My blindness and my visual aids. The testimony of Vito Coviello, blind writer from Matera

9 Febbraio 2021

My name is Vito Coviello, I have been totally blind for 21 years due to a cortisone glaucoma that led me into the dark, into total darkness. The first 17 years as a blind person were very painful for me, having gone blind at 45 and unable to do anything because of my blindness, not knowing how to adapt to total darkness and being ashamed of having become what I am, even ashamed to use the white cane, here, I thought my life had no future. In the first 17 years as a blind person, even if I had a whole world of passions and feelings inside, I could not bring out any of this, because I didn’t know of any aids for the disabled like me, any of those technologically advanced tools that can give the disabled person a more autonomous life, a window on the world, a possibility of relating with others and a greater autonomy.

Coming from a world of the able-bodied, I knew little or nothing of these compensatory instruments, all I was aware of was wheelchairs for paraplegics, white canes for the blind or prosthetics but nothing else and in my pain I didn’t even look for aids. I had a mobile phone without vocal synthesis that I only used to answer if somebody called me, I used to dial those few numbers with short numbers such as asterisk one, asterisk two, hash send … but so my world and my life was just in a vegetative state. By pure chance I found out of the existence of a computer that I could control with my voice and also of a mobile phone that I could control with the voice, in particular of the Mediavoice computer that could give me the opportunity to do anything and everything once again. I was hesitant, it took me some time to decide to do the paperwork to request these aids but then I requested them, made all the visits, prepared the documents and finally I received the mobile phone and Speaky Facile, the PC equipped with a Scanner by Mediavoice. I immediately learned to use Speaky Facile, equipped with a remote control like a television remote control, I could interact simply with my voice. By pressing a button in the center of the remote control, with my voice I could ask the PC for all the things I intended to make it do and so I was able to dictate novels, short stories and poems, I could research on the internet, send and receive e-mails, I could download and listen to audio books, I was able to scan any document and have a perfect reading of it from my computer, I was able to listen to all the channels of television, radio, listen to songs and movies on YouTube.

As a result, in these four years I have been able to write 16 books, including novels, books of poetry and short stories thanks to the Speaky Facile computer by Mediavoice.

For me Speaky Facile has been a real window onto the world, allowing me to use internet. On the computer I also found an encyclopedia and a translator and games for my free time. I must say Thanks to those who recommended this computer to me not only because I was able to make myself autonomous in many things but also because in this way I was able to donate, give to others all my works: my novels, my stories and my poems, I was able to demonstrate in this way that a blind person, a disabled person is not a burden to society. I was able to return to being alive and active and above all autonomous. Many others with these aids can do many more things than me and better than me.

Aids are very important for us with disabilities, they give us a life worth living and we are no longer a burden for society but rather, we become an active part in it. I invite everyone and especially the able-bodied to find out about all the aids that can alleviate and facilitate the life of the blind and the disabled and help spreading awareness of these possibilities, because many times those in pain do not inquire, do not know and then it is the relatives of those who experience the difficulty who must inform themselves and advise those who cannot be autonomous to make them autonomous.

Vito Coviello, blind writer from Matera