Braille Monitor                                                June 2013

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News from the Federation Family

1Touch Self-Defense Project at Convention:
Since 2010 the 1Touch™ Project has offered self-defense workshops at the National Federation of the Blind national conventions. Due to public demand in 2012 we held a total of eight training sessions. Once again we will be sponsored by the Sports and Recreation Division at the 2013 national convention in Orlando. The 1Touch Project is self-propagating and empowering, certifying blind and sighted instructors to spread the benefits of safety, confidence, mobility, rehabilitation, and self-discovery. The 1Touch Project will offer introductory workshops. Our intention is to participate in the Youth Track again.

In the past we received overwhelming interest and support among those who attended our workshops as well as from people we spoke with outside of training. The consensus among our coaches is that presenting to the Youth Track, both eleven to fourteen and fifteen to eighteen, was the most rewarding part of our effort and a lot of fun.

The 1Touch moves and techniques are described aurally and demonstrated hands-on. This system was designed specifically for the blind. Age, strength, and gender need not be a barrier. In the first lesson three elements--balance, coordination, and dexterity--along with situational awareness are emphasized and promoted, with simple exercises and drills at the beginning progressing to more complex techniques over time. Appreciation of the benefits of 1Touch, both personally and collectively, include more independence, self-confidence, and increased self-perception.

 The project’s goal is to establish a network of instructors in the United States so that 1Touch can be self-perpetuating. The 1Touch Project is approved by local and international organizations including the International Symposium of Adapted Physical Activity. For information about upcoming workshops at national convention and how to register, email LisaMaria Martinez <> or call (510) 289-2577. To learn more about the 1Touch Project or how to become a coach, email <> or visit <>.

Community Services Meeting at Convention:
Hello service-minded Federationists! The Community Service Group is excited to announce our second annual community service seminar. This event is to take place during the convention of the National Federation of the Blind on Monday evening, July 1, from 7:45 PM to 10:00 PM. If you were at our last seminar, you know that we had a great time and gained a lot of tips and inspiration. Expect no less this year!

We are also planning a small service project to coincide with the Braille Book Fair. Our project will take place on Wednesday of the convention from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM, with a group gathering at a restaurant to follow. Should you have any questions about the project or wish to be involved, please contact Chris Parsons at <>. If you would like to learn more about the Community Service Group or the seminar, please contact Darian Smith <>. We look forward to meeting with you, learning with you, and serving with you. Let's get involved together!

Wedding Bells:
Newlyweds Joe Shaw and Karen ZakhniniJames Brown, president of the NFB of Tennessee, reports with delight that Karen Zakhnini, a former longtime staffer at the National Center for the Blind, and Joe Shaw were married on February 27, 2013.They met when Joe went to Baltimore from Tennessee for blindness training. They are now both members of the Nashville Chapter, and Joe is the Tennessee legislative chair. Congratulations to the Shaws and to the Tennessee affiliate, which now has been strengthened by a dynamite couple.

The new officers of the Potomac Chapter of the NFB of Virginia are as follows: president, Corbb O'Connor; first vice president, Tajuan Farmer; second vice president, Joe Hobson; recording secretary, Sandy Halverson; corresponding secretary, Mary Ann Kessler; treasurer, Sean McMahon; and board members, Tracy Soforenko, Nancy Yeager, and Deepti Devarabhotla.

Airport Discount Available:
All convention attendees can receive a $4 discount on transportation services courtesy of SuperShuttle by going to <>. Use discount code TVYK5 when booking. Discounted rates vary based on hotel location and are $16 one way and $28 roundtrip per person. The rate for an exclusive van (eight passenger) is $100 or $12.50 per person one way.

Visit <> for more information or to book a shuttle. For large groups call (407) 513-0224.

Video Description Focus Group Participants Needed: 2013 NFB National Convention:
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Jernigan Institute is again collaborating with the Smith-Kettlewell Video Description Research and Development Center to host a stakeholder focus group on advanced concepts in video description. The focus group will be held during the 2013 NFB national convention in Orlando, Florida. This year there will be two sessions for slightly different audiences with space for only ten attendees in each session. Participants must register in advance for this important meeting.

Both sessions will be held Monday, July 1. Session I will be from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and session II will be from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. (the exact meeting room will be announced prior to the convention).

Those interested in participating in this focus group should send an e-mail to Beth Braun at the NFB Jernigan Institute <> with the following information:

Session I: An opportunity for sighted amateur describers to evaluate YouDescribe—Smith-Kettlewell's new web-based video-description tool for YouTube. Participants will test the system by recording their own descriptions for selected videos and report on their experience.

