The ACB Braille Forum, May 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 Braille Forum (TM) is available in braille, large print, half-speed four-track cassette tape, data CD, and via e-mail.  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
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ACB Braille Forum, May 2014 downloads

President's Message: Building Communication Options for ACB, by Kim Charlson

In an organization as diverse as the American Council of the Blind, it takes many paths of communication to get the word out about what we do to all of our members, potential new members, and the general public. In many ways, technology has made it easier and also harder to communicate – not because of the technology itself, but because of the varied methods now being used to reach out. I often find the same challenges in my work as the director of the Perkins Library, the NLS network library for the National Library Service/Library of Congress program.
ACB takes communication, in its various forms, very seriously. From the more traditional but very important hard-copy pages of "The ACB Braille Forum" to the electronic pages of "The ACB E-Forum," these are two incredibly important vehicles for our organization to share its message about our accomplishments and activities.
The board of directors has had the challenging responsibility to balance increasing costs to produce a magazine in a variety of accessible formats with the lower costs for utilizing innovative technological approaches to making the E-Forum available via e-mail.
If you have been receiving "The ACB Braille Forum" in hard-copy format, but haven't been receiving the e-mail edition which is published in alternating months, I would urge you to send an e-mail message that includes your name, e-mail address, and a request to be subscribed to the e-mail version to Sharon Lovering, editor, at
In addition, you can access "The ACB Braille Forum" and the E-Forum via the NFB Newsline service. This program is available to anyone in the U.S., even in states that do not presently have full NFB Newsline access. For more information on signing up, call 1-866-504-7300.  
I am very pleased to announce that you can also listen to "The ACB Braille Forum" and "The ACB E-Forum" on the ACB Radio telephone system by calling (231) 460-1061.  You can listen to either the latest issue of "The ACB Braille Forum" or "The ACB E-Forum." And you can skip forward and back through the articles by using the telephone keypad.
The board of publications (BOP) continues to work very hard to ensure that options are available for all of ACB's members to access the organization's news. You will be hearing more from the BOP about a survey they will soon be conducting to get more feedback about ways they can continue to work and improve ACB's publications for the membership. My thanks to the members of the BOP who have worked on this issue and are making great progress on providing a variety of access methods to ACB information. They include: Denise Colley, Lacey, Wash.; Ron Brooks, Phoenix, Ariz.; Marcia Dresser, Reading, Mass.; Doug Powell, Falls Church, Va.; and Richard Rueda, Union City, Calif.
For those using technology to keep up with information, ACB is there for you as well. The broad term "social media" covers the various methods of communication used by computer and mobile device users. Most often we include Twitter and Facebook in this category for purposes of ACB.
You can opt to "Like" us on Facebook (americancounciloftheblindofficial); or "Follow" us on Twitter (acbnational). We urge you to share and re-tweet messages to your friends and followers to help us spread the word about ACB.
The value of social media is that you can share news immediately and take advantage of this ever-growing network. The ACB Twitter account presently has over 650 followers, and it continues to grow weekly. 
I want to publicly express appreciation to both the Twitter and Facebook teams for ACB. The Twitter team consists of four individuals who rotate week-long coverage for sending tweets out on our Twitter account. This team includes: Lisa Brooks of Arizona, Jim Denham of Massachusetts, Michael Malver of Minnesota, and ACB board member John McCann of Virginia, the Twitter liaison to the social media team.
The Facebook team is structured a bit differently based on the way Facebook is used and accessed. ACB's Facebook page has over 450 followers and is growing at a rapid rate.  ACB treasurer Carla Ruschival of Kentucky is the Facebook team leader, assisted by second vice president Marlaina Lieberg of Washington, Will Burley of Texas, Katie Frederick of Ohio, and Carey Bishop of Arizona. Francine Patterson and Eric Bridges from the ACB staff round out the team.
ACB has a strong commitment to expand its available communication channels to meet all of the information needs of our membership. Balancing everyone's needs and taking full advantage of emerging technologies is important to me as president of ACB. We also continue to work hard to ensure that members without technology can have a variety of options to get the ACB information they need.
If you have other ideas on how we can expand our communication reach and would like to help us grow our communication channels, let me know. For more information or questions about the ACB social media presence, contact me at or call (617) 501-5853. Keeping the channels of communication wide open and flowing is a high priority in the months and years ahead.

Calling All Advocates! by Melanie Brunson and Sheila Styron

When individuals call ACB's national office for help with legal or access issues, they could often benefit from assistance from someone closer to home who can personally work with them to resolve an issue, attend a hearing, or provide other direct advocacy, counsel, or training. Some of the most frequent issues include:

  1. Problems related to Social Security, SSI, or SSDI benefits;
  2. Questions about technology, and assistive technology;
  3. Medicare and Medicaid issues;
  4. Housing issues, such as discrimination against guide dog users in rental housing, accessibility issues, availability of rent subsidies, Section 8 vouchers;
  5. Transportation and paratransit eligibility;
  6. Employment discrimination and reasonable accommodations; and
  7. ADA provisions and/or protections.

If you or someone you know has expertise in any of these areas and would be willing to provide advocacy assistance to individuals who need help, please let us know. Even if you are not an expert, but are interested in developing advocacy skill sets or assisting with connecting people who need help with local resources through your affiliates and communities, we would also like to hear from you.
If you are interested in joining this network of advocates and advocacy support, send an e-mail to Eric Bridges at Please include "network of advocates" in the subject line. Let Eric know the issue area(s) you can help with and include as much specific information as possible. We will contact you with any follow-up questions.  It is our hope to find people throughout the country who can share their expertise and desire to help ACB members as well as others who need advocacy assistance, thereby strengthening ACB's effectiveness as a grassroots advocacy organization.
Thank you in advance for your willingness to assist. Without you, ACB cannot respond to ongoing requests for localized advocacy support.

