Showing posts from October, 2005

The Key To Access

The Key to Access enables you to take your Assistive Software with you on a portable USB MP3 Player. By just inserting the MP3 Player into any USB Port, the floating tool bar will appear, you just click on any of the eight different tools. The software NEVER needs to be installed on your computer. All your personal settings are saved on your Key to Access so that no matter which computer you use, your access will be the same. The built-in voice recorder allows you to dictate notes or record lectures and listen to them later. You get 8 powerful tools. Plug it into the USB drive and you have access to a 250,000-word Talking Dictionary. The Universal Reader is ideal for reading emails and web pages and E-Text Reader is a tremendous study tool that allows you to highlight, bookmark, search and extract text from a document. The Talking Word Processor has talking word prediction and the world's most powerful talking grammar check. Scan and Read Pro is compatible with most flat bed …

Where Does The Braille Plus Sign Go?

Message: When doing nemeth addition or subtraction with dollar signs, where do you put the operation indicator? location: CT If you are writing the problem horizontally, the operation sign goes between the numbers, an example would be $45+$32. If the problem is written vertically, the operation sign goes out under the dollar sign. In print, the sign is actually a space to the left of the bottom number. Not sure that is a rule in braille, but often there is at least one space between the plus sign and the last addend, or between the times sign and the bottom factor.

Contributor: Carla Ruschival
BellaOnline's Sight Loss Editor

Science Lab for the Visually Impaired

What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor, a scientist, an astronaut, a veterinarian? If you've ever dreamed of pursuing a career in the Sciences but have been discouraged by a variety of accessibility issues, we have good news for you! The VISIONS Lab at Purdue University in Indiana may be a way to pursue your dreams. VISIONS Lab stands for Visually Impaired Students Initiative on Science. It is a unique facility, a laboratory for students who are blind or visually impaired. This laboratory was created to give blind and visually impaired individuals access to information about complex and high-tech fields such as Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Biology, and Mathematics. Fields that, traditionally, had been inaccessible to those students with visual impairments. The VISIONS Lab not only produces educational materials for visually impaired students, but it also serves as a research lab for developing new adaptive technologies in the field of blindness. Since 1995, t…

"Finding Wheels: A Curriculum for Non-Drivers With Visual Impairments for Gaining Control of Transportation Needs"

"Finding Wheels" is a curriculum designed for adolescents in middle school and high school who have visual impairments (or other disabilities) and who would benefit from exploring what their options are as non-drivers. The curriculum was written by Dr. Anne Corn of Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum of the University of Arizona. "Finding Wheels" is very flexible in how it is used - teachers, O&M specialists, or parents can use it with teens in either a home, school, or summer program setting. A teen can move through the curriculum individually or in a group. Not every teen will need to explore all 10 of the units. Each individual's needs and interests will determine what parts of "Finding Wheels" are appropriate. The curriculum contains four sections. In the first, users meet four travelers, some of whom are more successful than others. Next, teens explore who they are as travelers (e.g., rites of passage, knowi…

Leo: A Braille Display Calculator from Sensory Tools

The people at the Sensory Tools division of Robotron have developed a new type of miniature Mechanotronic Braille Cell that is small enough to make the creation of a Braille display scientific calculator a reality instead of a dream. Unlike a talking calculator, this product allows the visually impaired user to work mathematical calculations quietly. This gives Leo a clear use in classroom, office, library and other settings where noise can be disruptive. Besides standard arithmetic functions, Leo can perform square root, sine, cosine, tangent, and logarithm operations and their respective inverse functions, conversions, financial functions and more. The display area has 8 cells and can accurately display to 10 significant digits. The unit is 4.75 by 3.75 by 0.8 inches, and weighs about 10 ounces, including batteries. Rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries and a charger are included.

Sensory Tools Division of Robotron PTY.Ltd.
222 St. Kilda Rd.
St. Kilda

Accessible Graphing Calculator software sounds just right

In the market for a truly accessible graphing calculator? Then check out a product from ViewPlus Software. AGC is a scientific calculator that provides voiced feedback for computations, as well as audio representations of graphs. The versatile AGC can import data from Excel® or a host of other applications. AGC allows you to quickly and easily create tactile copies of your AGC graphs by printing directly to any ViewPlus Embosser. In addition to its ability to graph and display functions, AGC has features typical of a good hand-held scientific graphing calculator. It has a standard on-screen keypad scientific calculator as well as an expression evaluator which permits the user to save, define and recall constants such as those used in the physical sciences and engineering.

ViewPlus Technologies
1853 SW Airport Avenue
Corvallis, OR 97333
Phone: 541-754-4002
Fax: 541-738-6505

Contributor: Bi…

Mountbatten Braille Writer and Braille Literacy Website

Quantum Technology has created a website devoted solely to the Mountbatten Braille Writer and braille literacy. The Mountbatten is recognized around the world as a tool for helping young children achieve braille literacy and the technical literacy they will need to compete in our increasingly electronic world. This site contains a world of information and resources for parents and educators, as well as stories from people who currently use the Mountbatten. The site contains links to research work undertaken using the Mountbatten at SET-BC in Canada and at the Texas School for the Blind, copies of papers and presentations, links to sources of curriculum materials, information that may help in fundraising and much more. You can visit the site by clicking this link: and they welcome your stories and ideas. Based in Sydney Australia, Quantum Technology has developed a wide range of assistive technology tools over the last 30 years. One of their founda…

