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, 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.


The Jewish Guild for the Blind awards scholarships to high school seniors who are legally blind and who are college bound. Applications are now being accepted for students who will enter college as freshmen in 2011. Approximately 16 scholarships valued up to $15,000 each are granted each year. Scholarship candidates are chosen through an on-line application process based on criteria relating to academic excellence, extracurricular activities, community involvement, legal blindness and U.S. citizenship. For information on the scholarship program, contact Gordon Rovins at (212) 769-6801 or e-mail Apply for the scholarships at All applications and supporting material are due by Sept. 15 of the student's senior year.


Dr. Michael B. Gorin is conducting a nationwide study of genetic and other risk factors that contribute to the development of age-related macular degeneration. This is an observational study, not a treatment trial. Participation will include either a saliva sample or a blood draw and photos of the retina. Data collection will occur through a secure and confidential website. The study is looking for: individuals from 49 to 65 years old who have or had at least one parent with macular degeneration and the parent(s) who have age-related macular degeneration or who have a sibling with the disease. More details about the study are available at The researchers on this study can be contacted by calling 1-800-286-8581.


The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Workplace Accommodations (WorkRERC) based at Georgia Tech works to provide better understanding of the needs for accommodations addressing employment barriers faced by people with disabilities. Its goal is to enable equal access to employment, enhanced employment outcomes, and increased participation in the workplace for individuals with disabilities. WorkRERC is conducting a survey that examines the relationships between functional ability, job requirements, and accommodation use. Anyone who has a disability or loss of function AND who is employed or volunteers can participate in the survey. The survey is anonymous, and takes an average of 30 minutes to complete. The survey and additional information are available at For those with limited or no access to the computer, an appointment for a telephone survey can be made by calling (404) 894-0561.


The Hadley School for the Blind offers a tuition-free, accredited high school diploma. Hadley offers an accessible, individualized and self-paced high school education, allowing students to earn a diploma at any age or life stage. All courses are conducted in a distance education format and are offered in a variety of media including braille, audio, large print and online. Teachers are available via an 800 number, mail or e-mail, giving students personalized instruction. For more information on the high school program or Hadley, visit


The 13th Accessing Higher Ground: Accessible Media, Web and Technology Conference will be hosted by the Disability Services at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The conference will be held Nov. 15-19, 2010 at the Westin Hotel in Westminster, Colo. It 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, such as ADA and 508 compliance, and making campus media and information resources -- including web pages and library resources -- accessible. The keynote speaker will be George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium. Hotel reservations should be made directly with the Westin at 1-800-937-8461. Additional conference details are at


Last year Disney unveiled its hand-held device that allows for audio description on many of its rides. Now, at Disney World, audio descriptions of the outdoor environment, along with the location of restroom facilities and restaurant menus, are available through this device. It uses a wireless signal to pinpoint the device's location in the park and then loads pre-programmed interactive audio menus for that area. This expanded accessibility will be available at Disneyland Resort next year. Disney has patented and licensed the assistive technology, which is already being used at the World of Coca-Cola Museum, The Hall at Patriot Place and the Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Disney has received the National Society of Professional Engineers 2010 "New Product Award" because of the potential access this technology could provide. Guests can borrow this device for a fully refundable deposit from the Guest Relations desk. To learn about all of Disney's accessibility features for people who are blind, visit or call (407) 824-4321.


Dr. Hui Shao, associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has received a $60,000 Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award from the Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) organization. The grant will help fund Shao's research of Sjogren's syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disease that targets the salivary and lacrimal glands - the glands that produce saliva and tears, resulting in dry mouth and dry eye symptoms. Shao and her team recently discovered a protein, called Klk22, that appears to play a role in the development of Sjogren's syndrome. With further research, this protein could prove to be an effective biomarker in the diagnosis of the disease.


Congratulations to Wanda Austin, who was honored by Molina Healthcare of Florida as one of its first-ever Community Champions. Wanda won the award in the Health Professional category for her counseling work and community service. Blind for 15 years, Wanda is a nationally certified and licensed mental health counselor for Lighthouse of Pinellas, where she provides individual/family counseling, facilitates psycho-educational groups and teaches self-advocacy.


