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By Disabled People for Disabled People

Saturday, 21 October, 2023

Watching TV While Blind — Consumer Reports

In 1985, there was not a 7-year-old on the planet with a better working knowledge of the goings on in Genoa City, the fictional setting of “The Young and the Restless,” than me.

The daytime drama was my grandmother’s favorite. It was my job to watch with her and provide visual commentary, because my grandmother was blind. When the words weren’t enough, I helped her set the scene in her mind by answering her questions. “Were his eyes opened when they kissed?” she’d want to know. “Can anyone in the courtroom tell she’s lying?” We played this game of TV Show and Tell whenever the set was on.

Back then, no one thought much about how to make TV accessible to visually impaired people, or really even considered that it might be an important thing to do. Today the landscape is vastly different. Newer TVs have settings and features designed to help people with limited vision enjoy the boob tube like the rest of us. Still, disability advocates say these assistive technologies leave room for improvement and that laws surrounding their implementation are not keeping pace. At the same time, they say, the need to make devices even better and easier to use by the visually disabled is more pressing than ever.

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