Remember the Milk

I make lists for everything, from what I need to get done for Fred's Head to house chores to grocery lists. When I found this site I was delighted! So after checking out the Learn More link, I readily signed up. It's free! This is a very thorough planner and list maker. The first screen you see when you sign up and log in is the Overview area. You'll have one task already assigned to you. That task is to "Try out Remember the Milk". I headed over to the Tasks section next. There you can check off your first task and click complete. This will make "Try Out Remember the Milk" go away. To add tasks, just click the link Add Task. Before you start adding tasks, check out the Inbox, Personal, Study, Work, and Sent tabs. The Inbox is like your e-mail inbox, but instead of getting e-mail you can receive lists from other users. This could be really fantastic to use for family chores, or tasks from your boss at work. You can send lists to other users in the…

VisAbility: Low Vision Reading System

VisAbility turns a PC computer and scanner into a magnification and reading system. You can scan any printed or handwritten material and display it at up to 32 times its original size. It allows instant access to any portion of the image, including books, magazines, letters and pictures. Its features allow continuous reading through the entire image or within columns of text, and to fill in and print completed forms.

For more information contact: Ai Squared
Phone: 802-362-3612
Email: Web:

Contributor: Maria Delgado

The Many Windows of Zoomtext

ZoomText is an Accessibility application that combines a screen magnifier with a screen reader. ZoomText includes support for all Windows platforms, including Windows 95/98, NT, 2000, and XP Home and Pro . The ZoomText family of software consists of two product levels: Level 1 is the most advanced screen magnifier on the market. Level 2 offers a fully integrated magnifier and screen reader designed specifically for the low-vision computer user. Both product levels have a reading module called The DocReader , a full-screen environment for reading text from any Windows application. DocReader automatically reads through complete documents, including web pages and email. ZoomText users are diverse in many ways, from their type of vision impairment, to the computer applications they use, to their preferences on how the screen is magnified. One of the ways in which ZoomText accommodates this diversity is through its eight zoom window types: Full, Overlay, Lens, Line and four Docked pos…

Liberty and Liberty Plus

The Liberty and Liberty Plus Portable Magnification Systems are practical for students on campus and for mobile professionals. Liberty offers 4.5x-9x continuous zoom lens magnification. Liberty Plus offers 8x-16x zoom lens magnification with extended magnification up to 64x with its unique digital zoom feature. Both offer built-in roller tracks that help guide the user smoothly across the text. Their screen features high-brightness, low flicker flat screen technology with a wide range of monitor brightness adjustments. The user can choose Positive (black letters on a white background), Negative (white letters on a black background), Photo view, or a variety of text and background color displays to accommodate contrast sensitive low vision users.

For more information contact:

Freedom Vision
Toll Free: 800-961-1334
Email: Info@freedom

Contributor: maria delgado

Magnify and Enlarge Your World With Freedom Vision

Freedom Vision is a nationwide distributor of products for people with low vision that specializes in accessibility and portability. Their products meet special interests for education from K-12, colleges, and universities, as well as rehabilitation job placement and job retention, Some of their products include: The Prisma, Liberty and Liberty Plus portable magnification systems, the TVi Zoom hand-held Video Magnifier, and the VisAble large display scientific calculator. For more information contact:

Freedom Vision
615 Tami Way
Mountain View, CA 94041
Toll Free: 800-961-1334
Phone: 650-961-6541
Fax: 650-968-4740
Email: Info@freedom

Contributor: Maria Delgado

Keeping braille paper in its place

Do sheets of braille paper keep slip slidin' away from you as you move your hand across the page? Here's a handy tip to help keep your braille paper in place. Place your paper on a ½ inch thick or thicker piece of packing foam. The foam grips the paper just enough to keep it from slipping, and, if you like to place your reading matter in your lap, the foam's thickness keeps the paper from folding or bunching. A good source for packing foam is in boxes used to ship electronics equipment and computers. Ask your local electronics dealer or computer store to set aside a piece if you don't have any foam at home. You might also find foam remnants at carpet and rug dealers, department stores and merchants who ship or receive fragile goods.

Contributor: Fred Gissoni

Putting the "sense" into cinema: DVS Theatrical® in-cinema narration service

A descriptive narration service is receiving thumbs-up from blind, visually impaired and sighted movie fans alike. The service, called DVS Theatrical, lets blind and visually impaired moviegoers hear key descriptive narration--such as actions, settings, and scene changes--over headsets, thus eliminating the need to ask for narrative assistance and risk disturbing other audience members. DVS is the narration service pioneered by the Access Division of WGBH public television. For years, WGBH has offered the service to make its shows and other public television programming accessible to blind and visually-impaired viewers. Now, the Media Access Division of WGBH--comprised of The Caption Center, Descriptive Video Service Theatrical and the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), is spearheading an effort to introduce DVS Theatrical into movie houses across the United States. DVS Theatrical and The Rear Window Captioning System (a sister-technology for deaf and hard of hearing movi…

Canes and Cane Accessories from AmbuTech

AmbuTech carries a variety of canes and cane accessories. Products include aluminum, fiberglass, and graphite rigid and folding mobility canes, adjustable and fixed-length support and orthopedic support canes, Kiddie mobility canes, and identification canes. In addition, they carry cane accessories such as cane pouches, holsters, clips and cane tips. AmbuTech can manufacture custom products or sizes. They also repair and refurbish canes, and make every effort to return all canes within five working days of receipt.