Session II: An opportunity for blind video description consumers to evaluate YouDescribe—Smith-Kettlewell's new web-based video-description tool for YouTube. Participants will test the system by navigating the website to listen to selected described YouTube videos and will report on their experience.

Participants in Session II will need to provide their own Windows 7, Apple, or Chrome laptop and must be familiar with their screen-reading software and web browser. The laptops must have Wi-Fi connectivity (hotel will provide Wi-Fi). They will also need to provide their own headphones.

Please respond with your interest no later than June 10. Note that we will not pick participants on a first-come-first-served basis but rather to ensure that the focus group has a good mix of perspectives. If you are unable to e-mail your interest in the focus group, you can reach Beth at (410) 659-9314, extension 2369. Thank you for your interest in shaping future developments in the description industry.

Assistive Technology Trainers’ Division Meeting:
The Assistive Technology Trainers’ Division will have several wonderful presenters at this year’s meeting. Cathy Anne Murtha of Access Technology Institute will discuss her unique techniques for training students. John Panarese of Mac for the Blind will offer ideas and tips for where to begin when training on OS X. Pratik Patel, founder and CEO of EZFire, will present an overview of tablets, from Android to Windows RT. Serotek will be announcing its new service for assistive technology trainers. There will also be a discussion about choosing the right device for each person. We look forward to your attendance and participation.

In Brief

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

NLS Audio Magazines Now Available in Digital Format:
“Our audio magazines are now available on digital cartridge,” announced Karen Keninger, director of the National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress. “Cartridges mark a new reading experience for our subscribers. They’ll have access to more magazines, higher quality sound, and more fine-grained navigation tools. We’re also asking patrons to participate in the new recycling program.”

The transition of audio magazines from cassette to cartridge completes the digital conversion of the NLS talking-book program begun in 2009. Cartridges offer superior sound quality and more in-depth navigation. They can hold multiple magazines or books and are delivered to patrons faster than cassettes. NLS has devised a circulating magazine system that will be cost effective and responsive for patrons who subscribe to magazines. As part of this system subscribers will return each cartridge as soon as they’ve finished reading the magazines. Recycling cartridges will keep costs down and allow NLS to continue and potentially expand its magazine program.

NLS audio-magazine subscribers like John Eccles, a fifty-nine-year-old residential life counselor for the Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver, are raving about the advantages of the new digital format. Eccles said, “I received my first digital magazine, and what a difference a format makes! I was really struck by how the navigation tools of the advanced digital talking-book player altered the magazine-reading experience. It allows blind and low-vision readers to be targeted readers—reading through more periodicals in less time.”

By June 30, 2013, all subscribers to the NLS audio-magazine program will have been moved from cassettes to the cartridges. Patrons should return cartridges based on their subscriptions: weekly magazine readers must return their cartridges every week, while monthly and bimonthly magazine readers must return their cartridges every month.

The NLS talking-book and Braille program is a free library service available to U.S. residents or American citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness, or physical disability makes reading a regular printed page difficult. Through its national network of regional libraries, NLS mails books and magazines in audio and in Braille, as well as digital audio players directly to enrollees at no cost. Music instructional materials are available in large print, Braille, and recorded formats. Select materials are also available online for download. Further information on eligibility requirements and enrollment procedures for the program is available at <> or (888) NLS-READ, that is, (888) 657-7323.

Earn a Master’s Degree:
Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to earn a master’s degree? The Institute on Blindness is looking for individuals who are seeking a meaningful and rewarding career in the field of blindness. We are offering scholarships on a limited basis to qualified applicants for the Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with concentration in Orientation and Mobility (O&M), the Master of Arts in Teaching Blind Students (TBS), and the Master of Education in Teaching Blind Students.

Louisiana Tech University offers the only programs in the country that are founded with a philosophy of personal empowerment from the perspective of individuals who are blind. We invite all qualified individuals who have positive attitudes about blindness and who would like to teach cane travel or Braille to blind children or adults to apply for our programs. We are also interested in speaking with anyone who may want to pursue a career teaching in the field of blindness in any capacity. The Institute on Blindness does not discriminate against any applicants and actively recruits people who are blind, sighted, and of diverse backgrounds.

Contact us today to find out more about earning your master’s degree by calling the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at (318) 257-4554 or by writing us at <>. Research us on the web at <>.

