by Susan Lichtenfels

The announcement of products and services in this column is not an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its staff, or elected officials. Products and services are listed free of charge for the benefit of our readers. "The Braille Forum" cannot be held responsible for the reliability of products and services mentioned.

To submit items for this column, send a message to [email protected], or call ACB at 1-800-424-8666 and leave a message in mailbox 26. Please remember that postal regulations prohibit us from including advertisements, and that we need information two months ahead of actual publication dates.


The Social Research Institute at Purdue University is conducting a survey on visually impaired customers' perceptions and uses of the Internet. We are interested in talking with visually impaired people who access the Internet. To participate in the survey, call 1-800-699-0175. The survey will take about 20 minutes. Once you have completed the survey, you will be entered into a drawing with a chance to win one of three cash awards ranging from $25 to $100.


The Sleep and Mood Disorders Laboratory at Oregon Health & Science University is seeking blind children and teenagers ages 3 to 20 who have little or no light perception to screen for participation in our research study. The study's goal is to investigate the hormone melatonin and its role in the nighttime sleep difficulties and daytime attention problems frequently experienced by blind individuals.

Participation in the study requires the consent of the parent(s) or guardian(s). The study will involve saliva collection over 4 to 25 hours on at least three occasions, spaced approximately two weeks apart. Saliva collection will take place at home. Saliva collection periods will be shorter and less frequent, as necessary, to accommodate the participants and/or their parents. Although no specific time commitment will be required, we hope that participants will continue saliva sample collections for at least four months. All tests are performed at no charge to the participants. For information, please call Jeannie Songer at (503) 418-4144, or e-mail her, [email protected]


The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind is celebrating its 75th anniversary with the election of two totally blind leaders. James Kracht has been installed as the chairman of the board of directors, and Virginia Jacko was appointed president and CEO.


"Seeing It Our Way" is the monthly publication of Horizons for the Blind. It includes craft patterns, recipes, puzzles and poems, and more. The magazine is available in both braille and large print. To subscribe for one year, make your check or money order for $30 payable to Horizons for the Blind, 2 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, IL 60014 or phone (815) 444-8800. Free product catalogs are available in braille, large print and audiocassette.


The Greater Boston Diabetes Society recently joined the Greater Boston Guild for the Blind as a subsidiary. It will continue its mission to raise awareness of diabetes prevention as well as educating those who already have diabetes on how to manage the disease. However, the society is relocating its offices to the guild's in West Roxbury. The guild will assume responsibility for the society's daily operations, program development and management.


There are three numbers available for free directory assistance. They are: 1-800-373-3411, 1-800-411-6387, and 1-800-411-7283. You can use them anywhere, and it's free for everyone to use. The 373 number will not work from a pay phone; the other two will. Give them a try!


The SightExchange e-mail group allows subscribers to offer unwanted items and search for items that serve the needs of people who are visually impaired. The goal is to recycle these often expensive items by passing them on once they are no longer needed. Subscribe to this list by sending an e- mail to [email protected]


The National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped is launching a new program, the Writers' Program for Wounded Warriors, at its school in Belfast, Maine. It begins in June, and is designed to help disabled soldiers learn to express themselves and communicate their experiences through writing scenes and plays for dramatic monologue. In addition to writing workshops, these veterans will have the opportunity to live with other members of the disabled community, participate in outdoor activities and relationship-building activities to help them reduce the isolation and loss that often accompany disability. For more information, call (207) 338- 6894.


Sweet Tooth has chocolate braille candy bars for sale. Each bar measures 4 by 6 1/2 by 1/4 inches and weighs 4 ounces. They come in 6 different sayings: Happy Birthday, Love You, Thank You, Have a Nice Day, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays. Each bar has a saying in braille, with the greeting written in cursive above it. Chocolate selection includes white, milk, and dark. Plain bars cost $2.25 each; bars with rice crisps or nuts cost $2.50 each. Shipping and handling costs are $6.95 for one to six candy bars, $11.95 for seven to 12 bars. Contact Sweet Tooth, 32 Vinton Road, Rochester, NY 14622, phone (585) 544-1853, e-mail [email protected] Checks or money orders only. Please note that these chocolate bars cannot be sent in the summer months (June through August) due to the heat.


The braille edition of "The Braille Enthusiast's Dictionary," compiled and edited by Alan J. Koenig and M. Cay Holbrook, is now available. It contains the braille transcriptions of almost 30,000 common and not-so-common words in the English language. The cost for individuals paying with their own funds is $424; all others will pay $1,045. This 10-volume book will be sent free matter for the blind. For the braille edition, contact the National Braille Association, 3 Townline Circle, Rochester, NY 14623, phone (585) 427-8260. The print edition of "The Braille Enthusiast's Dictionary" is available from SCALARS Publishing, phone (901) 737-0001.


Rod Pierce has developed a free braille translator. It prepares braille as selectable text dots (for inserting in e-mails, forums, etc.) and as images. The images can also be saved as JPEG files. It translates to contracted braille with better than 98 percent accuracy. Find this braille translator at

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