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Perkins to host Vision Awareness Day

Posted by Daniel Adams  October 31, 2011 10:00 AM

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As director of adaptive technology at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Gayle Yarnall knows the opportunities awaiting participants of its Vision Awareness Day on Wednesday. The free event will enable those who are blind or experiencing any vision loss to discover tools to help them with everyday activities.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., presentations, demonstrations, and free consultations on assistive-technology products available through Perkins will take place in the school’s Grousbeck Center for Students and Technology, at North Beacon Street and Beechwood Avenue.

Devices used in education, employment, and at home include Braille and tactile devices, electronic notetakers and PDAs, global positioning systems, hands-free computing solutions, scanning systems, screen reading and screen magnification software, video magnification devices, daily living aids, and toys and games.

While the event is designed for the blind and visually impaired, Yarnall said, she encourages employers to attend. The US unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, she said, but the jobless rate for people with impaired vision exceeds 70 percent.

‘‘At the end of the day, after all the education, technology training, and mobility training, you need to find a job,’’ said Yarnall, an Amesbury resident who herself is blind. ‘‘And when you see this technology, you understand that you can hire blind people.

‘‘Blind and visually impaired people are often raised and treated differently, with the goal just to survive,’’ she added. ‘‘On Nov. 2, we’ll show you the tools that allow you to compete.’’

Free parking is available for participants in Vision Awareness Day in the lot on Beechwood Avenue. To register, visit www.perkinsproducts.org or e-mail perkinsproducts@perkins.org.

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