Showing posts from April, 2008

AllPsych Online: The Virtual Psychology Classroom

For instructors or students, visually impaired or sighted, looking for material on many aspects of psychology, the AllPsych Online site may prove to be helpful. The site was started in 1999, and it contains eight primary sections which cover everything from classic psychology studies to an extensive reference area. First-time visitors may wish to start by looking through the "Reference" area, which features an expanded timeline of psychology through the ages, a dictionary, and biographies of prominent persons in the field. People interested in entering the field of psychology will want to click on over to the "Careers and Education in Psychology" section for the materials on various academic programs in clinical, counseling, and school psychology. For a bit of a diversion, the site also has a "Fun and Games" area where low vision and sighted visitors can take a look at some optical illusions and crossword puzzles.

Click this link to visit the AllPsych …

Twelve Tips: When You Can't See Your Attacker

By: Melissa McAvoy I turn on the TV every morning when I am getting ready for work. Usually I watch the Weather Channel (lame, I know) to see what to wear for the day, but recently I've been watching the Today show on NBC. Most of their spots, I have to admit are targeted toward money or relationship issues, but periodically they have some really cool interviews.Yesterday, they featured a blind gentleman who defended himself against an intruder using wrestling moves he had learned nearly 30 years before. It made me really think "what do you do when you can't see your attacker coming." I've taken a self-defense course and they often cover how to handle attacks from the rear, so you're good there. But what about when the attacker comes from the front? What if you are blind or visually impaired and weren't ever a championship wrestler?Burglar loses fight with blind homeownerBelow is a list of tips from various sources as well as from some of wha…

Put the Person Before the Disability

The Disability Information and Insight blog has a wonderful post on how to talk about someone who has a disability. How do you stay "politically correct" when talking about someone? Here's a summery of the article. "People with disabilities are, first and foremost, people. People with individual abilities, interests and needs. Preferred terminology was developed by the disability community. People First Language is an objective way of acknowledging, communicating and reporting on disabilities. It eliminates generalizations, assumptions and stereotypes by focusing on the person rather than the disability. The concept is clear. You refer to the person first and the disability second." "Another source says, ^D<"Just as a person may be short or tall, or have dark or light skin, a disability is just one part of what makes up an individual. Whenever possible, avoid labeling a person with a disability, and instead simply use the person^D>'s name.…

101 Accessible Vacations

Need help finding an accessible vacation destination? 101 Accessible Vacations: Vacation Ideas for Wheelers and Slow Walkers by Candy Harrington, is a guidebook dedicated exclusively to wheelchair-accessible destinations including national parks, tourist attractions, lodging and recreational activities around the world. It is organized so readers can search for a holiday based on their specific interests or travel styles. It includes sections ranging from "Road Trips" and "The Great Outdoors" to "Historic Haunts" and "Cruisin'". Additionally, the "Active Holidays" section includes choices for people who like specific recreational activities such as skiing, sailing or scuba diving. The author goes into detail and describes the level of access of all attractions, lodging options and tourist sites, versus simply stating that something is or is not accessible. This book is a follow-up to Harrington's other accessible travel title…

What are all these new yellow bumps on every street corner?

Orientation...Mobility...Orientation and mobility...O&M...These are some of the most commonly heard terms in the blind community. But what exactly do they mean? What's it all about?"Orientation and Mobility" refers to sets of skills learned by blind people. Specifically, orientation is establishing one's position relative to important objects in one's environment. Mobility is the ability to navigate efficiently from one's current position in the environment to one's desired position. A simple definition is: orientation is knowing where you are--and mobility is the ability to get where you want to go. These skills, O&M, are the most important things for a blind person to master if they want to become independent and self-sufficient.Schools for the blind and rehabilitation centers all have O&M specialists on staff. These are people who are specially trained to teach blind people how to know where they are and how to get to where they want…

Motion SensorPlug for power outlet

Do you have a room in your house that always seems dark? Do you have trouble adjusting to inside lighting after being outside? Are you totally blind and forget to turn the lights on or off when you enter or exit a room? Would you like a device to control the lights for you?Maybe automatically turn on a fan when you sit down at the computer desk? SensorPlug is like having an extra pair of hands when you need them! The SensorPlug Motion-Sensing Outlet is a passive infrared motion sensor that's triggered when you walk past, instantly turning on a light or even an appliance, such as a fan or a radio. Since the SensorPlug inserts right into a wall outlet, you don't need to wire it in! It provides Safety, Security and Convenience at an affordable price. SensorPlug comes complete with a spare fuse and screw for securing to the wall plate, if desired. I think this is a great device to have in any home, even more so if you're living alone. After all, walking into a room with y…

