In Response to: Opening Doors

I was heartened, though also a bit disappointed, by Jennifer Altmann’s article (“Opening Doors,” March issue). Hats off to the students and others mentioned in the article, and to the University for its response to their needs.

However, the piece devoted but a single sentence to disabilities other than mobility, some of which constitute major impediments to education as well as other activities.

Now retired, I spent the second half of my career — roughly, since laptop computers became available and reasonably speedy — providing CART (Communications Access Real Time, or open captioning) services to hearing-impaired students at Harvard and other local universities (notably Northeastern, Boston University, Boston College, and Brandeis).

(This should not be confused with the horrible captioning seen on most television channels and in so many documentaries, which is done by some kind of computer program. CART is done by a live court reporter with particular training in this particular subspecialty and requires very detailed preparation for each individual subject matter.)

There was one blind student on campus back in my day, a Dutch man who later became famous as an expert on mollusk shells. Princeton gave him a thousand dollars to hire a reader, and that was it. So, progress has been made, but much remains to do.

My wife Janis and I came to Princeton in the late 1990s to set up a CART program for a student whom we had worked with at Harvard, but I have not heard since about services for the deaf at the University. I do know that our student has since published at least two books, and trust that she is doing well.

I would welcome hearing about services at Princeton for disabilities other than mobility related. At the time of our visit we were working with Dean Redman, though I seem to recall that he has since retired.

Jonathan H. Young ’69
Waltham, Mass.