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Showing posts from February, 2009

Purchasing Products From The APH Website Is Easy

Take note of the APH Catalog number. If you are using a computer, you may wish to copy this number to your clipboard for easier reference. If browsing through a print edition of the APH Catalog, you may wish to write the number to a seperate piece of paper.

Click this link to visit the APH Quick Order Entry page: http://shop.aph.org/quickentry.asp

Type or paste the item number into the first edit box.

Enter the quantity in the next box.

Repeat the last two steps for any additional items you wish to order.

At the bottom of this page there are three buttons: "Cancel", "Verify Items and Add to Shopping Cart", and "Verify Catalog Numbers". If you are sure of your item number(s) and want to proceed to the Shopping Cart, click the "Verify Items and Add to Shopping Cart" button. Clicking "Cancel" will take you to the APH Shopping Entrance page at http://shop.aph.org/aph_shop_home.asp. My personal favorite is the "Verify Catalog Numbers&q…

Teaching Science to Students With A Visual Impairment

Message: Fred, I am wanting to find some resources that explain the best instructional practices for teaching science to students with a visual impairment. I would also like to know about interventions that have worked in science classes and any research on their effectiveness. Any other literature along these lines would be helpful as well. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Sara.

location: Nashville,TN I sent your question to my friends at APH. First, we have a question for you. Have you consulted with reference librarians at Vanderbilt? your email suggests that you are associated with Vanderbilt, and your school has truly excellent research libraries, librarians and programs that provide instruction to VI teachers in training. If you have, great, you're off to a good start. This is the link to the online reference form at vanderbilt. The page also includes all the phone numbers, and it includes links to the many special libraries at vanderbilt.…

Big Screen Games from Radica

Big Screen HeartsThis classic game with a big screen is so much fun players won't be able to put it down. Big Screen Hearts captures competitive play for a single player with three virtual opponents and easy to follow player icons. Automatic light, electronic card shuffle, and auto scoring are just some of the features. One reviewer had this to say about the game: "When I bought this for a low price, I knew it was a Radica and I own several other of their handheld electronic games and really like them. I have a knee issue which requires me to challenge myself, off my feet, and all these games are perfect. I didn't know how to play Hearts until I went back to the computer and practiced. I am so proud now that I can play this game ! Hearts is not difficult to learn. I am an adult and this is a card game. Play Hearts on your computer and if you like it, you'll love the take along ( about 4 x 6 in.) version of the game. The cards are big and easy to read. The controls…

A Walk in the Woods: Resources of Hiking Trails Designed for the Blind or Visually Impaired

It's a beautiful day: a pleasant breeze is blowing, the air is warm and dry, and the National Weather Service promises that it will be beautiful all day. All in all, it's a perfect day to be outdoors! Walking outdoors, just for the sake of walking, is a transforming experience. The warmth of the sun on your skin, the breeze blowing through your hair, the sound of the breeze rustling through the trees and the songs of the birds, the scents of the outdoors-- freshly-cut grass, sweet wildflowers, and that musky smell of last year's leaves decaying on the ground-- being surrounded by this wonderful atmosphere puts you in touch with Nature, reminds you that you too are a natural being, reminds you that you are alive and connected to this wild and wonderful planet. Nothing compares to hiking along a backcountry or forest trail miles and miles from civilization, but it requires lots of time and planning. For those people who can't spare the time and resources necessary t…

ADA Changes: The New Definition of Disability

By Tim Moore The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 and became effective on July 26, 1992 to protect those with major disabilities in the workplace. Since then, much has changed, especially the definition of the term ^D<'disability^D>'. On January 1, 2009, the definition of ^D<'disability^D>' was changed drastically. In the initial ADA, a disability was defined as a mental or physical impairment that ^D<"substantially limits^D>" a ^D<"major life activity^D>". Major life activities were activities such as walking, hearing, seeing or breathing. Due to this strict definition, many employers used the law to prove that their employees were not truly disabled ^D<'under the law^D>', even when the employee was experiencing a disability that limited work and life activities. One case in particular was Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams. In this case, Ella Williams lost even th…

MagniTalk

MagniTalk provides direct speech access to the Zoomtext Magnifier/Reader user interface, serving as a bridge between Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional and ZoomText technologies. This means that users of the Zoomtext Magnifier & Reader from AI Squared can more easily benefit from the advantages provided by Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional from Nuance Communications' continuous speech voice recognition software. With these two programs working together, the dynamic MagniTalk interface can provide a computer system that can be used by individuals with varying abilities (and should be particularly helpful for low vision and learning different PC users). Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional and Zoomtext can be used and configured separately or in tandem, which can improve overall computing possibilities and provide increased user independence. MagniTalk pricing includes initial phone/email installation support; additional technical support may be provided by the distrib…

