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Blindness news

On Thursday, August 20, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed new laws "that will make it easier for New Yorkers to vote and be counted in November." The legislation allows voters to request an absentee ballot due to risk of illness, including COVID-19, and expands the time frame for when those ballots can be requested and postmarked.

We are excited to share that former CEO of the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) and Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, A. Gidget Hopf, Ed.D. will receive National Industries for the Blind’s (NIB) highest honor, the R.B. Irwin Award.

When is it time to begin using a cane? What are your roadblocks to taking this step? Is it best to ease into it by using it now and then, or to just dive right in? Join us for a moderated open chat where you will be able to discuss these topics and others surrounding the use of a cane.

A guest post by Nancy D. Miller, LMSW, Executive Director/CEO
VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

 July 24, 2020

Disney+ has received the 2020 Achievement Award in Audio Description from the American Council of the Blind (ACB), a United States-based organization that strives to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity and quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people.

Recently Nancy Zimmer, volunteer host of Enabled contacted me seeking advice on an article she had planned to read from Britannica which uses language that labels “the blind” throughout the article. Nancy knew that WXXI Reachout Radio has always adopted a policy of using people/person-first language, and she wanted advice on what to do.

CVS Pharmacy announced that it has developed Spoken Rx™, a new feature of the CVS Pharmacy app that can read a specific type of label for patients with visual impairments and those who cannot read standard print labels.

The Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI or AER) is a professional membership organization "dedicated exclusively to professionals who provide services to persons with vision loss." The organization provides networking and mentoring to members, and a variety of tools and training options to enhance professional development. Its ultimate aim is "to ensure that persons with vision loss will have optimal gains and greater independence" through being served by professionals with the highest levels of knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Since early this year, Driven Blind, a 25-minute documentary about Pro Mod driver and chassis builder Dan Parker, who was permanently blinded in a 2012 racing accident, has been making the rounds and winning awards at independent film festivals nationwide. Friday, July 24th at 8:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV. (Repeat Sunday, July 26 at 5:00 p.m.)

Join us for a conversation with Rodney Evans, acclaimed director of Vision Portraits on Sunday, July 26th. As Evans faces the partial loss of his vision, he embarks on a quest to learn how several blind and low vision artists have continued to create art and how their journeys might impact his own. We will screen several poignant sequences of the film and have a conversation with some of the artists portrayed by Evans. Register here:

Touching the Sound documents the extraordinary journey of Nobuyuki (Nobu) Tsujii. Blind from birth, the 24-year-old pianist’s handicap – if a drawback at all – never affected his ability to play the piano. Touching the Sound, part of WXXI and the Golisano Foundation's Move to Include initiative that uses the power of public media to promote inclusion, airs Friday, July 10, 2020 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

Sticks and Stones, and Braille Phones, and Words that Never Hurt Me

Thirty years ago this month, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. It's just so hard to think that it's been three decades since the enactment of what has come to be known as the Emancipation Proclamation for all people with disabilities.

Mystic Access, "where the magic is in learning," can help you connect with the world. The company strives to support and empower blind and visually impaired users of assistive technology through and beyond the intimidation, frustration and poorly constructed documentation too often associated with learning.  Instead, Mystic Access provides comprehensive, professionally-produced audio tutorials and personalized one-on-one and group training opportunities.

The National Braille Press (NBP) promotes Braille literacy, through instructional programs for children and courses for teachers of the visually impaired. NBP also provides access to information that empowers blind people to actively engage in work, family, and community affairs.  The Braille bookstore offers a wide range of books for adults and children, in a variety of formats, as well as other Braille publications.

For over 20 years Freedom Scientific has provided access to print and computers for individuals with blindness and low vision, and now they are extending their offer of FREE, short-term licences for JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion to individuals who must remain home during the COVID-19 crisis.  Learn more...

