Audio description comes as standard on shows streaming on Netflix and other international services. So, Able Chief Executive Dan Buckingham asks, why are TVNZ+ and ThreeNow still lagging behind? 

I have lived with a disability for more than half my life. During that time, I’ve met a lot of people who live with different disabilities, and I have heard a lot of their stories. The very recent history of how people who live with disability have been treated in New Zealand can be harrowing at times.

We have a representative from the blind community on our board of trustees for Able, the charitable trust I have the privilege of working for. Now in his sixties, he recently told us a story about being at school and, due to having a small amount of sight, being forced to go up close to the blackboard to try and read the teacher’s chalk scribblings. As he shuffled side to side, trying to navigate his way through the chalk dust, his face centimetres away from the blackboard, students would throw things at his back.

So while I’ve heard – and experienced for myself – a spectrum of the good and the bad, I find disability fascinating. What visualisations make up someone’s dreams when they are blind? What does a human voice sound like for someone who uses a cochlear implant for the first time, and does music have the same resonance?

You probably have questions about disability yourself. If you’ve ever wondered whether blind people watch TV, the answer is simply: yes.

Read the full article on The Spinoff here.

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