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 Loverings mailbox. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.


The U.S. Olympic Committee recently announced the recipients of its 2008 Coach of the Year awards. The Paralympic Coach of the Year was Ken Armbruster; he coaches goalball. Additional winners were: National Coach of the Year, Hugh McCutcheon, volleyball; Developmental Coach of the Year, Rajul Sheth, table tennis; Volunteer Coach of the Year, Rita Gladstone, tennis; and "Doc" Counsilman Science Award winner Dave Bennett, wrestling.


The U.S. women's goalball team captured gold at the 10th annual Lady Malmo Intercup, Malmo, Sweden, in late May by defeating rival Canada, 6-4. Team members Nikki Buck and Jordan Walters anchored the defense, and Jen Armbruster, Asya Miller, Lisa Czechowski and Robin Theryoung handled the offense.


Recently, President Barack Obama announced the formation of the White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport. This permanent office will promote the values of the Olympic Movement and encourage increased youth participation in athletics. The primary function of the office will be to enhance awareness of the Olympic Movement through promotion of its fundamental principles at the federal level.


On June 10, The Hadley School for the Blind held its high school graduation ceremony at the Winnetka (Ill.) Women's Club. Five of the 10 graduates were able to travel from their homes around the country to Hadley to celebrate their achievement: Anna Bolino, 22, from California; Megan Tate, 19, from Mississippi; Christopher Harper, 28, from Indiana; Jessica Pitzer, 19, from North Carolina; and Louise Craft, 68, from Pennsylvania. Those who weren't able to attend were Dixie Brown, 58, from New York; Russell Dyer, 38, from Florida; Paige Hardin, 19, from Georgia; Jesse Mulock, 18, from Arizona; and Laura Parshley, 21, from New York.


The Hadley School for the Blind is now offering, "Finding Employment," which presents the "Be-Do-Have" method to help navigate through the job-search process. This six-lesson course helps identify your interests and skills so you can find the career thats right for you. It offers engaging job-search techniques such as using networking and job services for people who are visually impaired. This course also gives helpful tips for writing cover letters and resumes that grab an employers eye, as well as interviewing strategies to give you an edge over your competition. Finally, the last lesson provides advice on when to disclose a visual impairment as well as what reasonable accommodations to expect from your potential employer. A supplement, "Extraordinary People, Extraordinary Jobs," shares the stories of how several people with visual impairment found their careers. To register for this class or learn about others, call Hadley at 1-800-323-4238; e-mail [email protected]; or visit


Kim Charlson, Director of the Perkins School for the Blind, has written Drawing with your Perkins Brailler : An activity guide to creating tactile drawings. This book contains step-by-step directions for creating 36 different drawings ranging from basic to highly intricate. Drawings include shapes, various animals, and pictures with holiday and transportation themes. The braille pictures are included to demonstrate what the final drawings should look and feel like. The book sells for $24.95 in either 14-point type or Braille. Orders can be placed at or by phone at (617) 924-3434.


Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) recently received the Blinded American Veterans Foundation Corporate Volunteer Award in recognition of its more than 60-year history of providing accessible educational materials for individuals with print disabilities. To learn more, visit


New Jersey has designated October as Blind Awareness Month. To help raise awareness to the needs of the visually impaired and to build a bridge between the sighted and non-sighted/visually impaired, Braille Brands is selling the Blind Awareness Ribbon for $4.99 each. It is a white ribbon with raised two-dimensional black dots representing the braille code. On the right side of the ribbon are the braille letters BRL. To order yours, visit, or call (732) 297-2200. Organizations can order at wholesale price for resale to their chapters and affiliates for the retail price. Wholesale pricing is as follows: 200-499 ribbons, $3.50 each; 500 or more, $3 each. Funds raised from the sale of the ribbon will be allocated to organizations that assist the blind as well as to develop and produce products that will improve and enrich their lives.


