Braille Monitor                                              April 2014

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News from the Federation Family

Assistive Listening Project 2014 Convention Announcement:
At the 2014 national convention the National Federation of the Blind Amateur Radio Division and the National Federation of the Blind Deaf-Blind Division will again offer special arrangements for severely hearing-impaired people attending convention sessions and the banquet. This will consist of transmission of the public address system signal over a special short-range radio transmitter for the severely hearing-impaired. Spanish-language translation of convention proceedings in general sessions and the banquet will also be provided using a similar arrangement. The special receivers required for these services will also be provided.

In cooperation with several state affiliates (notably Colorado, Utah, and Virginia), the NFB will provide special receivers for these transmissions to those needing them. The receiver-lending will be managed by the Amateur Radio Division and will be operated from a table just outside the meeting room. A deposit of $40, cash only, will be required of anyone wishing to check out one of the Federation's receivers. The deposit will be returned if the receiver is checked in at the checkout table in good condition by the end of the banquet or within thirty minutes of adjournment of the last convention session that the borrower plans to attend. Batteries for the receiver will be provided. Anyone checking out a Federation receiver will be given upon request a miniature earbud-type earphone to use with the receiver.

Along with explaining what will be available, it is important that we explain what will not be available. The miniature earbud loudspeaker-type earphone will be the only kind of earphone offered. If you would like to use your own earphone(s), silhouette, neck loop, or other device or adapter cable to get the signal from the receiver we provide to your ear, you must ensure that the cable connection between your device and our receiver is one that will fit the audio jack found on electronic devices such as talking book and MP3 players, laptops, or mobile devices like iPhones and note takers. In technical terms, this is referred to as a 3.5 mm (formerly called 1/8-inch) earphone plug. You are advised to arrange for such things well ahead of arriving at the convention. Other than the earphone jack on the receiver, no means of connection to a hearing aid will be available from the checkout table. The receiver does not have a built-in loudspeaker. While earphones, and even neck loops, are sometimes available in the exhibit hall, you cannot be certain of getting one there.

Many severely hearing-impaired people already use radio systems that employ FM radio signals to carry the voice from a transmitter held by the person speaking to a receiver in the hearing aid. Some of these hearing aid systems can be tuned to receive the Federation's special transmitters. In this case the hearing-impaired person may simply tune his or her own receiver to receive the Federation's transmitter and will not need to check out a Federation receiver.

Some audiologists and rehabilitation agencies are now buying digital and other FM hearing aids that cannot be tuned to the Federation's frequency. If you have one of these or if you have any other type of hearing aid, you should obtain from your audiologist an adapter cable to connect from your hearing aid to a monaural 3.5 mm earphone jack. This will allow you to plug the cable from your hearing aid directly into a receiver you check out from our table. This will allow you to hear as well as anyone else using one of our receivers.

The transmitter for the hearing impaired will be connected to the public address system so that the signals from the head table and the aisle microphones will be transmitted on channel thirty-six (74.775 MHz narrow band FM). People must not operate their personal transmitters on channel thirty-six or on channel thirty-eight, because that would interfere with the reception by others. This means that folks wishing to use their own receivers (rather than checking out one of the Federation's receivers) need to have their personal receivers arranged so that they can switch between their personal channels and channel thirty-six. Some people may need to purchase replacement or additional receivers. Caution your audiologist that there is more than one channel thirty-six, and he or she must also verify that your frequency matches our frequency.

This announcement is published now to allow as much time as possible for those interested to make the necessary arrangements before convention. It contains this amount of detail so that any audiologist who works with this type of equipment should be able to know by reading this article exactly what capabilities a person's hearing system must have to work with the Federation's system at convention.

Even if your hearing aid is not of the FM type, you may be able to purchase a silhouette, a neck loop, or an adapter cable to couple the signal from a Federation receiver directly to your hearing aid. Your audiologist should also be able to help you with this. The NFB Deaf-Blind division has offered to provide feedback on their members' experiences with these types of devices to interested convention attendees. Contact Joe Naulty, 3924 South Wind Drive, West Melbourne, Florida 32904, (321) 768-9500 or <jnaulty@cfl.rr.com> for inquiries. Please always remember to consult your audiologist when considering any additions to your hearing aid setup.

