Future Reflections                                                                                     Spring/Summer 2004

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

The NFB Bulletin Board

New Items from the NFB Materials Center:

For information about ordering the following items you may view and order online at <www.nfb.org> (click on the Aids and Appliances button on the Home page). You may also call to order or request a print, Braille, or cassette catalog at (410) 659-9314, extension 2216. The NFB Materials Center is located at 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.

LEISURE ACTIVITIES

Braille Animal Coloring Book, #AIG48B: 10 Brailled tactile pictures to color. $5.00.

Braille Basic Coloring Book, #AIG47B: 10 Brailled tactile pictures to color. $5.00.

Julie and Brandon: Our Blind Friends #LSA55P:  49 page print activity and coloring book (for sighted children) filled with information on blindness through the story of two blind students. $3.00.

Brailled Count & Learn the Shapes, #AIG32B:  The ten frames are a fun way for children to learn recognition and definition of numbers as well as ten basic geometric shapes.  Each frame measures 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches and has a punched out number and corresponding number of a geometric shape(s) with Braille labeling.  This item is made of high-density foam material and it is non-toxic.  For ages 3 and up. $18.00.

Elite Softsense Ball with Bells, #AIG34B: This ball is yellow, very soft, and measures 9-1/2 inches. It is a great playing ball for young children. $26.00.

The Touch Game, #AIG29t: This is a fun game for family and friends to test their sensory perception and memory, You will be timed while you try to find selected items in a covered dome using only your sense of touch. There are 20 theme cards with fun facts for each object and 49 game pieces. $33.00

TIMEKEEPERS

Children’s Talking Wrist Watch: The plastic watch measures 1-1/8 x 1-1/2 inches and has a LCD face with alarm functions.

     Black, #AIW53T; $5.50.

     Pink with flowers and stripes, #AIW54T: $5.50.

     Silver, #AIW55T: $5.50.

     Clear Blue, #AIW56T: $5.50.

Tiny Talking Alarm Clock/Radio, #AIC28T: 3 x 3 x 2 inches; less than 6 ounces.  LCD time display is 5/8 inches and the clock talks you through the setting functions.  A scan button controls the FM station changes.  Antenna included.  It requires three (3) AAA batteries (included). $13.00.

This and That

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Future Reflections readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

Adoptive Families Needed for Waiting Vision-Impaired Children:

Amulya
Amulya

The World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP) is seeking loving adoptive families for beautiful children from around the world. Currently we have seventeen children with various form of vision impairment ranging from mild to significant.  WACAP has been placing children in loving adoptive homes since 1976. WACAP has adoption programs in six countries including China, Korea, India, Russia, Thailand, and the United States. Amulya is a baby girl born in December of 2002. She giggles and coos, especially when she is spoken to. She is blind and was born with a club foot, for which she has undergone surgery. Amulya is a delight to her foster family and will certainly delight her permanent family as well. Financial assistance is available for the adoption of waiting children.  For more information about these seventeen visually impaired children or other waiting children, contact WACAP’s Family Finders Program at (206) 575-4550 or <FamilyFinders@wacap.org>.

Braille Music Survey:

Most people who use Braille music—as well as those who teach it, produce it, or distribute it—would probably agree that locating and obtaining the Braille music scores they need or want is often difficult or impossible. Serious musicians who use Braille music regard this shortage as a critical problem in need of an aggressive solution.

Last year, in response to these concerns, the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union created a special task force whose purpose was “to examine the status of Braille music transcription in North America and to determine if there is a need to increase the capacity to produce it.”

The taskforce was chaired by Dr. Tuck Tinsley, president of the American Printing House for the Blind, and it included representatives from each of the various agencies and organizations that make up the North America/Caribbean Region. Karen McDonald, second vice president of the National Association of Blind Musicians (the NFB’s music division) represented the National Federation of the Blind on the taskforce.

McDonald reports that the working group has now developed a comprehensive survey aimed at gathering important information about Braille music such as who purchases it; where it is produced; the types of music (classical, popular, vocal, instrumental) that are most widely used; the quality of the product; the timeliness of delivery; and any difficulties that people have experienced in obtaining the Braille music they need.

The next step is to reach as many people as possible who are interested in responding to the survey. The greater the number of respondents, the more accurate and complete the survey findings will be.

The NFB national office is helping to disseminate the survey to members and others interested in completing it. Requests for the survey form in Braille or large print should be sent to Mrs. Patricia Maurer, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. An electronic version is available by sending an email request to <pmaurer@nfb.org>.

Anyone wishing to complete the survey online can go to the Web site of the American Printing House for the Blind at <www.aph.org/brlmusicsurvey.html>. The deadline for submitting completed surveys is June 1, 2004. Blind musicians, parents and teachers of blind children, transcribers, and others with a particular knowledge of and interest in the subject are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to help shape the future of Braille music in North America.

