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Why Are Glasses Perceived Differently Than Hearing Aids?


All bodies are getting assistance from technology all the time, yet some are stigmatized.Abler is one woman's quest to rectify this.

Without technology, the human body is a pretty limited instrument. We cannot write without a pen or pencil, nor eat hot soup without a bowl and, perhaps, a spoon.

And yet, only certain technologies are labeled "assistive technologies": hearing aids, prostheses, wheelchairs. But surely our pens and pencils, bowls and spoons assist us as well. The human body is not very able all on its own. 

My curiosity about how we think about these camps of "normal" and "assistive" technologies brought me to Sara Hendren, a leading thinker and writer on adaptive technologies and prosthetics. Her wonderful site, Abler, was recently syndicated by Gizmodo. I talked to her about why crutches don't look cool, where the idea of "normal" comes from, and whether the 21st century might bring greater understanding of human diversity.

Read the full article at the Atlantic 

(http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/why-are-glasses-perceived-differently-than-hearing-aids/282005/)

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A new golden age for cane design?

SARA HENDREN on ABLER Monday 11:22am

Auction houses will still sell you exquisite canes from the late 19th and early 20th century. They often feature ornate carved wood or engraved silver, with all manner of designs and images on their handles. For those who aren't antiques enthusiasts, however, canes have been bereft of much contemporary design imagination. Until recently, that is. An Indie-gogo funded design team, Top and Derby, have created their new "sneaker-styled" Chatfield walking cane:
A new golden age for cane design?SEXPAND
It comes in four sizes to ideally match multiple heights.
Read more at Abler. Gizmodo
(http://abler.gizmodo.com/a-new-golden-age-for-cane-design-1474883656)

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‘Woof to Wash’ laundry machine lets dogs help people with disabilities

By Nadine Kalinauskas | Good News – Tue, 26 Nov, 2013
A man from Leeds has invented a dog-controlled washing machine.
The "Woof to Wash" machine has a bark-activated "on" switch. A special "paw" button allows the pooch to easily open and close the machine's door.
The inventor, John Middleton of U.K. laundry company JTM, intends for the "Woof to Wash" machine to make laundry an easier task for people living with disabilities by letting them delegate the trickier parts of the job to support dogs who have been trained to load and empty the machines.

Read the whole article at Yahoo News 
(http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/good-news/woof-wash-laundry-machine-lets-dogs-help-people-173054560.html)

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10 Of The Most Common ADA Violations That Need To Stop

Posted on:  

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All Technology Is Assistive Technology



By Sara Hendren 

Six dispositions for designers on disability



In 1941, the husband-and-wife design team, Charles and Ray Eames, were commissioned by the US Navy to design a lightweight splint for wounded soldiers to get them out of the field more securely. Metal splints of that period weren’t secure enough to hold the leg still, causing unnecessary death from gangrene or shock, blood loss, and so on.

The Eameses had been working on techniques to mold and bend plywood, and they were able to come up with this splint design—conforming to the body without a lot of extra joints and parts. The wood design became a secure, lightweight, nest-able solution, and they produced more than 150,000 such splints for the Navy.
Over the next decade, the Eameses would go on to refine their wood-molding process to create both sculpture and functional design pieces, most notably these celebrated chairs:

Read more at Medium 
https://medium.com/thoughtful-design/a8b9a581eb62

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Building a City with Accessibility for All


