Blind people and unemployment. The things everybody else is too scared to say

Hi folks.

Its time to touch on that most touchy of touchy subjects. Blind people and the fact that most of them seem happy to do nothing and live on governments.

Please note. This post is likely to offend some people. Its likely to give a bit of a confidence boost to others. If you don’t like it, do not start flaming over on twitter or in my comments section. Thanks.

That said, lets get stuck in. Continue reading “Blind people and unemployment. The things everybody else is too scared to say”

Accessibility part 3: Layouts, navigation, and tabulation

Hi guys.

Welcome back to my series of posts on accessibility, why its important, and how to implement it.
This post, we’re going to explore navigation and layouts, as well as a small hint on tabbed navigation.
Lets jump right in.
Continue reading “Accessibility part 3: Layouts, navigation, and tabulation”

Short bit number 1. On facebook and images

Hi guys!

Welcome to the series of short bits I’m going to be starting here. These are posts that are really just short rants that are too long for twitter or facebook. Nobody wants to go through all that.

Time to put one of my annoyances out on the internet for the world to see, because I’m just smart like that. Here goes. Continue reading “Short bit number 1. On facebook and images”

I’m done with college, and I’ve got some stuff to say

Hi guys.

Stick with me here. This post is actually to people that I’m fairly sure will never see it. But even if they don’t, its worth writing.

Three years

Dear RNC staff and students,

First, I’d like to say that its been an absolute pleasure to be a student at the college — no really, it has. I’ve really loved the time I’ve had here. As I write this in my room in Orchard hall, I can reflect on how much I’ve changed since coming here as a terrified, socially awkward 16 year old. And all of you, in your own ways, have helped me with that.

I’ve really had a good time, and I’ve changed a hell of a lot. Some changes, admittedly, have been hard — diabetes as a prime example but that’s nobody’s fault. Some changes I’ve embraced with open bloody arms because to hell with it, its time to be me. I think I’ve only just started to realize that. So I want to thank you. Every single one of you, because you’ve all contributed.

Firstly, I feel like I should take the time to thank the wonderful nursing team here. Okay, so we’ve not always gotten along; But you know, I’m only alive today because of quick thinking and some of you being really, really stubborn. I’m absolutely bloody positive there have been times you’ve all wanted to throttle me for being an annoying little s**t. And you know something? That’s okay. I think I’d have done the same in your position. So thank you, all of you.

Second, everybody who’s been unfortunate enough to teach me. I have a question, actually. How? I know how difficult its been to actually teach me at all, and not only because of this illness. I’m a stubborn, arrogant, some times know all little s**t. And I know that. But you were all there when I needed help, if I asked for it, and gave me everything you could to insure I passed. And you’ve helped with my development. I’m not scared to speak up in class any more. I’ve made friends, not just ones that I can talk to in the class either. And we’ve all had a laugh over the past three years, too. I’m grateful for that, and all the other little things that I just can’t remember — yes, even my constant grammar checks on myself!

Third, to the residential staff. God, what can I say? Every one of you have been wonderful. Completely bloody wonderful. I’m not even sure if I’ll get to see all of you to thank you in person before I leave, I really would like to, but that’s not the point. You watched me turn from a scared as hell, never lived away from home 16 year old into who I am today. Arrogant yes, but a good person. And honestly, I don’t think I could have done that without you guys. Its been a bloody wonderful ride. I’ve loved every second of it. And yeah, I’ve done some bloody stupid things here, too. And you were still there. All of you. So thank you.

And last, to everybody else. My key worker, Cathy, though she’ll never see this unless I print it out. I’m sure she’d say something about technology and how its all too bloody complicated, but that’s okay. But honestly, Cathy, I’m no inspiration. I’m just me. To all the students who’ve become friends and shown me what its like to both keep my real ones around and to lose the people I don’t need, thank you all. I really, really mean that. To the canteen staff, who must be fed up of bloody sandwiches by now, its alright. I’m gone soon, I promise! And all the other people, all the ones that keep this place running, everybody that just does stuff so we can all have the best experience possible, thank you.

But that’s it. I’m done. I passed the BTEC, I passed Cisco CCNA1, though I’m sure Graham has a few more grey hairs by now because of it. On Friday, I go home. I start a new chapter of my life, and honestly? I feel like that terrified 16 year old again. But I know its going to be okay, because I’ve had this experience now. I know what this is like. I can get through anything, and its all because of you guys. You’ve all helped so much. Thank you.

Now its almost time for me to stop writing because I’m almost crying over this damn keyboard. If you want to contact me, that can be done over on my personal twitter, where I put absolutely everything.

Thanks for reading,
Kyle, A.K.A. Luca.

“Let me help you!” Three things you should *definitely* not do to help someone blind.

Hey guys!

Another off topic one here. Just some things I’ve been thinking about between finishing college, CV writing, and applying for jobs — more on that later.

Three things I think are absolutely essential to remember when trying to help a blind person.

