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 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, 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.
Bar Association to Honor Paradis
The American Bar Association will posthumously honor Laurence “Larry” W. Paradis, the former executive director of Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley, Calif., with its Paul G. Hearne Award for Disability Rights. Paradis died July 28, 2016. The ABA Commission on Disability Rights selected Paradis for his advocacy and leadership for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of American life.
Paradis became disabled while attending Harvard Law School, where he received his J.D. in 1985. He co-founded and served as executive director of Disability Rights Advocates (DRA).
A giant in the field of disability rights, Paradis took on and won hundreds of cases, achieving dramatic improvements for people with disabilities seeking access to disaster preparedness planning, education, employment, health care, housing, transportation, and voting.  He broke down barriers.
During his career, Paradis served as a member of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and on the board of directors of many advocacy organizations, including the National Council on Disability, the Berkeley Center for Independent Living, the Disability Rights Bar Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.
Throughout his career, he received numerous honors, such as Trial Lawyer of the Year by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (2004) and one of California’s Attorneys of the Year in 2003 and 2011.  Paradis also served as the court-appointed mediator for the U.S. District Court for Northern District of California, as well as the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council Lawyer Representative from the U.S. District Court for Northern District of California.
ADP Master List of DVDs with Description
2018 will bring the 10th year of ACB’s Audio Description Project. Since its inception, one of its most visible projects has been the website listing of television, film and DVD offerings with audio description. 
The ADP site is the only repository of all audio-described titles on DVD and the three video streaming services (Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix). Now it features a new index of all the titles. This new master index will allow you to look up any movie or TV series to see if it is available anywhere for purchase or with a subscription.  (Current first-run movies and TV shows are not included but are still available in separate listings.) At present, there are 1,426 described videos available, 567 of which are duplicated in more than one service. We’ve also added a new navigation link to the full list of over 800 DVDs with AD tracks.  Check it out at
Survey Seeks Service Animal Users
Are you a U.S. resident (age 18 or older) who uses a service animal or other animal that assists you with your disability? If not, are you the parent of a child who uses such an animal?
If so, the Southwest ADA Center would like to learn about your experiences with accessing public places with your animal. We invite you to complete the following anonymous survey at
If you have questions, or need additional information, contact Marisa Demaya via email at
Macular Degeneration Fund
The HealthWell Foundation®, an independent non-profit that provides a financial lifeline for inadequately insured Americans, has launched a Macular Degeneration Fund to provide copayment and premium assistance to eligible patients living with macular degeneration. Under the fund, HealthWell will provide up to $4,000 to individuals who have annual household incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level to assist with out-of-pocket costs for treatment of their disease. To determine your eligibility and apply for financial assistance, visit
New Development in RP
Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered a way to revitalize cone receptors that have deteriorated as a result of retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Working with animal models, Henry J. Kaplan, M.D., and a group of researchers in the UofL Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences discovered that replenishing glucose under the retina and transplanting healthy rod stem cells into the retina restore function of the cones.
The research, conducted by Kaplan, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Douglas Dean, Ph.D., and Wei Wang, Ph.D., and published in December in “Cell Reports,” could lead to therapies for preserving or recovering central vision in patients with RP. Recent research has shown that as the rods deteriorate, the cones are no longer able to access glucose, which becomes trapped in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). As a result of glucose starvation, the cones go dormant and eventually die.
These researchers found that the cones remain dormant for a period of time before they are completely lost, and if the glucose supply can be replenished during dormancy, the cones can be regenerated. The researchers were able to successfully restore cone access to glucose in either of two procedures. First, by transplanting rod-specific induced pluripotent stem cells beneath the retina, and second by injecting glucose directly into the subretinal space. This research has the potential to lead to therapies that preserve or restore central vision for individuals with RP.
Amazon Fire Updates
Amazon has added braille input and output support to Fire tablets. With this update, VoiceView customers can read Kindle e-Books, browse the web, and otherwise interact with their Fire tablet using a Bluetooth-connected braille display. Customers can both input and read text using English contracted and uncontracted braille, Unified English braille, and computer braille codes. VoiceView supports a rich set of braille chord commands, including commands to navigate by character, word, control, HTML Link, HTML Section, HTML list item, and HTML form control, as well as jump to key parts of the Fire tablet user interface such as Home, Back, App Switcher, and the Notification/Quick Actions Shade. There are also chords to quickly bring up the VoiceView settings pane and invoke the braille Find command. Supported braille displays include BAUM, HumanWare, and the new Orbit Reader 20.
Amazon has also added magnification to Amazon Fire TV. Customers will now be able to magnify their Fire TV user interface up to 10x. The magnified view will automatically follow the part of the screen you are interacting with, or you can manually pan around the screen. Fire TV magnification also works with the VoiceView screen reader, so you can use both at the same time. Learn more at
Let us know how you are using braille or magnification at; we’d love to hear from you.
New from NBP
Now available from National Braille Press is “If You Give a Cat a Cupcake” by Laura Numeroff. It’s available in contracted braille (UEB), and is for ages 3 to 7. This book is written in the tradition of the bestselling “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” – you’ll be laughing along with your kids (or grandkids)!
Also available is “Old Bear” by Kevin Henkes. It, too, is available in contracted braille (UEB) for preschoolers and up. Come explore the four seasons with Old Bear. As the snow falls in the winter, Old Bear sleeps and dreams; when he finally wakes, he finds that spring has sprung. 
Dr. Seuss fans will enjoy an old favorite, “Fox in Socks.” It’s available in contracted braille (UEB) for ages 3 to 8. The Fox in Socks loves to play tongue-twisting games with his friend Mr. Knox. “Here’s an easy game to play. Here’s an easy thing to say ... New socks. Two socks. Whose socks? Sue’s socks.” Eventually Mr. Knox catches on to the game.
Now available is “Monday Morning Quotes, Volume 2!” This pocket-sized, spiral-bound booklet of 52 quotes to enjoy all year long features an eclectic group of luminaries, from Tim Gunn to Nietzsche, Thoreau to Calvin and Hobbes. Read one every Monday or binge-read in one inspired sitting. Useful for speeches and toasts, as well as for anyone learning braille.
Newly available are (sim)braille bumper stickers from Show your love for braille on your car, laptop, or anywhere you choose. The words MOM, DAD, or TVI are displayed in print and simbraille (a printed simulation of braille – not embossed). The bumper stickers are 6” wide and 4” high; print is black on a white background.
Looking for some new recipes? Check out “Fast & Fresh Main Courses” by Kate Sherwood. It includes main courses that are quick and easy, helping you get a healthy dinner on the table — even on the busiest days. Try these seafood, chicken, and vegetarian main-dish recipes — every one of them taste- and nutrition-tested in the kitchen of Each recipe lists the calories, total fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, cholesterol, and sodium. Be prepared to drool as you read the recipe list.
For more information, contact National Braille Press at 1-800-548-7323, or visit