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Since 1983, The Children's Braille Book Club (CBBC) has been a subscription-based program where National Braille Press (NBP) sends a new print/braille picture book every month for a small fee. Thanks to a generous matching program from the NewCo Foundation, NBP is kicking off a new chapter in the Children's Braille Book Club to include a free 1-year (12-book) subscriptions of the CBBC program to 125 eligible families.

January is National Braille Literacy Month and to encourage advancements for Braille literacy, National Braille press has announced this year's Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation Award.  DEADLINE: January 15, 2021.


During this Covid-19 pandemic, Zoom has become the "go-to" platform, for connecting with co-workers and for social interaction. Of course, there are different levels of familiarity with this technology, and several ways to use it.

According to the World Health Organization, there is an estimated 2 billion visually impaired people in the world with varying degrees of vision loss. Of that, more than 40 million are blind.  People who are blind need and want accessible communications options, just like anyone else.  Enter BlindShell.

We've heard his story before; 50 year old, blind runner Thomas Panek, CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind who began running with sighted guides, then ran the New York City half marathon with only a team of guide dogs.  But now Panek has gone one step further.  On November 19th, 2020, Thomas Panek ran a 5K in Central Park, where he used Google's "Guideline" app instead of help from a human or guide dog.

'Tis the season of giving, and WXXI Reachout Radio is here to help connect you to the places where accessible gifts are available for young and old.

The November, 2020 edition of AccessWorld, from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), features several gift and shopping guides. Deborah Kendrick brings us her yearly gift guide for people with vision loss.

Are you a person who is blind or visually impaired, and curious to learn about "smart home" devices, or learn how to use them? Mystic Access has audio tutorials to help.  " class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

In this year when people around the world are celebrating the 250th birth anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven, blind and hearing impaired children in the Tokyo White Hands Chorus, an El Sistema based music education program in Tokyo, are preparing to sing Beethoven's Ode to Joy, the final chorus in his Symphony No.

The Carroll Center for the Blind: Pathway to Independence, located in Newton, MA has a mission of "serving all ages and all stages of vision loss."  In addition to serving children, teens, adults, seniors and business professionals, The Caroll Center offers Rehabilitation, Low Vision, Independent Living, Orientation & Mobility, Assistive Technology services, Employment training and support and much more. Learn more...

As COVID-19 infections begin to rise again in our region, it's a good time to re-think ways you can do what you need to do, while staying safely at home.  One service you might consider is Instacart, a service that connects you with Shoppers in your area to shop and deliver items from your favorite stores in as fast as an hour.  It’s just that easy.

Listen Online here, or tune into Reachout Radio Sundays at 5:30p or Mondays at 10am and 7pm for this Election 2020 special.  Whether you are concerned about the pandemic, foreign policy, health care, education, the economy, or justice and human rights, your voice can be heard, but only if you vote. Throughout this half hour program you'll learn information about the various ways you can cast your vote, and a listing of the candidates running for office in each race in our region.

Periodically, we like to remind you of the updates and information you can find every week in the "Top Tech Tidbits" newsletter. This time around, there are many items about the latest releases from iOs and Apple, including the iPhone 12.

As concerns over the upcoming election continue, so do news and information of interest to voters. Click title to read more.

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.