Showing posts from August, 2008

Accessing Foreign Language Materials as a Blind or Low Vision Student

For people who are blind or low vision, learning a foreign language and getting the resources needed just became easier. The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) encourages people who are blind or have visual impairments to learn a foreign language and pursue international travel with a purpose. Towards this goal, the NCDE published an informational guide to support blind and low vision students to take a broad range of foreign language courses, from Arabic to Turkish, by providing the tools needed so that course materials can be accessed. The document "Accessing Foreign Language Materials as a Blind or Low Vision Student can be read online or downloaded in various formats for free and includes information on: The capability of commonly used assistive technology and software to handle foreign languages
Guidance for locating audio, braille or large print materials in foreign languages
Tips on transcribing braille textbooks in foreign languages or u…

Ask Kids: the Search Engine for Any Classroom

Think about this. How many times have you went to the net to search for something? How many times have you been totally confused by the thousands of results you received? Ever noticed that most of the results have absolutely nothing to do with what you searched for? Now think about our kids? They go to the net to find something for a research paper and get results that are above their heads. Now there's a search engine that wants to change this, and it's just for kids. Ask Kids is the kid friendly, kid safe version of the popular search engine The first thing that new visitors to Ask Kids will notice is the notebook paper theme and five search categories. Then visitors will notice the drawing tools in the lower right hand corner of the home page. The drawing tools will be totally useless for blind students using screen readers, but may be fun for your low vision students who want to customize the Ask Kids home page. Clearing your browser cookies will reset the ho…

Plastic Sheets: Great for Braille Labels

There are so many things that need to be labeled around a house. CD and DVD cases, boxes, electronics, document folders and binders, frozen foods, picture albums, the list goes on and on. The following products are designed to be rolled into a braille writer and feature a removable backing that will make it easy for you to cut out your own braille labels in whatever size you need. Note that some are of a lower quality and would be good for temporary use, while the ones sold by APH are thicker and designed to hold up to read after read. Braillable Labels and Sheets from APHThese clear, blank self-adhesive labels can be brailled and used to label items around the home, school, and office, such as: household appliances; canned goods; greeting cards; books; CDs; folders. The labels come in a variety of packages and sizes for convenience. The pre-cut, peel-off Large and Small labels accommodate braille lines that are 15 cells wide, with four lines fitting on the large and two on the smal…

Outdoor Genga and Paper Bag Building Blocks for Children with Sensory Impairments

This game looks a lot like Jenga, but it's actually called The Giant Outdoor Building Block Game. I'm totally intrigued by this giant-sized version. I know how satisfying it is to see a normal-sized Jenga tower come crashing down so this version that starts out at 20 inches tall must be even more impressive when it topples. What a great idea for children who can't manipulate small pieces because of a disability. Blind children may find this easier to work with than the smaller version as well. This outdoor version of a classic tower building game is more than twice the size of the traditional model, and will test your manual dexterity as you attempt to remove blocks one at a time without collapsing the tower. When all 56 pieces are stacked, the tower reaches 20" high, with the giant blocks and outdoor elements ensuring a more challenging game of structural integrity than the original. Made from pine, the wooden pieces are durable enough for outdoor use yet light en…

Do You Know Your Chat Lingo?

If you send and receive a lot of instant messages (IMs), emails and text messages or if you visit chat rooms, message boards or discussion boards on a regular basis, this tip is just for you! When you're dealing with those kinds of things, you may not realize how much Internet shorthand is going on, but it's everywhere these days. And if you are not up to par on your shorthand game, you could get lost in all the madness. At the same time, you may not be able to be a part of the action or excitement if you don't know the shorthand lingo. Let's go over the most popular shorthand words that you may come across from time to time. If you use any of the things I mentioned above, you will really benefit from this! Plus, using Internet shorthand can save you time, it's a lot of fun to do and you still get the same point across without using up so much time and space. Chat Room and Internet ShorthandThe most common and easy ones to remember are: BRB = Be Right Back
Thx …

Accessible Software for Preschoolers

Message: I am a teacher for visually impaired children in upstate New York and am looking for computer software for a blind preschool student that I teach. I have had trouble finding software that is accessible and am not sure where to look now. I thought you might be a good person to ask! Unfortunately there are not many places that carry software specially designed for blind preschoolers. However, there are pieces of software that are more accessible than others, as well as some others that, with some creativity, can be easily adapted for blind kids. One of the few companies that offers items for young blind children is rj cooper: In their Web site they have a special section for blind children. RJ Cooper
27601 Forbes Rd. Suite 39
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Phone: 949-582-2749
Toll free: Phone: 800-752-6673 Don Johnston Inc: is a company that carries learning intervention software. They have cause and effect software t…

