Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Resources for Persons with Disabilities for Finding Employment

Inspired by National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), we intend to highlight in this post several resources available to anyone with a disability that they can use to locate employment. While a few of them are local or regional in scope, most are available to anyone in the United States. Some of the listed agencies offer tips for finding employment; others offer job boards, job listings, and career fairs. Note that we are not including vocational rehabilitation services or offices for the blind as these vary by state.

There also may be other local resources that you may obtain; check with the appropriate personnel in your state or region. For the sake of clarity, we placed these resources into what we are calling “restricted” and “unrestricted” resources. We use the term restricted to indicate either that the resource has a limited scope, i.e., its services are only available to people in a particular area of the country, or the resource is only available to people with an active case with their vocational rehabilitation office.

Restricted Resources

Equal Opportunity Publications Career Expos

Equal Opportunity Publications (EOP), sponsors career expos throughout the year. At these expos, individuals with disabilities can meet with prospective employers and discuss job possibilities. Unfortunately, these expos happen only in selected cities like Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C. However, the site also hosts an online job board that is national in scope. You can search for positions throughout the country or view their featured jobs.

Additionally, the site mentions several magazines published by the organization including Careers and the Disabled Magazine. The site describes itself by saying, “Since 1968, Equal Opportunity Publications, Inc. (EOP) has led the way in diversity recruitment with a portfolio of seven national career magazines, a diversity website, online job board, and Career Expos for women, members of minority groups, and people with disabilities. Check out their site at You may "like" them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Talent Acquisition Portal

“The Talent Acquisition Portal® (TAP) is an online system which includes a national talent pool of individuals with disabilities looking for employment and a job posting system for businesses looking to hire.”

TAP provides businesses with pre-employment and disability awareness training. The one thing to keep in mind is that TAP is linked to vocational rehabilitation services; it appears that a person must have an open case to use TAP. The TAP site notes that when viewing resumes, recruiters have “a direct link to the local VR office of the candidate” and that office’s team member. Thus, one can only use the service if he or she has an open case with a state vocational rehabilitation office or an office for the Blind. Find out more about TAP at their website, "Like" them on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, or follow them on LinkedIn.

Unrestricted Sites


“ is an employment resource specifically for individuals and veterans with disabilities. Facing an unemployment rate that is almost twice the national average, GettingHired seeks to improve employment opportunities for those individuals by connecting them to inclusive employers who are actively looking to diversify their workforce.”

As part of a direct communication with someone from the site, we received the following information:

We are America’s largest online career community for individuals with disabilities. We are a free employment resource and job seekers with disabilities can search for open jobs on our fully accessible website, listing over 100K jobs nationwide: across all industries & experience levels. The 180+ companies that work with us are actively seeking to hire more individuals with a disability and include many Fortune 500 employers such as IBM, Lockheed Martin, Coca-Cola, Disney, MetLife, General Motors & many more.

GettingHired assists persons with disabilities seeking employment in several ways. It offers a number of free 30-60-minute webinar presentations on various topics related to gaining employment. If you create a job seeker account at this link, you can be updated whenever a new webinar is posted. Webinars are presented once each month and are archived on the site. Creating a job seeker account also is how you begin searching for open positions.

GettingHired also offers online job fairs. These career expos allow job seekers to interact with employers online without having to leave one’s home. They also produce their Getting Hired Career Insights Blog with additional job seeking information. Visit their homepage at You may connect with them via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.


CareerConnect, a site administered by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), connects job seekers who are blind and visually impaired with mentors who can teach and advise them on any number of subjects. Individuals must register and create an account to take advantage of this feature. Besides contacting mentors, job seekers can utilize tools for writing and improving resumes, developing better interviewing skills, and use other portions of the job seeker toolkit to determine what type of jobs might be best for them. There are exercises available for assessing one’s skills and abilities and plenty of material to read about becoming a more confident and qualified applicant. Although CareerConnect does not offer job boards, its mentoring option is tremendously helpful. Any person who is blind and visually impaired may sign up to mentor others; at the same time, this service is available to anyone who wishes to take advantage of it. If you are trying to determine what kind of work you want to do or if you are looking to change careers, you may benefit from this service; if you are succesfuly employed, you can choose to help others achieve their goals. Read more about CareerConnect at

Disability Job Exchange

This is another site which seeks to assist both people with disabilities and veterans with finding employment. They host virtual career fairs, some of which are aimed more at veterans. They also offer a national online job database and a listing of companies who work with them. Unfortunately, when navigating the list with a screen reader, the list appears to be images with no alt text descriptions so one would have to click on each link to see the company’s name. Nevertheless, despite this one accessibility concern, the site lists many companies that it works with and offers a detailed search functionality. See their site by navigating to They are available on social media also. Visit them on Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube

Think Beyond the Label

Think Beyond the Label (TBTL), is another site looking to connect employers and job seekers with disabilities. They maintain a job board which is unique because it lists employers that are actively recruiting candidates at the top of the board. TBTL also offers success stories of people with disabilities who are working, interview tips, resume assistance, tips on appropriate attire for interviews, and information on exactly how companies recruit people with disabilities. All of this information is readily available on their site for job seekers Find them on Facebook and Twitter, join their LinkedIn group, or subscribe to their YouTube channel.


“We are the Leading Website dedicated to employment of people with disabilities. We are also the largest resume bank with tens of thousands of job seekers with disabilities, from entry level candidates to PhD. If your company is looking for talent, you have come to the right place.” This is abilityJOBS’s description of its site.

The job board is easy to locate, and the site has dedicated pages for job seekers and employers. The site shows some featured jobs on its homepage as well as news articles concerning disability issues. It also provides a link for receiving ABILITY Magazine, which it produces, and their one obvious social media offering, the Facebook feed for ABILITY Magazine, is also found on the homepage. Find abilityJOBS at


AbilityLinks, based in Illinois, recently held an online job fair in recognition of NDEAM. The site notes that 60% of its users are from the Chicago area, and 40% are from areas throughout the nation. The site says the following about what it does:

AbilityLinks is a nationwide, web-based community where qualified job seekers with disabilities and inclusive employers meet and gain access to valuable networking opportunities.

Job seekers who want to connect to employers by voluntarily self-identifying having a disability use AbilityLinks to post resumes and apply for jobs. No information about disability type is asked.

AbilityLinks Information and Referral Counselors, that have a disability, provide a caring human touch.

AbilityLinks states that at least 600 users have reported finding employment through the site. One unique feature offered by AbilityLinks is a personalized job counseling session with one of their consultants. A consultant may help to provide a job seeker with direction and guidance in many areas. For more information contact them at or call 630/909-7440.

Bender Consulting Services

Bender Consulting Services is focused on employment of persons with disabilities, but they focus both on public and private sector jobs as they note in the description of their services:

At Bender Consulting Services, Inc. our mission is to recruit and hire people with disabilities for competitive career opportunities in the public and private sectors.

As the economy is continuing its recovery, and employment numbers are increasing, an overwhelming 13 million Americans with disabilities remain unemployed. Since 1995, Bender Consulting Services has worked to solve these critical social and business issues by providing employers with reliable talent, and giving well-trained individuals with disabilities the chance to display their abilities and enhance their lives through solid careers. To date, Bender Consulting Services has placed individuals with disabilities in major organizations such as CSC, Highmark, Bayer Corporation, Anthem, Inc. and many federal agencies. These individuals have expertise in information technology, finance/accounting, engineering, human resources, mathematics, biology and other professional areas.

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Bender Consulting Services also has a strong presence across the United States and in Canada through its sister company, Bender Consulting Services of Canada.

Bender Consulting Services partners with CareerEco several times a year to host their own virtual career fairs. Similar in format to the virtual career fairs offered by other listed sites, these job fairs require a job seeker to log into a special platform where the job seeker chats with the employer. Since the job seeker uploads a resume before the event, the employer knows at least something about the candidate most of the time. Usually the list of available employers appears on the site before the career fair so job seekers can select which companies they wish to talk to and hone their search.

Virtual career fairs, however, are only a small part of Bender’s many services. They gather resumes and interview potential candidates for positions and attempt to match prospective candidates with potential employers. Often available positions are full-time though some are 12-month positions. These short-term positions are best for individuals just starting out in the workforce, perhaps individuals nearing the completion of their post-secondary education.

Bender also maintains a database of individuals seeking federal government employment, collects resumes, and offers a list to interested agencies. The agency, having viewed the list of candidates, contacts individuals it wishes to interview. A completed resume and a Schedule A letter is required to join this database.

