Braille Monitor                                              July 2014

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News from the Federation Family

The National Federation of the Blind of Illinois Chicago held their elections today. Results are as follows: president, David Meyer; first vice president, Patti Chang; second vice president, Jemal Powell; secretary, Robert Hansen; treasurer, Steve Hastalis; and board members, Howard Wilson, Debbie Pittman, Jina Falvo, and Denise Avant.

The following officers were elected by the Greater Portland Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Maine: president, Diane Anderson; vice president, Leroy “Bud” Buzzell; secretary, John Lee; and treasurer, Raymond Dupuis.

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.

The National Rehabilitation Association Gets a New Director:
Dr. Fredric K. Schroeder, one of the most prominent advocates for blind people in the world, has been hired as the executive director of the National Rehabilitation Association (NRA). Founded in 1923, and taking its current name in 1927, the NRA has long been an advocate for individuals who are blind and organizations serving them.

Dr. Schroeder's credentials and advocacy are well-known to our readers and to members of the National Federation of the Blind. He is the first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind, is the first vice president of the World Blind Union, is in charge of coordinating events to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind, and was the former commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration under President Clinton. He was the first blind person to be trained as an orientation and mobility instructor and the first to fight the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired when they refused to certify him as an instructor because he could not see. We wish Dr. Schroeder the best in his new position and have every confidence he will bring the same vision and energy to it that he has to his other endeavors.

Maps of Michigan Available:
The Princeton Braillists have available a single volume with fifteen maps of Michigan, including an overview of the state, followed by individual maps of cities, rivers, counties, highways, farm and mineral products, and climate. A more detailed map shows the vicinity of Detroit.

The package comprises fifteen maps, forty-one pages total. The price is $8, and we use shipping by Free Matter for the Blind where eligible. To order, please send a check or money order to: The Princeton Braillists, 76 Leabrook Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540. Credit card and fax service are not available. For more information contact Nancy Amick at (609) 924-5207.

New Braille Technology – Cosmo and BERT
Here are two interesting inventions for teaching and writing Braille from inventor and entrepreneur David Pillischer. He says the following:

Now as never before a blind student using a Braille typewriter in the classroom can be as quiet as a sighted student writing with a pencil on paper. The non-disruptive, patented Cosmo Braille Writer is a classroom-friendly Braille education system and a quiet embosser. The Cosmo Braille Writer is easy for children and adults to use, economical to run, and easily maintained.

A blind student can input his document into the Duxbury application using Cosmo’s Braille keyboard. When he is finished, he can back translate the Braille to text, then print the document to paper using a standard inkjet or laser printer. The blind student can submit his printed document to the teacher along with the rest of the class and have a Braille copy for himself. $2,495 with A/C power supply and manuals. Inquire about shipping costs.

For the first time in the history of Braille, Braille can be taught over the Internet. BERT, an acronym for the “Braille Education Remote Tool,” enables both the teacher and student to communicate by voice and keyboard in real time during a remote teaching session. Any keys depressed by the student on the Cosmo (using the Braille keyboard and BERT software) will be immediately recognized by the blind teacher reading a Braille display or by the sighted teacher on a computer screen. BERT enables real-time interactive communication between teacher and student, creating a “side by side” mode of working together. BERT requires the purchase of the software and a license for one or more students. Electronic Brailler LLC, phone: (585) 413-4401, <>.

Michael Collins and Newel Perry to be Inducted into the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field in 2014:

The following press release was circulated by the American Printing House for the Blind, and we gladly carry it here:

The Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the tradition of excellence manifested by specific individuals through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired in North America. It is housed at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky, but belongs to all.

The ceremony to induct Collins and Perry will take place on Friday evening, October 17, 2014, in conjunction with APH's 146th Annual Meeting of ex officio trustees and special guests, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Joining the fifty-four outstanding legends previously inducted, are these two remarkable figures who changed lives around the world. Their stories of accomplishment are powerful.

The Class of 2014
Michael T. Collins 1947–2008

Mike Collins dedicated thirty years of his career to Perkins; first as supervisor of the Perkins School for the Blind’s campus-based Deafblind Program and then as founder and director of the Hilton/Perkins International Program, with the mission of training teachers to teach children who are deafblind with multiple disabilities in developing countries. Collins received the distinguished Perkins' Annie Sullivan Award and Deafblind International’s Lifetime Achievement Award and its Distinguished Service Award.

