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 [email protected], 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.
Sprint Accessibility is proud of our continued commitment and connection within the blind and low vision community. Sprint focuses on accessibility and usability of devices, affordable plans, community outreach and customer care. Our dedicated team is ready and available to support blind and low vision customers.
Sprint would love your feedback to help us enhance wireless accessibility to the community. You can reach us by phone at 1-855-885-7568; via e-mail, [email protected], or on the web, www.sprint.com/vision.
Accessible Entertainment on Flights by ANA
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is the first airline in Japan to deliver universally accessible entertainment on international flights. The service, which began in November 2016, includes subtitles to help hard-of-hearing passengers understand dialogue and musical lyrics, as well as audio explanations to communicate on-screen movements and scenes to visually impaired customers. Both subtitles and audio explanations will be available in English and/or Japanese.
In addition, in an effort to attract more international travelers as a global leading airline, ANA is boosting the amount of foreign language programming. ANA’s international flights will offer content from among 12 languages. The flights will also feature ANA’s original programming introducing Japan. The series “SKY EYE” introduces individual regions of Japan, and will be available in English and Japanese. A theme-focused program, “IS JAPAN COOL?,” will be available in English, Chinese and Japanese.
For more information, visit
National Park Access
A first of its kind project is now under way to make the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Strong City, Kan. accessible for blind and visually impaired visitors. This groundbreaking work is being performed by Craig Phillips, a certified orientation and mobility specialist and teacher of the blind and visually impaired, who is marking the trails, recording routes, defining landmarks, and placing electronic waypoints using the Trekker Breeze+. This GPS device automatically provides auditory location and position information in real time, as well as recorded anecdotal commentary about the flora, fauna, history, and other pertinent information about the traveler’s geographic position in the environment.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve has 40 miles of trails, one of which winds through a pasture populated by a herd of bison. The device’s auditory warnings alert the traveler to the danger of traveling through this area. The visitor center has purchased four devices; they will be available to all park visitors.
For more information, contact Heather Brown, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services, at (620) 273-6034 or [email protected].
News from E*Trade
E*TRADE Financial Corporation announced an initiative to enhance its website, mobile applications, and desktop trading and investing platforms to make them more accessible for customers with disabilities.
E*TRADE worked with blind investors Pratik Patel and Victor Tsaran in structured negotiation. The Law Office of Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian, of Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho, represented the blind investors.
E*Trade will use WCAG 2.0 AA as its access standard, PDF/UA for PDF accessibility, and has established a Digital Accessibility Governance Working Group. Training, usability testing, and an accessibility information page are part of this comprehensive initiative.
Karen Brown’s Story
In her mid-20s, Karen Brown received life-altering news: she had a condition which was slowly robbing her of her sight and would leave her totally blind by the age of 30. Over the next decades, she would raise a son, work with 3 guide dogs, build an impressive career, retire, and follow God’s call into spiritual guidance training. “Sandpiper” tells the story of Karen’s journey from sight to blindness, as well as her childhood and college years, her marriage in Germany and the year abroad that followed, and her move back to the U.S. For more information, contact Nautilus Publishing Company at (662) 513-0159, or visit the web site, www.nautiluspublishing.com.
Blind Alien Series
The fourth volume in Wesley Britton’s series, “A Throne for an Alien,” was published in August. To date, the series includes “The Blind Alien,” “The Blood of Balnakin,” “When War Returns,” and now “A Throne for an Alien.” Book five, “The Third Earth,” is currently in production. For more information, visit www.drwesleybritton.com. The books are available from BearManor Media and Amazon.
Now Available from NBP
Now available from National Braille Press is “Wemberly Worried,” by Kevin Henkes. Wemberly the mouse worries about everything, from shrinking in the bathtub to her first day of school. Fortunately her teacher, Miss Peachum, introduces her to another worrier, Jewel. As they play together, Wemberly forgets about worrying and focuses on fun. The book is available in contracted UEB for ages 4 to 8.
Another enjoyable children’s book is “How to Babysit a Grandma,” by Jean Reagan. It’s available in contracted braille (UEB) for ages 4 to 8. This story is about the qualities of being a good babysitter — told from the perspective of a little girl who is spending quality time with her grandmother. As the girl jots down ideas and checklists for the day, such as “How to Keep Grandma Busy” and “How to Say Good-Bye to Grandma,” the story celebrates family connections.