I’d like to challenge Harrisburg business owners and residents to consider this quote as it relates to people with disabilities.
When I was just 15 years old, a high school football accident suddenly caused me to need to use a wheelchair for the rest of my life. Certainly unexpected for me, the truth is, having a disability is surprisingly common. Dauphin County is home to more than 32,000 people living with disabilities, and in the United States, approximately one in five people have a disability.
With an aging population and veterans returning from war, this number will rise. Businesses and city residents need to know how to communicate and ensure inclusion of people with disabilities.
Graphic1We can ignite this inclusion by changing how we speak. Categorizing people causes segregation, and the fear of using the wrong terminology is equally debilitating. Using “people first” language is an easy solution. It simply means naming the person first and the disability second. For example, you should say “people with disabilities” instead of “the disabled” or say “a person who uses a wheelchair” instead of “a wheelchair-bound person.”
We also need to encourage city residents to ask questions and be inquisitive, as it drives understanding. Living in a diverse community, we all encounter others who are different from us. Ask questions, learn and clarify with the individual if you are unsure of the appropriate assistance to offer or how to handle a situation.
Read the full article at Today's The Day 
(http://todaysthedayhbg.com/building-a-city-with-accessibility-for-all/)

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The Case For Making Adult Hospitals More Like Children Hospitals


Posted: 

By: Christopher Wanjek, LiveScience's Bad Medicine Columnist
Published: 08/20/2013 06:45 PM EDT on LiveScience
A gigantic bounce house, video games at every turn, cartoons on flatscreen TVs, a playground that dwarfs anything down at the local schoolyard … The best children's hospitals certainly come across as fun places to visit.
Wouldn't it be great if adult hospitals were like this, too? Well, seriously, why aren't they? One medical student asks that question in an editorial published today (Aug. 20) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Say what you will about Dr. Patch Adams and his humor-based approach to medicine, but children's hospitals are designed the way they are for two reasons: Kids don't want to be in a hospital, and higher spirits while in a hospital translate to better health outcomes. 
Read the full article at the Huffington Post 

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Autism-Friendly Performance: OKLAHOMA!


What is an Autism-Friendly Performance?

Autism-Friendly Performances are designed and intended for families with children on the autism spectrum or who have other sensory issues. At these performances the theater environment will be altered, providing a safe, sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming for these families. Autism-Friendly Performances are recommended for those families bringing a loved one have a developmental disability, and their teachers and advocates who are familiar with and accepting of behaviors exhibited by some individuals with autism.

FAQs

Q: Is this performance only for families of children with autism or other sensory issues, or can anyone attend?A: Autism-Friendly Performances are intended primarily for families with children on the autism spectrum or who have other sensory issues. In addition to altering the theater environment to cater to those with sensory issues, a main goal of this program is to provide a safe, judgment-free, comfortable experience for the entire family. We achieve this by recommending this performance for those families bringing loved ones who have a developmental disability, and their advocates who are familiar with and accepting of behaviors exhibited by some children with autism.
Read the full article at Boston Conservatory where showtimes, ticket pricing and full synopsis can be found. 

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Hotels urged to add facilities for the deaf and learn sign language


Tuesday, 13 August 2013




UK: A deaf awareness tutor has urged hoteliers to undertake deaf awareness and sign language classes.
Consultant Ruthy Fletcher, who is deaf herself, says: "For many deaf or hard of hearing people, communication with hearing people can be frustrating and stressful. This is because of the huge communication barrier between speaking and signing. Some deaf people may feel unsettled to ask for help, or ask for some paper and a pen. As a deaf awareness tutor, I know that there are problems with communication barriers between hearing and deaf people within the workplace. I urge all hoteliers and accommodation providers to undertake deaf awareness training and basic sign language (BSL) classes to help to make deaf and hearing people have equally enjoyable experiences. "

Fletcher says that most hotels and tourism facilities have insuffcient facilities for deaf travellers. She says: "I have noticed that all the UK brochures and Tourism For All Open Britain 2011 Guide Book show very little information about facilities for deaf/hard of hearing people and we have to go through page after page to find a suitable hotel or accommodation provider that provides facilities and/or equipment for deaf and hard of hearing people. I have been going through thousands of brochures, and I continually find that there is very little support provided, which I felt was a bit unfair."

