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 [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.
Minimum Wage Increase Includes Workers with Disabilities
President Barack Obama has signed an executive order increasing the minimum wage for new federal contracts to $10.10 an hour, beginning Jan. 1, 2015. The order also changes the current law that allows federal contract workers with disabilities to be paid less than those without disabilities who are doing the same job. Under the order, all federal contractors will be covered by minimum wage protections. Some of the people who would see their wages go up under this order include nursing assistants providing care to veterans at nursing homes, concessions workers in national parks, people serving food to our troops, and individuals with disabilities working to maintain the grounds on military bases.
The Rocky Mountain ADA Center, a member of the National Network of ADA Centers, is sponsoring a survey of individuals with disabilities to understand the impact of access to transportation on social opportunities. The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete online at https://usu.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3qOED2805PPQpGB. Those who complete the survey may choose to be entered into a randomly selected drawing for one of eight $25 Visa gift cards. For more information, contact Keith Christensen at [email protected] or (435) 797-0507.
Microsoft Offers Scholarship
Microsoft recently launched the Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship intended to empower and enable high school students with disabilities to (a) go to college, (b) realize the impact technology has on the world, and (c) target a career in the technology industry. This new program was started by, and is supported by, Microsoft employees who will select promising high school seniors who require financial assistance in order to enter and successfully complete a vocational or academic college program. This non-renewable $5,000 scholarship will be paid to the recipient's Financial Aid Office by the Seattle Foundation on behalf of the DisAbility Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Microsoft.
All candidates must be high-school students living with a disability who plan to attend a two- to four-year university or college program, maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA or equivalent and have declared a major from the approved list (see scholarship guidelines on application).
To apply for the Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship, the student must meet the following guidelines:
- Be a current high school senior with living with a disability (as defined by WHO), whether that be visual, hearing, mobility, cognitive or speech.
- Plan to attend an undergraduate program in a 2- or 4-year university/college or technical college in the fall of the academic year following high-school graduation. Schools must be in the USA or have a USA affiliate for financial transactions (contact Seattle Foundation to verify non-USA school's eligibility).
- Declare a major in engineering, computer science, computer information systems, legal or in business that are approved (i.e. paralegal, pre-law, finance, business administration, or marketing).
- Demonstrate a passion for technology.
- Demonstrate leadership at school and/or in the community.
- Have a high school cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Require financial assistance to attend college.
- Enrollment status must be full-time or half-time.
For more information, contact the DisAbility Employee Resource Group of Microsoft,
Perkins Celebrates 185
The Perkins School for the Blind celebrated its 185th anniversary on March 2. On that date in 1829, Massachusetts chartered the first school in America for children who are blind.
Perkins was recognized for its exceptional services in the U.S. when it was tapped by the FCC to create iCanConnect.org as part of a national program that provides free equipment to people who are deaf-blind so that they can engage directly with family, friends and society at large. Worldwide, Perkins has partner programs in 67 countries where shared expertise and a common commitment to bring educational opportunities to all children is transforming lives and building sustainable programs.
Get the Picture!
The camera on an iPhone or iPad does a great deal more than take photos! Just ask Judy Dixon, who not only takes panoramic photos of her new patio, but also clicks the shutter to identify her apricot sweater, pull out an Andrew Jackson bill, scan a barcode at Whole Foods, do FaceTime with a friend in Portugal, and so much more! Now she's sharing what she knows in her new book: "Get the Picture: Viewing the World With the iPhone Camera," available in hard-copy braille, BRF, Word, and DAISY. Judy tested and rated hundreds of apps to find those most accessible to blind users.
In this book, Judy has applied the knowledge she has gained from months of research on iPhone photography and has put into practice strategies enabling people who are blind to enjoy creating and sharing their own photographs of the world around them. Whether you're interested in taking pictures of your newborn for the family album, or your prized tomatoes for your Facebook page, Judy covers all aspects of taking pictures - from photographing people to photographing sunsets. And every iPhone user will want to read her sections on using FaceTime and Skype!