AMBUTECH (A division of Melet Plastics Inc.)
34 DeBaets St.
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2J 3S9
Toll Free: 800-561-3340
Phone: 204-663-3340
Fax: 800-267-5059 or 204-663-9345

Quick and Easy SearchingWithin Braille Books

Index tabs can help reduce the amount of time spent searching through braille text and reference books, such as glossaries and appendices. To make your own tabs, follow this simple procedure: Cut several 1 by 3/4-inch strips from poster board.Apply braille letters to the tags by using laminating sheets, dymo tape, or some other medium.Attach the tag to the right-hand side of the page, matching the letter with the appropriate section.For pages that are brailled in interpoint, the brailled tags are turned toward the back of the book for a section that begins on the back of the page.To use the index, simply locate the correct letter and track across the page from right to left to begin a search.

Contributor: Marlene Culpepper

National Braille Association (NBA)

The National Braille Association (NBA) is a volunteer, non-profit organization that provides continuing education opportunities to people who prepare braille. It also provides braille materials to persons who are blind and visually impaired. The NBA's referral service links interested organizations with qualified independent contractors who conduct seminars on braille transcribing, aduio tape recording techniques and tactile graphics. It hosts a national membership conference every two years and publishes the NBA Bulletin, a quarterly newsletter available in accessible formats that contains technical advice for the braille transcriber and or reader. The NBA's services for the blind include transcribing and duplicating services. There are approximately 2,300 titles in the group's collection, all listed in one of three NBA catalogs: NBA Textbook Catalog, NBA Music Catalog, and NBA General Interest Catalog. Catalogs are free upon request.

National Braille Association
3 Townl…

Idea Box: Early Childhood Education and Activity Resources

The Idea Box is an interesting Web site that provides a wealth of tips, projects and concepts to stimulate and educate young imaginations. The content of the Idea Box is categorized as follows: Activities Seasonal Games Music and Songs Recipes Craft Recipes Crafts Many of the ideas posted in this site use craft materials that are commonly found in any classroom, and most of these projects can easily be adapted for children with multiple disabilities. This site provides a good resource for games and projects with holiday themes.

Click this link to see what's in The Idea Box today:

Contributor: Maria Delgado

Lesser Known Screen Readers for Windows and Speech Synthesizer Manufacturers

We all know of JAWS for Windows and Window Eyes, but did you know there are others out there to choose from? Here's a list of some alternatives! Artic Technologies International Inc.
Screen Readers: WinVision
Synthesizers: Synphonix, Trans
55 Park Street
Troy, MI 48083
Phone: (248) 588-7370
Fax: (248) 588-2650
Website: http://www.artictech.comSyntha-Voice Computers Inc.
Screen Readers: Window Bridge 2000
304-800 Queenston Rd.
Stoney Creek, Ontario L8G 1A7
Phone: (905) 662-0565
Fax: (905) 662-0568
Toll-free: (800) 263-4540
Website: Access Group, Inc.
Screen readers: OutSPOKEN
436 14th Street, Suite 700
Oakland CA 94612
Phone: (510) 451-ALVA (510) 451-2582
Fax: (510) 451-0878
Website: http://www.aagi.comEconoNet International, Inc.
Screen Readers: Simply Talker
14211 W. La Sedona Circle
Delray Beach, FL 33484
Phone: (561) 638-0926
Website: Computer Access Limite…

My Address Bar Is Gone!

The address bar is a great way to quickly check out the current URL of the page your currently viewing. If you use a screen reader you can hit ALT+D to jump directly to it to copy a url or to type in a new one. I'm not sure how this happens, but now and then the address bar will disappear. Restoring it is pretty easy. With Internet Explorer go to View, choose Toolbars, and click on Address Bar. In Netscape navigator go to View, Show/Hide, then click Navigation Toolbar. See, that wasn't so hard. Now you should have your address bar back.

What Is a Screen Reader, and Basic Points to Remember When Choosing One

A screen reader is a piece of software that turns the text in your computer screen into speech or braille. If the text is to be turned into speech, the screen reader requires the use of a speech synthesizer. If the text is to be turned into braille, the screen reader requires the use of a refreshable braille display. There are 3 kinds of speech synthesizers. A synthesizer can be a card that is inserted into the computer, an external device attached to the computer by a cable, or software that functions with the computer's sound card. A braille display is an external device. This device operates by electronically raising and lowering different combinations of pins. These pins reproduce the text on the computer screen into braille. When choosing a screen reader, there are some basic important factors to consider depending on your individual needs: What kind of operating system will you be using?
There are a variety of screen readers in the market. Some are specifically designed to …

Finding Your Way Around a Cafeteria

Cafeteria settings are always a challenge. Not only because the lines are so long and go around and around, but also because cafeterias are crowded and noisy, making it more difficult to orient yourself. If you always go to the same place, like your dorm dining room or your high school cafeteria, you may try the following techniques: Start by learning the layout of the place.

