The Braille Forum, June 2012

Volume L June 2012 No. 10

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.
Mitch Pomerantz, 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 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 2012 American Council of the Blind
All content made available 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. Those responsible for creative content may allow their materials to appear elsewhere with prior notification to the ACB national office and with appropriate attribution.


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


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 Mainstream has blindness-related news you can use at
Got talent? Tell us about you!  Send an e-mail to


President's Message: Discovering Madrid, ACB Style by Mitch Pomerantz

A bit less than 24 hours ago as I begin this column, Donna and I stepped off an airplane after our week-long adventure in Madrid, Spain.  It wasn't the longest flight we've ever been on, but 11-plus hours from London to Los Angeles is a trial nonetheless.  And that doesn't include the two-hour flight from Madrid to London which began our return odyssey.

While we are home, our luggage is not; the customer service representative we spoke to believes our bags never made it out of the Madrid airport.  With any luck at all, we'll have our possessions sometime this evening.

So, to paraphrase Mrs. Lincoln's questioner after Ford's Theater: Other than that, how was the trip?  It was fantastic!  This will not be a travelogue, but an attempt to cover the highlights of ACB's initial collaborative effort with Road Scholar, an organization which arranges educational travel experiences primarily for seniors both here in the United States and throughout the world.  This effort was two years in the planning and was spearheaded from ACB's end by Sandra Sermons and Pam Shaw, respectively chairperson and member of our international relations committee.  Fourteen of us from around the country made the trip; all but one of us ACB members.

One of the reasons I was interested in going to Spain was to learn more about ONCE, which stands for Organizacion Nacional de Ciegos de Espana, or National Organization of Blind Spaniards.  I had heard a great deal about ONCE and had previously met one of its leaders, Enrique Perez, who is currently serving as secretary general of the World Blind Union.  ONCE was established in 1938 and operates one of Spain's national lotteries, although as we learned, not the only such endeavor in Spain.  This lottery provided the seed money for ONCE and also offers employment to hundreds of blind and otherwise disabled people as ticket vendors.  ONCE has grown far beyond lottery proceeds as a primary source of revenue, with a separate foundation which, among other ventures, owns the hotel in which we stayed.

On Tuesday morning, Donna and I met with ONCE's president, Miguel Carballeda, and vice president, Andres Ramos, at its headquarters.  We spent nearly 90 minutes with both gentlemen, learning about their organization and briefing them about ACB and the issues affecting blind and visually impaired people in the U.S.  We were informed that almost all blind Spaniards belong to ONCE by virtue of the fact that in order to receive blindness-related services, one must be certified as eligible for those services through ONCE.

To illustrate the breadth of its activities, ONCE operates a guide dog school (which we visited Tuesday afternoon) and five educational facilities (residential schools); we visited the Madrid facility Thursday morning.  The guide dog facility appears typical of those in the U.S., with Labrador retrievers, goldens and some shepherds being trained for guide work.  I was interested to observe that wherever the two members of our tour group with guide dogs went, they were accepted without difficulty.  Clearly, the Spanish public understands and recognizes the rights of guide dog handlers.

I need to mention here with regard to the residential schools operated by ONCE, that they primarily serve children who are blind and have other significant disabilities requiring more individualized attention.  The prevailing view in Spain is that blind children should be mainstreamed in their local schools, and ONCE promotes this by providing the braille materials necessary for the education of these students.  We had the chance to see some of the braille materials ONCE produces, including some excellent tactile maps and children's books.  My high-school and college Spanish began coming back to me as I thumbed through one such text.

Along with our meeting with the ONCE leadership, I must mention two other highlights of our trip.  The first was a visit to Toledo, the first capitol of Spain following its reconquest from the Moors.  It is in the mountains north of Madrid and contains a beautiful old cathedral as well as a former synagogue which is now a museum dedicated to preserving the history of the Sephardic Jewish community which thrived there during the time of the Moorish empire.

While there we also met with officials from the city of Toledo, who welcomed our tour group at a city hall ceremony.  I also had the opportunity to meet with a member of the Spanish Parliament who represents the Toledo area.  The gentleman uses a wheelchair; I initially connected with him following his visit to my former employer, the Los Angeles City Department on Disability, last year.  Francisco (Paco) Vano is a bright, energetic legislator who is keenly interested in advocating for the rights of people with disabilities in Spain.

Walking through Toledo also gave us the opportunity to experience, up close and personal, streets where automobiles and people shared the same territory.  While the Spanish drivers in Toledo were, by and large, mindful of the fact that there were pedestrians traversing the streets, I question whether American drivers would show equal courtesy under similar conditions.  This firsthand experience did nothing to change my mind concerning the inadvisability of exporting the "shared space" concept to the United States.

The other highlight of our Spanish experience also took place under the auspices of ONCE.  Have you ever wanted to see the Taj Mahal, the Kremlin, or the Eiffel Tower?  At the ONCE Museum you can!  Displayed throughout a large room were at least a score of detailed tactile models of world-famous monuments, including the aforementioned and many, many others.  The one American model we saw was the Statue of Liberty, but there may have been others.  It's the sort of museum where I could have spent hours, but didn't, due to our schedule.  If we return to Madrid, Donna and I will definitely spend more time at this most wonderful venue.