Help for Non-24 on the Way by Sharon Lovering

Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Do you wake up groggy, sluggish or forgetful?  Do you find yourself napping during the day?  Are your sleep patterns different from most people you know? Do you find it hard to concentrate? Do you fight to stay awake during the day? Does the time your body wants to sleep seem to shift over time? Are you frustrated by this?  If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, and you're totally blind, it could be Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder.
What exactly is Non-24? It is a chronic circadian rhythm sleep disorder that affects more than 70 percent of totally blind individuals, or about 80,000 people in the United States alone. It occurs almost entirely in individuals who are totally blind and lack the light sensitivity necessary to reset the circadian clock. Without light perception, the brain's circadian rhythms, which guide many of the body's functions, including sleep, are not reset to a regular 24-hour cycle. Individuals with Non-24-Hour Disorder are unable to synchronize their internal clock to the 24-hour day-night cycle, which disrupts their sleep-wake cycle. The disorder was first diagnosed in 1948 by Dr. Rammler in Germany.
Enter Vanda Pharmaceuticals. "About 10 years ago, when I founded Vanda, we developed an interest, among other things, in developing drugs that address circadian rhythm disorders," stated Mihael Polymeropoulos, president and CEO of Vanda Pharmaceuticals. "We identified as the prototypical disorder, Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder that almost exclusively occurs in the blind."
With Non-24, "blind patients who no longer have the time cue to reset their body clock begin to be in a pattern in sync with their endogenous clock, which happens to be about 24 1/2 hours per day," Polymeropoulos said.  "It became apparent to us in 2004 that tasimelteon, a small-drug molecule that binds the melatonin 1 and 2 receptors in the human brain, it could act as a therapeutic for this disorder. ... The hope was that tasimelteon could act as the light cue to instruct the body clock in a small group of neurons in the brain."
Vanda began by studying the pharmacological properties of tasimelteon about 10 years ago. Clinical trials began in 2010. "We learned a lot about the blindness community," Polymeropoulos said. "All of us had some preconceived notions with blind people, what they can do and cannot do, and it has been an amazing education for us as well outside of Non-24."
Two key studies measured the drug's efficacy, one in the U.S. and a second that took place in both the U.S. and Germany, he added.  Two longer-term safety studies are looking at potential side effects, one in the U.S. and one in France. More than 1,300 patients were treated during the studies.  There are about 70 people still in treatment in the U.S. and 40 people in France who have been treated continuously over the last three years.
"The results of the studies suggested that tasimelteon, administered once a day at night, can indeed reset the body clock and give patients the ability now to rest at night," Polymeropoulos noted.  "It is very exciting, especially responding to a medical need by thousands of blind patients who actually suffered and struggled ... for many, many years. ... What is more troubling is that ... these patients did not even know what they had."  Patients were treated for insomnia, depression, or dementia; others were called lazy or "bad girls." Now we know that it's a circadian rhythm disorder that is treatable.
While developing Hetlioz (TM), Vanda worked for about 16 years, 6 of them with Bristol Myers Squibb, before getting approval for the drug from the Food and Drug Administration on Jan. 31, 2014. "This was an exceptional journey because of it being the first drug for this disorder," Polymeropoulos said. "They have never approved a drug before [for this disorder]."
Hetlioz (TM) (also known as tasimelteon) can help people with Non-24 regulate their body clocks. It will soon be available at pharmacies with a prescription from your doctor. In the U.S., the bottle even has braille on it. Polymeropoulos hoped that having braille on the bottle would inspire other manufacturers to develop accessible labels for blind patients. "There's a lot to be done ... but at least it's a step in the right direction," he added.
If you need more information about this medication, or physicians who can diagnose Non-24, call 1-844-HETLIOZ (1-844-438-5569) or visit

It's Your Convention: Join Us in Las Vegas by Janet Dickelman

There are many components that make for a successful convention: sponsors, exhibitors, programming, and tours, but the most important part of the convention is you!

By the time you read this, there will be approximately 60 days until the 2014 conference and convention. I hope you are looking forward to Las Vegas as much as I am.  Have you made your plans yet?
Join the fun beginning Friday, July 11th, and ending with our final tour on Saturday, July 19th.  This is your convention to enjoy, learn, participate and give feedback! Whether you have never attended a convention or have been coming for years, we want to see you in Las Vegas. This is a historic convention with Kim Charlson as the first woman president of ACB.

Convention Hotel

If you attended the convention in 2005, some portions of the Riviera will be familiar to you, but the hotel has gone through a big makeover since we last visited. The Monaco tower was remodeled in 2008 and is totally non-smoking. All rooms have refrigerators, and our convention rate is $87 per night. The Monte Carlo tower has not been remodeled since 1998. This is the tower to stay in if you are a smoker (there are smoking and non-smoking floors) and it is the place to stay if you are on a budget with a $63 room rate.  Both towers have easy access to the convention center, the portion of the hotel where all meetings will be held.
On the first floor, the Grande Ballroom has 8 sections. It will be home to our general sessions, ACB Café, ACB Marketplace and other functions. The Capri rooms (103 through 115) will be where you will find registration and where many meetings will be held. The Royale Pavilions (1 through 8) will feature the exhibit hall and other meetings.
On the second floor you will find Sky Boxes (201 through 212), where other meetings will be held.
The Top of the Riv on the 65th floor of Monaco tower will be used for the FIA Showcase of the Performing Arts, the auction, our Friday evening banquet and some other large events.
The executive director's and president's suites will be on non-smoking floors in the Monte Carlo tower. You do not have to walk through the casino to get to the meeting rooms from either tower or to visit the Riviera's restaurants.

Special Requests

Ordering Dog Food

Once again this year, Tim and Maria Stone of Scoop Masters will be maintaining the relief areas and taking pre-orders for dog food, which will be delivered directly to your room. If your dog is anything like my dog Isabel, seeing that dog food bag is the highlight of the convention, and Tim and Maria are her best friends! You may pre-order dog food for the convention by visiting
If you can't find your brand, you can contact Scoop Masters at 1-800-787-7667 or use the e-mail link on the page. There are over 1,500 brands and types of dog food, so we can't list them all, but we can get anything you need. The last day for ordering dog food for room delivery is Tuesday, July 8th for regular dog food. If you require special-order food, please place your order by July 1st.
As of now, dog relief areas are planned for outside the Monaco tower, outside of the Royale Pavilion, and outside the Grande Ballroom. We will have canopies over the areas, and Tim is using a new, soft artificial grass product. Please keep in mind that these areas may change once Tim arrives at the hotel.

Interpreter Services

If you plan to attend the convention and need a support service provider or interpreter, please contact Lori Scharff, who will assist in making arrangements. Send an e-mail to with "interpreter for Las Vegas" in the subject line, or contact her via phone, (516) 695-6370.

Wheelchairs and Scooters

The Riviera has wheelchairs and scooters available. Please contact me by June 1st with your name, phone number and arrival and departure dates.

