Here and There

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 E-Forum” cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned. To submit items for this column, send a message to, 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.

NYSSB Alumni Reunion Announcement

The Alumni Association of the New York State School for the Blind will hold its annual reunion the weekend of Thursday, May 30, through Sunday, June 2 at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia, N.Y. Room rates are $87 per night for a room and $107 per night for a suite.

Activities during the weekend will start with a pizza party at the school with the students on Thursday evening, and end with a memorial service and brunch on Sunday morning. In between there will be Bingo and Jeopardy, with prizes for the winners; a technology session; our annual business meeting; an auction; our banquet, and more. There will also be plenty of time to socialize with friends old and new.

For further information, contact Chet Smalley by phone at (814) 566-6332, or email him at

Tap Into New Talent

Ability Beyond is a non-profit agency offering residential, job training and placement, career counseling, cognitive and life skills instruction, clinical and therapeutic support, and volunteer and recreational services for adults with disabilities. Headquartered in Bethel, Conn. and Chappaqua, N.Y., the organization serves more than 3,000 families annually at 140 residences and facilities in 90 communities throughout Connecticut and New York.

Global brands such as PepsiCo, Raytheon, American Express, Aramark, Synchrony, and others have contracted with Disability Solutions to develop and implement a national strategy to reach talent with disabilities. 

For more information, visit and

ACB Member Has New Book Out

Joe Sorenson of New Mexico has a brand-new book available. It is called “The Exciting Life of Joe Sorenson: Volume 1.” It’s an autobiography, and tells the story of how Joe, who was born blind and later diagnosed with a mental illness, did not let these keep him from becoming a radio announcer. You can find it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It will soon be available in audio format. For more information, contact Joe at (505) 554-1209.

Rocky’s Audio Typing Tutor

Rocky’s Audio Typing Tutor is designed to be a simple, practical guide to learning to touch type. It will take you from beginner to confident touch typist. The program includes finger exercises, word exercises, and whole sentence exercises, and features accuracy scores to track your progress and typing speed feedback as you advance. You have the ability to adjust audio speeds, voice and volume, as well as to choose a variety of high-contrast solutions and font sizes. It has a variety of music to choose from as you type. It also has auto detection and support for screen readers. The program comes with a self-installer; full instructions are available within the program. There are six human voices to choose from, and over 80 exercises for testing speed as well as accuracy. And the program is free for personal use. To get it, visit

Making Computers Fun

“Making Computers Fun” is a book intended for anyone who wants to learn the basics. It is printed in 18-point Arial.

The guide provides hands-on instruction in conjunction with Nonvisual Desktop Access (NVDA). It includes directions on how to use the accessibility features of Windows 7 and 10. It has five sections: “Becoming a Laptop Legend,” “Becoming Word Wise” (Microsoft Word), “Having a Better Outlook” (Outlook 2010), “Stepping into Cyberspace” (the Internet), and “Developing a Media Library” (archiving personal communication, recipes, music, etc.). 

The package includes: the guide in print (braille upon request), one DVD containing all materials and one blank CD for use in lesson 30.

For more information, contact Dan Thompson at (217) 243-6781, email him at, or write him at 136 W. Chambers, Jacksonville, IL 62650.

New from NBP

Now available from National Braille Press is “Tuesday Morning Quotations – Volume 2.” It contains 52 all-new, memorable quotes in a pocket-sized, spiral-bound booklet. There are quotes from George H.W. Bush to David Sedaris, and Plato to Proust.

New in the children’s section is “Diary of a Spider.” This spider is a lot like most kids; he goes to gym class, has grandparents’ day at school, and also spins sticky webs, scales walls, and takes lessons on wind-catching. It’s available in contracted UEB for ages 4 to 8.

Also new: “Hands On Science Activities: For Pre-school to Second Grade” by Dr. Lillian A. Rankel and Marilyn D. Winograd. It’s available in large print and braille (on the same page), for ages preschool to second grade. Would you like to make slippery slime, slushies, gummi bears, puffy paint, bird seed gardens, and more? This book includes 34 step-by-step experiments for blind youngsters to try at home with family and friends.

Want to choose your own ending? Check out “Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman.” It’s available in contracted UEB and BRF for ages 9 to 12. This is an interactive adventure book in which you get to decide what happens next! You and your best friend Carlos have traveled to Nepal in search of the Yeti. Carlos arrived three days before you and has not been heard from since. Do you search for him or strike out on your own? What do you make of the strange note he left for you? Could there be other dangers and wonders in the high peaks of the Himalayas?

Do you enjoy puzzles? Check out “The Big Book of Braille Puzzles: 50 Searches, Anagrams, and Ladders to Help You Master Braille.” It’s available in braille and large print. The book contains 50 word-search puzzles, anagrams, and word ladders to help you master common braille contractions; strengthen your overall braille reading skills; practice for braille competitions; and provide you with hours of fun. Answer keys are provided at the end of the book.

Want to kick your sugar habit? Check out “Sugar Detox Made Easy.” It’s available in braille (one volume) and BRF. Written by PreventionGuide, this book shows you how to clear out hidden sugars from your diet. Even if you rarely eat cookies, candy, ice cream or other obviously sugary treats, you could be consuming much more sugar than you think, in foods you’d never even imagine: crackers, ketchup, canned soup, etc. You’ll learn about all the sneaky places that sugar can hide, and how to avoid eating too much of it. The book also includes low-sugar recipes, food swap ideas, and other tips.

For more information, contact National Braille Press at 1-800-548-7323, or visit

Little Big Headache Book

Izubline Publications thanks you and other nations for your zealous support of the Little Big Headache Book, still free online at  There’s another book in the pipeline titled “Scumlord and the Goons, Coming to an Apartment Complex Near You,” written by I.M. Disgusted, in production as you read this. It may not be free, but it will be helpful. Many thanks, Ojocion Ingram

New Radio Station

HDP Radio is a brand-new Internet radio station run by Hunter Parker and his friend Kevin. It is a talk station that features blindness-related programs, news, and much more. And they’re looking for broadcasters! Check out the station’s website at

State Resource Handbooks Available

Christine Chaikin has created 30 screen-reader-friendly resource handbooks containing resources pertaining to the blind and visually impaired for use by consumers and professionals. The handbooks are for the residents of specific states and include many organizations for the blind and visually impaired covering areas such as employment, housing, transportation, and more. States available are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Texas.

Handbooks include contact information on the local, regional, and national levels. For more information, contact Insightful Publications by email at, or by phone at (808) 747-1006.

Pen Pals and More

Are you looking to become a pen pal with blind and sighted people? Would you like to be prayed for? Would you like to talk about things in a very non-judgmental manner? If so, come join the Penpals, Prayer Requests and More with Eric Calhoun. To access this group, go to Be sure to read all the rules because by coming into the group, you are agreeing to all the rules.