And if your kids enjoy farm stories, “Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type” by Doreen Cronin is a new book available in contracted UEB for ages 4 and up. It includes a CD of country music star Randy Travis reading the book. Farmer Brown’s cows have found an old typewriter in the barn, and they’ve started to leave him notes such as, “Dear Farmer Brown: The barn is very cold at night. We’d like some electric blankets. Sincerely, The Cows.” When he refuses their request, the cows take action. Farmer Brown finds another note on the barn door: “Sorry. We’re closed. No milk today.” Soon the striking cows and Farmer Brown are forced to reach a mutually agreeable compromise.
For more information, contact National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115-4302; call toll-free 1-800-548-7323; or visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/index.html.
Blind: A Memoir
“Blind: A Memoir” is author Belo Cipriani’s account of having to learn a new way of life after losing his sight in a vicious attack. And it’s now available on BARD as DB83860.
Cipriani is the national spokesperson for Guide Dogs for the Blind and 100 Percent Wine, a premium winery that donates 100 percent of its proceeds to non-profits that help the disabled find work. He is also involved in Toyota’s Project BLAID. Now in beta testing, the project’s mission is to bring to market a wearable mobility device for the blind and visually impaired that helps fill in the blanks left by canes, dogs and existing GPS devices.
My Ideal Partner
In September of 2005, Abbie Johnson, visually impaired, married Bill Taylor, 19 years her senior and blind. Three months later, he suffered the first of two strokes that confined him to a wheelchair. Using prose and poetry, the author tells the story of how she met, married, and then cared for Bill for six years, detailing both happy and sad times. “My Ideal Partner” is available in e-book and print from Amazon, CreateSpace, and Smashwords. For more information, visit www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com/.
New from Braillo Norway
American Thermoform and Braillo Norway now have available the newly designed Braillo 300 Series 2 production Braille printer.
Braillo has made additional product improvements to one of its most popular braille printers. The lower speed of the Braillo 300 at 300 characters per second allowed for the introduction of lighter weight materials, components and assemblies, which also reduces the weight of the device. These recent advancements in technology enabled Braillo to produce the 300 S2 more affordably.
Its redesigned case allows a single operator to easily open the top of the 300 S2 for basic cleaning, as well as tilt the entire case, giving easy access to the printer for routine maintenance.
Check out the Braillo 300 S2 by visiting http://braillo.com/braillo-300-braille-embosser/. Or contact American Thermoform at 1-800-331-3676.
Message from Ojocion Ingram
I have noticed, as I’m sure you all have, an increase in strange and violent attacks on public places, few as vulnerable as libraries for the blind and deaf, and children. I urge you to contact the field office in your area of the FBI because they have a program that they are teaching in university settings called Run, Hide, Fight. We obviously have a bit of a problem with run and hide. Some of us are Olympic champions at “fight.” However, I believe this agency is interested in helping us with an adapted version of its program. Please help me kick-start this nationally. To find your local field office, visit https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices or call (202) 324-3000.
Consumer Vision Magazine
“Consumer Vision” focuses on problems facing the consumer, and deals with a lot of issues relating to blindness. If you wish to subscribe, please send an e-mail message to [email protected]. For more information, visit www.consumervisionmagazine.com and check out a back issue.
Work from Home Opportunity
Would you like to work from home meeting people from many cultures, helping people and showing the world that people with disability have lots of abilities? If you are a blind person who speaks English as your native language, and you know how to use a computer, Talkdoit needs you. Talkdoit is a company created by and for blind people! For more information, visit www.talkdoit.com/nativespeaker’sinformation.html.
Peer Counseling for Newly Blind
Helping Hands for the Disabled of New York City would like to start a peer counseling group to help newly blinded people learn how to live without sight. If you are interested, contact Helping Hands’ Action Line at (718) 606-9712.
New Group to Help the Blind
“Ask the Blind” is a new Facebook group that aims to help sighted people gain greater awareness and learn more about blind people. Anyone sighted is welcome to join. We also accept blind people who would like to help out by answering questions. Look the group up on Facebook as Ask the Blind, and select the “join group” button upon entering.
The Party Zone
Hunter Parker has a new podcast show, called The Party Zone. It airs live on the first and third Saturdays of the month, and is then published as a podcast. It features a wide variety of today’s music. Curious? Check it out at http://thepartyzone.gbj4.us.