Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

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

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)

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Wednesday, April 30, 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 Online website at http://allpsych.com.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

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 homeowner

Below is a list of tips from various sources as well as from some of what my father taught me about Ninjitsu many years ago. These tips are useful for anyone, regardless of whether or not you are visually impaired.

12 Tips for Self-Defense

  1. Stay alert.
    Do not assume that because you are using a cane or guide dog that you are safe. Some criminals target individuals with disabilities because they perceive them as easy targets.
  2. Consider carrying a personal alarm.
    Personal alarms make loud noises that draw attention to situations. They are often used by joggers.
  3. Inform someone about where you are going and when you are expected to return.
    That way, someone can notify the police if you do not arrive at your destination and they can tell the police exactly where you were supposed to be.
  4. If you are leaving somewhere after dark, consider asking a security person for an escort.
    Make sure that you know the security person or that you locate them at a security desk.
  5. Avoid short cuts through less traveled areas.
    There is always more safety in numbers than alone on a street.
  6. Try to identify the age, gender, number and location of the people around you.
    This will minimize the surprise if someone chooses to attack you.
  7. Carry a cellphone with emergency 911.
    Even if you can't afford a cellphone, all phones are required to be able to dial 911, so get one!
  8. Get comfortable using the objects around you as weapons.
    A cane can be a useful weapon in a fight although different techniques are used for solid canes and collapsible canes. This is where learning a martial art like Ninjitsu comes into play. My father trained under Bud Malstrom at the Atlanta Bujinkan Dojo.
  9. If someone grabs you by the wrist, break their grip by pulling away toward the thumb.
    The thumb is the weakest part of the hand and therefore the easiest part of the grip to break. The same can be done if they grab both hands.
  10. If you are grabbed from behind and your hands are pinned, use your heel to attack their knees and feet.
    The knee is a very unstable joint and the bones in the feet are very vulnerable to breaking so these are good locations to attack. Make sure that you strike as hard as you can with the heel of your foot and not the ball or instep. Note: The groin is also a good location to strike on a man, although, obviously, not as effective for women.

  11. Buy a book on self-defense.
    Safe Without Sight (SELF) - National Braille Press, $14.00.

  12. Enroll in a specialized self-defense course
    I hesitate to give too many more self-defense techniques because its always best to learn from a qualified instructor who can show you how to perform the techniques correctly.

Article Source: AbilityEdge

Monday, April 28, 2008

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. This way, you acknowledge that they are, indeed, people first."

Examples of People First Language:

  • person who has, instead of afflicted or suffers from
  • person with, instead of victim or stricken
  • disability, instead of disabled or handicapped
  • cerebral palsy, instead of palsied, C.P., or spastic
  • retardation, instead of retarded
  • seizure disorder, instead of epileptic
  • without speech or nonverbal, instead of mute or dumb
  • developmental delay, instead of slow
  • learning disability, instead of learning disabled
  • non-disabled, instead of normal or healthy
  • congential disability, instead of birth defect
  • paralyzed, instead of invalid or paralytic
  • has paraplegia (lower body paralysis), instead of paraplegic

Kathie Snow has written on a variety of disability issues, including some well done material on People First Language. She points out that people with disabilities are our largest minority group (one in five Americans). There is a one page chart that lists what to say "Instead of". This chart and her article are also available in Spanish. She also developed a document Same and Different: Respect for All to educate children about People First Language and disability issues with supplementary info for parents and teachers.

Disability-Related Phrases to Learn Before You go Abroad

Would you know how to ask about accessibility, explain that something is damaged on a wheelchair, or request a sign language interpreter in another language? Many people with disabilities going abroad to study, intern, work, volunteer and teach find themselves unable to communicate the most basic needs related to their disability due to a lack of vocabulary. The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) created Disability-Related Phrases and Vocabulary to Learn Before You Go Abroad to help people with disabilities when they travel.

Click this link to read Disability-Related Phrases and Vocabulary to Learn Before You Go Abroad from the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange.

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 titles including Barrier-Free Travel; A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers and There is Room at the Inn: Inns and B&Bs for Wheelers and Slow Walkers.

101 Accessible Vacations is available at bookstores, through the publisher at 800-532-8663 or online at http://www.101accessiblevacations.com.

