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 [email protected], 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.

Low Vision Conference

Envision Conference 2012 is a multi-disciplinary low vision rehabilitation and research conference. It will take place Sept. 12-15, 2012 at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. The conference will feature clinical education, workshops, and research presentations by experts in low vision rehabilitation and education from around the world. Registration is now open. The regular registration fee includes access to all sessions, lectures, exhibits, plenary sessions, continental breakfasts each morning, coffee breaks throughout the day, luncheon, and welcome reception. Submissions are also being accepted for presentations focused on clinical education or research. Submit presentation proposals online at www.envisionconference.com by March 19.

AFB Scholarships

Applications are now available for the American Foundation for the Blind's annual scholarship program. There are seven scholarships available for up to 11 recipients. Applicants must be legally blind and pursuing post-secondary education. The online application is posted at www.afb.org/scholarships.asp. The deadline for applications is April 30. For more information, contact AFB's Information Center at 1-800-232-5463 or send a message to [email protected].


Service Dog Eye Exams

For the fifth year, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists will sponsor National Service Dog Eye Exam Month throughout May 2012. More than 200 board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada will provide free eye exams to thousands of dog guides, assistance dogs, detection dogs, and search and rescue dogs. To be eligible, the dogs must either be certified active working dogs or dogs in training. In order to participate, dogs must be registered online at www.ACVOeyeexam.org by April 30. Once registered, you can access the list of participating veterinary ophthalmologists to schedule an exam on a first-come, first-served basis.


Camp Siloam 2012

Camp Siloam 2012 will be held May 19-26 at the Golden Cross Ranch located north of Houston, Tex. This year's theme is "We Are More Than Conquerors." The week will include morning and evening worship services, swimming, horseback riding, hayrides, horseshoe pitching, talent nights, great conversation, film screenings, and more. Individuals who are between ages 17-69 and in good health are invited to attend. The cost for the week is $220 for repeat campers and $0 for first-time participants. Assistance with finding sponsors to help with the cost of the registration or transportation may be available. To receive the full camp registration packet, mail a $25 non-refundable registration deposit to: The Gospel Association for the Blind, PO Box 1162, Bunnell, FL 32110, along with a 3 by 5 card that includes your name, address, phone numbers and e-mail. Each new participant should also send a recent photo of him- or herself. For additional registration details, call (386) 586-5885. For updates on the camp program, check the recorded message at 1-866-251-5165 and enter mailbox 7128#. Camp registration closes April 16.


News from BANA

At its fall meeting in November, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) elected new officers, welcomed a new member agency, and approved a new set of standards for transcribing print into braille. New officers are: chair, Frances Mary D'Andrea (AFB); vice chair, Mary Nelle McLennan (APH); secretary, Jennifer Dunnam (NFB); treasurer, Sue Reilly (CTEBVI). The board approved the membership application of Horizons for the Blind to become BANA's newest member agency. Additionally, the board adopted a new set of transcription guidelines: "Braille Formats: Principles of Print to Braille Transcription, 2011." This document is available on the BANA web site. The BANA spring meeting will take place at the National Braille Association's conference in St. Louis the weekend of April 28-30, 2012. Additional information and resources are available at www.brailleauthority.org.


Summer Braille Music Institue

The National Resource Center for Blind Musicians will hold its 2012 seminar for blind college-bound musicians July 15-21 at the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, Pa. The seminar tailors instruction to each person's need to develop braille music and theory skills and to learn to use technology to submit music assignments in print notation. Applications are currently being accepted from serious braille-reading music students preparing for or already in college. Applicants must have already studied some music theory, have had several years of music lessons, and be able to present a polished and pleasing performance. They must be willing to put effort into braille music study, and demonstrate a commitment to use the braille music and computer notating skills they will learn at the Institute when they return to school. Applicants must also show they have begun thinking realistically about reachable goals, and that they have the independence skills, social readiness and maturity to be a contributing part of a close-knit group. All application materials are due by May 2. To obtain an application and audition details, visit www.blindmusicstudent.org; call (203) 366-3300, ext. 229; or e-mail [email protected].


Save the Date

The International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) Conference will take place May 17-19, 2012 at the Westin Galleria in Houston, Tex. For information on exhibitor or sponsorship opportunities, contact Lori Kesinger at 1-800-280-5325 or via e-mail at [email protected]. Registration information can be found at www.iaais.org.


