by Sue Lichtenfels

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, send a message to [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.


VSA Arts and MetLife Foundation have announced their 4th annual "Arts Connect All" grant opportunity for arts organizations to create or enhance inclusive educational programs through partnerships with local public schools. A maximum of 10 grants of up to $15,000 each will be awarded to the programs. The application deadline is Dec. 7, 2007. They invite proposals from arts institutions whose programs incorporate the following: inclusive teaching practices; access to students with all types of disabilities; development of social, cognitive, and artistic skills; involving people with disabilities in planning and implementation; building staff, teacher and/or artist knowledge and skill of inclusive practices; and collaboration with public schools that engages students, parents and school administrators. Arts organizations in the following cities are eligible: Phoenix, Ariz.; Los Angeles, Calif.; San Diego, Calif.; San Francisco, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; Hartford, Conn.; Tampa, Fla.; Atlanta, Ga.; Baltimore, Md.; Boston, Mass.; Detroit, Mich.; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; Kansas City, Mo.; St. Louis, Mo.; Charlotte, N.C.; Tulsa, Okla.; Portland, Ore.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Providence, R.I.; Nashville, Tenn.; Houston, Tex.; and Seattle, Wash. For more information regarding eligibility and selection criteria, or to download an application, visit


The American Association of People with Disabilities is now accepting applications for the 2008 Summer Internship Programs. Details and the application are available on the AAPD web site (look under Leadership Development), Applications are due Friday, Dec. 14, 2007.


Toys "R" Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids is a guide that addresses a child's individual needs and offers toy recommendations based on research from National Lekotek Center, an independent organization that hand-picks and tests the toys it features. The Toys "R" Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids is now available at Toys "R" Us stores nationwide and online at


If you are a visually impaired adult who would like to spend a week skiing or learning to ski, you may want to attend the 33rd annual Ski for Light International week, Feb. 10-17, 2008. Nearly 300 skiers and guides will gather together for a week of recreational skiing, fun, friendship and fellowship. Visually and mobility impaired skiers are matched with sighted guides and ski together for the week, working on developing skills and techniques. This year skiers will stay at the Riverhouse Hotel in Bend, Ore., a small but vibrant city near Redmond, and will ski at nearby Mount Bachelor. The Mount Bachelor Nordic Center has 56 kilometers of Nordic trails as well as an alpine ski area. The cost for the week is $775 for double occupancy, and includes meals, ski passes and transportation to the ski area. For additional information, contact Dave Thomas at (303) 298-0672 or [email protected], or Lynda Boose at (906) 370-7541 or [email protected]. Or visit the SFL web page,


Sweet Tooth sells braille chocolate bars with a choice of various sayings including Happy Birthday, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Love You, Have A Nice Day, and Thank You. The bars weigh 4 1/2 ounces and can be made in milk, dark or white chocolate. Additional choices are plain or with nuts, rice crispy or peppermint. The bars are $2.50 each for the plain ones and $2.75 each for those with nuts or rice crispy. Sugar-free are $3 for plain and $3.25 with add-ins. They are bagged in cellophane and tied with ribbons. Shipping is extra based on each order. To order, send check payable to Judy Davis to 32 Vinton Road, Rochester, NY 14622. Or you may call her at (585) 544-1853 or e-mail [email protected].


ACB member and glass harmonica artist Carolinn Skyler has a holiday CD available. When you order CDs and mention ACB, Carolinn will donate 10 percent of your order to the American Council of the Blind. The CD, all Christmas carols, has a playing time of 30 minutes and was recorded in the studio of Gordon Kent. Selections include: "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Angels We Have Heard on High" and "Jingle Bells." The CD costs $15 (including tax). Shipping charges will be determined individually with each order. To place an order, call (215) 704-0473 or send an e-mail when you visit Be sure to give your phone number.


Novel Sensations has released its e-catalog for 2007-2008. It contains a wide variety of gifts, collectibles and novelties, such as Christmas and inspirational items, musical items, candles, incense and aromatherapy items, bath gift sets, wind chimes, Native American and Western items, tools, toys, home decor, and much more. This free catalog is e- mailed in Microsoft Word as an attachment, and is only available via e-mail. For a copy, send an e-mail to [email protected] or call (612) 886-2932.


Perkins Products offers several new products for blind and visually impaired people. The new Electric Light-Touch brailler requires significantly less finger strength than the standard brailler. The ZEN STONE is a new accessible MP3 player which plays audio books and music. Two new books are also available, "Welcoming Students with Visual Impairment to Your School: A guide for training public school personnel and families about the needs of students with vision loss" and "Beyond Pegboards: A Guide for Teaching Adolescent Students with Multiple Disabilities." For more information, visit, e-mail [email protected], or call 1-877-473-7546.


Carmen Branje, a student from Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is looking for participants in a study on video description. He would like his survey to be taken by as many blind and partially sighted people as possible. This survey is online at The survey requires audio speakers and Active X software to hear several video clips with description. For more information, contact Carmen Branje at (416) 979-5000 ext. 2526 or e-mail [email protected].

** FREE ONLINE COURSE will offer a free online course on First Steps in Vision Rehabilitation for Adults with Vision Loss, Families, and Community Workers, made possible by a grant from the National Eye Institute. The course will be held from January 7 to February 1, 2008, and will consist of four learning modules: the eye and vision; low vision and optical devices; vision rehabilitation services and coping with vision loss; and how to cope with daily tasks. The course will also provide a weekly discussion board and learner forum, and a series of innovative web-based experiential activities designed to simulate the effects of vision and hearing loss and supplement the basic course material. For course or registration information, contact Maureen Duffy via e-mail, [email protected].


Tonia Gatton is a blind Tupperware consultant in Louisville, Ky. She is offering the Tupperware catalog and fund-raising brochure on cassette and in braille. Regardless of where you live, she can mail the catalog to you, submit your order and have your products shipped directly to you. She can also help you and your local chapter with a Tupperware fundraiser, which would earn your organization 40 percent of your sales. If you'd like to request a catalog or learn more about fundraising, contact Tonia by phone at (502) 594-2810 or by e-mail at [email protected]. You can also shop on her web site,


The National Library Service has expanded its pilot program for downloading digital books. Patrons interested in participating in the program should submit the online application, which is found at Once the form is submitted to NLS, the verification and access process will begin. Interested patrons must: be active patrons of a cooperating network library; have access to a player capable of playing NLS-produced digital talking books; have high-speed Internet service such as DSL or cable; have access to a computer connected to the Internet for downloading and unzipping books and/or magazines; and have access to an active e-mail address.


ViewPlus Technologies has released version 4.0 of its Tiger Software Suite (TSS) -- braille translation software for MS Word and Excel. The newly formatted Tiger menu gives users access to all document settings in one easy-to-use location. Here users are able to save preferred braille, ink, document, and printer settings one time and reload them with the touch of a button creating greater efficiency. TSS also offers one-touch printing with the new quick emboss feature. When selected, this option will translate a document to braille, apply document settings, and send it to a Tiger printer in one easy step. For more information, contact [email protected] or call (541) 754-4002.


The New World of Coca-Cola opened a few weeks ago in Atlanta, Ga. It offers several interactive theaters, a full history of Coca-Cola, and an actual working bottling plant! It also offers handhelds featuring an assistive listening and captioning engine by Softeq. Guests can listen to amplified audio, view closed captioning for the shows and exhibits, or listen to content in multiple languages. Descriptive narration is also offered for the blind. The handhelds are free to guests and can be checked out at the Guest Services station in the main lobby.

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