For more information, contact National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen St., Boston, MA 02115-4302, or call 1-800-548-7323.
Lawyer of the Year
Lainey Feingold has received a 2014 California Lawyer of the Year Award (CLAY Award) for her work in 2013. One of 57 lawyers receiving the award this year, she shares the CLAY Award for Disability Rights with Linda Dardarian of the Oakland, Calif. civil rights firm Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho. While maintaining their own law firms, Linda and Lainey have worked as partners since 1994.
Lainey and Linda are receiving the award for their recent work with the blind community which includes settlement agreements they negotiated with Walmart (talking pill bottles), Safeway (accessible online grocery delivery), Bank of America (accessible security features for web and mobile applications) and Weight Watchers (accessible web, mobile apps and print information).
This is the second time that Lainey has received a CLAY Award. She and Linda were honored in December 2000 with an award for their structured negotiations work on Talking ATMs and accessible banking. Nearly 50 settlements have been reached using structured negotiations.
Jewish Summer Camp Programs
The National Ramah Tikvah Network offers a variety of summer camp programs to Jewish children, teens, and young adults with disabilities. More than 40 years ago, Ramah became a pioneer and visionary in Jewish camping and in the Jewish community by establishing the Tikvah program for campers with disabilities.
Every camper is unique, and so is each camp. Programs are located at nine Ramah camps across the United States and Canada. Families are directed to the regional camp that best suits their child's needs. Program offerings include: overnight and day camp programs; vocational education programs; and family camp.
If you have questions, or need more information, contact Batsheva Greenstein, co-coordinator of the National Ramah Tikvah Network, at (212) 678-8881.
Camp Abilities Nebraska
Camp Abilities Nebraska is a week-long residential sports camp for youth ages 9-19 who are blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind. The camp is held on the campus of the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Youth will explore sports and recreational activities in a safe environment with instructors who have experience in adaptive techniques. Camp Abilities Nebraska is co-sponsored by Boys Town National Research Hospital and Outlook Nebraska, Inc. The cost is $300; scholarships are available. Nebraska residency is not required. Camp registration ends May 1 and is limited to 20 campers, so prompt enrollment is suggested. Counselors in the areas of adaptive physical education and special education are needed; orientation is July 20th. For more information, or to make a donation to Camp Abilities Nebraska, contact Kristal Platt, Vision Program Coordinator, at (402) 498-6365, [email protected] or visit www.BoysTownHospital.org/HearingServices/EducationalOutreach.
Church Conference of the Blind
The National Church Conference of the Blind will hold its annual Bible Conference Aug. 2-8, 2014. The 2014 conference will be held at The Grand Vista Hotel, 2790 Crossroads Blvd. at Horizon Drive, Grand Junction, CO 81506. To reserve a room, call 1-800-800-7796, or call the hotel direct at (970) 241-8411.
The hotel room rate is $79 per night for up to four people in a room. If you have questions regarding the conference or registration, contact Rheba Dunn at (970) 895-2352, or visit the NCCB web site at www.thenccb.com/.
Bierley Dome Magnifiers
Bierley's new 64mm dome magnifier is made of optical-grade acrylic, with a non-scratch base. It features a light-gathering dome magnifier that lets you view anything at twice the size, and glides easily across surfaces. It comes in a silk-lined gift box, with a choice of oak or walnut base. For more information, call Bierley at 1-800-985-0535 or visit www.bierley.com.
Merlin Ultra Full HD
The new Merlin ultra offers full high-definition color and contrast, resulting in sharp images and vibrant color. Its new full HD camera allows for a wide field of view, displaying more text on the screen. Merlin ultra features: a new full HD camera; high-resolution HD LCD for best image quality; a wide field of view; easy-to-use tactile controls; LED lighting; a magnification range of 1.9x to 104x depending on screen size and zoom table selected; adjustable viewing modes; an XY table with a user-friendly lock; and a 3-year warranty. For more information, call Enhanced Vision at 1-888-811-3161, or visit www.enhancedvision.com.
