, whether in New York, as well, and then with cooking and cleaning and other things like that.

GLEN:  When you’ve worked with actors, you’ve helped them learn.  How do you really know as a blind person that they’re following what you suggest?

JOE:  Great question.  So on Apple TV+’s “See,” I’m an associate producer from Season 1, and now I’m a co-producer on Season 2.  I work with a movement team, people who are choreographers who are trained in detail.  But also I have an assistant who audio describes movement and stuff, and different aspects.  I tell them what to look for, and she would audio describe things.  And I’d be like, what about that?  I’m like, and I would demonstrate what I’m looking for.  And I trained all the actors, and we go in and correct them, or I would send someone to correct them, or I would go in to correct them.

And in Season 1 of “See” it started out that I was like a little further away.  I was in a video village or further back.  By third episode I was closer and closer.  And then episodes 4 and 5 were this director Anders Engström.  And Anders said at one point, and I was telling him stuff and, like, giving him input.  And one morning he goes, “Joe?”  And he stopped everyone onset.  And he said, “I want you standing right next to me during every blocking and every scene, every shot, because I want to make sure we’re doing it right.”

So literally I was there, and I got to build ideas in.  And in those episodes you start to see things that I was suggesting to the show runner and executive producers who were writing the show, like how they do some nonverbal communication, some signaling.  And it’s from my wife and I, how we signal each other and communicate.  And it’s built into the show.

GLEN:  That’s really cool.

JOE:  Yeah.  There are a lot of things like that.  And people won’t notice it.  And I think my favorite parts of Season 1 are the little blindness things that people will never notice, like you wouldn’t know unless you were blind.  And that’s something I want to incorporate in the future, looking at the audio description so that it makes sure that some of those things get pointed out a little bit.

GLEN:  What is a typical day like for you on set?

JOE:  That’s a great question.  So my typical day, I wouldn’t say any day is the same.  So a typical day you’re up very early in the morning, traveling a distance.  You arrive at set.  The director, the actors, myself, and the DOP, Director of Photography, will go and read through the scene.  Like the actors will read their lines.  Then the actors get positions.  Then they kind of just figure out what their movements are.  And then we give them feedback or tips or advice about what they should be doing or shouldn’t be doing.  And then we go through it.

And so we do a rehearsal, and then we shoot it.  And then we have to watch it.  And these choreographers are watching, like, the background.  They might be watching actors.  My assistant is describing the lead actors and their movements, and I ask for specific things, like, to watch for.  I have an idea of where some of the issues might come up, and we look for that.  And then we have to make corrections.

And so we go in.  I might have to go talk to Jason about something or give him a tip or advice.  I’m like, “Oh, you might want to be listening to the side because you’re using the sound of the water hitting the objects.”  Or we might suggest some kind of echo location sound from someone, or signaling.  By “signaling,” making a sound to show where you are or something is, an object is.

GLEN:  So it’s really detailed.

JOE:  Each scene is different in what the needs are.  So it can be very detailed, or – but then once you have it going, and you get a rhythm, we turn the scene.  The shot turns; right?  Like so you’re doing it from another angle.  And then another angle.  So you kind of get the flow, and you won’t want to do stuff too differently because, once you have it from that angle, you want to match it up.  And so it’s a process.  And then we move to the next scene, which might be in a different location.  And we do that all over again.

GLEN:  It just shows, in my mind, at least, how important the feedback from your assistant is in order to get things right and do your job well.

JOE:  It’s so true.  So I have to train the person.  I interview multiple people before I hire.  And I ask them to do specific things.  So my assistant is an assistant, like a personal assistant because I supervise a bunch of stuff.  But they also have to audio describe, as well.  So I train them on that.  and I also test them on it beforehand to see if they have, like, the basic idea of what it takes to describe something.

And it’s different than audio description like in general because I want to know about the shot, too.  Like one of my annoyances with audio description is I would love, like, an advanced audio description where they describe the angle of the shot and stuff because that tells you stuff about the story.  And so these people usually have some kind of film background and then also training from me, as well.

GLEN:  Do you get any sort of veto power?

JOE:  I can just tell you the power that I have been given in my position.  We were having this marketing shoot.  And every show does a marketing shoot where they bring in super high-price photographers, and it’s like a whole day of shooting, but it’s not your normal crew.  It’s like all these new people.  And I was in one area, and one of the actors comes to me.  He’s like, “Joe, you need to come in here right now.  They want us to do something that you don’t want us to do.”

I guess the big premise of the shoot was going to be that all of the family members were going to be all putting their hands on Jason Momoa’s face.  And this wasn’t any of the cast’s idea or anything.  But the actor’s Archie Madekwe, who’s Kofun, one of the twins; and then Nesta Cooper, who’s the other twin.  And Archie’s like, “So if Joe says don’t do it, I’m not going to do it, because I know this is not what he wants us to do.  So we’re not going to do this.”  And Nesta’s like, “Yeah, we’re not going to do it.”

