The ACB E-Forum, April 2014

Downloadable versions available here.
Published by
the American Council of the Blind
The American Council of the Blind strives to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and to improve quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people.
Kim Charlson, President
Melanie Brunson, Executive Director
Sharon Lovering, Editor
National Office:
2200 Wilson Blvd.
Suite 650
Arlington, VA 22201
(202) 467-5081
fax: (703) 465-5085
Web site:
The ACB E-Forum (TM) is available via e-mail, as well as via download from  Subscription requests, address changes, and items intended for publication should be sent to Sharon Lovering at the address above, or via e-mail to
The American Council of the Blind (TM) is a membership organization made up of more than 70 state and special-interest affiliates.  To join, contact the national office at the number listed above.
Those much-needed contributions, which are tax-deductible, can be sent to Attn: Treasurer, ACB, 6300 Shingle Creek Pkwy., Suite 195, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430.  If you wish to remember a relative or friend, the national office has printed cards available for this purpose.  Consider including a gift to ACB in your Last Will and Testament.  If your wishes are complex, call the national office.
To make a contribution to ACB via the Combined Federal Campaign, use this number: 11155.
For the latest in legislative and governmental news, call the "Washington Connection" toll-free at (800) 424-8666, 5 p.m. to midnight Eastern time, or read it online.
Copyright 2014
American Council of the Blind
All content created initially for use by ACB in publications, in any media on any web site domains administered by ACB, or as a broadcast or podcast on ACB Radio, archived or not, is considered to be the property of the American Council of the Blind. Creative content that appears elsewhere originally remains the property of the original copyright holder. Those responsible for creative content submitted initially to ACB are free to permit their materials to appear elsewhere with proper attribution and prior notification to the ACB national office.

Forum Subscription Notes

You can now get "The Braille Forum" by podcast!  To subscribe, go to "The Braille Forum" page on If you do not yet have a podcast client, you can download one from the Forum page.
To subscribe to "The Braille Forum" via e-mail, go to
Are You Moving? Do You Want to Change Your Subscription?

Contact Sharon Lovering in the ACB national office, 1-800-424-8666, or via e-mail, Give her the information, and she'll take care of the changes for you.
ACB Radio's Main Menu is the talk of the town when it comes to technology; check it out at
ACB Radio Mainstream has blindness-related news you can use at

Due to an editing error, the contact information was left out of Len Burns' article, "Conducting Business with Social Security: What You Should Know and How You Can Help" (March 2014).  The information appears below. We regret the error.
Please respond directly to us, Len Burns, via email at and Larisa Cummings, DREDF Staff Attorney, at Thank you very much for your time and assistance exploring this issue.

ACB E-Forum, April 2014 downloads

President's Message: Politics Are Local by Kim Charlson

In late February, nearly 100 leaders of the American Council of the Blind from across the country, gathered in the Washington, D.C. area to learn the latest on ACB's key legislative initiatives. The two primary priorities for the ACB 2014 legislative seminar were H.R. 3749, The Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2013 and H.R. 4040, The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act of 2014.
I was so impressed with the enthusiasm demonstrated by those present on the issues and their excitement in visiting Capitol Hill. All of the attendees set up appointments with members of their Congressional delegations and spent the final day of the legislative seminar walking around visiting offices to discuss ACB issues.
My own Massachusetts delegation was comprised of six attendees, and we divided up our 11 representatives and senators so that each team of two people would visit offices including their own representative. Some delegations from larger states like Florida, California and Pennsylvania had incredible numbers of office visits to make during the day, but all attendees took their assigned task in stride, walking up and down Capitol Hill making visits.
While most appointments were with key legislative staff in the Washington, D.C. office, some members did have the opportunity to meet directly with their representative or senator. Whether the meetings were with staff or the elected officials directly, the value of a personal visit is priceless. Such meetings are the first step in beginning the critical process of building a trusted relationship with a representative or senator, and provide ACB members with the opportunity to spotlight our priority issues.
Not all of our legislative advocacy has to take place in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill. Every U.S. representative and senator has local district offices at home, and you and your members can make an appointment and go in and visit with them in person. In many ways, these local meetings are even more effective than the Capitol Hill appointments, since you generally can meet with the elected official and can have more time to discuss the issues and begin to build a long-term relationship. The ultimate goal is that your legislator will think of you and your affiliate as their "go to" resource on blindness issues.
When I first moved to Massachusetts in 1985, I was very excited to learn that I had moved into the district for then Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives "Tip" O'Neill. He is credited with coining the phrase "All politics is local." This is now a common phrase in the political arena, which captures the concept that a politician's success is directly tied to his ability to understand and influence the issues of highest importance to his or her constituents. It is usually the personal issues, rather than big and intangible ideas like world peace, that are most often what voters care about. The reality is that most people who vote are focused on resolving their local issues.
I was honored to witness firsthand two outstanding examples of ACB state affiliates building amazing relationships. In the fall, I was pleased to attend the state convention of the Alabama Council of the Blind. During their convention, Gov. Robert Bentley dropped in to address the membership. His remarks were clear, and targeted to the concerns and key issues of the membership of the Alabama Council of the Blind.
More recently, I had the privilege to attend the convention of the Hawaii Association of the Blind in Honolulu. While the flight was long, and the visit too short, the fellowship and relationships and the true "Aloha spirit" were strong. As I sat down at the banquet head table, I was introduced to their special guest for the evening, Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Many leaders of the HAB have been growing a relationship with Gov. Abercrombie since the early 1970s, when he was entering public service as a state senator. They have talked with him, campaigned for him, worked with him on issues, and become more than constituents, they have become respected friends and colleagues. His remarks to the convention audience were so focused and he discussed his funding increase for blindness services in Hawaii.
I would appreciate hearing from other affiliates that have developed these types of close relationships with elected officials. Each and every one of you can grow your local relationships to help in advancing the advocacy agenda for your affiliate and for ACB. Take the step, reach out and make that first appointment in your community to begin a new relationship that will benefit the future of people who are blind in your state and across the nation.

ACB Applauds Introduction of Landmark Special Education Legislation in U.S. House of Representatives by Melanie Brunson

On Feb. 12th, ACB was very pleased to issue a statement to the press praising members of the U.S. House of Representatives on their introduction of H.R. 4040, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act.  The bill was introduced by Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) and Steve Stockman (R-Tex.).  H.R. 4040 seeks to improve the delivery of appropriate special education and related services to all students in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired, as well as students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
ACB president Kim Charlson said of this legislation, "This is a momentous day for the blind community.  The introduction of this bill is a critical first step to ensuring that the special education system can be transformed in a manner that will truly allow for blind or visually impaired students to succeed in a 21st-century climate."
H.R. 4040 will:

  • Ensure that blind or visually impaired students, regardless of additional disabilities, are properly counted and served;
  • Expect states to conduct strategic planning, and commit such planning to writing, to guarantee that all students who are blind or visually impaired within each state receive all specialized instruction and services needed by students with vision loss provided by properly trained personnel;
  • Clarify that proper evaluation of students who are blind or visually impaired includes evaluation for students' needs for instruction in communication and productivity (including braille instruction, and assistive technology proficiency inclusive of low-vision devices where appropriate); self-sufficiency and interaction (including orientation and mobility, self-determination, sensory efficiency, socialization, recreation and fitness, and independent living skills); along with age-appropriate career education;
  • Ramp up U.S. Department of Education responsibilities to monitor and report on states' compliance with their obligations with respect to instruction and services provided to students who are blind or visually impaired;
  • Assist parents and educators of students who are blind or visually impaired through regular and up-to-date written policy guidance from the U.S. Department of Education; and
  • Establish a national collaborative organizational resource, the Anne Sullivan Macy Center on Vision Loss and Educational Excellence, to proliferate evidence-based practices in the education of students who are blind or visually impaired, to keep special educators current with the latest instructional methods, and to supplement state and local educational agency provisions.

