Meet Donald Aills, President of Indiana Deaf-Blind Association

Donald Aills
Donald Aills

Today we would like to introduce you to the President and Founder of the Indiana Deaf-Blind Association, Donald Aills.  Donald is also on a Sub-Committee for the Mayor’s Advice Council on Disability, a member of the the American Association of the Deaf-Blind, and a member of the Indiana Deaf-Blind Task Force.

INDATA: Are you from Indianapolis?

Donald: Yes, I live in Indianapolis.

INDATA: Tell us a little about a day in the life of someone who is Deaf-Blind.

Donald: Well, my life is very boring since I became blind (in 1998).  I cannot see to go outside- can’t watch my favorite movies on TV.  I started to use the PAC Mate and regular computer in 2006.  It helped keep me a little busy, and then I joined a listserv at American Association of the Deaf-Blind and Deaf-Blind Techies.

INDATA: What type of assistive technology devices do you use?

Donald: A computer with a screen reader and a portable note taker that show information in refreshable Braille.  I also use tactile alert devices to let me know when someone is at the door or when the phone rings.

INDATA: How does assistive technology increase your independence?

Donald: It’s a big help for more independent living.  Most Deaf-Blind people, including myself, love to use email to communicate with each other, and it’s much better than telephone/TTY use.  It’s easy to use, and I can save conversations as files (My Documents).  Technology has done a lot to help the Deaf-Blind community grow in Indiana.

INDATA: What are some of your favorite activities?

Donald: I play bowling games, cards, and chat.

INDATA: What are some concerns the Deaf-Blind community has?

Donald: The state needs to have a Deaf-Blind services agency.  Also, we need some Support Services Providers (SSPs) to help Deaf-Blind people become more independent.

INDATA: What suggestions do you have for hearing and sighted people wanting to interact with the Deaf-Blind community?

Donald: HMMMMM!  Meet and tell people who have both hearing loss and visual loss to become involved with us at the Indiana Deaf-Blind Association to help the Deaf-Blind community to build up!

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