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.
Illinois School Reunion
The Illinois School for the Visually Impaired Alumni Association’s biannual reunion will be held June 2-3 at the Hilton Garden Hotel, 3100 S. Dirksen Pkwy., Springfield, IL 62703. Room rates are $89 plus tax per night. To make hotel reservations, call (217) 529-7171 or visit www.Isvialumni.org . Be sure to use the code ISVI.
Breakfast will be provided in the meeting room Friday morning. You will be responsible for all other meals and your hotel room. There is an in-house restaurant as well as room service. All meetings and entertainment will be held in the function room off the lobby. There will be a reception from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 2nd. A memorial service and business meeting are scheduled for Friday morning. Friday afternoon’s schedule includes the auction, talent show, and ISVI history in review; the evening boasts a banquet, Bingo and a dance. Door prizes will be given away during each meeting and activity.
Don’t forget to bring your new, gently used, or homemade items for the auction. The fund-raising committee requests new or gently used items worth at least $15. If you wish to send your auction items ahead of time, Larry Turnbull has agreed to accept the packages. Send to: Larry Turnbull, 205 S. Durkin Dr. Apt. 1, Springfield, IL 62704. If you have any questions, contact Dan Thompson, (217) 473-4434 or (217) 243-6781, or e-mail [email protected].
If you have resolutions or amendments to the constitution, visit with the committees from 8 to 8:30 p.m. in the function room.
Anyone needing special equipment or assistance must provide their own. The ISVI Alumni Association cannot be responsible for providing these services. The hotel staff will hand out a schedule of events at the check-in desk. If you would like the schedule of events or any information sent to you via e-mail, contact Dan at the phone or e-mail address above.
Two New Courses at Hadley
The Hadley School for the Blind now has two new braille courses available.
UEB Braille Literacy 3: Uncontracted Braille is designed to increase your ability to read and write braille. The course covers the braille alphabet, numbers, punctuation, and some special signs. Directions for using the braille writer as well as the slate and stylus are included. In order to take this class, you must have taken “Braille Literacy 1: Tactile Readiness” and “Braille Literacy 2: Learning the Braille Alphabet,” or be able to read all letters of the braille alphabet by touch. You’ll find it listed as course EBR-923. This course is designed solely for Hadley students who are blind.
UEB Contracted Braille will enable you to assist your family member or client who is blind. You must have completed the “Introduction to Braille” within six months prior to enrollment with a grade of B or higher OR adequate competency as determined by Hadley’s “Uncontracted Braille Assessment.” The course IDs are CBR-213 and CBR-223. This course is designed for sighted students in the Family or HSPS (blindness professionals) programs.
Hadley also has an Uncontracted Braille Assessment available. If you have learned uncontracted braille, or have had more than six months since completing the “Introduction to Braille” or “Introduction to Braille, UEB Edition” courses, this assessment will tell you whether you’re ready for the next course level. Its ID is UBA-010, and it is available in large print and online. This assessment is designed for sighted students in the Family or HSPS programs.
For the most up-to-date course information, call Hadley toll-free at 1-800-323-4238.
HumanWare, Enabling Form Partnership
HumanWare has formed a new partnership with Enabling Technologies. As of Jan. 1, HumanWare is the exclusive North American distributor for all Enabling Technologies products. With this partnership, HumanWare offers braille embossers to complement its refreshable braille product lines.
Enabling Technologies is a recognized leader in braille embossers. The company is best known for its Romeo and Juliet embossers, as well as production embossers such as the BookMaker, Braille Express 150 and the Braille Place. Its product line has recently been updated with new models, including the Cyclone (a new single-sided embosser), the Trident (a new double-sided embosser), and the Phoenix, a multi-function braille and tactile graphics system.
HumanWare’s product offerings include the BrailleNote® Apex; Victor Reader®; the Prodigi® family of desktop and portable vision and reading systems, and Trekker® Breeze, the all-in-one handheld talking GPS.
