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.
Trigger for Macular Degeneration Discovered
Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine recently discovered a critical trigger for the damaging inflammation that ultimately robs millions of their sight. The finding may allow doctors to halt the inflammation early on, potentially saving patients from blindness.
Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati and Dr. Nagaraj Kerur have determined that the culprit is an enzyme called cGAS. The enzyme plays an important role in the body’s immune response to infections by detecting foreign DNA. But the molecule’s newly identified role in the “dry” form of age-related macular degeneration comes as wholly unexpected.
Perkins Forms New Partnerships
Perkins School for the Blind recently announced new partnerships in Russia, Indonesia and across Latin America to train educators through Perkins International Academy. This innovative teacher training program is part of Perkins’ global effort to educate 6 million of the world’s most vulnerable children by equipping educators with the knowledge and skills to effectively teach youth with multiple disabilities and visual impairment, including deaf-blindness.
Russia has signed on to educate nearly 300 teachers from 40 different provinces around the country. Perkins also recently signed an agreement with Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture, where 90 teachers will complete training before the end of the year. Perkins is currently in conversation with more than two dozen countries whose populations could greatly benefit from similar partnership opportunities.
Free Class through Hadley
Are you considering a guide dog? Hadley’s new story-based course encourages you to think about becoming a guide dog handler. The five-lesson course, number GDG-102, is available in braille, digital talking book, large print, digital talking book download, and online. Please note: This course is not intended as a training course for guide dog use.
For more information, visit https://hadley.edu/ShowCourseDetail.asp?courseid=GDG-102.
Extra Mile Award Winners
The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) recently presented the Extra Mile Award to FirstBuild, a “think tank,” design, development, and production facility operated by GE Appliances.
Located in Louisville, FirstBuild opens its doors to people in the community who have ideas they want to turn into products. Workspace, supplies, and tools are all available, as is the expertise of design and engineering professionals. FirstBuild offers advanced manufacturing techniques and equipment, such as 3D printers and rapid prototyping tools, that individuals or small businesses may not otherwise have access to.
Also receiving the Extra Mile Award this year is Jack DuPlessis, a 14-year-old freshman at DuPont Manual High School, who took his idea to make GE washers and dryers accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired to FirstBuild. The result of his work is the Talking Laundry Module, now being sold through FirstBuild.
Lighthouse Guild Honors Scientists
Lighthouse Guild recently honored two scientists for their significant achievements in vision research at the 2017 Alfred W. Bressler Vision Science Symposium and Award Luncheon and the Pisart Award Lecture. Dr. Russell N. Van Gelder was presented with the 2017 Bressler Prize, and Dr. Yoshikazu Imanishi received the 2017 Pisart Award.
Dr. Van Gelder is the department chair for the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. Dr. Imanishi is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio.
New from National Braille Press
National Braille Press now has print-braille birthday cards available! The front of the card features a birthday cake with five burning candles; the message, “Wishing You a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” is above the cake, in print and braille. The inside of the card is blank.
Also available is “You and Your Apple Watch: A Guide for Blind Users,” by Anna Dresner. It is available in braille, BRF, Word, and DAISY.
Now available is “For Women Only: Health Information Just for Women,” written by Nutrition Action Healthletter. It is available in braille (2 volumes), and includes 11 tactile graphics. It is also available as an electronic (BRF) edition which does not include the graphics.
Over in the children’s department, newly available is “Mouse Soup,” by Arnold Lobel. It’s available in contracted UEB for ages 3 to 8. Weasel is ready for his dinner, and poor Mouse is it. Can Mouse stop Weasel from serving up mouse soup for supper? Read and find out!
For more information, contact NBP, 88 St. Stephen St., Boston, MA 02115-4302; call toll-free 1-800-548-7323; or visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/index.html.