The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) will bestow its Access Plus Award on three companies at this summer’s annual Convention. The Access Plus Award, A+ for short, recognizes companies that go out of their way to create products and services that are accessible, convenient, and affordable for blind and low vision consumers. Earlier this spring the NFB gave its first A+ award to Diagnostic Devices, Inc. (DDI), makers of the Prodigy Voice blood glucose meter.
To achieve the award, businesses have to make their websites accessible to common screen readers; make all of their print materials available in alternative, accessible formats; undergo NFB training to educate their customer support staff about the rights and needs of blind and low vision consumers; and, most importantly, submit their products or services to a rigorous, comprehensive evaluation by a panel of blind and low vision consumers.
Scheduled to receive the award on July 3 are:
J&B Medical Supply, which provides mail-order diabetes, incontinence, wound care, and other medical supplies. J&B Medical offers the Prodigy Voice, the only fully accessible blood glucose meter, and all other diabetic supplies. Packaging is available in Braille or large print. In addition, J&B Medical will provide the ScripTalk talking prescription reading system to qualified customers. For more information, see their web site at www.jandbmedical.com.
Diagnostic Devices, Inc. (DDI), which makes the Prodigy Voice blood glucose meter. The Prodigy Voice is the only blood glucose meter fully accessible to blind and low vision users, featuring easy-to-understand speech, accessible memory functions, a headphone jack for privacy, and a repeat button. Check out their web site at www.prodigymeter.com.
J&B Veterinary Supply, which provides pet and veterinary supplies. J&B Vet Supply features a Braille and audio catalog, a fully accessible web site, and packaging in Braille or large print. For more information, see their web site at www.jandbmedical.com.
En-Vision America, which produces the ScripTalk talking prescription label reader. ScripTalk is a revolutionary device that reads aloud everything that appears on a prescription label, so that the blind have exactly the same access to life-saving information that is afforded sighted users. Featuring accessible manuals, web site, and packaging, ScripTalk is the only truly accessible and convenient audible prescription system in the world. For more information, check out their web site at www.envisionamerica.com.
Gail Brashers-Krug, manager of the Access Plus Award program, explains that companies really work hard to earn this award. “They did a fantastic job, and bent over backwards to make their businesses truly blind-friendly,” she says. “It was really an amazing experience,” said Stephen Shaya, Medical Director of J&B Medical Supply. “Our staff learned all about the adaptive techniques that blind people use.” But most of all he says that he and his staff learned that losing your vision doesn’t mean losing your life. “Blind people can do just about anything sighted people can do,” he says, “if they have the right attitude and the right tools.”