Bender’s application process is lengthy and detailed, requiring more than one interview with a potential candidate. They strive to fit individuals seeking employment with a job that is well-suited to their qualifications. In addition, Bender’s site is quite extensive; we have only mentioned a few of the highlights here. They offer many other programs and information about employing people with disabilities; begin exploring what Bender has to offer by visiting Read their blog, Chick out their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Searching for a job can be overwhelming; finding specialized resources for conducting a job search, especially as a person with a disability, can add to the challenge. Nevertheless, we have gathered these resources with the belief that you, yourself, may benefit from utilizing them or that you may share them with someone who may benefit from them. Although many of the sites are similar as far as what they do, each site probably has relationships with different companies and organizations. Therefore, the more sites you use, the more likely it is that you will find suitable employment. Please remember that we have not included state rehabilitation services, college career services, mainstream employment websites, or specific city, state or federal government sites that assist people in finding jobs since those will vary depending upon your location. We wish you well with your search for new or more appropriate employment. If you find a job through one of these sites, let them know, of course, and share your success with us.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Throwback Thursday Object: Script Letter Board from 1963

Our object this week is a Script-Letter Board from 1963. When schools for the blind were founded in the United States in the 19th century, handwriting was a big part of the curriculum. There were numerous handwriting guides being invented and marketed. Most of that started to go away in the 1870s with the invention of the typewriter. But students still needed to be able to sign their name in cursive letters. Designed for student practice in making muscular movements for handwriting, the APH Script-Letter Board was made of rigid black plastic and featured recessed script letters that can be traced with a stylus or pencil. Around 1990 APH redesigned the product, made thicker (1/8") and from a white plastic rather than black PVC. You can still buy the revised model today.

Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Friday, October 14, 2016

Becoming a Better Cook: Tips and Recipes That Can Help

Becoming A Better Cook: Tips and Recipes That Can Help!


Do you wish you were a better cook? Have you allowed blindness or a visual impairment to prevent you from learning to cook? Perhaps you simply haven’t taken the time to learn. Maybe you have fairly well-developed culinary skills and want to improve them. Whether you are a novice cook, an expert, or you fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, we have found some resources that may be right for you.


Cooking in the Dark


Cooking in the Dark is a radio show that offers its listeners recipes and tips for making them. Hosts Dale Campbell and Cheryl Cummings demonstrate specific equipment that people who are blind and visually impaired can use to cook more easily and efficiently. The show is heard on ACB Radio Mainstream Saturday nights and Sundays and may also be available on other reading services for people who are blind.


Cooking in the Dark is archived; you can listen to shows from as far back as 2007. As you examine the archive, you will notice that each show’s description mentions what recipe or recipes the hosts will make on that show. Below the show description is a link to download that show directly. The archived shows are available at


Some of the gadgets used by Campbell and Cummings can be purchased from the Blind Mice Mega Mall, a site administered by Campbell which contains several categories of products. Some of the products are blindness-related while others are not. Check out the Mega Mall for more details about all of their available products. As the slogan for Cooking in the Dark says: You don’t have to have sight to cook dinner tonight!


Cooking in the Dark Email List


You may be wondering where Campbell and Cummings get the recipes that they cook on their show. Some of them, at least, come from the Cooking in the Dark email list, a list dedicated to the sharing of tips, tricks and recipes by cooks who are blind and visually impaired. Cooks of all levels are encouraged to join the list, ask questions and share tips and recipes. If you wish to subscribe to the list, send a blank email to and reply to the message you receive. For more details about the list including list guidelines, go to


The Blind Mom Blog


This blog is written by Nicole Rasmussen, a mother of four children. Rasmussen, after losing her sight in 2001, was scared to have children. She admits that a mother who is blind faces unique challenges that a mother with sight probably would not face. At the same time, as Rasmussen says, “I hope as you follow my blog that you can laugh, cry, and experience with me what it is like being a blind mom.”


I try to share my story and testimony as much as I can, Rasmussen states on her page telling about herself. I feel that it has given me an amazing opportunity to help others who are going through trials and hardships. I also love to share my love of cooking with other mothers.


Rasmussen has appeared on several prominent television shows. Videos of her appearances are on her About Me page on her blog. In addition to her personal story, Rasmussens blog contains a recipe wall that contains recipes of varying types including beef, pork, chicken, breakfast, soups, casseroles, sides and drinks, and desserts. You can follow Rasmussen on Twitter or contact her by filling out the form on her blog.


Anyone looking for recipes will find an incredible number of them on the Cooking in the Dark radio show and email list and the Blind Mom blog. In addition, all of these resources can provide cooking tips. Their existence also may encourage more individuals who are blin

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

October 2016 APH News

**This Month’s Headlines:

  • APH Helps Release Annual Reports from Historic Residential Schools for the Blind
  • APH Gets Your Product Feedback!
  • Field Testers Needed: Room with a View
  • APH at World Blind Union
  • Graphiti—Experts Needed
  • The Road to Accessible MAP
  • Social Media Spotlight
  • New Products
  • APH Travel Calendar and much, much more…

Friday, September 30, 2016

The id mate Talking Bar Code Scanner

The id mate Talking Galaxy Bar Code Scanner


For a number of years, En-Vision America has manufactured a talking bar code scanner. They produced five previous talking bar code scanners. Now, however, they have produced their sixth and newest scanner called the id mate Galaxy. I had an opportunity to see it in action at one of the summer conventions and can vouch for several of its advertised features. This post is not a review, however; instead, it is an informational piece intended to inform everyone of the existence and availability of this device.


