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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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lesson Plans On The Net

How many times has a teacher helped us get through a tough time? I'll bet that creating those lesson plans is not a simple task. I think we'll dedicate this article to helping all the teachers out there.

The following sites offer lesson plans and tons of other teacher-related resources:

The New York Times Learning Network

Created for students and teachers in grades 3 through 12, The Learning Network is a free news service that provides news summaries, quizzes, and even daily lesson plans.

Click this link to visit the NYT Learning Network: http://www.nytimes.com/learning.

AskEric/EDUREF

More than 2000 unique lesson plans which have been written and submitted to AskERIC (now called the Educator's Reference Desk) by teachers. If you have a great lesson plan you would like to share with educators all over the world, send it in. A wonderful online resource since 1992.

Click this link to AskEric/EDUREF: http://www.eduref.org.

TeachNet

Teachnet offers lesson plans, teaching tools, a daily teacher- oriented cartoon, and email lists for educators. Click this link to visit TeachNet: http://www.teachnet.com.

Surfing The Net With Kids

Barbara Feldman, syndicated newspaper columnist and mother, shares her vision of what's wonderful and educational on the Web for kids. She welcomes parents, kids, teens, grandparents, K-12 teachers, librarians and the incurably curious.

Click this link to visit the SurfNetKids website: http://www.surfnetkids.com.

Lesson Plans and More for US History Teachers

The US History Site provides US History teachers with a good collection of lesson plans, timelines, and images for teaching US History. Teachers will find materials appropriate for use in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. To make finding resources easy, the US History Site has organized all of their resources by eras and topics that you can browse. You can also search for US History lesson plans through the general search box at the top of the site.

Click this link to find Lesson Plans and more at http://ushistorysite.com.

The File Cabinet

The File Cabinet is a wiki for K-8 teachers. It has links and resources organized by topic and grade level.

If you're a K-8 teacher, you owe it to yourself to check out The File Cabinet: http://thefilecabinet.pbworks.com.

The Association of International Glaucoma Societies

If you visit The Association of International Glaucoma Societies website at http://www.globalaigs.org you are immediately treated to a highly produced musical number entitled Glaucoma Hymn. Here are the lyrics:

"Glaucoma, Glaucoma, Glaucoma
Constricting vision slowly
Halted by progress of science
Vision of a world united
Beyond all science knowing."

Soprano Melanie Greve delivers a near operatic rendition of the above. The Lyrics and Composition were created by Erik Greve, the arrangement done by Tom Löwenthal. You can download an MP3 of the song as well.

The purpose of The Association of International Glaucoma Societies is:

  • To further develop an effective world-wide organisation to realise common goals and improve standards for glaucoma management and research;

  • To facilitate and co-ordinate communication and collaboration between Glaucoma Societies, Glaucoma Industries, Glaucoma Foundations and Glaucoma Patient Societies and other organisations in the field;

  • To maintain and update global guidelines for glaucoma diagnosis and treatment;

  • To maintain and update global guidelines on publication and reporting on glaucoma treatment;

  • To classify, review and disseminate information on glaucoma:

  • To improve the awareness of glaucoma;

  • To create a registry of Glaucoma Societies and glaucomatologists;

  • To create a forum for exchange on global glaucoma research, screening, prevention of Glaucoma Blindness and WHO relationships


All correspondence to either:

Prof. Dr. Erik L. Greve, MD, PhD
Office of the Executive Vice President
Berg en Vaart
Cannenburgerweg 17- 19
1244 RE Wijdemeren
The Netherlands
Phone: +31 35 656 3303
Fax: +31 35 656 4543

or

Harbour Village
4672 Riverwalk Village Court 8507
Ponce Inlet, FL 32127
U. S. A.
Phone: 386-304-7890
Fax: 386-304-7890

E mail: GlobalAIGS@cs.com
Web: http://www.globalaigs.org

Free OCR Software for Digital Cameras and Smartphones

Before you make the mistake of spending a lot of money on OCR software, you should try TopOCR! This software package is designed to be simple and user-friendly for use with your digital camera or smartphone. Now, wherever you go, you can quickly and easily acquire documents from business cards, newspapers, books and magazines, all without having to carry around a bulky notebook computer and scanner.

TopOCR's Advanced Features include:

  • Incredible OCR accuracy, upto 99.8% with a 3 MP camera
  • No page limits, and no extra downloads or components needed
  • Handles images with mixed text and graphics (Manual or Auto Zoning)
  • Tolerates skew and uneven lighting
  • Multiple text output formats, including searchable PDF and HTML
  • Able to read 11 different languages
  • Powerful, easy to use Image Processing with Image Dewarping
  • Supports Smartphones
  • Includes built-in, full featured Text and Image WYSIWYG Editors
  • Post-processing spell checker for all 11 languages
  • Built-in Text-To-Speech software. How about OCR to MP3?
  • Includes a built-in multi-lingual text translater
  • Supports a Command Line Interface and a GUI
  • Make a high performance document Search and Indexing system
  • Browser Helper Mode supports creating free audio eBooks
  • With TopOCR's Web Engine, it's easy to add new features
Click this link to learn more or download TopOCR: http://www.topocr.com/index.html.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Dog Owners

by Eric Letendre

Here are the seven habits all good dog owners have in common. Follow these steps, provided by the Best Pet Bud blog and you’ll be a highly effective dog owner.

