Lois in the (International) Press
There is an article in the latest Toastmaster magazine, which features none other than Lois herself! The article is all about how disabled Toastmasters have overcome their difficulties to still achieve in the Toastmasters environment. I have included the relevant extract below (courtesy of Toastmasters International):
"Lois Strachan, DTM, from Cape Town, South Africa, has been blind since age 21. She says that any speaker, blind or sight¬ed. needs to know the same things: Who’s the audience? What’s the room layout? The only other thing Strachan needs to find out. she says, is whether or not she’ll be able to bring her guide dog Leila her.
For Strachan, learning to make eve contact and use appropriate gestures and body language can be a bit chal¬lenging, especially when she can’t see what works and what doesn’t work in other speakers. So how does she learn? "Through trial and error," she says. "Don’t we all?" And like many Toastmasters, Strachan appreciates what¬ever help her evaluators can give her in these particular areas. "I think the greatest way that other Toastmasters and clubs can assist is simply by being aware of the needs of someone with visual impairments," she says. "That in itself is problematic, since we are all individuals and our needs differ!"
Leila, Strachan’s guide dog, provides her own form of evaluation: if she likes a speech, she pays attention. If the speech is okay, but not as good as Leila would hope, she goes to sleep. And if Leila really thinks the speech needs work, she snores.
Since Strachan is unable to see the green, yellow, and blue lights that are standard at most Toastmaster meetings, she requests a verbal indication of how much time remains for her speech, rather than rely on a bell, a clap or other audio notification method."
The Toastmaster, April 2006
I have scanned the full article below:
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