Today Ryan had neuropsychological testing at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. We arrived for the testing at 8:30 am and we had to be there till 4:30pm. They gave him breaks from testing a few times and an hour break for lunch but for me after the initial interview I had to WAIT, and wait, and wait. I was not allowed to leave the vicinity of the testing. So I sat.
I received an email about some work that could be really exciting so I sought out the closest parent education center to work for a little while with a table to put the computer. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is pretty damm sweet when it comes to having places to go when you are waiting. They have a beautiful library that is nicer than the local library branch by my house. A Visitor’s Center that has computers to use, movies to watch, games to play, and a place to sit. Then peppered around the hospital they have Family Education Centers which have computers, info on resources, and all kinds of stuff. Where they were testing Ryan is near where the speech, hearing, and language department is located. I went over and asked if I could work from the Family Resource Center there. The woman staffing the center invited me in happily. I could hear she was listening to text on her computer. I am a big fan of listening to text on the computer and I asked her about her program and the voice she used.
She admitted to me that she was blind, which I could not tell by looking at her. She said the programs to read computer screens to the blind are very expensive. We talked about voices and we agreed that NeoSpeech Paul was the best. He is the least mechanical and has amazing inflection. I told her I used a program called Text Aloud on my Windows PC at home and I liked it more than the speech reader built into my Mac Laptop. As I got busy with the long email I needed to write, I heard the woman listening to the Text Aloud website. As I finished working she stopped me.
She said so many programs to read text on the computer are out of reach financially for many blind people because they cost in the thousands of dollars. She had been looking for reasonably priced text to speech converter. She went on to say that tomorrow she was going to email the company for demo disks for people looking for help. She said although the product may not work for the blind it may help the severely impaired. I thanked her and moved back to the waiting room to wait on Ryan. I felt so good. I love this product and I got to share it with someone who is in a position to help others.
It made all the waiting worth it.