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 Loverings mailbox. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.


Walgreens pharmacy is now offering Scrip Talk labeled prescription bottles and the reader unit to customers who are blind or visually impaired. The Scrip Talk reader speaks aloud all of the printed information that appears on the prescription label as well as the additional medication pamphlet that often accompanies the prescription. The pharmacist places a sensor on each medication bottle that then allows the unit to identify and speak the information in a clear female voice. The units, approximately the size of a portable CD player, may be available at your area Walgreens for free upon inquiry.


The blind and visually impaired athletes of the U.S. team successfully competed in the 2009 IBSA World Youth and Student Championships and Pan American Games held this past summer. In goalball, the U.S. won gold medals in the boys' World Youth and Student Championships and the men's and women's divisions of the Pan American Games. 2008 Paralympian Myles Porter (Colorado Springs, Colo.) fought in judo to win gold medals in both the 100kg and open division events. In the pool, Carrie Willoughby (Colorado Springs, Colo.) won five gold medals for the U.S. women's squad in the Pan American Games. Among the boys, Tharon Drake (Hobbs, N.M.) brought in a haul of four golds and two silvers in the World Youth and Student Championships. Track performances for the U.S. included gold medal wins for 2008 Paralympian Josiah Jamison (Vance, S.C.) and Paralympic hopeful Markeith Price (Baltimore, Md.). Congratulations to all 72 U.S. athletes who competed.


Ed Walker, Washington radio legend and host of WAMU 88.5's The Big Broadcast, has been elected to the National Radio Hall of Fame in the category "Local or Regional - Pioneer." He will be inducted in a ceremony to be broadcast live at 10 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, in Chicago. Walker's professional radio career began in 1951 as an American University freshman and one of the founders of WAMU-AM, the campus radio station that preceded the current FM station, WAMU 88.5. The same year, Walker met fellow AU student Willard Scott, who soon became his good friend and radio partner. In 1952, the pair started a weekend radio show at WOL called "Going AWOL," and, in 1955, they launched the comedy show "Two at One" at WRC and became the "Joy Boys." In the late 1950s, the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service began broadcasting many of the half-hour shows, which brought the Joy Boys to service members around the world. The program continued in various time slots and stations until its final broadcast on WWDC on July 26, 1974. Walker has also worked at radio stations WPGC and WMAL and television stations WJLA and News Channel 8.


The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) is looking for braille readers, teachers and transcribers to assist with an evaluation of the Nemeth Uniform Braille System (NUBS). NUBS is an experimental braille code designed to represent literary, math, and scientific information -- combining all three codes into one unified system. Participants will be asked to read a sampler written in NUBS and to respond to questions about their experience reading NUBS. (The sampler will be available in embossed braille and sim-braille.) Anyone who reads or writes braille, no matter what age or amount of experience reading or writing braille, is welcome to take part in this project. If you are interested in participating, you may request a sampler in one of three ways:

- By sending an e-mail to [email protected];

- By sending a print or braille letter to Judy Dixon, 1805 N. Oakland St., Arlington, VA 22207; or

- By calling Judy Dixon at (202) 707-0722.

Whichever method you use to request your sampler, please include your name and mailing address and whether you want the sampler in embossed braille or sim-braille. We anticipate that sampler packages will be mailed out for comment in November 2009. Participants will have approximately four weeks to read the sampler and complete the questionnaire. All participants who complete the questionnaire will be informed how to get access to the evaluation report when it is complete. If you are interested in helping with this project, or if you have questions, please contact Judy Dixon, BANA Chair, at [email protected] or (202) 707-0722.


Toni Fraser has published an e-book, Exploring Word 2007 with JAWS, which retails for $25. For more information, visit


WinZoom USB is a portable magnification device that can be plugged into any computer for immediate access. Its built-in software launches immediately upon connection. It magnifies from 1.5x up to 36x and retails for $399. For additional information or a free trial, call 1-800-575-1456 x204 or visit


The PLEXTALK Pocket is a lightweight, pocket-sized, DAISY-compliant music, voice, and book player/recorder. The newest software, PLEXTALK Pocket firmware version 2, supports new playability for content from RFB&Ds downloadable library; NLS downloads and cartridges; and Bookshare formats. The new version is available for free download at For more information, call (310) 693-7600 or e-mail [email protected].


The Norrie Disease Association (NDA) ( promotes awareness about and provides resources for those with ND and their family members. The goals are: to provide support and current information to those with ND and their families; to enable continuing discovery and identification of all the clinical and medical symptoms associated with ND along the wide Norrie spectrum; to encourage and help fund research on ND and its associated symptoms; and to promote awareness about ND to medical, educational and other pertinent communities. NDA encourages learning about this rare genetic disorder including how many people throughout the world have it, what can be done to prevent it in our children and how to treat those who have ND.


Maxi-Aids now offers both a Pocket Jumbo and Standard Braille Labeling Kit. The jumbo labeling kit was designed for diabetics and seniors who lack the sensitivity to feel the small dots. The jumbo kit, item 205255, retails for $14.95 and contains one jumbo stylus, one jumbo braille 4-line, 8-cell slate, 50 blank plastic labels with a pre-punched hole, 50 rubber bands, and 50 safety pins. The standard kit, item 207255, retails for $12.95 with the same contents except that the slate and stylus are smaller and lighter weight. These items are available through or by calling 1-800-522-6294.


"Stitch by Stitch: Sewing with Low Vision," written by Kathryn Hodges, is designed specifically for blind and visually impaired individuals who want to learn (or re-learn) to sew, knit and do embroidery, as well as other crafts. In this 185-page book, Hodges provides detailed descriptions and large images of adaptive techniques and tools to make the process easier. Chapter one covers tools of needlework and crafting; chapter two, needle-threading techniques. Chapter five includes a variety of sewing machine projects, including baby bibs. Chapter seven covers knitting, from needles and yarn to making dish cloths and a knitted rug. Also included is a chapter on locating low vision aids. This book is available in large print only, and retails for $25. If interested in obtaining a copy, contact Horizons for the Blind at (815) 444-8800, or send a message to [email protected].


National Braille Press offers a book for crocheters called Quick & Cozy Afghans." It features 52 ideas for afghans using the most basic stitches and simple patterns. Photos of the afghans can be viewed at This book retails for $14.95, and is available in braille, Portabook, and downloadable formats. For more information, call 1-800-548-7323 or visit


Sweet Tooth offers a variety of braille chocolate items for sale. Candy bar greetings include Happy Birthday, Love You, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Thank You, and Have A Nice Day. Also available are chocolate guide dogs with the braille saying of Best Friend or customized with a dog's name, chocolate watches with braille, and chocolate lollipops and clusters. For more information, contact Judy Davis directly at (585) 544-1853 or [email protected].

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