"His love for children with multiple disabilities and his deep understanding of their needs was evident when he visited programs and dangled children on his knee." Nandini Rawal, project director of the Blind People's Association in Gujarat, India.

Newel Perry 1873–1963

Dr. Newel Perry was called the father of the modern civil rights movement of the blind. According to Matson (1990), Perry "presided as mentor and godfather to the [organized blind] movement," spawning the California Council of the Blind (1934), and the National Federation of the Blind (1940). In 1912, Dr. Perry took the post which would define his career, Director of Advanced Studies at the California School for the Blind, and was in this position until retirement in 1947. He is best known for having mentored "Perry's Boys (and Girls)," a group of talented blind young men and women who would, with Perry's assistance, begin the organized blind movement of advocacy and civil rights.

Honors include: California Council of the Blind, Hall of Fame, 1996 (original member), California Council of the Blind’s Newel Perry Endowment Trust, the National Federation of the Blind’s highest award--named for Newel Perry, and, within NFB's Jacobus tenBroek Library, the Newel Perry Conference Room, appropriately named for tenBroek's beloved mentor.

"Newel Perry educated, indoctrinated and persuaded a distinguished group of cohorts to join him in carrying on the struggle and carrying out its goals. Those whom Doctor gathered around him were other blind men and women, mostly former students whose special talents and professional positions uniquely supplemented his." Jacobus tenBroek, 1961

When asked what was his most important work, Dr. Perry answered, "Oh, my most important work was my dragging the blind out of their sleep, stirring them up, putting some ambition into them, and then helping them." For more on these inductees, please visit: <>. Additional information regarding the 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will soon appear on the APH website, <>. Visit the Hall of Fame website at <> for information on the Hall and those inducted.

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is now on Facebook! "Like" the page to learn more about this year's inductees, Michael T. Collins and Newel Perry, as well as updated information on the 2014 induction ceremony, and items of interest on the other fifty-four Hall inductees. The URL is <> or you can search Facebook for "Hall of Fame for the Blindness Field." Also visit the Hall on our recently launched YouTube channel—click on "Playlists" to watch the inspiring Hall of Fame induction ceremonies!

eBay and the National Federation of the Blind Team to Optimize Accessibility of Site, Apps:
The following is a reprint of a June 6 press release by eBay about this partnership:

eBay has teamed with The National Federation of the Blind in a Web 2.0 Sustainable Accessibility Partnership Agreement that will enhance the accessibility of eBay’s website and mobile applications.

Through the new partnership blind buyers and sellers on eBay who use technologies such as text-to-speech screen readers and Braille displays will have even greater access to eBay’s website and its applications for smartphones and tablets.

“This is about reinforcing and enhancing our commitment to accessibility and making eBay’s global marketplace available to everyone,” said Devin Wenig, President Global eBay Marketplaces. “Ease of use and universal access to the Marketplace is a priority for eBay as a company and as a brand.”

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind is pleased to continue our partnership with eBay. This landmark agreement sets forth a proactive strategy that will enhance the accessibility of eBay’s online marketplace, allowing blind buyers and sellers to use this groundbreaking platform in all the ways that sighted users can. We commend eBay for its industry leadership in adopting this comprehensive Web 2.0 accessibility plan and look forward to working together with the company to implement it,” Maurer added.

Study About Perception of Legal Blindness Seeks Participants:
My name is Bobby Dixon, and I am a legally blind graduate student at Southeastern Louisiana University as well as a member of the National Federation of the Blind. I have been legally blind all of my life due to an exceptionally small optic nerve. I have lived for forty-five years with this condition and have quite a bit of experience involving how we are treated by society in education, in employment, and in everyday life. These experiences inspired me to study others to see if they too have had similar experiences in these situations and to find out if the way society treats other legally blind people may be affecting our self-confidence and well-being and to promote more awareness

The participants in this study will be contributing to a larger body of knowledge and awareness of what legally blind people are truly capable of. The data gathered in this study will not only be used to help legally blind people reach their true potential; they will also be used to help sighted people realize that legally blind people are just as capable as they themselves are.

