Listen to a radio essay about my Easter Seals gig

Ever wonder how the heck a woman like me, blind and unable to see a computer screen, ended up moderating the autism blog for Easter Seals? Listen to (or read) my Navigating a New Workplace essay on Chicago Public Radio and find out — the piece aired yesterday.

The essay features sound bites of my talking computer and focuses on the internship that got me started here at Easter Seals in 2006. I became involved with Easter Seals when I participated in the Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) grant Easter Seals received from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Interactive Marketing Group at Easter Seals Headquarters used the grant to work with Convio, a software company, to create web content management tools for people who are blind.

Easter Seals recruited blind and visually impaired interns from all over the country to work with the software and learn web content management skills.

I was one of those interns. Once my 10-month TOP internship was completed, Easter Seals Headquarters hired me as the “Interactive Community Coordinator.” What that fancy title means is that I’m the one moderating the Easter Seals and Autism blog — I read through blog comments on a daily basis and forward your comments to Easter Seals blog authors and information and referral staff.

I use assistive technology to do my work — a computer program called JAWS reads the text on my screen out loud. That’s how I’m able to read your comments. I tell people I’m the only blind woman in America being paid to moderate a blog. I’m not sure if that’s true, but so far no one has challenged me on that statement.

Tomorrow I’m presenting a “Blogging by Ear” session at the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) International Convention here in Chicago. So now I’m adding another unsubstantiated claim to my resume: I am the only blind woman in America leading sessions encouraging others to blog!


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