To bring in our 4th speaker. We have Peter Vanhoutte. He is on the board for the European Deafblind Union. However, unfortunately his interpreter who has meant to join him today is ill. Which meant Peter was not able to join us. He is a deafblind person himself. It was impossible to get a replacement for his interpreter. I hope in the future he will be able to join us.
He has a text prepared. So, we have asked Ricard Lopez who is from the European Deafblind Network. He will read the text. That Peter was meant to deliver. Welcome, Ricard.
Good morning from Edbu, the voice of the deafblind in Europe. The voice of congenital deafblind persons. Deafblindness is a unique combined vision indio hearing disability. It limits activities of a person and restricts full participation in society to such a degree that society is required to facilitate specific services, environmental alterations and/or technology. Deafblindnesss a separate disability. It is more than the sum of a deafness plus blindness. The solutions for the deafblind are not always sufficient. Watching tv. If you can’t see the subtitling and not hear the audio description, you need a deafblind interpreter for watching tv. Another example is an alarm clock, blind use alarms with speech to set the time. Deaf can use the normal way. Deafblind need an alarm clock using the touch to set the time and vibrations to wake up. Assistive technologies is very important to lead an independent life as much as possible. Deafblind use technical aids in different areas in life such as communication, information mobility, time, reading, cooking, doorbell phone computer etc. One is the mobility. Most of them can only move out of the house independently by feet and public transport using a guiding dog or ooi red and white cane. The computer, iPhones, Ipads are important to stay in touch with each other and chat. The small group of deafblind people is diverse. Some have risidual hearing, some have residual sight. Awd very few have no functional hearing and vision. Deafblind use different communication methods for live communication, such as speech, sign language, tactile sign language, tactile manual alphabets like lorm and braille. Communication with deafblind persons is hard and impossible without the intermediary of a deafblind interpreter. But with the computer I have, Ipad and Iphone, we can communicate with everybody by email, by whatsapp or sms.
The deafblind with some hearing use watches and alarm clocks with speech, the Iphone with voice over, to read and Siri to write sms. For watching tv some use headset with infrared or bluetooth. For live communication some use hearing aids. Ci and Fm systems. They use the computer by means of a screenreader, text to speech software, the artificial voice is hard to understand for most deafblind people. They use the phone with amplification of the sound. Deafblind with some residual sight use enlarging software which also can increase the contrast and change the colors. These persons usually prefer a black background and white letters. Deafblind with no vision and hearing like Peter are a special group. They are very few. Peter is happy because he can read Braille.
His laptop has a screen reader which converts translate the text on the screen to the display. He can email and have access to the internet. Unfortunately mote of the websites are not accessible very well. Only few sites are accessible. Some sites are unable to handle with the keyboard and shortcuts. The site of Teletolk for example is not accessible for Peter. Hopefully he will be able to benefit of the speech to text interpreting on distance service of CAB. He hopes to be able to communicate with his mother this way since he can’t sms and not email.
He can also connect the brailledisplay via Bluetooth with the iPhone and use the whatsapp and sms this way. It is easy and nobody has to adapt to his method of communication. With OCR software like Kurzweil and Omnipage Pdf files and tekedz on paper can be made readable. And we use also Braille printers to have our presentaffsner for meetings and lectures printed in Braille. The Braille display when connected to a keyboard is useful to communicate with everybody and he uses this for meetings, lectures and conferences and so on with the speech to text interpreter, Velotypist. His hope is that his system, this system will become compatible with the speech of text interpreting for the group since until now there are 2 speeach to text interpreters needed with the results of wasting a limited interpreter hours.
Not all totally deafblind people can read Braille. For them until now there are almost no means for communication on distance and for access to the internet. In Hungary at the deafblind camp there was a demonstration of a smartphone producing vibrations according to the morse system. A totally deafblind person was able to read sms messages this way. Deafblind people choice products designed in accordaunce with the principle of universal design. The Apple products, iphone and ipad have standard the possibilities of enlarging increasing contrast changing colors speech Braille output on board integrated. Don’t kill the messager. The integrated screenreader of Windows 10 doesn’t support the Braille output in a sufficient way. We are looking for a good cooperation with Microsoft to improve this issue. For the future, we hope also for an app that will be able to convert speech to text in a correct way. For direct face to face communication. But also for phoning calls and listening to the news on radio and tv. To improve our mobility we hope for a robot guidedog with gps and a self riding car. To have access to photo’s, we hope for an app that describes photo’s. That’s the text of Peter. Thank you very much. (applause)
Mark: Thank you Ricard for stepping in last minute for Peter. Thank you very very much.