I recently heard that one company that offers respite to blind people do not think it’s necessary to setup the televisions in the guest rooms with audio description, I find this strange but they say it’s because nobody has requested it. My answer to that would be that not everybody is aware of audio description or if the television provided has not got it setup they may believe that the television might not be equipped to receive it. Logically if the audio description is set to on when a guest arrives they might (depending on the system) be able to navigate using the handset to turn it off if that is their preference but if audio description is off they will be unable to turn it on. I must admit I no longer use audio description on my television because chiefly I no longer have a television. I prefer to listen to audiobooks and the radio and use my imagination to add the video to the text.
Using computer software
to describe pictures some software claims to give accurate descriptions of pictures posted on their website and it is very difficult for a lot of people to check whether this is true, because if you are using the description you have no idea if it has any comparison to the picture, for example the description might state that it is a ship coming into the harbour when actually the picture is of an apple tree so really the person creating the content should make a further check of this automatic description. However, an easier option would be for them to describe it themselves as there are tags in the software to allow them to do this, but they could always just describe the picture in the text. Yet again I cannot verify much of the accuracy because I have images turned off in my browser because when the images were turned on I could not see them anyway.
One thing though that harks back to the fact that a lot of people in the blind community do not realise that blind people cannot see relates to a number of pictures I receive in emails from various blind organisations that give a brief title to what they are but do not describe what is in the picture and I have got so tired of asking for a description of the said photograph I just cannot be bothered any more. I am sure this is also the case for many of the blind users receiving these emails. It does make the organisation seem very amateurish.
Pictures and photographs
I have four pictures hanging on the wall of my living room and I can give a general description of what should be in the picture frames but then again if somebody has emptied the frames I have four empty frames on the wall of my living room because I would not know. I also have family photographs on a display unit and I have a good idea what should be there and roughly describe them yet again I haven’t seen them for a long time so the person asking about them would have to give me a general description and I should be able to expand on that. This all leads to a question I had seen on a forum where people were complaining about different pictures being hung on the wall of a members area, something I found highly amusing as I have been in that members area and I had no idea there were pictures on the wall. Surely there are better things for people to get all worked up about especially if you are claiming to be blind.
Ignore pictures and concentrate on the words
If you have been totally blind all your life I apologise for what I’m about to suggest. When you listen to a radio play or an audiobook you can imagine the scene in a manner that you are familiar with, and you can also be flexible with this imagination as you learn more about the characters and the location settings and I find this is a far better way to stimulate your brain than just listening to an audio description from a television where you are generally forced to go along with the directors ideas. For somebody who’s been totally blind all their life I realise that they can have extreme difficulties visualising anything even when it has been described to them very well because they have no reference point, I might be wrong in this assumption but it is what I was told by somebody who has never had any vision.
I also realise that describing things to people can be very difficult because the description normally relies on a reference point but if a person has never seen the reference point it becomes meaningless in fact a course in learning how to describe items accurately might be useful for a lot of people who work within the blind community rather than coming out with meaningless statements like saying the fire exit is just behind me on my right hand side when a blind person wouldn’t not even know where the person making the statement is standing, that is almost as bad as being told by a medical receptionist that I have to sit in the blue chair over there and when I said that I had no idea where over there was and also the colour of the chairs she asked me if I was stupid or blind or what. I replied blind and she burst into tears, and I was accused of upsetting the reception staff. Such are the trials and tribulations of being totally blind in what you feel should be a respectful environment.