Dr. Lucy Torres is seeking someone who can repair Panasonic and Sony tape recorders. The problem is with the headphone connection area. Contact her via e-mail, [email protected]


The Deskmate Duo and Deskmate Duo Plus combine Clarity's Flex video magnifier with a 19" high-resolution LCD monitor. Some of the products' features include: full color, hands-free auto focusing, toggle from distance to tabletop viewing, rotating camera, rechargeable battery, and remote control. You can learn more by calling 1-800-575-1456 or visiting


The Perkins School for the Blind has launched a new online tool for teaching science to children who are visually impaired. The site includes: a video webcast, illustrated classroom activities, product suggestions, and links to online and hard copy resource materials. The first on-demand educational webcast is, Making Life Sciences Accessible to Students with Visual Impairments." The video outlines how to make science lessons and activities accessible through practical adaptations.Future webcasts will focus on other specific fields of science education. You can access this resource at


Bookshare has recently developed a partnership with Shared Books Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia. Shared Books, which operates the web site, has agreed to allow children's books published on to be added to the Bookshare collection. This will increase the number of children's books accessible to readers with print disabilities and provide an opportunity for authors published on to offer their works to a new group of readers. To learn more, visit


Now you can learn to play your favorite musical instrument totally by ear! At Bill Brown's Music for the Blind you can find all-audio instruction for piano, guitar, harmonica, violin, flute, banjo and more! There are over a dozen full-length courses and over 600 individual song lessons. For more information, go to or call 1-888-778-1828.


Great news for all of you music junkies! National Braille Press has recently released Using the Accessible iPod, by Anna Dresner. This book walks you through the few simple steps it takes to make every feature on the iPod Shuffle and most features on the Nano accessible for people who are visually impaired. The topics covered include: getting started with iTunes; putting the music, playlists, audiobooks and podcasts you want on your computer and into your iPod; getting your iPod to speak; using all accessible features of your iPod; troubleshooting; a listing of helpful resources; and information on how your iPod organizes music. The included iPods are the fourth generation Nano and the second and third generation Shuffles. You can order this book in braille, PortaBook, ASCII text/Word, or DAISY format for $15 by calling NBP at 1-800-548-7323; e-mailing [email protected]; or visiting


The Audio Description Coalition has published the third edition of its Standards for Audio Description and Code of Professional Conduct for Describers. This edition includes the new standards unique to dance description and to opera description. The Audio Description Coalition Standards and Code of Conduct is free to download at


"The Best of Bosma" cookbooks are now on sale for $15. Sales of this 80-page cookbook benefit the rehabilitation and employment programs offered at Bosma. To order your copy or to learn more about this organization, contact Lise Cox at [email protected]


The Kitchen Korner is an accessible cookbook produced by Newsreel Magazine in loving memory of Maggie Nettles, who passed away in August 2007. She compiled the book over the last several months of her life. It is available in Braille, large print, regular print, 4-track cassette, MP3 CD or audio CD (2 CDs). You may order at the special ACB price of $20 by calling (614) 469-0700 or 1-888-723-8737.


John Clower, a lifetime entrepreneur from McGehee, Ark., would be interested in speaking with anyone who would like to learn about a nutritional supplement that has been very beneficial in his life. According to John, The formula incorporates mangosteen, which research is proving to be very important in wellness and disease prevention. The mangosteen fruit has been used for hundreds of years in the southeast Asian culture to reduce disease and pain. Apparently the rind of the mangosteen holds the key to most of the fruit's beneficial properties. The formula also includes many trace and ultra-trace minerals which are hard to find in today's supplements and which we are not getting in today's American diet. For more information, call John at (773) 597-4242 or e-mail [email protected]


Disability Services at the University of Colorado at Boulder will host the 12th annual Accessing Higher Ground: Accessible Media, Web and Technology Conference for Education, for Businesses, for Web and Media Designers the week of Nov. 10-14, 2009. The conference will focus on the implementation and benefits of assistive technology in the university and college setting for people with sensory, physical and learning disabilities. Other topics include legal and policy issues, including ADA and 508 compliance, and making campus media, web pages and library resources accessible. You can learn more by visiting


Future Forms is a manufacturer and seller of braille paper. It offers both 11" x 11.5" and 8.5" x 11" sizes in quantities of 1,000 sheets. You may subscribe to the monthly newsletter, place an order, or inquire for more information by visiting, or by calling 1-800-748-0235.


