Braille Monitor                                     June 2017

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Independence Market Corner

The National Federation of the Blind Independence Market is the conduit through which our organization distributes our empowering literature to our members, friends, and the general public. As a service we also operate a blindness products store, which sells mostly low-tech items, designed to enhance the everyday independence of blind people.

Often blind people can easily tell their clothes apart by noticing some distinguishing characteristic such as the type of fabric; the cut of the sleeves, collar, or neckline; the shape and number of buttons; and so on. But sometimes this method does not work, and you need another solution. If you are looking for tools to identify your garments and manage your wardrobe, the Independence Market may be able to help.

We sell aluminum Braille labels which can be sewn or pinned into clothing to help identify garments. Two different styles are available: colors and numbers. In the color style we carry two different sets, one with a larger color palette and fewer individual labels of each color and one with a smaller color assortment and more of each specific color. There are one hundred tags in the color sets. The number style contains twenty-five tags (the numbers one through twenty-five). The number tags might work better for ties or other clothes that aren't identified enough by a color. For example, you could use the numbers to match the jacket and pants or skirt that are part of the same suit. And, of course, the tags are suitable for items that are either laundered or dry-cleaned.

In a recent issue of the Braille Monitor we highlighted the PenFriend Audio Labeling System. This device allows the user to associate an audio recording with a sticker. One can purchase specially designed laundry labels for the PenFriend. This labeling technique gives one the flexibility to record not only a description of the item of clothing and what matches it but also any care instructions. Please note that these labels are not suitable for garments which need to be dry-cleaned.

If you are not the type of person who wants to go to the trouble of labeling your clothing, then a color identifier may be the right tool for you. We carry both the SpeechMaster and the Colorino Color Identifiers. These devices enable the user to detect the color of clothing and other items. However, they are not ideal for matching clothes. You are better off asking a friend or family member with a good eye for colors to assist with this task. Once you find out what goes together, and you may have to keep notes until you know this information by heart, then the color identifier or the Braille tags can assist you in identifying a specific garment.

We also carry two different types of sock locks. Never wear mismatched socks again. Simply insert a pair of socks into a Sock lock, and your socks will stay paired up while in the washer and dryer. The square sock locks are more suitable for thick athletic socks, while the round ones are better for more delicate trouser socks.

For more information about the products and literature available from the Independence Market or to request a catalog in Braille or in print, visit us online at You may also contact us using email at [email protected] or by phone at (410) 659-9314, extension 2216, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. eastern time. Our staff will be glad to assist.

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