[blindkid] Technology and Little Kid

Albert J Rizzi albert at myblindspot.org
Fri Feb 19 13:20:33 UTC 2010

I agree with you here. Just because expressive language is used, and simple
text without inflection  should not be interpreted as disrespectful. We
should not read our own emotions into someone else's posts. I also agree
with you that the simple one line answer of slate and stylus  set me off
because  it just did not, in my opinion, answer the question. It did
however, get one great thread going.

Albert J. Rizzi, M.Ed.
My Blind Spot, Inc.
90 Broad Street - 18th Fl.
New York, New York  10004
PH: 917-553-0347
Fax: 212-858-5759
"The person who says it cannot be done, shouldn't interrupt the one who is
doing it."

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-----Original Message-----
From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Heather
Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2010 9:15 PM
To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)
Subject: Re: [blindkid] Technology and Little Kid

Wo, hold up.  A.  I am deffinitly strong minded, but I wouldn't say 
disrespectful.  I hate that emotion and expression cannot be easily conveyed

online.  Anything I say, I say, erm, not in gest, how to put it, with an 
aimiable expression on my face, with a veahament but not nasty tone in my 
voice.  If I wanted to be disrespectful, which I do not, I could easily go 
around spouting "Your opinions are sh--, and you are f-----g stupid" calling

names and being horrible and childish.  I don't call names, but I do totally

rib people.  I admit it freely, but I do the same things in person in 
everything from my classes in college to professional conventions and 
forums, and no one seems to get this offended, so some of it must really be 
the electronic barrier.  B.  The origional post that really pushed my, let's

get debating and discussing button was a post with only the words "Braille 
slate" or "Slate and styalis" in it.  This bothered me as a mother of a 
blind child a blind toddler, and an early childhood educator, because when 
asked what technologies a four year old should have to keep up with their 
peers, the first things should be adapted games that they can play with 
their blind and sighted friends, toys that will encourage their 
imaginations, and educational toys that premote early math and early 
literacy skills, and to just toss out a one word response that is a cold 
fully adult product, with no thought to psychosocial, or social-emotional 
development really concerned me.  I never, ever, ever said "Slates have no 
value whatsoever, keep them far away from all children everywhere."  I 
questioned their importance and workability when compared with other tools 
that premote literacy, I questioned at what age a child would be cognatively

and physically ready to use one, and I expressed the great importance of so 
many other benificial, and not always strictly educational technologies in a

young child's life.  and C.  Um, I am blind, totally blind, have a slate, 
hate it, but can use it and would not refuse to teach it to my son, simply 
because as a visual learner and big fan of instant gratification 
*impatiently sneeks a finger under the edge of the slate to try and see what

is coming out on the back of the paper, and gets pinched* I am not a big fan

of the slate.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Andrews" <dandrews at visi.com>
To: "NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)" 
<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:48 PM
Subject: Re: [blindkid] Technology and Little Kid

> Heather:
> I hate getting into this (smile) because everybody won't agree, but .....
> First I must ask you and others to treat the opinions and positions of 
> others with more respect.  While they may be different from yours, the 
> people who state them presumably have good reasons for stating them, as do

> you.
> Next, I find your generalizations about the slate to be disturbing and 
> depressing.  I don't know you, or your place in life, but I would guess 
> you are a sighted person, possibly with a blind child.  You mention a 
> blind Mother.
> Would you, as a sighted person give up a pencil or pen and paper.  I doubt

> it.  While you may not use them all the time, when you need them, nothing 
> else will do.  This is in part what the slate and stylus are for blind 
> persons.  Yes, many people, including blind persons will put them down, 
> but I suspect that in many instances they have not been taught well, so 
> are minimized.  While we teach kids to write with a pencil before e giving

> them a computer as a primary tool, we think nothing about having them 
> learn to write with a Braille Writer, then give them a slate.  Who would 
> want it then.
> I am one of those over-50 persons you mention.  I use the slate regularly,

> as I also use technology.  I have used technology heavily since the early 
> 80's, and was the first Director of the NFB's International Braille and 
> Technology Center, and still make my living with technology.  So, I don't 
> think you can plausibly say I couldn't adjust to technology.  Likewise, 
> Mike  Freeman who wrote the original message which you seemed to hold in 
> such disdain has been a computer programmer since the early 80's I think, 
> uses talking cell phone, Braille Sense, etc.  We love our technology, but 
> want to have all possible tools available to us, including the slate.
> A couple years ago, I attended a training session, costing over $500.  It 
> was Minnesota and the winter and I slipped and fell, on the ice, on my way

> there.  When I got there, I discovered my Pac Mate wouldn't work.  So, if 
> I hadn't also had a slate and stylus and been proficient with their use, 
> it would have been $500 down the drain because I couldn't take notes.
> Blind people need all the tools we can get, and we need to use the right 
> one at the right time.  That includes the slate and stylus which is good 
> for quick notes, in emergencies, where there is no electricity or when 
> batteries are dead, and much more.
> Dave
> At 07:05 AM 2/18/2010, you wrote:
>>No disrespect, but you've got to be kidding me.  No blind people I know, 
>>children or adults, down right brilliant to mentally challenged, men or 
>>women use those anymore.  Many own them, and could use them in a pinch, 
>>but honestly, no one uses them as a main means of writing or on a regular 
>>basis. Some people in the fifty or older set still rely on them, because 
>>they were not able to keep up with the changing technology, which I can 
>>understand and sympathize with, but even my sixty year old blind mother 
>>laughed when I showed her this, or rather told her that this had come up 
>>on list.  For confidentiality reasons I never show any one who is not on 
>>the list, list emails, and never give names or any spacifics..  I could 
>>honestly say that I know over two hundred to three hundred blind people, 
>>and I asked on a list serve for guide dog users, one for blind parents and

>>one for blind students, and the uunanomous answer was "You've got to be 
>>kidding"  I think her four year old would best be served to learn how to 
>>use a cell phone or home phone to call his mother and to dial 911.  I 
>>think he should be learning on a braille note, voice recorder or how to 
>>use a victor reader or ipod touch. Things like that, plus basic braille 
>>and print literacy.
>>----- Original Message ----- From: "Mike Freeman" <k7uij at panix.com>
>>To: "NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)" 
>><blindkid at nfbnet.org>
>>Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 10:46 PM
>>Subject: Re: [blindkid] Technology and Little Kid
>>>A slate and stylus!
>>>----- Original Message ----- From: "David Andrews" <dandrews at visi.com>
>>>To: <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
>>>Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 7:01 PM
>>>Subject: [blindkid] Technology and Little Kid
>>>>I got asked a question, the other day, and since most of my experience 
>>>>is with blind adults -- I didn't know quite what to say.  A woman said 
>>>>she had a four year old totally blind daughter, and she wanted her to 
>>>>keep up with her peers in technology, so what assistive 
>>>>technology/technology is here  -- should she start using with her child?
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