Name: Julia Cobb
Family: sister-Paula Jean, several uncles, nieces, and nephews
Activity and Volunteerism: Methodist Women’s meetings, United Cerebral Palsy, volunteer with blind residents for Heartland of Clarksburg
Hobbies: listening to Christian music, collecting music boxes, cassette tape correspondence with blind counterparts all over the country and the world
What kinds of day-to-day challenges do you face that people without disabilities might not think of? Technology is becoming less accessible as things transition from analog to digital. For example, buttons and knobs are being replaced by flat touch screens. Additionally, accessible printed materials can be difficult to come by, but exacerbating the problem is the refusal of local newspapers and media to make their materials digitally accessible for blind readers. And of course, there are the issues of traffic safety. According to Ms. Cobb, auditory cross-walk signals can be very difficult to hear on a busy street, presenting an immediate danger to her as she walks from her apartment to the grocery store, the court house, or other place of necessity.
What can the non-disabled people do to alleviate these problems? Be aware. Ms. Cobb is most concerned that people without physical disabilities are simply not aware of the issues that disabled people face. So be educated, and advocate for safety measures to be put in place. Encourage your local paper to make its articles accessible to the blind and write your legislators to make sure that your sidewalks are safe and in good condition for disabled pedestrians. And, of course, don’t take your own abilities for granted, and be considerate of those who do not share them.