1. Do not guide us without our permission:

I would think, actually, that this one is stupidly obvious. But apparently its not, because its been rehashed in so many posts that I can’t even count them all. So here we go again.
If we are walking with a white cane, guide dog, or other navigation aid, it is more than likely we know where we’re going. And if we don’t? We’ll tell you. No, honest. We can usually find our routes without much trouble, especially if we take the time to learn them first. If we absolutely need help, we’re likely to stop you. So do not, under any circumstance, try and guide us without asking first. You’re more likely to confuse us and, quite frankly, make us angry by doing so.

2. We are not hard of hearing, and we understand you perfectly well:

Its amazing what people say when they think you can’t hear. So its important to remember that yes, we can hear you and no, our parents/friends do not have to answer for us. I heard of one such example recently. Here’s how it went:
Waiter: “What would she like to drink?”
Friends dad: “I don’t know, how about you ask her?”
Waiter (much louder): “What would you like to drink!”
Friend: “I’ll have water, and my part of the bill. I’m leaving.”
No kidding. Its insane how many people talk over us as if we’re not there, or about us as if we’re not standing directly in front of them! I’m sure there are many more examples of this, but if I were to try and source them all I’d go insane.

3. We are completely, utterly, and totally normal:

Okay, so it kind of links back to number 2. But if I’m being honest, its a big issue. We are not “remarkable”, we are not “inspirational”, and we are not “amazing little angels” — yes, that’s a thing. Its actually really, really demeaning. Do you tell your child they’re “inspirational” because they get up, wash, and go to school looking some semblance of normal every day?
If you said yes, I recommend a psychotheropist…For your kid.
The fact is, we live our lives. We get up, go to work — those of us who are lucky to get jobs — we breathe, we live. And if that’s so inspirational, its time to start looking around. At like, everybody.

Thanks for reading, dear reader. And if you like this kind of thing, check me out over on twitter, and subscribe to this blog. Because I’m far from done! If you liked this, leave a comment letting me know what you thought. If you thought I was being a pretentious asshole…Leave a comment too, I guess. I don’t care. Any publicity is good publicity, right?

The fundimentals of accessibility, for every app designer ever


First let me start off by saying that this is not a post to put anybody down or to point fingers at any application, screen reader, access program, or similar product in particular. Its merely what I think should be included, fundimentally, for blind people to be able to use applications.
That being said, I am going to point out flaws in some popular applications and reading programs. If you’re offended, I appologize, because it isn’t meant. By the same token, please don’t start flaming in the comments.
Alright, now that’s out of the way…
Continue reading “The fundimentals of accessibility, for every app designer ever”

Off topic: Why I don’t talk about my illness

Off topic: Why I don’t talk about my illness:

Hi guys,

Sorry, this is going to be an off topic one. No handy guide or resource today.

I want to talk about something that came up very recently and why I don’t talk about it. Its not blindness…I want to talk about diabetes.

Some back story:

I got diabetes when I was 17 years old, at one of the most difficult points in my life. I was right in the middle of college, doing reasonably well for someone my age, working toward a distinction level BTEC qualification in IT. So it’s fair to say that 8 days in hospital and 4 weeks recovery – yes, it really takes that long – was a bit of a blow. Not only that, but I still had to catch up on assignments, complete course work, and keep up with a new diet and medication routine, as well as try and have my social life which was, at the time, still developing.

But that’s enough sob story, that’s not why I’m writing.

The situation:

So yes, I’m blind. Yes, I’m a diabetic. As my lovely and brilliant key worker at this college likes to say, “We walk with the gremlin every day.” She’s a diabetic too, just in case you couldn’t tell.

So picture this.

I’m in line for food. My blood sugars are a little low, so doing the sensible thing, I go to the front and just ask for some food to take with me since waiting in line would mean finding a table, sitting down, and that could take around 15 minutes. That’s fine, right?

Wrong, apparently.

Here’s something people don’t really understand.

Diabetes is invisible, but it’s also embarrassing. Really, really embarrassing. All you non-diabetics, imagine sitting down at a table, taking out an insulin pen…Only to be asked to leave because you’re ‘shooting up drugs’. This didn’t happen to me, but I do know someone whom it did happen to. It’s the same principle here.

I didn’t particularly want to broadcast that I had low blood sugars. At the time, I felt okay, but I knew I wouldn’t be if I didn’t eat, and soon. It’s difficult to explain, but you sort of have an affinity for how your body reacts to the changes in sugar. Of course, it can have visible effects. That’s when I request that I have help because I know that I need it.

That’s all well and good.

But nobody likes saying “I don’t feel okay”.


We shouldn’t feel embarrassed to, but we do. Because those stories? The discrimination? The people turned away because they weren’t allowed to bring in medical items?

They’re all true.

And they’re all horrible.

So please. I’m begging you…

Just think. Because if you work in customer service, and someone moves to the front, and they look unsteady…

They might be suffering. And you might be the one that helps.

Because all I got today? Rudeness. Glared at, from behind the counter. And I felt horrible.

I don’t want anybody to go through that.