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 to go. This is more complicated than it sounds, because each blind individual has his or her own individual abilities, needs, and desires. A simple example: some people choose to use the white cane, which requires that a person learn certain techniques; other people decide to go with a guide dog-- a totally different set of techniques. Another variable is the types of environments the person is going to be navigating through. Getting around downtown New York City is very different from getting around Uncle Bernie's farm in Iowa. Actually, any major city is going to have its own unique environment, and Uncle Bernie's farm is not necessarily going to be the same as his neighbor's. The point is: the set of skills needed to safely get from place to place is very complex, and a specialist is needed to teach these skills.

Information on the Web:

Madison Metropolitan School District. This site has a lot of generally useful information as well. http://www.madison.k12.wi.us/vi /tsom.htm.

It seems like every time we turn around there's a new curb ramp with all kinds of yellow, red or white bumps on them. Do they do something? Is this part of that chirping noise we hear at intersections? They weren't there yesterday, now they're everywhere. what ARE they?

A frequently asked question among the general public, and one that provides ample room for any number of responses. No, they're not part of the chirping crosswalks, they're called detectable warnings and are literally Braille for your feet, for blind and visually impaired people. It seems that the ADA back some years ago, through various studies and acceptance of some results from other countries having some success with myriad edge protection from hazardous vehicular ways found that among all known surface textures detectable underfoot, detectable warnings (truncated domes), about as wide as a quarter and twice as tall, spaced in accord with new federal guidelines, gave blind and visually impaired persons a detectable surface that was distinctly unique from all other textures, giving them the same confidence in maneuvering around in the public areas such as sidewalks and crossing areas, as STOP signs and red lights do for people with sight.

For several years the federal government did an excellent job debating the correct size, shape and texture of these warnings, and by 2001 everyone had come to a consensus on the what, where and how issue. Because of this, prior to 2001, blind people didn't have a STOP sign like sighted people do and by virtue they weren't privy to the same protection mechanisms that others take for granted every day. That meant many didn't feel safe, or even mildly comfortable going for a leisurely walk even in their own neighborhood, buying an ice cream cone, going to the park to hear others laughing, or just walking around in a thunderstorm to feel something as simple as the pelt of raindrops on their face. Sighted people take all these things for granted.

What about the cost? This is just another expense that we all have to bear isn't it? Everyone has the right to safely cross streets and to be safe when waiting on a street corner. Think of a mentally challenged child who will never be able to anticipate every possible outcome of the simplest decision to cross a street safely because it would just overwhelm them, yet now we can tell this same person 'when you come to an intersection, look for the colored ramp. that's a safe area to wait for cars to pass by'. For those people it's a bargain, and it's now a federal mandate.

Naturally the argument runs into the obvious; why do blind people need a bright yellow ramp? At first glance it does seem odd, but keep in mind that these laws were designed to provide protection for blind and visually impaired, those with limited sight as well as no sight at all. Consider that the bulk of accidents between pedestrians and drivers aren't because the pedestrian made a judgment error either in timing or in fact, but rather, because the driver was on their phone, thinking of a meeting this morning, picking up the kids, or any number of things that we all go through every day and just plain didn't see the pedestrian. That's when trouble starts. Anything we can do to make these pedestrian areas and by virtue the pedestrians, blind or otherwise, more visible to everyone, help to make the world a safer place.

Sidewalk Accessibility Videos

A series of videos by the Access Board on sidewalk accessibility, previously available on DVD, can now be viewed through the Board's website. Accessible Sidewalks is a four-part video developed by the Board to illustrate issues and considerations in the design of sidewalks. The series covers access for pedestrians with mobility impairments, including those who use wheelchairs, and pedestrians who are blind or have low vision. The videos are open captioned and incorporate running descriptive audio.

Click this link to visit the Accessible Sidewalks video page of the Access Board website.

Friday, April 25, 2008

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 your hands full of groceries isn't exactly the greatest way to make an entrance as you'll have to fumble your way through to the kitchen counter.

Click this link to purchase a SensorPlug from http://www.sensorplug.com.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

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?

  1. Click this link to visit http://www.repairmyword.com to download Repair MyWord.
  2. Once you have downloaded the software, open Repair MyWord by clicking on the downloaded file. Again, this requires no installation.
  3. At this point you are ready to begin repairing your corrupted file. Click "Repair/Open" and select the file you wish to repair. It appears to only allow you to open .doc files even though it shows all files in the directories.
  4. Once you have opened the file you wish to repair, it should appear in the blank part of the window. You will not be able to edit the file's contents at this point. However, to repair it click "Save". This will save the file as rich-text format (.rtf).