The service for Spanish speakers will be similar, except that a live Spanish translator will speak over a separate transmitter on channel thirty-eight (75.275 MHz narrow band FM). We do not expect that people will bring their own receivers for the Spanish-translation service, unless they are also hearing impaired and use an FM hearing aid system. Spanish speakers may, however, wish to bring their own earphones. See above for a description of the type of plug needed.

Norm Gardner from Utah will be coordinating the Spanish language interpreters, and he would appreciate hearing from anyone willing to volunteer to interpret. Please call him before convention at (801) 224-6969, or send him email at <ngardner@brlcenter.org>.

If other state affiliates or chapters are interested in purchasing this type of equipment for use in state and local meetings, they are encouraged to purchase equipment that is compatible with that which we are using and to allow it to be used in the pool of equipment that the Amateur Radio Division administers at national convention. Tony Olivero would like to help you choose equipment that is compatible with that which the NFB is using. You may contact him at (765) 977-1683 or at <anthony@olivero.us>. The Federation is pleased to offer these services to our severely hearing-impaired and Spanish-speaking colleagues, and we hope and believe that it will again significantly improve their convention experience.

Finally, we would like to take a moment and thank Curtis Willoughby for his many years of dedicated leadership of the NFB Amateur Radio Division. Curtis's efforts have contributed significantly to the ability of those with hearing loss and those who are primarily Spanish speakers to participate in convention sessions. Curtis, we thank you for all the time and effort you have put forth over the years.

Braille Book Fair 2014:
Calling all Braille readers, teachers, and parents! It’s that time again: time to sort through all those boxes of Braille books and donate gently used but no longer needed Braille books to the 2014 Braille Book Fair sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. Our primary goal is to get more Braille books into the hands of children, youth, and beginning adult readers, so here’s what we need most: books in good condition, print-Braille picture storybooks, leisure reading (fiction or nonfiction) books, cookbooks, and books about sports.

Children are so hungry for their very own books that every year, despite generous donations of books, most of our books for young children are gone in less than an hour. So begin your search through the boxes in your basement and spare room and get those books shipped to: UPS, Braille Book Fair, Attention: Elainna Moore, C/O 2014 NFB Convention Braille Book Fair, 8901 Atlantic Ave, Orlando FL 32824.

This year's coordinator is Krystal Guillory. If you have any questions, contact Krystal Guillory at (318) 245-8955 or <kguillory@lcb-ruston.com>. This year's event is slated to take place on Wednesday, July 3, 2014, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Please check the convention agenda for location.

As always we need volunteers to help with this project. If you can help unpack, shelve, assist children in finding books, or participate in the cleanup, please contact Krystal by writing to her at <kguillory@lcb-ruston.com>. We promise that you’ll come away from this event feeling uplifted and glad you were able to help so many happy children.

Louisiana Center for the Blind to Perform Jerry Whittle Play at Convention:
We are doing a play again this year written by the esteemed playwright Jerry Whittle.

It is called Passing the Torch and was originally performed in 1986. Like last year we will have one performance, the price will be $5 per ticket, and the proceeds will benefit youth summer programs.

The play tells the story of several students who are in training at a training center.

In addition to gaining skills and confidence, they learn about the importance of having a positive philosophy about blindness.

Join the NFB Senior Division for Conference Call Discussions Coming Soon Nationwide:
The National Federation of the Blind Senior Division is proud to spotlight topics of vital interest to those losing vision later in life by hosting three conference calls to address specific issues. The conference call number is (712) 432-1500 and the access number is 75963# for all participants. A tone should signal that you are connected.

The conference calls will take place at the following times and dates:
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Wednesday, June 4, 2014

All calls will be at 3:00 eastern standard time, 2:00 central standard time, 1:00 mountain time, and 12:00 pacific time.

The first conference call with the topic, “Financial Management after Blindness” will be held Thursday, May 1. Mr. Robert Burns, attorney and financial advisor for more than twenty-five years will host the call. After losing vision Mr. Burns became an investment advisor and has wide experience in the field. He currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska.

