Leo Bissonnette, Ph.D.
Fedora Outlier may not have an assistive technology cheerleading squad but if we did, then Dr. Leo Bissonnette would without a doubt be the captain of it. He has and continues to support what Fedora Outlier does in regards to providing top notch consulting, teaching and support for all of Apple’s products to the blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind communities.
Leo, who has a doctorate in Sociology, loves assistive technology of all types and feels that it is very important that the blindness communities learn how to use such devices as iPhones, iPads and computers proficiently and independently.
How did Leo become so interested in assistive technology in the first place? I’m glad you asked that question.
In the 1980’s Leo started teaching at the Montreal Association for the Blind at a time when the first generation of VersaBrailles came out. Leo would eventually become the coordinator of Disability Services at Concordia University where he helped students learn assistive technology and how to integrate the skills learned into their daily lives. Now retired, he continues to help others learn how to use what he calls, “the important tools of a blind person’s tool box.”
My first interaction with Leo was when I asked him to be a part of Fedora Outlier’s popular AccessChat which is an interactive chat between a particular guest and the blindness community via Twitter. I remember Leo telling me that he did not use Twitter very much but that he was willing to learn so that he could participate in the chat. This open mindedness is only one of many qualities that Leo possesses when it comes to the use of assistive technology.
What I love about Leo is the fact that he is always willing to share his knowledge and ideas about new applications, products or concerns that can and will affect how the blindness community learns and uses today’s technology on a daily basis.
Leo lives with his wife Coralie in Pointe Claire, Quebec which is a suburb of Montreal, Canada along with his black Labrador retriever guide dog Addison, loves American baseball and cheers for an assistive technology firm called Fedora Outlier, LLC!
This episode of Blink Season 2 is sponsored by the iOS Master Series.
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