Computer Games:

Denise Melenbacher, a teacher of the visually impaired in Washington state recommends the following:

AllinPlay is a new company that is creating games for the blind on the Internet. They presented their product at the 2003 NFB convention, and I and a blind colleague of mine got to test it out. (The games are designed so that blind and sighted kids can play them together.) We found the games very entertaining. Take a look at <www.allinplay.com> and see what you think.

Hark The Sound: Computer Software for Visually Impaired Kids

The following information comes from Diane Brauner:

We are proud to introduce Hark the Sound—computer software games designed specifically for kids that are visually impaired!  Hark the Sound is groundbreaking software originally developed to introduce kindergarten and first grade students with severe visual impairments to the computer. The original Hark games use motivating sounds and songs to capture the student’s attention. Hark has quickly evolved to include games for multiply disabled students (in conjunction with Intellitools) and games for older students. Hark is designed so that anyone (including people that are computer illiterate!) can make new games or to customize games for specific students.

Dr. Gary Bishop, a computer science professor at the University of North Carolina, heard about the lack of accessible software for young visually impaired students. He generously dedicated his time and energy to developing quality software that uses auditory skills instead of visual skills. This exciting software has been successfully field tested in a variety of North Carolina school systems.

For more information about Hark the Sound please go to <www.cs.unc.edu/Research/assist/Hark>.You may also download your FREE copy of Hark the Sound from this website! Hark the Sound is being distributed (at no cost) for educational/recreational use. Please share this exciting software! The website is being updated regularly with new versions of Hark games. If you make your own Hark game, please send it to us so that we can share the game with others. If you have any questions, please contact Diane Brauner at <dianebrauner@nc.rr.com>.

Braille Alphabet Bracelet:

The following announcement comes from the National Braille Press:

These lovely Braille Alphabet Bracelets (from At First Sight) are made of small individual tiles: each tile represents a letter—Braille on the front, and engraved Roman type on the back—separated by simple, straight spacers on a stretch bracelet. There’s no ornamentation on the tiles—just beautiful Braille! You can leave your bracelet as is, or take it apart and restring it as a bracelet or necklace of your own creation, using different letters for initials, names or words. To see a picture or order online, visit <www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/brace.html> or email your order to <orders@nbp.org>.

Cost: $28.50, ($5 processing fee on all agency purchase orders; no charge if prepaid. Major credit cards accepted).

To order offline, send payment to: National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-4302. You may also call and charge it: toll-free (800) 548-7323 or (617) 266-6160 extension 20.

Institutional Membership in RFB&D

This announcement comes from Annemarie Cooke, Senior External Relations Officer RFB&D Learning through listening. Voice: (609) 520-8079. <acooke@rfbd.org>.  For more details about this offer contact Ms. Cooke or go to the RFB&D Web site <www.rfbd.org> and locate the registration and copyright agreement application for a Level 1 institutional membership. Here is the announcement:

If your school or facility hasn’t enrolled as an institutional member with RFB&D, here’s the chance you’ve been waiting for to enroll for a year FREE! Through June 1, 2004, we’re offering first-time ONE YEAR institutional memberships so you can try digitally recorded textbooks on CD. A Level 1 membership will allow you to borrow 25 books for your students to use. In addition, you’ll receive one copy of VictorSoft playback software that is PC-compatible. With RFB&D’s AudioPlus™ CDs, users enjoy superior navigation—page-to-page, chapter-to-chapter, section to section with just a keystroke or two. And there’s 45 HOURS of listening on a single AudioPlus™ CD.

Independent Living Aids, Inc., Acquires Ann Morris Enterprises:

We recently received the following press release:

Independent Living Aids, Inc., the country’s oldest privately held mail-order business specializing in products for the blind and visually impaired, acquired Ann Morris Enterprises on February 1, 2004. Ann Morris has been in business for eighteen years and is one of the most respected and established mail-order companies in the industry. ILA is in its twenty-seventh year of continuous operation.

ILA intends to maintain the Ann Morris identification by continuing to publish its catalog of unique products for the visually impaired and by maintaining its Web site <www.annmorris.com>. Ann Morris, regarded as the Lillian Vernon of the blind mail-order industry, will assist with the transition and will share her expertise on an on-going basis. The acquisition enhances both companies’ product lines, which ultimately benefits all customers. ILA can now offer a more comprehensive range of CAN-DO™ Products through its catalogs and on its Web site <www.independentliving.com.>

Braille Transcription Service:

The following is from Cathy Zimmerman:

We are a non-profit organization in Hackensack, New Jersey. We offer quick and accurate transcription in literary Braille and Nemeth code of texts ranging from first-grade primers through college-level mathematics and chemistry. We also offer many foreign language transcriptions. Our customers include APH, educational institutions, government and non-profit agencies, corporations, hospitals, theaters, and individuals. If this information could be helpful to any parents looking for publications to be done for their children, we would be pleased to work with them. For more information contact:

Cathy Zimmerman, Certified Braille Transcriptionist, Multimedia Transcription Service (MTS, 131 Main Street, Suite 120, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601. Phone: (201) 996-9423. Fax: (201) 996-9422. <mts.ber@hipcil.org>.

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