Future Reflections        Summer 2012

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Odds and Ends


Braille for Children
Teaching Braille to very young children can be a challenge, considering their short attention span. This site provides some ideas to help parents and teachers make learning Braille a positive experience for children, beginning at age three. Although this site targets very young children, ideas may also be helpful for older children who have cognitive delays.

Making It on the Playground
This website is based on a blog created by Mary Jo Hartle and describes ordinary events in the life of a blind couple raising a baby daughter. Mary Jo shares "Pages from the Hartle Playbook," or, as she puts it, how the Hartles "make it on our own playground." Topics include choosing a home, helping blind children fit in with peers, and dealing with the public.

Archive on Americans with Disabilities
Sierra Gregg, winner of a 2012 NFB National Scholarship, has created an exciting new web resource at the National Archives. The resource features a variety of records on Americans with Disabilities, drawn from all of the presidential libraries and converted to an accessible digital format. The collection includes letters from Helen Keller to President Hoover and a Braille letter sent to President Eisenhower by a thirteen-year-old boy.


With the motto "a library for the price of a book," Samizdat sells some 23,000 public-domain titles in electronic formats. Sold on CD or DVD, titles are grouped by period (e.g., British Literature  before 1700), author (e.g., Charles Dickens, Mark Twain) or topic (e.g., world religions, early medicine, African-American history). Samizdat now offers organized collections of 50-100 downloadable titles in TXT format as Virtual Library Collections (VLPs). Each collection can be downloaded as a single zipped file, including an index. Books can be read on Windows PCs, Macs, and most e-book readers.


Texas Center for the Visually Challenged (TCVC)
TCVC offers refurbished computers to blind and visually impaired residents of the U.S. and Canada in exchange for donations of $100. Computers are customized for accessibility and come with speakers, sound card, and a demo copy of the screen reader Window-Eyes. Tutorials are available in audio and large-print formats.


AfterShokz Bone Conduction Headphones
(315) 218-0308
Rather than canceling external sound, these headphones permit the wearer to hear ambient sounds while listening to recorded material. Using these headphones, a blind student can listen to a screen reader or audio textbook without missing classroom discussion.

New Perkins SMART Brailler
Perkins Products
175 N. Beacon St., Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 972-7308

The Perkins SMART Brailler provides audio and visual feedback coupled with hardcopy output so that everyone can learn Braille together--students, parents, teachers, and adults losing their vision. The new product enables a student to learn Braille independently, even when a trained teacher is not in the room. The audio and on-screen feedback are available in several languages in addition to English via Acapela text-to-speech software.

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