Magnify OutLoud

Magnify OutLoud is a robust screen magnifier that reads the text to you. Unlike complicated software driven platforms that are difficult to master, all magnifying and reading functions are performed via the keyboard and mouse. The ease of use makes Magnify OutLoud ideal for the occasional user in a library, or those with minor computer skills. For the elderly with visual loss the simplicity of this system supports their computer use as well. Features include: Move the sliding bar on the wireless keyboard to magnify pictures and text.
Use the scroll wheel on the wireless mouse to move the screen up, down, left, right.
Tapping the same scroll bar reverts to other open programs, documents and files.
Preset and programmable keys allow for access to the web, email, programs, files, folders and documents.
Other keyboard buttons overcome the finding and fetching of platforms on the toolbar.
Additional buttons shut down and log off, increase, decrease, and mute sound.
The Read Text feature is co…

The Assemblies of God Center for the Blind

What do a wringer washing machine, a small farmhouse in Michigan, and a blind girl in Kansas City have in common? Over fifty years ago, God put a vision in the heart of Mildred Whitney. That vision was to see the Gospel made available to the Blind. With that call of God in her heart, she began her Braille lessons. She hand-punched the "Adult Student Quarterly" into Braille, painted the sheet with shellac, and hung it up to dry to be used as plates. A soaked sheet of paper was placed over the plate and run through a wringer washing machine. These sheets were hung up to dry through out her small farmhouse in Michigan. This was the beginning of what is now a dynamic ministry that has expanded to include evangelism and discipleship, community relations, convention outreach, and Christian advocacy and education for the blind. In September 1999, the Adriene Resource Center for Blind Children became a reality. This ministry exists to help fill the nationwide void in Christian l…

Making Facebook More Accessible

A tool to make Facebook more accessible to visually impaired users has been created by Project:Possibility (http://www.projectpossibility.org), a group of not-for-profit software developers in the US. The application allows visually impaired users to log in, navigate and use the site by combining screen reader technology with other coding techniques. Facebook's popularity has risen dramatically in recent years, with more than 150 million users worldwide. However some users claim it does not fully support assistive technology tools, with several groups active on the site itself pressing for a more accessible service, such as The Official Petition for a More Accessible Facebook which contains almost 1,500 members. Some measures have already been taken by Facebook to accommodate the needs of disabled users, such as releasing screen reader-friendly versions of some of its applications.

Click this link to download the Facebook Accessibility application from http://fastlink.headstar.com…

Lowering Screen Resolution Makes Vista Easier to See

Every now and then we have a tip just for the visually impaired readers of Fred's Head. This is one such tip. Today's computer monitors with wide screens will in most cases shrink icons and websites to minimal size for better resolution, sometimes making everything very hard to see and read, especially for the sight impaired. The easiest way to make everything a little bigger is by lowering the monitors screen resolution just a bit. These instructions are for the Windows Vista operating system. Right click on any empty area of your desktop (the first screen you see once the computer is turned on and booted).
This will bring up a menu with several options, select the last one which is personalize, this will bring up a larger menu.
Choose "Display Settings" where you will then find a slider bar with xxxx by xxx pixels.
Hold the slider button with your mouse button pressed and slide it towards the left once.
Select apply at the bottom left of the window, this will then …

US Home Loans for People with Disabilities and Seniors

For people who have a disability and those with low income, finding a home loan can be a daunting task. Owning your own home is considered a fundamental right by most people, a natural progression into the world of independent living. One in three Americans living with disabilities lives below or at the poverty level. That makes millions of people with disabilities living under socially and financially acceptable conditions. Disabled World is trying to make finding a reputable home loan lender a little easier by listing both government public and private institutions that lend money for home purchases and down payment loans to people with disabilities and very low income earners. They have created a list of national, state, and local programs that offer mortgage assistance and other types of housing aid to help better serve those with disabilities. There are a number of organizations listed that can provide guidance and information about buying a home. Click this link to visit Dis…

Online Diagram of the Eye

Have you ever wanted to see the eye up close? Well, if you have enough vision, you can visit the National Eye Institute website and check out a great diagram of the eye. "Drag the magnifying glass to explore the eye diagram. Click the targets to see definitions for parts of the eye."

Click this link to see the National Eye Institute's Diagram of the Eye.

