by Sarah Blake

The announcement of products and services in this column is not an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its staff, or elected officials. Products and services are listed free of charge for the benefit of our readers. "The Braille Forum" cannot be held responsible for the reliability of products and services mentioned.

To submit items for this column, you may e-mail Sarah Blake at [email protected], or call ACB at 1-800-424-8666 and leave a message in mailbox 26. Please remember that postal regulations prohibit us from including advertisements, and that we need information two months ahead of actual publication dates.


Had enough of winter? Easter Seals Project ACTION is holding several "People on the Move: Using All Transportation Options (ADA and Beyond...)" events in cities across the United States. These train-the-trainer sessions will consist of two days of instruction for travel trainers, teachers, job coaches, bus operators, transportation coordinators, independent living specialists and others who assist people with disabilities in their use of public and private transportation to get to school, jobs and other community destinations.

The 2005 schedule is as follows: June 8-9, Salt Lake City, Utah; Sept. 7-8, Boston, Mass.; and Nov. 14-15 in New Orleans, La. The deadline for Salt Lake City applications is May 27; for Boston, Aug. 3; and New Orleans, Oct. 3.

To attend, fill out an application and return it by the deadline listed above, along with the $75 fee, to Stan Tibbs, Easter Seals Project ACTION, 700 13th Street, NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005. The form appears online at You may also call the ESPA office at (202) 347-3066 or 1-800-659-6428 to obtain an application. Space is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.


The United States Association of Blind Athletes will be hosting the 2005 International Blind Sports Association World Youth Championships in Colorado Springs August 4-10, 2005. There will be competitions in track and field, swimming, judo, powerlifting and goalball. Competitors must be between the ages of 13 and 19. More than 100 countries have been invited to participate; delegations from Europe, Asia, South America and Africa have already committed to send competitors. Any athlete interested in competing must send a written letter of intent to the USABA office by April 15 that includes his or her 2004 sports accomplishments, previous meets competed in, the name of your team or club, scores, weekly training schedule and other athletic and personal achievements.

Volunteers are also needed to assist at the games. For more information, contact the USABA office, (719) 630-0422, or send e-mail to [email protected]. Or write to Mark Lucas, U.S. Association of Blind Athletes, 33 N. Institute St., Colorado Springs, CO 80903.


The National Resource Center for Blind Musicians is accepting applications for its seminar for blind college-bound musicians, which will be held July 17-23 at the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, Pa. Designed for the serious student, the program tailors instruction to each person's need to develop braille music and theory skills, and the use of technology to submit written music assignments. Applicants must have already studied some music theory, 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 that they have the independence skills, social readiness and maturity to be a contributing part of a close-knit group. Space is available for six students. Please contact the center at (203) 366- 3300, extension 229 for information on tuition, scholarship availability, and the application procedure. The deadline for requesting applications is April 15; completed applications must be submitted by May 1.


Scholarships are available for all blind and visually impaired teen musicians who are accepted for the 2005 TRAC Creative Music and Jazz Camp, a summer residential program, August 4-14, 2005, in New Orleans. Applications are available at The camp was created for blind and visually impaired students, ages 13-19, with at least two years of musical experience, an acceptable grade point average and basic computer skills. Students do not need to have prior experience in playing jazz. Applicants must also submit an audition tape and have a recommendation from a music teacher. Up to 18 students will be accepted based on musical skills and experience. The scholarships cover the costs of all classes, dorm housing, meals, support materials and extracurricular activities. Students must supply their own transportation to New Orleans. For more information, contact Rose Angelocci at [email protected] or call (504) 280-5700.


The Oral Hull Foundation recently announced its summer camp dates. Adult camp will be held July 16-23. Youth camp will be from August 20-27. A week at camp costs $350. Camperships are available for both camps. For more information, or an application, write to: Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind, PO Box 157, Sandy, OR 97055, or call (503) 668-6195. You may also send e-mail to [email protected].


A National Technology Conference for Rehabilitation Teachers will take place this summer in Las Vegas. This event will be offered by Mississippi State University's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision in cooperation with ACB and the National Association of Blind Teachers. It will be held July 5 through 7 at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. Attendees will be able to take advantage of the technology on display in the convention exhibit hall. Registration for this conference will be $150 per person. To learn more, contact B.T. Kimbrough, Director of Training, RRTC on Blindness and Low Vision, PO Box 6189, Mississippi State, MS 39762; phone (662) 325-2001, or e-mail [email protected].


Shadows in the Dark has a new address: 3001 Branch Ave. # 132, Temple Hills, MD 20748, (318) 349-9539, Shadows in the Dark offers braille greeting cards and specialty gift items. The company has braille cards for all occasions: birthday, Christmas, thank you, thinking of you, graduation, wedding, retirement, Valentine's Day, Father's Day, Mother's Day, Easter, new baby, get well, sympathy, friendship and teacher. Single cards cost $2.50 each; a dozen cards cost $15. Two dozen cost $25. Foreign language cards are also available for $5 each; available languages are French, German, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Dutch.


The MonoMouse is a device shaped similarly to a computer mouse that connects to your household TV and magnifies text for reading. Just scroll the MonoMouse over the text you wish to read and it will be clearly magnified on your TV. MonoMouse costs $185. To order, call (408) 224-8188 or visit


Shel Silverstein's popular book of poems is now available from National Braille Press. The book includes braille and large print on the same page with line drawings. To order, send payment to National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115-4302, or call (800) 548-7323.


