Blind Student Learns to Use a Chainsaw. Surprised? Don't Be.
by Joe Strechay
I saw a story on CNN recently about a student who is visually impaired who learned how to use a chainsaw. I think this illustrates that many are not aware of what people who are blind or visually impaired are capable of. I can say that I am legally blind, with less than one percent of my vision—I have used a chainsaw. I also help my father-in-law in the spring and summer doing hay. This entails collecting bails of hay, throwing them on the back of a truck, stacking, and then putting them in a barn. This is not my career. My career is based on creating content dealing with career exploration, education, employment, and technology—I use a computer with a screen magnification software or screen reader, depending on what I am doing and my vision on that particular day.
AFB has a program called CareerConnect®, which features close to a thousand active mentors who are blind or visually impaired—these individuals work in many different fields. They are mechanics, engineers, teachers, computer programmers, a bodybuilder, and more! There are people who are blind and visually impaired working for Fortune 500 companies or who own their own businesses.
The CNN story makes some good points about competing in the classroom using assistive technology, and the same goes for on the job. Persons with vision loss can be successful on the job with the right job accommodations, which includes the right technology. AFB CareerConnect offers a great series of articles, called Success Stories, that highlight our mentors' successes from education to employment.
If you want to learn about how persons who are blind or with low vision utilize technology—mainstream as well as assistive technology—check out AccessWorld (a free online technology magazine). For all your information needs specific to people who are blind or visually impaired, please check out www.afb.org—The American Foundation for the Blind's website.
Every day, people who are blind or visually impaired get up, get dressed, and head off to work. Diversity in the workforce is a plus, so if you are thinking about hiring someone, why not consider someone who is blind or visually impaired. We can do the job right!
"Chainsaw" story sources:
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