The New York State Board of Elections and disability groups, including the ACB, have reached an agreement that provides voters with a more accessible absentee ballot for the June 23 primary election. Qualified voters with disabilities who submit an absentee-ballot request will receive an accessible, electronically-delivered absentee ballot. Requests must be submitted on or before June 16, 2020

There are 90 accredited schools around the world that train guide dogs for the blind, and many others that train assistance dogs for people with hearing loss or physical disability. Many, like the Seeing Eye in Morris Township, NJ, Guiding Eyes for the Blind in New York, and Canine Companions for Independence in Los Altos, CA have been closed by the coronavirus pandemic, leaving people who need to replace their service dogs or who need training, stuck in limbo. Additionally, hundreds of dogs at these schools need a place to stay during the pandemic.  Learn more.

As we all learn to social distance, it is important for those of us who are sighted to help people with guide dogs know we are there and help keep a safe distance. The Seeing Eye, one of 90 accredited guide dog schools in the nation, has updated their 5 Tips to reflect new social distancing norms.

The Chroideremia Research Foundation is offering three FREE webinars for people with vision loss.  You'll learn about a variety of accessible Apps, get the latest on accessible software, and have a chance to "Chat" with others with vision loss. Here they are the three sessions and what they'll cover. 

The 2020 Census: Facts and Accessibility

May 12, 2020

Every 10 years since 1790 the United States has counted its population. Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year, determining health clinics, fire departments, schools, roads and highways. The results also determine how many seats in Congress each state gets.

During this pandemic, people around the world are once again returning to hobbies that they may not have done for years.  Just because you have lost your vision doesn't mean that you can't take up a hobby as well.  Whether you like to write, do crafts like knitting, crocheting or painting, you garden, cook, or are into tech gadgets, the Hadley School has a discussion group and podcast for you. These FREE groups are open to all and you can call in by phone or on computer. Days and times vary. Learn more.

ACB: A Path to the Future, July 3-10, 2020

Due to the ever-changing restrictions involving the Coronavirus and The American Council of the Blind’s concern for everyone's health and safety, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person 2020 Conference and Convention in Schaumburg, IL.  But fear not, you can register to attend virtually, beginning May 21st (ACB members), or May 28th (non-members). Registration closes June 21st.

Right now we're hearing a lot about distance/remote learning.  But remote learning isn't just for students.  As adults we all have a lot we can learn from experts in various field, and through new learning methods. The Hadley School for the Blind offers a great series of podcasts you can listen to for free anytime at Hadley Presents.

BlindAlive announces Eyes-Free Fitness®, a Free accessible fitness program for all.  These free audio programs allow you to stretch, strengthen, condition, and tone your body, all without the benefit of eyesight.  There's everything from meditation to stretch, balance, cardio (at different levels), yoga, pilates, weight training and more.

The American Foundation for the Blind and the American Council of the Blind are looking for people who are blind or visually impaired in the United States, over the age of 18 to respond to a survey about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your life.  Click here to TAKE THE SURVEY.

As everyone is dealing with social isolation and figuring out how to maintain our sanity, while taking care of ourselves physically and mentally during this Coronavirus Pandemic and the need for Social Distancing, people with vision loss have their own additional challenges during times like this.  We aren't going to try to tell you how to do it, or what to do.  But we want to share links to a number of articles and resources from which you may find some good tools or tricks to help you through this time.  Here's what we've found to share...

Regional Transit Service has announced that they will temporarily waive bus fares beginning Friday, March 20 until at least April 19th, or until the current state of emergency is lifted in Monroe County.   More about the decision to waive fares.

Recently CBS 60 Minutes did a story on Matthew Whitaker, a blind piano player who has caught the attention of not just jazz audiences all around the country, but also neuroscientists that are studying how the visual cortex of his brain responds to music.

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Feb 18, 2020

Whether your job requires the use of power tools, or long hours on a computer, it is important to keep eye health and safety in mind as the gift of sight is irreplaceable.

Have you ever wished you could talk face-to-face with the representatives that provide services to people with vision loss in New York State – or that someone would be around to help you fill out that application for Bookshare or NFB Newsline?