  1. Training

    All great dog owners spend some time training their dogs. Training is the best way to communicate with your dog. Your dog has no idea that they are not supposed to pull on leash, to not jump on guests, or to come back when you call them.

  2. Exercise

    Our dogs spend a lot of time waiting around for us. We go off to work, we’re busy, we have appointments to keep, and our dogs are just hanging out waiting for us to do something with them.

    Dogs are extremely social and want to interact with us. Every dog needs two forms of exercise - mental and physical.

  3. Good food

    Not all dog foods are created equal. Feeding your dog a good diet is very important. Look at some of the labels on dog food cans. Some of them are loaded with chemicals, dyes, sugar and low grade products.

  4. Leadership

    Dogs are social pack animals. They survive by living together in packs. In order for that pack to survive they need to develop a social structure with a leader. When your dog comes into the house, you need to become the pack leader.

    By becoming the pack leader your dog will know where they fit in. Becoming the pack leader does not mean that you have to be forceful. It simply means that you need to control the activities that are important to your dog which are sleeping, eating, playing, and social contact.

  5. Play

    Dogs live to play. Ever watch a group of puppies together? It is one of my favorite things to do. A group of puppies will jump, run, tug, and have a great time together. Playing with your dog is a great way to exercise and bond with your dog. It will also fulfill an important need in your dog.

  6. Management

    Good management skills are crucial. When a dog is young they usually get into a lot of trouble by chewing, stealing, jumping, etc. The owner, as the leader and teacher, needs to manage the dog’s behavior when they are young. As the dog gets older and learns how to live with us humans, we do not need to manage as much.

  7. Patience

    Some of the best dog owners I know are the ones who are patient. Having a dog, especially a young one, can be very trying.

Article Source:
http://amazingdogtrainingman.com

Clicker Train Your Dog with Susquehanna Service Dogs

Clicker training is a great way to communicate with your dog and provide positive reinforcement for desired behaviors. It can be fun for both you and your dog!

In clicker training, you use a clicker to mark a behavior your dog has performed, giving him a treat after each click. The click tells the dog that he has done what you wanted him to do. The concept of using a clicker is similar to that of a camera - each click captures a moment of a behavior.

To be successful at clicker training, you must train yourself, as well as your dog. To help you learn how to use clicker training to communicate with your dog and receive the behaviors you want, Susquehanna Service Dogs has a blog with a series of posts sharing some of the basics of clicker training.

Susquehanna Service Dogs breeds, trains and provides service dogs to children and adults with disabilities to assist them to become more independent. They specially train each dog to meet the unique needs of the individual.

Click this link to view the clicker training articles of the Susquehanna Service Dogs blog.
Click this link to visit the Susquehanna Service Dogs website.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Website and Blog for Returning Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched its “Returning Veterans” Website to welcome home Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts with a social, Veteran-centric Website focusing on their needs and questions.

The Website will feature videos, Veteran stories, and a blog where Veterans are encouraged to post feedback.  The site also will restructure the traditional index-of-benefits format found on other VA pages into question-based, categorized, and easily navigated links by topic. This will allow Veterans to find benefits of interest easily and discover related benefits as they explore.

Click this link to visit http://www.oefoif.va.gov.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Word PlayHouse Kit


Word PlayHouse provides students with visual impairments the opportunity to participate in classroom activities that focus on phonics, spelling, and phonemic awareness. Use Word PlayHouse to teach beginning phonics and reading skills including letter recognition, braille code recognition, decoding, vocabulary, and spelling skills.

Kit Includes:

  • 436 letter tiles in large print with a braille overlay and hook/loop material backing. The tiles include vowels, consonants, blends, diagraphs, word endings, and word families. Tiles containing contracted and uncontracted braille are included for some blends and word families to better meet the needs of all students.
  • A bi-fold felt work board provides a working space for the student. One side can be used for working storage of letters that will be introduced during the lesson. The other side can be used as a working space for manipulating letters and building words, word families, and new spelling and vocabulary words.
  • A storage binder, with five loop material covered binder inserts, provides space to organize the many small pieces in the kit.
WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD--Small Parts. Not intended for children ages 3 and under without adult supervision.

Word PlayHouse Kit:
Catalog Number: 1-03562-00
Click this link to purchase the Word PlayHouse Kit from APH.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Turbo Phonics Kit

Turbo Phonics

Turbo Phonics is a computer-based, phonemic awareness and phonics program for young students who are preparing to develop reading skills. This program has been specially designed for students who have low vision, but students with typical vision may successfully use the program. Exciting racecar sounds, racing graphics, and student-friendly interface make Turbo Phonics loads of fun when learning to read.

Student performance is tracked in a self-contained database that the teacher may access at any time. The program identifies skills in which the student may need further practice.