Read more at Boutique Hotel News

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Is it too difficult for people with disabilities to find volunteering roles?


disabled volunteer
Disabled volunteer Michael Duggan giving out directions. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

Research by Disability Rights UK and Community Service Volunteershas found evidence that many people with disabilities are experiencing a surprising level of difficulty in finding volunteering roles.
Earlier this year the organisations ran four seminars across England, interviewing disabled people to find out what barriers were stopping them from volunteering. Sue Bott, director of policy and development at Disability Rights UK, says that some who attended the sessions had been waiting for up to four years for a role.
"One of the main barriers is the attitude of organisations in the voluntary sector," she says. "There are a lot of assumptions about disabled people. Rather than thinking about what they can offer, organisations tend to imagine some of the perceived problems having disabled volunteers will cause them."
Read the full article at the Guardian 

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15 ways to adjust a home for someone with a disability

Home Life by Davida Shensky on May 24, 2013


There are many different types of disabilities, therefore, when making changes to a home to accommodate someone with a disability, you first need to consider what type of disability it is, the individual's specific needs, then the dimensions to follow based on disability access laws.

Here are some things to consider when adjusting the home to meet the needs of someone with a disability:

1. Counters. In the kitchen you may have to adapt counters. They may need to be shorter. Leave an open space so that someone in a wheelchair can move closer to the counter and have room for a wheelchair to maneuver underneath. You will also need to consider making sure there is space available to maneuver a wheelchair in the kitchen.

2. Appliances. Some other objects that can be useful in the kitchen for someone with a disability include an electric can opener, an electric jar opener and food processor for vegetable cutting. When buying a stove, make sure the knobs are in front so the person in a wheelchair can reach them and turn the oven on or the top burners on.

3. Toilets. In the bathroom you should consider having elevated toilet seats. Make sure you have bars by the toilet for someone who lacks balance to hold onto while sitting down or standing up. If you have someone that is in a wheelchair you need to have available a sliding board so you can transfer them from the wheelchair to the toilet.

4. Sinks. Extended levers on the faucet make it easy to turn on and off the water.

5. Bath mats. If the bathroom has a bathtub, then make sure you have a floor length mat with a non-slip backing so it will adhere to the floor to prevent the disabled person from tripping over the mat.



Read the full story at Family Share

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What Does The Hospital Of The Future Look Like? Designers Unveil Patient Room 2020


The patient room of the future is redesigned in such a way to improve patient outcomes, reduce infections, streamline healthcare deliver, and also to look a lot cooler.

BY CINDY DEL ROSARIO | AUG 04, 2013 09:05 PM


NXT Health
Walk into any patient room in any hospital and you'll encounter a multitude of items — a sharps container for needles, computer monitors, a bed, a height-adjustable dining table, equipment for measuring vital signs — all designed separately and mashed together in a small room. If that room contains a verbal patient, chances are they have something to complain about, whether it be the noise, the temperature, or the clutter created by all the aforementioned items.
But patient rooms don't have to be that way. NXT Health, a non-profit sponsored by the Department of Defense, has designed the hospital room for the future, Patient Room 2020, now on display at the DuPont Corian design studio in New York.
With the help of Clemson University's Healthcare + Architecture Graduate program, the design team set out to apply the principles of design to healthcare, not only create an aesthetically pleasing patient environment, but to create one that changes caregiver behaviors and improves patient outcomes.
Healthcare, for a myriad of reasons, does not benefit from design in the way that other industries have. Like the physical hospital room, healthcare delivery and health systems are disjointed and disparate. While an initial look at the Patient Room 2020 might appear to be a lot of cosmetic and superficial changes, what it really hopes to achieve is a dramatic redesign of bedside patient care in a revolutionary way.
Read more at Medical Daily 



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Social Security To Drop ‘Mental Retardation’