HD Magnifiers

The HIMS LifeStyle HD magnifiers offer enlargement in high definition. According to HIMS, the high definition feature makes text crisper and color contrasts sharper. Models are available with either 19" or 22" wide-screen LCD monitors. They can magnify from 2x to 84x. For more information about the company's full line of products, call 1-888-520-4467 or visit www.hims-inc.com.


Access to Movies in Arizona

Arizonians with sensory impairments have reason to celebrate the recent judgment by U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver. She signed a decree ordering Harkins Theatres to install assistive technology at all but nine of its movie screens in the state. The judgment settled the 2006 discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of the estimated 700,000 Arizonians who are either hearing impaired or visually impaired.


Stories Needed

Rita Kersh is collecting stories for a new book that emphasizes the importance of laughter and humor when coping with vision loss. If you have any humorous or embarrassing stories that were the direct result of your vision impairment, she would love to hear from you. Send stories by e-mail to [email protected] or in braille, audio or typewritten to Rita Kersh, 1820 G St., Bedford, IN 47421. Also include your first name, current vision level, and reason for vision impairment. Stories will be included on a space-available basis. Rita has recently had another book published, "Pathway to Independence: A Guide for People with Vision Loss." This is a practical guide for people with varying levels of vision loss who strive to be more independent. It is available in large print and e-book at barnesnoble.com, amazon.com, and xlibris.com. Rita also has large-print copies available; contact her by e-mail or write her at the address above. Braille, CD and other formats will be available in the next few months.


Disability Answers APP

The Advocator Group is a nationwide advocacy organization that helps people apply for and obtain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The group offers a free mobile app available for both iPhone and Android cell phone users which helps potential applicants determine whether they should apply for SSDI or Medicare benefits. Disability Answers (TM) first asks the user for data such as their age, citizenship, diagnosis and work history. It then compares this data with that of more than 60,000 applications filed by current SSDI and Medicare claimants to determine the likelihood of being approved. Learn more about this app at https://www.mydisabilityanswers.com.


Medical Alert Cards

MyInfo911 provides emergency identification cards that use QR (Quick Response) codes to provide pertinent medical history information to first responders and other medical providers. The cards have the person's picture, name and QR code on the front and the person's name, year of birth, emergency contact, blood type, allergies and specific medical conditions on the back. By using a cell phone or PDA with Internet access, the first responders can input the QR code into the MyInfo911 web site to access the patient's complete medical history. For more information, visit www.myinfo911.com.


Resources for Planning Your Future

Mississippi State University's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness & Low Vision has released two new web resources. "From School to College: A Transition Activity Calendar for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired, Second Edition: 2011" is a web-based calendar of transition activities that help students in middle school to begin outlining the steps necessary to reach and thrive in college. Through the monthly suggested activities, students learn when to apply for college, take entrance exams, and visit campuses as well as how to acquire accessible textbooks, explore careers, obtain assistive technology, etc. The calendar also includes links to vital resources. This resource is available at www.blind.msstate.edu/transition.
Career Advantage for VIPs is an 8-module online employment program. Each self-paced module includes instructional materials and activities to guide job seekers through the step-by-step process of preparing for and finding employment. This free online resource can be accessed at www.blind.msstate.edu/advantage.


Daisy APP

Darwin Reader for Android is a new product from New Designs, LLC. This app allows Android platform smart phones to read all formats of DAISY digital talking books. The app also works in conjunction with Bookshare offerings. A free trial version is available for download. Additional information about this product can be found at www.darwinreader.com.


Tutoring Resource

Portal Tutoring offers assistance for people who are blind or visually impaired who want to learn about using the Internet for shopping, employment, education and leisure, reading and writing braille, utilizing adaptive equipment such as digital book players, and more. For more information about Portal Tutoring, and its courses, visit www.portaltutoring.info or call Ann Parsons at (585) 244-0477.


Seeking Migraine Sufferers

Do you suffer from migraines with piercing pain? Do they last for hours? Ojocion has developed her own home remedy that gets her up and out in 40 minutes 95 percent of the time. If you would like to try it, she'll give you tips from her book in exchange for a 25- to 50-word statement of your results. Contact her at (415) 846-2027 and leave your name and telephone number. Please speak slowly and clearly.