American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
Future Reflections
       Special Issue: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

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Books Needed!
2016 Braille Book Fair
National Federation of the Blind
200 E. Wells St. at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230
It's that time again--time to sort through all those boxes and donate your gently used but no longer needed Braille books to the 2016 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. Most needed are print/Braille storybooks (also known as Twin Vision books) and fiction or nonfiction leisure reading. Children are so hungry for their very own books that every year, despite generous donations, most of the 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 us in time for convention!

Please note that you do not need to pay shipping costs for Braille items. Handwrite, stamp, or affix a label to the upper right-hand corner of the box stating FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND, and take your packages to the local post office.

Volunteers Needed!
Contact: Sandra Oliver, (713) 825-4573
[email protected]
Where: NFB Convention, Orlando, FL
When: Saturday, July 2, 2016
Setup: 10 AM-12 PM, 12-2 PM, 2-4 PM
Event: 4-7 PM
Clean-up: 6:30-8 PM
Location: See the NFB Convention agenda

The Braille Book Fair has become one of the highlights of the NFB convention for many teachers, blind and sighted parents, blind kids, and adult beginning Braille readers. The event could not take place without the help of dedicated, talented volunteers. That's where you come in! As a past worker or simply as an interested supporter of the Braille Book Fair, you can volunteer or provide the contact information of someone you recommend. You do not need to work for the entire afternoon or evening, but we do ask that you work for a complete two-hour shift. We need people who help customers to arrive before the doors open at 5 p.m. and commit to stay until 6:30 p.m. Book lovers are great for this shift, as they will assist visitors in book decisions/selections.


BELL Academy (Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning)
Contact: Carlton Walker, (410) 659-9314, Extension 2225
[email protected]
Why do birds sing in the spring?
Because they don't have any BELLs to ring!
While cold winds blew all winter long, we enjoyed preparing for summer activities. One of our favorites is NFB BELL--the National Federation of the Blind Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning. This summer, in more than thirty states across the country, NFB BELL Academy will provide Braille and nonvisual skill instruction to students ages four to twelve in forty programs or residential settings. BELL instructors use time-tested lessons and proven techniques to build the self-confidence, positive attitudes, and essential nonvisual skills that will allow students to live the lives they want. For information about a BELL Academy near you, contact Carlton Walker by phone or email. The website contains links to information about individual sites and application forms.

Envisioning Youth Empowerment (EYE) Retreat
Contact: Alan Chase, (919) 813-0393
[email protected]
Location: Governor Morehead School for the Blind, Raleigh, NC
Dates: July 23-30, 2016
“I Retreat from No Challenge” is the motto of the Eye Retreat, a summer camp that teaches blind/visually impaired youth to prepare for college. Since 2009, the Eye Retreat has grown from serving fifteen students from North Carolina to including fifty-one students from eight states and two countries in 2015. Applications are open for both students and mentors. The Eye Retreat works on skills such as college readiness, use of public transportation, and dorm living, and includes job shadowing.


2016 NFB EQ Teacher Seminar
NFB Jernigan Institute, Baltimore, MD
Dates: August 2-6, 2016
Application Deadline: June 7, 2016
Are you interested in learning more about how to support your blind and visually impaired students in STEM subjects? Join the National Federation of the Blind for the 2016 NFB EQ Teacher Seminar for a STEM-focused professional development opportunity for teachers who work with blind and low-vision high school students studying STEM subjects. You will learn about various tools and techniques blind students can use in the STEM classroom. The program is open to teachers of the blind/visually impaired, STEM teachers working with blind students, and students enrolled in teacher preparation for teachers of the blind/visually impaired.

Envision 2016
Contact: Angela Cato, work, (316) 440-1518; cell, (316) 641-6844
[email protected]
Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel, Denver
Dates: September 7-10, 2016
The Envision conference is a multidisciplinary conference where optometrists, rehabilitation therapists, special education teachers, and government policymakers receive updates and collaborate on the latest ideas in vision rehabilitation, research, practice, and technology. Dr. Joshua Miele, founder and director of the Video Research and Development Center and associate director of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco will deliver the keynote address.

2016 Independence Science, Learning a New Direction (ISLAND)
Contact: Cary Supalo, [email protected]
Location: Kurz Purdue Technology Center, 1281 Win Henschel Blvd., West Lafayette, IN 47906
Date: September 16, 2016
The 2016 ISLAND conference will examine innovations and opportunities for blind students in the STEM fields. Submissions for presentations will be accepted until June 15. Abstracts should be no more than 150 words in length, summarizing a presentation of approximately thirty minutes.


PARC and Smarter Balanced Survey
Contact: Valerie Yingling, (410) 659-9314, Extension 2440
[email protected]
As students participate in PARC and Smarter Balanced assessments, the NFB asks that parents, students, and teachers take time to complete the NFB's Common Core Assessment Survey online. In particular, the NFB wants to know when and where accessibility failures occurred in order to ensure that problems are fixed.


Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness
Louisiana Tech University
Contact: Edward Bell, (318) 257-4554
[email protected]
Louisiana Tech is excited to announce that it has expanded its training and is launching a brand-new concentration in rehabilitation teaching for the blind. Scholarships are now available for qualified individuals seeking one of the following degree paths:


The Thinkable Motorized Drawing Arm

The Thinkable Motorized Drawing Arm (MDA) is a concept for a computer-driven motorized arm that draws tactile graphics by mechanically moving a ballpoint pen across the surface of a tactile drawing board. It aims to combine the accuracy of the digital tactile graphics from the TactileView software with the versatility of drawing by hand on the TactiPad drawing board. The MDA opens up unique ways of making tactile graphics easily accessible. Teachers, parents, and students are encouraged to explore the MDA website and contribute their ideas as the development of this exciting new product moves forward.

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