There were many other activities during the week which offered us a glimpse into Spain's rich history, its present and future.  The Road Scholar tour leader and the two assistants provided by ONCE were helpful and cognizant that some members of our group had mobility and stamina limitations.  Our tour guide, an employee of the city of Madrid, was extremely knowledgeable, although her command of English caused some linguistic challenges for us.  All in all, Road Scholar did a tremendous job in putting this tour together and it is my sincere hope that this will be the first of many collaborative international adventures involving it and the American Council of the Blind.


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

Conference and Convention Attendees

The first of June is here, which means 2012 conference and convention is upon us.  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 Louisville! 

Register online at; just follow the link to 2012 conference and convention. This year you will find a new feature in the online registration. You can create a password, which allows you to save your registration information and return to the registration form as often as you need until the form has been completed.

If you prefer to register by phone, call the 2012 pre-registration line, 1-800-866-3242 (after June 1st), and leave your name, phone number, time zone, and the best times to reach you. Our new telephone registration guru, Pam Cox, will call you back as soon as possible to complete your registration form.

Room Reservations

Reservations for the 2012 convention can be made via phone or online. To make your reservations via phone, call 1-800-843-4258.  Be sure to mention you are with the ACB convention. If you'd like to make your reservations online, go to Room rates are $85 for a standard room, $105 for a suite. The room rate is taxable; one night's stay will be charged to your credit card when you make your reservation.

Airport Transportation

Sandollar shuttle will charge ACB members a round-trip fare of $22. Please let them know you are with ACB when you make your reservations. Visit or call them at (502) 561-4022.


Special-interest affiliates and task forces have many programs to offer. There are many tech sessions regarding the latest and greatest off-the-shelf and blindness-specific products. There are seminars for attorneys, diabetics, human service professionals, students, and teachers. If you are newly blind, if you are interested in transportation, school issues or have a hearing impairment, there is something at the conference and convention for you. Recreational opportunities such as water aerobics and morning exercise are available throughout the week. Many seminars could assist you in career development. For additional information regarding employment-related events, feel free to contact me at (651) 428-5059 or via e-mail,

For up-to-date information pertaining to the ACB conference and convention, subscribe to the convention list by sending a blank e-mail to


Michael Smitherman has received registrations from many vendors; some are familiar exhibitors who have joined us in the past. We welcome our returning exhibitors and are always glad to see new faces. As I write this, I know there will be several first-time exhibitors joining us in Louisville.

Vendors who have reserved booths will be listed in the conference and convention program, and you can obtain an exhibitor list when you visit the exhibit hall in Louisville.

Our newest addition, Marketplace, has already had several tables reserved, but you can still get in on the fun.  For additional information on vendor or Marketplace registration, contact Michael Smitherman, or (601) 331-7740.


Corporate sponsors help defray conference and convention costs for the information desk, communication center, ACB Café and a myriad of other items. Sponsorship information will be listed in our program, recognized in our daily newspaper and announced by Margarine Beaman during general sessions. If you have an opportunity, make sure to acknowledge how much you appreciate those sponsors for helping to make many convention activities possible.  If you are interested in a corporate sponsorship, contact Margarine Beaman at (512) 921-1625 or visit our web site,, and register as a sponsor at the 2012 conference and convention link.

As important as corporate sponsors are to ACB, we also rely on our individual sponsors.  On the pre-registration form and at the convention, when you visit registration, you will have the opportunity to become an individual sponsor. Sponsorships begin at the bronze level ($25) and go up to the titanium level of $500. Please consider helping ACB as an individual sponsor. You will also be recognized at the convention and will have a ribbon on your badge to acknowledge your sponsorship!

Ordering Dog Food

We also value all the four-pawed convention attendees. Once again Tim and Maria Stone of ScoopMasters will be maintaining the dog relief areas. They will deliver dog food directly to your hotel room at the Galt House; but you must pre-order. To order dog food, please visit, or call ScoopMasters at 1-800-787-7667.

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 her an e-mail with "interpreter for Louisville" in the subject line, or contact her via phone, (516) 695-6370.


In 2012 the city of Louisville will play host to a treasure trove of ACB political talent at our convention. The board of publications again hosts an Internet candidates' page at

The candidates' page is a portion of the ACB web site where people declaring candidacy for office have a chance to share their thoughts with the ACB membership. Entries on this page do not constitute nomination for any office.  That process doesn't happen until our convention starts.  People may campaign for office without submitting entries to the candidates' page. All candidates are asked to respond to a set of questions.

We have extended the deadlines for candidates to get their submissions to us. 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 information from the online candidates' page.

In 2012, ACB members will elect five people to fill ACB board positions and three to fill positions on the board of publications. The appointed 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. If you could change one thing about ACB, what would it be and why?
  3. 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 question 1 and may skip questions 2 and 3. Anyone seeking a seat on the board of publications should answer the following questions.

  4. What specific talents and experience qualify you for the board of publications?
  5. How do you see the role of the board of publications as it relates to ACB's Internet and social networking presence?

In 2012 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 may address each item with a maximum of 300 words. Submit material in any of the following accessible, readable media: hard-copy print or braille, computer disk (in ASCII text, WordPerfect 5.1 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 WordPerfect 5.1 will be accepted. Please note that the national office has Word 2003, 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 Microsoft Word's "word count" feature. 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. Place any complete URLs for social networking sites or personal web pages at the end of the submission.

