Future Reflections Convention 1999, Vol. 18 No. 4


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NFB Cane Game

This post-convention report comes from Michael Neese and Merry-Noel Chamberlain:

Merry-Noel Chamberlain and Michael Neese, coordinators of the first ever Cane Game, held at the 1999 National Convention in Atlanta, would like to congratulate the two grand prize winners, Hannah Weatherd and Allison Hilliker. Sponsored by the students of the Louisiana Tech Orientation and Mobility Master’s Program, the Cane Game promoted, acknowledged, and encouraged proper cane use during the convention in children up to the age of eighteen. Participants were divided into two major groups. White ribbons were attached to the canes of the younger children involved in the Cane Game, while older teens received a purple ribbon. Students in the Orientation and Mobility Master’s Program at Louisiana Tech placed stars on the ribbons when they observed participants using their cane properly. Congratulations to Hannah and Allison for a job well done!

Children’s Scavenger Hunt

Gail Wagner, a former winner of the Educator of Blind Children Award, coordinated this year’s scavenger hunt for younger kids at convention. Here is her report:

The evening of the younger kids’ scavenger hunt was a great success! This was the first year we included the 10-12 year olds, and a great time was had by all! We had so many kids that we ended up recruiting a few unsuspecting parents to help out as "tour guides." After putting nametags on all participants, the children (blind and sighted), were issued sleepshades and canes (as needed) provided by NOPBC. Then the children were matched up 2-4 to a group, assigned to an adult "tour guide," given a set of locations to find, and, after some scrambling, off they went! As each group re-assembled, all the kids received door prizes. What anticipation was felt waiting for their number to be called! (Every child received a prize.) What a fun, hectic, way for children to begin orienting to the hotel with great adult blind role models and supportive parent volunteers.

Writing Contest

From Lori Stayer comes the following announcement:

The National Federation of the Blind Writers’ Division is sponsoring two contests for students. The contests are open to legally blind students ages 18 and under in grades 6 through 12. Entry fee per piece is $3.00. Students may enter as often as they like. Make checks out to the NFB Writers’ Division. Opening date is September 1, 1999. Deadline for the contest is May 1, 2000. Work postmarked after May first will not be accepted.

Fiction: Send your original, unpublished story, typed, up to three thousand words, to Tom Stevens, 1203 S. Fairview Road, Columbia, Missouri 65203, accompanied by a short bio and cover page with your name, address, and phone number, entry fee, and a self-addressed stamped envelope. Please specify your age and grade.

Poetry: Original, unpublished poems up to 36 lines in length will be accepted for this contest. Send your poem, bio, cover page with your name, address and phone number, entry fee, and a stamped self-addressed envelope to Loraine Stayer, 2704 Beach Drive, Merrick, New York 11566. There is no limit on the subject for poems or stories.

Note: If the student prefers to write the story or poem in Braille, then a typed copy must accompany it. For more information, call Lori Stayer (516) 868-8718, or e-mail <[email protected]>

Prizes: $30, $20, $10 each contest and publication in Slate and Style, the newsletter of the NFB Writers’ Division.

Idaho Parents Organize

From the NFB of Idaho newsletter comes this exciting news:

July 31 was a red-letter day for blind children and their parents in Idaho. A new division of the NFBI was formed. A Constitution was adopted, and officers were elected. Shelley Weigt and Joann Grimmett had been contacting parents and planning for this day for several weeks. Parents have been telling us that they need to work together to get the kind of support for their children in public schools that is needed for a good education. It is expected that the group will meet quarterly, and funds are being sought for some events that will be beneficial to both parents and blind children. Officers are as follows: President, Shelley Weigt; Vice President, Joann Grimmett; Secretary, Jodie Pierce; Treasurer, Harry Gawith; Board Members: Sandra Streeter, Mike Gibson, and Dana Ard.

100 Years of Education

We recently received the following announcement:

The South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is proud to announce it will be celebrating its "Centennial Reunion" (100 years) in the year 2000. The school first opened its doors as "The Asylum for the Blind" in March 1900 in Gary, South Dakota, but later moved its campus to the present location in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Over the years the school has lost touch with many former students and staff and would like to encourage anyone who attended, was employed by, or who would be interested in receiving information about Centennial Reunion activities, to contact the school. The school is also looking for any school-related pictures, newspaper articles, or stories that people would be willing to share to be used in our school archives exhibits.

