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 Lovering's mailbox. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.
Adult Rehabilitation and Employment Survey
The Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University is currently conducting a survey of blind and visually impaired individuals over age 18. The survey seeks to gain information about experiences with vocational rehabilitation services, adjustment to blindness training, education, and employment. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete and is confidential. Each person who completes the survey will be entered to win one of five $100 Visa gift cards. Surveys can be done by phone or online. To make an appointment for the survey by phone, call (318) 257-4554 or e-mail [email protected]. The online survey is available at www.surveymonkey.com/s/25BX5Y6.
Scholarships for Teaching O&M
Salus University in Philadelphia, Pa. offers certificate and master's degree programs in orientation and mobility. The school offers several scholarships for individuals interested in teaching children and who already possess an undergraduate degree. Both full- and part-time course loads are available. The program includes mostly on-line courses with a few done on-site in Philadelphia during the summer. To request application materials or get more information, call (215) 780-1360 or e-mail [email protected]. The application materials are available online at www.salus.edu/cer/grad_application_process.html.
Oral Hull Summer Camps
The Oral Hull Foundation is a camp for the blind located in the foothills of Mt. Hood in Oregon. With average summer temperatures in the 80s, the park offers a variety of relaxing activities and outdoor adventures. Openings are still available for its summer sessions: Session 2: Adult Adventure II, July 25-31; Session 3: Friends and Alumni, Aug. 5-11; Session 4: Moderate Adventure Camp, Aug. 15-22; and Session 5: Family Camp, Aug. 25-28. Some financial assistance is available for Oregon residents. For a camper application, visit www.oralhull.org, e-mail [email protected], or call (503) 668-6195.
Many may remember Camp Wapanacki, nestled in the Green Mountains at the base of Mount Mansfield. Seek the Son Ministries Inc. is taking a serious look at this property and making it accessible year-round for the disabled and their families. Wapanacki is located in Hardwick, Vt., and sits on 350 acres of rolling hills and beautiful forests. Some of the original buildings still exist, like the Rec. Hall, Dining Hall and the historic Trout Lodge. New are a horse stable and corral. There are also trails that wind all along the property, including around the lake.
Employment & Technology Institute
VISIONS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in New York City will hold its 5th annual employment and technology institute July 22-28. Entitled "Tech Smart: Technology for Employment Success," the conference will include workshops on: assistive technology at work, "Why It Pays to Work," Apple and Windows accessibility, job seekers empowerment tools, and understanding the state's vocational rehabilitation system. There will also be a technology expo with hands-on demos of the latest assistive devices. Interested individuals over age 18 can register by e-mailing [email protected] or by calling (212) 625-1616, ext. 130.
Become certified in Literary Braille
The National Blindness Certification Board has announced several exam dates and locations for individuals interested in getting certified to teach or proofread braille. In 2011, National Certification in Literary Braille (NCLB) examinations will be held: afternoons of July 4th & 5th in Orlando, Fla.; and August 14th in Austin, Tex. Additional dates/locations will be posted along with sample tests and application procedures on www.nbpcb.org/nclb. The six-hour exam covers four sections: writing with a braille writer; writing with slate and stylus; proofreading; and a multiple choice test on the rules. For more information, or to discuss hosting an exam session, contact Deja Powell at [email protected] or at (318) 257-2029.
Seedlings Expands Collection
Seedlings Braille Books for Children has recently added 33 new titles to its selection. The new additions include preschool books like "Curious George at the Park" and "Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes"; short chapter books like "American Girls: Changes for Kirsten" and "Magic Tree House #35: Night of the New Magicians"; and novels for teens like "How to Train Your Dragon: Book 1" and Newbery Award winner "The Graveyard Book." The list of new books is available at www.seedlings.org/whatsnew.php. To request a copy of the catalog, send e-mail to [email protected] or call 1-800-777-8552. Electronic catalogs can be downloaded from www.seedlings.org. Children in the U.S. and Canada are eligible to receive two Seedlings books for free each year through the Seedlings Book Angel Program. When visiting the Seedlings web site, fill out the Angel Program application with the child's choice of four books. Seedlings will send two of the four within the year.
