[nabs-l] Could someone lend me a hand, please? (Question about juggling multiple items)

Arielle Silverman nabs.president at gmail.com
Thu Aug 5 23:38:35 UTC 2010

Hi Jewel,

I'm a little surprised that DSB would get you heavy notetaking devices
like a laptop and separate Braille display if they are aware that you
have difficulty carrying heavy loads and considering that there are
much more portable options available like a Braille Note or netbook
and bluetooth Braille display. What about a Braille Note for
notetaking and reading in class, plus a netbook and Braille display
for home? Have your other disabilities been documented in your case
with them? The wheelchair sounds like an acceptable short-term
solution, but I can understand your reluctance to use it especially
given a legitimate concern that wheelchair use could impact the
mobility you still have. Perhaps getting more compact
Braille/notetaking devices would be a good long-term solution. It
would cost DSB a lot less to buy an I-phone or Braille Note, or
netbook and potable Braille display, than a laptop and big Braille
display; but of course rehab doesn't always make the most economical
or commonsense decisions. :)


On 8/5/10, Jewel S. <herekittykat2 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I like the idea of carrying just an iPhone around. I just wish I had
> the funds. I'm living on just SSDI and SSI. After rent and bills, I
> have only $300 for transportation, food (now that EBT has been cut to
> $16/month), apartment needs like toilet paper and cleaning supplies,
> school supplies (DSB only pays for $50 of the supplies), and all sorts
> of thigns like that. $300 doesn't go very far, especially when I'm
> trying to save for the Orlando trip next year, and I'm trying to put
> aside $200 each month for that...not that's it's happening like that,
> but I'm trying.
> It was hard enough getting DSB to pay for a laptop, refreshable
> Braille display, embosser, scanner, and other things...I need the
> Braille display because I have trouble with audio input. I really
> can't do without them and do well in class. If I go without and just
> record to take notes later, I might as well not be in class at all...
> On the point of a utility cart, that would be the same problem as my
> rolling backpack. How would I pull it if I'm using my white cane and
> my support cane? I wouldn't be able to.
> Talking today with people (VR counselor, rehab teachers, boyfriend),
> I'm going to discuss the possibility of a motorized wheelchair for
> part-time use (for around campus primarily). If insurance will pay for
> it, I will get one and if I use it, I use it...I know I won't use it
> every day, but just walking around today, I realized how much a
> struggle it really is for me to walk sometimes. I was stumbling and
> tripping and in such intense pain, I was actually wishing I had a
> chair.
> I did join the blind-rollers listserv. If I knew that was there
> before, I would have joined...I didn't see it!
> Thank you all for the ideas. Maybe I can save up for the new PacMate
> Omni, which is small, or another small notetaker. For now, the laptop
> is what I have to work with.
> Thank you all,
> Jewel
> On 8/5/10, Ignasi Cambra <ignasicambra at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The thing is that, depending on how much money you are able to spend, I'm
>> sure you can find substitutes for your laptop, keyboard and braille
>> display
>> which would be much smaller and portable. Smaller and portable things are
>> not always as convenient as large ones, but maybe if you get used to
>> them...
>> These days I take notes in class by using my iPhone and a small bluetooth
>> keyboard. Maybe you want a bigger keyboard, but there are bluetooth
>> keyboards of all sizes, and you can connect any of them to an iPhone or
>> iPad. Both of these devices are much, much smaller and lighter than any
>> laptop, and you can use them to take notes and organize them, read and
>> write
>> emails, browse the internet etc. I also know there are small, portable
>> bluetooth braille displays available, and any of those will work just fine
>> with either an iPhone or iPad. Plus, with an iPhone or iPad you can take
>> notes and record the lecture at the same time.
>> If not, maybe using a BrailleNote would be a good idea. It has a braille
>> display, can record, and can be used to take notes etc.
>> Basically what I'm saying is that I feel as though for what you need to
>> do,
>> you can find equipment that would be small enough for you to carry around
>> with no need of a huge backpack. I'm really happy taking notes with my
>> iPhone and keyboard. It's like having a laptop without having to take it
>> around all the time. I only use the bluetooth keyboard when I'm writing
>> long
>> texts or taking notes in class. If not, the iPhone by itself is enough.
>> Just throwing in some ideas...!
>> Ignasi
>> On Aug 4, 2010, at 4:47 PM, Jewel S. wrote:
>>> Hi everyone,
>>> As the title suggests, I need a bit of help...some advice, really. But
>>> I sure wish someone could literally lend me a hand. I need that third
>>> hand something fierce!
>>> Here's my dilemma. I will be starting school at the local community
>>> college in two weeks. I have a very nice High Sierra rolling backpack.
>>> It has a retractable handle with a T-grip which makes it easy to pull.
>>> However, I also have a long white cane and a T-grip support cane. One
>>> hand for the white cane, one hand for the support cane (I have tried
>>> carrying things in my right hand while using the support cane and I
>>> simply can't put enough weight on the cane to use it properly if I'm
>>> holding something...if it can hang on my wrist, and is not too heavy,
>>> I can do that, but it must be very light, such as a bag of light
>>> groceries {a bag of papertwoels, a bag with shampoo and conditiner,
>>> some small grocery items, etc.}, and one hand for the rolling
>>> backpack. That just doesn't add up to two!
>>> My primary doctor and my chiropractor have warned me several times not
>>> to put anything more than a few pounds on my shoulders or back, and
>>> definitely not a backpack full of books, so carrying the bag on my
>>> back when I use my support cane is out of the question. I have several
>>> slipped discs in my neck and severe misalignment in my back and hips,
>>> so I have to be careful not to carry too much. I also have problems
>>> with my arms and wrists; if I carry something heavy on my wrist or
>>> forearm, it will start tingling and sending lightning bolts of pain up
>>> and down my arm. Further, with my bad hips and knees, using a waist
>>> harness of some sort to pull the backpack seems out of the question as
>>> well.
>>> I brought this concern up to the Disability office at the college and
>>> they and I together could not think of anything to solve my problem. I
>>> suggested a volunteer pulling my bag from class to class, but they
>>> said they do not have the means to find someone or schedule such a
>>> volunteer's time. I am going to ask my VR counselor and my O&M
>>> instructor about it tomorrow, but I wanted to ask here. Surely I'm not
>>> the only one who has had this dilemma? Are there any of you out there
>>> who use both a white cane and a support cane with no hands for rolling
>>> backpack or other items?
>>> Any advice, suggestions, or ideas would be invaluable to me, as I'm
>>> truly at a loss. I didn't even think of it until yesterday when I was
>>> at the college and tried to do it and couldn't, and was in no
>>> condition to walk without my support cane without stumbling and/or
>>> falling often.
>>> ~Jewel
>>> Check out my blog about accessibility for the blind!
>>> Treasure Chest for the Blind: http://blindtreasurechest.blogspot.com
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> --
> ~Jewel
> Check out my blog about accessibility for the blind!
> Treasure Chest for the Blind: http://blindtreasurechest.blogspot.com
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Arielle Silverman
President, National Association of Blind Students
Phone:  602-502-2255
nabs.president at gmail.com

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