moderated Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!


I mean, I don’t know ASL. Why would I? I don’t know any deaf people. We often lose perspective on the greater picture since we’re immersed in our blind/VI community/world. For good or for ill, we often have to be ambassadors for our disability to everyone else. I mean, it’s easy to forget how small of a population we really are. I only have one friend who’s visually impaired that I actually know in person and that’s only because we met during a training course we both took for assistive tech over 20 years ago. I didn’t know any other blind people while in college. Ask your sighted piers how many blind folks they actually see when they’re out and about while running errands or going about their mondain lives? We’re just not that common.

I’m not saying we have to excuse or be extra patient with people’s misguided or ill-informed or even ignorant comments/behaviors, but let’s not confuse simple unawareness on a topic with someone who’s just  being a straight up jerk.



From: <> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2021 9:40 AM
Subject: Re: Need Microsoft Disability phone number!


On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 12:25 PM, David Diamond wrote:

There has to be a meeting in the middle though.

Oh, absolutely!   But that meeting in the middle, when you're the "exotic one" in a given situation, very often entails you educating the helper about certain things as they try to help you.

There was a time when I didn't know diddly-squat about any form of assistive technology.  I learned based on the work I was doing and who I was doing it with.  Had I not needed (or chosen) to do that work with the populations I've worked with I would have absolutely no reason to know anything about it.  Every one of those populations are niche demographics.  The phrase "mainstream support" carries many shadings to the "mainstream" part.  If you are a part of any niche you had better disabuse yourself of the notion of "all things being equal, or even possibly ever being equal" with all possible haste.  And that's not because of malign intent, but because the capitalist system we live under means that businesses exist to make money, and the idea of "spending more than we get back" exists and not wanting to do that is perfectly legitimate.

But even when I didn't know what I know now, I had occasion to work with a couple of folks who happened to be blind, and was able to assist them with technical problems.  I knew I couldn't use visual terms such as, "click on the red X," but I could use the more generic, "Close the window," or, "Exit the program."   I did, and should have been able to expect, that the exact how that was to be done would be known by the person being assisted.  I no sooner knew ALT+F4 than subatomic physics.

Most support techs who want to be in the job will go as far as they possibly can if the other side is willing to meet in the middle.  The relationship between a sighted, but AT clueless support tech, and a blind client need not be adversarial.  When they give a visual instruction, which they will particularly before it sinks in that they can't, saying something like, "What is it that you're hoping will happen?," or, "What is it that you want me to accomplish?," will often get a response back that allows you to instantly know what you must do.

There will always be idiots out there, and I'm not trying to defend them.  But it is every bit as much up to the blind client dealing with someone who does not know AT, and who is not remoted in to their machine so they can see what is going on (which, for obvious reasons, is how we with sight generally work), to help the person trying to help them when it comes to the AT side of things.  It also helps to understand that many of the signt-centric instructions are part of a script.  Far too many companies put the inexperienced on help lines and adamantly insist that they stick with the script, and when they don't know what they're doing, they have to.  It's the people who've been doing this for a while, and like doing it, who often relish being able to "step outside the box" when the opportunity presents itself.  Others, of course, will not, and if it quickly gets ugly then that's when the, "I wish to be put through to your supervisor," step gets taken, as many times as necessary and as many levels as necessary, to lodge a legitimate complaint.

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide

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