The Debbie Project

Debbie Update from Debbie!!!! WWW received a wonderful letter updating Debbie’s current status.

To Whom It May Concern,

Since receiving my iPad, I have accomplished more than I ever thought possible.  I have added to my knowledge of technology this year by learning how to Skype.  I now belong to a group of 13 other blind and visually impaired individuals and we have a Skype group 3 nights a week.  We discuss anything and everything!  It has been so nice to be able to relate with my peers on this level.

I have also been using Facebook to connect with my sister, brother and other relatives.  I now also know how to use the touch screen on my iPad as well as the wireless keyboard.

I continue to teach and to work on my knitting and have since signed up with a knitting website for their newsletters and patterns to be emailed to me.  I get emails from them every day and use these to help me come up with ideas for the classes I teach at Braille Institute.

I look forward to learning more and having fun with this new technology.



Debbie Dorsett


The woman with the pixie haircut was sitting at the table and knitting when I arrived at the Yarn Company. 

After a ride of anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, the driver from the bus escorted her in and Ruth sat Debbie at her usual spot at the table.

Over the next few weeks we learned more of Debbie’s story.
Born sighted, she developed Retinitis Pigmentosa at 14, lost 1 eye at 18 and the other at 30.

She lives at home with her elderly parents.
She retired in January after working at Desert Arc for 32 years.

In the last 2 years, she has been learning to be more independent, taking cooking classes, and using the computer at the Braille Institute.

The State (she refers to it as the State of Rehab) has provided her with a number of tools designed to help her daily living: a desktop computer, color recognizer machine, money recognizer machine and she also carries a CD player, talking clock, most of which she carried around in a HUGE fanny pack.

As we learned more, and recognized her desire to learn more, we asked her if maybe a small Netbook would be a good idea for her, to have more information at hand and fewer things to carry.

Oh, no, she was saving to get an IPad Mini. From her SSI stipend and $1 per day salary from Desert Arc, along with birthday and Christmas presents, she hoped to have $150 by January.

The IPad Mini has many features and apps that seem especially designed for the blind: text to speech, color and money recognizers, voice interaction, books and audio. Already built in or at a relatively low cost to download.

And so the Debbie Project began. In December, WWW purchased an IPad Mini for Debbie, with the stipulation that she pay approximately ½ of the price and continue to learn from Dan Reynolds, her mentor at Braille. Her contribution will “pay it forward” and be used to help fund the purchase of another IPad for the next recipient.

Debbie is proud to be part of the project and excited to have it named after her!

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