Finally, a note about the individuals for whom this legislation is named.  Anne Sullivan Macy is fondly remembered as having been Helen Keller's teacher, and Alice Cogswell was the first deaf girl to be educated at a school for the deaf in the United States.
If you would like more information about this legislation, feel free to contact Eric Bridges in the ACB Arlington office.  His e-mail address is  You can call him at (202) 467-5081, or 1-800-424-8666.
It is our hope that a similar piece of legislation will be introduced in the U.S. Senate soon.  It has been several years since any concerted effort has been made to improve the special education services provided to students with disabilities in the U.S.  Both houses of Congress now have an opportunity to change that trend and pave the way for greater opportunity for many of these students.

ACB Announces the Establishment of Annual Giving Societies by Tom Tobin, ACB Director of Development

In an effort to better honor and recognize our generous donors, the American Council of the Blind has created four new Annual Giving Societies. Donors will be enrolled in one of them based on the amount of their annual contributions to ACB.  The members of these societies will be published in "The ACB Braille Forum," ACB's annual reports, the "Inside ACB" donor newsletters, on our web site, and in other ways that will more publicly recognize ACB valued stakeholders.
The Annual Giving Societies will include:

  • Leader's Society, for those who donate between $250 and $999 annually;
  • Advocate's Society for those who donate between $1,000 and $2,499 annually;
  • Champion's Society for those who donate between $2,500 and $4,999 annually; and
  • President's Society for those who donate $5,000 or more annually.

Eligibility for membership in these Annual Giving Societies will be determined at the beginning of each year, based on the donations made during the previous calendar year, January 1 through December 31.  This program is open to individuals, households where there is more than one donor living in the same residence, and ACB affiliates.  As we begin this program, donations made after Jan. 1, 2014 will be used to determine the first members of the Annual Giving Societies.
In order to be counted toward membership in one of the Annual Giving Societies, a donation must be a contribution that is entirely tax-deductible; that is, one for which the donor receives no goods or services in exchange. Some examples of eligible donations include: donations of cash, donations made by check, credit card or online, and donations of marketable securities.  Contributions may be unrestricted, such as those made to the Monthly Monetary Support program, sponsorships of the annual walk, or the conference and convention, or restricted, such as donations made specifically for the support of ACB Radio, "The ACB Braille Forum," or the scholarship program.
Not counted towards the Annual Giving Societies are donations for which some goods or services are exchanged or non-cash donations, the value of which is subject to interpretation. Therefore, raffle ticket purchases, auction item purchases, vehicle donations, online store purchases, and similar items are not eligible for inclusion in determining the amount contributed toward membership in one of these Giving Societies.
For more information about these new Annual Giving Societies or to make a gift to ACB that will enable you to become a member of one of these prestigious societies, please send an e-mail to me, Tom Tobin, at, or call the Minnesota office at 1-800-866-3242.  We thank you in advance for your support of this new program.

What to Do in Las Vegas by Janet Dickelman

Excitement is in the air! Airline and hotel reservations are being made. Committees and affiliates are putting the final touches on their programs. The convention and host committees are working tirelessly to make sure there are plenty of volunteers to assist throughout the convention, compiling information about the area, finalizing tours and getting ready for the big event.
Online registration is now available for sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers. Don't miss out, be a part of it all! Visit and follow the link for the 2014 conference and convention to find out all the details about being an exhibitor, sponsor or volunteer, then complete the easy online registration form.
The place to be is the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev. It all begins on Friday, July 11th; the fun will last through Saturday, July 19. Below is some information that will help you get started in your convention adventure.
Pre-registration will open on Friday, May 30, 2014 and will run through Sunday, June 29.  You can register online, or leave a message and receive a call back, and your registration will be taken over the phone.  A one-page mailer will be distributed prior to the opening of registration providing registration details. The information will also be posted on the acbconvention, leadership, and ACB-L e-mail lists.  The announcement will contain registration dates and details for on-line registration and the toll-free number for those who wish to register by phone.
Paper registration forms WILL NOT automatically be sent unless requested.  If you would like a paper pre-registration form, request it from ACB's Minneapolis office by calling (612) 332-3242 before May 1. Forms will be sent via first-class mail when pre-registration opens May 29th.
Convention week is packed with outstanding workshops, seminars, exhibits, and programs. Whether you are a teacher or rehabilitation counselor; if you are looking for a new job; if you use technology; if you can use new tips and ideas to improve your professional or everyday life, the 2014 ACB conference and convention is where you want to be.
Begin planning your week with ACB. Below is an overview of the week's schedule. As of this writing (in late February) affiliates and committees are still planning their programs so there will be much, much more to come. If you haven't already, subscribe to the convention announce list to receive updates and the latest convention information. To save space, most groups are mentioned only on their first day of programming. ACB affiliates and many committees hold events throughout the convention. ACB committees not mentioned in this list have program information that is not yet available.

Friday, July 11

ACB tours

Saturday, July 12

ACB pre-convention board meeting 
Tech user groups and product spotlights (through Wednesday)
Exhibits (open through Wednesday)
Guide Dog Users, Inc. suite opens
ACB Information Access seminar 
Keys to the Convention seminar (repeats on Sunday) 
Welcome to Las Vegas Party (sponsored by the Nevada host committee)
Students' welcome party
ACB Lions Milly's Place Pin Swap

Sunday, July 13

ACB Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk 
Teachers' breakfast and meeting
Special meetings for attorneys, blind vendors, information technology specialists, and guide dog users
ACB board of publications meeting
Diabetics' lunch and workshop
Mixers held by ACBGE, people with low vision (CCLVI), Friends-in-Art (FIA), and Blind LGBT Pride
ACB opening keynote general session at 7 p.m.

Monday, July 14

General sessions (mornings through Thursday and all day Friday) 
Independent Visually Impaired Entrepreneurs (IVIE) breakfast and meeting
Kids' Explorer Club and Teen Blast (Fun for kids and teens through Friday)
Multicultural concerns lunch and program
Special meetings and activities for library users, guide dog users, Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss, women's concerns, special education task force, rehab task force, sight and sound impaired committee
ACB Recreation Zone (healthy and fun options) 
Afternoon tours (different venues every day through Thursday) 
Evening activities include ACB Families bingo, CCLVI game night, RSVA auction and karaoke, FIA prose and poetry reading.

