Literature comes out of the darkness

. December 2, 2013.

Kenneth Harmon Erdody, a passionate lover of reading and life-long diabetic, was the inspiration behind Assistive Media. His son, David, was concerned that his father would lose his sight. “I couldn’t stop thinking what would happen if my dad went blind,” says David. “He loved reading- especially the New Yorker. I did some research and discovered that the New Yorker was not available in an audio version.” David researched the availability of other reading materials available on audio and discovered that less that 5 percent of publications in the U.S. were available in an audio format.

Assistive Media, founded in 1996, brings multiple generations together to produce and distribute spoken-word recordings of materials that would otherwise be inaccessible to vision-impaired readers.

“Older people make excellent narrators,” says David. “I get the skill sets needed for editing digital recording from the younger generation. High school students, and even those in middle school have assisted in bringing this vital service to fruition. An additional benefit of what we do is to bring two generations together to work on a common goal.”

There is no membership for this online service and verification of disability status is not required. Assistive Media is continually looking forward. The organization hopes to add the children’s periodical “Stone Soup” to its offerings in the near future. Assistive Media not only positively impacts our community but has the ability to offer literacy to the world.

Although Kenneth passed away in 1998, he didn’t lose his eyesight and his son has never lost his vision for opening the doors of literature for people with visual deficiencies.

Assistive Media is located at 400 Maynard St., Ann Arbor. For additional information on services and volunteer opportunities, email or visit