How To Repair Corrupted MS-Word Files

Have you ever received an error message when trying to open a Microsoft Word document? Was it an important file for work or school? Whatever the case may be, it is very frustrating to not be able to open a file for no reason. However, this post will show you how to repair such files for FREE! Repair MyWord is a free program that will recover corrupt Microsoft Word files. It will recover Microsoft Word 6.0, Word 95, 97, 2000, XP, and 2003 files. Repair MyWord is a small executable file that requires no installation, which makes it a great utility to keep on a flash drive. Repair MyWord is available for nearly all versions of Windows. It has also been tested in Linux using Wine. How do I repair my corrupt Word document?Click this link to visit to download Repair MyWord.
Once you have downloaded the software, open Repair MyWord by clicking on the downloaded file. Again, this requires no installation.
At this point you are ready to begin repairing your corrupte…

Financial Aid For Eye Care

Please, don't neglect your eye care because of financial difficulties. Contact any of the following agencies to see if you qualify for services.

Eye Exams and Surgery

EyeCare America, a public service foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Provides comprehensive eye exams and care for up to one year, often at no out-of-pocket expense to eligible callers through its seniors and Diabetes EyeCare Programs. Its Glaucoma EyeCare Program provides a glaucoma eye exam. The EyeCare America Children's EyeCare Program educates parents and primary care providers about the importance of early childhood (newborn through 36 months of age) eye care.

Toll Free: 800-222-EYES (3937)

VISION USA, coordinated by the American Optometric Association (AOA), provides free eye care to uninsured, low-income workers and their families.

Toll Free: 800-766-4466

Lions Clubs International provides financial assistance to indi…

Accessible Online Hotel Booking

I love to travel. I really enjoy going to new places and experiencing the sights and sounds of a new city. One thing that really bothers me is trying to find a good hotel and being bombarded with pictures of what the place looks like. Pictures are great, but I can't see them and they're often doctored up to make the room look like its the size of a baseball field. Just give me a good description of the place and tell me what's around it, that's all I need. offers one of the internet's largest databases of over 98000 hotels. They are based in Cape Town, South Africa and can offer the best rates around the world, guaranteed. They have a unique speedy 3 step booking process and have been voted as the easiest to use site for booking hotel rooms around. Their guaranteed rates are unbeatable. If you find a lower rate on another website for the same room, at the same hotel, on the same dates, within 24 hours of making your booking with them, they guara…

Grants To Disabled Athletes

Challenged Athletes Foundation is a nonprofit, fund-raising organization that awards grants to athletes who are disabled and need training and/or equipment to participate in competition. Since its inception in 1997, CAF has helped more than 300 athletes compete in the sports of their choice. To receive a grant application--or to find out about the annual San Diego Triathlon Challenge--send your request to the organization with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, or visit their website.

Challenged Athletes Foundation
2148-B Jimmy Durante Blvd
Del Mar, CA 92014
Phone: 858-793-9293
Fax: 858-793-9291

Contributor: Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness News Service

Leaders and Legends: James Max Woolly

James Max Woolly
Inducted 2005
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness FieldMax Woolly (1914-1997) was born in Arkansas and received his bachelors degree in 1936 from Hendrix College, his Masters degree from the University of Arkansas in 1941 and honorary Doctor of Laws from Hendrix College in 1970. He and his wife Kathlyn had three sons and six grandchildren.The Woolly family moved to Little Rock, AR in 1939 where Dr. Woolly began a forty-three year career at the Arkansas School for the Blind, first as a much respected teacher and principal, and thirty five years as superintendent. During this time the school was known for its innovative educational and residential school programs. Dr. Woolly recognized the need for quality professional training and was among the first to employ fully trained orientation and mobility instructors and to demand advanced training for the faculty but also his home life staff. He was instrumental in spearheading the effort to develop three gra…

Leaders and Legends: Russell Williams

Russell Williams
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness FieldRuss Williams was born in Indiana in 1918 and graduated as a secondary education major from Central Normal College in Danville, Illinois. He taught and coached athletics one year before entering the U.S. Army in 1942. He married Jean, a secretary to the Chief of Medical Service at Valley Forge Hospital. Russ Williams was blinded by enemy action in France during 1944 and was rehabilitated medically at Valley Forge Army General Hospital and then transferred to Avon Old Farms Convalescent Hospital where the emphasis was on vocational activities. Even at this early stage in his career he recognized the importance of hope in life's potential and of putting the responsibility for the rehabilitation process on the blind person as early as possible in their training. The following year he was employed as a counselor and instructor in the rehabilitation program for the blind at Valley Forge at a time wh…