NOTE: 1) Only people aged eighteen and older may participate in this study. 2) legal blindness covers all people with a visual acuity of 20/200 to those who are totally blind.

This survey is designed to measure how legally blind people feel they are treated by society. The study also examines how legally blind people feel about themselves and their perceptions of beliefs others have about them.

The survey can be found at <>.

Study Participants Wanted:
My name is Tali and I am a PhD student at the University of Groningen the Netherlands. I am collecting survey data for my dissertation on the highly relevant topic of dealing with visual impairment in different areas of one’s life—home, work, and friendships, just to name a few.

The purpose of the current study is to obtain more information on relevant issues in the life of a person losing eyesight such as the implications of concealing or revealing your identity as being visually impaired to others and the importance of your social surroundings in coping with vision loss.

Data collected from this study will be kept anonymous, and only the key researchers on this project will have access to these data (myself, Tali Spiegel, and my supervisory team, Rafael Wittek and Nardi Steverink). Your identity will be kept entirely anonymous in future publications, and you at no point will be asked to reveal your identity. The data will be kept in a secure location on a Groningen University hard drive.

You are eligible to participate in this study if you: 1) have a degenerative eye condition, 2) are above the age of eighteen, and 3) are currently living in the USA. I will be more than grateful if you would be willing to follow the link below and fill out the questionnaire (it should take about forty minutes): <>

If you are unable to complete the survey online, I can also send the survey to you using email. The survey can come either as an attachment (in a word document) or in the body of the text. If you have questions, please email me at <>. For more information go to <>.

If you decide at any point during filling out the survey that you do not wish to answer a particular question, you have the option to skip it. If you want to terminate the questionnaire, that is also possible, however, after completion of the questionnaire you will no longer be able to withdraw from the study.

Your participation is pivotal for the success of this project. Many thanks in advance.

New Talking Infrared Thermometer Available:
The Talking Infrared Thermometer (model IRT-1) can measure the temperature of a wide variety of objects without contact and has a special scan function to help a blind person quickly locate hot items such as a burner on a flat cooktop stove or to ensure a pot or pan is centered over a burner. My motive for developing the IRT-1 came from a blind friend who was badly burned while teaching a newly blind student to cook. Had there been the means easily to determine the cooking oil temperature, the accident could most probably have been prevented. The IRT-1 of course can be used to measure the temperature of many other things as well: the refrigerator or freezer, coffee, bath water, food temperature, etc. With only three buttons the IRT-1 is super easy to learn and use and has a built in talking tutor! And finally, the IRT-1 can be set to speak in English, Spanish, or French, and to say the temperature in centigrade or Fahrenheit too. For much more detailed information, a user manual, speech samples, and images please visit my website: <>.

About myself and my company: I'm located in Morgan Hill, California, about thirty minutes south of the so called Silicon Valley area. I've been an electronics engineer and programmer for many years, the last twenty as a design consultant to other organizations. I love to get involved developing new products! Over the last six years I've worked with James Kubel of Access Solutions in Sacramento, California, on several projects, including the PumpMate, a talking remote control that provides access for insulin pump users. Recently I've decided to develop accessibility products to market as my own, the first being the IRT-1 Talking Infrared Thermometer.

The thermometer is now available, and I've completed an initial production run. The price is set at $119.95 and can currently be purchased directly from my site at <>. I'm actively seeking re-sellers, for whom discounts would apply. Both the Sacramento Society for the Blind and the Lighthouse have indicated they will carry it.

If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to call me at (408) 781-4577, or email me at <>.

Monthly Training Subscription Available:
The Windows Department at Blind Access Training is offering affordable monthly training support for a charge of $44.95 monthly. No longer does one need to search for cost-effective training support or say the dreaded words, “I can’t afford it.” With our monthly training support, use the time to brush up, learn, and immerse yourself in your Windows OS and Office applications to build a solid foundation and understanding to set yourself on a path to success. Lessons will be provided, and the goal in offering the subscription is to have students working in their operating system and applications comfortably and independently.

You may read about and subscribe to the service at the link below; if you would rather speak with someone from the Windows Training Department to answer your questions, we invite you to call (877) 774-7670 and press 3. We take calls Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM pacific time. You may read more about our service and subscribe at <>.

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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