By 
The Social Security Administration will become the latest federal agency to start using the term “intellectual disability” in lieu of “mental retardation.”
In a final rule published in the Federal Register on Thursday, Social Security officials said they approved the change in terminology citing “widespread adoption” of the term “intellectual disability.”
“Advocates for individuals with intellectual disability have rightfully asserted that the term ‘mental retardation’ has negative connotations, has become offensive to many people, and often results in misunderstandings about the nature of the disorder and those who have it,” Social Security indicated.
Under the rule, all references to “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded children” will be replaced with “intellectual disability” and “children with intellectual disability” within Social Security’s Listing of Impairments and other agency rules. The change will not impact how claims are evaluated for those with the developmental disability.
Read more at Disability Scoop 

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Ambassador for disability-inclusive development


29 July, 2013

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Minister for International Development Melissa Parke talk of the need to raise the profile of people with disability in developing countries.
Minister for International Development, Melissa Parke, today announced the Government’s decision to establish a new Australian Ambassador for Disability-Inclusive Development.

Minister Parke said the ambassador will advocate for people with disability in developing countries to have access to the same opportunities as others and an equal say in the decisions that affect their communities. The appointment process will take place in the coming weeks.

“Australia will be the first country to have an ambassador focused solely on disability-inclusive development. We are demonstrating to the world how central the matter of disability-inclusion is to our international aid efforts,” Minister Parke said.

Read more at AUSAID 

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Design Pioneer: Patricia Moore – Mother of Universal Design


by: Jax Wechsler
Patricia Moore photoPatricia (Pattie) Moore is a pioneering female designer, gerontologist (social scientist of the aging), author, educator and design thought leader. Pattie has been named by ID magazine as one of the 40 Most Socially Conscious Designers in the world. In 2000 she was selected by a consortium of news editors and organizations as one of the 100 Most Important Women in America. Syracuse University has selected Moore for a 2012 Honorary Doctorate for serving as a “guiding force for a more humane and livable world, blazing a path for inclusiveness, as a true leader in the movement of Universal Design.”
You could easily thank Pattie for many well designed products such as OXO Smart-Grip potato peelers that feel comfy in the hands of both kids and grandparents. But you should more importantly thank her for her contribution to Universal Design which is an approach to design that considers every ability, age and walk of life. Whilst Pattie is considered a founding mother of  Universal Design this approach to design is also known as Inclusive Design . Pattie’s early experiences, which fuelled her passion for Universal Design, is an interesting story.

Read more at Wonder Women Global 

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I'M NOT A "PERSON WITH A DISABILITY": I'M A DISABLED PERSON

I am not a “person with a disability.” I do not “have a disability.” Given that I look like this:
image
Image Credit: ewheeling.
You probably think I’m either delusional or in denial. I’m not, I just have a real problem with the phrase “person with a disability” and the notion of “having a disability.”
I am disabled. More specifically, I am disabled by a society that places social, attitudinal and architectural barriers in my way. This world we live in disables me by treating me like a second-class citizen because I have a few impairments -- most obviously a mobility impairment.
Two ways of looking at disability
What’s the difference between “having a disability” and “being disabled”? It all comes down to two sociological theories: the medical/individualmodel of disability and the social model of disability.
The medical model -- the idea that a person has a disability -- is the dominant notion in our society. It’s the idea that a person is prevented from functioning in our society by their body or brain and it’s just that person’s tough luck. If they can’t blend into this world, it’s not the world’s problem.
The social model is the way I prefer to view the world. It’s the idea that a person with an impairment or illness is disabled by the society we live in because of all the barriers that are put in our way.
Read more at XO Jane 

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If a picture paints a 1000 words….

Image is everything!
We’re having our website redeveloped at the moment – tricky old beasts aren’t they, especially when you don’t really know what you’re doing! We were in the lucky position of being able to employ someone to work on ours, so it’s coming along nicely, but we really wanted to make sure that we got the right ‘image’. So the pictures we chose to use, especially the photos of our team, were particularly important. All of our co-trainers have learning disabilities – we wanted to make sure that our website doesn’t fit with the stereotypes that sadly are still out there.
The eternal child
That’s a real biggie for people with learning disabilities – that they’re just kids in big bodies! In fact, nothing could be further from the truth – they are adults, with all the emotions, needs and aspirations of any adult! (And don’t get me started on the sex and learning disability thing – I’ll be here for days!) So we didn’t want our photos to look child like, or too ‘cutesie’ – we want to portray our team as the responsible adults that they are.
Team
For more information go to the Smart Enterprise 