Braille Map Making

Message: Do you know of the best software for simple mobility mapmaking using >Windows, Mac or both platforms? Only a few software packages can create graphics to be embossed on a standard braille embosser. Two of them are by Duxbury: TGD Pro: I have seen its work but don't know much about the software itself because it is not free and most tactile graphic artists, at least the ones I know, don't recommend it. Click this link to learn more about TGD Pro by visiting the Duxbury website. QuickTac: A free software package by Duxbury lets you draw simple line graphs and geometric figures and import them to a Duxbury file and emboss at once. The newer version has some very impressive enhancements in functionality. Click this link to learn more about QuickTac by visiting the Duxbury website. Another freeware program is called Braille Paint (BrlPaint), developed by an Eastern European guy. It is similar to QuickTac in functionality. Click this link to visit the BrlPaint dow…

Karaoke for blind people

A karaoke sing-along machine for the blind, the first of its kind in the world, has been developed in Japan. A Tokyo-based venture business and a karaoke equipment maker jointly developed the machine. When a song begins, a personal computer connected to the karaoke machine translates the lyrics into Braille, and sends them to a special display attached to the PC. Up to 40 Braille characters appear on the display slightly ahead of the music, to make it easier for the singer to follow the lyrics. A karaoke fan that tried the machine said he would now be able to sing more songs, because he would no longer have to memorize the full lyrics or carry around lyrics in Braille. The machine will soon be on sale for commercial use, such as in karaoke boxes.
br> Click this link to watch the braille karaoke in action. For more information, contact: Nippon Telesoft, Co., Ltd
Hanzoumon MK Bud., 1F, 1-8-1 Koujimachi, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo
102-0083, Tokyo, Japan.
Phone: +813-3264-0800 Fax: +…

Free Canes for the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), has launched an initiative to ensure that any blind person in the United States and Puerto Rico who needs a long white cane will have one, regardless of their ability to pay. The NFB will provide a free cane to anyone in the fifty states, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico who is blind or has low vision and who uses or desires to use a white cane in order to travel independently. This historic initiative is the largest effort ever of its kind to provide white canes to individuals who are blind or have low vision. The long white cane provides an effective means for blind students to get to school, blind adults to get to work, and blind seniors to remain active. It is estimated that 109,000 of the 1.3 million legally blind people in the United States use a white cane. By supplying canes free of charge, this program provides the opportunity for all blind Americans to have a white cane and to participate fully in society. The Nation…

Famous People with Disabilities

Do you have a disability or medical condition? You are not alone. Many people with disabilities have contributed to society. These include actors, actresses, celebrities, singers, world leaders, and many other famous people. A disability is often used to refer to individual functioning, including physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment, mental illness, and various types of chronic diseases. Disabled World has created a list of pfamous people with disabilities. Info on the disease, the famous person and how it affected his or her life is included.

Click this link to read the article Famous People with Disabilities from the Disabled World website. Now, if you think that article is cool, Click this link to read about visually impaired celeberties.

Braille Works: Providing Printers That Enable the Blind

Braille, raised dots on paper specially positioned to follow a language system, gives blind people the ability to read and write. Braille documents are created by Braille printers or embossers that produce the raised dots by pushing the paper up with hammers in the pattern dictated by the Braille transcription file. Braille Works was founded in 1994 and offers a full range of Braille and alternative format transcription products and services. Whether you need a desktop embosser and the Braille software to communicate with clients or an industrial size embosser that can handle large volume jobs, Braille Works can meet the need. The real magic of braille translation happens when you need to make a user manual intended for the sighted understandable for a blind person. If the manual tells you to press the red button, that does not help the blind user. The text must be interpreted to direct the blind user to where the red button is located without the color reference. Braille Works help…


Are you having trouble getting students to turn in their homework regularly? This free bulletin board game from TeachNet will solve the problem faster than they can say "the dog ate it." The game, based on MB's Monopoly, includes a printable game board and Chance Cards; students can choose clip art images or something more tactile to use as game pieces. Simply download and print the 35-inch-square Homeworkopoly game board and assemble it on a classroom bulletin board. Don't forget to label the items in braille for students who are blind. Play the game according to the rules posted at the site. (Note: Only kids who have completed their homework are allowed to play!) The game board is available in two versions, with street names and without. Chance Cards include Sit at the Teacher's Desk, Be First in Line, Get a Homework Pass, and many more. Blank cards allow you to create your own Chance Cards as well. You can print the cards and then braille larger cards for ac…

