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 E-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.

Envision Conference in Denver This Year

Envision’s 10th annual conference will be held Sept. 9-12, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt in Denver. Program organizers are now accepting submissions of prospective clinical education and research abstract presentations to be included on the four-day agenda. Full details of the 2015 program are available at
The Envision Conference offers 90 hours of clinical education and research sessions pertaining to low vision. Many sessions can earn attendees continuing education accreditation through agencies including: the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE), the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP), the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification (CPC), Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), and the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO).
This year Envision is offering two scholarships to attend its annual conference. Each scholarship will be awarded to either a full-time student studying clinical areas of low vision rehabilitation (optometry, ophthalmology, occupational therapy, orientation and mobility or low vision therapy), or to a Ph.D. candidate specializing in research related to low vision applications or clinical outcomes. Scholarships will cover the full cost of registration, but do not include travel or hotel expenses. Students interested in applying for a scholarship should submit a curriculum vitae, at least one letter of reference from a professor or clinical supervisor, a completed application and a one-page narrative explaining their interest in low vision rehabilitation or research and outlining how attending the conference would benefit their education or career. Applications are available at and are due by April 15, 2015. Notification of acceptance will occur by May15, 2015.

NLS to Implement UEB in 2016

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) will implement the Unified English Braille (UEB) code on Jan. 4, 2016 — the 207th birthday of Louis Braille.  UEB uses the same six-dot cell pattern as the present code, but drops some contractions, uses different spacing rules, and allows for transliterating a wider array of symbols.
Beginning Jan. 4, 2016, all books added to the braille collection will be produced in UEB.  Existing braille books will remain in the collection and be available. The UEB books are not expected to be available from the collection for at least six months.

Still Waiting for the Migraine Book?

Are you still waiting for the little migraine book that Ojocion Ingram has talked with 21 of you about? You can download it for free from Lulu! It’s called “The Little Big Headache Book, A Fellow Sufferer’s Home Remedy Guide” by Ojocion Ingram. Get it while it’s free! The cover will be on Instagram.

New Book of Prayers

Grace Franchi has just published another book called “Rivers of Light,” a book of prayers, positive affirmations, mental exercises and poems. The paperback and Kindle editions can be found at She has also sent the book to NLS for recording and brailling.
For more information, contact Irena Franchi via e-mail,, or by phone, (305) 932-8856.

New Book by Legally Blind Author

“The Soul and the Seed” is the first book in an intense new urban fantasy/contemporary dystopian series. The story focuses on Aranka, a girl who describes herself as “relatively normal” until those who hold power in society decide she is a threat. The United States and the rest of the modern world are dominated by a clandestine power that usurps the wills and emotions of individuals, but very few people know the truth. She is imprisoned and forced to watch as her friends are killed one by one, all because they are different in a small physical way and because they can't be easily controlled. It is only a matter of time before it is her turn to die. 
The Soul and the Seed, with text-to-speech capabilities, is available at
The author, Arie Farnam, is a legally blind writer and former ACB scholarship winner who grew up in eastern Oregon. In 2000, she became the first successful international conflict correspondent with a significant physical disability. While reporting from Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and the Ukraine, among other international crisis areas, for “The Christian Science Monitor” and “Business Week,” Farnam also directed two documentary films, “The Eye of the Storm” (in Kazakhstan) and “Walls” (in the Czech Republic).

HKNC Names New Executive Director

Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) recently announced two new leadership appointments.  Susan Ruzenski was named executive director.  Christopher C. Woodfill, regional representative for the Mid-Atlantic Region, was named to the newly created position of associate executive director.

NBP Announces New Board Leadership

National Braille Press (NBP) has appointed a new chair and vice chair to its board of trustees.  H. Clifford Watkin has been named chair of the NBP board of trustees; Dr. Nicholas Racheotes has been named vice chair.  Both have been strong advocates for braille literacy.  
Watkin has been on the board since 2010 and is currently the managing partner of Ipswich Bay Advisors.  He has 25 years of experience in human resources and employee benefits.
Racheotes has been reading braille since age 11.  A historian and professor at Framingham State University, he reads braille in English, French, modern Greek and Russian.  He has served on NBP’s board of trustees since 2008, and joined the National Braille Press Publications Strategic Planning Committee in 2012 to work toward helping others understand the importance of braille literacy.