AbleNet Inc., which designs, develops and manufactures assistive technology products, software and curriculum for people with disabilities, has launched its third-party funding program to help customers access funding from private insurance providers. The AbleNet staff will help guide practitioners and customers through the numerous documents required and the specifics of the application process to get its assistive technology devices paid for by these third-party insurers. Call 1-888-299-2162 or visit


Bring your brailler back to life! The Selective Doctor, Inc. specializes in the repair of Perkins braillers. Repairs are $55 for labor, plus the cost of parts. Send your brailler to: The Selective Doctor, Inc., PO Box 571, Manchester, MD 21102 via U.S. mail. Free matter shipping is accepted. Please be sure to insure your brailler; it will cost $5.70 if you insure it for $400. The company will add the cost of return insurance to your invoice. For more information, call (410) 668-1143 or e-mail [email protected] Or visit the web site,


Helping Hands for the Disabled of New York City operates the Action Line for the Disabled. The phone support aims to help people with disabilities in the NYC area who experience any type of problem, whether its an immediate need or an everyday concern. Some ways the organization may be able to help include: providing a reader, reading literature onto tape, looking up a disability-related issue, accessing an inaccessible web site, or finding a volunteer to accompany someone to an appointment. The Action Line can be reached from 6 p.m. until midnight at (718) 728-0868. If you need to leave a message, Helping Hands assures that your call will be returned promptly. Assistance is available for individuals speaking French, Spanish or English.


My Telespace is a social network bringing together the blind community and the sighted community. It is free, and features distribution lists, bulletin boards, e-mail accounts, chat rooms, conferencing and much more. To get your free account, call (575) 802-8600 or go to


Christine Chaikin has developed a web site to assist her peers in the visually impaired community. It includes job links, vendor listings, miscellaneous resources, a discussion board, and an interview page. To browse this site, visit


Herb Guggenheims new book of poetry, The Further Adventures of Pete Sussman: New and Selected Poems, has just been released by iUniverse (both in trade paperback and e-book formats). The book consists of 25 interlinked poems about the life and times of Pete Sussman. If you read them in order, you should be left with the feeling of having just read a novel-like autobiography. Two of these poems first appeared in Dialogue. To get your copy, visit,, or


The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is delighted to offer monthly programs for visitors who are partially sighted, blind and deaf. Join Guggenheim educators for an afterhours tour and interactive discussion, followed by a private reception. Programs for partially sighted and blind visitors are presented through Verbal Imaging and touch; separate programs for deaf visitors are presented in American Sign Language, with no voice interpreter. Admission and programs are free of charge. Assistive listening devices for hardofhearing visitors are also available in the museum for daily Educator Eye museum tours at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. For more information on these programs, contact Ruth Barry via e-mail, [email protected], or call (212) 4233618.


Researchers at MIT have developed a camera-like device that borrows the technology of a scanning laser ophthalmoscope. The portable seeing machine is about five inches square and mounted on a flexible tripod that makes it easy to carry. A digital camera is attached to the top. The visual feed from the camera travels into the seeing machine to a liquid crystal display (LCD) illuminated by light-emitting diodes. The visual data is then focused into a single "point" that travels into the eye. Plans are under way to test the device at the Low Vision Clinic at the Joslin Diabetes Center's Beetham Eye Institute in Boston.


Stephanie Pieck collects and sends used braille, large print, and cassette books and magazines (religious and non-religious), white canes, slates, games, etc. to a school for the blind in Central Africa.

In addition, she owns and operates The Music Suite out of her home and teaches braille music lessons by distance learning. Stephanie also has composed CDs for healing and relaxation and has written some books for beginning braille music readers.

For more information, visit or call (518) 464-0484.

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