Professor Kudlick Comments on How People with Disabilities Have Created Benefits for Everyone

Thursday, October 14, 2021

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Do you love audiobooks? “You have blind people to thank for that,” said Catherine Kudlick, director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University.

The godfather of the book being read aloud through your smartphone headphones was Talking Books, the records developed in the 1930s in the United States for people with impaired vision as an alternative to Braille.

I’ve been discussing the history of audiobooks with Dr. Kudlick, who calls herself “imperfectly blind,” and other experts because, well, I love listening to books. But it’s more than that. Audiobooks are a prime example of a technology developed by or for people with disabilities that has helped all of us. They remind us that people with disabilities are not an afterthought in invention but key players.