We encourage anyone interested in the "Centennial Reunion" to contact Dawn LaMee or Dawn (Brush) Flewwellin by phone at (605) 626-2580 or (888) 275-3814 or you can write them at SDSBVI, 423 17th Avenue, S.E., Aberdeen, South Dakota 57401-7699.

Lowenfeld-Akeson Symposium

We have been asked to announce the following:

On Saturday, February 12, 2000, the California School for the Blind, the Blind Babies Foundation, and the Northern California AER are co-sponsoring the Lowenfeld-Akeson Symposium at the California School for the Blind. Creig Hoyt, M.D., Department of Ophthalmology, University of California Medical Center-San Francisco will speak on "The Changing Face of Childhood Eye Disease" and Candace Brown, M.D., Department of Pediatric Neurology, Kaiser Permanente-Walnut Creek will give presentations on "Pediatric Neurology: How to Diagnose?" and "Seizure Management: Implications for Learning." For more program and registration information contact Patricia Merritt-Smith at (510) 794-3800, ext. 209.

Summer Music Institute

We’ve been asked to announce the following:

The Music and Arts Center for the Handicapped, located in Connecticut, is accepting applications nationwide for its fifth Summer Institute for Blind College-bound Musicians. This three-week, residential program held in July is for students tenth grade and up, who have had some music experience and are serious about gaining skills necessary for the study of music in college. Areas taught include Braille music, computer composing and notation skills, theory, keyboard, and ensemble. Enrollment is limited to ten students, who will be accepted based on their applications and telephone interviews. Cost of the program is $2000. Partial Scholarships are available. Applications must be completed and returned by April 15. Students under the age of 15 or in need of significant financial help should apply early. For an application contact the Music and Arts Center for the Handicapped, 600 University Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06601.

Phone (203) 366-3300.

E-mail <[email protected]>.

Music Resources

I recently received the following e-mail letter and information:

October 14, 1999

Dear Barbara:

Thanks so much for publishing my article about Braille music resources in the Spring, 1999, Future Reflections. This article is just one more tool to help parents provide for their childrens’ educational program.

Even as I type this note, availability of Braille music resources is changing. One resource that keeps track of this rapidly changing area is a Braille music Internet listserve at <[email protected]> [see information below]. I would encourage anyone who has a blind child to sign on to this free service. You never know when you may have a question!

Thanks for all you do for us parents through Future Reflections and the NOPBC!


Mary Smaligo

BrailleM: the Braille Music List

BrailleM is a place for discussing and learning about all aspects of Braille music code. The list is designed to help beginners in Braille music and give them a place where they can ask questions of more experienced Braille music users. The list will also be useful to more experienced users who can discuss more difficult passages and formats. The list also covers any and all subjects related to Braille music, such as where to find teaching materials, where to order Braille music material, how to transcribe music into Braille music code, and so on.To subscribe to BrailleM send a message to <[email protected]>. Leave the subject blank (it is ignored). In the body of the message write the words "subscribe braillem" (leave out the quotation marks, of course). If you want to specify a certain address for the subscription, use this line as your message body. Example: assuming that <[email protected]> is your e-mail address, you would write "subscribe Braillem [email protected]" (again, leaving out the quotes). You will receive a confirmation e-mail to which you must reply, and then you are subscribed. The address for posting messages to BrailleM is <[email protected]>. Remember that if you send a message to this address, it goes to all members of the list.

Braille Music Translator

We’ve been asked to share the following:

Dancing Dots has recently released version 2.0 of the GOODFEEL™ Braille Music Translator. GOODFEEL™ produces Braille scores from the same music files used to print scores with your PC. New features: Transcribes lyrics for vocal solos and choral parts; online, context-sensitive help; review/edit Braille score with Braille font included; improved support for non-English literary Braille; more detailed error checking of your music file; 32-bit application which runs under Windows95 and Windows98. For further information contact:

Dancing Dots, P.O. Box 927, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0927. Phone: (610) 783-6692.
Fax: 610-783-6732.
E-mail: <[email protected]>.
URL: <http://www.dancingdots.com>.

Screen Magnification

We’ve been asked to announce the following:

MAGic 6.1 is screen magnification software that enlarges your computer screen from 2 to 20X! It is ideal for low-vision computer users or anyone who is required to spend extended periods of time in front of a computer screen. MAGic enlarges text, graphics, or any Windows® applications. Fine-tune the magnification attributes by setting preferences for magnification, panning, tracking, hotkeys, and more. Screen/context position is maintained when using MAGic’s screen locator option or by utilizing MAGic’s multidirectional screen panning/review mode with adjustable speed, pause/restart, and screen navigation controls. For more information, contact Henter-Joyce, Inc., 11800 31st Court North, St. Petersburg, Florida 33716. Phone: (800) 336-5658. Website: <www.hj.com>.