A good way to learn is to explore the cafeteria at a time when it is not busy (2:00 in the afternoon, after lunch rush hour, or at night, before it closes). Ask a friend to accompany you, and ask him or her to tell you where the drinks are, how the silverware is organized, where the salad bar is, how to operate the machines, and so on.

If the cafeteria has multiple lines, it may take a little longer to learn where things are, but it can be done. Once you are familiar with the place, you should be able to do well on your own, since you now have an idea of where to start.Finding the end of the line and keeping y…

Skills for Access

Skills for Access is a comprehensive Web guide to multimedia, e-learning and accessibility, developed by the Learning Development and Media Unit at the University of Sheffield in the UK. This web site is a comprehensive resource on issues relating to multimedia, e-learning and accessibility. Whether you're new to e-learning, want to know more about specific accessibility issues, or are an expert multimedia developer, I think you'll find information relevant to your needs. This is not a site full of accessibility guidelines! It is a place where good ideas can be shared, where problems can be identified and discussed, and where the potential of multimedia to make the learning experience accessible to as many people as possible can be realised. They want to hear from anyone who has a contribution to make - e.g. through a Case Study that focuses on a specific topic relating to multimedia, accessibility and learning. For more information on Skills For Access, visit their home p…

Skills for Access

Skills for Access is a comprehensive Web guide to multimedia, e-learning and accessibility, developed by the Learning Development and Media Unit at the University of Sheffield in the UK. This web site is a comprehensive resource on issues relating to multimedia, e-learning and accessibility. Whether you're new to e-learning, want to know more about specific accessibility issues, or are an expert multimedia developer, I think you'll find information relevant to your needs. This is not a site full of accessibility guidelines! It is a place where good ideas can be shared, where problems can be identified and discussed, and where the potential of multimedia to make the learning experience accessible to as many people as possible can be realised. They want to hear from anyone who has a contribution to make - e.g. through a Case Study that focuses on a specific topic relating to multimedia, accessibility and learning. For more information on Skills For Access, visit their home p…

Medicare Rights Center

Calls itself "Your Guide through the Medicare Maze." Has FAQs, info on Choosing an HMO, Appeals, Coordinating Care, etc. It currently features lots of info on the confusing Medicare Prescription Drug benefit.

Click this link to visit the Medicare Rights Center:

Window Eyes: Screen Reading Application

Window-Eyes is a screen reader manufactured by GW Micro Inc. It provides general compatibility with all versions of Windows and supports Microsoft's Active Accessibility (MSAA) and all video systems. This application is also compatible with many popular voice or speech synthesizers and most popular Braille displays. Window-Eyes automatically labels many graphics and provides a drop-down menu system for control and setup.

For more information contact:

GW Micro Inc.
725 Airport North Office Park
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
Phone: 219-489-3671
Fax: 219-489-2608
Web: http://www.gwmicro.comDid you ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at GW Micro? Do you want to know more about the people behind the technical support team and how it works? Are you generally interested in assistive technology? If any of these questions peak your interest, then you are in luck. Every first Tuesday of the month, you can listen to a 30-minute radio show with GW Micro's …

Jordy: Magnification System for Low Vision

The Jordy system is a portable device that enhances low vision. It is a multi-purpose aid that can be worn to watch TV or a movie, view a church service or wedding, or monitor grandchildren playing. It has a 44 degree field of view. The system may also be slipped into a special stand connected to a television and it becomes a full color, white on black and black on white MV (electronic magnifier).
Some of its features are: Light weight: under 10 oz. Wide field of view: 44 degrees Distance, intermediate, and near viewing Full color with auto-focus Magnification range IX - 24X Magnifies TV viewing Battery operated system (including power supply and charger) Preset magnification If you would like more info on the Jordy (TM) system please contact:

Enhanced Vision Systems
Toll Free: 800-440-9476

Contributor: Maria Delgado

Maxi-Aids: Independent Living Products

Maxi-aids is a company that offers thousands of independent living products for people with disabilities. Some of their product categories for the blind and visually impaired include:
Computer Alternatives and Adaptations: screen readers Watches and Clocks: talking, large print and brailleElectronics: Tape Players, Calculators, VCR's, Organizers, DictionariesGames: Scrabble, Monopoly, Chess, Checkers, Large print playing cards Medical Products: aids to measure insulin, take your blood pressure, or sort your medicationTelephones and Telephone Accessories: large print buttonsKitchen and Household Accessories: Talking microwave, Talking Timer, Talking Weight ScaleBooks and Videos/Large Print: address books Sewing Aids: tools to help thread a needle or cut fabricWriting, Labeling and Identification Aids: guides, dymo magnetic and teflon tape.Magnification Aids for the Visually ImpairedLighting and Magnifier LampsCanes

Maxi Aids
42 Executive Blvd
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Toll Free: 800-52…

Making Your Own Headphones That Support Input From 2 Different Sound Sources

When using voice output and either multimedia output or taped lessons on a single computer, it's hard to manage 2 sets of headphones for private listening. Specialty headphones can be purchased to provide one sound input coming in through one side of the headset, and the other sound input coming in through the other side -- however, these can be very expensive. Another option is to build your own, using the following parts available at Radio Shack for roughly $12 plus the price of the headphones:
* One pair of Stereo Headphones, with a 1/8-inch mini plug, e.g., Walkman-style
* One 1/8-inch Minijack Coupler (catalog #274-1555), for mono-to-mono or stereo-to-stereo use
* One 1/8-inch Y-adapter (catalog #274-375), which combines or splits a stereo mini 1/8-inch circuit into two mono 1/8-inch circuits
* Two Audio Cables (catalog #42-2420), 1/8-inch miniplug to 1/8-inch mini plug.
The Coupler connects the headphones to the Y-adapter. One of the audio cables connects the Y-adapter …