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 "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 15, 2012. 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 online candidates' page will be available at 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 25, 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. Eastern time, 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.


Since 2009, a highlight of the ACB national conference and convention has been the annual ACB Walk/Run. This event is designed to bring ACB members and friends together to raise funds and awareness for the great work done throughout the organization on behalf of its members. If you are a fan of ACB Radio, would like to see more audio description made available, or think you or a loved one might be seeking funds for school in the near future, your support or participation is critical to ensuring the continuation of these services, and so many more.

This year's ACB Walk/Fun Run will take place on Sunday, July 8 at Seneca Park, located at 3151 Pee Wee Reese Rd. in Louisville. For those of you joining us at the convention, transportation will be provided to and from the Galt House, with buses departing promptly at 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning. The event begins at 7:30 a.m., and you should be back at the Galt House no later than 10 a.m., in plenty of time to tackle the rest of your busy day. If you expect to be sidelined by an inability to join us at the convention or your preference for sleeping in, we've got you covered as well!  You have the option of registering as an on-site or virtual participant, or can simply make a pledge to a friend.

For even more fun and camaraderie, consider forming a walk/run team! When you form your team, you will also be registered as an individual, improving your ability to raise funds and your chances to win great prizes. Whether you sign up as an individual or as a member of a team, the registration fee is only $25, which goes directly to ACB!

The names of all registrants will be entered into a drawing for prizes. As an extra incentive, for every $100 you raise as an individual or a team, your name will be entered into a drawing for more chances to win. Trophies and prizes will be given after the race for the following:

  • First and second place walkers and runners
  • The individual raising the highest amount of pledges
  • The team raising the highest amount of pledges
  • The ACB affiliate credit with the highest amount of pledges

For general information, or to register, visit and click the "2012 ACB Walk/Fun Run" link. You may also contact Dan Dillon, ACB Walk/Fun Run committee chair, at (615) 874-1223, or

I am proud to be an ACB member and walk/run participant for the fourth year in a row. I invite you to join me in helping to ensure the continued vitality and success of the organization we so dearly love. I'll see you at the finish line in Louisville!


Are you coming to convention? Do you like helping out where needed? The communication center is now seeking volunteers to help collate and staple papers, take ads and announcements, and staff the room. Sharon Lovering is the operations manager. She is seeking volunteers to fill two-hour shifts throughout the day (8-10 a.m., 10 a.m.-noon, noon-2 p.m., and 2-4 p.m.). The communication center will be open Friday through Wednesday, and be taken down Thursday morning; it will open daily at 8 a.m. and close to the public at 5 p.m. To sign up for a shift, contact Sharon at the ACB national office, 1-800-424-8666, or via e-mail,

This year's convention newspaper will be called "The Paddlewheel Gazette." It will run from Saturday through Thursday in braille and large print. Ads and other items intended for publication must be in the center's hands by 2 p.m. each day. Ads should be 100 words or less. By a directive from the board of publications, ads will be allowed to run for only three days.  If you wish to advertise in the newspaper, please contact Margarine Beaman, advertising and sponsorship coordinator, at (512) 921-1625 or by e-mail, The BOP's editorial policy manual prohibits us from producing or distributing campaign materials.

During the evenings, we will need people to help collate and staple the braille papers. Thanks to Enabling Technologies, we will have three braille printers this year. Got an hour to spare between 5 and 11 p.m.? Drop by and see if the communication center needs help.

If you have signed up for home delivery of "The Paddlewheel Gazette," drop by the information desk and give them your name, room number and format preference once you arrive. This will ensure that you don't miss an issue. Hold onto your Saturday issue; it will include all the suite numbers, phone numbers, and room changes.

If your committee or affiliate needs something brailled, we will be able to do that. Make certain you label your disk(s), thumb drives or memory card(s) before bringing them down to the press room, and tell us how many copies you will need, by what time, as well as how we can reach you (room number, cell phone, etc.). Bring your items down in the morning before the general session to help us fit them in. If you need something brailled for a 1 p.m. meeting, don't wait until 12:30 p.m. to bring it to us.

Affiliates, if you know who your delegate, alternate, and nominating committee representative will be, please let Marlaina Lieberg and Sharon Lovering know as soon as possible.


Do you love to travel to historic places? Do you love the beach? Do you love to eat southern food? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then the Dock Party Auction is the place to be! The annual auction will be held on Wednesday evening, July 11th, and will feature fabulous vacation packages for Key West, Daytona, Orlando, and Savannah, Ga.  Remember to request your bidder number when you register for the conference and convention!  The auction preview begins at 6 p.m.; the auction begins at 7.  There will be food available for purchase, as well as a cash bar.

If you're donating an item to the auction, please act quickly.  June 15th is the deadline to provide your donation information to Cindy Van Winkle by e-mail or phone,, phone (360) 689-0827.  To ship any items ahead, please send to: Ms. Carla Ruschival, 148 Vernon Ave., Louisville, KY 40206; phone (502) 897-1472 (home) or (502) 303-7042 (cell).

Once Cindy has your donation description, you may bring your auction donations to convention and give them to the Information Desk.  The auction committee will pick them up and place under lock and key until the day of the auction.