This program provides students with simple, high contrast graphics, audio reinforcement, and excitement throughout the interactive program. Students will love Turbo Phonics! Join Elaine Kitchel's 'Guided Tour' at: www.aph.org/webcast

Includes:

  • CD-ROM with Turbo Phonics program
  • Teacher's Guidebooks in enhanced print and braille
  • One Student Activity Book (this is consumable, additional activity books available separately)
  • CD-ROM with guidebook/activity book files for accessibility
Turbo Phonics Software:
Catalog Number: D-00100-00

Replacement Items

Turbo Phonics Student Activity Book (Pack of 5):
Catalog Number: 7-00100-01

Turbo Phonics Teacher's Guidebook:
  • Enhanced Print (includes CD-ROM of accessible files):
    Catalog Number: 7-00100-00
  • Braille (includes CD-ROM of accessible files):
    Catalog Number: 5-00100-00
Click this link to purchase the Turbo Phonics Kit.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Click this link to watch Turbo Phonics, with Elaine Kitchel

Transparent CCTV Rulers

Transparent CCTV Rulers

These see-through vinyl rulers make it easier to measure items magnified by a CCTV (closed-circuit television). They measure 7" x 1 1/8" are marked with one of six different increments: English 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", and 1"; and metric 1 mm and 1 cm. Rulers are screen printed with black ink on high-contrast transparent vinyl.

Includes:

  • Set of six transparent rulers (clear or yellow, depending on which kit you order):
    • 1 each, English: 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", and 1"
    • 1 each, Metric: 1 mm and 1 cm
  • Vinyl zipper pouch, made of non-glare, heavy-gauge vinyl featuring a zip-lock closure, 5-hole punched to fit standard 2- and 3-ring binders, measures 7 1/2" x 10 5/8"
  • Print and braille instructions
Yellow (set of six):
Catalog Number: 1-03008-00

Clear (set of six):
Catalog Number: 1-03009-00
Transparent CCTV Rulers from APH.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

PATTER: Preschool Attainment Through Typical Everyday Routines

PATTER Assessment Guide Curriculum Tool

This curriculum and assessment tool from APH is designed to facilitate skill development by children who are visually impaired in the areas that preschoolers are expected to master through involvement in typical household routines. PATTER is appropriate for use with children with varying degrees of visual impairment, as well as those with additional impairments.

Based on simple task analysis, PATTER breaks down an everyday activity into its component parts and allows for measurement of a child's level of participation during each step. Continuous teaching and assessing through the use of PATTER will help preschoolers:

  • Learn basic positional, quantitative, and temporal concepts
  • Learn the foundation for complex play skills
  • Learn meaningful language
  • Participate meaningfully with their families
  • Become "doers" who don't develop learned helplessness
Large Print Guidebook with CD and DVD:
Catalog Number: 8-76001-00

Braille Guidebook with CD and DVD:
Catalog Number: 6-76001-00
Click this link to purchase PATTER: Preschool Attainment Through Typical Everyday Routines

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org

Student Large Print Edition
4-00000-00 Replacement Items:

Large Print Toss-Away Ruler (24 pack):
Catalog Number: 1-03011-00

GlaReducers (pack of 4):
Catalog Number: 1-03062-00

Click here to purchase this item through our Quick Order Entry page: http://shop.aph.org/quickentry.asp

If you need assistance, click this link to read the Fred's Head Companion post "Purchasing Products From The APH Website Is Easy".

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Lots of Dots: Learning My ABC's and 123's

Learning by coloring is fun!

Lots of Dots: Learning My ABC's

Lots of Dots: Learning My ABC's

Lots of Dots: Learning My ABC's is an exciting raised-line coloring book designed for future large print and braille readers. It facilitates braille character recognition through repetitive activities designed for young children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities. Each letter of the alphabet has two pages:

  • the first page features a jumbo braille cell, with six raised-line open circles. The upper and lower case letters are shown with their braille equivalents, along with a reduced-size cell showing which dots need to be filled in to complete the letter.
  • The second page shows the letter and a tactile graphic depiction of an easy-to-find object that begins with that letter. The object is depicted in a tactile graphic format, allowing the student to color it in.

Attached to the inside front cover is a plastic stencil of the jumbo cell. This can be folded over the blank pages, allowing the student to practice the braille cell configuration for that letter by tracing or by using the accompanying foam braille chips. Accompanying the book are suggested enrichment exercises for each letter, allowing a child to fully associate the braille letter, the tactile graphic, and the object.

Catalog Number: 1-10000-00
Click this link to purchase Lots of Dots: Learning My ABC's.

Lots of Dots: Counting 123

Lots of Dots: Counting 1 2 3

The Lots of Dots: Counting 123 presents the numbers 0-30 and then integers of 10 up to 90. Each number has two pages:

  • The first page features two or three large braille cells. The number is shown with its braille equivalent, along with reduced-size cells showing which dots need to be colored to complete the number.
  • The second page shows the number and tactile graphic depictions of easy-to-find objects that begin with the same letter as the number, i.e., five fans, seventeen seashells. The objects are depicted in a tactile graphic format.
  • Attached to the inside front cover is a plastic stencil of three large braille cells. This can be folded over the blank pages, allowing the child to practice the braille cell configuration for the number by tracing or by using the accompanying foam braille chips. This book uses uncontracted braille.
Catalog Number: 1-10001-00
Click this link to purchase Lots of Dots: Counting 123:.

Lots of Dots: Coloring the Garden

Lots of Dots: Coloring the Garden

This book presents a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and introduces picture building. The book begins with an empty garden. Each page adds a new feature, i.e., clouds, rain, seeds, and plants. Once the garden has grown, a new garden item is introduced on each page for the child to color. The enrichment activities are simple recipes that the child and parents/siblings/teachers can do together. The activities present daily living skills, such as planning, organizing, and food preparation. Trying new foods is encouraged.

This book uses uncontracted and contracted braille, where applicable. To better enjoy this book, children should first complete Lots of Dots: Learning My ABC's and Lots of Dots: Counting 123.

