“Dots and Dashes” is a short newsletter featuring a variety of topics and ACB stories. This issue features information about the coronavirus, information on a call to help find ways to entertain your guide dogs during this temporary shutdown, ways to take the 2020 census, a reminder about the deadline for applying to become a leadership fellow, what to do if you’re experiencing telehealth and/or e-learning accessibility challenges, and Advocacy Updates.
After much thoughtful consideration, ACB has decided to close both offices and move our work to a virtual environment until further notice. This decision was made in order to ensure the continued health and safety of our employees and their families. ACB staff will continue to take calls and emails during this period. When calling ACB’s direct and toll-free office numbers, please use the recorded menu to contact our staff members directly.
The health and welfare of our members is of the utmost importance and we are actively working to confirm details and explore alternative options regarding our 2020 convention as the situation evolves. ACB’s Board of Directors will hold a special meeting on March 30th to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on ACB. A recording of the meeting will be available on ACB Radio, and will also be listed under resources on this page: https://acb.org/acb-covid19-response.
We recommend that all affiliates follow CDC guidelines for any scheduled events. You can find the most up-to-date CDC guidelines here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html.
Join ACB on Friday, March 27, at 8 p.m. Eastern to discuss COVID-19 and its impact on the blind and visually impaired community. This call will be led by ACB member Brooke Jostad, who has a background in social work and counseling. The one-hour zoom meeting will allow attendees to share their feelings as well as discuss several pre-selected topics. We anticipate this being the first of many conversations. The dial-in number is (312) 626-6799, and the passcode is 928464288#.
Are Your Dogs Tired of the Great Indoors?
We’ve been talking about all kinds of strategies for humans as we cope with the virus, but what about our guide dogs? Do you and they have the resources you need to keep things going? Is your dog coping with the new routine and new environment? Come share your resources and challenges, ask questions, receive tips from our panel and others on the call. Oh, and bring some friends — canine or human, all are welcome.
Join Guide Dog Users, Inc. and Blind LGBT Pride International on a conference call March 31st at 8 p.m. Eastern (5 p.m. Pacific) for ideas on keeping your guides entertained and interested as we all shelter in place.
To join the call, visit: https://zoom.us/j/2064346480
One-tap mobile: 16699006833,,2064346480#
Phone: 669 900 6833
Meeting ID: 206 434 6480#
Ways to Take the 2020 Census
By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. You will have three options for responding: online, by phone, or by mail. To view and listen to a PSA about how to take the census, visit https://2020census.gov/en/partners/psa-toolkit/how-to-take.html?utm_campaign=20191203msc20s1ccallrs&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.
To fill out the census online, go to http://www.my2020census.gov. To take the census via phone, call toll-free 1-844-330-2020. The 12-digit code sent to your residence by U.S. mail is not necessary to complete the census by phone or online.
For a hard-copy braille version of the census information, contact Kim Charlson at Perkins, (617) 972-7249.
Apply to Be One of This Year’s Leadership Fellows!
It is not too late to apply for one of the five JPMorgan Chase Leadership Awards to be selected this year – but you’d better hurry! Applications are due on April 3rd!
To be qualified, you must meet specific criteria, including but not limited to the following:
- 18 years of age or older
- Blind or visually impaired
- An ACB member in good standing (current on membership dues)
For more detailed information, read the article from the March “Braille Forum” at https://acb.org/join-leadership-inner-circle-apply-2020-acbjpmorgan-chase-leadership-fellow. Send applications to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 3rd.
Experiencing Challenges with Telehealth and E-Learning Technology?
Advancements in technology now allow people to receive services remotely from almost anywhere. One does not need to travel to a doctor to receive health advice; one can talk to a doctor over the Internet. Similar technology is being used in a myriad of ways. For instance, universities now offer a plethora of classes online. Such entities use software to provide online lectures and chat programs to talk to students or patients.
Now, in light of the coronavirus, such technology is more appealing than ever. Universities have completely shut down and classes are only being offered online. If someone needs healthcare, instead of going to a doctor’s office where he might be at risk of contracting the disease, he can utilize telehealth services.
However, many of these online programs are inaccessible to the blind and visually impaired community. Commonly used software programs cannot properly interact with screen-reading software such as JAWS or VoiceOver.
ACB is watching closely to find out about such challenges. Please let Claire Stanley and Clark Rachfal know if you have experienced such inaccessibility. You can call the office at (202) 467-5081 or email them at email@example.com. They will reach out to such providers and investigate how to make such services accessible to blind and visually impaired users.
The March 26th Advocacy Update podcast focuses on connecting with ACB during the coronavirus pandemic. Clark Rachfal and Claire Stanley talk with membership services coordinator Cindy Van Winkle about the recent changes in everyday life due to the spread of COVID-19 and about the many virtual meetings ACB is holding to keep the community connected. Listen via your favorite podcast player, or online at http://acbradio.org/acb-advocacy-update-3-26-20. To learn more about ACB's community conference calls, visit https://acb.org/ACB-community-conference-calls.
On the March 19th Advocacy Update podcast, Claire Stanley speaks with Heather Ansley from Paralyzed Veterans of America. The two discuss the first in-person meeting of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) Advisory Committee. Learn about the committee members, the topics they will be advising on, and how you can help provide valuable input to the committee. Listen via your favorite podcast player or online at http://acbradio.org/acb-advocacy-update-3-19-20. To learn more about Paralyzed Veterans of America, visit https://pva.org/.