GLEN:  That’s really good.

JOE:  So they all have learned, like, and understand and really respect what we’re doing.  And not that anyone else doesn’t.  But, you know, they live it every day for work, and they’ve become close with our actors who are blind or low vision, as well.  And Eric Bridges came to visit set with Sarah Herrlinger from Apple one time.  And they were there for shooting, and we went on this raft with all the principal actors in this big fight scene.  And we’re coming off the raft, and they just saw that it was like normal.  They all know human guide or sighted guide.

And they were like, “Hey, Joe.”  My assistant was helping someone, and we were talking, and we’re going through this rocky terrain and trying to get out of it or whatever.  And he’s like, “Joe, do you need to hitch a ride,” or they came up and they did the same to other people.  And they said it was just – Eric’s point was like it was like second nature.  It was like no big deal, like, “Hey, maybe you need assistance.”  And actors can run off to their trailer, but it’s like a family.  And everyone believes in what we’re doing.

GLEN:  Not that many years ago you decided that you were going to go off onto your own.  Did that coincide with “See” and realizing that this might be a long-running gig?

JOE:  So I had to make a decision when they came to me with Apple TV+’s “See.”  I saw this project, and at first they were – what they were describing was one thing.  And then they were like, well, I think we’re going to need you full-time.  And I’m like, “Okay.  So can I get back to you?”  And so I decided that it’s time.  And the idea of working with Apple and working with a large production with people of this caliber I thought was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of chance.  And I was going to take it.  And my wife and I decided that.  We had a discussion about it, lots of discussion.  And we figured out that’s where I want to go.

And I had other friends out there in the world who work at different organizations who are willing to give me work.  And I always get opportunities to do workshops with teenagers and different things, and public speaking.  So I was like, I think I can make this work.  And I feel lucky.  And now, you know, getting to work with APH during my time off here has been great.  I love CareerConnect, and I love the ConnectCenter and what APH is doing.  Truthfully, of the blindness organizations right now, nonprofits and outside of consumer groups, you know, I think APH is doing the most right now and really wants to do more.  And I feel lucky to be helping them as they’re building out and making things happen.

GLEN:  Can you describe CareerConnect a little bit, what you set out to do when you created it?

JOE:  CareerConnect is a career exploration tool and resource.  It’s filled with articles about your job search as a person who’s blind or low vision.  Talks about job accommodations and negotiating that, how you navigate the disclosure process and how that’s a delicate thing.  There’s a blog.  There’s articles.  There are all kinds of resources.  There’s lesson plans for professionals on transition topics around employment and other activities.

There’ll be something called the Job Seekers Toolkit that used to be a part of it, like an employment course.  That’s going to be up as articles that you can run through.  There’s, like, I don’t know, like a hundred of articles or something that in that piece they’re currently revising and hoping to launch in the near future.  So it’s a great resource for professionals, but also for parents and families with their teenagers, and also teenagers in general to navigate the employment process.  There’s stories about successful people who are blind or low vision, too.

GLEN:  And that’s all available now through APH; right?

JOE:  That’s correct.  APHCareerConnect.org or going to the American Printing House for the Blind’s ConnectCenter, and then you can navigate to CareerConnect, as well.  Free resource.

GLEN:  Is there anything else you want to make sure we touch on?

JOE:  Yeah.  Yeah.  So I’ve had the great opportunity to work on a number of different projects.  I worked on a children’s book with Scholastic, with an author named Tracey West.  She has a bestselling series called “Dragon Masters.”  And they launched a character in their latest book that came out in the beginning of June, I guess, that involves a principal character who’s blind.

So I helped as she wrote the story and gave input on that.  But I also helped as they created the artwork, too.  So I modeled some things like a staff movement instead of a white cane, and also the positioning of the dragon as she moves and uses this dragon almost like a guide dragon at certain points.  So there’s kind of fun parts to that.  And it’s pretty cool.  I’m pretty excited about it.  It’s offered in accessible formats, whether I think braille, electronic, and also print.

GLEN:  Very good.  Well, we have talked about a lot of different things, and I’m really glad you could join us, Joe.

JOE:  Thank you so much.  It’s a great pleasure.  And I appreciate what you all do.  So thank you.

GLEN:  Thank you.


Signing Off on FSCast 186

GLEN:  If you’d like to get in touch with the podcast, it’s always great to hear from you.  Feel free to write to fscast@vispero.com.  Or you can call our listener line, that’s (727) 803-8000, extension 1010.  I’m Glen Gordon.  We’ll see you next month.


Transcript by elaine@edigitaltranscription.com




edigitaltranscription.com  •  07/21/2020  •  edigitaltranscription.mobi