Tuesday, July 15

Special programming for braille users and supporters of braille
Employment Issues Task Force 
FIA Showcase of the Performing Arts

Wednesday, July 16

Legislative and National Education & Legal Defense Service (NELDS) workshops 
ACB Auction

Thursday, July 17

ACB membership seminar and board of publications workshop 
Affiliate presidents' meeting

Friday, July 18

ACB all-day business session 
ACB banquet

Saturday, July 19

ACB post-convention board meeting
Final ACB tours
Reservation Details
Room rates at the Riviera are $87 (single and double) plus $10 per additional guest. Room taxes are currently 12%. You will be charged for one night's stay when you make your reservation. Make telephone reservations by calling 1-800-634-6753, or online by visiting the ACB web site at and following the 2014 conference and convention link.
Convention Contacts
Stay in touch by joining the ACB convention e-mail list. Send a blank e-mail to
2014 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740,
2014 Advertising and sponsorships: Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625,
For any other convention-related questions, contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, by phone, (651) 428-5059 or via e-mail,

Meet the Candidates

As is our custom, the board of publications is again hosting the Candidates' Page in 2014.  The Candidates' Page is a web page where people declaring candidacy for office present themselves to the ACB membership by responding to a set of questions. This allows ACB chapters and affiliates to have more information at their disposal before they send delegates to the national convention. 
Entries on this page do not constitute nomination for any office. That process doesn't happen until our convention starts. Although people may campaign for office without submitting entries to the Candidates' Page, only those individuals who declare their candidacy on this page will have the opportunity to be interviewed on ACB Radio in June. We are also offering those with social networking and personal web sites a chance to promote their candidacy via our page. But you won't get to take advantage of this great opportunity if you don't submit!
Many members have told us how much they appreciate the opportunity to participate more actively in ACB's democracy because of the early dissemination of this information.
In 2014, ACB members will elect five people to fill ACB board positions and three to fill positions on the board of publications.  Members of the board of publications have developed the following items to be addressed by each candidate.

  1. Introduce yourself and talk about your experience within ACB and other organizations.
  2. What specific talents and experience qualify you for the position you seek?
  3. What would you do to strengthen the relationship between the ACB national leadership and state and special-interest affiliates?
  4. List three issues you plan to work on should you be elected and how you plan to effect change in those three areas.

Candidates for the board of publications should answer questions 1 and 2 and may skip questions 3 and 4. Anyone seeking a seat on the board of publications should answer the following questions.

  1. Please describe any specific experience you have with writing or editing.
  2. How do you see the role of the board of publications as it relates to ACB's Internet and social networking presence?

We encourage candidates to include addresses for any social networking or personal web sites related to their campaigns for ACB national office at the end of their submissions. We will only accept social networking or personal web sites. You may include your e-mail address but no discussion or distribution list addresses.  Links will not be live from the page to these sites. This information will not count in the word count of any answer.
Candidates should answer each question with a maximum of 300 words. Submit answers in one of the following accessible, readable media, i.e., in hard copy print or braille, computer disk (in ASCII text, rich text, or Microsoft Word formats), or via e-mail. Pasting the text into an e-mail message is preferable to sending attachments, but attachments in ASCII text, Microsoft Word or rich text format will be accepted. Please note that the national office has Word 2001, and is unable to open documents in newer versions of Word.  Submissions will not be accepted via telephone, voice mail, audiocassette, or in handwriting.
Note that we will not edit submissions for spelling, grammar, or content. Submissions will be coded into HTML for placement on the web site. It is our webmaster's role to convert documents into HTML; we will not accept submissions which you have coded in this format yourself.
Word counts are based on the total number of words in each answer, with each answer being a maximum of 300 words. Word counts will be determined through the use of MS Word's "word count" feature, in which every word contained in the answer enters into the total word count. Hard-copy submissions will be converted into electronic format then counted. Entries for each answer will terminate at the end of the sentence containing the 300th word.
When submitting answers electronically, candidates should place name, address, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses at the top of the body of the submission. When submitting information in hard copy, place the requested identifying information at the top of the first page and name and a page number at the top of each subsequent page. Send completed submissions to the following address: American Council of the Blind Candidates' Page, 2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650, Arlington, VA 22201.  E-mail submissions to with the words "candidates' page" in the subject line.

Time Lines

Submissions should be mailed, either by postal delivery or electronic mail, so that they reach the ACB national office no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on June 1, 2014. When we receive a declared candidate's materials, we will check the membership database to ensure that he or she is a member in good standing. The Candidates' Page will be available on the ACB web site as soon after the submission deadline as possible. The pages will be available online no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on June 15, and will remain online at until the conclusion of convention.
We encourage ACB members who have computer access to share the contents of the Candidates' Page with members who do not. Anyone who does not have Internet access to the Candidates' Page may call the ACB national office and request the information in an accessible format. An announcement will go out to all ACB lists when the page is up and ready for viewing.
The board of publications will also host the Candidates' Forum, a live question-and-answer session for all declared candidates, on Thursday of convention week at 7 p.m. Las Vegas time (10 p.m. Eastern), which will be broadcast live on ACB Radio. We want to hear from you! Submit questions in writing to the communication center, and stay tuned for more details about this exciting event.

Audio Description Project Update — Awards and Training by Joel Snyder

ACB's Audio Description Project just turned five years old, but its accomplishments suggest a seasoned initiative — and so much of what the project has done is due to the support of you, ACB members.
And now we need your help to honor our young audio description enthusiasts.  We've announced our sixth annual Young Described Film Critic Contest, and we need your assistance in getting the word out to young people in your states and regions.  Kids with visual impairments have a chance to win prizes for themselves AND recognition for their schools, as well as a chance to hold the wonderful title "Young Described Film Critic of the Year!" All they need to do for a chance to win is to write, type or record their own film review of any described movie.  The top nominees in three age categories will be invited to an awards ceremony at the American Council of the Blind 2014 convention in Las Vegas during the week of July 13.  The deadline for entries is June 13, 2014.  For more information, and to enter online, visit our web site at or Google Listening Is Learning, a site run by our partner in this initiative, the Described and Captioned Media Program.  We have a link to the entry site on the ADP home page, or kids can just send a written entry in regular, large print or braille via e-mail or postal mail to ACB's offices in Arlington, Va.
We'd also love to have you publicize our other awards program: the sixth annual ADP Awards.  This year's awards include a call for nominations in six categories:

  • Achievement in Audio Description – Media
  • Achievement in Audio Description – Performing Arts
  • Achievement in Audio Description – Museums
  • Achievement in Audio Description – International
  • Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Memorial Achievement Award in Audio Description – Research and Development
  • Barry Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio Description

Please go to our web site,, for more information on how you can recognize impressive achievement in the field of audio description.
Finally, our annual Audio Description Institute will again be held during ACB's national convention. The intensive, three-day training for prospective describers will start early on the morning of Wednesday, July 16 and go through Friday, July 18. Keep in mind — if you're an avid description consumer, work is available as a consultant on the scripting for museum tours, media and for the performing arts. So ACB members may very well want to consider joining us for the training. We'll be working with a full house of describer-wannabes, putting them through a series of exercises and practica. Join us!

Ten Useful Tips for Braille Users of iDevices by Scott Davert


This post was partially inspired by articles which give general advice about seemingly less-known features of an iDevice. You will also find blog entries on other tech topics scattered throughout the Internet which have similar tips for pretty much any mainstream type of technology. To add to this body of literature, I have compiled 10 useful tips for braille users of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad below. This article was written with the intent to provide both those who are new, and those who are more advanced braille users, with some new and helpful tidbits of information. These tips come from my knowledge as a braille user of iDevices, as well as from my work in the field with other individuals who are deaf-blind who also use braille with their iDevices.