Disability History Museum

The Disability History Museum's mission is to promote understanding about the historical experience of people with disabilities by recovering, chronicling, and interpreting their stories. The goal is to help foster a deeper understanding of disability and to dispel lingering myths, assumptions, and stereotypes by examining these cultural legacies. The Disability History Museum is home to a searchable theme-based digital collection of documents and images related to disability history in the United States. These artifacts are drawn from public and private collections around the country. They exist as primary source materials in the Library, and may be interpreted in Museum exhibitions and Education resources. The staff of the Disability History Museum works closely with a Board of Advisors and the site's Partners to identify goals, methods, and content. This collaboration is key to maintaining an interdisciplinary approach to interpreting, preserving, and disseminating resou…

Online Sources for Accessible Computer Games for the Blind

For most gamers, the process of setting up a game and starting to play is pretty straight forward: install the game, skim over the instructions, and start playing. Unfortunately, people with disabilities find this process considerably harder. The difficulty starts at the store. A disabled purchaser has no idea if a game is accessible to them or not. There are no ratings on the box that will indicate if the game is closed captioned or supports alternative input devices. In many cases, game ratings in the popular media do not address the accessibility issue, so for many purchasers, buying a game is very much a gamble. After the game is installed, the player needs to often customize the settings to support their system and adaptive hardware. This is often not addressed in the documentation and most help desks have little experience dealing with these problems. Once in the game, further problems can occur. The difficulty level may not be controllable, making it impossible for a person …

Road to Independence: a Fun Approach to Learning how to Live with Low Vision

This educational program is designed to introduce low vision individuals, family members, and professionals to the wide range of strategies, approaches, and devices available to help low vision persons continue living independently. Its unique board-game approach helps to make learning fun, and engages its "players." It uses an oversized game board, with large, easy-to-recognize icons (one for each of the ten categories), and oversized dice and playing pieces. This learning system is ideal for low vision support groups and outreach programs. It has also been used to train low vision professionals, case managers and home healthcare workers. It is currently being used by the Oklahoma League for the Blind, in their on-site, low vision outreach program for seniors living in retirement communities.

Road To Independence
Designer and Principal: Charles Schwartz
Phone: 847-269-5707
Email: schwartzcharles@comcast.net
For an overview, please refer to the Vision World Foundation's…

Cake Decorating with M&M's

Use M&M's for decorating cakes. They are much easier to handle than some of the cake decorating sprinkles and add nice touches of color. They can be used to spell names, provide trims, or make patterns. The M&M's can be used for braille messages. Apply these just after you ice the cake.What's that? You want to know more about braille messages on cakes? Yeah, it is a cool idea where you could place a "secret" message in braille for that special someone. This could be fun for Valentine's Day or maybe a birthday. Let me guess, you don't read braille? No problem, thanks to this page from the American Foundation for the Blind's Braille Bug you can create your braille message, then place the candy in the right place on the cake! Cup-A-CakeIf you want to make cupcakes with the M&M's as the decoration, make sure they stay together by traveling with the Cup-A-Cake. Cup-A-Cake was designed and patented by mothers to solve the age old problem…

George Covington's Method for Using Photography to Enlarge Images

Sighted people tend to take photographs to capture an image of a loved one's face, to have a visual record of a person, place or event that they don't want to forget. For George Covington, a camera is more than a means to help him remember -- it's a tool that has helped him to see.George was born legally blind with 20/400 vision in both eyes. Due to a combination of astigmatism, nastagmus, eccentric fixation and myopia, his eyesight was not optically correctable. His vision impairment was no match for a strong drive to succeed. After attending and graduating from college, and then from law school, George has worked as an attorney, a journalism professor, an author and as a Press Aide and Special Assistant for Disability Policy (1989-93) to the Vice President of the United States.A Developing Interest in PhotographyGeorge "discovered" photography while helping a friend who was shooting landscape photos. While his friend prepared for the shoot, George wandered abou…

Experience History Through Sounds and Personal Accounts

To me, making history come to life for a student who is blind or visually impaired is the way to go. There are a few web sites that can bring sound to any history lesson.

BBC4 Audio Interviews A-ZThe BBC has built a wonderful site that includes excerpts from the BBC's extensive archives of interviews with authors, politicians, playwrights, architects, and other major cultural figures, from 1937 to the present. Among them: Albert Speer, George Bernard Shaw, Bob Marley, Werner Heisenberg, Alfred Hitchcock and many others. You will need the RealPlayer from Real Systems Inc. to listen to the audio on this site.

Click here to visit the BBC4 Audio Interviews site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/audiointerviews/index.shtml. The History ChannelThis cable network is known for its historic programs on a variety of topics, and now their videos come to the internet. On The History Channel - Video / Audio site, you can watch videos of PRESIDENT McKINLEY INAUGURATION, Funeral of John F. Kennedy…