We always need of volunteers to serve in various ways during the ACB convention, and the auction's no exception. These volunteers are worth their weight in gold. We'll need some volunteers to act as sighted guides, describers of items, and as spotters, as well as a few who can stay late to help with check-out at auction's end. If you would like to be a volunteer, please contact Sally Benjamin via e-mail, Or complete your volunteer form by going to We really appreciate each of you who have volunteered in the past and hope you will consider volunteering again.  If you have any questions about the auction, contact Marsha Farrow at (706) 859-2624 or e-mail her,

A steamboat load of fun is waiting just for you at the Dock Party Auction!


Stephanie Hunolt was one of the grand prize winners in the Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) Program at the 2011 ACB national conference and convention.  She won a BookSense donated by GW Micro.  Stephanie loves her BookSense, taking it everywhere she goes.  She listens to several books each week, at the doctor's office and at home doing dishes and other chores.  Since she has lost considerable sensitivity in her fingers and can't read braille anymore, she records and listens to notes with her BookSense.

You could be the next big winner! The MMS Program is again holding daily drawings at convention for valuable packages of gift cards and coupons from major national chains.  Then, after convention, one lucky MMS participant will win the grand prize, a BookPort Plus donated by the American Printing House for the Blind.  The BookPort Plus reads digital talking books, plays digital audio and Internet radio, downloads podcasts, reads computer files, and makes superb recordings.

To enter the 2012 MMS daily and grand prize drawings, you must either enroll in the MMS 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 2011 ACB national conference and convention and the close of this year's convention will be placed in the grand prize drawing.  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 MMS on Monday, those 10 people will have their names placed in the drawing for that day AND in the grand prize drawing.

More Good News!

You can even increase your chances 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 MMS 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 BookPort Plus.
  2. If you are already an existing member of the MMS program, like for instance, Mitch Pomerantz, and on Tuesday during convention, Mitch increases the amount of his existing MMS contribution by $20 per month.  His 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 his MMS contribution (hint, hint).

            The MMS table will be open every afternoon of the convention.  Exact location and times will be announced during general session and in the convention newspaper.


2012 ACB Membership and Public Relations Seminar

On Thursday, July 12, the membership and public relations committees will hold a joint seminar from 2:45-4 p.m. Our first panel will discuss how affiliates use web sites to reach new members.  The second panel will talk about how affiliates can use web sites to publicize their missions, events, and fundraising. We will introduce the president of the affiliate winning the Affiliate Growth Award, and give certificates to affiliates with the most functional and accessible web sites.  We will also recognize other ACB web sites for their excellence in addressing the needs of their membership, communicating with the public, and promoting their affiliate or chapter.  And yes, there will be door prizes! We encourage each affiliate to send at least one representative to attend the seminar.

ONE BOOK, ONE ACB by Marcia Dresser

For the past few years, Library Users of America has made book discussion a part of its annual program at the ACB conference and convention. This year, we will be reading "The Blind Advantage" by Dr. William W. Henderson. Just released last October, the book is available in braille or Web-Braille, on cartridge, or as a digital download.

Dr. Henderson grew up in Connecticut and was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager. At the age of 24, after completing his first year as a Boston middle school teacher, Henderson was advised by a retina specialist to "get out of education" because he would probably lose his sight in the next several years. Undaunted, Henderson continued teaching, honing his craft, and eventually became principal of the Patrick O'Hearn Elementary School in Boston. (Upon his retirement in 2009, the school was renamed the William W. Henderson Inclusion Elementary School in his honor.)

"The Blind Advantage" chronicles how Henderson, his staff, and the community transformed a typical elementary school. At the Henderson School, approximately one-third of the students have intellectual, physical, or cognitive disabilities. Henderson envisioned a school that would challenge all students to do their best, whether that entailed reaching an academic goal or a goal on an individualized education plan. In the book, Henderson talks about ways his disabled and non-disabled students were able to assist each other. He told his students, "We all need help sometimes. But we also all have a responsibility to be helpful." As a result of this successful model of inclusiveness and collaboration, he says, "Our school became one of the best schools academically."

"The Blind Advantage" is written with candor, sensitivity, and humor. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll be inspired as you read Henderson's story and the experiences of his students.

I live in the Boston area, and I've had the pleasure of knowing Bill Henderson for several years. I'm delighted to tell you that Bill will be joining us in Louisville! He's eager to discuss his book, education in the 21st century, and anything else that might come up. I hope to see many of you on Wednesday, July 11, at 3 p.m. for the 2012 edition of One Book, One ACB.

Here are the details about the book. "The Blind Advantage: How Going Blind Made Me a Stronger Principal and How Including Children With Disabilities Made Our School Better for Everyone" by Dr. William W. Henderson is available as BRM1454 (braille or Web-Braille) and DBM1266 (cartridge or digital download). The book was produced by the Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library. Your NLS cooperating library can get it for you through interlibrary loan.


Diabetics in Action Seeking New Members

What is DIA?  We are a group of active, alive and well ACB members with lots of energy.  We are looking for more members because we know you are out there; diabetes has a high incidence among the populations of the world.