The second conference call will be held Thursday, May 8, with the topic: “Blindness: A Family Dynamic” hosted by Ms. Fatos Floyd. Ms. Floyd has a master’s degree in counseling and has CRC and CVRCB credentials. She is a longtime Federationist who has served in many capacities. Currently she works as the Braille instructor at the Nebraska Rehabilitation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The third conference call will be held Wednesday, June 4. Jennifer Wenzel will facilitate this conference call on the topic, “Cooking by Touch.” Jennifer is a blind mother raising three sighted children and has worked almost twenty years teaching independence through daily living skills to all ages from blind toddlers to school-age children and seniors. She attended BLIND Inc. and worked in their Buddy Program before moving to Colorado to teach at the Colorado Center in a number of capacities, including supervising and teaching students as the residential apartment manager. Recently she has been employed by Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM) as an independent living instructor teaching newly blind adults nonvisual daily living skills.

What Are We Going to Wear?
You’ve heard all the adages before: “Dress for success,” “maximize your message,” and “put your best foot forward.” They are more than just tired old clichés; they are time-proven strategies leading to success. The appropriate attire can boost your confidence and show the world that you are part of an important team.

Imagine the positive impression your chapter, division, or affiliate can make at educational events, public meetings, and fundraisers if all your members and supporters are dressed in new, sharp, high-quality polo shirts. The National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU) can help you make that positive impression.

Each short-sleeved polo shirt is embroidered on the upper left chest with the National Federation of the Blind logo, including Whozit depicted in full color, along with a full-color Whozit on the right sleeve. These shirts can be customized to include the name of your chapter or division and/or state affiliate at no extra charge. Select a color that is unique to your chapter, division, or affiliate, and really stand out in the crowd at state and national conventions. What an immediate and graphic reminder of the exciting opportunity we have to be proud members of the National Federation of the Blind, the largest and most dynamic consumer organization of the blind in the world.

Ordering is easy; each chapter submits a prepaid order for shirts for its membership. Shirts will be shipped to the ordering chapter in about three weeks. Shirts are available in adult men’s and ladies’ styles sizes XS to XXXXL. We can process orders for twelve or more shirts, and your cost is an amazingly low $25 per shirt for sizes XS to XL, $26.50 for XXL, $29.50 for XXXL, and $31.50 for XXXXL. These prices include shipping and handling. Available shirt colors are white, black, leaf green, dark green, navy blue, royal blue, light pink, maroon, red, & soft orange.

Order right away to ensure you have the shirts before our 2014 National Convention in Orlando from July 1 to July 6. Orders may be placed and paid for online by visiting <http://www.flairetc.com/collections/nagdu>. Those interested in more information or placing a telephone order should have a representative contact the National Association of Guide Dog Users at <Info@NAGDU.ORG> or call (813) 626-2789

Are you interested in other colors, long-sleeved shirts, other styles, caps, tote bags, or other NFB branded items? Ask for a quote on those too.

New Publications Available on NFB-NEWSLINE:
We are pleased to announce the addition of three new publications to the service. First is Investor's Business Daily, which is published Monday through Friday and contains articles covering international business, finance, and the global economy. According to its website, since 1984 Investor's Business Daily (IBD) has been helping ordinary people achieve extraordinary results. This is done with a unique step-by-step investing strategy anyone can use to systematically achieve financial freedom over time. Interested readers can find this publication under the National Newspapers category, which is accessed by selecting option five from the main menu and then choosing option two.

Next is the Japan Times, a daily newspaper from Tokyo, which was first published on March 22, 1897. It contains domestic, world, and business news, in addition to opinion/editorials, lifestyle, entertainment, and sports. Subscribers can find this newspaper under the International category, which is located under option five off the main menu. Select option six.

Third is a new magazine named Condé Nast Traveler. This is a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine published monthly by Condé Nast, which provides several other magazines currently offered on the service such as Vanity Fair and Wired. The magazine has won twenty-five National Magazine Awards. You can find this new offering in the Magazines category, which is option seven off the main menu. It is then further classified in the General Interest category.

We hope that you enjoy these new publications. Stay tuned for more exciting new additions over the next few months. Happy Reading from your NFB-NEWSLINE Team!

