Future Reflections Sept./ Oct./ Nov.1984, Vol. 3 No. 4
Editors Note: This is not a comprehensive resource list, but hopefully it is broad enough to meet most of the needs of Fad ages. Not all the resources listed produce special aids for the blind; some market items that happen efor blind children. The companies or organizations listed range from large businesses to small, one
'out-of-the-home type of outfits to non-profit, private organizations. The list should be a help to not only parents and teachers, but also to grandparents and other friends or relatives who would like gift ideas.
THE ABLE CHILD TOYS FOR ALL CHILDREN
154 Chambers Street
New York, New York 10007
(212) 406-2814/5 Catalog; $1.00 donation
The Able Child, has the following description of their toy products and services: "The Able Child's toys are not only educational and creatively designed but also fun to play with and aid in the development of a wide range of physical, social and cognitive skills . . . Professional and technical services are available to modify toys and equipment to meet the needs of special children. The Able Child has its own workshop ready to customize any item to individual specifications."
Each toy description in the catalog is coded to give more information, such as: encourages use of two hands, can be modified, pincer grasp, auditory stimulation, visual stimulation, etc.
Self-help aids for the physically disabled, such as specially designed culinary and a scoop-dish bowl, are also available from The Able Child.
Parents of physically-handicapped/blind children may especially be interested in this new toy company established by occupational therapists.
AIDS UNLIMITED, INC.
1101 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Voice/TTY (301) 659-0232
Aids Unlimited, Inc. provides alternative independence devices and services for the blind and physically handicapped. Aids Unlimited utilizes sales representatives (nearly all of them blind or physically handicapped) throughout the country to market its products. You may contact your local sales representative or the main office at the address given above
Aids Unlimited offers some games appropriate for children, such as Scrabble People. This game is a spelling-word game much like regular Scrabble, but has interlocking "people" pieces. It is appropriate for children age 8 and up. A large-type Scrabble game and a Braille Scrabble game are also available. For parents of small children, some unusual cookie cutters are being added. A set called, "On the Move," has a realistic 18wheeler semi-truck, airplane and locomotive. Creative parents and children will find many uses for these.
Other items Aids Unlimited makes available include: Braille can-hold labels (flexible magnetic braille labels); Braille paper, file cards, clear-view cards, copy clear (a new clear type of thermoform paper, which many consider superior to any other); talking items, household and personal aids.
AMERICAN BROTHERHOOD FOR THE BLIND
18440 Oxnard Street
Tarzana, California 91356
The ABB has a Braille lending library service for blind children and blind parents of sighted children. The library features twin-vision books -- books with pictures, print, and Braille texts -- and a series of touch picture books called, "The Shape of Things." The ABB also produces and distributes free Braille Calendars each year. The calendars make a very thoughtful Christmas present or stocking stuffer for an older child. Brochures available.
AMERICAN PRINTING HOUSE FOR THE BLIND
P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206
All but two items (The Perkins Brailler and Braille-on paper) that APH offers to blind children through their schools, are available to parents or others, by direct purchase. The APH catalog lists such items as: educational games, geography aids, Braille writing and embossing equipment, math and science aids, preschool/kindergarten/primary/multihandicapped aids (including reading readiness), and talking book reproducers/tape recorders/albums/containers. They also have Braille cookbooks suitable for young children.
AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR THE BLIND
15 West 16th Street
New York, New York 10011
Sells a variety of aids and appliances for the blind: kitchen and personal aids, Braille watches, games, etc. A few items -- such as touch puzzles, foam letters and numbers -- are offered for young blind children.
CATHOLIC GUILD FOR THE BLIND
180 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60601
The Catholic Guild for the Blind is a well-established, respected non-profit organization in Chicago. Mostly, it provides services to the blind in the Chicago area, but it recently developed some Braille children's books -- with a new twist -- which are available nationally.
The following is what the Guild says about their new services:
Developed by Marie Porter this children's series introduces blind children to the world of drawing using Braille configurations. Figures and diagrams play an important role in learning math and geometry as well as practical every day skills like reading a map. Often, drawing skills are neglected in the education of many visually impaired children which handicaps them later in life. The Children's Series is divided into three levels: The Teddy Bear Series for younger children, The Bunny Series for children with more reading experience and The Owl Series for older children. (In Braille and print only.)"