Although we are relatively small and young as far as an affiliate goes, we keep busy with trying to encourage the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and various insulin pump companies to wake up and make their equipment and web sites accessible.  Another thing we do is to hold an annual raffle with the winner receiving $100, 2nd prize winner $75, and 3rd prize winner receiving $50. This year we are having a very well-known speaker at our annual conference on Sunday, July 8 at 1:30 p.m.: Ann Williams, R.N., Ph.D and certified diabetes educator. She will be talking about what the future holds for us as diabetics.

We will also host a hospitality night on Thursday, July 12 at 9 p.m. Our favorite BEP vendor, Nancy Clayton, will be providing the goodies and drinks for that event.

We hope you all will come to our events, as well as to our business meeting on Wednesday, July 11 at 2 p.m. Our treasurer should be there and you can pay your dues -- only $10.  Paying dues will allow you to join our listserv, receive our quarterly newsletter, and be able to vote at our functions.  If you wish to join sooner than that, you can send your dues to Alice Ritchhart, 139 Altama Connection #188, Brunswick, GA 31525.

If you have any questions, contact Pat Wolf at (626) 279-2954 or e-mail her,

Calling All Radio Amateurs!

The American Council of Blind Radio Amateurs will hold its annual meeting on Thursday afternoon at the 2012 ACB conference and convention in Louisville.  Whether you're a long-time ham, or just getting interested in the hobby, here's your chance to get together with fellow radio enthusiasts, have a good time, and maybe even learn something new.

At the end of the meeting, we'll announce the winner of an exciting door prize.  Tickets will be on sale throughout the week, so don't miss your chance to get in on the fun.

In addition to our meeting, we will hold nightly nets at 9:00 on 147.48 MHz, and talk to each other on that same frequency throughout the week.  So bring your radio and join us at the 2012 ACB conference and convention.  73, and see you in Louisville!

Teachers' Features for the 2012 Convention

Whether you would like to explore how to deal with change, learn about innovative educational products, meet authors of two exciting new books, or simply sing a song, there is something for you in this year's National Association of Blind Teachers convention schedule! Read on for more details.

We begin on Sunday, July 8 at 8 a.m. with our annual breakfast, program and business meeting. The theme of the day will be "Change." First, Micheal Hudson, director of the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind, will speak on the topic, "The Challenge of Technological Change: Three Lessons in Leadership from the Archives of the American Printing House for the Blind." Change will also be on the agenda for at least part of our business meeting, which follows Mr. Hudson's presentation, as we vote on a possible name change for our affiliate. We also need to elect new board members and a new student representative. We hope that as many members as possible will come to the business meeting and help us to make these and other important decisions.

On Monday afternoon, July 9th, we will do what some teachers periodically do with their students: take a field trip. Several of us are traveling to the American Printing House for the Blind for a special educational products tour. There, we will examine and hear about new and established APH products which can be used by teachers and students for a variety of subjects and levels of education. There will also be the opportunity to ask questions and give our feedback to the American Printing House for the Blind about educational products that they offer and ideas for products which we would like to see in the future. We had a similar tour in 2008 and it was a great experience! I'm sure that this year's tour will be equally exciting!

Tuesday, July 10th is Book Day for NABT. During our program, which takes place from 1:15 to 4 p.m., we will meet two authors. Our first presenter will be Bill Henderson, a retired teacher, principal and author of the book "The Blind Advantage." The title of his presentation is, "How Being Blind Made Me a Better Principal, And Other Stories." He was principal of the Patrick O'Hearn Elementary School for 20 years. It was the first inclusion school in Boston; 35 percent of the students have some type of disability. When he retired in 2009, they renamed the school the William W. Henderson Inclusion Elementary School in his honor. Following a short break, we will hear from Peter Altschul, who has written a book entitled "Breaking Barriers: Working and Loving While Blind." The title of his presentation is, "My Life as an Adult Educator." Peter Altschul is an organization development specialist from Columbia, Mo. He assists groups and organizations to become better at motivating people, resolving conflicts, managing diversity, and planning for the future. I am confident that we will be inspired by both of these authors and their presentations.

Wednesday, July 11 also promises to be a busy day. First, we will participate in a joint program session with Library Users of America (LUA) and the Braille Revival League (BRL) from 1:15 to 4:00 p.m. During this session, we will meet a talking book narrator and spend more time with Bill Henderson. Our convention program ends on a light note from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. when we join forces with Friends-In-Art (FIA) for a session entitled, "Singing A Round." Come and learn to sing songs you can share with your children and students.

This year's NABT convention program is teeming with information, education, and inspiration for all. Be sure to save time in your convention schedule to come and join us!


There are actually two steps involved to obtain your 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.  First, you must become incorporated as a non-profit organization in your state.  Second, you must apply for 501(c)(3) status to the IRS.  Below, I will discuss both of these steps in more detail.

The First Step: Incorporating in Your State

A non-profit incorporates so that it exists as a separate legal entity in order to own property and open a bank account; ensure that the non-profit continues on its own after the original leadership is gone; and protect board and staff from liability from the non-profit's operations, among other benefits. Incorporation is handled by filing articles of incorporation with the appropriate office in your particular state.  This is normally with your state's Department of State or the Secretary of State's office.  Go to your state's Department of State or Secretary of State web site to find out the procedures required in your state and to obtain the necessary forms for the articles of incorporation.