Listening to Windows 95

The following information comes from an APH news release:

The Listening to Windows 95 (LTW) training kit includes the first interactive auditory software to teach Windows basics. The kit contains a CD-ROM, tactile and large print guides to screen layouts, and a manual in four accessible media.The tutorial helps you learn main system and application features by means of keyboard navigation. Seven units presented on the CD-ROM cover Windows 95 basics, including: Introduction, Desktop Features, Explorer WordPad, Help Control Panel, and Internet Overview.

The lessons provide instruction, hands-on practice, and short quizzes. These practice exercises are not simulated, so full access to Windows is available at any time, encouraging you to explore the Windows environment. As you use the tutorial, the program saves your settings on exit so you can easily return later to your stopping place. Recommended ages: 11 years to adult. For more information contact American Printing House for the Blind, Inc., 1839 Frankfort Avenue, P. O. Box 6085, Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085. Phone: (502) 895-2405. Toll Free: (800) 223-1839. Fax: (502) 899-2274. E-mail: <[email protected]>. Website: <www.aph.org>.

Tack-Tiles® Braille System

We’ve been asked to print the following:

Tack-Tiles® are a manipulative educational learning tool especially helpful for teaching Braille to multiply disabled children, and for teaching Music Braille Code, Nemeth Code, Computer Braille Code, and French, Spanish, German, and Italian to any blind student. Tack-Tiles® fit and work in the same fashion as standard toy building blocks. Each set comes with 320 Lego®-like blocks with a single symbol in print and large raised Braille dots on each block. The blocks snap onto any of eight display boards (four approximately 10 x 15 inches and four about 5 x 7 inches), to make up different configurations of words, musical notations, or math problems. Each of the eight Tack-Tile® sets—English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Music Code, Nemeth Mathmatics Code, and Computer Braille Code—comes in a rugged carrying case. In addition to the Tack-Tile® sets, ask about accessories: the Tack-Tiles® Braille Teaser and Tack-Tiles® key-pad for InteliKeys®. For more information contact Tack-Tiles® Braille System, P.O. Box 475, Plaistow, NH 03865. Phone: (800) 822-5845. E-mail: <[email protected]>. Website: <www.tack-tiles.com>.

Talking Typing Teacher

We’ve been asked to carry the following announcement:

From Craig Faris: Attention all Typists! Are you a new computer user just learning how to type? Talking Typing Teacher has built-in speech, which allows you to run the program on your computer regardless of whether you have a speech synthesizer or a sound card installed and is available for just $49.95. Originally designed for blind users, TTT may be used by both the blind and sighted. TTT takes the boredom out of learning to type. For information contact I Can See books, 88 Captain Morgans Blvd., Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9R 6R1 Canada. Phone: (250) 753-3096. E-mail <[email protected]>.

Children’s Books

We’ve been asked to print the following:

I Can See Books is pleased to offer a collection of high quality, high interest children’s print/Braille books that are reasonably priced and complete with picture descriptions. We are launching our print/Braille collection with a special "Book-of-the-Month" Club offer, along with a few selected individual titles. To place an order or for more information contact I Can See Books, 88 Captain Morgans Blvd., Nanaimo, British Columbia V9R 6R1 Canada. Phone: (250) 753-3096. E-mail: <[email protected]>. Website: <www.ncf.ca/~drl00>.

Braille Special Collection

We have been asked to print the following announcement:

Braille Institute is introducing the Braille Special Collection, an exciting new reading program offered free of charge to children who are blind or visually impaired. Made possible by grants from the Lincy Foundation and the Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation, the Braille Special Collection program includes: Children’s Classics—We have transcribed a collection of children’s classic literature encompassing more than 600 titles and appealing to all reading levels. Every three months we will distribute this catalog, which features selected titles available for order free of charge.

Brailleways—An anthology of fiction and nonfiction with broad appeal to readers age 9 through 18. Brailleways will be distributed each summer as a companion to our winter anthology, Expectations, now in its 50th year of distribution.

General Interest Publications—Our first offering is When You Become Eighteen. Available year-round, this practical booklet provides information on jury duty, voting, transportation, marriage, housing, and employment. For more information contact Braille Institute, 741 N, Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90029. Phone: (800) BRAILLE (272-4553). Website: <www.brailleinstitute.org>.