Image Minimizer and Field Viewer, magnifying systems for people with restricted visual fields

Ocutech makes available some products for individuals with restricted visual fields. The Image Minimizer (IM) increases field awareness by reducing the image size, so that more is seen in the same amount of space. It reduces the image size enough to enhance the visual field awareness, but not so much as to reduce visual acuity or to produce excessive barrel distortion. The Field Viewer, is a handheld device intended to be used by individuals with restricted visual fields as an aid in mobility and in other visual activities. It enhances the peripheral visual field by reducing image size, and placing more visual information into the available visual field. Since it is handheld, it can be readily positioned and manipulated for a variety of visual applications.

Toll Free: 800-326-6460

Contributor: Maria Delgado

Flipper: Magnifying System

Flipper is a portable low vision system that magnifies images. Its camera design enables people with low vision to perform daily tasks more effectively. Images can be magnified in any surface and/or position because the camera turns a full 225 degrees. Flipper can be connected to any TV, and may be purchased with glasses that are equipped with built-in screens that display magnified images. The use of these glasses may facilitate its uses at school, at the library, etc. For more information contact:

Enhanced Vision Systems
Toll Free: 800-440-9476

Contributor: Maria Delgado

Enhanced Vision Systems, manufacturer of Max, V-Max, MaxPort, Flipper, and Jordy.

Enhanced Vision Systems (EVS) is a manufacturer of low vision solutions. It offers low vision products that may enabled the partially sighted to see better and read again. Some of these products include:
Max, V-Max, MaxPort, Flipper, and Jordy. EVS Vision Aids are available through doctors, clinics, and distributors throughout the world. For more information contact:

Enhanced Vision Systems
2130 Main Street, Suite 250
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Toll Free: 800-440-9476

Contributor: Maria Delgado

Voice of the Diabetic: Newsmagazine Publication

The Diabetes Action Network, a division of the National Federation of the Blind, publishes the newsmagazine "Voice of the Diabetic". Voice of the Diabetic is a quarterly publication available in print, on cassette tape, or online at the website. It approaches all aspects of diabetes and blindness. It emphasizes good diabetes control, diet, and independence. It also addresses current medical and scientific news in the diabetes field, health and diet news, and discusses options for living with many of the complications of this disease.
To subscribe, contact the organization at the following address or phone number. Or, fill out the subscription form available at the Web address below.

Diabetes Action Network, National Federation of the Blind
1412 I-70 Drive SW, Suite C
Columbia, MO 65203

Contributor: Andrea Peak

NFB Diabetes Resource List

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has created an online comprehensive list of information for blind diabetics called Diabetes Resources. Diabetes Resources is a compilation of companies and organizations offering products and/or information to help diabetics, especially blind diabetics, self-manage their diabetes. Some of the categories in this Web site include:

Insulin Measurement Devices Insulin Magnifiers Insulin Injection Systems Diabetic Foot Care Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems Insulin Pumps Products for the Blind Food and Diet Literature and Information Distributors of Diabetes Equipment and Supplies Medical Assistance

Click this link to visit the National Federation of the Blind's Diabetes Resources page:

Contributor: Andrea Peak

Did You Remember Your Checklist? was launched on May 26, 2000 with the goal of greatly improving the lives of people everywhere by providing a wide variety of checklists which are very easy to use and concise, yet fairly comprehensive. They believe everyone should use these checklists to help avoid early death, injuries, frustrations and disappointments, and, to create, and take advantage of, opportunities for a better life. For example, if you're going to build a campfire go through this checklist:

Don't take firewood from a live tree
Clear burnable material for at least 10 feet from your campfire site
Place tinder (e.g., dry grasses, shredded bark), kindling (e.g., small sticks) and firewood near your site
Arrange kindling over the tinder
Shield it from the wind
Light the tinder Some things are very easy. For example, here's the complete checklist that you should consult before getting off an air mattress:

Take plug out

Click this link to visit, who knows, you may find a very hel…

AccessWorld Magazine focuses on Technology for Consumers with Visual Impairments

AccessWorld is a publication of the American Foundation for the Blind. It is a comprehensive resource for obtaining the latest information on adaptive technology for the visually impaired. The magazine's writers cover all areas of the industry: from releases about new and upcoming products, books and videos, to practical tips and techniques for using specific devices. One extremely helpful feature is the product review column in which devices are rated for usability, help features, and other standards. AccessWorld is published bi-monthly and can be requested in the following media: On-line (World Wide Web) Large print Audio cassette Braille

AccessWorld/AFB Press
Subscription Services
450 Fame Avenue
Hanover, PA 17331
Toll Free: 888-522-0220
Phone: 518-456-2538

Microsoft Office Reference Cards

The National Braille Press has created an Office 2000 Reference Card. Written by Dean Martineau, the reference card lists keyboard commands for Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and Access 2000. It also contains JAWS for Windows and WindowEyes commands specific to the programs, as well as information about the Office 2000 Clipboard. They have again come through with needed Keyboard Shortcut Guides, this time for Office 2007 programs. Each is available in paper or electronic format, and each costs $5, with the package costing $16. Guides are available for Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word 2007.