Singing Science Records

Jeff Poskanzer is a software developer, apparently with a nostalgic bent. "When I was a kid," he says, "my parents got this six-LP set of science-themed folk songs for my sister and me. They were produced in the late 1950s / early 1960s, The Singing Science lyrics were very Atomic Age, while the tunes were generally riffs on popular or genre music of the time. We played them incessantly." "In February 1998 I found the LPs in my parents' basement. I cleaned them up, played them one last time on an old turntable, and burned them onto a set of three CD-R discs. In December 1999 I read the songs back off the CDs and encoded them into MP3, so now you can hear them on the web. They are available at either 32 Kbps (about half a megabyte each) or 160 Kbps (about two megabytes each)." The songs are arranged in five categories: Space Songs, Energy and Motion Songs, Experiment Songs, Weather Songs, and Nature Songs. Topics include "Why Does the Sun Shi…

Slow Down Your Dog Guide's Eating Habbits with

Most dog guides simply wolf down their food the moment they are given permission to do so, but with the DogPause, all that will change. Introducing DogPause, the first dogbowl with proprietary SlowZones and integrated portion control. You know how you feel when you eat too fast (or eat too much)? Same thing with your dog - it's not healthy for him or her to inhale the food. DogPause is the only dog bowl clinically proven to slow down dogs' eating. In clinical tests run by professional vets, DogPause slowed down dogs by an average of 50% vs. standard dog bowls. As vets will confirm, a slower eating dog is a happier, healthier dog with less risk of experiencing (or doing) all sorts of yucky things like vomiting, gas, belching, gagging, life-threatening bloat, etc. Which makes life better for you and your dog. The DogPause dog bowl works to slow down the pace of eating and aid with portion control in the following ways: Divides the bowl into 4 feeding zones
Each feeding zon…

How To Use A Compass As An Aid To Orientation

When we think of using a compass, (if we think of it at all), we may think of boy or girl scouts on hikes, sailors on a vast expanse of ocean, or explorers trying to map an uncharted wilderness. Few people would think of using a compass in order to find a room in a hotel or the entrance to the hotel itself. Yet, tasks such as these, orienting oneself to a meeting room or exhibit hall, finding the direction in which to turn when going from elevator to dining room or dining room to elevator often can be made easier with the help of a compass. There are several compasses on the market that can be read by a blind person. Some can be read by touch while others have speech and/or braille readout. Because of its basic simplicity I like the Silva Compass. Made in Sweden, it is offered by several vendors of vision products. It is physically small, about 2 by 3 inches and just under an inch thick. It feels like a small makeup compact with a flange that extends toward you when you hold the…

Traveling with a Baby: Tips from a Blindness Perspective

by Lori Miller Lori Miller, an O&M specialist who is blind, experienced traveling in a new light when she became a mother! Her son Khareus was born on May 4, 2005. She wrote the following article for From the Field: Tips and Strategies, Winter 2006, Volume 12 Number 2, pages 18-19 and agreed to share it with Fred's Head. Traveling with a baby has certainly had its challenges, but it can be tons of fun for baby and parent. One essential aspect is to find a method or form of travel that works best for both adult and child. There are many variables that factor into the process and I will attempt to share what has worked for me, which may or may not work for others. The following information is based on my personal experience and likes and dislikes. Selecting the right stroller:I have discovered, after going through several different types and styles of strollers and literally going around the block several times and up and down store aisles that there are a number of …

Audio Described Movies at the Blind Mice Mart Movie Vault

The Mice have a collection of audio described movies for you to download Free! The movies are audio files that contain the original audio of the movie and the descriptive track. Files are provided in the mp3 format for ease of use. Download InstructionsPress enter on the link for the movie you want.
You will be taken to's download page for the movie.
Navigate to the bottom of the page and tab up the page until you hear the name of the movie. That is the download link.
Enter on that named link.
The box that opens will ask you to "open" or "save" the file or "cancel" the entire operation. Enter on "Save".
The next box that opens will allow you to select the location on your computer of where you would like to save the movie. Note: I suggest creating a folder named "Movies" on your hard drive so all your movies can be saved in the same location.
Once you have selected the location for your download, enter on the "save&q…