[The Manual] "Braillables: A Manual for Parents and Teachers . . . explains the techniques for teaching drawing with Braille using either a Braille writer or a slate and stylus as tools. It contains Braille pictures and line by line instructions on how to draw them. Its purpose is to encourage creativity while building Braille skills."
The Braillables: A Manual for Parents and Teachers is $20.00, print or Braille; The books in the three series are $7.00 each.
Descriptions and order forms available upon request.
EYE CARE, INC.
523 8th Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Eye Care, Inc. offers hand-made (by disabled women in Haiti) "Tuzzles." Tuzzles are foam, soft-sculpture puzzles for the very young child. They have a bright calico print on one side, and feature animal faces on the other. Each washable Tuzzle measures 6 x 11 and comes in the following puzzle combinations:
circle and square
circle and triangle
triangle and square
They cost $6.50 each, postage included.
FEEL AND READ, SEE AND READ
Braille Greeting Card Service
Harry A. Fribush
400 Hudson Avenue Apartment 104
Albany, New York 12203
For twenty-one years this has been a constant Braille greeting card service on a voluntary basis. Christmas cards, combination print and Braille, with or without scripture text priced 16 for $3.00. Everyday greeting cards such as birthday, get well, sympathy, etc. priced at 14 for $3.00. Name in Braille free on all cards by request only.
Envelopes: #10 long white -- 100 for $3.25; 61/2><91/2 with clips --100for $6.00; 61/2><91/2 without clips --100for $4.00. Please include full payment with your order Postage prepaid.
HORIZONS FOR THE BLIND
7001 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois 60626
Horizons for the Blind was founded with the purpose of "Enabling the blind and visually handicapped to enjoy and utilize Chicago's museums and other cultural institutions." However they have developed some products and services which are now available nationally. Horizons for the Blind sells tactile Christmas cards. These are plastic 51/2><81/2 cards with raised figures and scenes. Other tactile pictures feature farm animals, flowers etc. Director, Camile Vogle states that children enjoy coloring them (with felt markers) or using them as molds with playdough. The Christmas cards are 75$ each, other pictures are 50<P each, or $2.00 for a "book" of them.
For the child interested in science -- plants, animals, anatomy, astronomy or anthropology -- Horizons has a catalog (available in print, Braille or large print) of "touch pictures." The introduction to the 1983 catalog states, "In order for any picture to appear in our catalog, it must be approved in two ways. First, the tactile illustrations must be clear to a number of blind people. (Many illustrations which look acceptable to sighted people do not meet the needs of people without sight.) . . . Second, the picture must be approved by the museum or cultural institution which initially made the request for the picture. Illustrations must be scientifically correct." The anatomical models are available in kits with correlated materials in regular print, Braille, large print or cassette.
INDEPENDENT LIVING AIDS, INC.
11 Commercial Court
Plainview, New York 11803
Independent Living Aids has a variety of aids and appliances for the blind and visually impaired. Among some of the items they offer are: Braille watches, talking clocks, Braille compasses, household and personal aids. Among the items of interest to blind children are games (Tic-Tac-Toe, Scrabble, Checkers, etc.) and cassette books. The cassette books include the Nancy Drew stories; UFO and mystery stories; and Raggedy Ann stories.
523 Ward Street
Newton Center, Massachusetts 02159
J.K. Kronheim is a special education teacher for visually impaired and deaf/blind children who has developed some products for young blind and/or hearing impaired youngsters called "Learning Pillows, and Other Friends." Her brochure describes them as, ". . . Tactile-visual and auditory stories on a pillow page. Each pillow is made of felt. The size is approximately 8V2X11. A story or poem begins on one side of the pillow and continues on the other side, as the child turns the pillow to discover more items and activities . . . Learning pillows have other friends who also teach many important skills: finger puppets, squeaky faces, jungle snakes and many others -- all of which are fun toys for interaction. Each toy is loveingly handcrafted. You can also choose to finish a toy."
Costs vary from $3.00 to $15.00. Free descriptive brochure and order form available.
NATIONAL BRAILLE PRESS, INC.
88 Saint Stephen Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Children's books in Print-Braille can be purchased from NBP through their Children's Braille Book of the Month Club. Some of the titles offered in 1984 included: The Hullabaloo ABC, by Beverly Cleary; Little Owl Indian, by Hetty Burlingame Beatty, and The Spooky Halloween Party, by Annabelle Prager (this is a "I Am Reading" book by Random House).
