Warsaw Library: March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
By Melissa Chapman
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.” This is a time to create awareness about developmental disabilities, teach the importance of inclusion within every aspect of life. It is also a time to highlight the many ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities.
The Warsaw Community Public Library has recently added the NV Access software, which can be used for people who are blind or vision Impaired. The software is a free “screen reader” which enables persons who are blind or vision impaired to use computers. It reads the text on the screen in a computerized voice. You can control what is read to you by moving the cursor to the relevant area of text with a mouse or the arrows on your keyboard.
The idea of a NonVisual Desktop Access began back when founders Michael Curran and James Teh met as children on a music camp for the blind, where they realized they shared a strong interest in computers. Several years later, they decided to join forces to help improve the accessibility of computers for blind and vision-impaired people. It was first launched in 2006.
In many cases, screen-reading software costs more than the PC itself. In the past, this has left computers inaccessible to millions of blind people. This is a serious problem, because, without computers, access to education and employment is severely limited, not to mention everyday functions such as online banking, shopping and news. The purpose of NV Access is to lower the economic and social barriers associated with accessing information technology for people who are blind or vision Impaired. Because of this, the software is a free, open-source, portable screen reader for Microsoft Windows.
The Warsaw Community Public Library is dedicated to the idea that accessibility and fair access is a right and should not come as an extra cost to any person. In a world where information and technology are an increasingly important part of daily living, this ideal facilitates greater participation and independence in all facets of life, especially within the areas of education.
We are enthusiastic about this new software and hope it will assist us to break down information accessibility barriers. If you are interested in using the NV Access software or have questions, please call us at (574) 267-6011.