FREEDOM MACHINES:Cast of Characters: Bonita Dearmond

Bonita Dearmond believes the visually impaired can find work using technology
"I wanted to learn computer skills. I thought that with all this technology surely there was something out there a visually impaired person could use."
—Bonita Dearmond

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A single mother of two in rural Tennessee, Bonita’s spare, poignant narrative frames a time when institutionalization of people with disabilities was the custom: “Twenty-five, thirty years ago when I was in the School for the Blind, the expectations were… you open a vending stand which is like selling, you know, cokes, candy bars, a concession stand type thing. That’s what rehab had going. But I wanted more than that. In 1974 they passed a law that said the public schools had to provide an equal education setting. That was the ultimate achievement in my life — to come back to the community and to say, I can do it.” Despite a college degree in special education and advanced training in specialized technology, Bonita remains among the 70% of working aged adults with disabilities who are unemployed.

National organizations of blind and visually impaired people:

American Council of the Blind (ACB) (1)

National Federation of the Blind (NFB) (2)

Parents With Disabilites Online

An internet resource for parents with disabilities. (3)

Through the Looking Glass (TLG)

TLG is a nationally recognized center that has pioneered research, training, and services for families in which a child, parent or grandparent has a disability or medical issue. (4)