There is no obligation to buy. The costs of the books, NBP informs us, often is the same or less than the print only books. (Print-Braille books have a Braille text in addition to the pictures and print.)
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
The National Federation of the Blind stocks and sells the hollow, fiberglass straight cane (called the NFB cane) in adult and child sizes and also sells the plastic collapsible NFB III cane. Both are superior canes, and attractive as well. Anyone who really travels well, uses a NFB cane. The straight cane (all sizes) costs $10.00 and the NFB III collapsible cane sell for $15.00.
The NFB also sells quartz or self-winding Braille watches (women's and men's wrist watches, pendants, and pocket watches),Braille clocks and calculators, NFB jewelry (earrings, pendants and tie-tacs made with the NFB logo).
Although we stock and sell at cost a variety of other aids and appliances for the blind -- such as kitchen aids, sewing aids, games, etc. -- we do it only as a service to members and other blind persons. The NFB does not accept large orders from agencies or institutions who wish to stock the items for re-sale to their blind clients. We do sell to individual blind persons throughout the year, and take a large supply of aids and appliances to sell at national conventions.
Future Reflections readers are certainly welcome to purchase these items from the NFB, too. A list of items and prices are available from the national center. The NFB jewelry is on a separate order form, so please indicate if you are interested in it.
PEDIATRIC PROJECT, INC.
P.O. Box 1880
Monica, California 90406
Pediatric Projects is a non-profit corporation which, among other things, offers medically-oriented toys and games. Many would be suitable, with or without adaptations, for blind children. Toys include such items as The Hospital Game, Sugar Babe Diabetic Teaching Doll, and Special Friends. Special Friends are stuffed animals with various disabilities. Penguin is blind and carries a cane, Koala Bear wears special eyeglasses.Pediatric Projects also distribute literature about children and health care (i.e. "Care of Children in Hospitals," "When Surgery is Recommended for Your Child." etc.) Brochures and order forms are available.
Southeastern, PA 19399
Order toll free 1-800-233-3121
For Information Phone: (215) 296-2112
Science Products offers a large variety of products and aids for the blind of all ages: talking calculators and clocks, magnifiers, large-print books, eyeglass accessories, talking scales, beeper softballs, talking computers, cassette recorders-players, automatic aids and voice computer games are all available from SP.
For small children, SP has an assortment of Scratch and Sniff books, cassette Golden Books, Melody Books, Touch and Feel Books, and Tactile Books. They also offer soft bell balls, foam forms for creative play, and a tactile Mickey Mouse Tic-Tac-Toe game. Other items include: Sniff-it puzzles, Costume Books, Wind-up Toys and other toys and games.
Musical Christmas and other Greeting Cards are also sold by SP.
P.O. Box 2224
Rockville, Maryland 20852
Touch Toys and How to Make Them is an instruction book on how to make some 100 toys for young blind children. Most of them are simple to make, and use low-cost or scrap materials. The book is $3.00 plus 60 cents postage. Checks or money orders made payable to Touch Toys should accompany the order.
TRAYLOR ENTERPRISES, INC.
San Antonio, Texas 78233
Traylor Enterprises, Inc. has audible frisbees, foam
balls, footballs, sockerballs, basketballs, and badminton shuttlecocks. They also offer a pocket billiard guide, and maxi and mini-beepers which can be installed or attached to various objects -- such as toys for small children.
Prices vary from $5.95 for the pocket billiard guide, up to $69.95 for a baton beeper (the balls are between $20.00 and $25.00).
Brochure and order form available upon request.
86-30 102nd Street
Richmond Hill, New York 11418
(718) 847-4734 or
(212) 847-4734 or
Vis-Aids is a new company, but already has a reputation for fast, reliable service. Vis-Aids offers aids and appliances for the blind, visually impaired, hearing impaired and physically disabled.
Items especially appropriate for children are the games, large print cross-word puzzles, large print dictionary and large print books, including one of Christmas songs (words only). Some of the games are Chinese Checkers, Braille/print Scrabble, Puzzle Trio (3 puzzle games for age 8 and up), Braille and large print playing cards.
Other items offered include: kitchen aids, magnifiers, Braille watches, clocks and timers, talking items, household and sewing aids, medical aids, such as tactile thermometers and special signal systems for the hearing impaired.
COMPUTER RELATED AIDS & ELECTRONIC VISUAL AIDS
4929 South Lafayette Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46806
Computer Aids offers a variety of software applications for IBM PC, Apple Computers, and other products.