Improving the connection process

If Bluetooth is enabled, each time you press the Home key on your iDevice, it will search for other Bluetooth devices which it can connect to. This includes braille displays that have already been paired. So to have a greater chance of getting your iDevice and braille display to start communicating immediately, it is a good idea to have your braille display on and in discoverable or terminal for screen reader mode before unlocking your iDevice. As long as the 2 have been previously paired, and that braille display is the chosen one in VoiceOver, the pairing process should commence very quickly. It is true that you can sometimes get the braille display to connect while turning it on with your iDevice already unlocked, but this will not always be successful.

What's with the funky symbols in iOS 7?

If you are a braille user living in the U.S., Canada, UK, or any other country which has not officially adopted Unified English Braille yet, you may be wondering what the deal is with some of the braille translation. The issue is that iOS 7 automatically uses the Unified English Braille table, no matter how your regional and language settings are configured. This includes if you had previously configured a different translation table in English prior to upgrading to iOS 7. If you wish to switch back to U.S. or UK braille, go in to Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, Braille, and then select Translation table. Select 1 of the 3 choices, and your braille will switch to that translation table.

Noisy VoiceOver, quiet display

In iOS 7, you can turn off VoiceOver sounds without impacting system sounds. This is useful if you wish to receive sound alerts about notifications, but find the clicks and beeps of VoiceOver to be annoying. There are two ways of doing this. You can either add it in to your rotor settings with VoiceOver or go to Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, and then turn the "sounds" off.

What was that again?

Sometimes, VoiceOver gives you a result or displays information which flashes up in braille and then disappears. One example of this is with the Looktel Money Reader app, another when getting a result with TapTapSee, and a 3rd in certain hints with Dice World. Fortunately, starting with iOS 6, you can read it again if you didn't catch it the first time. To do so, press space with N and you can then review a history of the last few things VoiceOver sent to the braille display at your own pace. To go to the previous item, press space with dot 1, and press space with dot 4 to advance through the history. When you're done reviewing these messages, press space with N again to return to wherever you were in iOS. Note that while you are reviewing these messages, pressing space with dot 1 or dot 4 will still move the VoiceOver cursor, so once you press space with N the second time, you may be returned to a different point on the screen.

Dude, where's my battery life?

Anyone who uses external hardware that connects through Bluetooth, whether it's an external GPS receiver, headset, keyboard, or braille display, can attest to the fact that it is quite the battery hog. While logic may dictate that using the screen curtain will help save battery, since it makes the screen go dark, this is not true. The screen curtain is, quite literally, a curtain that goes over your screen and is a VoiceOver-specific function. You can verify this by turning your screen brightness up to 100 percent while the screen curtain is enabled and watching your battery do a downward spiral. You can also feel heat around the edges of the screen after using your device with the brightness set this high after several minutes. Instead, you may have guessed it, set your screen brightness to 0 percent. Just remember to bring the screen brightness back up some when you wish for a sighted user to see your screen clearly. You can do this by going in to the control center in iOS 7. With earlier versions of iOS, you can also adjust the screen brightness by going into settings, brightness and wallpaper, and then making the adjustment this way. For even more practical ways to conserve battery power, please see David Goodwin's article called Tips For Improving Battery Life in iOS 7 at

Hey, what's this button do?

While most modern-day braille displays have a Perkins-style keyboard and cursor router buttons, they also have some buttons which make them unique. They are configured to help make your life easier in various ways. For example, they may scroll in a certain direction and be located in such a way that you can operate them while not having to take your hands off of the display. While the manual and the various commands listed on are great, it's not always convenient to pull up such a list. Fortunately, iOS has you covered. From anywhere in iOS, press space with K to activate VoiceOver help. This will allow you to not only press buttons and keyboard combinations to find out what they do, but will also let you practice gestures and keyboard commands that you may use if you have a bluetooth keyboard. These are messages that flash up, so press space with N if you miss them the first time. To exit keyboard help, press space with B to activate the back button. You will be returned to where you were before entering this mode. Note that when there is no message flashing up, the braille display will still show the last thing that was on it before you entered keyboard help. This is a known bug that has been reported.

Hurry up, why don't you?

In iOS 7, there have been many changes to the user interface. While most of these do not impact braille users directly, there is one that can affect the performance of your device. This is called reduced motion. Go in to settings, general, accessibility, and under the vision heading, turn on "reduced motion." This will cause less battery drain and should also speed up your device a bit more, as there is less demand on the processor when this feature is turned on.

But can do? I don’t think so!

Some people may be shrugging their shoulders at the title of this tip, but anyone who knows contracted braille will not be. For some braille users, they enjoy using contracted braille, but their typing speed for inputting this method may be slower than the device likes. If you wait too long between letters, for example, if you wanted to type out the word "float," you may end up with "fromlikeoathat." This is because after a few seconds, the Apple braille driver assumes that when you enter a single letter, you want that to be the one-word equivalent. In iOS 7, there is a feature which allows you to turn off this automatic translation. Go into settings, general, accessibility, VoiceOver, braille, and then turn this feature off. Doing this will make it so that nothing is translated until you press either space or backspace. The drawback to this is that you cannot see words as you type them, and editing becomes rather cumbersome since you must hit space with 4-5 in order to translate something without hitting the spacebar. So while this may be a good feature for those who can keep track of what they're writing, it's a feature I'd use only when writing a document. You can always re-enable automatic braille translation when you are editing something if you wish, so it's just another option. Alternatively, pressing space with G from anywhere within the operating system will toggle between contracted and uncontracted braille. While it may take slightly longer to type out uncontracted braille, you may find that it actually saves you time in the long run since you will not have to go back and correct all of those mistranslations. Note that if you choose to type in uncontracted braille, you will need to use the computer braille symbols for punctuation marks and numbers such as the period (dots 4 an 6), the question mark (dots 1-4-5-6), etc. Turning contracted braille on and off is a feature with all versions of iOS that have braille support.

The braille master is at the controls

Also new in iOS 7 is the control center, which gives you easy access to what Apple feels are essential controls that you need convenient access to such as wi-fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and many others. While touch-screen users must tap the status bar and then swipe up with 3 fingers, a braille user can simply press space with dots 2-5 from anywhere in iOS and be presented with the control center. Hit a cursor routing button above the toggles to change them instantly. Press space with B to exit when you are done with the control center.

Get notified

Similarly, touch-screen-only users will need to tap the status bar and then swipe down with 3 fingers to pull up their notifications center. As a braille user, you can instantly pull up your notifications center by pressing space with dots 4-6. As before with the control center, press space with B to exit the notifications center.

How to Be a Co-Pilot with Your Doctor: Shared Decision-Making in Health Care by Ron Pollack

(Editor's Note: Ron Pollack is the executive director of Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers.)
Health care experts are rediscovering an old-fashioned concept that may help lower health-care costs and improve the quality of health care: shared decision-making. What is shared decision-making? It is when you and your doctor work together as co-pilots as you travel through the health care system. And you have the right to ask your doctor to use shared decision-making whenever you need to decide among several treatment options.

What does shared decision-making mean?

Shared decision-making can mean different things depending on the situation. But one of its central ideas is that we need to get patients (and, when appropriate, families) and caregivers more involved in health-care decisions. The main goal of shared decision-making is to give patients the knowledge and skills they need to take an active role in their health care.
Using shared decision-making is especially important when a patient has a medical condition that has more than one medically sound treatment option. In these cases, there is no single, correct medical solution — the best solution depends on the patient's personal preferences and values.

What are the elements of a shared decision-making program?