I have tested Repair MyWord on several .doc files (Word 6.0, Word 95, Word 97, 2000, XP, and 2003) and it has repaired them without fail. However, you should know that the way it repairs your file is by saving it as rich-text format. Therefore, formatting of any kind will be erased. This means any graphics, tables, numbering/bullets and text formatting will be lost during the "repair." Basically you are left with a plain text version of your document. I know this stinks especially if you have a file with lots of tables, but at least the file is recovered and you don't have to completely recreate it.

TIP: If you open multiple documents at once it will automatically save them in a batch. This keeps you from having to open the documents and save them one at a time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

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)
    Web: http://eyecareamerica.org

  • 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
    Web: http://www.aoa.org/x1061.xml

  • Lions Clubs International provides financial assistance to individuals for eye care through local clubs. A local club can be found by using the "club locator" button found on their website at http://www.LionsClubs.org. If you are unable to find your local Lions club, contact the LCIF Grant Programs Department at 630-571-5466 x393.

  • Mission Cataract USA, coordinated by the Volunteer Eye Surgeons' Association, is a program providing free cataract surgery to people of all ages who have no other means to pay. Surgeries are scheduled annually on one day, usually in May.

    Toll Free: 800-343-7265
    Web: http://www.missioncataractUSA.org

  • Knights Templar Eye Foundation provides assistance for eye surgery for people who are unable to pay or receive adequate assistance from current government agencies or similar sources. Mailing address:

    1000 East State Parkway, Suite I
    Schaumburg, IL 60173
    Phone: 847-490-3838 Web: http://www.knightstemplar.org/ktef/

  • National Keratoconus Assistance Foundation provides financial support to patients who need surgical and optometric treatment for keratoconus and other corneal problems. This organization does not have a phone number available to the public.

    Web: http://www.nkcaf.org

  • InfantSEE is a public health program designed to ensure early detection of eye conditions in babies. Member optometrists provide a free comprehensive infant eye assessment to children younger than one year.

    Toll Free: 888-396-3937
    Web: http://www.infantsee.org


Eyeglasses



  • Sight for Students, a Vision Service Plan (VSP) program provides eye exams and glasses to children 18 years and younger whose families cannot afford vision care.

    Toll Free: 888-290-4964
    Web: http://www.sightforstudents.org

  • New Eyes for the Needy provides vouchers for the purchase of new prescription eyeglasses. Mailing address:

    549 Millburn Avenue
    P.O. Box 332
    Short Hills, NJ 07078-0332
    Phone: 973-376-4903
    Email: neweyesfortheneedy@verizon.net
    Web: http://www.neweyesfortheneedy.org


Prescription Drugs



  • The Medicine Program assists people to enroll in one or more of the many patient assistance programs that provide prescription medicine free-of-charge to those in need. Patients must meet the sponsor's criteria. The program is conducted in cooperation with the patient's doctor. Mailing Address:

    P.O. Box 4182
    Poplar Bluff, MO 63902-4182
    Toll Free: 866-694-3893
    Email: help@themedicineprogram.com
    Web: http://www.themedicineprogram.com

  • Partnership for Prescription Assistance offers a single point of access to more than 475 public and private patient assistance programs, including more than 150 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies.

    Toll Free: 888-477-2669
    Web: https://www.pparx.org


Government Programs



  • Medicare Benefit for Eye Exams For People with Diabetes -- People with Medicare who have diabetes can get a dilated eye exam to check for diabetic eye disease. Your doctor will decide how often you need this exam.

    For People at Risk for Glaucoma -- Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss. People at high risk for glaucoma include those with diabetes or a family history of glaucoma, or African Americans age 50 or older. Medicare will pay for an eye exam to check for glaucoma once every 12 months.

    Patients must pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount after the yearly Part B deductible.

    Toll Free: 800-633-4227
    Web: http://www.medicare.gov

  • State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) For little or no cost, this insurance pays for doctor visits, prescription medicines, hospitalizations, and much more for children 18 years and younger. Most states also cover the cost of dental care, eye care, and medical equipment.

    Toll Free: 877-543-7669
    Web: Insure Kids Now! http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/states.htm

You may also wish to contact a social worker at a local hospital or other community agency. Social workers often are knowledgeable about community resources that can help people facing financial and medical problems.

Prescriptions 4 Free

Use this website to enroll in a free Patient Assistance Program that US drug manufacturers have established in order to assist the financially stressed individuals or families who have no other prescription drug insurance coverage, have low income, or are not eligible for 3rd party assistance such as Medicare. Over 1,300 prescription drugs are currently covered under the free Patient Assistance Programs, so saving potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars is just a few clicks away.

