Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

D is for Dilemma

| Filed under blindness Uncategorized Writing Life

I finally decided to purchase a notebook style laptop. I wanted something portable with gobs of gigs and high-end drivers. What Can I say – I don’t own a car, so I wanted a luxury computer instead. I shopped, researched my required configuration possibilities, and made the call.

The sales person was polite and friendly. I placed the order and the call only took 30 minutes. Not bad, thought I; the new infinity edge 15” weighing only 4.5 lbs. would soon be on the way.

Being blind and a user of a speech program, I made the appointment with an assistive technology expert for the following Saturday. He suggested I plug in the unit to charge it, but not to open it until we were ready to configure it; I confirmed it was getting power and didn’t think any more about it.

Saturday afternoon, we opened and hit the power button. Nothing happened. Suffice it to say either the unit was damaged in transit or it was a Dud, refurbished or otherwise.
I made the dreaded call, spent 45 minutes saying I wanted a replacement, being sifted through customer service, then technical support, and finally a supervisor, who confirmed my request.

I was disappointed, to say the least but based on what the supervisor, Puja stated, my replacement would be on its way Monday.

Monday morning, an email message and phone call from Dell’s technical support/premium warranty and support department explained they required two photos one of the laptop, service number and sticky note with my name and time and date of call, and, 2. , serial number on the charging adapter, to be taken and sent back to them. The first set of photos were rejected. The second set was accepted. Unless they find another “requirement” to delay the replacement, my replacement has been “dispatched,”. This is, from what I can tell, is the confirmation of the replacement laptop.
So, readers, what should have taken a few days in this world of instant gratification and digital access, will most likely take about three weeks.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 3

Meet The Author

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

Meet The Author Ann Chiappetta
May 16 from 5 – 7 p.m. Westchester Disabled on the Move 984 N. Broadway, suite 400/4th floor, Yonkers, 914.968.4717 or www.wdom.org/

In this new collection, Words Of Life: Poems And Essays, the author once again exhibits the ability to write about both the light and dark sides of life. .

Victory for Web Access for the Blind

| Filed under blindness Uncategorized

From: Disability Rights Advocates
Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 2:14 PM
Subject: County of Westchester Agrees to Make Website Accessible to People who are Blind and Low Vision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:
Maria Samuels: (914) 260-5837
[email protected]

Monica Porter: (510) 665-8644
[email protected]

Torie Atkinson: (212) 644-8644
[email protected]
County of Westchester Agrees to Make Website Accessible to People who are Blind and Low Vision
Redesigned site will be compatible with screen reader software used by blind and low vision visitors
April 30, 2019 – White Plains, NY –As a result of advocacy by the Westchester Council of the Blind of New York (“WCBNY”) and Disability Rights Advocates (“DRA”), the County of Westchester has agreed to make its website fully accessible to blind and low vision users by the end of 2019. These users will soon have equal access to information and functions such as signing up for emergency alerts, accessing resources in the event of severe weather storms and flooding, reviewing election results, and reserving ParaTransit,
People who are blind and low vision use software called “screen readers” that converts the text displayed graphically on a screen into audible synthesized speech or outputs that same information on a digital Braille display. Counties are required by law to ensure their websites or applications are compatible with screen readers and accessible to people who are blind or low vision, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and guidelines established in the Web Accessibility Initiative’s Web Content Access Guidelines, available at https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/.
Today, accessibility barriers prevent a blind user from orienting herself on the County’s website, using keyboard navigation, skipping to the content of a particular page, or gleaning any useful information from untagged and unformatted PDF documents. WCBNY members have encountered numerous obstacles when attempting to access information and complete functions online, such as making ParaTransit reservations and learning about upcoming community events.
Maria Samuels, President of the Westchester Council of the Blind of New York, said: “This is a joint victory for Westchester Council of the Blind and the Westchester County Government. Together we achieved a significant step in the right direction for the inclusion of people who are blind. People with disabilities must have an equal opportunity to use all the programs and services available in this great County of ours, including the websites. We are delighted to find that the County Executive’s office agrees with us. Website accessibility is a process that must be vigilantly maintained but it is the law and, equally important, it is the right thing to do.”
WCBNY has long advocated for the ability of blind and low vision residents and visitors to have equal access to the County’s website, and they are pleased that the County has publicly committed to making its website accessible to screen reader software by the end of this year.
“Website accessibility guidelines and disability laws exist to ensure that people with vision disabilities have the same access to information and services as sighted people,” said Stuart Seaborn, Managing Director, Litigation, at Disability Rights Advocates. “DRA is pleased that the County has agreed to comply with the law and we hope that other public entities will follow suit as websites increasingly become go-to resources for critical public information.”
About Westchester Council of the Blind of New York
WCBNY consists of blind and visually impaired volunteer members. Through a network of advocacy and support, WCBNY focuses on the needs of people living with visual impairment. We strive to be a voice for all people who struggle with physical and attitudinal barriers resulting from others who don’t understand blindness. Our members volunteer and take part in important initiatives concerning people with disabilities in Westchester County like emergency preparedness, transportation, and accessible and safe streets. For more information, visit www.wcbny.org.
About Disability Rights Advocates
Founded in 1993, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is the leading national nonprofit disability rights legal center. Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. As part of that mission, DRA has advanced multiple precedent-setting cases related to website access for persons who are blind or low vision; including securing the most comprehensive settlement ever to make online voter registration and election information accessible to millions of blind voters in New York, ensuring that blind voters in Alameda County, California had access to accessible, private voting machines on Election Day, and obtaining a settlement agreement requiring accessibility improvements to all of the roughly 4,000 Redbox video-rental kiosks in California. DRA is proud to have upheld the promise of the ADA since our inception. Thanks to DRA’s precedent-setting work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically improved access to websites and web applications, disaster preparedness planning, voting, transportation, health care, employment, education, and housing. For more information, visit www.dralegal.org.

This email was

How Things Go On Social Media

| Filed under Relationships Uncategorized

A few weeks ago, I read something disturbing on my social media feed. Two people who I only know through social media became friends.
I read person one was going to visit person two. I thought, at the time, well, how nice folks can connect and build a meaningful friendship thanks to social media. I clicked off, and thought no more of it until a few days later.

What I read made my heart sink. Person one allegedly stole items from person two while visiting. Person one did not immediately call them out, but eventually it happened. Person two might have attempted to take of this very difficult situation privately, I do not know anything about what happened outside of social media. What I do know is person two rescued their dignity by making an impact statement. Person two did the right thing by telling the story without blame or angry words. Person two took back their power. I want to tell person one to go get help. I want to tell person one that is this is a cry for help, causing another person pain is not the way to go, call the crisis hotline or find a mental health provider, anything would provide a better outcome than to steal from a friend.

Person two, based on this interaction, I decided to unfriend you. It actually felt like I was doing the right thing, standing up for others who are betrayed and victimized by uncaring people. As for the sociological influences this situation and others like it have upon our lives, only time can tell.
What I found interesting was the impact of our virtual neighborhood and how it can protect us or leave us open to those who can cause harm. Our lives play out within the cybersphere just like in our physical lives.