WellPoint Web Accessibility
WellPoint recently announced its initiative to make its affiliated health plan web sites, mobile applications, and print information more accessible and inclusive for all members. This initiative will improve accessibility for members with visual impairments. WellPoint has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 level AA as its accessibility standard and has already made substantial enhancements as part of its work toward meeting this standard. The company has also expanded its system for providing braille, large print, electronic, and audio versions of print information to health plan members with visual impairments.
Most people have heard of Craig's List. But what is Leonore's List? It is a new web site created by Leonore and David Dvorkin of Denver, Colo. Leonore and David are authors, editors, and book producers who already have seven blind authors among their many editing clients. Leonore's List will start running ads that are exclusively from and for the communities of the blind and otherwise disabled. Ad categories include employment (with ads from both employment providers and seekers), products, services, companies that cater to the blind and otherwise disabled, aid organizations, accessible housing, communications, and publications. Ads may be placed by individuals, organizations, or companies. The person, organization, or company placing the ad assumes all liability. For more information, visit the web site, www.leonoreslist.com.
"Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein" by Don Brown is now available as a print/braille children's book in contracted braille, for ages 5 to 10. This biography focuses on Einstein's hard-to-classify brilliance, which led to awesome scientific discoveries, but frequently left him a misunderstood outsider. Brown offers a thoughtful introduction to an enigmatic man.
"Freedom Summer" is a print/braille children's book, also in contracted braille, for ages 4 to 10. Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there's one way they're different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn't allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other there, only to discover that it takes more than a law to change people's hearts.
For more information, visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/index.html, or write to National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen St., Boston, MA 02115-4302, or call toll-free 1-800-548-7323.
Ruderman Prize Awarded
The Ruderman Family Foundation recently announced that Dr. Michael Stein of Harvard University is the first recipient of the Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion. The primary consideration for the award is whether the recipient's work has made life more equitable for people with disabilities.
Dr. Stein, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, is the co-founder and executive director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability. He also played a key role in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The award recognizes "an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish world and the greater public."
Hearne Award Winners Announced
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) recently announced that Talila Lewis and Jason DaSilva are the winners of the 2014 Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award. Lewis, of Washington, D.C., and DaSilva, of Brooklyn, N.Y., received their awards, which are given to emerging leaders in the national disability rights movement, at the 2014 AAPD Leadership Gala, on March 18th.
The AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award advances the work of Paul Hearne, one of the founders of AAPD and a renowned leader in the national disability community, and realizes his goal of cultivating emerging disability rights leaders. Each awardee will receive $10,000 to help them continue their progress in disability activism.
Talila Lewis is the founder and president of Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf (HEARD), an all-volunteer non-profit organization that promotes equal access to the legal system for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. HEARD is the only organization in the nation that focuses on correcting and preventing deaf wrongful convictions, ending deaf prisoner abuse, decreasing recidivism rates for deaf returned citizens, and increasing representation of the deaf in the legal profession. Through Talila's leadership, and with the support of the community, HEARD has considerably advanced the rights of the deaf in the legal and corrections settings.
Director Jason DaSilva has been a prolific filmmaker for the past 10 years. He has directed four short films and two feature-length documentary films. Many of his films have won awards; "Olivia's Puzzle" premiered at the 2003 Sundance Festival and qualified for an Academy Award. His latest film, "When I Walk," which captures DaSilva's experience living with multiple sclerosis, was an official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won Best Canadian Feature at HotDocs 2013. Following the film's theatrical release this fall, it will air on POV on PBS.
Keynote Speaker Announced
Envision has selected Rebecca Kammer, OD, Diplomate Low Vision, FAAO to present the keynote address at its 9th annual conference, which will be held Sept. 17-20 in Minneapolis. The conference provides a multidisciplinary approach to low-vision research and rehabilitation, welcoming ophthalmologists, optometrists, occupational therapists, researchers and others focused on improving the quality of low-vision care through collaboration, advocacy, research and education. Dr. Kammer will discuss international development of low vision services.