Catalog Number: 1-10002-00
Click this link to purchase Lots of Dots: Coloring the Garden.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Work-Play Trays from APH

Durable trays hold objects which might roll out of reach. Trays provide enclosed work space for sorting, matching, classifying, counting. Two sizes and colors:

Large Work-Play Tray (21 1/4 x 13 1/4 inches)

Black:
Catalog Number: 1-03761-00

Yellow:
Catalog Number: 1-03740-00

Small Work-Play Tray (17 x 11 3/4 inches)

Black:
Catalog Number: 1-03751-00

Yellow:
Catalog Number: 1-03660-00

These products requires special handling. Please call APH customer service at 1-800-223-1839.

Dividers for work-play trays

Divide the work area into two, three, four, or five parts. Note: Dividers are not available for the large tray.

Catalog Number: 1-03770-00
Click this link to purchase Dividers for Small Work-Play Tray (4-pack) work-play trays

The Jumbo Work/Play Tray is designed to provide learners who have visual impairments and significant challenges with a tool in which they can play, explore, and learn independently. The large size tray (24" x 24") allows ample space for active learning and prevents toys from rolling out of reach.

Can be used with:

  • A HOPSA Dress™ or similar device so a child uses his or her feet on the tray
  • A swing, hammock, or foam wedge while the child is prone and uses his or her hands on the tray
  • A child sitting on the tray

A liner accompanies each tray for additional color contrast. Adhesive foam (included) can be cut and placed on the bottom of the tray to protect floors or prevent sliding.

Black:
Catalog Number: 1-03761-00

Yellow:
Catalog Number: 1-03740-00

This product requires special handling. Please call APH customer service at 1-800-223-1839.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Thursday, April 23, 2009

VIPS Video Library

The VIPS Video Library from Visually Impaired Preschool Services is a series of essential videos for parents of young children who are visually impaired. The VIPS Video Library offers practical and proven techniques that foster the development of children who are visually impaired or blind. Geared to parents and educators, these videos offer critical insights and strategies to help a child achieve independence.

  • Seeing Things in a New Way: What Happens When You Have a Blind Baby: Catalog Number 1-30024-DVD
  • Learning About the World: Concept Development: Catalog Number 1-30025-DVD
  • Becoming a "Can-Do" Kid: Self-Help Skills: Catalog Number 1-30026-DVD
  • Making Friends: Social Skills and Play: Catalog Number 1-30027-DVD
  • Going Places: Orientation and Mobility: Catalog Number 1-30028-DVD
  • Through Their Eyes: An Introduction to Low Vision: Catalog Number 1-30029-DVD
  • Moving Through the World: Gross Motor Skills and Play: Catalog Number 1-30030-DVD
  • Hands-On Experience: Tactual Learning and Skills: Catalog Number 1-30031-DVD
  • Successfully Adapting the Preschool Environment: Catalog Number 1-30032-DVD
  • Power at Your Fingertips: An Introduction to Learning Braille: Catalog Number 1-30033-DVD
  • Full of Hope: Catalog Number Catalog Number 1-30034-DVD
  • Growing My Way--Part 1: The Developmental Impacts of Visual Impairment: Catalog Number 1-30035-DVD
  • Growing My Way -- Part 2: The Developmental Impacts of Visual Impairment (24 to 36 months of age) Catalog Number 1-30036-DVD

Note: Not available with Federal Quota funds.
Click this link to purchase any of the videos in the VIPS Video Library.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org


APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Functional Vision and Learning Media Assessment Kit FVLMA

FVLMA Guidebook

This assessment tool is useful for practitioners to gather, store, track, and analyze information regarding students' functional vision and appropriate learning media.

The Functional Vision and Learning Media Assessment, written by Rebecca Burnett, Ed.D., and LaRhea Sanford, Ed.D., has been revised and made an APH product. FVLMA fills the need for a user-friendly instrument that provides a framework for systematic and thorough assessment of a student's visual functioning, and the student's needs for adapted educational media. Although not a standardized test, FVLMA has been peer-reviewed by experts in the field of vision and field tested by teachers and students. It was found useful in discovering, recording, and analyzing the needs and progress of students.

FVLMA Includes:

  • Practitioner's Guidebook
  • CD-ROM containing HTML and .brf files
  • An expanded core curriculum yearly screening form
  • Protocols:
    • Learning media assessment
    • Functional vision and learning media interviews and observations
    • Functional vision assessment
    • Functional vision and learning media report
  • An expanded core curriculum
  • If/Then Chart
  • Resource List

Recommended Ages: For students who are pre-academic or academic and visually impaired in grades K-12.

FVLMA Kit:
Catalog Number: 7-96151-00

FVLMA Protocols:
Catalog Number: 7-96152-00

FVLMA Practitioner's Guidebook, Print:
Catalog Number: 7-96153-00

FVLMA Practitioner's Guidebook, Braille:
Catalog Number: 5-96153-00
Click this link to purchase the Functional Vision and Learning Media Assessment Kit.

FVLMA Protocols, Large Print

Functional Vision and Learning Media Assessment, written by Rebecca Burnett, Ed.D., and LaRhea Sanford, Ed.D., has been revised and made an APH product. This assessment tool helps practitioners gather, store, track, and analyze information regarding students' functional vision and appropriate learning media.