For more information about the Enabling Technologies line of braille printers, or any other HumanWare products, please contact HumanWare at [email protected] or 1-800-722-3393.
Adjustable Detection Range for Sonar Glasses
SONAR GLASSES are now available with an adjustable detection range. You can change the detection range of the glasses between 3 feet, 6 feet, and 9 feet. For example, when you are in a large open area, or if you are a fast walker, you could use the 9-foot range. For most everyday outdoor situations, you could use the 6-foot range. And for indoor use, or in crowded outdoor situations, you could use the 3-foot range.
The glasses complement the white cane by providing information regarding the location of nearby objects above waist level within 3 to 9 feet of the user (such as tree limbs, signs, walls, vehicles, people, etc.). They are available in clear or dark lenses. The lenses have 100% UV protection. Prescription lenses and photo-sensitive lenses are also available. The glasses come with a battery charger and two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (which last 7 to 9 hours on a full charge). The glasses are made in the USA, and come with an unconditional 1-year warranty and satisfaction guarantee.
For more information, contact Jeff Shad, G-Technology Group, at (571) 297-4756; e-mail [email protected]; or visit www.g-disabilityproducts.com.
The Ramah Camping Movement and the Ruderman Family Foundation recently announced the winners of “TIPTOE (The Inclusion Project: Through Our Eyes),” an inclusion-themed video contest for participants from all Jewish camps. You may view the winning videos at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-DRF46rw-Y9qh1l4nq0JT2WDyUf6o-Xv.
Camper winners are: first place, Matthew Warshay (Providence, R.I.); second place, Shafer Gootkind (New York, N.Y.).
Staff member winners are: first place, Jennifer Kreinik (Scarsdale, NY); and second place, Jonah Goldman Kay (Orlando, Fla.) and Itai Zwecker (Tel Aviv, Israel).
New from National Braille Press
“Super Fly Guy” by Tedd Arnold is now available from National Braille Press. It’s a print-braille book in contracted UEB with skipped lines, and is for kids ages 4 to 9.
A young boy named Buzz has a pet fly, named Fly Guy. One day Fly Guy accompanies Buzz to school and meets the lunch lady, Roz, who gives him a treat for saying her name. But when Roz gets fired, the Fly Guy works to get her reinstated.
“Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time” by James Howe is available in contracted UEB for ages 4 to 9. Houndsley is a dog; Catina is a cat. The first snow of winter has fallen, which makes Houndsley happy – he loves the quiet time. Catina does not. The friends use their imaginations to enjoy a day of reading and writing poetry, games, and shared dreams. Houndsley helps Catina let go of her worries and enjoy the snowy day.
Also available is “50 Scrumptious Recipes from Cooking.com,” in braille or as a braille-ready file. There are recipes for Blueberry and Lemon French Toast Casserole, Broiled Shrimp and Avocado “Cocktails,” Baked Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges, One-Pot Pasta Caprese, Fresh Corn Chowder, and Simply Chocolate Cake – and many more!
For more information, visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/index.html; call 1-800-548-7323, or write to National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115-4302.
Update from Seedlings
Great news! Seedlings has expanded its Book Angel Program for 2016. Now every blind or visually impaired child (ages 0-21) in the U.S. and Canada may get 3 free books from Seedlings Braille Books for Children. To register your child, go to http://www.seedlings.org/special.php.
Applebutter Hill Now Available on Audio
Learning Ally recently released a VOICEtext version of “The Heart of Applebutter Hill” by Donna W. Hill. Digital text is synchronized with the audio, enabling readers with dyslexia and other learning disabilities to follow the print as they listen. Studies show that this method improves confidence, comprehension and test scores.
“The Heart of Applebutter Hill” features two 14-year-old friends — including Abigail, a shy songwriter who is losing her sight and uses a guide dog. They uncover a dangerous secret.
