Beth Finke loves to write. A published author and commentator on National Public Radio, Finke has been using a screen reader to read and write ever since she lost her sight in 1985. Now she uses that assistive technology to monitor the Easterseals and Autism blog each day. She hopes her work serves as an example of how people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other disabilities can lead meaningful, happy and productive lives.
Blind since her twenties, Finke has firsthand experience with the frustrations -- and the triumphs -- of living with a disability. The mother of a son with developmental and mental disabilities of his own, Finke is also familiar with the lingo and feelings parents write about when responding to blogs.
Finke began her career as a writer in 1999, when an essay she wrote about employment for people with disabilities was picked up by AlterNet and published in alternative newspapers across the country. She is well known as a presenter at national and international educational and assistive technology conferences, and has been invited to deliver writing workshops and presentations across the United States and Canada.
Finke’s work at Easterseals began in 2006 when she participated in a Technology Opportunities Project to determine if blind people can manage and update web pages without being able to see.
In addition to her work as the Interactive Community Coordinator at Easterseals, Finke is a freelance writer. Her essays air on the Morning Edition segment of National Public Radio and on Chicago Public Radio. Her articles appear in Woman's Day, the Chicago Tribune, The Writer, Dog Fancy and The Bark. Finke is the author of the memoir "Long Time, No See" (University of Illinois Press, 2003) and a children’s book about her Seeing Eye dog, “Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound” (Blue Marlin Publications, 2007). She earned a bachelor's of science degree in communications from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.