Walmart Expands Program to Provide Talking Prescription Containers:
Need information about how to order talking prescription containers for prescription medication obtained from Walmart? You'll find everything you need in this post. In June, 2012, Walmart became the first national pharmacy retailer to offer talking prescription containers free of charge to people with visual impairments. The ScripTalk Talking Prescription program is being offered to customers across the country through Walmart mail order. In addition to the national mail order program, Walmart now offers ScripTalk at thirty-three stores around the country. A list of stores where ScripTalk is available, as well as instructions for ordering, appears below. Read the June 2012 Walmart press release announcing its ScripTalk initiative.

To order ScripTalk talking prescription containers for use with prescription medications obtained from Walmart, you must first contact Walmart. For mail order, Walmart has a dedicated toll-free phone line for ScripTalk requests. The toll-free number is (888) 227-3403. You may also contact any of the stores listed below directly for information on receiving ScripTalk containers from those stores.

To listen to the talking label provided by Walmart, you will need a reading device from Envision America, the company that makes ScripTalk. The device, called the ScripTalk reader (or the ScripTalk machine or device), is available free of charge to blind Walmart pharmacy customers. After you have contacted Walmart, you will need to contact Envision America to order your device. Envision America has a dedicated toll-free line for requests and for general ScripTalk service and inquiries. The toll-free Envision America number is (855) 773-2579, that is, (855) SPEAK-RX. You need to order the device only once; it will work with any talking prescription label you receive from Walmart.

Walmart is currently also offering the talking prescription labels in thirty-three stores across the country. As with mail order, you will need to contact both the Walmart store (for the prescription medication) and Envision America (for the ScripTalk reader).

If you are a Walmart customer with a visual impairment, contact Walmart at (888) 227-3403 to inquire if your local Walmart is participating or to request that the ScripTalk containers be offered at your store.

We also welcome your feedback about the Walmart Talking Prescription Container initiative. To contact the Law Office of Lainey Feingold, please use the contact form on this website. To contact co-counsel at Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian and Ho, please call toll free at (800) 822-5000.

Eyeglasses Read to the Blind:
The following information is taken from a press release issued by Florida International University. It describes yet another way for blind people to read. Here, in part, is what the release says:

A unique pair of eyeglasses developed by a Florida International University student team could revolutionize the lives of the blind, enabling them to walk into a library or a store, pick up any book or a can of soup, and read it. The Eyetalk concept, initially conceived for a student competition in social entrepreneurship, has been hailed by venture investors as a potentially breakthrough product that could make a difference for disabled people worldwide. This week it was recognized as one of twelve semi-finalists in the FIU Track of the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge.

By using a pair of eyeglasses and lightweight components, Eyetalk will allow a blind user to access printed material while walking around a store or library, which now requires bulkier, more expensive equipment. The Eyetalk, still in its development stage, is designed to be portable and affordable and operate without requiring an Internet connection. Future versions of Eyetalk will target a global market and enable users to hear information aloud in one of many languages.

The project began with a challenge issued by FIU College of Business faculty member Seema Pissaris, a successful entrepreneur who founded Games Trader, a company that went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Last fall Pissaris urged students in several of her classes to think about developing a social entrepreneurship project. FIU students Maria Pia Celestino, Viurniel Sanchez, Jesus Amundarain, and Esam Mashni came forward and started working with Pissaris on a technology that had the potential to help people and turn a profit.

Focusing on the breakthrough innovation of a pair of glasses that could read to the blind, engineering student Viurniel Sanchez began to explore a target-recognition technology that he and two of his classmates had developed in a research project funded by NASA and the Department of Defense. He thought it might be reconfigured to help the blind navigate their environment.

The human inspiration for the product’s development came from Miami social entrepreneur Michael Arbitman, a computer engineer who lost his sight in his 20s. He created, a website designed for the disabled to share resources and connect with service providers. He met the team, heard their concept for a pair of glasses that would read, and was amazed by the potential of their technology. “A product like this,” he said, “could give me my freedom back.”

The FIU team’s early prototype, known as the “FreedomLens,” was one of sixteen semi-finalists chosen from twenty-nine nations to present at the 2013 Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC), February 25 to 30 at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business in Seattle. The team from FIU, one of only four U.S. universities chosen to present, received an outstanding reception at the conference, where one judge said it had the potential to bring “disruptive technology” and create an entire new market. “The students realized that they didn’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Pissaris said. “They are customizing a technology to meet a global social need and creating a market-based solution.”

NFB Pledge
I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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