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.
** Seeking Hall of Fame Nominees
Nominees are currently being sought for the 2010 class of inductees to the American Printing House’s Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field. This honor recognizes those individuals who have provided outstanding service to people who are blind or visually impaired. Bios of the current 44 members of the hall can be viewed at www.aph.org/hall_fame/index.html. For the nominee qualifications and nomination process, visit www.aph.org/hall_fame/nominate.html. Nominations close March 26, 2010.
** Service Dog Eye Exams
For the third year, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists will sponsor National Service Dog Eye Exam Month throughout May 2010. More than 150 board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists in the U.S. 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.orgbetween April 1 and May 16. Once registered, you can access the list of participating veterinary ophthalmologists to schedule an exam on a first-come, first-served basis.
** Camp Siloam 2010
Camp Siloam 2010 will be held May 22-29 at the Golden Cross Ranch located north of Houston, Tex. This year’s theme is "A Passion for Christ Is a Passion for Life." The week will include morning and evening worship services, swimming, horseback riding, hayrides, horseshoe pitching, and more. Individuals ages 17-68 and in good health are invited to attend. The cost for the week is $220 per person. Assistance with finding sponsors to help with the cost of 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 address. For additional registration details, call (386) 586-5885. For updates on the camp program, check the recorded message toll-free at 1-866-251-5165 and enter mailbox 7128#. Camp registration closes April 15, 2010.
** Summer Braille Music Institue
The National Resource Center for Blind Musicians is accepting applications for its seminar for blind college-bound musicians, to be held July 11-17, 2010 at the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, Pa. Designed for serious braille-reading music students preparing for or already in college, the program 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. 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 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. Contact the Resource Center regarding the application and audition procedure. All application materials must be received by May 5. Parents and teachers of younger students are invited to discuss coming for an evaluation and guidance. You may also contact the Resource Center about customized distance learning throughout the year. For more information, visit www.blindmusicstudent.org, contact David Goldstein at (203) 366-3300, extension 229, or send an e-mail message to [email protected].
** Tax Assistance & Accessibility
For anyone seeking assistance this tax season, many communities have volunteer income tax assistance sites or local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers, which will prepare your return without charge. To locate a volunteer site, call your community’s 211 or 311 number for local services or call the IRS at 1-800-906-9887. The IRS offers numerous documents in alternative formats for people with print disabilities at www.irs.gov. Follow the home page link to "Accessibility," then the link to "Accessible IRS Tax Products" and select the appropriate link to download accessible forms or publications. The IRS web site provides accessible electronic files in formats including: ASCII text (.txt), braille-ready format (.BRF), and Talking Tax forms in PDF that work with MSAA-compliant screen-reading software and braille display devices.
** Children's Literature Course
Julie Goldbeck is offering an on-line course in Introduction to Children's Literature for 10 clock hours. It is a self-paced course that can be completed from home with an Internet connection. The course will cover all areas of children's literature, including special events in children's literature; U.S. and international children's literature awards; authors, illustrators, children's book publishers; picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, etc. To register, e-mail [email protected] and Julie will send you the course materials. A $50 instructor fee is due upon completion.
** Coming of Age
"Coming of Age: A Personal Memoir," co-authored by Clara Bowie and Lydia Hazel, is now available. Part one includes an overview, a review of relevant literature, discussion of lifelong pursuits and thoughts on other views of aging. The book includes strategies for navigating the aging process and a variety of personal experiences. For more information, contact Clara Bowie at 800 W. Mill St., Apt. #303-A, Carbondale, IL 62901, or phone (618) 457-8273.
** New Leadership Book
“The Blind Visionary” chronicles the life course of Virginia Jacko, current CEO of the Miami Lighthouse. The book discusses Jacko’s journey from being diagnosed with RP while working as a university executive to becoming a client at the Miami Lighthouse and to working her way up to be its CEO. In the book, Jacko and co-author Doug Eadie, a seasoned consultant in organizational leadership, demonstrate four areas of practical advice: reaching out aggressively to cultivate mentors, role models and potential partners; acting on opportunities and overcoming barriers; believing in yourself no matter what the naysayers might tell you; and keeping your ego in check and your sense of humor alive. “The Blind Visionary” is available in soft cover for $19.99 and hard cover for $29.99 from www.governanceedge.com.