Braille Jewlery

We’ve been asked to carry the following announcement:

Braille Sterling by Christiansen Designs is alive and well! Kim Christiansen, the designer of the Braille jewelry many of us have grown to love, has announced he is now "out of hibernation" and ready to fill orders once again. The latest addition to his line is an adorable miniature book pin cast in pewter. Available in shiny pewter or 18kt gold electroplate, it is 1x1-1/8 ." "Read for Fun" is on the cover in Braille and on the spine in print.

The pin sells for $20.00. The combination signing and Braille " Love You" Hand Pin and other pieces are available by contacting
Kim Christiansen at P. O. Box 583,
Hanover, NH 03755. Phone: (802) 649-2925.
E-mail: <[email protected]>.

Infants and Toddlers

From Heather Quillin, Blind Children’s Fund, comes the following updated information on how to get the revised editions of the following two excellent booklets for parents of blind infants and toddlers.

Get A Wiggle On (New Revised Edition), by Sherry Raynor and Richard Drouillard. A booklet for parents of infants who are blind or visually impaired with suggestions for assisting development from birth to the walking state. Cost: $5.00 plus S/H

Move It (New Revised Edition), by Richard Drouillard and Sherry Raynor. A sequel to Get A Wiggle On, this booklet contains suggestions for assisting the development of preschool children who are blind or visually impaired from walking to school entrance age. Cost $5.00 plus S/H.For more information about these and other books for parents of blind children, contact Blind Children’s Fund, 4740 Okemos Road, Okemos, MI 48864. Phone: (517) 347-1357. Fax: (517) 347-1459.

E-mail: <[email protected]>.

Website: <www.blindchildrensfund.org>.

Videos for Babies

We’ve been asked to share the following information from one of the exhibitors at the 1999 NFB Convention:

BABYSCAPES is an educational video series designed to help parents create a smarter baby! The first video, Baby’s Smart Start TM, consists of six carefully selected classical music arrangements that accompany computer-generated black, white, and red geometric shapes that have been proven to be clearly recognizable to infants. An infant stimulation booklet written by leading experts is included providing details on how to utilize the Baby’s Smart Start TM video and information on the why and how of a complete infant stimulation program. Celebration of Color TM is the second video. With seven upbeat celebratory classical music pieces, each of the scenes introduces your child to classical music as well as the primary and secondary colors. Miracle of Mozart TM, the third video, teaches children numbers and shapes with state-of-the-art graphics while carefully chosen classical selections of Mozart play in the background. For more information contact BABYSCAPES, 8391 Beverly Blvd., #276, Los Angeles, CA 90048. Phone: (888) 441-KIDS.

Resource for Homeschoolers

Lydia Schuck of Michigan is collecting, storing, and lending Braille textbooks and curriculum materials for homeschoolers. She has collected the materials from many sources, including the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. If you would like to borrow materials or donate materials contact her at Braille Sharing Library, Lydia Schuck, 1981 Eden Road, Mason MI 48854. (517) 676-4621. e-mail: <[email protected]>.

RFB&D Scholarships

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic recently released the following press release information:

Applications are available for two annual National Achievement Awards sponsored by Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D). RFB&D is the nation’s largest nonprofit lending library of recorded textbooks for people with learning disabilities, visual impairments, or other physical disabilities. The application deadline is February 21, 2000. RFB&D’s Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Awards (SAA) are given to nine blind or visually impaired seniors at four-year U.S. colleges or universities. The Marion Huber Learning Through Listening awards (LTL) are presented to six high school seniors with learning disabilities. Award monies total more than $50,000. For additional information on RFB&D’s membership programs, award eligibility criteria, or to request an award application, call RFB&D toll-free at (800) 221-4792.

Braille Menu Project

Keri Stockton, President of the POBC-WV, sends this information about her son’s latest project:

The Phillippi Inn Restaurant now has a Braille menu thanks to the community service project of 10-year-old homeschooler, Nicolas Stockton. Ms. Sharlot Pifer, who teaches Nicolas Nemeth Code and other subjects, read the print menu to him as he embossed the Braille one on his electronic Mountbatten Brailler. Nicolas presented the completed menu to Eric Gain, the Phillippi Inn manager, at a celebration lunch in October. His next project is Brailling the hymnal for the Simpson Creek Baptist Church in Bridgeport.