2350 North 4th Street
Columbus, Ohio 43202
(614) 263-4324 (call after 6:00 p.m.)
Ron Hutchinson, founder of Computer Conversations, developed and markets the Enhanced PC Talking Program. Other products also available. Ron states he has made 24 different micro-computers talk.
INTERFACED SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL
11306 N. E. Thompson
Portland, Oregon 97220
Another small company, this one sells a computer program called Freedom I. According to Ned Johnson of ISI, Freedom I, along with a voice synthesizer, allows a user to use any regular computer program on an IBM PC or other compatible products.
P.O. Box 81082
Seattle, Washington 98108
This company provides speech access to several models of the K Pro computer (CP/M).
MARYLAND COMPUTER SERVICES, INC.
2010 Rock Spring Road
Forest Hill, Maryland 21050
This company provides primarily computer related equipment and softwear for blind people in the professions. They also manufacture and sell the Cranmer Modified Perkin's Brailler.* This is a Braille computer terminal/printer.
*Note: For those who cannot afford the commercial version of the CMPB, you can get documentation to enable the Telephone Pioneers to build a similar Braille terminal by sending $10.00to: Department for the Blind, P.O. Box 758, Frankfort, KY 40602.
310 South 7th Street
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania 17837
This company offers equipment and softwear related to the use of the Versa-Braille and Apple Computer. A polular product is the Braille-Edit. This enables the blind person to create documents and print them in print or Braille. The document can also be read by synthetic speech.
SOLUTIONS BY EXAMPLE, INC.
375 Concord Avenue
Belmont, Massachusetts 02158
SBX is the company which makes the PC Speak program for the IBM personal computer and PC Junior. The progarm makes the computer speak through the use of a speech synthesizer.
TRIFORMATION SYSTEMS INC.
3132 S. E. Jay Street
Stuart, Florida 33494
This company makes a Braille printer and a paperless Braille device.
TELESENSORY SYSTEMS, INC.
455 North Bernado Avenue
Mountain View, California 94043
The opticon is a print to tactile reading instrument. The Versa-Braille is a paperless Braille computer terminal. (It has many other applications.) The Appolo is a closed circuit TV print enlargement device. They have several computer adaptations for large print access also. Free information upon request.
1610 26th Street, Department C
Santa Monica, California 90404
TTY (213) 453-4868 or
Call Collect: (213) 453-2479
Visualtek makes large print computers and closed circuit TV print enlargement devices. Also markets other products. Free information upon request.
6804 Asher Avenue
Little Rock, Arkansas 72204
Larry developed and sells a simple word-processing program for use with the Apple II and Echo II Speech Synthesizer. The program is called WORDS.
1956 Melwood Avenue
Louisville, Kentucky 40206
Keith has for sale a computer version of the TV game "Wheel of Fortune". It is adaptabale to any age. He also has a personal accounting program which is good for personal purposes and as a teaching aid. The programs are usable on the Apple II E with the Echo II Speech Synthesizer.
OTHER LISTS OF RESOURCES OF AIDS AND MATERIALS FOR THE BLIND
National Library Service for the
Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20542
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has several reference circulars available through their Reference Section. These are good sources for information about where you can get a wide range of aids and appliances for the blind. NLS is also in the process of printing a special reference circular for the parents of pre-school handicapped children. It should contain some sources for recordings of stories, songs and learning activities and educational games, toys and play equipment among other things.
Some of the Reference Circulars you may wish to
order (they are free) are:
1. Braille Instruction and Writing Equipment
2. Magazines in Special Media
3. Reading Materials in Large Type
Free bibliographies are also available. Examples are:
1. Closed Circuit Television Reading Devices for the Visually Handicapped.
2. Reading Machines for the Blind
3. Library Service to Handicapped persons
Many religious denominations make Braille, cassette and large print materials available to the blind. Some of the material is suitable for children. The National Library Service has a reference circular called "Bibles and Other Scriptures in Special Media," which lists organizations and publishers where religious materials can be purchased, borrowed or are available free of charge. The circular does not indicate what is specifically available for children. For example, the Christian Record Braille Foundation, a Seventh Day Adventist organization in Lincoln, Nebraska, has a small Braille lending library and Braille Bible courses for children ages 8 and up.
To order reference circulars or bibliographies, send request to Reference Section, NLS, (address above).