** Transition Resource
The Full Life Ahead Foundation is a national organization that focuses on providing resources and inspiration for young people with disabilities as they transition into adulthood. The foundation has a workbook to assist in navigating the process, both written and video success stories, and interactive workshops for students, parents, and providers. To learn more about this organization, call toll-free 1-866-700-2026 or visit www.fulllifeahead.org.
** Seeking Camp Bloomfield Alumni
Walter Chavira would like to hear from Camp Bloomfield alumni. If you attended the camp, contact him at (661) 808-4334 or via e-mail, [email protected].
** Author Seeks Feedback
Do you suffer from migraines with piercing pain? Do they last for hours? Ojocion Ingram has developed her own home remedy that gets her up and out in 40 minutes most of the time. If you would like to try it, she'll send you her pamphlet (or read it to you) in exchange for a 25- to 50-word statement of your results. Please call her at (415) 846-2027 and leave your name and mailing address. Be sure to speak slowly and clearly. Or you may send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Ojocion Ingram, P.O. Box 330426, San Francisco, CA 94133-0426.
** New UK Company
John Gill of the UK has established John Gill Technology Ltd. to fill the service gap resulting when RNIB discontinued its scientific research unit. This company specializes in the needs of disabled and elderly people, including assistive technology and inclusive design. For detailed service descriptions, visit www.johngilltech.com or e-mail John at [email protected].
** Voice Activated Clocks
The Moshi Travel Alarm Clock is the newest in the line of voice-controlled talking clocks. When you speak commands like "time," "temperature," or "today's date" to the Moshi, it speaks the response aloud. Other voice commands can be used to set the alarm, time, or date; turn the alarm to "snooze"; or select sleep sounds. The newest model is available in four colors, measures 3.75" x 2.75" x 1", weighs 2.7 oz, and uses three AAA batteries. The Moshi line of products is sold by many blindness product companies, some mainstream retailers, and is widely available online.
** 2010 Tours for the Blind
Mind’s Eye Travel, which offers group trips for people who are blind or visually impaired, including sighted guides, has planned several tours for 2010. The first is a four-night tour of San Francisco, Sonoma and Napa scheduled for May 17-21. From May 22-June 1, the company offers a 10-day cruise to Alaska's Inside Passage aboard the Sea Princess. October 6-9, Mind's Eye will show off many of the historical landmarks and museums of New York City. The Canada & New England Fall Foliage Cruise sets sail for seven nights, Oct. 9-16, on the Caribbean Princess. And in November, the company offers its final group tour of the year: seven nights on New Zealand’s South Island. Group tour prices are based on double occupancy and a minimum of six participants. Travel packages can also be organized for individuals and families to a variety of locations. For more information, contact Mind's Eye Travel at (207) 542-4438 or e-mail [email protected].
** Smart Cane Project
Kumar Yelamarthi, an engineering professor at Central Michigan University, and five of his students have created a prototype Smart Cane. Using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), the cane’s sensor picks up signals emitted from RFID tags placed on buildings and obstacles. A signal, either audio for those who can hear or tactual through a vibrating glove for hearing-impaired users, indicates navigational corrections to assure a clear path. Down the line, Yelamarthi wants to work toward integrating the Smart Cane’s data with GPS.
** Virtual Maps to Aid Orientation
Dr. Orly Lahav of Tel Aviv University’s School of Education and Porter School for Environmental Studies has invented a new software tool to help the blind navigate through unfamiliar places. It is connected to an existing joystick, a 3-D haptic device, that interfaces with the user through the sense of touch. People can feel tension beneath their fingertips as a physical sensation through the joystick as they navigate around a virtual environment which they cannot see, only feel: the joystick stiffens when the user meets a virtual wall or barrier. The software can also be programmed to emit sounds – a cappuccino machine firing up in a virtual café, or phones ringing when the explorer walks by a reception desk.