Leaders and Legends: Robert H. Whitstock

Robert H. Whitstock
Inducted 2002Robert H. Whitstock (1930-1998) was born in New York City and attended the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind. He received a B.A. in political science and history from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, graduating third in his class in 1952. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. He graduated from Harvard Law School in June, 1955 and passed the New York bar the following month. He married Mary Jane Noonan in 1954 and they had five children and eight grandchildren.Robert H. Whitstock taught high school social studies at the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind. He joined The Seeing Eye in 1957 as Administrative Assistant, serving as the principal field representative. During this time he traveled hundreds of thousands of miles throughout the United States and Canada demonstrating always with grace and class the virtues of travel with a dog guide. He was promoted to Vice President of Field Services in 1967 and the…

Leaders and Legends: Donald Wedewer

Donald Wedewer
Inducted 2002Don Wedewer was born on July 5, 1925. He received his B.S. in education in 1950 and his M.A. in history with a special emphasis in public administration in 1952, both from the University of Missouri. He and his wife Marabeth had four sons and one daughter.During World War II, Don Wedewer served in the U.S. Army, for three and one-half years. He was wounded twice, losing both legs and his vision. After the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 he was the recipient of the Purple Heart.Don Wedewer began his career in rehabilitation in 1968 as a vocational rehabilitation counselor. He served as a statewide Placement Specialist in Florida before being promoted to District Supervisor and then District Director in a large metropolitan area extending from Miami to Key West. In 1974 he was named Director of Florida's Division of Blind Services, where he provided outstanding leadership until his retirement in 1989. Throughout his career, he was always seeking to upgrade his…

Leaders and Legends: Louis Vieceli

Louis Vieceli
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness FieldLou Vieceli was born in 1921 in Illinois. He attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where he received his B.A. (1948) in physical education and mathematics and his M.Ed. (1959) in guidance and counseling. He and his wife Jewell have a son and two grandchildren, all are currently living in Carbondale, Illinois. In 1948, Lou Vieceli began his professional career as a rehabilitation counselor for the Illinois Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, a position he held until 1959. At that time, he was invited to join the faculty of the Rehabilitation Institute at Southern Illinois University where he served until his retirement in 1993. He is best known for the development of his Placement Counselor Training Program for the Blind which he conducted from 1959 until 1993. He also provided Small Business Enterprise Supervisor Training for the Vending Stand Program.As a nationally recognized author…

Leaders and Legends: Josephine Lister Taylor

Josephine Lister Taylor
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness FieldJosephine Taylor (1910-1988) was born in Minnesota. She received her B.A. from Western College in Oxford, Ohio, and M.A. degrees from Teachers' College, Columbia University and New York University. She completed individual studies with Dr. Kathryn E. Maxfield and Dr. Samuel P. Hayes on developmental assessments and intelligence testing of blind children. She received honorary doctoral degrees from Boston College; Stonehill College, N. Easton, MA.; and college of St. Joseph, Rutland, VT.Jo Taylor began her career in the education of the visually handicapped in 1933 as a nursery school teacher in New York. From 1936 to 1942, she taught at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass. She then served as director of educational services for the visually handicapped in New Jersey from 1942 to 1967. She always had a special love for multihandicapped children, especially deaf-blind. Whil…

Everybody's eBaying. Here's how.

Once you begin to move beyond basic background information, you begin to realize that there's more to ebay than you may have first thought. eBay was created in September 1995, by a man called Pierre Omidyar, who was living in San Jose. He wanted his site - then called 'AuctionWeb' - to be an online marketplace, and wrote the first code for it in one weekend. It was one of the first websites of its kind in the world. The name 'eBay' comes from the domain Omidyar used for his site. His company's name was Echo Bay, and the 'eBay AuctionWeb' was originally just one part of Echo Bay's website at The first thing ever sold on the site was Omidyar's broken laser pointer, which he got $14 for. The site quickly became massively popular, as sellers came to list all sorts of odd things and buyers actually bought them. Relying on trust seemed to work remarkably well, and meant that the site could almost be left alone to run itself. The site had b…

