I do not typically share personal updates on this blog, instead I usually save those for an occasional email to my full email list (just ask if you want to be added or removed, no worries). But the latest update was very well received, and I thought… why not post it on my blog?
Here is a slightly edited version of what I emailed six days ago…
The last time I shared a personal update with you, I think it was in the spring when I was working as a graduate teaching assistant in the same Masters program from which I graduated. Serving in that capacity was a lot of fun, and I received very positive feedback from my students and also the professors I worked alongside.
I am kind of on sabbatical from teaching but would like to resume this spring. But not teaching this semester proved to be “good timing” (or God timing:) because it allowed me to be hired to present at a two-day workshop for Georgia Tech IT personnel. My topic was “web accessibility and voice software use.”
Last week at this time, I was in Atlanta. And that exciting opportunity is largely what prompted me to write you all now.
We had a good trip, staying three nights in a nice hotel in downtown Atlanta. The workshop was largely to help Georgia Tech IT folks understand what it’s like for people with disabilities to access websites, what barriers exist, and how they can make their website universally friendly. I actually was hired by “AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center” to help them present for Georgia Tech IT staff, and I had the privilege of co-presenting with two gentlemen with vision impairments.
Watching them browse the Internet using screenreader technology was an eye-opening experience for this sighted person. I gave a brief PowerPoint presentation and also a live voice software demonstration both mornings, which freed up our afternoon schedules.
I enjoyed my official duties, and received positive feedback regarding my efforts, but also enjoyed meeting and getting a personal tour of AMAC headquarters from the Director who started it all, Dr. Christopher Lee. What he and they are doing is impressive. For example, they convert textbooks to accessible formats, including braille, for students all over the world, and if I’m not mistaken, they are tasked with making everything in the Library of Congress accessible (e-text, braille, etc.) as well.
We also indulged ourselves at a classic Atlanta fast food restaurant, The Varsity, which has been featured on the food network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I wanted to try several things, and had a chili cheese slaw dog, French fries, onion rings, and fried peach pie. 🙂
That was all well and good, but it was also great to see old friends and make new ones at Shepherd Center, where I did my rehab 18 years ago. Connecting with a current Shepherd Center patient (a fellow ventilator user) and his wife was time very well spent. We did that both afternoons and had dinner with them in Shepherd’s surprisingly-good cafeteria the second night. Eating in the cafeteria was nostalgic for my Dad (I was unable to eat during my two months of rehab at Shepherd).
As for now, I have plenty of projects keeping me busy. That seems to be a constant, and a good thing, because I enjoy getting things done. One such project I am trying to find more time for is working on my book, which is mostly autobiographical. It is not as easy to write as one might think (or at least as I originally thought:).
On a side note, I put together a little five shot clip of me bowling with our local Quad Squad group that was filmed in July:
Anyway… it has been a while since I wrote you folks on my full email list, so I thought I would share the above (if you want off my list, just reply with “unsubscribe” – no questions asked, no worries).
May God bless us all, and all glory to God.
William A. Miller, BSBA, ME
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 255 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
My blog: http://powerwheelchairusers.wordpress.com
Business website: http://www.ikanbowler.com
Personal website: http://www.lookmomnohands.net