Reservation Details

Room rates at the Riviera are $87 in the Monaco tower and $63 in the Monte Carlo tower. Rates are for $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. To subscribe, 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, at (651) 428-5059 or via e-mail,

Audio Description Project: We Need You! by Joel Snyder, Director, ACB Audio Description Project

In last month's issue of the Forum, I appealed to you for your help in encouraging young audio description enthusiasts to send us their reviews of described videos or films.  It warrants a reminder — we need your assistance in getting the word to young people in your states and regions about our sixth annual Young Described Film Critic Contest.  The deadline for entries is Friday, 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.
Similarly, we'd love to have you publicize our other awards program: the Sixth Annual ADP Awards. This year's ADP 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

Again, please go to our web site,, for more information on how you can recognize impressive achievement in the field of audio description.
Our annual AD Institute, a describer training initiative, will happen for its sixth year in a row.  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 want to consider joining us for the training.  Stay in touch via our web site,
But that's not all!
This year, we will convene our third Audio Description Project Conference — a conference within the ACB conference, to be held in the afternoons Sunday through Tuesday, July 13-15.  We invite ACB members to register for the conference and learn a great deal about all aspects of description.
New for this year, we will hold a "Mentoring Meet-Up" – sighted attendees of the Audio Description Project Conference will be paired with a blind or visually impaired mentor.  The best describers develop an understanding of the audience for whom they are providing a critical service.  What better opportunity for such interaction than at the ACB conference and convention, where some 1,500 blind people will likely be present?
We encourage ACB members to assist us by volunteering to be a mentor:  bring the ADP Conference attendee to the opening plenary session of the ACB conference and at least two other activities during the sessions over the next two mornings — e.g., touring the exhibit hall together, attending an affiliate meeting or an additional ACB general session, taking a walk, eating a meal together, or watching an audio-described film.  It should be great fun. We hope that these interactions will give sighted describers lots of practical experience interacting with a blind person — and you both may forge a new friendship and increase understanding between the sighted and the blind communities.
Here's a preview of the other sessions and activities we have planned for the ADP Conference.

  • Getting the Most Out of the ADP Web Site: How to Access Audio-Described TV, Movies, and Videos
  • Description and Literacy – Programs like the Described and Captioned Media Program and several published papers have demonstrated how description can build literacy        
  • Legislative Update – A review of the current status of the mandate for broadcast description; broadcast description in the digital era and the FCC; and the end of Department of Education funding for broadcast description
  • Advocacy for Audio Description/Boosting Description for Media – How can description become more "visible?"  How can we most effectively advocate for description, particularly in various media formats, e.g., television, film, the web, DVDs and smartphones?
  • Broadcast Description — Who creates description for broadcast television?  Are there quality standards?  Can description producers work with cable and satellite companies to make it easier for consumers to access description? 
  • The Description Profession — How and where do audio describers become employed, especially for film and TV?  What about opportunities for AD consumers to contribute to the process? 
  • Audio Description in Spanish — 53 million people of Hispanic descent constitute 17% of the population of the United States.  How is audio description serving Hispanics who are blind or have low vision?
  • Knowing Your Audience-Performing Arts Description — It all began with the performing arts.  What are the most recent advances?  What can be done to entice more consumers of the service?
  • Seeing the Art-Visual Art/Museum Description — Learn about the top programs for visual art description in the United States and abroad.
  • The Audio Description Consumer – Audio description is first and foremost in service to the needs of people who are blind or have low vision.
  • Presentation of the ADP Awards

So consider becoming an active audio description advocate — join us this summer for the ADP conference!  You can stay in touch with us at the ADP web site,

Gambling on Leadership by Jim Jirak

When you think of Las Vegas, what first comes to mind?  The cha-ching of the slots or hitting it big at the tables?  The bright lights of the smoke-filled casinos?  Elvis impersonators or other celebrity look-alikes?  Perusing the Vegas strip with all its shops and restaurants?  Or is it the summer heat?  All of these items are prevalent during the summer months in Sin City.
With that said, it is the backdrop of Louisville's Churchill Downs that saw the culmination of the collaborative efforts of ACB's Leadership Task Force to launch a successful leadership training in conjunction with the ACB conference and convention in July 2012.  Dubbed the "Inaugural Leadership Conference," each agenda item focused on various aspects of leadership responsibilities and provided a cohesive and meaningful conference experience.
Building on the momentum of this conference and several regional training opportunities since, ACB is once again offering to anyone interested in leadership development or leadership enhancement the opportunity to learn and grow.
The all-day training takes place at the Riviera Friday, July 11 at 8 a.m. and will cost $75, which includes lunch and electronic hand-outs.  We hope this training will attract emerging leaders within affiliates and others who feel they could benefit from some additional leadership training. Affiliates should begin thinking about who might benefit most from expanded training and encourage and support those individuals' involvement. Registration is also open to individuals who feel they want to reach out and gain more training to become emerging leaders in an ACB affiliate. Are you, or do you know someone who has expressed genuine interest in and follow-through with projects? Are you a scholarship winner or new board member who feels they need a little additional training and mentoring?
This year's theme is "Profile of a Leader: An Interactive Day of Skills Improvement."  Topics include, but are not limited to, characteristics of a leader, running meetings, membership development, recruitment and retention, fund-raising and a fun and interactive group activity.  Registration for this event will be a part of the pre-convention registration, which will be available soon.
If you're looking for a singularly effective means of increasing affiliate membership, training tomorrow's leaders, improving the ability of current leaders, and creating a vibrant, active and empowered state or special-interest affiliate, look no further than ACB's leadership training seminar.  The Leadership Training Task Force is placing bets that many will take advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow. Remember, in this case, what happens in Vegas need not stay in Vegas.

2014 Information Desk by Vicky Prahin

If you enjoy fast-paced, varied activity, volunteer for a few hours at the information desk during the 2014 national conference and convention. Those who have volunteered in the past already know how much fun you can have and how many new people you can meet. Volunteers will answer questions in person and by phone about meeting locations, caucuses, and special activities; download documents for attendees; distribute newspapers, proposed changes to bylaws, and hotel information; and log in door prizes and auction items.
The desk will open on Thursday evening, July 10, for early arrivals. It will remain open throughout the convention, daily from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. the 11th through the 17th and 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the 18th.
At the information desk you can make reservations for banquet tables, sign up for newspaper delivery, drop off door prizes and items for the Brenda Dillon Memorial Auction, find hotel orientation information and select menus, and report items you have lost or found.
If you can work a minimum block of three hours, e-mail me at or call (614) 949-7757. We need a group of friendly, courteous, and able people to help make this year's convention the best ever!

Reminder about Constitution and Bylaws Amendments

I am writing to remind you of the procedures for proposing amendments to the organization's constitution and bylaws.
Proposed amendments must be presented in writing to the constitution and bylaws committee before the end of the first day following the day of the roll call session of the conference and convention.  For 2014 this deadline is midnight (24:00) Pacific time, Monday, July 14.  Amendments received after that time will not be considered. Amendments, whenever possible, shall be submitted electronically in ASCII text format.
Proposed amendments may be sent to me at  Questions concerning this message may be sent to the same e-mail address or via telephone at (317) 228-0496.
Additional information about the amendment process or procedures of the constitution and bylaws committee can be found in Article X of the ACB constitution and in Bylaw 6, Section D.  The current ACB constitution and bylaws can be read by visiting the About Us section at  We encourage anyone interested in proposing amendments to review the current constitution and bylaws before doing so.
- John Huffman, chair, constitution and bylaws committee

$$$ Win the $5,000 Grand Prize $$$

Tickets are now available for "The ACB Braille Forum" drawing.  This is your chance to support our wonderful Forum publications. A single ticket can win you $5,000, $1,000 or $500 and can be shared by up to five individuals. There are only 500 tickets available, and they will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
There are several ways to enter the drawing.  Tickets are now available in the ACB Minnesota office, which you can contact at (612) 332-6242. Also, you can buy a ticket with your convention registration. Tickets will be sold in person the week of the conference and convention. The drawing will be held the evening of July 18, 2014 at the banquet. This is the best $50 investment you can make in ACB.  Buy two, three or more!  "The ACB Braille Forum" appreciates your support.