Click this link to learn more about the Office 2007 guides. National Braille Press
Toll Free: 888-965-8965

Narrative Television Network

The Narrative Television Network provides the service of making movies and television programs accessible to blind and visually impaired people. This service adds narration to describe the visual elements of the story. NTN started providing its service in 1988, and has narrated hundreds of hours of movies and television series, Broadway theater productions and museum tours. NTN programming is available seven days a week, and provides over 20 hours of accessible programming each week. It is available throughout the United States on Nostalgia Television and Kaleidoscope Television. In Canada it is available through the Family Channel. In addition to its cable affiliates, NTN is available throughout North America via its unscrambled satellite signal on Hughes G-1, Transponder 22. NTN offers a free Program Guide to anyone who writes requesting one from the Network at the address below. The NTN Web site also provides free narrative programming on the Web. Click this link to watch free, …

Proper Sighted Guide Technique

NEVER push the person in front of you. Have the person hold onto your arm just above your elbow. Have the person positioned closely to you - 1/2 step behind you, so that you can still talk without turning around.Walking: Walk at a speed comfortable enough that the person can easily follow without dragging or pulling on your arm.Narrow passageways (church aisles or any hallway when the normal technique is not possible): Move your arm behind you and toward the small of your back. The person who is blind responds by extending his arm and moving directly behind the guide. After going through the passageway, return your arm to the normal walking position. Doorways: Inform the person that there is a door ahead and whether it will be on the right or left when opened. If the door is on the right and the person is on your right side, the person uses his free hand to slide along the door to find the door edge and holds the door for himself and the guide to go through. If the door is on the left…

Adjusting to Blindness and Visual Impairment

Robert Leslie Newman is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired . After being blinded in a car accident as a teenager in the 1960's, he had a rough time adjusting to his blindness. Combining his writing hobby with his twenty-seven years of experience as a counselor, he has created this website as a resource for helping newly-blind people adjust to their vision impairment. The content is useful for blind or visually impaired individuals, as well as vocational rehabilitation counselors or therapists, teachers and educators, and families and friends interested in issues relating to adjustment to vision loss. This multifaceted site features short stories about dealing successfully with blindness and a section Newman calls "Thought Provoker." This is an email forum which is archived on the website and it consists of a short story, the "Provoker," that presents an aspect of blindness or a situation des…

Pouring Liquids

Liquids can be poured into a cup or glass without spilling by using one of several methods: Use weight as a guide by judging the weight of the container when empty and then when full. Place your index finger in the glass up to the first knuckle. When the liquid reaches your fingertip, stop pouring. When pouring very hot or cold liquids, place your hand on the outside of the container to feel the level rise. For hot liquids, measure while cold, pour into saucepan, heat and return to the cup. Purchase a "Say When". A "Say When" is a small battery operated device that hangs over the rim of a cup and buzzes when the poured liquid rises to the top. Note: Companies featuring special devices such as Ann Morris Enterprises, Inc. carry liquid sensors. Toss in a ping pong ball. When it floats to the top, it's full! Rinse it off, put it in your silverware drawer and it's ready to go again. >When you are pouring from a large container such as a brand new gallon of…

Points to Remember When Accompanying a Person Who is Blind

When walking with a person with a visual impairment, never try to push them in front of you. Always use proper sighted guide technique. This technique is not only the safest, but is also the easiest method of travel for both the guide and the person with a visual impairment. If the person with a visual impairment has a cane, has been trained in its use, and is capable of traveling safely and independently, do not discourage them from doing so. Encourage them to take their cane when they go out, even if they will be primarily traveling with a sighted guide. The presence of a white cane informs the public (sales clerks, bus drivers, restaurant workers, etc.) of a visual impairment. This can prevent some embarrassing situations and misunderstandings. Also, many people with visual impairments are somewhat uncomfortable about carrying their cane in public until they get used to it. Your support of their decision to carry their cane can be very helpful at this time. It is often helpful to g…

Interacting With a Newly Blind Person

As much as possible, try not to be over-protective of the person with a visual impairment. They should be allowed to do as much for themselves as they possibly can. You should not do something for them just because it is easier or faster for you to do it. Do not take over a task because they are struggling with it or assume that the person needs help with simple, everyday tasks. Don't be afraid to let them make mistakes. If the person's visual impairment is a fairly recent occurrence, be aware that they may have to relearn many everyday tasks. Because of this, they may do things more slowly than they once did, and occasional mistakes are inevitable. Remember that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. If they complete a task and ask for your opinion of their work, be honest. If they have made mistakes, they need to know about them in order to do the task more correct1y the next time. At the same time, be tactful and try to avoid being unduly critical, as this wil…