Track Menstrual Cycles Online

Mon.thly.Info is a simple, accessible tool to help you keep track of your menstrual cycles. Each time you start your period, add the date to your Mon.thly account, and it will use your history to predict the next time your cycle will start. This provides you with a record of your menstrual cycles, which can be an important addition to your medical history. If you want, Mon.thly will also email you a customized reminder before or on your next estimated start date. You may be asking, "How accurate are the predictions?" Well, their only as accurate as your cycles are regular. As the database grows, the site will be able to improve the prediction algorithm. Follow these steps to get started: Log in to your existing account or register a new one. There is no confirmation email; your email address is used only for optional reminders.
On your dashboard, use the calendar to add the last date you started your period, or click the tabs to add today or yesterday.
Your history will be…

tweaks for Windows XP and Vista

Here's a web page full of mostly registry-changing tools for Windows XP and Vista. I have recently used some of them, and I have found all of them to be safe. Note that for most of the items, there is a "undo" file to download, in case you don't like the changes made by the particular registry patch. So far I have only read a little over 200 of them. Some of the more interesting tools you will find are some tweaks for making XP work like 98 and one to increase the number of simoutaneous downloads that Internet Explorer can handle, from three to ten. I have made some of these changes without using a patch or utility, but for those folks that don't like messing around in the Windows registry, these may be of use. NOTE: If your anti-virus software warns you of a "malicious" script, this is normal if you have "Script Safe" or similar technology enabled. These scripts are not malicious, but they do make changes to the System Registry.


LED Flying Disc

LED-lit flying disc keeps the night fun, even after dark. A single blue LED and fiber-optic strands illuminate the disc while still preserving your night vision, so you can play safely when the light is low. The light, durable disc is specially engineered to fly straight and true, and it's water-resistant (it even floats!). Sturdy, low-profile design resists damage and breakage. 10 1/2" diameter, 6 1/2 oz. Uses two 3-v lithium batteries (included). traditional disc games or simple catch take on a whole new dimension of fun when they're played in the dark! Great for people with low vision too!

Click this link to purchase the LED Flying Disc from Brookstone. Soft, durable plastic is ready for lots of action, and is engineered to fly long and straight.

LED Bowling Set

Roll a strike in your backyard, even in the dark, with LED bowling. Why let sundown stop the fun? Great for anyone with low vision! This outdoor bowling set features 10 pins and 2 balls, all lit with LEDs. Ready to play on grass or sand. Easy to carry in its wood crate. Pins and balls use button cell batteries (included). Bowling can be played by individuals or teams. It's a great family or party activity! With LED Bowling, there's no need to pack up as the sun drops below the horizon. The pins and balls light up for up to 3 minutes at a time, so you can keep playing when the light is low. Trying to roll a strike with lighted balls in the dark gives this traditional game a whole new dimension of fun!

Click this link to purchase the LED Bowling Set from Brookstone.

Get Out in the Sun and Play Some Bocce Ball

This ancient game, whose modern adaptation most closely resembles bowling, requires skill, strategy and just a little luck. Bocce ball is a great game to play outside on a beautiful day. It is highly popular among seniors, but youths are sure to enjoy this accuracy game. Find a flat, level playing surface (packed dirt, gravel or grass are ideal). A regulation bocce court is 76 feet long and 10 feet wide.
Divide players into two teams of one, two or four players each. Each team gets four balls, divided equally among the players.
Have a player from the starting team stand behind the foul line (which is 10 feet from the throwing end of the court) and throw the small ball, or "pallina," toward the opposite end of the playing surface.
Let the player then throw one of the larger balls, or "boccia," trying to get it as close to the pallina as possible without touching it.
Have players from the opposing team take turns throwing their balls until one of the balls stops closer …

Accessible PDF Reader from Claro

PDF files are great for printing but they can be really difficult to use if you want them read out to you or you want to change the colours and fonts used. People who have low vision or dyslexia find it easier to work with text when it is spoken aloud or has different colours or contrast. Accessible PDF is a free program from Claro Software that lets you read PDFs with the colours and fonts you want and makes it easy to read the text aloud with other programs such as ClaroRead. You can zoom in and out, use high- or low-contrast colours, and save your PDF as text or a web page for future use. You can even follow internal contents links to let you navigate the document.

Click this link to download Accessible PDF Reader from Claro.