New CFO at Guide Dogs for the Blind

Guide Dogs for the Blind appointed Cathy Martin to the position of treasurer and CFO of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Martin has over 25 years of experience with financial management, business planning, corporate development, and equity and debt financing for Humane Society Silicon Valley as well as many rapidly growing technology-based companies and venture capital firms in Silicon Valley.  She also has 13 years of public accounting experience, culminating in partnership status at Coopers & Lybrand (now Pricewaterhouse Coopers), an international accounting firm. She holds an MBA in finance from the New York University Stern School of Business along with a B.S. in accounting and quantitative methods from the University of Oregon.

Spotlight on Kids’ Vision

Welch Allyn, Inc. recently announced its support and sponsorship of KidSight USA — a new Lions Clubs initiative designed to help ensure children between six months and six years of age receive proper vision screening and professional follow-up care.  Conducted at schools, community centers and public health fairs using portable screening devices like the Welch Allyn Spot™ Vision Screener, the screenings can help identify refractive errors which may be associated with several ophthalmological conditions.
Lions in the U.S. currently screen more than 500,000 children each year through state and local programs known as KidSight.  Lions KidSight USA brings together established Lions vision screening programs and supports the development of new programs in order to create a coordinated national effort that can help more children.

NBP Books Honored

Lauded as "very exciting examples of great activity books to be shared by blind and sighted at the same time," National Braille Press’ books “Stir It Up!” and “Out-of-Sight Science Experiments” have been chosen as outstanding for the 2015 Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). These volumes will be available for tours and will also be catalogued and on the shelves of the North York Central Library branch in Canada.
Congratulations to “Out-of-Sight Science Experiments” authors Dr. Lillian A. Rankel and Marilyn Winograd — and to the NBP staff and friends who helped create “Stir It Up!”

Next Issue of The Consumer Vision

“The Consumer Vision” is a bimonthly publication.  Much of the material relates to blindness and other disabilities.  If you would like an e-mail subscription, send your request to  To check out a back issue of the magazine, visit

Barron Prize for Young Heroes

Author T.A. Barron believes that today's youth can make a difference in the world.  To inspire young people, he created the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes.  Each year, the Barron Prize honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet.
The 2014 honorees are:
Josh, age 10, was born blind and created a foundation to help blind people be more independent by putting braille in grocery stores, with braille store directories and layouts as well as aisle signs and scanners.
Claire, age 17, a teen living with cystic fibrosis (CF), created a foundation to provide emotional and financial support to other families whose children have CF.  In three years, her foundation has raised over $150,000. She set up an extended hospital stay fund and a web site of text and video resources to help newly diagnosed families understand the world of CF.
Michael, age 14, and his two brothers have raised over $225,000 in the past year to help victims who lost limbs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Michael, a quadruple amputee due to a severe bacterial infection, knows firsthand the challenges and possibilities of living without limbs. With the help of prosthetics, Michael is an independent 8th grader who plays on nearly every sports team at his middle school.
Rachel, age 10, helped to build an accessible playground in her community.  She was inspired after seeing a friend of hers who uses a wheelchair sitting on the sidelines watching other kids playing.
Stefan, age 18, lives with Tourette's Syndrome and has written four books about his adventures with his pet rat to raise money to build schools in Kenya.
Raymond, age 16, provides local hospitals with toys and crafts.  He began his work at age 6 following long hospital stays for a rare hip disease.

Orbit Research, Transforming Braille Group Partnership

Orbit Research LLC and the Transforming Braille Group LLC have joined forces to produce a low-cost, refreshable braille display. Orbit will be undertaking the research, development and manufacture of this unique product.  The Transforming Braille Group LLC is a global consortium of organizations of and for the blind, which is investing $1 million in the project.
The objective of the project is to produce a stand-alone 20-cell refreshable braille display for $300, which will bring refreshable braille within the reach of children in developing countries and will provide libraries in developed countries with a viable alternative to hard-copy braille. The product will be launched at CSUN in 2016.