Saturday, June 9, 2012

Blind Vision

Amazon.com: Blind Vision: The Neuroscience of Visual Impairment Zaira Cattaneo, Tomaso Vecchi: Books 
I am reading this book called, "Blind Vision." This is the first time I'm reading a digital talking book using the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) Digital Talking Book Player.

According to the book there are 259 million people living with visual impairment in the world. 42 million are totally blind and 217 million have significant vision loss.

The book explains that Blind people do not have a super human tactile sense. Nor is our hearing better.
Rather, Science has shown that the part of the brain that processes what the fingers touch when reading braille are often larger in the brains of early blinded people. Reading braille means we exercise the fingertip tactile sensors in the brain more often. In some people who read braille, those brain finger sensor sections are actually larger.

In most of the studies in this book, three groups were compared- the early blind, late in life blind and the sighted. The early blind were found to have Higher temporal Resolution- having to do with speach discrimination ability. Blind folk were found to be better at Discriminating spoken words through noise.

I am enjoying this book. I used to have this great big yellow tape cassette player from NLS. Every so often I would order braille or talking books through the mail. br />
The books arrived in these green plastic boxes, and I eagerly awaited the sound of them plunking one by one in the mailbox. Sadly, the digital talking book brings an end to the green boxes.

. I read Nancy Drew and the Hartty Boys. My first book on tape was The Bobsey Twins go Camping. In middle school I read all 13 volumes of Steven King's It in braille. I used to read long books over summer vacation. I simply don't have time for fiction these days so I squeeze in reading things that teach me something here and there. I am pleased to see that there are many magazines in the NLS digital talking book collection.

My love for reading is in large part due to having access to NLS talking books and braille materials as a child. This is a valuible public service and is free to people who are blind or who have other disabilities in the United States or to citizens living abroad. . The NLS is committed to carrying unabridged texts. Many of the books in the NLS collection are not available via accessible commercial services.
I am pleased to see the National Library Service evolve by moving from tape cassette to digital talking book. . NLS has great readers. Familiar voices in the Digital Talking Book program include Cathryn Byers, Bob Ascii and Laura Jenerelli. These are beloved NLS narrators who have been reading to me as long as I can remember!
I am glad to be connected to NLS again via the Digital Talking Book Program. Thank you NLS for continuing to provide reading pleasure to the nation's blind by producing high quality digital talking books and distributing materials to braille readers.

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