All shared decision-making programs should contain four fundamental elements:

  1. Information
    Patients should receive clear and unbiased information that describes their condition, that addresses the pros and cons of different treatment options, and that helps them envision how their life might change based on their decision.
  2. Support
    Patients should be well supported during the decision-making process. They should get help understanding the information given to them and should feel free to discuss their values and preferences with their provider.
  3. Discussion
    Patients and providers should share information and make a decision together that is based on the best medical evidence and tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of the patient.
  4. Follow-Through
    Care should be delivered in the agreed upon manner and in a way that respects patients' preferences and values. Patients should stay in contact with their providers and continue to receive support for other health care decisions.

What are patient decision aids?

Patient decision aids are written, video, or web-based tools that are designed to help patients do the following

  1. Become more knowledgeable about their health condition and treatment options;
  2. Decide which risks and benefits are most important to them; and
  3. Envision how the different options would affect their daily lives.

When designed well, these decision aids can help patients make choices that reflect their preferences and values.
Although shared decision-making programs do not necessarily need patient decision aids to be effective, it is essential that patients be well-informed and feel empowered to participate in the decision-making process.



I knew something was wrong for a very long time.
In fact, I knew as early as our second lesson.
I was teaching you the route to the dining hall
and I told you I would be walking the required ten steps behind
to make sure your cane's arc was wide enough,
to make sure you were safe.
I would be quiet,
unobtrusive, so that if you needed to seek help from a stranger
my presence would not dampen your independence.
"But I can't stand the silence," you said.
"And what if I get lost, and there's no one to help?" you said.
"Just talk to me," you said.

"I'll be watching," I said.
"You must get used to my silence," I said.
"Listen to your cane," I said.
I watched as you made it to the corner of Thayer and George without incident
and when you aligned yourself with the parallel traffic, you took your time.
Your movements were not ungraceful.
But halfway through the crossing, you veered left (sharply, inexplicably)
and the parked cars would have netted you
had I not intervened.
You were crying.
I handed you a pocket pack of tissues,
and after you had calmed a little
I took your arm and showed you
how the street slanted downwards. Still, you cried.
"Follow the crown," was all I could say.
I was not trained to speak to your tears.


The field of mobility is an offspring of the military.
Peripatetics, they used to call it.
In Pennsylvania and California, two men developed a systematic, orderly method
for teaching the newly blinded
to travel with long white canes.

Everything was sharp turns and straight lines.
two o'clock and ten o'clock,
correct instead of right.
These students were grateful,
they did not complain.
They were soldiers
used to taking orders.
They were terrified.


There is nothing systematic or orderly about your curls
or the way you blushed (just the once)
when I touched you
so I could draw a map of your dormitory on your back.


I thought that I wanted to become a fifth-grade teacher.
I lasted two years.
The shrillness of those 10-year-old voices gave me a migraine.
They were all so demanding.
Their parents were even worse.
My blind students were the opposite.
It was so refreshing.
I felt like a movie director, or a puppet master.
I told them when to turn and they obeyed.
They learned what they were meant to learn.
The concreteness of their successes made me smile.
Sometimes, we would laugh together.


Why did you have to go and ruin the script?
Your defiance follows us everywhere.
I love its smell, its astringence on my cheeks.
I want some of it for myself.


We were taught that the congenitally blind do not grieve.
How can they miss what they never had?
Thomas Carroll said there are twenty losses of blindness;
supposedly, none of them apply to you.
But last week, when I stopped to admire a mural on a common room wall
and clumsily described how seven shades of blue melted
to create something impossible,
I almost stumbled over the hunger in your eyes.
Afterward, you confessed that you have always hated mobility.
You have always hated your cane,
and that's why you were being so recalcitrant.
Back in the office, I made a note in your file:
"Client's progress hampered by an inability to accept her blindness."
It felt like betrayal.


In for a penny, in for a pound.
You can't look in a mirror, so I feel obligated to say
that your skin looks like clotted cream
that your lips are full and beckoning
that though you mostly wear black
(presumably out of practicality)
color favors you.
At night, I dream of you
disappearing down subway steps
barely avoiding patches of ice
as you walk to class alone.
Choosing to ride the bus in the middle of a rainstorm
because you can't justify a cab, and arriving at your destination
where you must nurse your sodden resignation, alone.
Yesterday, after torturing (I mean teaching) you for two hours
on a relentless July day
I almost put a stop to everything
to tell you that you could spurn my lessons if you wished:
you can survive on your wit and charm alone.
If I were your lover, and not your teacher, I would take you into my garden
on midsummer's eve, and spin you round and round
until you were dizzy and giddy and disoriented
and entirely not alone.


Forgive me for all the times my patience was short
or my tone was terse
or I gave, then took away.
I might not have your stamina
but you are not the only one
who must imprison parts of herself.


I don't know what I will do.
I can never face another student again.
I know I must go to a place
where people come to detox from undeserved power.
Maybe I will grow my hair long,
wear peasant skirts, take up yoga or pottery.
I must render myself unrecognizable
so that if you ever happen to find me
I will be worthy.

- Tasha Chemel

In Memoriam: Maurice Lagrand Richardson

The blind community of the Old Dominion is greatly saddened by the demise of Maurice Lagrand Richardson, age 58, who departed this life Jan. 22, 2014.  He is survived by his sister, Barbara Jones; three brothers, Murley Richardson, Eugene and Ronald Baugh; and three sons, Theo, Mandel and Devin.  He leaves many relatives and devoted friends to mourn his passing.
Maurice was a graduate of the Virginia State School for the Deaf and Blind in Hampton, Va.  He served in several capacities in the Old Dominion Council chapter in Richmond, Va.  Our friend was a strong and relentless advocate for blind rights. He worked tirelessly to promote legislation for the advancement of the blind nationally, and in the Old Dominion.
Maurice was the last president of the Richmond chapter before it disbanded.  He allocated the remaining funds of the chapter for several scholarships to educate eligible blind college students. 
Maurice was a great general who rallied his blind troops to win battles.  He fostered entrepreneurship in Virginia Industries for the Blind as a vendor in the 8th Street office building, the Department of Corrections Center, and the federal building. His last vending stand/snack bar was located in the Division of Motor Vehicles, Richmond, Va.
He never said no to any of us who needed assistance.  Maurice's life began to take a turn for the end recently.  He loved his work and customers, and was taken by ambulance from his vending stand on that final fateful day. 
We have surely been entertained by an angel in disguise.  Farewell for now, our beloved angel brother.
- Rosetta Brown

Affiliate News

Friends-In-Art Scholarship

Friends-in-Art (FIA), a nonprofit organization with the mission of advancing accessibility and opportunity for artists and audience members who are visually impaired, offers an annual $1,500 scholarship to college students who are legally blind and live in North America.

If you are a high school senior or a college student and are planning on, or are currently, majoring in the fields of music, art, drama, or creative writing, and are a blind or visually impaired, we encourage you to apply!  Note: Legal blindness is defined as an individual who has a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the corrected eye and/or 20 degrees or less visual field in the corrected eye. Only individuals who are legally blind in BOTH eyes are eligible to receive this scholarship.