The ACB Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk: It's the Real Deal! by Donna Brown

The ACB Walk committee is challenging you to shuffle the deck and roll the dice to hit the jackpot for ACB.  The 2014 walk is the real deal! Not only does the ACB Walk have a new name, but participants also have the opportunity to roll doubles and raise lots of money for both ACB and an affiliate of their choice.
To honor Brenda Dillon, one of the founders of the walk, the ACB Walk is now known as the ACB Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk.  It will be held at the Miracle Mile Shops, Planet Hollywood on Sunday, July 13, during the 2014 ACB national conference and convention in Las Vegas, Nev.
How does this real deal work? When a team captain registers a new team, he/she has the option to designate up to 50 percent of the donations that team receives to the affiliate of his/her choice.  Then each person who wants to be a team member completes an individual registration form, and indicates which team they want to be a member of.  Finally, actively start seeking those all-important donations!
As in previous years, you may register as either an on-site walker or a virtual walker, and you can register as an individual without being part of a team.  So even if you are unable to attend the national conference and convention, you can still be a part of this real deal!
As part of this real deal, the registration fee for everyone is still only $25.  To register a new team, or as an individual, go to the registration link on  On the registration page, you will find a link to register a new team, and another link to register as an individual or as a member of an existing team.  To make a pledge, go to the donation link on  If you are uncomfortable with completing any of these forms online, you may either download copies of these forms, or you may call Donna Brown at (304) 940-0292 for assistance.  All entry forms or pledge forms completed in hard copy must have a check made out to ACB Walk attached and mailed to American Council of the Blind, 6300 Shingle Creek Pkwy., Suite 195, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430.
Prizes will again be given to teams and individuals who reach various levels of received donations.  So get registered and start seeking donations.  There are at least six teams already registered, and they have been actively recruiting team members and donations. On-site walkers also have the opportunity to win prizes on Walk Day.
If you have any questions about the ACB Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk, contact either Donna Brown or Dan Dillon, chairs of the walk committee.  Their information is as follows: Donna Brown, (304) 940-0292, e-mail; Dan Dillon, (615) 874-1223, e-mail
So get registered, and roll doubles for ACB and an affiliate of your choice.  How often do you encounter a win-win opportunity in Las Vegas?

Play the Best Odds in the House and Win an Apple iPad! by Dr. Ron Milliman

Janet Dickelman was the big grand prize winner in the Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) Program drawing held following the ACB national conference and convention last year.  She won a fabulous iPad. The iPad was such a popular item last year that we decided to give another one away this year.
Now, we're giving you the best odds in the house, and you, too, could be the next big winner!
Once again this year during the ACB national conference and convention, the MMS program committee is having daily drawings for valuable packages of gift cards and coupons from major national chains.  Then, after the close of the convention, one lucky MMS participant will win the grand prize, an Apple iPad obtained with the generous donations from Dan & Leslie Spoone, Billie Jean Keith, and Sue Ammeter. This iPad is the very latest, iPad 4th generation, 32 GB, Wi-Fi enabled, with retina display for the clearest, sharpest viewing for those of you who have limited vision, and for those of you who cannot see the display, it has a built-in screen reading program called VoiceOver that you can turn on for total accessibility. 
To enter the 2014 MMS daily and grand prize drawings, you must either enroll in the ACB Monthly Monetary Support Program with a minimum contribution of $10 per month, or increase your existing contribution by a minimum of $5 per month.  Anyone who has met these criteria between the end of the 2013 convention and the close of this year's convention will be placed in the grand prize drawing for the iPad.  In addition, each day during the convention, the people who enroll or increase their contributions by the above minimums will be entered in the daily drawings.  If, for example, 10 people enroll or increase their contributions to the MMS program on Monday during the convention, those 10 people will have their names placed in the drawing for that day AND in the grand prize drawing for the Apple iPad.
More Good News!
You can even increase your odds of winning!  Here's how: Your name will be placed in the drawings once for every time your contribution increases by an increment of $5. Here are some examples of how it works.

  1. You enroll as a new participant in the MMS program on Wednesday of convention week with a contribution of $15 per month. Your name will be entered twice in Wednesday's daily drawing, once for the $10 minimum initial monthly contribution and once for the additional $5. Your name will also be entered twice in the grand prize drawing for the iPad. 
  2. If you are already an existing member of the MMS program, like for instance, our president, Kim Charlson, and on Tuesday during convention, Kim increases the amount of her existing MMS contribution by $20 per month.  Her name will be placed in the Tuesday daily drawing AND in the grand prize drawing four times, once for each $5 increment of the increase in her Monthly Monetary Support contribution.

The MMS table will be open every day of the convention, starting Saturday, July 12. Again this year, our booth will be located next to the ACB Mini Mall.
If you need more information about the ACB Monthly Monetary Support Program, call Ron Milliman, MMS committee chair, at (270) 782-9325 or e-mail me at
Take a chance at beating the best odds in the house and you could be a big winner in Las Vegas!

How to Get the Most from Your Vocational Rehabilitation Experience, Part IV: Informed Choice by Doug Powell

The Rehabilitation Act has been amended several times since its passage in 1973.  One of the concepts that was strengthened in the 1990s was "informed choice."  Basically, what this means is that from the beginning of your relationship with the vocational rehabilitation system through every step to your case closure, you have the right and responsibility to be a partner in the decisions about your Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and its implementation.  You have a say in what your goals are, what services are needed to meet those goals, and how those services will be delivered.


As a reminder from previous articles, the Individualized Plan for Employment is your contract with the rehabilitation agency.  The goals of this plan are developed "consistent with [your] strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice, so that such individuals may prepare for and engage in gainful employment."  Some professionals may think they only need to find out what you want and then make the decisions for you about what your plan should be.  Some programs are rigid in their structure and delivery - even those developed by other people who are blind.  But there are many alternatives to choose from, and you deserve to know what those alternatives are before making your choice.  Following are some examples of areas where you may have to ask what alternatives exist:

  • You may want to start your rehabilitation at a residential center. If the program at the center in your state doesn't seem to promote the learning style most appropriate to you, you can request alternative programs in other states.
  • You may want or need to make a career change, or maybe not. Career counseling can be part of your IPE.
  • If you want to be self-employed, you don't have to do food service.  Although Business Enterprise Program (BEP) opportunities can be a great career, if you have other skills and interests, you should make sure you can explore alternatives before making a choice of paths.
  • Some orientation and mobility specialists may insist you learn to get around with sleep shades on and a long white cane.  Although this is one good alternative, folding canes, guide dogs, and night walks without sleep shades are valid alternatives if you prefer.
  • Learning braille is an extremely valuable skill, but it is not the only path to literacy for blind and visually impaired individuals.  Taking into account your current visual acuity, the long-range prognosis of your visual impairment, and other factors, other assistive technologies may suit you better.