Petition to Encourage Appliance Accessibility
The Show-Me chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri, with the assistance of one of its founding members, Gene Fleeman, has started a petition on change.org. The petition is directed to manufacturers of stoves, ovens, and other household appliances. It asks them to design these so that they can be used nonvisually by incorporating tactile buttons, tactile markings, providing audio cues, or by any other methods that will give the blind the ability to use them independently. Those wishing to read the petition or sign it are encouraged to visit <http://www.change.org/petitions/association-of-home-appliance-manufacturers-incorporate-voice-technology-audio-queues-and-or-tactile-buttons-into-your-flat-panel-appliances-to-make-them-accessible-to-the-blind-and-those-with-low-vision>.

Contest for Braille Readers:
The Onkyo Braille essay contest is administered by the National Federation of the Blind for the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union. Essays must be written in Braille and in English or their author's native language and must be completely original. Entries should be no fewer than eight hundred words and no more than one thousand words.
The contest is divided into two groups of competitors--one junior group, aged twenty-five and under; and one senior group, aged twenty-six and above. Prizes range from $500 to $2,000. All essays must be received by April 30, 2014. Visit <http://www.nfb.org/onkyo-braille-essay-contest> for more information and an application.

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.

Parents and Teachers Needed for Studies to Increase Literacy:
Literacy is the most important skill a child can obtain. At the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University, we believe in every blind and/or visually impaired child having access to literacy. That is one of the principal purposes of the institute—to conduct research that deepens and broadens our understanding of blindness and the best educational practices to help those who are blind to function better in society.

For this reason we are embarking on two separate but related studies. The first is aimed at collecting information from teachers of the blind/visually impaired about their training and experiences with vision loss. Secondly, we are launching a separate survey that is aimed at parents who have children in K-12 education. What follows is more information on how teachers and parents can help. Your assistance in spreading the word about these studies is very much appreciated. Parents and teachers can help us evaluate the services and educational experiences of blind and/or visually impaired youth in grades K-12. By filling out a quick survey, you can help us examine and better understand the educational experiences of blind and/or visually impaired youth. Your feedback will improve future policies and practices that will be used to prepare soon-to-be teachers. Participation in this study allows us to gain a much richer and more robust understanding of factors that impact service options and academic performance of blind and/or visually impaired youth.

If you are a teacher, you must meet the following criteria: a) Currently be a certified teacher of visual impairment TVI/TBS; b) Have a case load of one or more students with low vision or blindness as his or her primary diagnosed disability on his/her Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Teachers may access the survey at <https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/pdribt>.

For a parent or guardian to participate in this study, your child must meet the following criteria: a) Be between the ages of five and twenty-two and be enrolled in a school in the United States in grades K-12; b) Visual impairment must be listed as his or her primary diagnosed disability on his or her IEP; c) English is his or her primary spoken language. Parents may access the survey at <https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/pdribp>.

Your participation is greatly appreciated. If you have questions about either study or want to know about ways in which you can help, you can contact the principal researchers for this study. Edward Bell, PhD, is the principal investigator and can be reached by phone at (318) 257-4554 or by email at <ebell@latech.edu>. Casey Robertson, research associate, is the lead person for questions about teachers or parents, and she can be contacted by email at <caseywest94@hotmail.com>. We at the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness thank you for your attention and assistance in this important research.

Updated Braille Contractions:
The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults has produced an updated version of the Handbook of Braille Contractions.  The update does not contain the UEB changes.   These changes will be available in the next update.  The handbook is available from the NFB Independence Market in a Twin Vision format and in Braille.  The cost is five dollars with a $4.75 handling fee on all orders up to fifty dollars. 

For the first time the Braille file can be downloaded from the Action Fund website at <www.actionfund.org>. 

2014 Annual Bible Conference:
 The National Church Conference of the Blind will hold its 2014 Annual Bible Conference August 2 through August 8, 2014. The 2014 conference will be held at The Grand Vista Hotel, 2790 Crossroads Boulevard at Horizon Drive, Grand Junction, Colorado 81506. For reservations call (800) 800-7796 or call the hotel directly at (970) 241-8411. The hotel room rate is $79 per night (tax exempt) with up to four people in a room. For answers to questions regarding the conference and information about registration, please contact Rheba Dunn, the NCCB membership secretary at (970) 895-2352. Visit the NCCB Website at <http://www.thenccb.com/>.

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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