Click this link to visit http://www.prescriptions4free.com.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

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.

Staybooked.com 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 guarantee to match it plus pay you 10% of the difference in price. They have a host of features that will be released soon, including one click rebooking of regular hotels, in depth professional hotel reviews, a generous reward program, and email destination weather forecasts. All bookings are INSTANTLY confirmed via email and your room secured.

Using a screen reader, I found the site to be very friendly with most things set as headers. You first choose the country, state, city and then either the hotel you want, or simply enter room preferences and the website will search availability for that area. It wasn't three steps exactly, but it was simple and quick.

Click this link to visit http://www.StayBooked.com.

Concert Hotels

Here's a great site that helps people find hotel accommodations close to a wide range of popular music and sporting venues across the US and Europe. Now you'll know what hotels are around the next Ronnie Milsap concert by visiting this site!

Click this link to find hotels with http://www.concerthotels.com.

Friday, April 11, 2008

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
Email: execdir@challengedathletes.org
Web: http://www.challengedathletes.org

Contributor: Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness News Service

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Leaders and Legends: James Max Woolly

James Max Woolly
Inducted 2005
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Max 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.

James Max Woolly standing next to a Lion's Club road sign

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 graduate programs at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock in teacher personnel preparation, orientation and mobility, and rehabilitation of the blind.

ASB Administrators and families in front of main building (L to R: Beal Kidd and family, Finas Davis and family, James Max Woolly and family (1941)

Max Woolly was appreciated and respected by his colleagues for his strong character and determined resolve, indicators of a quality leader, accepted by all. Some phrases which have been used to describe him include: "a southern gentleman with a dry sense of humor," "fully devoted to his mission in life," "known for his quiet wisdom, honesty, integrity, fairness and concern for the welfare of others" and his "determination and ability to bring people together to solve problems."

Kathlyn and James Max Woolly celebrating 60th wedding anniversary

He was president of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind from 1962 until 1964. As a member of the Board of Directors, he was the preeminent author of the original standards developed by the National Accreditation Council in the late 1960's. For many years he served as an Ex Officio Trustee of the American Printing House for the Blind and on the Board of Trustees for the American Foundation for the Blind and as its vice-chairman in the late 80's. While in Little Rock he was a member and "served on most of the committees" of the Winfield Methodist Church. He represented the United States in world organizations in Norway, Germany, Spain, France, and Guatemala and served on the boards of Lion's World Services for the Blind and The Arkansas Light House for the Blind.

James Max Woolly with granddaughter Laura Woolly (1976)

His awards include the Anne Sullivan Centennial Award in 1966, the Mary K. Bauman award from AERBVI in 1990, the Migel Medal in 1978 presented by the American Foundation for the Blind, the Kentucky Colonel, and the AAWB Southwest Region award for outstanding achievement and leadership. He was a member of Phi Delta Kappa and a 33rd degree Mason.

James Max Woolly with Dr. Roy Kumpe, founder of Arkansas Enterprises for the Blind, now Lions World Services for the Blind James Max Woolly at the Arkansas State Capitol with Governor Bill Clinton James Max Woolly James Max Woolly's Hall of Fame Plaque

Plaque sponsored by Arkansas School for the Blind, Arkansas AER, Lions World Services for the Blind, AR Lighthouse for the Blind

About the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.

These significant professional colleagues of the recent and distant past are a fascinating cross-section of heroes and pioneers who not only shaped our rich history, philosophy, knowledge and skills, but also give us insights into current and future challenges. These giants shared their personal lives and showed us strategies to ensure that services for blind persons remain unique and specialized. Enjoy their lives and contributions and reflect upon your own list of heroes.

Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness. It is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Visit the virtual Hall of Fame for the inspiring stories of many more heroes of the field of blindness.

Leaders and Legends: Russell Williams

Russell Williams
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Russ 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.

Russell Williams

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 when Richard Hoover was beginning to develop the techniques of the use of the long cane.

With the encouragement of Warren Bledsoe, in 1948, Russ Williams initiated the Blind Rehabilitation Center at the V.A. Hospital, Hines, Illinois and became its first Chief. He is probably best known for his significant accomplishments in developing the rehabilitation program at Hines of which orientation and mobility was the key factor. He was responsible for the recruitment, selection and training of the very first orientors at Hines. His first hand experience, knowledge of mobility and his own performance skills in mobility were key factors in the refinement of standardized techniques in mobility instruction. His example in mobility was a perfect model for newly blinded veterans to emulate and was largely responsible for the success the fledgling orientors had with the early Hines veterans. He has acted as an advisor on research and development of electronic guidance devices.