The Bottom Line

No matter what route you choose, getting yourself ready to live a financially and socially successful, independent lifestyle as a blind or visually impaired person is hard work and a series of tough choices.  The more you challenge yourself, the happier you'll be in the long run.  There will be times where you are totally frustrated, and occasionally you may even want to quit.  However, challenging yourself in ways you know you can be successful, and in directions you've chosen will keep you going far longer than with decisions where you have had little or no choice.

We're on Your Side

The ACB Rehabilitation Issues Task Force web page is a valuable source of information, from previous articles to the more in-depth discussion of the ACB position on informed choice in our white paper. To learn more, visit
As we've mentioned before, you can also contact someone in your local ACB chapter, state or special-interest affiliate, the national ACB office, or members of the rehabilitation issues task force for help and support: Doug Powell (Virginia), chair, home (703) 573-5107, cell (571) 438-7750, e-mail; Sue Ammeter (Washington); Lucy Birbiglia (New Mexico); Paul Edwards (Florida); Nancy Matulis (Maine); Sarah Presley (Washington, D.C.); Lori Scharff (New York); Pam Shaw (Pennsylvania), and David Trott (Alabama).

When You Need a Little Help: Alternatives to Nursing Home Care by Ron Pollack

(Editor's Note: Ron Pollack is the executive director of Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers.)
Have you started to experience challenges with living on your own? Do you need help with medical care or daily activities? A nursing home may seem like your only option. But there are good alternatives, including home care and assisted living. However, it's important for you to learn what kinds of services Medicare and Medicaid will and won't cover. (Medicaid is the nation's health insurance program for low-income individuals and families — including seniors — and for people with disabilities.)
What is home- and community-based care?
You may have access to services such as Meals on Wheels, visiting and shopper services, and adult day care programs. But what if you need other kinds of assistance?
Home health services (also called home- and community-based care) help seniors who need additional support so they can safely stay in their homes or who are recovering after a hospital stay. These services include short-term nursing care and rehabilitative care (like physical therapy). Registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, home health aides, and medical social workers provide home health care.
Medicare pays for a limited number of one-hour home health visits, but only for medical care. Medicaid may pay for other types of home care, depending on your situation and the state you live in.
You may be able to find other non-medical services in your community through your local Area Agency on Aging.
What is assisted living?
Assisted living facilities (or assisted living homes) bridge the gap between independent living and nursing homes. These facilities typically provide services like assistance with personal care and medications, and they give residents more freedom and privacy than nursing homes. They range in size from small houses that serve a few residents to very large facilities with hundreds of residents.
Assisted living facilities cost less than nursing homes but are still very expensive, costing an average of $3,300 a month.
What do Medicare and Medicaid pay for nursing home care and nursing home alternatives?
Many people are confused about what Medicare and Medicaid cover. 
Nursing Home Care
Medicare does not cover most nursing home care. Medicare pays only for certain skilled nursing or rehabilitative care, and only after a hospital stay. The duration of this coverage is limited. To learn more about coverage limits, visit the Medicare web site,
Medicaid covers most nursing home care if you have a low income. Each state sets its own income eligibility level for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care. In many states, you must also have limited assets to have Medicaid cover your nursing home care.

Alternatives to Nursing Home Care
Medicare covers very little of this care. For example, Medicare won't pay your rent for an assisted living facility, but it will cover some health care you receive while you are in assisted living.
Medicaid pays for some assisted living costs for people with low incomes in several states. Every state has at least one Medicaid program that will pay for other alternatives to nursing facility care, and most have multiple programs. Each state's program is different. Plus, individuals must meet the eligibility rules for that particular program. For example, some programs focus on individuals with particular health care needs. And some programs are limited to a certain number of people, which creates waiting lists.
Many people end up paying the full cost of assisted living entirely out of their own pockets.
To Learn More
To learn more about Medicare and Medicaid coverage of nursing home care, assisted living, and other options, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP. SHIPs offer free counseling and assistance by phone and in person. Find the SHIP in your state online at
Also, the Eldercare Locator connects older Americans and their caregivers with information on senior services. Find it online at

Inaccessible Medical Equipment: Have You Experienced It? by Chris Gray

I'm thinking today about a good friend of mine who got into serious trouble when he needed to use some inaccessible medical equipment.  He was suffering from a serious illness and got a secondary infection.  After nearly two weeks of hospitalization and antibiotic therapy, his insurance dictated that he go home.  To administer his required daily antibiotics, he would be provided with a special infusion pump and bags of the antibiotics.  The administering process would take about 30-45 minutes on a twice-daily basis.  The machine dispensing the antibiotics requires monitoring of a visual display at the very least for use, something neither he nor his wife could do because both are totally blind.
Depending on insurance coverage, this can put a person into some pretty grim circumstances.  Staying in the hospital for 8 to 12 weeks, the period of time needed for this therapy, is too expensive.  Having to go to a nursing home is a prospect many people cannot face because nursing home care can be so restrictive.  But how does a blind person stay at home when using the equipment that may cure them is not possible?  About the only alternatives are family, friends, or paid nursing care, which often is not covered through insurance.
We are already and will continue to become more and more reliant on technologies that deliver sophisticated health benefits in the home.  Theoretically, this lowers medical costs by keeping people out of the hospital.  For those of us with inadequate vision to use the equipment that delivers these health benefits, things are going to become increasingly difficult.  This goes far beyond testing equipment such as a blood glucose meter, though such testing equipment is growing in variety as well.  For example, strips that can indicate the level of a person's blood viscosity are becoming more commonplace in the home.
Medical technology is a wonderful thing.  But we must be more concerned than ever about its accessibility.  It is imperative that we make hospitals, clinics, and the FDA aware of the problems brought to the blind by this technology.  The issues are solvable, but not without direct buy-in from the companies creating this technology. 
ACB's health issues task force is working to increase awareness at the NIH and FDA.  We are asking that readers of "The ACB Braille Forum" contact us with stories like that of my friend.  He was never entirely cured of his infection, which almost certainly contributed to his untimely death.  Let us hope for better scenarios and outcomes in the future.
To let us know about a situation you have experienced or about which you have significant knowledge and information, please contact the health issues task force and tell us your story.  To assist you in doing so, the Missouri Council of the Blind has made available a special voicemail box in which you can leave a message.  Call MCB at (314) 832-7172 and ask for the health issues task force special extension.  Leave us a message, or leave your contact information so we can get in touch with you.

