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Inclusion. The blog for the Center for Disability Studies.

Continue reading and you’ll continue growing

By David Lynch

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A natural pairing: the writer and his books.

It concerns me when I hear from people who’ve stopped reading because of their disability. It concerns me because I can relate – I’ve been there – and because many of these people, it turns out, can continue reading.

One day, a few years ago, I stopped reading books because it had become difficult, with my muscular dystrophy, to physically pick them up and turn the pages. I felt so frustrated. Reading books had been an important part of my life. As a child I’d taken the advice of Dr. Seuss in his book “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” In the years that followed, you’d routinely find me with a book in hand or within reach.

Shortly after I gave them up because of my disability, I found out about Bookshare, a nonprofit that helps persons with disabilities read electronically. Bookshare’s website opened up new opportunities for me, and I began reading again. If you’ve given up reading because of your disability, Bookshare may allow you to resume reading, too.

Bookshare is available to individuals who are unable to pick up a book, turn pages, maintain visual focus, and may be legally blind. Its website provides information on eligibility, membership fees, tools available on how to read electronically, and how to obtain necessary documentation to complete an application.

Bookshare is part of a Global Literacy initiative to use technology to address pressing social needs.

I now access books electronically via the web reader provided on the Bookshare website. This allows me to read, listen and follow text right on my computer. I am also able to request, electronically, textbooks for my continuing education classes right on the website. In addition, I can access other books: biographies, faith-based books and books on history.

President Harry Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Since I want to lead and guide others, it is important that I take every opportunity to read a book. Technology is helping me do that. If your disability is presenting you with challenges concerning your ability to read, you may find that technology can help you, too. I hope it will. Continue to read, and you’ll continue to grow.

About the Author

David Lynch was a member of the executive committee of CDS’s Community Advisory Council. He passed away in March, 2016.

As a self-advocate, David brought a personal perspective to navigating the disability community and was passionate about seeking improvements for persons with disabilities.

Read full author bio

Comments

  • Thanks, David, for the wisdom of your words. I’m going to share your blog with friends.

    • Thank you for sharing a blog with your friends. Is important to get the message out that persons with disabilities have many tools available to Available to help them that full and active lives. Also to be able to enjoy reading.

  • David, that is powerful testimony! Thank you so much for sharing. Through the Accessible Instructional Materials Center that the Center for Disabilities Studies operates on behalf of the Delaware Department of Education, we conduct a lot of training for students, families and educators about the benefits of accessible materials. I’m going to incorporate that Dr. Seuss quote into our training!

    • Dr. Seuss definitely provides great quotes and he was a tremendous author.I just looked up Dr. Seuss on the book share website and they have many of his books ready for download. Also, I have heard that he makes an appearance every year in the schools on a Dr. Seuss day. Thank you for reading and commenting on this blog

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