Russell Williams receiving the Migel Medal from Jack S. Crowley

Eleven years later in 1959, Russ Williams was promoted to Chief of Blind Rehabilitation in the Department of Medicine and Surgery, Veterans Administration Central Office in Washington, D.C. He served in that post until his retirement. During this time he was influential in encouraging Don Blasch to begin a graduate training program in O&M at Western Michigan University.

For his accomplishments Russell Williams was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Western Michigan University. He received the Blinded Veterans Association Award in 1953; the Lawrence E. Blaha Memorial Award from AAWB in 1975 for his leadership and contribution to the betterment of orientation and mobility for blind persons; the Ambrose Shotwell Award from AER for national and international leadership; the Migel Medal from AFB; and most recently the Division of Veterans Services of AER has named its outstanding service award in honor of Russ Williams.

Russell Williams Russell Williams' Hall of Fame Plaque

Plaque sponsored by Maryland's Athletic House, Inc.; Family and Friends

About the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.

These significant professional colleagues of the recent and distant past are a fascinating cross-section of heroes and pioneers who not only shaped our rich history, philosophy, knowledge and skills, but also give us insights into current and future challenges. These giants shared their personal lives and showed us strategies to ensure that services for blind persons remain unique and specialized. Enjoy their lives and contributions and reflect upon your own list of heroes.

Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness. It is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Visit the virtual Hall of Fame for the inspiring stories of many more heroes of the field of blindness.

Leaders and Legends: Robert H. Whitstock

Robert H. Whitstock
Inducted 2002

Robert 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 then to Vice President for Programs in 1977 when he assumed responsibility for overseeing the breeding, puppy raising and training of Seeing Eye dogs, and the students' course of instruction in working with and caring for their new dog guides. He served in that position until his retirement in 1992, truly a leader in the dog guide movement.

Kenneth Rosenthal, President of The Seeing Eye, said of Robert H. Whitstock, "Indeed, for thousands of its graduates and many people in the field of service to the blind, he was The Seeing Eye. No obstacle, not even his blindness, could stand in his way, and he achieved more in his lifetime than most of us dare to dream about. The strong and effective organization he left behind will be his enduring legacy."

Robert H. Whitstock served as President of the American Association of Workers for the Blind (AAWB) from 1973 to1975 and served on the national board as a past president until 1977. He had also served as chairman of AAWB's Orientation and Mobility interest group. His quiet strength and unique position enabled him to bridge the gap between various disciplines and service provider organizations. This helped the field to coalesce on issues relating to the capabilities and needs of people who are blind or visually impaired.

In addition to writing several significant articles on blindness as they related to mobility, public relations, and attitudes, he authored a chapter in the book Foundations of Orientation and Mobility edited by Welsh and Blasch and published by the American Foundation for the Blind in 1980.

Robert H. Whitstock Robert H. Whitstock's Hall of Fame Plaque

Plaque sponsored by The Seeing Eye

About the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.

These significant professional colleagues of the recent and distant past are a fascinating cross-section of heroes and pioneers who not only shaped our rich history, philosophy, knowledge and skills, but also give us insights into current and future challenges. These giants shared their personal lives and showed us strategies to ensure that services for blind persons remain unique and specialized. Enjoy their lives and contributions and reflect upon your own list of heroes.

Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness. It is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Visit the virtual Hall of Fame for the inspiring stories of many more heroes of the field of blindness.

Leaders and Legends: Donald Wedewer

Donald Wedewer
Inducted 2002

Don 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 skills by taking seminars and workshops in the areas of job placement, rehabilitation management and counseling. He was always a strong and persistent advocate for separate agency status for adult blind state services.

Don Wedewer was very active in a number of different organizations. He served as president of the Florida Rehabilitation Association; president of the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind; a member of the Commission on Standards, National Accreditation Council; Vice Chairman of Florida's Governor's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped; President of the American Association of Workers for the Blind (AAWB); President, Blinded Veterans Association of Florida; Vice President and Board Member of the National Blinded Veterans Association; a member, Board of Trustees, American Foundation for the Blind; a member of the Advisory Committee to Hadley School for the Blind.

