CHAINED TO SERVE! Visioning Day Event- 13th June 2009.

  I accompanied Chairman Colin Legg to a “Vision Day Event” last Sunday, held in the pavilion in Llangollen.  We left in good time and Arwel, “keeper of the Chains” and Chair’s amiable driver took the scenic route via the Horseshoe Pass.  The Ponderosa café at the summit beckoned and we had time, we drew in for a pit stop.  Tea plus a large chocolate éclair duly fortified the most important member of the “Chain Gang”. The Visioning Support Annual event was a real insight into what is available to support both blind and partially sighted people.  It was amazing to see what software can do to magnify a TV or computer screen in various ways and colours to suit various levels of impairment.  Even Braille could be used with a computer and although it a very sophisticated package which did come cheap; the programme has much to offer as it would open up the whole world on a computer. Chairman Colin and I spent some time with VideoSpec’s EEZEE READING AIDS.  Mike Crane, son of the inventor of these wonderful electronic inventions, magnified writing on a £10 note for us so the tiniest markings could be read. Pat Crane, inventor of these remarkable aids turned from making tiny cameras that inspected small holes and other interesting applications into magnifying readers that worked with a TV and also a portable unit that would be a real help for shopping, bus time tables and in restaurants.  Mike confided that Welsh Assembly Minister Edwina Hart had been very impressed when she was shown the Readers and one is being used in the Assembly. Occasionally it is returned for repair and all readers carry a three year warranty. Several readers are totally portable and power of their magnification is just amazing. Another aid that impressed was a sonar navigation device that can be attached to a cane and helps visually impaired people with their orientation and mobility.  By listening to the sounds on headphones, the user can determine not only the distance and location of an object but can also learn about its features and achieve object recognition.  I experimented with a door of wood, metal and glass and each part gave off a different sound.  About the size of a mobile phone, the BAT makes travel easier as it provides a map of the route being taken.  DD Aware’s friendly demonstrator Debi Platt was very enthusiastic about the K SONAR and I could understand the reason why. The Chair and I enjoyed chatting with the staff on the Queen Alexandra College the St Dunstan’s displays.   There was much determination to offer military personnel a life after losing their sight though serving us.  Colin and I were so pleased we had been invited and could pass on news of all the excellent progress being made in the world of vision disability.  Too much was happening to do full justice for the day and those who helped make it a success.     We both failed to guess the weight of the cake, despite several attempts. I won a prize on the Tombola, (should I declare it under County Council rules but I did not keep it) and as a treat for the Chair and Arwel, I purchased some scummy lumps of fudge.  Impossible to report on all that we saw and learnt about but were really pleased to have been given the opportunity to visit this Visioning Day Event and to be shown so many exciting inventions.

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