My New Vision: What It's Like to See with the CentraSight Telescope Implant by Patty Gadjewski

I've lived with my family in Schenectady, N.Y. (outside of Albany) for more than 50 years, and I love my home because it's within walking distance of my grocery store, bank and church.  But 10 years ago, my vision was severely impacted because of age-related macular degeneration. My children had to help me so much because I just couldn't see.  They had to drive me to the doctor and on errands.  I needed help shopping because I couldn't read labels.  After a while, it was very depressing.  I started to avoid social situations, like at family parties and church events, because I was embarrassed that I couldn't recognize faces any longer. I felt terrible about this. I sat and cried every now and then.
But then my doctor told me about a treatment I wasn't yet aware of called the telescope implant.  The device is very small (the size of a pea), and it is implanted in one eye to restore vision.  My doctor explained that it works like a real telescope in that it magnifies images, which reduces the blind spot that blocked my straight-ahead vision.  The other eye does not get an implant because you need to keep some peripheral vision to help with orientation and balance. This sounded like science fiction!  But I wanted to see if it could help me and decided to take a chance on the procedure. 
I worked with an entire team of specialists, which were part of a treatment program called CentraSight. My retinal specialist, cornea surgeon, low-vision optometrist and a low-vision occupational therapist all counseled me about what to expect from the outpatient procedure, particularly afterward.  For example, I learned there was a significant amount of occupational therapy required to adjust and become proficient at using my new vision.  I also was warned that my sight would not be like it was in my youth; I wouldn't be able to do everything I used to, nor would I be able to see differently the minute I opened my eyes.
I had my surgery in February 2013.  The cost for the telescope implant and visits associated with the treatment program were covered by Medicare, which was very helpful.
Thinking back, I was nervous on surgery day, but shortly after the procedure, I was back with my family and going out to dinner.  The most amazing part is that I was able to see my daughter's face almost immediately, despite not expecting to see anything right away.  It was such a gift!  After the surgery, I worked with the low-vision specialists for about three months.  The exercises varied because you use different techniques to see things when you are standing, sitting or moving around.
It's been more than a year since my surgery and I am very happy, mostly because I can do so much more now that I can see better.  I can read, sew, do canning and work in my garden. I can see the crosswalks, which lets me walk to the grocery store safely.  But most importantly, I can see my family and friends.  I'm enjoying spending time with the people I care about.  I would recommend that people learn more about the telescope implant. There are CentraSight teams all over the country.  When you call 1-877-99-SIGHT (1-877-997-4448) or visit, a trained information specialist will point you to the team closest to your home and can even help schedule the appointments for you. The telescope implant isn't for everyone, but it can make such a difference in your life.

What Are They To Think If … by Larry Johnson

If we are successful in advocating for a particular restaurant to finally provide its menus in braille or large print, and then we fail to frequent that restaurant, or when we go in we turn down the offer of the braille menu from the owner and ask a sighted friend to read it to us instead, what is he to think?
If ACB's negotiating team of lawyers is successful in persuading a bank or credit card company to understand that blind people have a legal right to receive their monthly statements in braille, but then we opt for getting the information via telephone or the computer, what is that bank or credit company to think?
If movie theater operators equip their theaters with assistive listening devices and order films with audio description, but no blind patrons ever show up to use them, what are they to think?
If city governments spend hundreds of thousands of dollars installing accessible pedestrian signals at busy intersections to make it safer for visually impaired pedestrian to travel, but blind people instead prefer to use door-to-door paratransit service, what are they to think?
If we demand that all voting sites must have at least one functioning, talking voting machine to allow a blind citizen to exercise his/her right to vote in private, but then we don't bother going to the polls, what are they to think?
As blind or visually impaired individuals, we have an obligation and a responsibility to demonstrate to private business and to the general public that we will use those special accommodations which we have requested/demanded. If we want more braille, we should use the braille that is offered. If we want movie theaters with ALDs, we should frequent those theaters which have them. Patronizing those businesses which offer special accommodations – banks with talking ATMs, restaurants with braille and large-print menus, pharmacies which offer talking labels on prescription medications – is the best way to say thank you and to encourage them to do more.

Remembering Coletta Whitcomb Davis

On Jan. 13, 2014, CCLVI lost one of its pioneer leaders with the death of Coletta Davis of Anaheim, Calif. At age 81, she succumbed to complications of a fall last June which fractured her back. Her first ACB/CCLVI convention was in 1981 in St. Louis. At that time she was president of the Aloha Council of the Blind, the ACB Hawaii affiliate. Over the years, she served as president, first and second vice president, treasurer and director of CCLVI and helped to found the California Council of Citizens with Low Vision.
In the early 1980s when Coletta became active in ACB, the Hawaii quarantine of guide dogs arriving in Hawaii was a hot issue. Coletta led her affiliate in helping to resolve the problem. ACB second vice president Marlaina Lieberg reminisces, "I, too, was sad to hear of Coletta's passing.  I remember her first convention; I was GDUI president back then, and we were just starting to work on the guide dog admittance to Hawaii issue.  I always found Coletta to be gracious, very accommodating, and willing to work hard and do what was necessary to remediate that situation. Though I have not seen her in many years, I will never forget her.  She brought me a gift of some Hawaiian jewelry and some macadamia nuts, and while the nuts are long gone, the jewelry is a treasure."
Having lost her first husband, Coletta moved from Hawaii to California. At the ACB 1985 convention in Las Vegas, she met Gilbert Davis, who became her husband soon thereafter. Gilbert attended conventions with her as long as he lived, where he was her constant companion and helper.
In 1986, Coletta, along with Etta Burge and Joan Black, secured the help of Durward McDaniel to form the California Council of Citizens with Low Vision as an affiliate of CCLVI. From then on, she was always an officer in CCCLV or CCLVI or both. Michael Byington remembers when she was first vice president after having been president. "Coletta was a friend, and my right-hand person during my short presidency of CCLVI. She and Pat Beattie went on the ACB cruise that Ann and I were also on in 2002, and we were assigned to the same dinner table in the formal dining room. Through that experience, I was able to learn what a fun and delightful person Coletta was socially. She will be greatly missed."
And a social person she was! How can we forget her at banquets in her long gowns and her jewels! And as chair of the CCB scholarship committee, she acted as hostess for all the scholarship winners. She very much enjoyed mentoring the young people.
In closing, a couple of farewells:
From David Keith, on Coletta as a local chapter leader: "Coletta and I planned many meetings together.  Between San Diego and Orange County, we made sure that business and playtime were taken care of. Rest in peace, sweet lady.  May our Lord be at your side always."
And from ACB president Kim Charlson: "I was truly sad to hear of the passing of Coletta Whitcomb Davis. I had the pleasure of working with her over the years on several initiatives, both in Hawaii and California and with CCLVI. She was a true advocate always, and such a pleasure and thoughtful person to work with."
She will truly be missed!

