Braille Monitor                                             December 2014

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News from the Federation Family

National Federation of the Blind 2015 Scholarship Program:
Are you a legally blind college student living in the United States or Puerto Rico? This annual program offers thirty scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000 to eligible students, from high school seniors beginning their freshman year in the fall semester of 2015, up through grad students working on their PhD degrees. These merit scholarships are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership. In addition to the money, each winner will receive assistance to attend the July 2015 NFB annual convention in Orlando, Florida, providing an excellent opportunity for high-level networking with active blind persons in many different professions and occupations. To apply, read the rules and the submission checklist, complete the official 2015 Scholarship Application Form (online or in print), supply all required documents, and request and complete one interview by an NFB affiliate president (unless the president requests a later date). Applications are accepted for five months, from November 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015. Go to <> for complete rules and requirements.

Release of Unified English Braille Version of The McDuffy Reader:
On October 14, 2014, the National Federation of the Blind announced the release of a new version of The McDuffy Reader: A Braille Primer for Adults by Sharon L. Monthei, which is designed to guide students through the Unified English Braille (UEB) code. The primer, first published by the National Federation of the Blind in 1989, has been used as an effective Braille teaching tool in many rehabilitation settings around the country. Ms. Monthei has revised this popular Braille instructional manual in light of the coming changes to the Braille code. By January 2016, Unified English Braille will be the official Braille code used in the United States.

Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind is proud to make this new instructional tool available to adult Braille students. With the rollout of Unified English Braille only a little more than a year away, we believe that programs that teach Braille to blind adults will find this new version of our classic Braille instructional manual to be an invaluable aid for their students.”

Jennifer Dunnam, manager of Braille programs for the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The McDuffy Reader has been a widely utilized and acclaimed guide for adults learning Braille for twenty-five years and counting. This update ensures that this excellent primer will continue to be a helpful resource for Braille students across the nation.”

The Unified English Braille Edition of The McDuffy Reader: A Braille Primer for Adults is the first UEB instructional guide for beginning adult Braille readers to be published in the United States. The book first presents uncontracted Braille, then the Braille contractions in logical groups. The author has crafted the text in the contracted section of the manual so that words are used only when students have learned all of the contractions that apply to them. The book contains eighty-nine Braille pages in one volume, which is comb-bound with plastic covers.

The UEB edition of The McDuffy Reader is available from the National Federation of the Blind Independence Market for $20.00 plus shipping and handling. You may contact the NFB Independence Market by email at <[email protected]> and by phone at (410) 659-9314, extension 2216.

2015 NFB Writers’ Division Writing Contest:
The annual youth and adult writing contests sponsored by the NFB Writers’ Division will open January 1 and close April 1. Since it is the Federation’s seventy-fifth birthday, the contest will, for the first time ever, have a required theme. All submissions will need to incorporate the theme of seventy-five. It does not have to be about the anniversary of NFB. It could just be the number seventy-five, or perhaps the diamond anniversary, or seventy-five steps to your destination, or even seventy-five balloons. In the pattern of past entries, seventy-five aliens would work. Seriously, let your imagination take over. Write the piece you want; just remember to include the theme of seventy-five to commemorate the seventy-five years of the work that has been happening within and because of the National Federation of the Blind.

In the adult contests, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and stories for youth are open to all entrants eighteen and over. The youth writing contests, poetry and fiction, are to promote Braille literacy and excellence in writing. Each contest is divided into three groups by grade level—elementary, middle school, and high school.

Prizes in the adult contest may be as much as $100; winners in the youth contest may receive as much as $30. All contest winners will be announced during the Writers’ Division business meeting at the NFB National Convention, held in Orlando, Florida in July of 2015. In addition, the list of winners will appear on our website, <>, and their submissions will be considered for publication in our division’s magazine, Slate and Style.

For additional contest details and submission guidelines, go to <>.

At the 2014 Illinois state convention, the following members were elected to the board of directors: president, Denise R. Avant (Chicago chapter); first vice president, Debbie Kent Stein (Chicago chapter); second vice president, Leslie Hamric (at-large chapter); secretary, Glenn Moore (Chicago chapter); treasurer, Patti Chang (Chicago chapter); board members, David Meyer (Chicago chapter), Bill Reif (Ferris Wheel chapter), Brian Sumner (Four Rivers chapter), Debbie Pittman (Chicago chapter), Adrienne Falconer (IABS), and Jesse Rogers (IABM).

At the annual meeting of the Illinois Association of Blind Students, the following were elected: president, Brianna Lillyman; first vice president, Katie Leinum; second vice president, Sarah Luna; secretary, Julia Chang; treasurer, Glenn Moore; board members, Debbie Kent Stein, Adrienne Falconer, and Nadia Montanez.

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.

Ideas Wanted for the Improvement of Web-based Technology:
We welcome you to submit your best work on improving accessibility of the web, mobiles, and wearables for people with and without disabilities to the International Web for All Conference (W4A™15), conveniently co-located with WWW™15 and MobiSys™15.

W4A15 (<>) will take place in Florence, Italy (May 18 to 20):

As you know, devices are getting smaller, and more of them are now wearable: smart glasses, smart watches, and smart clothing are all working their way into our lives and onto our bodies. These devices are online, web-accessible, and increasingly interconnected. As with many technologies that have come before, wearable devices present incredible opportunities for improving accessibility for people with and without disabilities, but also present accessibility challenges in ensuring that people are able to equally benefit from them regardless of disability, context, or situation. Acknowledging the importance of this topic, the theme of the twelfth International Web for All Conference is “The Wearable Web.”

Don't be deterred by the theme; we invite your best work on improving and understanding access for people across the accessibility continuum. Papers are expected to detail technical solutions and scientific insights into web, mobile, and wearable technologies addressing diverse user needs. Areas of interest include but are not limited to the following: age, cognition, culture, education, emotions, dexterity, disability, diversity, health, hearing, income, infrastructure, language, learning, literacy, mobility, situation, society, and vision.

The keynote speech on the "Sense and Sensibility: Smartphones and Wearable Technologies to Support Seniors" will be delivered by Lorenzo Chiari who is a professor and the vice director of the Health Sciences and Technologies—Interdepartmental Center for Industrial Research at the University of Bologna. On the close of the first day, join us for an evening of wine, food, and live music—with a classical performance by Lia Martirosyan.

The William Laughborough after-dinner talk "Riches Beyond Measure: A New Frontier in Web Accessibility" will be given by Kevin Carey, the chair of the Royal National Institute of Blind People, UK.

Don't come just for W4A™15—stay for the entire week! W4A is conveniently co-located with WWW™15 and MobiSys™15 conferences. MobiSys™15 is the top research conference dealing with all aspects of mobile systems: <>.

And WWW™15 (<>) is the best and the biggest web research conference attended by famous web researchers and practitioners, such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the web). Among other events, we will hold a joint WWW/W4A panel session devoted to the “Wearable Web” theme.

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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