What is the id mate Galaxy?


According to the page that describes the unit which can be found at this link:

i.d. mate Galaxy is a portable “all-in-one” talking bar code scanner that aids visually or print impaired individuals with the identification of items via the product’s bar code or UPC. Using text-to-speech and digital voice recording technologies, it allows users to access an on-board database of product descriptions, along with a tailored set of recorded voice messages. With i.d. mate Galaxy, the user can quickly add additional voice recorded information to existing products or to items not found in the database. Additional bar code labels are available to label any product or item that does not already have a bar code. Adhesive, tag, and clothing labels can be placed on nearly anything. Simply scan the bar code and add a voice recording.


New Features of the id mate Galaxy


The id Mate Galaxy possesses several features that distinguish it from older id mate products.


Improved Speech


The id mate Galaxy works by reading the bar code information to the user. Older id mate products used a synthesized voice that sounded quite robotic. Now, however, the Galaxy uses Tom, one of the many voices from Nuance. Thus, the voice quality and readability is significantly improved.


Wi-Fi and Bluetooth


The Galaxy can connect to Bluetooth headsets so you can listen in privacy and at a volume that suits you. It also has a Wi-Fi setting that lets you connect to a Wi-Fi network. This setting is especially useful; if you scan an item not in the database, the Galaxy can immediately go online to attempt to locate it in another database. If you are a person who is blind and someone else who is sighted can give you the information about a particular item not currently found in the database, you can use the feature that lets you record your own description which is saved for future use. This feature, which has existed in all of the id mate products, is helpful, but looking online for the product information may greatly increase the independence of someone who is blind that is using the Galaxy. The other advantage of having the ability to use the unit online is that it makes software and database updating much easier. You can download updated software and databases directly to the unit--no more downloading to the computer, putting the update on a card and reinserting the card back into the unit.


Ergonomic Design


The unit, itself, is much lighter and smaller than previous id mate units and still possesses a large scanning window for scanning products. Using the included neck strap, you can keep the Galaxy with you and scan products quite easily and quickly. Because it is light—only 11 ounces, you may barely notice that you are carrying a device on a neckstrap.


New Database


As one would expect, the product database has grown significantly as have the number of products with additional directions for preparation, etc. For example, if you scan a CD, you may hear the list of tracks; if you scan a frozen pizza, you may hear its cooking directions and nutritional information. Scrolling through the included information remains simple to do; press the “next” or “previous” buttons to listen to the text. Press these buttons more quickly to skip sections of text. A sound is heard after a portion of text is read that tells you that there is more information forthcoming. When you reach the last bit of information and you hit the next button, you hear the first set of text again.


Other Improvements


The Galaxy now lets you use a Micro SD Card of up to 8GB of memory whereas before you were restricted to 2GB of memory with some of the previous units. In addition, the Galaxy can store and play MP3 files including music. It also contains a new feature called inventory control; when you enter this mode, the unit stores items you scan. It does not keep track of how many you have—you must do this, but it will let you know if you already scanned a certain item. This mode is ideal for vendors and others trying to keep track of how many of a certain item one has.


For more information, visit this page where you can subscribe to the dedicated Yahoo users group, download the user’s guide in PDF, Word, and audio, and read more details about the features of this product.


Certainly there are other options for barcode scanning. Some apps do this at a much lower cost. However, you may not always have a phone available, and you may have more difficulty scanning the bar code with the app due to the necessarily smaller scanning window. The app may or may not present you with all the directions that you will get from the Galaxy. You will have to determine which bar code identification system works best for you. Even if you use an app at times, you may find the id mate Galaxy to be a very useful product.


Contacting En-Vision America


If you wish to contact the manufacturer of the id mate Galaxy, En-Vision America or purchase the Galaxy, you may call 309-452-3088 or call their toll free number, 800-890-1180. You can visit the company website at Visit them on Facebook, or go to the id mate Facebook page. You also can follow them on Twitter. They also offer an email list where you can stay updated on all their products and news. We encourage your comments; have you tried the id mate Galaxy? Give us your impressions of the device by leaving a comment.

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The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

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