Readers' Remembrances of Coletta Davis

With deep sadness, I wish to report the death of a pioneer in CCLVI and CCCLV, Coletta Whitcomb Davis. Coletta was president of the Aloha Council of the Blind when she attended her first ACB convention in 1981 in St. Louis. During the 1985 convention in Las Vegas, Coletta met Gilbert Davis and they were married in December. Gilbert became her constant companion and helper in all of her organizational activities. Having moved from Hawaii to California, Coletta, along with Joan Black and Etta Burge, started the CCCLV as the California affiliate of CCLVI in 1986.
Coletta was always active in CCCLV and she also served CCLVI as director, officer and president. She planned to attend the 2013 ACB convention in Columbus, but in June, she fell in her kitchen, breaking her back. She never recovered from the complications of that accident and succumbed on Jan. 13, 2014.
Farewell, Fluffy!
- Roger Petersen, Mountain View, Calif.
That is very sad news. I know that many with low vision owe much to Coletta for her tireless efforts on their behalf through CCLVI, and I know that Bernice and Coletta were especially close friends, and this will be a difficult loss in both of your lives.

Rest in peace, Coletta, and thank you for all you did on behalf of people with low vision.
- Penny Reeder, Montgomery Village, Md.

Affiliate News

California Council Scholarships

Applications for the California Council of the Blind's scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year are now being accepted.  Applications can be filled out online and accessed directly by visiting
All legally blind students who are California residents attending, or planning to attend, an accredited private or public college or university or career preparation school in your state are eligible to apply.  Scholarships are awarded to beginning students as well as those at all other levels through advanced work in graduate school.
The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Pacific time Friday, May 30, 2014.  Applicants should be advised that supporting documentation requested in the application form must also be received by this closing date. Transcripts may be submitted later but not beyond 5 p.m. Pacific time Friday, July 18, 2014.  Application online is strongly suggested.  Hard copies of the application form are available by calling toll free 1-800-221-6359 or (916) 441-2100, by an e-mail request to, or by mail to California Council of the Blind, Executive Offices, 1303 J St., Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95814-2900.

ACB of Ohio Scholarships

The American Council of the Blind of Ohio offers five scholarships each academic year. Applications may be downloaded from, or requested by calling (614) 221-6688 or 1-800-835-2226.
Scholarships available are:

  • $2,000 Max Edelman Scholarship: offered to a legally blind undergraduate student in any field of study
  • $2,000 David Newmeyer Scholarship: offered to a legally blind undergraduate student in any field of study
  • $2,500 Joann Fischer Scholarship: offered to a legally blind graduate student in any field of study
  • $2,500 Linwood Walker Scholarship: offered to a legally blind graduate student in a service-related field (e.g., teaching, health, public administration, etc.)
  • Nola Webb-McKinney Scholarship: offered to a blind or sighted graduate or undergraduate student pursuing a degree in a blindness-related area (e.g., special education, rehabilitation, teaching or counseling, orientation and mobility, or concentrating in programs serving people who are blind or visually impaired)

To be eligible for a scholarship, you must:

  • Be an Ohio resident or attend an Ohio school in a two-year or more post-secondary degree program;
  • Be legally blind (except the Nola Webb-McKinney Scholarship);
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on a 4.0 scale; and
  • Be willing to attend the 2014 ACBO convention's Saturday workshops.

Past scholarship recipients may re-apply. A current scholarship application must be completed each year to be considered. Applicants must provide three letters of reference, an official transcript, and a current eye report.  Completed applications must be postmarked no later than Aug. 1, 2014. Send your completed application to: ACB Ohio Scholarship Committee, 601 Richards Rd., Columbus, OH 43214-3743.  If you have questions, or need more information, contact Vicky Prahin, scholarship committee chair, by phone at (614) 268-0380.

Booklet of Braille Contractions

The Jenny Beck Chapter of the Braille Revival League has produced a booklet containing all the braille contractions, and a note on Unified English Braille.  It is spiral bound, and brailled on 8 1/2" by 11" paper, and is available with either paper or plastic covers.
If you would like to purchase one of these booklets, the costs are as follows: paper covers, $7; plastic covers, $9. There will be a $1 mailing charge.
To get one of your own, send a check made out to the Braille Revival League to: May Davis, 133 W. Ashland St., Doylestown, PA 18901.

Teachers' Features for the 2014 Convention

You might recall that the theme for AABT's convention last year in Columbus was "Touching the Universe." This year, we are bringing our program back to earth.  The theme for our 2014 convention, to be held in conjunction with the ACB national conference and convention in Las Vegas, will be "Education around the World." We hope that you will enjoy the activities that we are planning for this year.
We kick off convention week with the annual AABT breakfast, program and business meeting, which will take place Sunday morning, July 13, from 8 to 11 a.m.  The title of our program will be the same as our convention theme, "Education around the World." Panelists from various countries will tell us how students who are blind or visually impaired are educated in their countries.  After this very interesting program, we will hold our business meeting, and you will have the opportunity to help shape the future of AABT.
On Tuesday, July 15, we will take a field trip to the Nevada Blind Children's Foundation for an exciting tour.  Since Nevada has no schools for the blind, this state-of-the-art facility fills many needs for children who are blind or visually impaired in the state. They have a library which includes braille and electronic books and descriptive videos, a technology lab and even a horizontal rock climbing wall.  Some of the services that they provide to Nevada's blind children include after-school tutoring to assist with blindness-specific skills and homework, braille literacy and socialization, technology assistance, holiday parties, a summer camp, and recreational activities, such as beep baseball, goalball, showdown (a cross between air hockey and table tennis), yoga classes, tandem bike-riding, and rock climbing.  It sounds like we will have a fun afternoon!
Wednesday, July 16, will also be a very busy day for AABT.  First, we will collaborate with Library Users of America (LUA) and the Braille Revival League (BRL) for a joint session beginning at 1:15 p.m.  In keeping with our international theme, one of the highlights of this session will be a presentation by Rosemary Mahoney, author of the book, "For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from the World of the Blind," available from National Braille Press.  In this book, she recounts her experiences interviewing, then working with Sabriye Tenberken, founder of Braille Without Borders.  She will tell us how she helped a school for the blind in Tibet.  Another speaker during this session will be a talking book narrator.  Stay tuned to find out who it will be! After this session, we will join Friends-In-Art (FIA) for a sing-along titled "Songs around the World." Tune up your voice and get ready to join in the singing!
We hope you will consider sharing part of your convention week with us.