Interacting With a Visually Impaired Person at Home

The following are points to remember when interacting with a blind or visually impaired person at home: If possible, the home should be organized in such a way that everything has a place. This will ensure that the individual with a visual impairment can find things without assistance, and that their surroundings are as safe as possible. Randomly scattered objects can be a hazard. It is important to make sure the person with a visual impairment knows the location of personal items: clothing, food, and objects necessary for independence and safety, such as grooming articles, first aid supplies, etc. It is important to remember that the person with a visual impairment needs a clear, unobstructed path throughout the house. The following are things you should remember to do: Inform the person with a visual impairment of the location of any new objects or furniture around the house. Inform the person about temporary obstacles such as children's toys or ironing boards. Inform the perso…

Interacting With a Blind or Visually Impaired Person at Meal Time

The following are points to remember when interacting with a blind or visually impaired person at mealtime: When the person with a visual impairment sits down to eat they should be informed of what is on the table, especially those objects near them which may be easily knocked over or be hazardous to them such as a glass of water, a pitcher of tea, hot bowls or pans. Also, they need to know what is on their plate and where it is located. One method often used to accomplish this is to think of the plate as a clock, and the location of each food as a time on the clock. For example, you might say "Your meat is at 6 o'clock, your potatoes are at 2, and your peas are at 10." Another method is to simply use directions such as top, bottom, upper right (or left), and lower right (or left). When dining out always inform the person with a visual impairment of the location of unusual objects on the table like large centerpieces, lighted candles, etc. Many restaurants have made av…

Common Ways Of Making Braille Labels

Using Braille as an organizational tool most often requires labeling or writing down a few simple directions. Either a slate and stylus (a metal guide and a punching device equivalent to the pencil or pen) or a Braille writer (comparable to a typewriter) can be used. Labels are perhaps most commonly made with Dymo Transparent Labeling Tape, made by 3M. This vinyl tape, with a self-adhesive back protected with an easily removable strip, comes in a twelve-foot roll. The half-inch width accommodates both standard and jumbo Braille. The Braille labeling gun, as well as the Dymo tape attachment for the Perkins Braille writer, are designed for this width. Moreover, many slates on the market today now have a half-inch Dymo-tape slot. However, the experienced Braillist can easily center the narrower 3/8th-inch width in this slot and produce labels in standard sized Braille. For cosmetic reasons and for the convenience of any sighted members of your household, you may prefer the almost transpa…

An Easy Way to Flip Foods on the Stove

Have you tried to cook an omelet or pancakes and they break into pieces as you try to flip them over to cook on the other side? A way to manage turning over these types of foods is by using two skillets at the same time. I usually use a smaller one and a bigger one. First, pour an individual portion of the egg or pancake mix into the smaller skillet. Once it is cooked on one side, you can easily pick up the small skillet and flip over its contents into the bigger one, already pre-heated. Then you can let your food cook on the other side. You may have to wash an extra skillet, but your food will be in great shape!

Contributor: Maria Delgado

A Method For Measuring Hot Liquids

If a recipe calls for a measured amount of boiling water, we suggest that you measure the water before heating it. If you use the water immediately when it begins to boil, the evaporation loss will not be significant. Note: This method will work for measuring other hot liquids.
This excerpt from an article by Ruth Schroeder and Doris Willoughby first appeared on the National Federation of the Blind's website and is reprinted with special permission.

How To Organize a Braille Recipe File

Ink-print recipe files usually have the front of each card facing toward the user, with the title at the top; most braille readers prefer a different arrangement. If you insert the braille cards top down, with the brailled side of each card away from you, your fingers will reach the braille most comfortably. Because of this, the title of each recipe should be placed below the recipe as it is written; the titles will then be easily accessible, as the bottoms of the cards appear at the top of the file box. Similarly, labels on file dividers should be placed upside down on the backs of the tabs. A frequently used recipe will last longer if a plastic page or card is used. It is also helpful, while using a particular recipe, to tape it to the inside of a cupboard door, or in some other way support it so that it is not lying on the mixing surface, and thus keep it as clean as possible.
This excerpt from an article by Ruth Schroeder and Doris Willoughby first appeared on the National Federa…

What Do You Do When Coping with Vision Impairment

A few years back, I suddenly woke up to the fact that I was having trouble reading newspaper, magazine and book print and that my distance vision was somewhat hazy (not clear & sharp). Naturally, I thought I needed new glasses. After a series of tests with my optometrist, I was sent to an ophthalmologist for another series of tests. The results indicated that macular degeneration had set in to a point where the verdict was "No further visual improvement can be gained through optometric or medical/surgical channels; you are legally blind!" Anyone hearing these words goes through an emotional series of shock, distress and disbelief. Then comes depression and feeling sorry for yourself--or the "why me" factor. At least this was my reaction. One day, I sat down and had a long talk with myself, saying, "This is ridiculous; you can cope with this situation, so do something about it." And so, with the help of friends, I started to investigate where hel…

What Do You Do When You Can't Read

For many years the Hadley School for the Blind, a correspondence school offering free courses to those with visual impairments, included one called Independent Living for the Visually Impaired. One of the introductory discussion questions asks the student which limitations he or she finds most difficult to accept. The answers are overwhelmingly NOT DRIVING and NOT READING. For not being able to drive, there are few solutions; but there are certainly many for not being able to read, and they are increasing in number and diversity. The first reading source recommended to just about everyone in the United States with a sight problem is the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), which has with regional and sub-regional libraries throughout the country that distribute an amazing array of books and magazines. Information about this service is readily available. Just call the NLS at 800-424-8567 for the nearest location. There are two, long-established m…