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Why Designers Are Responsible for Societies Social Structure


By: Whitney Hill
Created: November 2012 / Posted: July 23, 2013

There is a problem.  An epidemic, a sickness fragmenting our societies very fiber and woefully little is being done to eradicate it. This debilitating problem, plague to sanity, endangers over a third of the world’s population; the end is not nigh. I’m of course talking about the disease of the designers.

            It can be argued that the sole purpose of a designer is to constantly create and destroy, which in turn creates a correlation with the individuals who purchase, use and discard what’s been generated. What the affluent designer assumes is needed for the community becomes implemented and unless a thorough user and market analysis is researched and taken into account, a flawed product becomes born. However, the imperfections of this bastard product (product of urban plans by architects, social structure by the lawmakers and government) at times become overlooked and instead scapegoated towards the ‘imperfections’ of the individuals who use them. I repeat, there is problem and it is with the ideology of the designer and their flawed product that alienates their users.

            The unfortunate consequence of using flawed ideology to make decisions for the masses is usually paired in conjunction with flawed terminology. The words themselves are weighed heavy when they are inaccurately paired to an unfamiliar demographic. Basically, the more incorrect guesses and assumptions there are about a community, the higher chance that the words that are used to describe said community become inaccurate.

More harm is done when these particular labels not only begin to stick, but also used to define the individuals within the particular community. A good example of this is the phrase “deaf and dumb” which was coined by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. He concluded that since (inaccurately so) deaf people were incapable of being taught and lacked rational thinking, basic cognitive abilities, that they were a burden to society, an ideation that was encouraged by the design of the Greek empire. The unfortunate longevity of the phrase “deaf and dumb” far outlived Aristotle and has plagued the deaf community ever since.[1] 
Indeed, the ‘disabled’ communities are not the only ones being mislabeled. Almost every community that strays from the norm when it comes to race, gender or creed also becomes ill defined and therefore underdeveloped by designers who are unfamiliar. The needs are hardly ever then addressed.

When a design for an object, floor plan or legislation is actually considered from a non-biased perspective - leaving pre-conceived notions and poor definitions aside – the “objects escape the boundaries of categorization [and] they become wild, and like the wild card in a pack of cards, can be used to take on different values according to the state of play of the game.”[2] Case in point, Apple’s iphone has been repeatedly praised by not only various ‘disabled’ communities (i.e. blind, deaf, autistic and cerebral palsy, to name a few) as well as the elderly community, but also by the already much designed for, mainstream market. A couple of the notable features include the software VoiceOver, which has been integrated with AssistiveTouch, Zoom and Maps and Guided Access. The inclusive features allow for easier access to map navigation (audio GPS tracker) and interpretation of text without depending solely on one’s personal mobility or technical understanding.[3] The idea and word of “limitation” becomes rethought as a much broader user base is brought together. The age-old designer concept of different looking people needing to be segregated from one another other and forced to use only what’s available for them - starts to loose its appeal and thus becomes economically unviable for a companies success.
In turn, with many electronic devices on the market that are usually split between aesthetic and function, the iphone does become a rare case of a highly popularized and universally sought after product that actually includes good/inclusive design and interface. It should be noted that other companies start to base their business models after inclusive design if it is shown that it has been viable and finically successful for other companies (i.e. How Android phones are now heavily influenced by Apple’s inclusively designed iphone)[4]. The design can directly change corporate ideation, if done right.

            The disease of the designers can be treated. It’s possible. The designer needs rehab, re-education. The remedy is surprisingly easy to understand. Simply by looking at the honest needs of the individuals within a specific group/demographic and designing an inclusive system that not only supports and empowers their community but the ‘mainstream’ as well, gets rid of conflicts dealing with lack of resources, improper handling, harmful terminology and destructive influencing of other communities. A higher quality of life is given to all members of society. A resuscitation of good design and designers can then be used to place the stepping-stones for a future of tolerance.