IVIE Convention Preview

Whether you are thinking about starting your own business or you are a seasoned business owner, the Independent Visually Impaired Entrepreneurs (IVIE) has an exciting program lineup for you at this year's ACB national conference and convention in Las Vegas!
We start our week on Sunday evening, July 13 after the general session by joining the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America (RSVA) for a mixer.  Come and relax, mingle and make new friends.  On Monday, July 14 from 7 to 8:15 a.m., we will hold the annual IVIE breakfast and business meeting.  Bring a big appetite, lots of energy and your creative ideas for IVIE!
Our annual luncheon and program will be held on Wednesday, July 16 from 12:15 to 2:30 p.m.  This year's program topic will be "Entrepreneurship for Newbies and Experts." We will begin our program with a presentation that will help you to decide whether entrepreneurship is for you.  From there, our presentation will advance to taking your business to the next level.  There will be plenty of tips and tricks from those who know, and there will be lots to learn, whether you are a would-be entrepreneur or an experienced business owner.
We conclude our week's activities on Thursday, July 17 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. with the IVIE Business Expo.  Here, blind and visually impaired business owners will showcase their products and services and answer your questions.  Since ACB exhibits will be closed on Thursday, we hope more people will come to the expo this year.  Browsing is free.  However, if you would like to have a booth at the IVIE Business Expo, you must reserve it in advance. The cost will be $10 for IVIE members and $25 for non-members, with the option of applying $15 of this cost toward annual IVIE dues.  IVIE's calendar year runs from July 1st to June 30; so, this would be an excellent time to pay your dues.  You can reserve your expo booth and/or pay your annual dues online by visiting IVIE's secure web site, Or you can make a check payable to IVIE and send it to Ardis Bazyn, 2121 Scott Rd. Apt. 105, Burbank, CA 91504.  Please designate whether your check is for annual dues, an expo booth or both.  If you are submitting your dues, be sure to fill out and include the IVIE membership form, which can be found on our web site.
If you save time for IVIE activities during your busy convention week this year, it's a sure bet that you will benefit from it.  If you have any questions about IVIE or the program offerings at this year's convention, visit the IVIE web site,, or call me at (724) 941-8184.  Hope to see you in Vegas!

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.

Survey for Teachers, Parents

Louisiana Tech University's Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness is conducting two surveys, and staffers need your help. The first survey is aimed at collecting information from teachers of the blind/visually impaired about their training and experiences with vision loss. The second survey is aimed at parents who have children in grades K through 12.
If you are a teacher, you must meet the following criteria: (a) Currently be a certified Teacher of Visual Impairment TVI/TBS; (b) Have a case load of one or more students with low vision or blindness as the primary diagnosed disability on the student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  Teachers may access the survey at
For a parent or guardian to participate in this study, your child must meet the following criteria: (a) Be between the ages of 5-22 and be enrolled in a school in the United States in grades K through 12; (b) Visual impairment must be listed as his or her primary diagnosed disability on his or her Individualized Education Plan (IEP); (c) English is his or her primary spoken language.  Parents may access the survey at
If you have questions about either study, or other ways in which you can help, contact the principal researchers for this study. Edward Bell, Ph.D., is the principal investigator; he can be reached at (318) 257-4554 or Casey Robertson, research associate, is the lead person for questions about teachers or parents, and she can be contacted at

Governor Morehead School Reunion

It's time for the sixth annual Governor Morehead School Alumni Association, Inc.'s reunion.  You do not have to be a graduate of GMS; all interested people are invited.  There will be games, a catered lunch, a talent show, an auction, a dance, door prizes, and more! Many of our Saturday activities will be held on the Garner Road campus.
The kickoff to our big weekend will be a free low-vision and blindness seminar presented by Freedom Scientific. They will show several of their products and will also provide lunch.  Participants will be able to use the products themselves; there will be door prizes for those lucky ones. The seminar will be held on July 31st on the Governor Morehead School campus at Weathers Hill Dining Hall located at 329 Ashe Ave., Raleigh, N.C. 27610.  More information about the seminar will be revealed at a later date.            
Our main event will take place Aug. 1-3, 2014 at the Holiday Inn Raleigh North, 2805 Highwoods Blvd., Raleigh, N.C. Room rates are $65.90 plus tax; this price includes a hot buffet breakfast for up to four people per room. Call the hotel at (919) 872-3500 and ask for a room with the Governor Morehead School Alumni Association. 
Registration rates remain the same; for members, $50 plus your yearly membership dues of $15 if it has not already been paid, and for non-members, $65.  Registration fees should be paid on or before July 13, 2014, after which there will be an additional $10 fee.  There will be no refunds after July 15, 2014.
Checks should be made payable to GMSAAI and mailed to Frances Council at 1609 Elkpark Dr., Raleigh, N.C. 27610.  If you need an application, or need help completing it, contact Frances via phone at (919) 832-9732 or via e-mail at

New CEO at Guide Dogs for the Blind

Christine Benniger was appointed CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, Calif. Her first day on the job was April 7. Benniger had retired in 2010 from her previous job as the executive director of the Humane Society in Silicon Valley, where she worked for 17 years.

Social Security's Center for Section 504 Compliance

The Social Security Administration recently announced the creation of its new Center for Section 504 Compliance.  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, and requires the federal government to provide individuals with meaningful access to government facilities, programs, and services.
Although the provision of accommodations to the public is not new, the Center for 504 Compliance is new to Social Security.  Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin is committed to improving service to individuals with disabilities. 
Need to report an issue? Want to make a suggestion regarding meaningful access to Social Security documents? Contact the center at 1-844-881-9061.

CVS/pharmacy Now Offers Talking Prescriptions

CVS/pharmacy announced today that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, The ScripTalk labels provide a safe and convenient way to access information on prescription labels for individuals who cannot read standard print.  The labels are free to pharmacy customers who are blind or visually impaired. Customers can also obtain a free ScripTalk reader from En-Vision America that will enable them to listen to the information on the ScripTalk label.
Do you order prescriptions from Would you benefit from talking labels? To request the labels with a prescription that you ordered through, contact CVS at 1-888-861-4363.  If you have questions about the ScripTalk system, call En-Vision America at 1-800-890-1180. We recommend that you call first.

High Tech Swap Shop

For Sale:
Brand-new chess pieces and board.  Asking $34. Brand-new backgammon game in leather-like carrying case. Asking $29. Contact June Galloway via e-mail,, or call her at (202) 882-3816.
For Sale:
PAC Mate QX400 notetaker. Comes with braille quick-start guide on disk and infrared-to-parallel printer cable. Asking $500. Contact Al at (203) 488-7348.
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 e-mail her,, or write her in braille at 1632 Paree St., Newport, MI 48166.

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