December JAWS user of the month

Close up of Ros wearing sunglasses

Our JAWS user of the month for December is Ros Sackley from New South Wales.

Ros runs a small business and spoke to us about her work and how she uses JAWS.

Hi Ros, thank you for talking to us, please tell us a bit about youself.

I have been an educator for most of my career and taught in the ACT and NSW primary, senior secondary, TAFE and university sectors.
I have total vision loss through Meningitis as an infant but have not allowed this to hinder my progress although life hasn’t always been easy.

I have been active in the cross-disability movement and participated in various research projects relating to Indigenous/disability programs.
Q1: When did you first start using JAWS and did you have any training or are you self-taught? 

I have been using JAWS for many years now but have mainly experimented and taught myself but have had no formal training although I have learned a lot through others on discussion lists.
Q2: I understand you have a small business doing braille production. How did you get into doing that? Please tell us about the sort of work you do. 

I established a micro business called AccessAble Braille Enterprises in 2015 while I was between jobs. I decided to roll all of my skills into one and will be approaching our 7th year of operation very soon.

I coordinate a group of volunteers who work virtually in NSW and Victoria and we work via technology so COVID19 hasn’t affected our operation at all. We work on Braille and audio productions and have completed tiny documents such as engagement and wedding invitations, student assignments and larger documents for community organisations and government departments.

Our audio projects include regular community newsletters, audio books using human voices and recordings for government departments.
Q3: What would your advice be for anyone starting out using a screen reader such as JAWS?

My advice for first-time users of JAWS is to obtain an overall idea of what this complex but liberating screen reader can offer you. Work on the applications that really interest you first and build on your skills as you learn more.

Q4: Do you have any JAWS tips/shortcuts you would like to share with our readers? 

I haven’t used it yet, but think that Sharky will be hugely popular with JAWS users – just as Siri and Cortana are an integral part of Macs and Windows machines.

Q5: Is there anything you would like to see included in JAWS in the future? 

I can’t honestly say that I know what is available in JAWS 2021/22 but would be interested in reading an independent analysis – not too technical, of what JAWS is now and what it might need in the future.