To learn more about “The Heart of Applebutter Hill,” visit www.learningally.org/BookDetails.aspx?BookID=KV589. This book is also available in refreshable braille and DAISY text through Bookshare; visit http://www.bookshare.org/browse/book/639304.
Little Big Headache Book
At long last, the migraine book is available! It’s called “The Little Big Headache Book, A Fellow Sufferer’s Home Remedy Guide” by Ojocion Ingram. You can download it for free from www.livinganyway.com/wp/the-little-big-headache-book-2.
Enjoy Playing Games?
Do you enjoy playing board games with friends, but find you can’t always join in the fun because the game board and cards aren’t accessible? Now there’s a solution! 64oz Games has made braille accessibility kits for board games. If you are a fan of Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, and other such games, visit www.64ouncegames.com and check out the collection.
Do you need an accessibility kit for a specific game? Visit www.64ouncegames.com/blog/braille-add-ons/accessibility-kit/.
bTizzy Products made by People with Disabilities
bTizzy is a one-stop shop for all things disability. And it’s in the process of starting a new program where members receive a variety of products created by the disability community. All products are made by bTizzy’s talented artisans with disabilities. Subscribers can select to receive the box in 30- or 60-day intervals. Check it out online at www.btizzy.com/products/pwdmedley-club.
You can also learn the stories of some of our artisans at www.btizzy.com/collections/pwdmedley-artisans.
Certified Brailler Service
Leonard Kokel’s Certified Brailler Service can provide general service, minor and major repairs on your Perkins braillers. He also has reconditioned Perkins braillers for sale. For information, contact Leonard at (541) 888-0846 or e-mail [email protected].
Another Duck Dynasty
While visual art and vision loss may not seem like an equitable match, folk artist and author Dan Sullivan is proving otherwise. As the creator of Boonducks, his wooden duck decoys are being showcased at art shows and exhibits around the country. His story and award-winning artwork were recently portrayed in a PBS film and also featured by the National Endowment for the Arts in their 50th anniversary celebration.
By visiting www.wisconsinlife.org/tags/boonducks and clicking on the duck photo, you can experience his Quacker Jacks, Wingdings, and other character ducks. Under the pen name of D.S. Sully, Sullivan’s story of dashing and crashing through adversity is chronicled in an inspirational memoir titled “Glimpse.” His most recent book “Bum Wing” has been converted to a screenplay. Sullivan’s workshop, known as the Woodwings Studio, is located in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. You can reach him via e-mail, [email protected].
New Podcast Shows
Hunter Parker has created a new podcast, called “The Hunter Show.” It contains the latest news headlines, as well as a sports segment, a weekly Bible verse, and a prayer at the end of the show. To tune in, visit http://thehuntershow.gbj4.us. On the site, you can sign up for telephone and/or text alerts on when new shows are posted. There’s also a form where you can submit a prayer request, which may be read on the show, as well as a comment line, where you can leave feedback about the show. The show is usually posted every Sunday. For more information, contact Hunter via e-mail, [email protected].
Hunter also has another show, called “Hunter’s Random Show.” It features a wide variety of content, from interviews to recipes, to pretty much anything in between. Check it out at http://hrshow.gbj4.us.
New Radio Station
There’s a new radio station online, WJSH Radio, and it features a wide variety of content, from music, to news, to technology. During the week — except for Thursdays — we feature a nightly newscast which is produced by the BBC, which we air with their permission. It also features some podcasts such as “Security Now” and “This American Life.” There are a couple of live shows, and we try to run music when no programming is scheduled. We are always looking for new broadcasters and new listeners. To listen in, visit http://tunein.com/radio/Highway-1047-s29984 You will be able to tune in with your default media player (please note that Windows Media Player will not work; it doesn’t support our stream). You can also tune in using your mobile device. There is a schedule of all the programs on the station available on the site, as well as a broadcaster application, a form where you can send requests to our DJs, and more. We also have a listeners’ mailing list, where you can keep up to date on the latest news about the station.