Carrie Morales, Live Accessible
Carrie Morales is a 26 year old YouTuber who lives with aniridia. She wanted to start her own YouTube channel about accessible living and assistive technology since she was in high school, as she has always loved her gadgets. Considering her father wrote a screen reader software, it is no surprise that she grew up in a forward-thinking environment.
Later on in her life, Carrie worked in a low vision center where she was surrounded by assistive technology, and shared tips on being visually impaired to everyone who came in the door. At the time, she wanted to start a YouTube channel for the center but never had the chance. When she had her son, she decided that was the time to jump into YouTube, and she now has a successful YouTube channel named “Live Accessible.”
Featured Webinar: Carrie Morales hosted a webinar discussing visual impairments, her Youtube journey, and tips for accessible living.
Carrie’s Youtube Channel
Carrie’s channel has a variety of content, covering assistive technology, parenting tips, and living as a blind couple. She described that there is so much assistive technology readily available nowadays, from your phone to your computer to different specialized apps.
Carrie exclaimed that she loves YouTube, but is still trying to figure out what works best on the platform in order to be different from the millions of people who exist on YouTube already. She believes that tech videos generally garner the most interest from her fans.
Stigmas Against Visual Impairment
A participant brought up that in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, people got by with low vision without having to tell others, but that people today are more open to speaking up about their condition.
Carrie agreed that with the emergence of the Internet, it is easier for those with low vision to come together as a community and amplify each other. However, Carrie added that there is still a lot to work towards combating this stigma.
For example, her husband lost all his sight 20 years ago and he faced a lot of difficulty because of it, because he lived in Venezuela where those who are blind are not seen as capable. As well, in the Philippines where Carrie grew up, her aunt started a preschool for children with disabilities because the parents simply didn’t know what to do with them.
Accommodations for those with Vision Loss
Carrie exclaimed that she’s excited for the next generation that her son will grow up in, because new technology and laws will continue to be implemented which will make it easier for him to succeed.
She brought up that some organizations have scholarships or foundations to help people receive assistive technology, and some companies like eSight have their own fundraising programs built-in.
“Lions Clubs gave me equipment when I was in college, and while they couldn’t provide everything, they still stepped in to help. Sometimes you just have to go ask and reach out yourself.“
“How-Tos” for Accessible Living
Growing up in a household where many family members also lived with aniridia, Carrie has a lot of tips to share for living accessible.
When you have a visual impairment, Carrie explained that planning is the most important thing you can do. Whether it’s going to the park or grocery shopping or visiting the doctor, when you can’t drive it means you have to organize everything beforehand. Ask questions like: Who is going to take me there? If no one can, will I call an Uber or a Lyft? How can I be prepared for the unexpected?
Available Apps and Assistive Technology
Carrie recommends installing apps like Aira or magnifiers on your phone, in order to condense the amount of technology you have to hold at one time.
“A phone can almost be like an all-in-one solution, if only it could be hands-free too!”
Sam Seavey from The Blind Life asked Carrie where she sees assistive technology going in the future, and she jokingly lamented that she’s still waiting for self-driving cars.
Raising a Child
Before she had her son, she was terrified. She thought, “How am I going to take care of my child?” She watched many YouTube videos in preparation, and carefully considered what she needed to achieve and worked backwards to find a solution. For example, when he was a baby, she used a video baby monitor on her phone so she could magnify the screen and check up on him.
When she’s taking him to the park, she will try to visit the same one every time so that the area is familiar to her and it is easier for her to follow him around. She puts him in bright shirts so that he’s easily identifiable from a distance.
If she is really having trouble, she will call Aira, which connects her to a trained agent who can “be her eyes” in a situation where she needs someone who is sighted. This can be useful for reading something, crossing the street, or in this case, locating her son.
Carrie tries not to go out in inclement weather because she can’t see very well at night. If she is really stuck, she is not afraid to ask a nearby stranger for help, or simply call an Uber.
Carrie’s Parting Thoughts
“No matter what it is you want to do, don’t let your blindness or low vision stop you in any way.”
She acknowledged that it can be frustrating going out in these pandemic times because people may look at you oddly when you get too close, or when you accidentally disobey the arrow signs on the floor because you can’t see them. However, she encouraged everyone to stay strong and look on the bright side because there is definitely an end in sight.