You must be incorporated in your state before applying to the IRS for 501(c)(3) status.  The incorporation process can be a bit costly and may require assistance from a lawyer.  However, the complexity and costs vary widely from state to state.  Often attorneys will give your non-profit organization a special fee to assist you with this process.

Also, if you want your organization to be recognized as tax-exempt in your state, you need to determine if your state requires a separate tax exemption form for its non-profit tax-exempt program. States like California and Pennsylvania do not recognize the IRS tax exemption for non-profits, requiring another layer of oversight in an attempt to prevent taxpayer fraud.  Tax-exempt status in your state is also useful to avoid having to pay state sales taxes on purchases made by your organization for the organization's benefit, e.g. food for a holiday party, a vehicle to transport members, etc. 

It is extremely important to read and follow all of the directions and instructions precisely.  It will save you lots of headaches.  It is not difficult; it is just tedious, and takes some time and plenty of patience. 

You will most likely need to:

  1. Draft a mission statement that is succinctly stated, one or two sentences, of the purpose of your organization that your members can use as a guide for your organization.
  2.  Have a governing board, usually at least three people. Some states require these people to be non-related; that is, they cannot be husband and wife, brother and sister, etc. (Note: we see numerous exceptions to this latter issue among our ACB affiliates and chapters; so, be sure you know the requirements of your particular state.)
  3. If you don't already have them, write your articles of incorporation and a set of bylaws.  You can often obtain an example from your Secretary of State's office, or you can find examples of these documents online if you search for them using Google.  Consult a lawyer to help you if necessary. You'll need to state the official name of your organization and the "office" address of the organization; this can be the home of an officer or a  post office box.  You will also need to give the name of your agent and his/her address; he/she must be a resident of your state.  You will need the name of the incorporator and his/her address; this can be any board member willing to keep up with the filing of any future forms required  by the Secretary of State's office, and a list of all of the officers and their addresses.  These documents establish the structure of your organization and define its purpose.  In order to become an affiliate or a chapter of an ACB affiliate, you should already have a constitution, which can be the basis for your articles of incorporation and bylaws.  Again, legal advice here will help avoid frustrations.
  4. Send the articles into the Secretary of State's office with the appropriate filing fee.
  5. Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the federal government. After you have your certificate of incorporation, you can get an EIN, which you will need when filing forms to the federal government and to obtain a bank account.  One of the first questions on the application for your 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is your employer ID. If you don't have one, you will need to get it from the IRS. The easiest way to do this is to apply online. Or, you can download Form SS4 from the IRS web site and follow the instructions.
  6. Apply to the IRS for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status as soon as possible -- no later than 27 months after you've incorporated. This filing is rather lengthy.  We'll talk about this later on.

It is recommended that you put the minutes of the board's organizational meeting, the articles of incorporation and bylaws in a corporate record, such as a large three-ring binder available at most office supply stores.  Keep this record at your organization's office and add the minutes of each annual meeting to it. Also add minutes of meetings where decisions are made to change bylaws, board members, officers or make any capital improvements.

Once you are incorporated in your state as a non-profit organization, you are ready to take the next big step in the process of getting your 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS. 

A detailed description of how to obtain 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status for your ACB affiliate or chapter will be covered in part two, which will appear in a future edition of "The Braille Forum."


In late summer of 2011, a group of blind teachers, athletes, students and otherwise ordinary individuals attended a training program known as 1Touch – self-defense for the blind and visually impaired -- at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Mass. This group of nearly a dozen hailed from as near as Boston and as far away as Uruguay.  The objective of the program: to train as instructors in this unique course in self-defense specifically designed for those lacking sight.

1Touch was developed by Professor Stephen Nicholls, a martial arts instructor based in London, England.  Nicholls recognized, after working with blind and visually impaired students, that traditional martial arts, which rely heavily on the student's ability to see, could be modified to make it accessible for the blind.  With 1Touch, Nicholls created a set of techniques which make use of leverage and joint locks that do not require either sight or unusual strength to be effective.  All moves and techniques are described verbally and are demonstrated hands-on.  Neither age nor gender need be a barrier.   

From the very first lesson, three elements – balance, coordination, and dexterity, along with situational awareness -- are emphasized and cultivated, with simple exercises and drills at the outset progressing to more complex techniques over time.  "Beginning with stance and stepping movements, the student learns how to recognize and react to various types of physical situations," says Jim Pilkington, an assistive technology teacher from Colorado.  "From something as simple as someone grabbing your arm to an attacker attempting a choke hold, 1Touch offers an appropriate and effective set of techniques to counteract the attack and gain the advantage."

Awareness and appreciation of the benefits of 1Touch, on both a personal and a collective level, are immediate.  "This is great," said Scott Land, a gymnastics instructor from Colorado.   "The 1Touch system is unlike any other training I am aware of.   1Touch raises and addresses topics for the blind and vision impaired hitherto ignored."

Liz Myska, a visually impaired attorney from Massachusetts, said, "Learning the 1Touch techniques gives a great boost to one's self-confidence. My initial reaction was doubt and skepticism which has now, after training, been replaced by belief and empowerment."

Another trainee noted, "The human right of self-protection is as basic as it comes, and sadly, this has largely been overlooked in the blind community.  There is a huge need for training like this."

