The Talking Information Center (TIC), a nonprofit reading service based in Marshfield, MA and the hub of the Massachusetts Reading Network, which broadcasts 24 hours a day to visually impaired and otherwise print impaired listeners throughout Massachusetts, recently participated in Furnace Brook Middle School’s “Wonder Fair” for sixth graders held January 27th.
Designed to raise awareness and give the Marshfield middle school students a better understanding of what it would be like to have vision or hearing impairment, learning disorder or other disability, the Wonder Fair offered different “simulator” stations.
Jim Bunnell, Executive Director of TIC led the station simulating visual impairment. Working with more than 300 students in groups of six at a time, Bunnell helped to teach the students about visual impairment and blindness awareness, including how to assist and guide someone with a visual impairment and how to approach someone who has a visual impairment. In an exercise that was similar to the Blindfold Run/Walk that TIC held with Furnace Brook Middle School last October, the children participated in an exercise where they were paired together, one guiding the other blindfolded partner, for a firsthand experience of what it is like to be blind.
“The number of individuals with vision impairment is expected to increase significantly over the next 10 years. Creating greater awareness and understanding is key. I really enjoyed working with the students, as they had no idea of the challenges without sight. They do now,” explained Bunnell.
At the close of each session, Bunnell asked the students if they had any questions and many students made comments along the lines of “I never realized how lonely and dark it is without being able to see.”
The Hub of the Massachusetts Reading Network
TIC is a proud member of the International Association of Audible Information Services (IAAIS), and is the hub of the Massachusetts Reading Network, broadcasting to all of Massachusetts as well as southern New Hampshire and Connecticut. TIC operates with the help of more than 600 volunteers statewide, broadcasting newspapers, magazines, books, special consumer information, medical and stock market updates, jobs, sports, supermarket specials, voting guides, community newspapers, and television programs. TIC also offers cultural programming such as old-time radio drama, theater, and poetry. Two of TIC’s newest shows include Veterans Voice Radio and Veterans Voice Story Hour, which are specifically geared toward military veterans and their families.
TIC programming may be accessed several ways: via live audio stream at http://www.ticnetwork.org; by utilizing a specially tuned radio receiver; through AudioNow by calling 712-832-7025 from a home or cell phone; or by smartphone app. Listeners with smartphones may download the free TIC app by typing “Talking Information Center” in Apple or in the Google Play store for Android devices.
In 1977, Ed Perry, the founder of radio station WATD-FM in Marshfield, MA, donated his Subsidiary Carrier Authorization signal for use as the first radio reading service in New England. Operating similarly to other broadcast networks, TIC has affiliates throughout the state of Massachusetts that provide inserts of local news and information that is of interest to listeners in their area. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind oversee TIC, which is located at 130 Enterprise Drive, Marshfield, MA 02050. For more information visit www.ticnetwork.org or call (781) 834-4400.