Freedom Scientific is the world’s leading assistive technology manufacturer for people who are blind or visually impaired. Home to the renowned JAWS (Job Access with Speech), a robust screen reading software, and the Focus 40 Blue, a compact refreshable braille display, Freedom Scientific empowers independence for people with disabilities around the world.
Recently, RCPD Director Michael Hudson was interviewed during a podcast by Freedom Scientific’s Glen Gordon, the architect behind JAWS, discussing the resource center, his experience with being blind, and the Braille Technology Advantage Program. The Braille Technology Advantage Program, initiated during the Fall 2020 semester, provides Focus 40 Blue displays to incoming blind students at no cost to them. Since establishing an in-house computer lab in the 1990s, the RCPD has provided students with cutting-edge technological opportunities for decades, and now, with this program, the RCPD also provides portable technology access for students who read braille. Working to establish this new initiative, Director Hudson saw the need to share files electronically and sought to inspire students to acquire electronic texts as well as to generate braille on their own. Through a partnership with Freedom Scientific, the RCPD has opened doors to quick material access and braille fluency, and is the first U.S. institution to conduct a program of this type.
During the interview, Hudson shares: “If I had a message to people as they are going through their educational years and into their vocational years, and their life success stories are developing, I think the acquisition of technology skills are super critical. I think the ability to navigate effectively and safely, despite blindness, is a challenge worth pursuing…if you keep looking for new tools, techniques, strategies, and build good partnerships with other people, then we have a really great opportunity to live the lives we want to live.”
Listen to the podcast here. Director Hudson’s interview begins at 26:30 minutes.
The RCPD is grateful to Freedom Scientific for ensuring this opportunity of connecting problem solvers with innovative solutions.