Congratulations to the California School for the Blind (CSB) for its upcoming Creative Use of Braille Award honors from the American Printing House (APH). The CSB's student-driven business enterprise, Lucky Touch Braille Fortune Cookie Company, will be recognized at APH's annual meeting in October. The award was established to recognize significant accomplishments in the development of products, ideas or promotional efforts that increase the availability of braille. For the last 12 years, this CSB enterprise has become internationally known for selling cookies that include braille fortunes.


VetCentric and Guide Dogs for the Blind have developed a partnership to provide graduates of GDB with discounted pricing on prescription medications for their dog guides. VetCentric is a leading provider of EPA- and FDA-approved veterinary medications for home delivery. To take advantage of the discounts, graduates must register on, print the special order form, and take it to their veterinary clinic for a doctor's prescription. For additional information on VetCentric, visit


National Braille Press now offers a braille pendant. The pendant is the creation of jewelry designer Kelly Fehr, who makes jewelry for her niece Emily, who reads braille. The pendant measures 1 1/4" x 1/4". It's made of pure dark copper with the word "love" on it and a small raised heart at the bottom. The pendant is strung on a 16-inch waxed cotton cord with a lobster clasp. You can view the pendant by visiting For more information, call 1-800-548-7323.


At its spring commencement ceremony, Salus University honored Lawrence F. Campbell, president of the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairments (ICEVI) with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Campbell took the opportunity to speak about his first experience with a person with visual impairment and how it changed his career path. Campbell is currently chairperson of the ICEVI Global Task Force on Education for All Children with Visual Impairment; a member of the Executive Committee of the World Blind Union; and a founding member of Vision Alliance, a consortium of three global umbrella organizations for prevention, education and rehabilitation of the blind and visually impaired.


Dr. Martin Friedlander, a California eye disease researcher, recently received the Jewish Guild for the Blind's 2010 Alfred W. Bressler Prize in Vision Science. Friedlander is a full professor in the department of cell biology and the graduate program in macromolecular and cellular structure and chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute. He is also the staff ophthalmologist and chief of retina services at Scripps Clinic and Green Hospital, both located in La Jolla, Calif. The committee chose him because of his extraordinary work with cell biological research and clinical issues of retinal disease, subjects he has pursued from his early days as a junior faculty member at the Rockefeller University in New York.


Executive Products now offers a water-resistant Italian faux leather case for the NLS Digital Talking Book Player. The case fits snugly but offers complete access to all the keys, ports, and cartridge area. An outside zipper pocket can hold up to three spare cartridges. It includes a shoulder strap and hand carry strap. This case fits both the standard and advanced NLS digital book players. For more information, visit or call (818) 833-8822. Executive Products offers similar cases for many assistive technology products.


Seedlings' new 2010 catalog has over 1,000 low-cost titles available. The newest additions to the catalog include: "Clifford's Noisy Day" by Norman Bridwell (uncontracted); "Little Feet Love" by Piggy Toes Press (uncontracted); "Numbers" by Scholastic (uncontracted); "Are You My Mommy?" by Mae Brown; "Biscuit's Pet & Play Christmas" by Alyssa Satin Capucilli; "A Good Day" by Kevin Henkes; "It's Spring!" by Samantha Berger & Pamela Chanko; "Wake Up, Little Ones" by Piggy Toes Press; and "Where Is Love, Biscuit?" by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. Seedlings serves blind children from birth to age 14 and blind adults who read to sighted children throughout the United States and in over 75 countries around the world. For more information, visit or call 1-800-777-8552.


Individuals who are visually impaired, blind, or otherwise disabled and who seek employment training in the Customer Service field are eligible to apply for the Statler Training and Education Connection (STEC). The National Statler Center offers this class at its Buffalo, N.Y. campus. The 7-week STEC course provides thorough customer service training for jobs in contact centers, financial and medical offices, transportation, and communications fields. Training also includes the Microsoft Office suite and personal job-search assistance, which has resulted in an 82 percent job placement rate for graduates. More information is available by calling Jeff Pease at the Statler Center at (716) 888-4526 or by visiting

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