November 12, 2020
When The New York Times decided to publish a special issue commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it seemed natural to make it accessible to the visually impaired. Choosing the team at Clovernook Center’s Braille Printing House to take on 175-page job in just a few days – that was a necessity.
The speed and efficiency in which the Printing House works is why The NYTimes chose it. But to the workers there, it “wasn’t a big deal at all,” said Terry Strader, proofreader and embossing machine operator at the printing house. “It’s just in a day’s work. And the sooner I can get something done that is as important as that, the better I can feel about it.”
That special issue is just one example of the globally significant work conducted at the printing house, the largest volume producer of braille in the world.. Every day, Clovernook Center’s printing house team – half of whom are blind or vision-impaired – transcribe books, magazines, professional sports league schedules and even McDonald’s menus into braille. And every day, millions of people around the globe use them.
For the big ADA project in July, Terry worked closely with Tina Seger, braille transcription specialist, proofreading the issue. They completed more than half of it in the first day.
Such efforts exemplify the necessity of inclusion for all, said Tina, who is sighted. “It is vitally important that end-users (braille readers) are included at all levels of the braille production process,” she said. “This inclusion is the driving force behind the high quality of our products.”
Inclusion breeds opportunity, which is how Terry sums up his nearly 28 years at Clovernook Center. “If I was at a factory or different setting, I may not be able to do all the things I can do at Clovernook,” he said. “It gives me a chance to prove what I can do, and it gives me a chance to excel at what I want to do.”
“I take that as a challenge every day.” Terry, Tina, and every other member of the printing house staff are proof of the professional opportunities Clovernook Center offers blind and low-vision members of the community.
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