Free-Time Resources

 

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Due to the pandemic, I have spent more time at home compared to previous years. A challenge I needed to confront early was how to occupy myself when not performing work-related tasks. I identified a number of solutions. In this article, I will share three methods for occupying time which may be beneficial to other people who have disabilities.

 

One of the most useful skills I learned early in life was how to read braille. Through braille, I acquired literacy and the ability to read with my fingers. Two braille producers in the United States provide braille material for purchase which I find beneficial. One organization is

Seedlings Braille Books for Children.

Some of their books are appropriate for all ages, including adults. My favorite books from Seedlings are the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have other books in my Seedlings library, ranging from fiction to history. I also enjoy technology books from

National Braille Press (NBP).

Like Seedlings, NBP offers braille books relevant for all ages. One of my NBP braille book favorites is

“Computers You Can Talk To: Siri, Alexa, Google Now, and Cortana”.

I value the book because it helped me learn how to do more with Alexa. Although physical braille copies are evidently out-of-stock at time of writing, various electronic formats remain available. I also suggest that braille readers check out NBP’s publication

Syndicated Columnists Weekly.

SCW is a selection of articles from a variety of media sources, transcribed into braille. I linked above to the 2-year subscription because I consider it to be the best monetary value. However, if readers would prefer NBP’s one-year option, here is a link to the

one-year subscription to SCW.

NBP and Seedlings both offer a wide selection of braille material. When not reading braille, I can use my ears to entertain myself.

 

Audiobooks provide hours of entertainment for me. My primary source is

Audible.

I have been an Audible member for over 5 years. My monthly credit enables me to buy an audiobook each month, regardless of cost. For example, I could buy an audiobook normally worth $20 or $30 with my monthly credit, thereby saving me money. As a consequence of the coronavirus, I notice I have been buying Audible titles almost every week for quite a while. Since Audible sells both titles they produce and offerings from many other audio publishers, the amount of available titles is vast. Another source of audio titles for people who are unable to read print is the

National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS).

I recommend their

Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD).

Although it is possible to download electronic braille files from BARD, I only use it to download audio. In addition to books, a variety of magazines also exist for NLS patrons to download. I also find text-based games enjoyable.

 

A year or two ago, I found a source for games which are accessible and enjoyable whether readers have a disability or not. Text-based games result in the pictures being in a reader’s imagination. Primarily, I play offerings from

Choice of Games.

Essentially, you are the main character of interactive stories. Your choices control the outcome. These games remind me of the Choose Your Own Adventure books which I read in braille as a child. Stories from a variety of settings are offered by Choice of Games. For example, my top two favorites are

Choice of Robots

and

T-Rex Time Machine.

In one story you can build and adventure with robots. The time machine story obviously takes you back to visit the dinosaurs. My final recommendation for this article is the

life simulation Alter Ego.

You play through the 7 stages of life, using the same choice-based system as Choice of Games stories. I find the life simulation fun because I can be a different person. For example, in the simulation I have been married and had children. I have not done either of those things in the real world. All of these games have a practical purpose for me. I try to figure out logically what choice I deem appropriate in various situations for desired outcome. However you spend your free time, I encourage readers to find something which you find engaging and enjoyable.

 

Question for readers: How do you spend spare time? I will return with another article.

 

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