FVLMA is a user-friendly instrument that provides a framework for the systematic assessment of a student's visual functioning and needs for adapted educational media. Although not a standardized test, FVLMA has been peer-reviewed by experts in the field of blindness and field tested by teachers and students.

Kit Includes:
  • Practitioner's Guidebook
  • CD-ROM containing HTML and .brf files
  • An expanded core curriculum
  • An expanded core curriculum screening record
  • If/Then Chart
  • Resource List
  • Protocols:
    • Learning media assessment
    • Functional vision and learning media interviews and observations
    • Functional vision assessment
    • Functional vision and learning assessment media report

Recommended ages: For students who are pre-academic or academic in grades K-12.

FVLMA Protocols, Large Print:
Catalog Number: 7-96154-00
Click this link to purchase the FVLMA Protocols.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See

APH offers a braille edition of the acclaimed book Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See. This is the inspirational story of Mike May, who was blinded in a childhood accident, but never hesitated to try anything he wanted to experience: driving a motorcycle, hiking alone in the woods, downhill skiing. Later, May decided to have a new stem-cell and cornea transplant procedure that partially restored his vision. Join May on his remarkable journey as he adjusts to his medical miracle, lives with disappointments as well as joys, and engages life with exuberance.

Catalog Number: A-B0606-00
Click this link to purchase Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Click this link to purchase Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See
from Amazon.com
.

Consumable Number Lines

APH's Consumable Number Lines are great for reinforcing beginning number concepts such as counting, sequencing, number recognition, number relationships, addition, and subtraction. Use the blank number lines to provide a concrete representation when introducing fractions, decimals, or negative numbers.

Consumable Number Lines, Large Print:

  • 10 blank number lines with numbers 0-10
  • 10 blank number lines with 11 points
  • 10 blank number lines with numbers 0-20
  • 10 blank number lines with 21 points in 2 colors

Consumable Number Lines, Braille/Tactile:

  • 5 raised-line tactile number lines with numbers 0-10
  • 5 raised-line tactile number lines with numbers 0-20
  • 5 blank raised-line tactile number lines with 11 points
  • 10 braille embossed number lines with numbers 0-10
  • 10 blank braille embossed number lines with 11 points
  • 5 braille embossed number lines with numbers 0-20
Large Print:
Catalog Number: 1-03012-00

Braille/Tactile:
Catalog Number: 1-03013-00
Click this link to purchase APH's Consumable Number Lines.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Braille Contraction Recognition Kit

Braille Contraction Recognition Kit

New Name, New Components, New Configuration, Same Objective: APH's previous BCR kit (Braille Code Recognition) has changed to Braille Contraction Recognition kit!

New BCR Components:

  • Teacher's Manual explains the program, provides suggestions for its use, and suggests additional practice material and helpful hints
  • Pretesting and Posttesting Components provide a formal measurement tool

New Configuration:

  • Teacher/Student Kit contains one teacher's manual in either large print or braille and one Student Kit in braille
  • Student Kit contains same materials as in the kit above, but without the teacher's manual

Same Objective:

  • Increase braille reading accuracy
  • Increase braille reading rate
Teacher's Kit, Print:
Catalog Number: 1-03251-00

Teacher's Kit, Braille:
Catalog Number: 1-03252-00

Student's Kit, Braille:
Catalog Number: 1-03253-00
Click this link to purchase the Braille Contraction Recognition Kit.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Technical, Scientific and Mathematical Tables in Braille

Braille copies of more than 400 standard technical, scientific and mathematical tables found primarily in high school and college textbooks are available for purchase from the Braille Technical Tables Bank of the National Braille Association. The collection includes standard tables found in mathematics, computer science, statistics, chemistry, physics, finance, and other subjects.
A great idea for transcribers is to insert these tables into their textbook transcriptions and avoid brailling the standard tables.
Free catalogs are available from NBA. Some of their titles include:
Periodic table of the elements
Mileage chart in kilometers
Powers, roots, and reciprocals table
Dietary allowances
Trigonometric functions, natural and logarithmic table
A brief table of integrals Normal curve, areas and ordinates
Reference tables for general chemistry
Table of metric units of measurement
Table of English units of measurement
Factorials tables
Normal curve, areas and ordinates table
Regression and least squares tables
Statistics tables
Fraction, decimal, and percent equivalents table
Multiplication table
Metric conversion tables
Present value of $1 at compound interest table
Metric system tables of data
Area and volume formulas tables
Conversion table
Table of units of measurement

For more information or to order a catalog please contact:

National Braille Association
3 Townline Circle
Rochester, NY 14623-2513
Phone: 716-427-8260
Fax: 716-427-0263
Web: http://www.nationalbraille.org

Quick Reference Braille Guide

Charlotte W. Ovard's website contains The Quick Reference Braille Guide and Braille and Nemeth Charts, written and designed as tools for the Braille Student or Braille Transcriber and Translator who is already familiar with Braille. These tools serve as quick memory joggers and include examples for Braille rules and symbols.
The Quick Reference Braille Guide is also available in Braille. For a copy of this Guide in Braille, please contact Charlotte Ovard at the email address listed below.
The Quick Reference Braille Guide and Braille and Nemeth Charts can be viewed, accessed, and printed by going to the Braille Rules/Charts Icon on her site at http://braillehelps.blogspot.com/ . For more information, contact:

Charlotte Werner Ovard
Braille Transcriber/Translator
Granite School District
Special Services - Vision Department - Braille
2589 South Main, Room 223
Salt Lake City, UT 84115
Phone: 801-646-4633
Email: covard@graniteschools.org

Virtual Vision Glasses

Do you have enough vision to watch television? Are you uncomfortable sitting so close to the TV in order to see the screen? Do you get in the way of other family members who are also trying to watch the latest movie with you?