To apply, go to and complete the application and upload/mail the required materials per the directions on the form by May 15, 2014. If you have any questions, contact Wayne Pearcy, FIA's scholarship chair, at

Illinois Council Scholarship

Applications for the 2014 Floyd R. Cargill Scholarship, awarded by the Illinois Council of the Blind, are now available! You may fill it out online, All students who are Illinois residents, who are blind or visually impaired, are eligible.  You must be an Illinois resident, but you do not have to be attending school in Illinois.
The scholarship, in the amount of $750, will be awarded during the 2014 Illinois Council of the Blind convention, Oct. 3-5 at the Sheraton Hotel in Lisle, Ill.  The application deadline is Aug. 15, 2014.  Along with your completed application, you must submit the required supporting documentation:

  • Autobiographical sketch. No more than 2 double-spaced typewritten pages, containing information about you. Tell us about your personal goals, strengths, weaknesses, hobbies, honors, achievements, etc. Handwritten materials will not be accepted.
  • Certification from a doctor or blindness professional of your visual status.
  • Certified transcripts from the school you are presently attending or most recently attended – undergraduates, please include high school transcripts; graduate students please include undergraduate transcripts.
  • One letter of recommendation from a current or recent instructor or counselor.
  • Proof of acceptance in a post-secondary school. Entering and transferring students must submit a notice or letter from the admissions office, stating that they have been accepted or that they are under consideration for admission. (Students continuing at the same school do not need to submit this document.)

If you have questions, or would prefer a hard-copy application, please contact the Illinois Council of the Blind office at (217) 523-4967, or

Caribbean Getaway with BPI

Tired of the cold weather? Longing to get away? Want to take a cruise of the eastern Caribbean? Mark this date on your calendar: Nov. 8, 2014.
There really aren't enough adjectives to describe the colors of the Caribbean. The water shifts from aqua to turquoise to deep blue. Throw in some white-sand beaches, yellow, pink and green architecture, some rather colorful colonial history, plus great dive spots, duty-free shopping and you've got one amazing cruise vacation. And with freestyle cruising, it becomes one of the most relaxing spots on earth. So go ahead, find your place on a postcard-perfect beach and do absolutely nothing! 
Blind LGBT Pride International has scheduled a fun-filled vacation for all to enjoy!  Join us as we travel to the ports of Miami, Philipsburg, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Nassau, Bahamas.
Here's what to do right now: Register with our cruise contact Michelle Zimmerman, 1-877-416-9722 ext. 4398.  Just let her know you are cruising with BPI!  There's a $125 deposit required. Book now and get $100 onboard credit (limited time only).
Inside Cabin: $1,529 (double occupancy), $2,094 (triple occupancy), $2,699 (quad occupancy)
Ocean View: $1,669 (double occupancy), $2,294 (triple occupancy), $2,959 (quad occupancy)
Balcony: $1,829 (double occupancy), $2,394 (triple occupancy), $2,959 (quad occupancy)
Rates are subject to change based on availability. If you have questions, contact BPI board member Mikey Wiseman at

Here and There edited by Sharon Strzalkowski

The announcement of products and services in this column does not represent an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its officers, or staff. Listings are free of charge for the benefit of our readers. "The ACB Braille Forum" cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned. To submit items for this column, send a message to, or phone the national office at 1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in Sharon Lovering's mailbox. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.

Minimum Wage Increase Includes Workers with Disabilities

President Barack Obama has signed an executive order increasing the minimum wage for new federal contracts to $10.10 an hour, beginning Jan. 1, 2015. The order also changes the current law that allows federal contract workers with disabilities to be paid less than those without disabilities who are doing the same job. Under the order, all federal contractors will be covered by minimum wage protections. Some of the people who would see their wages go up under this order include nursing assistants providing care to veterans at nursing homes, concessions workers in national parks, people serving food to our troops, and individuals with disabilities working to maintain the grounds on military bases.

Transportation Survey

The Rocky Mountain ADA Center, a member of the National Network of ADA Centers, is sponsoring a survey of individuals with disabilities to understand the impact of access to transportation on social opportunities.  The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete online at  Those who complete the survey may choose to be entered into a randomly selected drawing for one of eight $25 Visa gift cards. For more information, contact Keith Christensen at or (435) 797-0507.

Microsoft Offers Scholarship

Microsoft recently launched the Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship intended to empower and enable high school students with disabilities to (a) go to college, (b) realize the impact technology has on the world, and (c) target a career in the technology industry. This new program was started by, and is supported by, Microsoft employees who will select promising high school seniors who require financial assistance in order to enter and successfully complete a vocational or academic college program.  This non-renewable $5,000 scholarship will be paid to the recipient's Financial Aid Office by the Seattle Foundation on behalf of the DisAbility Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Microsoft.
All candidates must be high-school students living with a disability who plan to attend a two- to four-year university or college program, maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA or equivalent and have declared a major from the approved list (see scholarship guidelines on application).
To apply for the Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship, the student must meet the following guidelines:

  1. Be a current high school senior with living with a disability (as defined by WHO), whether that be visual, hearing, mobility, cognitive or speech.
  2. Plan to attend an undergraduate program in a 2- or 4-year university/college or technical college in the fall of the academic year following high-school graduation.  Schools must be in the USA or have a USA affiliate for financial transactions (contact Seattle Foundation to verify non-USA school's eligibility).
  3. Declare a major in engineering, computer science, computer information systems, legal or in business that are approved (i.e. paralegal, pre-law, finance, business administration, or marketing).
  4. Demonstrate a passion for technology.
  5. Demonstrate leadership at school and/or in the community.
  6. Have a high school cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  7. Require financial assistance to attend college.
  8. Enrollment status must be full-time or half-time.

For more information, contact the DisAbility Employee Resource Group of Microsoft,

Perkins Celebrates 185

The Perkins School for the Blind celebrated its 185th anniversary on March 2. On that date in 1829, Massachusetts chartered the first school in America for children who are blind.
Perkins was recognized for its exceptional services in the U.S. when it was tapped by the FCC to create as part of a national program that provides free equipment to people who are deaf-blind so that they can engage directly with family, friends and society at large. Worldwide, Perkins has partner programs in 67 countries where shared expertise and a common commitment to bring educational opportunities to all children is transforming lives and building sustainable programs.

Get the Picture!

The camera on an iPhone or iPad does a great deal more than take photos! Just ask Judy Dixon, who not only takes panoramic photos of her new patio, but also clicks the shutter to identify her apricot sweater, pull out an Andrew Jackson bill, scan a barcode at Whole Foods, do FaceTime with a friend in Portugal, and so much more! Now she's sharing what she knows in her new book: "Get the Picture: Viewing the World With the iPhone Camera," available in hard-copy braille, BRF, Word, and DAISY. Judy tested and rated hundreds of apps to find those most accessible to blind users.
In this book, Judy has applied the knowledge she has gained from months of research on iPhone photography and has put into practice strategies enabling people who are blind to enjoy creating and sharing their own photographs of the world around them. Whether you're interested in taking pictures of your newborn for the family album, or your prized tomatoes for your Facebook page, Judy covers all aspects of taking pictures - from photographing people to photographing sunsets. And every iPhone user will want to read her sections on using FaceTime and Skype!
For more information, contact National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen St., Boston, MA 02115-4302, or call 1-800-548-7323.

Lawyer of the Year

Lainey Feingold has received a 2014 California Lawyer of the Year Award (CLAY Award) for her work in 2013. One of 57 lawyers receiving the award this year, she shares the CLAY Award for Disability Rights with Linda Dardarian of the Oakland, Calif. civil rights firm Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho. While maintaining their own law firms, Linda and Lainey have worked as partners since 1994.
Lainey and Linda are receiving the award for their recent work with the blind community which includes settlement agreements they negotiated with Walmart (talking pill bottles), Safeway (accessible online grocery delivery), Bank of America (accessible security features for web and mobile applications) and Weight Watchers (accessible web, mobile apps and print information).
This is the second time that Lainey has received a CLAY Award. She and Linda were honored in December 2000 with an award for their structured negotiations work on Talking ATMs and accessible banking. Nearly 50 settlements have been reached using structured negotiations.

