TROY - Anindya "Bapin" Bhattacharyya, Technology Development and Training Specialist at the Helen Keller National Center, will deliver the 19th annual Helen Keller Lecture at Troy University on March 25.
The lecture, which will begin at 10 a.m. in the Claudia Crosby Theater on the Troy Campus, is designed to promote awareness of people who excel in their chosen fields despite physical and/or mental limitations. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.
A native of India, Bhattacharyya was born deaf and became blind at the age of nine due to retina detachments. His mother worked hard to make it possible for him to achieve an education since there were no agencies to provide her information on raising a deaf child. She taught him to speak in his native language, Bengali, and because of her dedication, Bhattacharyya was able to attend a mainstream school. Once he lost his vision, Bhattacharyya was forced out of school because he could no longer read lips and there were no interpreting services available.
In 1983, Bhattacharyya was sent to the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass., where he learned English, Braille and American Sign Language all at the same time. He graduated from Perkins in 1992 and went on to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science.
Bhattacharyya joined the staff of the Helen Keller National Center in 1999. Prior to serving in his current position, he served as supervisor of the Technology Center from 2001 to 2005.
As Technology Development and Training Specialist, Bhattacharyya teaches consumers with a wide range of vision and hearing loss to use computers via Braille access, screen magnification and speech output; evaluates prototypes of new products and telecommunication equipment and services for people with access needs and communicates with designers and manufacturers of the products to ensure they are accessible, user-friendly and cost-efficient.
He is a member of the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology and, in 2010, lobbied Congress to push the passage of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act which designated $10 million for providing telecommunications equipment and services for the deaf-blind. In addition, Bhattacharyya served on the board of the American Association of the Deaf Blind from 1999 to 2001 and served as the liaison between the association and Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc.
The Helen Keller Lecture is sponsored by Troy University, The Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education, the Alabama State Department of Education, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Alabama Department of Mental Health and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind.