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 E-Forum” cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned. To submit items for this column, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
Camp Siloam 2016
The Gospel Association for the Blind (GAB) will hold its 14th Bible camping session May 21-28, 2016 at the Golden Cross Ranch in New Caney, Texas. This year’s theme is “For Such a Time as This.” Brother Bruce Coonce will be the morning Bible teacher; evening services will be conducted by Rev. George Gray and a guest preacher.
Some of the activities planned for the week include a shopping trip; two Christian films; swimming; a special meeting for camp ladies; a trip to a local carnival; horseback riding and riding the zip line, just to name a few. We also look forward to two talent nights, two hayrides and a closing campfire.
A $25 deposit is required. If you are a first-time camper, your remaining cost for the week of camp plus transportation will be covered by the association. Send check or money order to: The Gospel Association for the Blind, PO Box 1162, Bunnell, FL 32110. You will then receive a camp application, which you need to complete, as well as a medical form. All forms must be returned by April 8, 2016.
For more information, call the GAB at (386) 586-5885 or e-mail camp director George Gray at email@example.com. To view photos and information on past camp sessions, visit www.circleministries.com.
New Low Vision and Braille Math Manipulatives
Rounding numbers up to 10,000,000 has been done by students for years. Most strategies include students using paper and pencil, dry-erase board and marker, and a number line to 100. Many students have mastered the skill of accurately drawing a number line and understand the concepts of rounding and estimation. However, with the implementation of rigorous academic standards, students are expected to learn more complex standards in less time.
So Jim Franklin, a special-education teacher from Rome, Ga., incorporated the base 10 system into a number line to 10,000,000 and also created strategies for adding and subtracting mixed numbers with different denominators without paper and pencil. With these manipulatives, teachers are able to differentiate instruction for all students. This also gives teachers the flexibility to group students with similar understanding of different rounding standards, maximize instructional time, and meet accommodations stated in their students’ individualized education plans.
For more information about other low-vision and braille manipulatives that address the standards of elapsed time, decimals, weight, capacity, and money, visit www.slidearoundmath.com or call (706) 506-8411.
BANA Meeting Notes
The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) welcomed two new representatives to the board —Tracy Gaines and Saul Garza.
During its fall meeting, the BANA board reviewed and acted on reports from its 18 committees and considered their recommendations. The board also established the 2016 budget and continued planning numerous projects, including the imminent implementation of Unified English Braille (UEB) in the United States.
BANA also unanimously approved a major revision of the music braille code, which will soon be available on the web site, www.brailleauthority.org.
U.S. representatives also adopted the following statement regarding braille math and technical materials as it relates to the adoption of UEB: “The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) recognizes and appreciates the genuine concerns from the braille community regarding the transition to Unified English Braille (UEB). BANA stands by our original motion to adopt UEB as a complete code as well as the implementation statement issued in 2014 in which we expressed that the Nemeth Code remains integral to braille in the United States. The Board of BANA could not reach consensus regarding the establishment of a single standard code for technical materials for braille in the United States. The decision to use UEB or the Nemeth Code within UEB context for technical materials should be made based on braille readers’ individual needs.”
Maps of Texas
The Princeton Braillists have recently released “Maps of Texas.” This is a single-volume book of tactile maps, 23 in all, 79 pages total. It includes an overview of the state, as well as individual maps showing cities, rivers, counties, highways, farm and mineral products, and climate. More detailed maps show the area around Houston and around Dallas/Fort Worth.
For more information, write to The Princeton Braillists, 76 Leabrook Ln., Princeton, NJ 08540; visit https://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/princetonbraillists.html, or call Nancy Amick at (609) 924-5207.
News from Hadley School
Envision awarded the Hadley School for the Blind its prestigious Oculus Award. The award is presented annually to individuals or organizations whose careers or programs have had a significant impact on people who are blind or visually impaired through professional collaboration, advocacy, research or education.
Hadley’s braille student of the year is ACB member Myra Brodsky of Guttenberg, N.J. Brodsky was not born blind. She developed retinitis pigmentosa later in life and did not learn braille until after she retired. Prior to her retirement, Brodsky worked as a court reporter at the New York State Court System for 35 years.
The school recently announced that Chuck Young will retire in May 2016. The management committee of Hadley’s board of trustees has retained Morris & Berger, a firm specializing in non-profit executive searches, in the recruitment.
Access for JAWS Users
Bright Pattern’s cloud call center recently added support for JAWS to its cloud contact center platform. To check it out, visit www.brightpattern.com/call-center-software/for-visually-impaired/.
Freedom Scientific and Optelec have merged to create the world’s largest assistive technology provider for the visually impaired. The two companies have a long history of providing innovative technology solutions that enable blind and low-vision individuals to reach their full potential — to gain an education, obtain employment, succeed in professional careers, and live independently throughout their lives.
Both companies were recently acquired by Vector Capital, a San Francisco-based firm that invests in market-leading global technology companies.
New from National Braille Press
National Braille Press now has a new way for you to subscribe your child(ren) to the Children’s Braille Book Club. In addition to its annual subscription, there’s now a more affordable plan: a six-month subscription! For details, contact NBP at the number or address below.
NBP has new books and products coming off the press almost every day! Now available are a wide variety of books and other items. “iOS 9 Without the Eye” by Jonathan Mosen is available in braille (2 vols.), BRF, Word, and DAISY. Mosen takes you through the latest enhancements to Apple’s iDevices – for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad – with iOS 9, showing it to be a more powerful, more capable, and more open system than ever before. Learn all about its newest feature, 3D Touch, as well as peek and pop, Apple Music, built-in Apple News, what’s new with Siri, and much more!
Also available is “Saturday Morning Quotations,” a spiral-bound braille booklet in UEB. This pocket-sized booklet contains 52 quotes to enjoy all year long, and features an eclectic group of luminaries, from Marilyn Monroe to Wordsworth, Dr. Seuss to Leonard Bernstein.
New in kids’ books is “The Book With No Pictures” by B.J. Novak, now available in contracted UEB for ages 4 to 9. It will turn any reader into a comedian, and make any listener laugh out loud! Check out the video at www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/BC1508-NOPICS.html.
Got kids or grandkids? Check out “Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes,” at www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/BC1509-PETE.html. It’s available in contracted UEB braille with picture descriptions, for ages 3 and up. Pete is a blue cat who likes moving, grooving, and school. In this book, Pete discovers the library, the lunchroom, the playground, and lots of other cool places at school. Also included are tactile mazes and maps, tips for using a cane and visiting the library, jokes, a song, games, and much more. Check out the free activities online at www.greatexpectations.pub. Each book includes the print/braille book, a free print/braille word search, and an activity checklist.
Also available is a magnet in print and braille, with the words “You Rock” on it.
For more information, contact National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen St., Boston, MA 02115-4302; toll-free 1-800-548-7323 or (617) 266-6160. Or visit https://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/.
Envision’s New Web Site
Envision recently debuted its revamped web site, www.EnvisionUs.com. It includes improvements in accessibility as well as more vivid imagery.
Improvements in accessibility include optimizing the new site to work with screen readers and magnifiers. A section labeled “Our Stories” introduces visitors to a wide variety of individuals relating how their ties to the organization have had a positive impact on their lives. Other features include quick access to a blog that highlights the people and aspects that make up the Envision community, a calendar of coming events, and a tab to access an online donation form.