Jewish Summer Camp Programs

The National Ramah Tikvah Network offers a variety of summer camp programs to Jewish children, teens, and young adults with disabilities. More than 40 years ago, Ramah became a pioneer and visionary in Jewish camping and in the Jewish community by establishing the Tikvah program for campers with disabilities.
Every camper is unique, and so is each camp. Programs are located at nine Ramah camps across the United States and Canada. Families are directed to the regional camp that best suits their child's needs. Program offerings include: overnight and day camp programs; vocational education programs; and family camp.
If you have questions, or need more information, contact Batsheva Greenstein, co-coordinator of the National Ramah Tikvah Network, at (212) 678-8881.

Camp Abilities Nebraska

Camp Abilities Nebraska is a week-long residential sports camp for youth ages 9-19 who are blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind. The camp is held on the campus of the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Youth will explore sports and recreational activities in a safe environment with instructors who have experience in adaptive techniques. Camp Abilities Nebraska is co-sponsored by Boys Town National Research Hospital and Outlook Nebraska, Inc. The cost is $300; scholarships are available.  Nebraska residency is not required.  Camp registration ends May 1 and is limited to 20 campers, so prompt enrollment is suggested.  Counselors in the areas of adaptive physical education and special education are needed; orientation is July 20th.  For more information, or to make a donation to Camp Abilities Nebraska, contact Kristal Platt, Vision Program Coordinator, at (402) 498-6365, or visit

Church Conference of the Blind

The National Church Conference of the Blind will hold its annual Bible Conference Aug. 2-8, 2014. The 2014 conference will be held at The Grand Vista Hotel, 2790 Crossroads Blvd. at Horizon Drive, Grand Junction, CO 81506.  To reserve a room, call 1-800-800-7796, or call the hotel direct at (970) 241-8411.
The hotel room rate is $79 per night for up to four people in a room. If you have questions regarding the conference or registration, contact Rheba Dunn at (970) 895-2352, or visit the NCCB web site at

Bierley Dome Magnifiers

Bierley's new 64mm dome magnifier is made of optical-grade acrylic, with a non-scratch base. It features a light-gathering dome magnifier that lets you view anything at twice the size, and glides easily across surfaces. It comes in a silk-lined gift box, with a choice of oak or walnut base. For more information, call Bierley at 1-800-985-0535 or visit

Merlin Ultra Full HD

The new Merlin ultra offers full high-definition color and contrast, resulting in sharp images and vibrant color. Its new full HD camera allows for a wide field of view, displaying more text on the screen. Merlin ultra features: a new full HD camera; high-resolution HD LCD for best image quality; a wide field of view; easy-to-use tactile controls; LED lighting; a magnification range of 1.9x to 104x depending on screen size and zoom table selected; adjustable viewing modes; an XY table with a user-friendly lock; and a 3-year warranty. For more information, call Enhanced Vision at 1-888-811-3161, or visit

WellPoint Web Accessibility

WellPoint recently announced its initiative to make its affiliated health plan web sites, mobile applications, and print information more accessible and inclusive for all members. This initiative will improve accessibility for members with visual impairments. WellPoint has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 level AA as its accessibility standard and has already made substantial enhancements as part of its work toward meeting this standard. The company has also expanded its system for providing braille, large print, electronic, and audio versions of print information to health plan members with visual impairments.

Leonore's List

Most people have heard of Craig's List. But what is Leonore's List?  It is a new web site created by Leonore and David Dvorkin of Denver, Colo. Leonore and David are authors, editors, and book producers who already have seven blind authors among their many editing clients. Leonore's List will start running ads that are exclusively from and for the communities of the blind and otherwise disabled. Ad categories include employment (with ads from both employment providers and seekers), products, services, companies that cater to the blind and otherwise disabled, aid organizations, accessible housing, communications, and publications. Ads may be placed by individuals, organizations, or companies. The person, organization, or company placing the ad assumes all liability. For more information, visit the web site,

Children's Books

"Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein" by Don Brown is now available as a print/braille children's book in contracted braille, for ages 5 to 10.  This biography focuses on Einstein's hard-to-classify brilliance, which led to awesome scientific discoveries, but frequently left him a misunderstood outsider.  Brown offers a thoughtful introduction to an enigmatic man.
"Freedom Summer" is a print/braille children's book, also in contracted braille, for ages 4 to 10. Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there's one way they're different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn't allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other there, only to discover that it takes more than a law to change people's hearts.
For more information, visit, or write to National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen St., Boston, MA 02115-4302, or call toll-free 1-800-548-7323.

Ruderman Prize Awarded

The Ruderman Family Foundation recently announced that Dr. Michael Stein of Harvard University is the first recipient of the Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion. The primary consideration for the award is whether the recipient's work has made life more equitable for people with disabilities.
Dr. Stein, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, is the co-founder and executive director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability. He also played a key role in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The award recognizes "an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish world and the greater public."

Hearne Award Winners Announced

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) recently announced that Talila Lewis and Jason DaSilva are the winners of the 2014 Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award. Lewis, of Washington, D.C., and DaSilva, of Brooklyn, N.Y., received their awards, which are given to emerging leaders in the national disability rights movement, at the 2014 AAPD Leadership Gala, on March 18th.
The AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award advances the work of Paul Hearne, one of the founders of AAPD and a renowned leader in the national disability community, and realizes his goal of cultivating emerging disability rights leaders. Each awardee will receive $10,000 to help them continue their progress in disability activism.
Talila Lewis is the founder and president of Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf (HEARD), an all-volunteer non-profit organization that promotes equal access to the legal system for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. HEARD is the only organization in the nation that focuses on correcting and preventing deaf wrongful convictions, ending deaf prisoner abuse, decreasing recidivism rates for deaf returned citizens, and increasing representation of the deaf in the legal profession. Through Talila's leadership, and with the support of the community, HEARD has considerably advanced the rights of the deaf in the legal and corrections settings.
Director Jason DaSilva has been a prolific filmmaker for the past 10 years. He has directed four short films and two feature-length documentary films. Many of his films have won awards; "Olivia's Puzzle" premiered at the 2003 Sundance Festival and qualified for an Academy Award. His latest film, "When I Walk," which captures DaSilva's experience living with multiple sclerosis, was an official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won Best Canadian Feature at HotDocs 2013. Following the film's theatrical release this fall, it will air on POV on PBS.

Keynote Speaker Announced

Envision has selected Rebecca Kammer, OD, Diplomate Low Vision, FAAO to present the keynote address at its 9th annual conference, which will be held Sept. 17-20 in Minneapolis. The conference provides a multidisciplinary approach to low-vision research and rehabilitation, welcoming ophthalmologists, optometrists, occupational therapists, researchers and others focused on improving the quality of low-vision care through collaboration, advocacy, research and education. Dr. Kammer will discuss international development of low vision services.