Don Wedewer has received more than a dozen honors and awards. They include the Outstanding Blinded Veteran (Achievement Award) for 1970, from the Blinded Veterans Association; Outstanding Florida Blind Person, 1972 and 1975, AAWB Florida Chapter; President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, Florida's Outstanding Handicapped Person (and national finalist), 1969; Robert M. Grabel Memorial Award, 1975, in recognition of meritorious services to the blind of Florida presented by Governor Reuben Askew; National Rehabilitation Association, Bell Greve Memorial Award, 1980; Meritorious Service Award, Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind, 1985.

Donald Wedewer Donald Wedewer's Hall of Fame Plaque
About the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.

These significant professional colleagues of the recent and distant past are a fascinating cross-section of heroes and pioneers who not only shaped our rich history, philosophy, knowledge and skills, but also give us insights into current and future challenges. These giants shared their personal lives and showed us strategies to ensure that services for blind persons remain unique and specialized. Enjoy their lives and contributions and reflect upon your own list of heroes.

Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness. It is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Visit the virtual Hall of Fame for the inspiring stories of many more heroes of the field of blindness.

Leaders and Legends: Louis Vieceli

Louis Vieceli
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Lou 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 authority on job placement of blind persons, his advice and counsel were in high demand. He served as consultant to numerous State Rehabilitation Agencies including Ohio Services for Visually Handicapped, Florida Commission for the Blind, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services for the Blind, and the Texas Commission for the Blind. He worked on the "Careers for the Blind" project for the American Foundation for the Blind. He was frequently asked to evaluate manuscripts for journals and book publishers as well as grant proposals for a variety of agencies.

Lou Vieceli was active in several rehabilitation associations. He served as president (1965-1966) of the Illinois Association of Workers for the Blind. He was treasurer (1969-1971) and board member (1979-1983) for the American Association of Workers for the Blind. He served as editor of the Employment Counselor's Newsletter for AAWB's Group 2. He was a Louis P. Ortale Lecturer for the Job Placement Division of the National Rehabilitation Association (1980).

Fortunately for the field, some of Lou Vieceli's expertise is in published form. He and Thomas Dickey edited the book Guidelines for the Selection, Training and Placement of Blind Persons in Information Service Expediting (Southern Illinois University Press, 1975). Among a dozen chapters and articles, he co-authored with George Magers "Occupational Information and Job Development," in Services to the Blind: A Community Concern (1973).

Lou Vieceli received many honors and awards in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the rehabilitation and job placement of blind persons. They include: AAWB's John H. McAulay Award, Chicago, 1969 for outstanding achievement in the placement of blind persons; Certificate of Appreciation, State of Illinois, Department of Rehabilitation Services, 1982; the Ambrose Shotwell Memorial Award, AAWB Convention, Phoenix, Arizona, 1983; and Community Service Award, The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, Chicago, 1985; and AFB's 2005 Migel Medal Award, Boston, MA.

Louis Vieceli Louis Vieceli's Hall of Fame Plaque
About the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.

These significant professional colleagues of the recent and distant past are a fascinating cross-section of heroes and pioneers who not only shaped our rich history, philosophy, knowledge and skills, but also give us insights into current and future challenges. These giants shared their personal lives and showed us strategies to ensure that services for blind persons remain unique and specialized. Enjoy their lives and contributions and reflect upon your own list of heroes.

Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness. It is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Visit the virtual Hall of Fame for the inspiring stories of many more heroes of the field of blindness.

Leaders and Legends: Josephine Lister Taylor

Josephine Lister Taylor
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Josephine 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. While in New Jersey, she was a strong advocate for and implementor of public day school programs for blind and visually handicapped children.

Jo Taylor moved to the Washington area in 1968 and joined the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Division of Personnel Preparation. While serving as a project officer and branch chief with the Special Education Services, she continued her role as a strong advocate for educational services for blind and multihandicapped children as well as advocating for teacher training programs for those specialized populations. She retired from the Department of Education in 1982.

During Jo Taylor's varied roles in behalf of blind children, she was president of the National Braille Club (1955-1958), president of the New Jersey Conference on the Handicapped, member of the board of directors of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind and the International Council for Exceptional Children. She was one of the delegates from the United States to the International Conference of Educators of Blind Youth in Oslo, Norway, 1957. In 1985 she was a member of the Advisory Group for the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China on the Education of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Jo Taylor was the recipient of many honors. The Council for Exceptional Children presented her with a special award for outstanding service. She received the Migel Award from the American Foundation for the Blind for exceptional service. In 1984 she was the recipient of the AER Mary K. Bauman Award. In 1985 she was honored by the state of New Jersey Department of Human Services with the first Josephine L. Taylor Award for state, national, and international impact on services for the blind and visually impaired. In 1986 the American Foundation for the Blind hosted the First Annual Josephine L. Taylor leadership institute, named in her honor.

