Many people who see me around Dun Laoghaire and other places might not realize that I am vision impaired. In fact, I have been told that I am blind in my left eye.
I am very happy that there are more and more programs on TV that have audio description. I find this function very useful when I am watching programs or films because with audio description I can find out things that I am not be able to see visibly, but they are very important to the story.
For example, I was recently watching the film “Eat Pray Love.” I hadn’t realized that the writer was going to see a film based on stories she’d written.. Although I have seen this film countless times, I never realized that the play was based on her own true stories! This fact enriched the film for me because it was about how she met her first boyfriend after her divorce. And he was the main actor in her play. He also introduced her to his Indian guru which is why she chose to go to India.
I also find audio description helpful when watching TV programs because it brings me to a deeper understanding of the topics. I hope there will be a time when audio description will become mainstream as an option for all TV programs, or a least most of them, because even people who think they can see perfectly well might miss something in a scene’s darkness or confusion. A running description would help them understand the film or program better.
So, I find I’m very positive about the fact that audio description is now available in much of the mainstream programs.
When I was a student growing up in Ireland all my books came from a company in Co.Cork and were on tape. You could listen to them on a special easy-to-operate device. However, you could only read the certain books and tape from the National Council for the Blind that had been made for listening, so the list was limited. And there were only certain books that you could read for pleasure. Audio books were always taped with the permission of the Author and Publisher. In fact, my Dad had written two books about Northern Ireland and the period called The Troubles. He did not give his permission because he thought the books wouldn’t be read in a way that people could understand, but afterward, when he heard the contents of the book I was listening to, he regretted not giving his permission. I don’t know whether he ever tried to contact whoever first approached him, but I know he had regret about his earlier decision.
I am so glad that not only the technology has improved, but the attitude toward opening up everyone’s access to the media experience as a whole has changed, and will change even more as technology advances.