504 Plans

The following information is reprinted from TECHTALK, the newsletter of the Illinois Assistive Technology Project:

IDEA (the law that requires schools to serve children with special needs and develop IEPs) is an entitlement program. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a civil rights law. Children who have a disability become part of a protected class, and any agency that receives federal funding cannot discriminate on the basis of a child’s disability. Section 504 ensures that your child will have equal access to the services that schools provide. Its definition of disability is more inclusive than the definition in IDEA. If your child has a 504 Accommodation Plan, you will follow many of the steps listed. Accommodation Plans do not have goals. Instead they list modifications to the curriculum, accommodations, and services a child will receive as a qualified person with a disability. If a school district informs a parent that their child may not be eligible for IDEA they should convene a meeting to determine if the child is eligible for services under Section 504. If (s)he is, then they should develop an Accommodation Plan.

Mobility International

The following information comes from Mobility International USA:

At MIUSA, we promote travel that makes a difference. International exchange both benefits individuals and improves intercultural understanding. This can take many forms—from spending a year as a student in England, to volunteering with children in Costa Rica. For a comprehensive list of resources for international exchange, check our website <www.miusa.org> or contact us at MIUSA, P.O. Box 10767, Eugene, OR 97440. Phone: (541) 343-1284. Fax: (541) 343-6812.

MIUSA also serves as the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, funded since 1995 by the US Information Agency to: educate people with disabilities and related organizations about international exchange opportunities; increase the participation of people with disabilities in the full range of programs; advise international exchange organizations about the Americans with Disabilities Act; and facilitate partnerships between people with disabilities, disability-related organizations, and international exchange organizations. The Clearinghouse e-mail address is <[email protected]>.

NTN Offers Website

The following information was announced in the October, 1999, Telability Media Newsletter:

The Tulsa-based Narrative TV Network reports that its television movie programming, made accessible to blind and visually impaired people, is now available worldwide on the Internet at <www.narrativetv.com>.Jim Stovall, president, said the programming is available free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and users can enjoy the programs on demand. This will allow blind and visually impaired people to enjoy NTN’s narrative programming, day or night, at their convenience. In addition to the Internet, NTN offers their programming via broadcast, cable, and satellite, including more than 1,200 affiliates across North America.

Audio Described Movies in the Theater

From the In Touch newsletter of the NJ Parents of Blind Children comes this information:

Descriptive Video Service (DVS) now describes IMAX movies in certain theaters around the country. If you find yourself in these cities with your family, you might want to go—New Orleans, Boston, Houston, Denver, and Chattanooga. To get the DVS described movies and television guide, call (617) 300-3490 or find them on the web at www.wgbh.org/dvs.

Braille Essay Contest

This information comes from the NJ Parents of Blind Children newsletter, In Touch:

The World Blind Union and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind are sponsoring an essay contest on the topic "What Braille Means to Me." Essays should be 1000 to 1500 words and written from a personal perspective which describes how Braille has affected or changed a life. Ten winners will be chosen; each winner will receive $500; winning essays will be published in English, French, and Spanish and distributed internationally. Deadline is February 2, 2000. Entries can be submitted in English, French, or Spanish, in print or Braille, and by blind, VI, deaf-blind, or sighted persons. Electronic submissions are preferred. Include on a separate page the writer’s name, address, and phone number. Do not identify yourself on the essay itself. Send entries to CNIB, 1929 Bayview Ave., Toronto, Ontario, M4G 3E8 Canada, attn. J. Sanders or by e-mail to [email protected]

Great Outdoors

Another booklet from the Blind Children’s Fund:

Backyards and Butterflies: Ways to Include Children With Disabilities in Outdoor Activities is a book written by four mothers to help families make outdoor play accessible for their children with disabilities. Low-tech, inexpensive, homemade "assistive technology" ideas are presented, including how to adapt gardening tools, to make accessible garden sites, and to adapt for fishing, just to name a few. Cost is $10 plus $3 shipping and handling. It is available from: Blind Children’s Fund, 4740 Okemos Road, Okemos, MI 48864-1637, (517) 347-1357.

Computer Games

We’ve been asked to share the following information:

Personal Computer Systems is a company which is operated and maintained by blind programmers. PCS is interested in providing fast action, fun, and exciting computerized board and arcade games for the blind community. In our board games, everything is described with all the necessary details as the game is being played and any information such as position or score may be obtained by hitting a key.

For a descriptive list of our games and prices contact Personal Computer Systems, 551 Compton Avenue, Perth Amboy, NJ 08861. Phone: (732) 826-1917. E-mail: <[email protected]>. Website: <www.webspan.net/~scrivani>.