Guidelines For Helping Visually Impaired Customers from the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)

A visually impaired customer is different from other customers in only one respect; he or she can't see very well. Apart from that, visually impaired people cover the same wide range of intellectual attainments as everyone else. Talk to them and discuss things exactly as you would with anyone else. Some help may be needed in finding their way in unfamiliar surroundings, and to deal with many matters that a sighted person takes for granted. For instance, an insurance policy and a mortgage agreement, or a tin of peaches and a tin of cat food, feel identical. A few hints to help you serve visually impaired customers:
1. Remember that no two visually impaired people see the same amount. 2. A high proportion of blind or visually impaired people do have some sight, and considerations such as lighting, colors and size of notices can make all the difference to the ease with which they can conduct their everyday business. 3. Logical floor layout is helpful to a visually impaired …

Simply Store with SimpleTins (TM)

Here's a neat idea, SimpleTins (TM). These are metal cannisters with magnetic bottoms that will stick to your refrigerator door. You can store stuff inside them like rubber bands, twist-ties, doggie treats, or any other small items you might keep in the kitchen or office. They can stick to anything metal, like filing cabinets, toolboxes, use your imagination. Each container has a clear lid for quick peeks, and they come in two sizes.

Click this llink to order SimpleTins (TM):

Changing Punctuation and Special Character Settings In JAWS

You can limit the amount of punctuation symbols and other special characters echoed by JAWS for Windows through:
1. the JAWS for Windows application window
2. the Configuration Manager utility. The following are instructions to make the adjustments from within the JAWS for Windows application window:
1. Press INSERT and J to open JFW.
2. Press ALT to get to the menu bar and select Voices.
3. Press the Down-arrow key or press Enter to locate the Global option.
4. Press ENTER to open the Global Voice Settings dialog.
5. Press TAB to move to the punctuation combo box.
6. Use the arrow keys to browse through the list and select a punctuation setting that is best suited for you. You can return to this setting at any time and make adjustments as necessary.
7. Press ENTER to save your changes and close the dialog. To close the dialog without making any changes, press ESCAPE. Using the Configuration Manager Utility
Because JFW is an application specific driven screen reader…

US Institutional Accreditation System

How can you make sure the college or university in which you are about to enroll is truly legitimate and not just another diploma mill? The United States government offers a free, online database of about 6,900 postsecondary educational institutions and programs, each of which is accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a "reliable authority as to the quality of postsecondary education." You can find the database at Once you have found an accredited school, you need to make sure you [or your kids] have the necessary skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college. Most high school students and returning adult learners have no clue what college is like and most new college students are shocked and surprised by the breadth of knowledge and skills university professors expect of their students. Back in 1998 the Association of American Universities with the assi…

The Basics of Ironing and Some Steamy Alternatives

The Touch and Glide Iron (TM)Oliso, Inc., has an iron that solves the problem of burning your fabrics. This iron has a safety feature incase you accidentally leave the heated surface on your fabric. What makes this iron different from all the others is that it has a couple of legs on the ironing surface. When you grab the handle, it senses your touch, and automatically retracts the legs. When you let go, the legs come back out, so that the heated surface stays away from fabrics. Now, you don't have to worry about burning something when you answer the phone, or drop the iron on the carpet. The company says the initial design work started as a Stanford University graduate school project with prototypes built in a basement of a San Francisco Mission Street building, and took three years of research.

Click this link for more information on the Touch and Glide Iron:

Ironing BasicsA. Safety Techniques
Teach the student how to turn the iron on and off, the…

Tips For Putting In Hems

Mark the length desired with a pin. Measure the fabric to be turned up with the notched seam gauge and pin up the entire hem. Press the pinned up hem. Sewing Hems with the Sewing Machine Whenever possible, use the sewing machine to sew in hems. Use the metal seam guide or pinhead guide, placing it as far from the needle as the depth of the hem, and stitch. Ironing Hems with Stitch Witchery This is an iron-on adhesive, mesh-like material available in strips or by the yard. The strips are easiest to use for hems. After pressing the hem up, remove the straight pins and place the Stitch Witchery between the fabric and iron. Sewing Hems by Hand Thread a needle using a double thread. A single thread comes off the needle too frequently. Hold the hem in one hand with the thumb on the pinned hem edge. With the other hand, put the needle through the fabric until the point just touches the index finger and then push the needle back up through the fabric. Position the thumb so that the first stit…

Machine Sewing

Pinhead GuideThe use of a pinhead guide helps the blind student sew straight. Place a row of straight pins horizontally onto the sticky side of a piece of masking tape. Let the heads of the pins extend over one side. Place another piece of masking tape with the nonsticky side directly over the pins. Stick the pinhead guide to the metal slide plate on the sewing machine. The placement of the pinhead guide may vary depending on the task (regular seam at 5/8-inch, staystitching at 1/2- inch, topstitching at 1/4- inch). A notched metal seam gauge, similar to a 6-inch ruler, but with indented notches at each half-inch mark, can be used to aid the placement of the pinhead guide. Most sewing machines come with an etched line on the metal slide plate that marks the 5/8 inch regular seam line. Most students can feel this line and place the pinhead guide on it. When beginning to sew, the fabric is lined up with the first pin on the pinhead guide (which is even with the machine needle). Metal Se…