Blind Matters

Blind Matters Radio Show is the first syndicated radio show of its kind in the country - an all-talk show catering to the visually impaired and the blind. The show is an interactive support platform educating, entertaining, encouraging, advising, inspiring and guiding the listening audience on relevant topics of interest to the low-vision, blind, and deaf-blind communities.
What makes this show unique? The host, many of our guests, and some of the advertisers are also visually impaired or blind. You can listen to the Blind Matters Radio Show every Saturday live from 3-6 p.m. Eastern on an AM radio station near you, or you may listen via livestream at You can also listen to Blind Matters on iHeart Radio and Tune-in Radio.

Online Course Catalog

CANnect is a consortium of agencies and schools whose mission is to create leading edge, user-friendly and accessible online educational opportunities, learning resources and life skills training for people who are blind and/or visually impaired, for professionals who serve them and for their families.
CANnect has designed and implemented a "Portal: Course Catalogue" through which users are able to access existing English-language online accessible courses.  Members are now in the process of uploading their accessible online courses, videos and webinars to CANnect's Portal,  We invite you to join our efforts by agreeing to post your own accessible online course to the catalog. If you are visually impaired or are a teacher of the visually impaired, take a look at the courses to see if any of our accessible online course suits your needs. 
Sample courses now posted include Excel courses offered by the Carroll Center for the Blind (Newton, Mass.), a course for Self-Management of Diabetes by visually impaired diabetics, a companion course for professionals who care for visually impaired diabetics, and a course for health professionals who may encounter people who are blind and diabetic in their practice. Several brief webinars on using mobile devices with access technology are also posted:

  • The Hadley School for the Blind library of 112 accessible online courses;
  • The Baruch College City University of New York Computer Center for Visually Impaired People accessible online courses;
  • E.A.S.I. (Equal Access to Software and Information) catalog;
  • The Carroll Center for the Blind course catalog;
  • The Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) popular video clips and online courses;
  • CISCO ACADEMY, presented by the Western Australia Association for the Blind; and
  • Cathyanne Murtha's Assistive Technology Institute is offering 7 courses in Microsoft Word and Office.

If you have questions or suggestions, contact Rachel Rosenbaum via e-mail,

Blind Singles Magazine

"Blind Singles" is a free electronic magazine that consists of ads of blind singles who would like to find someone for close friendship or relationship. We accept ads of people 18 and above. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to

New Magazine

Eric Calhoun is starting a brand-new magazine, the Eric Calhoun, where the readers are the contributors.  Special notices are welcome, as long as they're free and legal.  Pen pals are welcome to advertise.  To give everyone a chance, you will be limited to one advertisement every 3 weeks.  No attachments!  If interested in subscribing, send a message to, with the subject line (minus the quotes) "The Eric Calhoun Magazine."

Candle in the Window Retreat

Candle in the Window will hold its annual retreat Aug. 6-10, 2014 at the Wooded Glen Retreat Center in Henryville, Ind. This year's topic is "Blindness and Your Culture: How has it affected you and how do you affect it?"
The cost of the conference per person is $525 double occupancy, $505 triple occupancy. It includes room, all meals and ground transportation between Louisville and Wooded Glen. Attendance is limited to 20 participants, so make your reservations early! All it takes is a $40 non-refundable deposit. A $15 discount is offered to those who pay before July 1. Registration closes Aug. 1.
PayPal payments are accepted and should be sent to Checks are also accepted; make it out to Candle in the Window and send it to Carlos Taylor, 925 S. Luick Ave., Muncie, IN 47302.
If you have questions, contact Deb Lewis, or (502) 721-9129; or Becky Barnes Davidson, or (914) 393-6613.
For more information about the retreat center, visit

High Tech Swap Shop

For Sale:

Braille Note PK with KeySoft version 7.2. Asking $350 or best offer. Power Braille 40-cell refreshable braille display. Asking $1,200 or best offer. Contact Philip at (703) 581-9587 or via e-mail,

For Sale:

Braille Sense Classic, 9 years old, with Perkins-type keyboard, recently updated. Asking $800 or best offer. Contact Larry Hutson at, or phone (708) 747-5456.

For Sale:

Olympus DM-4 digital recorder. Has 8 gigs internal memory, a bright 2.2" color screen, a voice guidance system, and supports DAISY,, podcasting and audio book formats. It transfers audio files quickly and easily; records and plays back in MP3, WMA and PCM. It charges the battery when you connect it to your PC or when plugged in with the AC adapter (included). It has a long battery life (20 hours) with lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Used very little, in box with instructions and disks. Asking $280 plus $10 shipping. iPad 2 model MB29311. Has 28.6 gigs of memory. In excellent condition; comes with charger and iPad cover. Asking $150 plus $10 shipping. For more information, contact Jeff via e-mail,, or phone him at (612) 869-7410.

For Sale:

Brailliant BI 40, in excellent condition; still under warranty. Comes with a leather case from Executive Products, as well as its original case, and a USB cable.  Connects by Bluetooth or via USB. Battery life is up to 20 hours when using Bluetooth.  It can be charged with any standard USB charger, as well as by connecting it to a computer. Works beautifully with iOS devices, Macs, and PCs!  Asking $2,000. PayPal or money order only. If interested, please contact Desi via e-mail,

For Sale:

Merlin 24" high-definition CCTV with floating table. Machine is 7 months old. Comes with table, all cables, in original box. Asking $2,500. Contact Rich Chambers at (509) 294-0250.

For Sale:

Small, portable radio with antenna, speaker, and handle strap; uses two AA batteries. Asking $25. Will accept check or money order only. Contact Tonya Smith, (734) 430-1992, or write her in braille at 1632 Paree St., Newport, MI 48166.


Four-track tape player/recorder in good condition. If you have one, contact Mark Brautigam at (614) 224-1203.

ACB Officers

Kim Charlson (1st term, 2015)
57 Grandview Ave.
Watertown, MA 02472
First Vice President
Jeff Thom (1st term, 2015)
7414 Mooncrest Way
Sacramento, CA 95831-4046
Second Vice President
Marlaina Lieberg (1st term, 2015)
15100 6th Ave. SW, Unit 728
Burien, WA 98166
Ray Campbell (1st term, 2015)
460 Raintree Ct. #3K
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
Carla Ruschival (2nd term, 2015)
148 Vernon Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206
Immediate Past President
Mitch Pomerantz
1115 Cordova St. #402
Pasadena, CA 91106

ACB Board of Directors

Berl Colley, Lacey, WA (final term, 2016)
Sara Conrad, Stevensville, MI (1st term, 2016)
Janet Dickelman, St. Paul, MN (1st term, 2014)
Michael Garrett, Missouri City, TX (final term, 2016)
George Holliday, Philadelphia, PA (1st term, 2014)
John McCann, Falls Church, VA (1st term, 2016)
Allan Peterson, Horace, ND (1st term, 2014)
Patrick Sheehan, Silver Spring, MD (1st term, 2014)
Dan Spoone, Orlando, FL (1st term, 2016)
David Trott, Talladega, AL (1st term, 2014)
Ex Officio: Denise Colley, Lacey, WA

ACB Board of Publications

Denise Colley, Chairman, Lacey, WA (1st term, 2015)
Ron Brooks, Phoenix, AZ (1st term, 2015)
Marcia Dresser, Reading, MA (final term, 2014)
Doug Powell, Falls Church, VA (1st term, 2014)
Richard Rueda, Union City, CA (1st term, 2014)
Ex Officios: Ron Milliman, Bowling Green, KY
Bob Hachey, Waltham, MA
Berl Colley, Lacey, WA