Infantsee: Helping Infants Have a Lifetime of Healthy Vision

The following article appeared on the Talking Books Librarian blog and is reposted for your convenience. Are you familiar with the InfantSEE program? From the website: "The American Optometric Association encourages parents to include a trip to the optometrist in the list of well-baby check-ups. Assessments at six to twelve months of age can determine healthy development of vision. Early detection of eye conditions is the best way to ensure your child has healthy vision for successful development, now and in the future. InfantSEE is a public health program designed to ensure that eye and vision care becomes an integral part of infant wellness care to improve a child's quality of life." The assessments are free, and InfantSEE encourages all infants to be screened. I spoke with an optometrist who participates in this program, and she told me the assessment they do is very comprehensive, similar in scope to ones they do with adults and older children. And yes, it's a…

wardrobe malfunctions

We've all had one of those days. A shirt button magically disappears, a strap somehow snaps open, a seam unravels before your very eyes! When wardrobe malfunctions occur, one can do two things: either change into that extra outfit you have stashed in your office drawer or MacGyver your way into a fully functional fashion statement. See below for a few tips on some common malfunctions and their fixes. Missing top button/catch on waistband: Replace a missing or broken waistband button/catch with a binder clip. We've found that the 1 1/4" ones work best.
Run in stocking: A quick dab of nail polish (obviously colorless is best) or hair spray will stop a run.
Sweater snag: Poke the snag through to the other side of the sweater so that the longer portion of the snag is out of sight on the inside. Don't ever cut a snag! It will cause a hole.
Torn seam: Seemingly repair a torn seam with a small safety pin. Just follow the stitching line with the pin and make sure the pin's …

Audio Stories for Children: Listen While You Read Along!

Light Up Your Brain is a website about inspiration, creativity, and the fun of being a kid. The host, Chuck Brown, has assembled some great audio stories, games and links to kid-friendly resources. Lots of words have popped up lately to describe things you can listen to from the internet: MP3s, podcasts, audiobooks, etc. What's important about what's offered on this site is that they are in the MP3 format, and FREE. Your computer has software built-in to allow you to listen to MP3s. Most of you can just click a button labeled "Read to Me" and everything will work just fine. If you DO run into a problem, click on the button marked Download to save the file to your hard drive, where you can listen on your computer, burn it to a CD, or listen on your iPod or other MP3 player. Everything's free and the stories are great for young students. If they can't see to read along, just download the stories for listening offline. The games are simple and may be OK for…

APH and the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC)

President George W. Bush signed into law the new Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) at the end of 2004. Several changes were implemented through this reauthorized legislation that had a positive impact on how and when blind students throughout the country receive their textbooks in the accessible formats they need, including braille and large print. Of particular significance, a National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) has been established in Louisville, Kentucky, at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). The NIMAC will receive and catalog publishers' electronic files of print instructional materials in a standard format: the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS). The NIMAS was developed by experts across the country for this specific purpose. The center provides these standardized files to authorized textbook providers, who will then produce textbooks for blind and visually impaired students across the…

Audible for Kids

Remember Reading Rainbow? It was great, educational, and filled with all kinds of book-loving goodness. We all loved that blind guy from Star Trek letting us in on books like Amelia Bedelia and Where The Wild Things Are. Even the old school graphics and jingle were so catchy and cool, you'd have to stop yourself from singing it in the bath. Nowadays, it seems like reading went the way of the dinosaurs. Dead, gone, rare at best. Luckily, there's AudibleKids. If you're familiar with, the site that provides audible books for users everywhere, then you'll get the idea of AudibleKids. It's the kid-sized version of Audible, the Reading Rainbow for the 2000s. Parents can create profiles for their kids and set content controls. Profiles will show what you've downloaded and acts as a way to network and get to know other audiophiles. Audio books are search by age group, keyword, award winners, etc. Once you've downloaded the software, you can listen t…

How to Keep Your Debit Card Number (PIN) Safe

Debit cards are very attractive to would-be thieves because immediate cash is always more desirable than goods on a credit card. Here are some simple steps to protect your PIN (personal identification number). Never share the PIN with anyone. It might be tempting to trust a friend or a family member with your PIN but it is not a good idea. Circumstances can change and sometimes, people perceive a need more greatly than maintaining your trust. A person you do trust might be placed in a compromising position with a third party and be obliged to reveal your PIN under harassment or threat. It is better not to put this to the test.
Never give your PIN in response to email or telephone requests. Phishing scams are unsolicited emails asking for bank account details, passwords and PINs. Delete them without a second thought and never respond to them.
Never provide your PIN over the telephone; there is never a need to do this and it will always be a fraudulent request.
Shield your PIN when using…