If you answered yes to these questions, the Rimax Virtual Vision Glasses may be a solution for you.

The Virtual Vision 3.0 glasses strap to your head and deliver the equivalent view of a 36-inch TV direct to your eyes. The glasses have an internal LCD screen, so not only do you get your very own personal cinema, you also get great picture quality. The glasses also feature a set of stereo earphones that sit snugly in your ears while you're wearing them.

Main Features:

  • Mini LCD display
  • Unique optical system is adapted to replicate a 36-inch screen 2 meters away
  • Broad adaptability; can be connected to DVD players, Game Consoles or other standard AV products
  • Supports PAL and NTSC video signals
  • External battery for complete freedom - up to 8 hours maximum per charge
  • Easy operation and convenience of portability
  • Variable volume, brightness and contrast
  • Can be worn over conventional glasses
  • Power adapter: output DC 9V stable voltage
  • Rechargeable Lithium battery: LP900 lithium battery, 7.2V / 900mAH
  • Compatible with all kinds of audio video devices: can be connected to a TV, a DVD player or a games console

I can think of a variety of uses for this device. How about using it with your computer? Many video cards now offer an optional "TV Out" jack that these glasses could be connected to. No more leaning over the desk to see the monitor!

How about portible CCTVs that send their video to a television monitor. Connect these glasses and really get close to your documents.

Click this link to purchase the Rimax Virtual Vision Glasses from Paramountzone.com.

iTheater: Watch Movies Anytime, Anywhere

Do you wonder how exciting it would be to watch your favorite action movie on a big screen TV? Maybe you have a secret passion for new high-tech electronics? Perhaps there is just not enough room in the living area for the Big screen TV you always wanted?
Well, now you can make your dreams come true with one amazing set of video glasses. To say video glasses is an understatement considering the sound and visual quality the iTheater provides.

It's more of a personal entertainment center. It features an amazing 230,000 pixel resolution along with surround sound. Only weighing 3 ounces it fits very comfortably around the head. So, when you decide to watch that action packed thriller or that touching love story you can just sit back and relax.

Well, now you're probably wondering, "what exactly can I watch with this iTheater?"...Anything you want. With the included RCA cables, just plug the glasses into any number of entertainment devices (portable DVD player, Video iPod, Gaming stations, Computers). DVD's have become quite the hit and with these glasses, you can just plug them into your DVD player and watch a beautiful theater style movie.

Perhaps your passion is video games; then your in luck, it connects right into your gaming station so you can have hours of fun on a 50 inch screen. Perhaps you have a video cell phone or a photo iPod and you would like to see your photos or clips on a huge screen? Then, just plug it in with the special adapter and your ready to go.

Do you need to purchase any expensive or hard to find batteries or power sources? Nope. iTheater comes with a portable power source as well as two "AA" batteries that will keep this entertainment center going for up to 6-8 intense viewing hours. So whether you're on the go or just relaxing at home, the iTheater is ready for you.

Product Specifications:

  • Resolution: 320x240 (QVGA)
  • 230,000 pixels each LCD
  • Color configuration: vertical stripe
  • Field of view: 24°
  • Eye relief: 20mm
  • Exit pupil diameter: 10mm
  • Audio: surround stereo
  • NTSC/PAL compatible
  • 10 foot A/V cable
  • Completely portable
  • Battery operated: requires 2 "AA" batteries (not included)
  • Weight: 3 ounces


Click this link to purchase the iTheater from first STREET.

Vuzix iWear - Virtual Cinema Glasses

The Vuzix iWear line of lightweight multimedia eyewear gives the user a big screen experience by creating a virtual display equivalent to a 62-inch screen viewed from a distance of 9 feet (depending on model).

Ingenious optical trickery allows all Vuzix iWear to replicate the effect of watching a big screen from a safe viewing distance. It's like having a high-quality home cinema grafted on your retinas. These hi-tech specs are 3D enabled for automatic 2D/3D control.

Click this link to see the four models currently available.

Cinemizer Plus

Though meant for the luxury gadget market, this device has obvious accessibility potential for the visually impaired. According to the web site, the Cinemizer Plus’ “image is optically tuned to appear as virtual 45-inch (diagonal) screen, as viewed from six feet away (2 meters)“. This makes the iPhone’s little screen into one much, much bigger.

This video eyewear from Carl Zeiss is your take-along personal video screen. You'll be able to watch any movie stored on your iPod anywhere.

Click this link to learn more about the cinemizer.

Signature Guide For Signing Checks

Knowing where to put one's signature on a check is an ongoing problem--and it is one which can be inconvenient and time-consuming to solve if you have to teach a new person each time to show you where to sign.