Stephanie Pieck is extremely grateful to all individuals and organizations who contributed braille materials to the library in Malawi. The library has already changed the lives of many blind people in Malawi. There was such an overwhelming response to her requests that the project has reached its maximum capacity. Please do not send her any additional material at this time.
New site on employment of disabled
The National Employer Technical Assistance Center has launched www.ASKEarn.org as a one-stop resource to assist employers in recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees with disabilities. The site offers information on workplace accessibility, case studies of successful hires, listings of conference and training opportunities, the EARN newsletter, etc. There is also a link to the Workforce Recruitment Program, a job-matching service that provides employers information on pre-screened candidates with disabilities who are seeking internships and employment.
Word 10 with Speech
Dean Martineau has compiled a quick reference guide for individuals using Word 10 with a screen reader. "Word 2010 Keyboard Commands with JAWS 12.0, Window-Eyes 7.2, and System Access 3.2" shares the most commonly used keyboard commands as well as instructions for how to customize the keyboard and the quick access toolbar. The book is available in one braille volume, eBraille, or Word. Visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/WORD2010KC.html or call 1-800-548-7323 for more information.
Increased Internet Access Via the Phone
Net Echo is a subscription-based service that enables individuals without use of a computer to access the online world using any phone. Internet Speech, creator of the Net Echo service, has recently updated its software to make surfing the Internet and accessing e-mail more user-friendly. The update provides for increased navigation of Twitter and Facebook; enhancement to the search command; spoken shortcuts for commonly spelled/used phrases; streaming video capability for WMV files; additional support features for SMS texting; avoidance of most Java script-related messages; and fewer account locking issues. Current users can learn about all the updates by saying "What's new" from the main menu. For more information about Net Echo, call (408) 532-8460 or visit www.internetspeech.com.
Rhode Island Voter Registration
The U.S. Department of Justice and the state of Rhode Island have come to an agreement which will bring the state into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). A lawsuit was filed alleging that Rhode Island violated federal law by not offering voter registration services at its public assistance offices and state agencies providing services to people with disabilities. The agreement requires Rhode Island to begin offering voter registration opportunities to all applicants for public assistance, WIC, rehabilitative services, developmental disabilities services and mental health services; distributing voter registration applications in public assistance and disability services offices and via mail; training employees on NVRA compliance; conducting regular internal compliance audits; and reporting the number of voter registration applications processed by public assistance and disability service offices. For more information about federal voting laws, visit www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot. To file a complaint about discriminatory voting practices, call 1-800-253-3931.
Ann (Morris) Bliss is still in business. She now has available a jumbo, waterproof black backpack with red highlights for sale. It measures 18" x 15" x 8.5", and includes padding on the adjustable straps and against the back. Pockets include a large double zipper which can hold a 17" laptop, two smaller zippered front pockets, and two side mesh pockets. Contact Ann via e-mail, [email protected], for more information, or call her at (845) 282-0643.
Access to print documents via the iPhone
ZoomReader is a new application for the iPhone 4 which enables users to magnify print information or convert printed text to speech via OCR software. As a video magnifier, the software enables the phone's camera to zoom in and apply colored filters to increase visibility. By snapping a picture of a document, the OCR software will convert the text to speech and read the document aloud. The app can be used with voice commands as well. ZoomReader can be purchased and downloaded from the iTunes App Store. For additional information about this Ai Squared product, visit www.aisquared.com or call 1-800-859-0270.
Get your writing published
"Magnets and Ladders" is an online literary magazine published by Behind Our Eyes, Inc. Writers with disabilities are encouraged to submit short fiction, poetry, memoirs, essays, and articles on writing for publication in the magazine. The next submission deadline is August 15 for the fall/winter issue. To learn more about submission guidelines, seminars on writing, and joining the group's e-mail list, visit www.magnetsandladders.org.
New name for RFB&D
Learning Ally is the new name for what readers formerly knew as Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D). After research including several focus group discussions, the organization felt the name change was necessary for several reasons. It serves people with disabilities other than blindness and dyslexia. In the future, it intends to provide more services than just recorded books. And finally, the organization sees itself as an advocate or ally of students facing barriers in the educational process. The new web site is www.learningally.org.