Have you or has someone you know been recently diagnosed with age- related macular degeneration (AMD)? You may wonder how AMD will impact your life or that of your loved one. The Hadley School for the Blind's new distance education course "Macular Degeneration" explains the diagnosis and shows how people with AMD can continue everyday activities with limited vision. The course covers various aspects of AMD. It not only compares 20/20 vision with AMD's symptoms and progression, but also lists risk factors for the condition. The course also suggests ways to maximize vision and discusses the emotional impact of AMD. For more information, contact the Hadley School for the Blind at 1-800-526-9909.


Blindinterpreters is an e-mail group for interpreters who are blind or visually impaired. The primary language is not important, but people must be fluent enough in English to communicate easily and effectively to the group. To subscribe, send mail to [email protected].


VisuAide is pleased to announce the launch of the Victor Reader Classic Plus with recording, an advanced new DAISY player with a recording function, so users can take vocal notes simply and efficiently. The Classic Plus with recording can be obtained from VisuAide distributors. In the United States, contact Beyond Sight Inc., 5650 S. Windermere St., Littleton, CO 80120; phone (303) 795-6455. For a complete list of distributors, visit


RFB&D members can now order completed portions of RFB&D's AudioPlus (R) digitally recorded textbooks on CD without having to wait for the remainder of the book to be recorded. Installments on CD include the same navigation features as RFB&D's AudioPlus (R) digitally recorded textbooks, and will play on all DAISY equipment and software. Installments are available through the online catalog and ordering center on the web site,, or by calling a member service representative at 1-800-221- 4792. Installments will be mailed approximately every two weeks until the book is recorded in its entirety, at which time members will be sent the title in its completed form.


Both Freedom Scientific and Optelec have reduced the prices of braille displays. Freedom Scientific has also reduced the prices of the PAC Mate QX440 and BX440. For information about the PAC Mate line of products, visit or call 1-800-444- 4443. For more information about Voyager braille displays, visit or call 1-800-828- 1056.


Window-Eyes 5.0, released on January 19, offers thorough, stable support of Microsoft Word. It also offers a complete color dictionary and a lease-to-own program that allows a user to buy a full copy of Window-Eyes over several months. The new version supports every text feature within Microsoft Word, including reading tables, columns, and fields. Users can find and fix spelling and grammar errors quickly, and take advantage of features like renaming form fields, reading comments, and tracking changes. Other features include support for Microsoft Works and the Mozilla web browser. For more information, write to GW Micro, Inc., 725 Airport North Office Park, Fort Wayne, IN 46825, phone (260) 489-3671, or visit


Pulse Data International and VisuAide merged recently. The merged entity will be known as the HumanWare Group. Gilles Pepin is the president and CEO of HumanWare's Canadian subsidiary, and will join the group's board of directors.


The Starter Kit, formerly known as the Home Kit, allows the patient or caregiver to record customized, verbal medication instructions. The Starter Kit, which is attractively packaged for retail shelves, contains easy-to- follow instructions, power supply, 3 bottles and a microphone that makes the recording possible by simply pressing a button and speaking. A caregiver could record instructions for over-the-counter or prescription medications as well as refill reminders and medication warnings. The instructions can then be heard at any time by pressing a button on the side of the bottle. More information regarding Starter Kits (Home Kits) as well as the Pharmacy Software Solution, which allows the pharmacist to rapidly and accurately fill audio labeled prescriptions in the pharmacy fulfillment process, is available at


Huge Print Press can provide any book (from Bibles to novels, textbooks and dictionaries to cookbooks) in any font size, ranging from 16- point to 50-point in convenient 8.5" by 11" format. Most orders can be shipped in as little as two weeks. For more information, call 1-866-484-3774 or e-mail [email protected].


Do you sometimes wish you knew whether that really popular mainstream program worked with speech before you laid down the money for it? Perhaps you'd just like some tips and tricks for making a favorite program work even better. Now you can read software reviews from other blind computer users who have already blazed the trail for you! After you've read several reviews of a particular program, submit one yourself. Don't see a particular program in the list? You can add the program to our database and be the first to write a review. Review guidelines are self-explanatory, so read carefully before you submit. Visit the software review page at


For the best in Perkins brailler repair, contact Braillerman Alan Ackley. He has a complete inventory of factory parts, charges competitive prices, and offers a personal touch. For more information, visit, or call (515) 288-3931. Braillers may be shipped to Alan Ackley, 4301 Park Avenue, #540, Des Moines, IA 50321-3452.


Do you have books and/or textbooks in braille in Spanish? Or do you have adaptive technology that you're not using? Donate them to the school for the blind in Mexico. Sharon Stroesenreuther is taking up a collection of supplies; she and her students recently visited the school and were dismayed to find that the students there have no books or technology. Send them to: Sharon Stroesenreuther, Patriota Bustamante 173, Morelia, Michoacan 58190, Mexico. If you have questions, e-mail [email protected].


Larry Johnson's book, "Mexico by Touch: True Life Experiences of a Blind American Deejay," is a fascinating personal narrative of the people, places and customs which so deeply touched and moved him as a teenage tourist, college student and professional radio deejay for more than 20 years. Relive with him his first trip to Mexico alone at the age of 18, his harrowing experience in a rowboat in the Pacific Ocean, his daring adventure of driving a car in Mexico City and how he became the first blind newscaster on Mexican television. To order, contact Larry P. Johnson, 10863 Lake Path Dr., San Antonio, TX 78217.

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