Here are three methods that might prove useful:

  1. Slip a check into a braille slate with its bottom aligned, or even, with that of the slate. Find the location of a line that can serve as a guide for placing your signature in the right place, then braille a line of dots across the check from the starting point of the signature line to the check's edge. Next put an "up-and-down line" from the signature line to the bottom of the check. Doing this creates a guide to mark the spot where your signature should start. Remember where these two lines meet on the series of checks that comprise this particular book of checks, so you will be able to mark each check appropriately until you finish the book. Then, when you start a new book of checks, remember the printing may be different enough from that of the first that you may need to make adjustments in the positioning of your dotted guidelines. This being the case, be sure to check each book of checks prior to use and to make any adjustments that may be required for your guidelines.
  2. Ask a sighted seamstress to unthread a sewing machine and to set the "stitch length" as long as it can be. Then, after sewing along the signature line, instruct her to turn the book at a right angle and to sew down to the bottom edge of the check to where the signature should begin. Someone can do a whole book of checks this way, so a blind person is able to enjoy the independence of signing checks until there are no more left in the book.
  3. Make a signature guide by folding in half a piece of heavy weight paper (such as braille paper)--or a piece of thin plastic (should you have such). After folding, the finished product should be at least half of the check high and three-quarters of the check wide--with the fold on the right edge. Have someone cut a rectangular box on the top layer of the guide that corresponds to the signature area of the check. Start the right end of this rectangle at the fold so you will have as long a signature line as possible. Then, slip a check into the folded signature guide, making sure its right edge is straight against the fold of the guide and that the bottom of the check is even with the bottom of the guide. If you position a check in the guide correctly and the rectangle has been cut properly, you can sign within the rectangle and have your signature in the right place.


APH Signature Guide

Aids people who are visually impaired in writing their signatures. Small, pocket-size frame has an opening with an elastic band. The band provides a guide for writing and flexes to allow for the descenders of letters.

Revised guide is made of durable, flexible plastic with the same rubber backing as before to prevent sliding. Measures 4 1/2" x 2 1/4". Recommended ages: 8 years and up.

Catalog Number: 1-03530-01
Click this link to purchase the APH Signature Guide.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

All Children Have Different Eyes: Learn to Play and Make Friends

All Children Have Different Eyes: Learn to play and make friends

This is a beautifully illustrated hardbound storybook about two children with low vision, written for elementary age students.

All Children Have Different Eyes serves as a model for children with visual impairment on how to confidently play and make friends while facing difficult social challenges, such as answering questions about their condition, entering play groups, or handling limitations responsibly. Classmates will learn to become better friends and playmates when they discover why a classmate with a visual impairment sees and plays differently. Parents and teachers will learn how visual impairment affects social interactions.

Over 40 examples and activities transform the engaging stories into an interactive workbook for parents and teachers. A glossary for kids and resources for adults complete this valuable resource.

Learn About:

  • Making and keeping friends
  • Coping with bullies and other mean people
  • Coping with others lack of knowledge
  • Coping with mistakes and limitations because of low vision
  • Feeling confident even when seeing in different ways than peers see
  • How to enter a play group
Large Print:
Catalog Number: 8-00070-00, not available with Quota funds.
Click this link to purchase All Children Have Different Eyes.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Friday, April 17, 2009

Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)

Beginning Thursday, April 30, 2009.

NLS has hosted a pilot site for the downloading of books for the blind and visually impaired. NLS appreciates all who have participated in the pilot test. Your feedback has allowed them to continuously improve the original site and to look into many expansions, such as the inclusion of braille books. The pilot phase has ended, and a new site has been launched.

Users who know their passwords to the original pilot site will be able to log on to the new site; users who rely on their browsers to remember their passwords will need new ones (follow instructions in Section II). All user accounts have been migrated to the new system, so you do not need to reapply. All materials previously downloaded will remain usable, so you will not need to redownload your reading material.

This message from NLS describes what’s new about BARD and explains what steps must be taken to access the site. Please read the entire message carefully.

Section I. What’s different about BARD:

  1. Unlimited downloading. The BARD service will no longer limit the number of books and magazines that you may download. Any account holder may download any item at any time. During heavy demand, however, NLS may limit the number of simultaneous downloads for each account.
  2. New logon page. The site login uses a form rather than a dialog box. It is the same type of logon found on most internet pages and should be immediately familiar to users of other sites. This is an important note for screen-reader users.
  3. Better search results. BARD searches will yield more effective results. The use of multiple search terms will return only results containing all of the terms.
  4. “Most Popular Books” list. By selecting the “Most Popular Book” link from the home page, users may access a list of the top twenty most downloaded books on the BARD service in the last ninety days. Fiction and nonfiction titles will be listed separately.
  5. Redesigned magazine section. The “Recently Added Magazines” link will now display links to only the most recent issue of each magazine. Magazines older than one year may be accessed from each title’s magazine archive. Links to the archive are at the bottom of each magazine’s page.