Josephine Taylor Josephine Taylor's Hall of Fame Plaque
About the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.

These significant professional colleagues of the recent and distant past are a fascinating cross-section of heroes and pioneers who not only shaped our rich history, philosophy, knowledge and skills, but also give us insights into current and future challenges. These giants shared their personal lives and showed us strategies to ensure that services for blind persons remain unique and specialized. Enjoy their lives and contributions and reflect upon your own list of heroes.

Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness. It is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Visit the virtual Hall of Fame for the inspiring stories of many more heroes of the field of blindness.

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 ebay.com. 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 been designed from the start to collect a small fee on each sale, and it was this money that Omidyar used to pay for AuctionWeb's expansion. The fees quickly added up to more than his current salary, and so he decided to quit his job and work on the site full-time. It was at this point, in 1996, that he added the feedback facilities, to let buyers and sellers rate each other and make buying and selling safer.

In 1997, Omidyar changed AuctionWeb's - and his company's - name to 'eBay', which is what people had been calling the site for a long time. He began to spend a lot of money on advertising, and had the eBay logo designed. It was in this year that the one-millionth item was sold (it was a toy version of Big Bird from Sesame Street).

Then, in 1998 - the peak of the dotcom boom - eBay became big business, and the investment in Internet businesses at the time allowed it to bring in senior managers and business strategists, who took it public on the stock market. It started to encourage people to sell more than just collectibles, and quickly became a massive site where you could sell anything, large or small. Unlike other sites, though, eBay survived the end of the boom, and is still going strong today.

1999 saw eBay go worldwide, launching sites in the UK, Australia and Germany. eBay bought half.com, an Amazon-like online retailer, in the year 2000 - the same year it introduced "Buy it Now" - and bought PayPal, an online payment service, in 2002.

Pierre Omidyar has now earned an estimated $3 billion from eBay, and still serves as Chairman of the Board. Oddly enough, he keeps a personal weblog at http://pierre.typepad.com. There are now literally millions of items bought and sold every day on eBay, all over the world. For every $100 spent online worldwide, it is estimated that $14 is spent on eBay - that's a lot of laser pointers.

Now that you know the history of eBay, perhaps you'd like to know how it could work for you?

eBay for the Blind

If you haven't explored the wonderful world of eBay - the online hot spot for buying and selling collectables and other items-you should really check it out. And if you're feeling like you need a "how to eBay" course, I've got one for you. There's a great article titled "Buy It, Sell It: eBay 101" in AccessWorld. It walks you through everything from signing up to buying, listing, and selling, and it's really easy to follow. eBay isn't 100 percent screen reader friendly, but it's still possible to use, so try it out and let me know what you think.

Contributor: Carl Augusto
American Foundation for the Blind's Blog: http://www.afb.org/blog

Blindness Auction Gateway

Once you've read the article from AFB, navigate to the Blindness Auction Gateway. Use this page to search for all sorts of blindness and low-vision items on Ebay. Just select a link to perform a realtime search for that item.

Click this link to start your search at the Blindness Auction Gateway.

Free eBay Fee Calculator

Want to figure out how much eBay charges for listing your item? Check out FreeEbayFeeCalculator. Here you can quickly find out how much you need to pay in order to list your item on eBay. Simply choose the eBay site where you plan to list the item, specify listing details and hit calculate.

Fee Calculator includes both basic and advanced fee calcs. While basic one covers all generic auctions the advanced one can also handle Dutch, Fixed Price, Stores, and Real Estate listings.

Click this link to check out the eBay calculator: http://www.auctionfeecalculator.com.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. On your dashboard, use the calendar to add the last date you started your period, or click the tabs to add today or yesterday.
  3. Your history will be shown on the left side of your dashboard. You can also view your history as text with individual cycle lengths.
  4. When you have added several start dates, more detailed information will be generated and displayed on your dashboard.
  5. On your Settings page, you can choose whether or not to receive reminders by email, how often, and what the messages should say. You can also set your time zone so that your reminders arrive at 5:00am.
Click this link to get started with http://mon.thly.info.