[1] http://www.aslinfo.com/trivia.html
[2] Judy Attfield, Wild Things: The Material Culture of Everyday Life (2000), page 74
[3] http://luisperezonline.com/2012/06/12/ios-6-accessibility-features-overview/
[4] http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2012/01/12/inclusive-design/

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Disability rights advocates press for accessible technology

Kimberly Railey, USA TODAY

                       10:04 a.m. EDT July 14, 2013



 






























                                                                                                                  While technology takes on a greater role in the college classroom, disability rights groups are seeking to ensure visually impaired students aren't left behind.

Jordan Moon graduated from Arizona State University last year with a lesson that may outlast his journalism and political science degrees: how to get help.
As a visually impaired student, some assignments, like newspaper designs, were nearly impossible to complete on his own.
"There are a lot of times where materials are way too print-featured and graphic-oriented that you have no choice but to get an aide," says Moon, who is legally blind. "Braille and software technology can only do so much."
Read the full story at USA TODAY

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One Man's Quest To Make Medical Technology Affordable To All


One Man's Quest To Make Medical Technology Affordable To All


David Green is a man on a mission to drive down the cost of medical devices and health services.
His tactic: Use market forces and slightly tweaked business strategies to make health care accessible to even the poorest people. And he's had some amazing success.
I caught up with Green (no relation to NPR's David Greene) at a company he is launching in Chicago that's taking on the high cost of hearing aids. He's demonstrating how to program his company's new hearing device on a cellphone.
"So I'm putting the device on my ear, and I'm turning on my Bluetooth enabled phone," he says. "I click personalize on the phone and I start the hearing test. And right now I'm hearing tones and I'm clicking a box."
It must be the smallest Bluetooth earpiece available — about the size of your thumbnail. He has helped create Sound World Solutions to market a new high-quality hearing device developed by his partner, Stavros Basseas.


The device, which we reported on yesterday, will be sold in the U.S. But the main market will be in developing countries, where it will sell for a couple hundred dollars — a fraction of the cost of high-end hearing aids. One reason it's so cheap is that it's based on off-the-self Bluetooth components.
Green says his strategy is to minimize the cost of technology, production and distribution so he can push prices to the lowest possible level and force other companies to compete.
"My competitive juices get flowing when I start to think about a big, $4 billion medical device company and how I'm going to beat them," Green says. "How do we make sight and hearing or even life itself affordable to poor people?"
That might sound like hopeless idealism, but Green has helped create a number of companies that do just that. The most notable may be a company named Aurolab in India that manufactures intraocular lenses. These lenses are implanted in the eyes of cataract patients to correct their vision.
At an operating theater at Aravind Eyecare in Madurai, India, on a reporting trip two summers ago, eye surgeon Hari Pria told me about one of the cases. "This is called the phacoemulsification procedure," Pria says, describing the use of ultrasound to break up the old lens and remove it. "This is considered the gold-standard of cataract surgery across the world."
Aravind does more than 300,000 cataract surgeries a year. And through Aurolab, Green helped drive down the price of the lenses from several hundred dollars apiece to $2 now. Aurolab's lenses have helped millions of people regain their sight.
Green has also set up eye-care programs in countries from Nepal to Kenya, created less expensive testing for people with diabetes, and helped set up social investing funds.
He eschews charity and turns to market forces and business strategies in his enterprises. He sets up for-profit companies, or nonprofits that run operating surpluses, so the firms have the ability to invest and grow.
Green describes his approach as "empathetic capitalism."
A man gets an eye exam at an Aravind Eye Care clinic in Madurai, India.
A man gets an eye exam at an Aravind Eye Care clinic in Madurai, India.
Reinhard Krause/Reuters/Landov

Read the full story at NPR

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