Webster defines reading as a noun; the act of reading something; the activity of reading a book, magazine, etc; a book article, etc., that is being read or that is intended to be read. Reading has a whole new meaning if you are disabled. A blind person is definitely challenged by the art of reading, but those who have other disabilities are confronted with this simple task. The person who is dyslexic, the person who is home bound, or the person who has no arms all are challenged by the simple art of reading.
Everyone should be able to enjoy reading and everyone can. Finding the right program or resources is the key. One great resource is your local county library. You might be surprised of all that it offers. Many county libraries offer a home-bound service. This service allows residents who cannot get to a library because of physical disabilities the option to have library books mailed or delivered by volunteers. Contact your local library to see if they offer a home-bound service.
If your disability makes it difficult to read an actual book there are many programs available to help. The Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically handicap (LBPH) offers many programs to bring reading to everyone. The Talking Book Program offers a variety of free books on tape. To be eligible for this service you need to be:
• Legally Blind – vision of 20/200 or less with glasses; a visual field of 20 degrees
• Visually Limited – difficulty focusing long enough to read standard print without special aids
• Physically Limited – difficulty handling a book or turning pages.
• Reading Disabled – due to an organic dysfunction such as dyslexia.
After you have processed your application and are accepted into the program an audio player, books and catalogs will be sent to you. LBPH also offers a service called Bard, a free library service of recorded and Braille books and magazines. You can request books on tape, digital cartridges, digital players, and Braille books. The library also offers a variety of descriptive movies on VHS and DVD. Descriptive movies are movies and television programs enhanced with descriptions of the action taking place in addition to the already present dialogue. The reading material will be sent via the mail. You will be able to return your materials via the mail using postage free mailing for the blind. To contact the LBPH you can call 1-800-964-9209.
Bookshare is one of the largest online libraries of copyrighted content for people with qualifying print disabilities. Books can be read on computers, tablets or phones with high quality text to speech voices. Qualified US students can join Bookshare for free through an award from the U.S. Department of Education. Non-student members pay a low annual fee for the service. Other sites you might want to check out are www.baenebooks.com and www.readassist.org. If you have an iPhone you can download a free app for free downloadable books from you local library or the State Library for the Blind & Physically handicapped.