Additionally, the rehabilitative aspects of the 1Touch program are wide-ranging, from balance and coordination to improved mental attitude and self-image.  1Touch has submitted a paper to the European Congress of Adapted Physical Activity (EUCAPA) for its 2012 annual meeting.  As one student said recently, "It is physically, emotionally, and intellectually restorative to know that you can take effective action if you find yourself in a bad situation. As I continue to practice the 1Touch techniques, all these facets of my life are improving."

One of the students in the 2.5-day intensive course held in Newton was Bob Hachey, president of the Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB).  "The main reason I wanted to take the 1Touch course was to be able to conduct introductory workshops on self-defense at BSCB events," he said. "We had repeated requests for such a course, but we had difficulty finding an appropriate instructor."  Bob ran two introductory 1Touch hands-on seminars as part of the 2011 BSCB fall conference held at Perkins School for the Blind.  "It was my first time teaching this topic so I was a bit nervous. It was wonderful to have the assistance of a few of the students from the training course. The demand was such that we had more students than I'd planned for, but all went well. I anticipate that we will be doing more of these introductory courses. The 1Touch method is a good opportunity to help blind and visually impaired people develop increased self-confidence and a greater sense of independence."

Nicholls' goal is to establish a network of instructors here in the United States so that 1Touch can be self-perpetuating.  1Touch instructors already exist in the United Kingdom and Europe; they have been trained in various regions of the United States, with more to follow.  For information about 1Touch or to inquire about coaches in your area, please contact Stephen Nicholls,


The contents of this column reflect the letters we had received by the time we went to press, May 4, 2012.  Letters are limited to 300 words or fewer.  All submissions must include the author's name and location.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors.

In Response to Two Recent President's Messages

I had a chance to read the two articles by Mitch Pomerantz regarding employment of the blind.   I strongly agree with the idea that a no-nonsense video with study materials has to be developed for employers to heighten their awareness about what blind people can do on the job.  It is about time someone came up with this idea.  I thought about this years ago.  Society has to start feeling more comfortable around blind people.  They have to raise their expectations of us. 

So many times we don't get hired because of people's biases.  We give up because we get tired of hitting our heads against the wall.  It hurts after a while. 

Yes, I would rather work and I am looking into possibilities for myself to get ahead, which isn't easy.  Employers have to start seeing us as an asset rather than a liability.  They have to learn that we can do the job for them and break down those outdated stereotypes regarding blindness.
            -- P. William Meinecke, Virginia Beach, Va.

Civil Rights

I'm writing this letter after Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday celebration.  I am concerned that we blind citizens are losing our civil rights! Last Monday stood for all of us, not just African-American citizens.

I'll give a few examples. I went to the doctor one time when I was still teaching.  After the receptionist took our home phone number, we asked if she wanted my work number. The receptionist asked, "Oh, you work?" Recently my wife Paula heard the nurse tell her that she didn't think Paula should be out of the house alone because she was legally blind!

Other Florida friends were refused the return of their enlarged checks for financial purposes. With our member being very insistent, the bank finally agreed to provide enlarged copies of the cancelled checks.

Another couple made doctor's appointments with a new primary care physician. The office of this primary care physician actually called up the couple's adopted daughter and asked if they could take care of themselves. Her answer was that they had been living on their own for at least 30 years.

Folks, we ACB members need to step up to the plate and continue to insist on our rights! Think of this example. Anybody can take a single sheet of paper and rip it up. However, a whole bunch of pages such as those in a phone book can't be ripped in two pieces!
            -- Dan Marshall, Baton Rouge, La.

Concerns about Verizon

For those of you who thought that the Verizon Center for Persons with Disabilities would help a blind consumer with a major computer issue, think again.  I've been having problems sending out my magazine because my Verizon server decided to tag it as spam.  When I called the Verizon office, a very nice woman answered the phone, and as I explained my problem to her, she tried to refer me back to tech support.  I told her that being blind, I wasn't able to work well with tech support, and furthermore, neither tech support nor their supervisor admits any responsibility on behalf of Verizon for the problem.  Despite what I told her, the woman could not help me any further because she didn't have the resources.

If Verizon has an office exclusively to assist consumers with disabilities, shouldn't they have some kind of accommodation process?  Tech support people who work for Verizon do not know how to help blind people with computer issues because they aren't trained in adaptive methods.  I feel that this office needs to be a bit more progressive if it's going to live up to its title.
            -- Bob Branco, New Bedford, Mass.

HERE AND THERE edited by Sue Lichtenfels

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 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.


Friends' Health Connection is currently sponsoring a 12-part online lecture series that focuses on domestic abuse and disability. Seventeen organizations from across the nation will offer expertise and advice on a variety of behaviors and situations that constitute abuse and how best to deal with them. Lecture dates and topics will be posted at violence. Participants can join the seminar via a web link posted on this site or by telephone. Speakers will take questions from attendees. Sign language will also be offered for each lecture. Individuals without Internet access should contact the Friends Health Connection at (732) 718-0505.


Come join the Governor Morehead School Alumni Association for our fifth annual reunion.  There will be lots of fun, food, and fellowship.  You do not have to be a GMS alumnus; all interested people are welcome to attend.

