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Device helps blind writer regain confidence to pursue his vocation

Growing up in North Van, Paul Castle was diagnosed with a rare eye disease and finished writing a children's book based on her relationship with her husband and her desire for adoption. It's just around the corner.

Paul Castle (right) and his husband, Matthew Olshefsi, reading Paul's book, The Pengrooms.
Paul her Castle (right) and her husband Matthew her Olsheshi book, The Pengrooms. Photo by Paul Castle and Matthew Orshevsk /jpg

Paul Castle can read bedtimes always dreamed of telling his children one day.

The 31-year-old has only 10% of her vision due to a rare genetic disease that destroys the retina over time. But thanks to technology, he can now read aloud when his fingers are crossed when he and his husband want to adopt next summer. 32} "Even if I lost all my sight, I could still read stories to my children at bedtime," said Castle. It's a big deal."

Castle was born in North Vancouver and grew up around the Lower Mainland.

He didn't know what people meant when they talked about the starry night sky, but he still had 50% vision.

"I thought everyone saw the world the same way I did."

When I was driving, I tried to change lanes and nearly hit a car next to me that I couldn't see.

Final Diagnosis: Retinitis Pigmentosa

"Believe it or not, I was relieved," Castle said. "When I couldn't see things clearly and bumped into something, all the fumbling, all the mistakes, all the silly feelings, I just thought I was clumsy.

" Now it has a name, and there's a reason for it."

Paul Castle and the wearable device that reads text, recognizes faces and helps navigate around objects by simply asking, “What is in front of me?”
Paul Castle and wearable devices that read text and recognize faces to help you navigate objects by simply asking "what's in front of you". jpg

Castle lived in White Her Rock, where she met her future husband Matthew Olshewski, four years Moved to Seattle to live with him before.

A few weeks after COVID-19 hit, things were shut down, and it was Olshewski who suggested that Castle finally write the children's book he always talked about.

The result is The Pengrooms, where penguin Pringle and Finn (Castle and Olshevski) deliver her wedding cake and face challenges together at each wedding. I am following the situation.

Published earlier this year. A sequel, The Secret Ingredient, is due out later this month.

The book is about a couple's journey towards adoption and the importance of love, diversity, inclusion and working as a team.

That wouldn't have been possible without something called OrCam MyEye, said Castle.

This little device clips onto the frame of your glasses (a non-prescription pair is included). Castle sees text printed on any surface and reads it aloud via her Bluetooth earbuds.

She also recognizes her face, hand gestures, products, credit her cards, money, and scans barcodes.

At first, he didn't want any kind of help while in college, he didn't even need a white cane.

"I had a scar on my shin to prove it," he said.

At the age of 22, he gave up when he finally realized that walking sticks were not only for his own safety, but also for the safety of others.

"That was life" - The change immediately made me more independent.

Paul Castle and his dog Mr. Maple.
Paul Castle and his dog Maple. Photo Credits: Paul Castle and Matthew Olshevsk /jpg

Seeing Eye Mr. When he got his Maple I made the same leap.was more mobile, but still lacked communication tools.

"One thing a dog or a cane can't do is read aloud." It has 10,000 followers and a huge number of followers from both the LBGTQ and blind communities.

He began hearing about his OrCam from the latter. Lo and behold, that's when OrCam contacted him to gift him one (not cheap, from $2,500 for him to $5,800 for him throughCNIB Smartlife).

Castle said he received it in January and soon he and Mr. Maple were able to go out on their own. We did not rely on the kindness of others, for example, to read the menu to us.

"The most important thing for me is the sense of independence it gave me," Castle said. "It makes me feel a little more whole. It really makes a difference on a soul level, a core level.

"That's something that's very important for people in the blind community."

gordmcintyre@postmedia.com

twitter.com/gordmcintyre

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