Blind Matters Radio Show is the first syndicated radio show of its kind in the country - an all-talk show catering to the visually impaired and the blind. The show is an interactive support platform educating, entertaining, encouraging, advising, inspiring and guiding the listening audience on relevant topics of interest to the low-vision, blind, and deaf-blind communities.
What makes this show unique? The host, many of our guests, and some of the advertisers are also visually impaired or blind. You can listen to the Blind Matters Radio Show every Saturday live from 3-6 p.m. Eastern on an AM radio station near you, or you may listen via livestream at www.blindmattersradioshow.com. You can also listen to Blind Matters on iHeart Radio and Tune-in Radio.
Online Course Catalog
CANnect is a consortium of agencies and schools whose mission is to create leading edge, user-friendly and accessible online educational opportunities, learning resources and life skills training for people who are blind and/or visually impaired, for professionals who serve them and for their families.
CANnect has designed and implemented a "Portal: Course Catalogue" through which users are able to access existing English-language online accessible courses. Members are now in the process of uploading their accessible online courses, videos and webinars to CANnect's Portal, www.cannect.org. We invite you to join our efforts by agreeing to post your own accessible online course to the catalog. If you are visually impaired or are a teacher of the visually impaired, take a look at the courses to see if any of our accessible online course suits your needs.
Sample courses now posted include Excel courses offered by the Carroll Center for the Blind (Newton, Mass.), a course for Self-Management of Diabetes by visually impaired diabetics, a companion course for professionals who care for visually impaired diabetics, and a course for health professionals who may encounter people who are blind and diabetic in their practice. Several brief webinars on using mobile devices with access technology are also posted:
- The Hadley School for the Blind library of 112 accessible online courses;
- The Baruch College City University of New York Computer Center for Visually Impaired People accessible online courses;
- E.A.S.I. (Equal Access to Software and Information) catalog;
- The Carroll Center for the Blind course catalog;
- The Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) popular video clips and online courses;
- CISCO ACADEMY, presented by the Western Australia Association for the Blind; and
- Cathyanne Murtha's Assistive Technology Institute is offering 7 courses in Microsoft Word and Office.
If you have questions or suggestions, contact Rachel Rosenbaum via e-mail, [email protected].
Blind Singles Magazine
"Blind Singles" is a free electronic magazine that consists of ads of blind singles who would like to find someone for close friendship or relationship. We accept ads of people 18 and above. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to [email protected].
Eric Calhoun is starting a brand-new magazine, the Eric Calhoun, where the readers are the contributors. Special notices are welcome, as long as they're free and legal. Pen pals are welcome to advertise. To give everyone a chance, you will be limited to one advertisement every 3 weeks. No attachments! If interested in subscribing, send a message to [email protected], with the subject line (minus the quotes) "The Eric Calhoun Magazine."
Candle in the Window Retreat
Candle in the Window will hold its annual retreat Aug. 6-10, 2014 at the Wooded Glen Retreat Center in Henryville, Ind. This year's topic is "Blindness and Your Culture: How has it affected you and how do you affect it?"
The cost of the conference per person is $525 double occupancy, $505 triple occupancy. It includes room, all meals and ground transportation between Louisville and Wooded Glen. Attendance is limited to 20 participants, so make your reservations early! All it takes is a $40 non-refundable deposit. A $15 discount is offered to those who pay before July 1. Registration closes Aug. 1.
PayPal payments are accepted and should be sent to [email protected]. Checks are also accepted; make it out to Candle in the Window and send it to Carlos Taylor, 925 S. Luick Ave., Muncie, IN 47302.
If you have questions, contact Deb Lewis, [email protected] or (502) 721-9129; or Becky Barnes Davidson, [email protected] or (914) 393-6613.
For more information about the retreat center, visit www.woodedglen.com.