The reunion will be held Aug. 3-5 at the Holiday Inn Raleigh North, 2805 Highwoods Blvd., Raleigh, NC 27604.  The cost is $50 for paid members; $65 for non-members.  After July 16, there is an additional $10 charge for everyone.

Room rates for up to four people per room are $63 plus tax per night, which includes a daily hot buffet breakfast.  To make your reservations, call (919) 872-3500 and ask for a room with the Governor Morehead School Alumni Association.  Registration will begin on Friday, Aug. 3, at 3 p.m.  Other activities for the weekend include games, karaoke, a catered lunch, a talent show, a dance, and Sunday service.

For more information, forms, or help filling out your forms, contact Margaret Carter at (919) 856-0034.  Send all money and forms to Margaret Carter, 1704 Picnic Place, Raleigh, NC 27603.


The Carroll Center for the Blind will host an Accessible IOS App Camp Aug. 13-17, 2012. This camp is geared to middle- and high school-aged students who are blind or visually impaired. No experience with Apple products is necessary; training will include hands-on instruction geared to assist with multiple devices. Instruction will include using the built-in Voice Over screen reader and Zoom screen enlarger; locating and downloading apps; interacting through social networks; listening to books, music, podcasts, and Internet radio; playing games; browsing the Internet; sending/receiving e-mail; navigating with the GPS; using the camera to scan print materials such as bar codes and money; making calls; and texting. For more information and an application, contact



GW Micro Voice Sense with Sense Navigation.  Asking $1,500.  Contact Donald Hansen via e-mail,


PAC Mate QX with qwerty keyboard.  Comes with leather case, "top hat" disk, connector cable.  In good condition.  Asking $200.  Will take check or money order.  Contact Chenelle Hancock at 10303 Sladden Ave., Garfield Heights, OH 44125; phone (216) 816-8053, e-mail


Enhanced Vision Machine by Samsung, Acrobatic LCD.  In excellent condition; comes in its own carrying case on rollers. Asking $900.  Telephone for hearing and vision impaired - by Freedom Spirit.  Clear sounds amplified; large numbers, adjustable ring tones, memory buttons, and volume levels. Asking $35.  Contact Mary Kay Gray via e-mail,, or by phone, (915) 833-5763.


K-NFB Reader. In excellent condition; runs on a Nokia phone, which is included. Asking $1,500 or best offer. Payment can be made via PayPal, or money order. Contact Margie at (916) 293-9505.


CCTV.  Asking $500.  Scanner for desktop computer.  Asking $100.  Contact Mary Ann via e-mail,


Custom-made harness for a dog guide.  Gently used.  Will fit a dog with girth from 30 to 34 inches.  Harness handle is completely leather-covered and 16" long, and can be detached. Asking $50 or best offer.  Contact Laura Collins, or by phone, (605) 341-2357.


BrailleNote Classic with 18-cell braille display, 48 megs RAM, version 7.2 software.  Needs cleaning and new battery.  Will take offers until June 20th.  If interested, e-mail


40-cell Handi-Tech Easy Braille Bluetooth refreshable braille device, NEW, never used. Works on PC, Mac, PDAs, and cell phones. Cables and software included. Asking $2,300 (includes shipping via FedEx 2nd day air).  10 percent of the purchase price is donated to the San Francisco LightHouse.  To see the device and its specifications, visit  If interested, contact Kate Woodford at (404) 259-9897 or via e-mail,


iPal Solo, about 2 years old, in good condition.  Comes with remote pad.  Asking $1,000 (negotiable).  Contact Dwayne McNutt via e-mail,, or call after 3:30 p.m. Eastern Monday-Friday at (423) 863-5899.


Mitch Pomerantz (final term, 2013)
1115 Cordova St. #402
Pasadena, CA 91106
Kim Charlson (final term, 2013)
57 Grandview Ave.
Watertown, MA 02472
Brenda Dillon (final term, 2013)
313 Overridge Cove
Hermitage, TN 37076
Marlaina Lieberg (final term, 2013)
15100 6th Ave. SW, Unit 728
Burien, WA 98166
Carla Ruschival (1st term, 2013)
148 Vernon Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206
Christopher Gray (final term, 2013)
5568 Waterman Blvd., Unit 2W
St. Louis, MO 63112


Ray Campbell, Glen Ellyn, IL (final term, 2014)
Berl Colley, Lacey, WA (1st term, 2012)
Janet Dickelman, St. Paul, MN (1st term, 2014)
Marsha Farrow, Summerville, GA (1st term, 2012)
Michael Garrett, Missouri City, TX (1st term, 2012)
George Holliday, Philadelphia, PA (1st term, 2014)
Billie Jean Keith, Arlington, VA (final term, 2012)
Allan Peterson, Horace, ND (1st term, 2014)
Jeff Thom, Sacramento, CA (final term, 2014)
David Trott, Talladega, AL (final term, 2012)
Ex Officio: Judy Jackson, Austin, TX


Paul Edwards, Chairman, Miami, FL (final term, 2013)
Nolan Crabb, Hilliard, OH (1st term, 2013)
Marcia Dresser, Reading, MA (2nd term, 2012)
Judy Jackson, Austin, TX (2nd term, 2012)
Ken Stewart, Warwick, NY (final term, 2012)
Ex Officios: Ron Milliman, Bowling Green, KY
Bob Hachey, Waltham, MA