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.

Click this link to see a variety of Windows XP and Vista tools.

Monday, April 07, 2008

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Divide players into two teams of one, two or four players each. Each team gets four balls, divided equally among the players.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Have players from the opposing team take turns throwing their balls until one of the balls stops closer to the pallina than the starting player's ball. If they fail to do so, the starting team tries to outdo its first attempt.
  6. Let the starting players take their second turn if the opposing team gets closer to the pallina than the starting team without using all of their balls.
  7. Continue in this fashion until all eight balls have been thrown. The team with the closest ball gets one point for each of its balls that are closer to the pallina than the other team's closest ball.
  8. Keep in mind that if the two teams' closest balls are an equal distance from the pallina, no points are awarded.
  9. End the frame after all eight balls have been thrown and appropriate points have been awarded. The scoring team begins the next frame. If no team previously scored, the team that threw the pallina last begins the next frame.
  10. Play as many frames as needed until one team has a total score of 16 points.

Players may use their balls to knock the other team's balls away from the pallina, or to knock the pallina closer to their team's balls.

Click this link for more information on how to keep score in Open Bocce.

LED Bocce Ball

Bocce is one of the oldest and most popular lawn games around. It's too bad it has to come to an end when the sun goes down, or does it? With LED Bocce, there is no need to pack up as the sun drops. Each colored ball stays lit for up to 3 minutes at a time, so you can keep playing when the light is low. All of the balls fit neatly into the wooden carry crate, so you can take LED Bocce with you anywhere! Includes:

  • 8 colored balls (yellow, red, green and blue) with embedded LEDs
  • 1 white target ball with embedded LEDs
  • Button cell batteries
  • Wooden storage case
Click this link to purchase a LED Bocce Ball set from Brookstone.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

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 all free, regardless of income! So, if you know of anyone with a child who would qualify for this free program, please encourage them to visit the website: http://infantsee.org. You can search for local providers who participate in this free program. Please be sure to spread the word! It just may save a child's eyes!

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 latch is on the inside of the garment.
  • Fallen hem: Use packing tape to tack the hem back into place.
  • Shoe scuffs: Use a Sharpie pen to fill in any discoloring scuffs or scratches.

Aside from general office supplies, keep the following around your desk as a handy kit for wardrobe emergencies:

  • Safety pins
  • Clear nail polish
  • Small sewing kit
  • Stain remover pen
  • Extra set of clothes
  • Small hair straightener (can be used as an iron in certain instances)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

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 students with some vision.

Click this link to visit http://lightupyourbrain.com.

APH and the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC)

NIMAC/National Instructional Materials Access Center

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 country. The combination of a standard format and a central repository significantly expedites the time frame in which textbooks are delivered to students who need them in the classroom.

APH is working with the U.S. Department of Education, the Association of American Publishers, and many other organizations that produce textbooks and advocate on behalf of the blind and visually impaired to continue development of the National Instructional Materials Access Center, and to ensure that appropriate federal funding is available. Click this link to visit the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) website: http://www.nimac.us.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

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 Audible.com, 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 to the audiobooks on your device of choice. To whet your child's reading appetite, there's a nice selection of free books to download.

AudibleKids is an engaging, interactive community of parents, their kids, and educators that promotes the fun of storytelling through audiobooks. Listen to books, read and post reviews and share your favorites with others.

Click this link to start reading with http://www.AudibleKids.com.

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 the card. Use your hand, a checkbook or piece of paper to shield the PIN as you enter it into a bank or store machine. Be especially vigilant in store queues, where somebody may be paying more attention than you. Also, be wary of "card skimmers" at ATMs; they use scanners over the card slot to lift debit card details and they find your PIN with small cameras.
  • Choose a PIN that is not obvious. Your birth date, wedding anniversary, parts of your phone number and home address are obvious picks, think of numbers unrelated to major events and addresses in your life to create your PIN.
  • Don't use the same PIN for all your cards. Have a different PIN for each one, so that if you do happen to lose your wallet, it will be much harder for the PINs to be cracked.
  • Contact your bank immediately if your card is stolen or lost. Tell them if you think that there is anything that may compromise your PIN, such as an easy PIN, other ID in your wallet making it easy to work out or, horror of all horrors, the PIN being written down somewhere in the wallet or on the card. Get the bank to cancel the card immediately.
  • Be proactive. If you suspect any fraudulent activity using a card still in your possession, apart from notifying the bank and the police, have your PIN changed immediately.

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