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Computer Science Undergrad, Coffee Addict, Future Game Developer

Dickson Tan
Visual Impairment
Dickson was born visually impaired but he has never let it stop him from pursuing his dreams. As he puts it, “There are a lot of people who wear spectacles, but people don’t view them differently. My disability is just a more severe case.”

Learning to use a computer in primary school has helped him a lot. He does so by using a screen reader, software that reads the words on the screen aloud. In his words, “it changed my life and sparked off a lifelong fascination with technology.”

Getting the computer to read his notes to him aided his studies tremendously. The Internet also opened up a whole new world of information to him, as books and information written in Braille were very limited.

As a teenager, Dickson became the first legally blind student to study at Nanyang Polytechnic, paving the way for other students with visual impairment. He studied Business Management and worked hard to make it on the Director’s List just about every semester. Now an undergraduate in the National University of Singapore, majoring in Computer Science, he has also gotten on the Dean’s List.

Dickson says his biggest challenge is mathematics, adding with a laugh that many of his peers probably feel the same way. But he’s studying what truly interests him, and enjoying it. He feels lucky that he already knows what he wants to do in the future. He’s worried about finding a job but remains optimistic, saying, “Employers are starting to promote diversity in their organisations. I hope they take the time to find out the capabilities of candidates and see if they’d be able to perform the job based on their merits instead of any preconceptions they may have.”

In his free time, Dickson used to play audio games - games which convey information through sound - but finds himself spending more time on his pet project these days. He’s working on developing a mainstream gaming experience for the visually impaired. Currently, games for the visually impaired are simplistic. He envisions something more akin to the triple-A, big-budget games on the market, with deep plotlines and strategies.

To unwind, he enjoys science fiction and fantasy. He meets his friends every week, usually at a café. Dickson is an ardent coffee lover, with a particular fondness for espresso frappuccinos.

He wants to travel the world someday and looks forward to owning a driverless car in the future.

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