Section II. Take the following steps to access the site:

  1. You must know your login ID and password from the pilot site to log on to the new site. For all users, your login ID is your email address.
  2. If you know your login ID and password, you will not need to do anything. Simply access the new site.
  3. If you have forgotten your password, you must obtain a new one before you can log on to the new site. Since the new site has a different address from the pilot site, you cannot rely on your web browser to automatically log in to BARD.
  4. If you do not know your password but you are able to automatically log on to the pilot site because your browser knows your password, you must choose a new password. To do so, select the link “Update My Settings” from the site home page. From the settings page, select the first link, “Change Your Password.” Enter your new password twice, and then select the “Change Password” button. Remember this new password to access BARD.
  5. If you cannot log on to the site because you do not know your password, you may have a new one sent to you. Click this link to access the password recovery page. Enter your email address and then select the “Send Me a New Password” button. A new temporary password will be generated and sent to your email address. Once you retrieve the password, log on to the site and choose your new password. Remember this new password to access BARD.
  6. If for some reason you are not able to use any of these options, please send a request for a new password to NLSDownload@loc.gov. Because of the large number of requests, please expect your new password within two business days.
Click this link to visit the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) website from NLS: https://nlsbard.loc.gov.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Find Podcasts On The Web with CastRoller

CastRoller is an online podcast subscription tool. Users can add their favorite podcasts and will receive personalized recommendations for podcasts they might enjoy. They can add their friends and see the podcasts that their friends are listening to and share episodes with them. With CastRoller, you can manage your podcast subscriptions in one place and use the RSS feeds to have the episodes delivered to all of your devices automatically.

Social features like the creation of channels that revolve around a certain topic or event are also accounted for, effectively letting you categorize the podcasts you like best and group them together for viewing convenience. A service like this makes it possible for anybody to have personalized entertainment delivered straight to their players, as well as sharing interesting content with others.

Click this link to find podcasts with http://www.castroller.com.

QuickLook Basic Portable Video Magnifier

You'll love our latest low vision aid discovery. To help you read fine print on medicine labels, food packages, contracts or even read what you are writing, the QuickLook Basic Portable Video Magnifier is the perfect solution. This handy gadget enables you to magnify anything you are trying to read!

QuickLook Basic is a lightweight, full color, electronic print magnifier with an integrated LCD flat screen display. View photos magnified, enlarge the print on a prescription bottle, or read anything anywhere anytime with QuickLook. It's small enough to fit in the inside pocket of a jacket or a ladies' purse, but big enough to make a difference.

QuickLook Basic turns ON easily. Simply tilt the camera angle to the Reading" position, then the display will appear instantly. Writing is easy, too. Simply tilt the camera to the preset "Writing" position, then begin writing. Grip and hold QuickLook Basic in the most comfortable handheld position.

QuickLook's standard magnification is 6.5x. QuickLook Basic has proven useful for consumers who use even a 12x magnifying glass, particularly because of the wide 4.3" diagonal reading screen, the Positive or Reverse image enhancement, and Brightness level adjustments. Features include:

  • Lightweight and portable Compact size, easily fits into a ladies' purse or men's coat pocket!
  • No monitor needed it's built-in! Color, B/W, and Reverse Displays (4) Semi-Color Text/Background Choices: Yellow/Black Green/Black Yellow/Blue Blue/White Enhanced contrast modes for better readability of text.
  • Use it as you would use a magnifying glass, it can be orientated in any direction
  • Fast recharge Magnification ranges for ease of use
Click this link to purchase the QuickLook Basic Portable Video Magnifier from ActiveForever.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Using eggs and an egg carton to teach braille and Other Skills

Sometimes teaching the concept of the Braille layout to a group of students can be a challenge. But a half-dozen eggs and a six-egg carton can make the teaching process much easier. I bet I have you wondering how!

The six-egg carton can be used as a braille cell and the six eggs can be used as the braille dots. The letter A is formed by putting one egg on the top left corner. The letter B is formed by putting an egg on the top left corner and a second egg right underneath, and so forth. Once the students learn the alphabet, you can also show them how letters are formed when writing on a slate. Letter A is written by putting one egg in the top right corner. Letter B is written by putting an egg in the top right corner and another egg right underneath.

Using these materials will allow you to easily take a look at the combination of dots every student is forming.

By using these over-sized materials, you can easily check each student's progress. And if the thought of raw eggs and mischievous kids seems like a recipe for a mess, substitute the real eggs with plastic Easter eggs. Just in case!

You can also use egg cartons as an introduction to numbers. Take empty egg cartons and label each compartment with a number, 1 through 12 in braille and print. For the low vision folks, a permanent marker works, but you can get really fancy and do stickers or computer printouts. The children have to find one of something, two of something else and so on. You can provide things like counting bears, paper clips, buttons, pennies, or small pebbles, it's a great way to teach children number concepts.

The labels you use don't have to be numbers. You could use letters and have the children find small pictures or household items that start with that letter. You could also use shapes and have the kids sort through blocks or precut paper shapes. I think it would be a great way for low vision students to learn colors, for younger children you could color the inside of the compartment. For the older students who are learning to read, you could label the compartments with the actual color words. The kids could put marbles, colored chips, counting bears, tiny toys or pictures of things in their compartments.

Who knew egg cartons could be so much fun?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Exploring the World of Bar Codes with Window Eyes and BCScan

With the release of Window-Eyes 7.0, you can make your life a bit easier by using bar codes to identify grocery packages, your favorite CDs etc. In this short demonstration, listen as J.J. Meddaugh uses a bar code scanner and a Window-eyes script to identify packages and read product directions from the BCScan website.

BCScan is a free service that allows you to organize, catalog, learn about, and manage your groceries, CDs, movies, household products, medications, or just about anything else. It works using a bar code scanner and a database of roughly a million products.

When a bar code on an item is scanned, BCScan will check a database for the product and tell you what it is. You can add products to your personal inventory, add notes, or contribute additional information. It's great for the visually impaired person who needs to identify a canned good or for anyone who wants to better organize their life.

Things you could do with BCScan:

  • Inventory your groceries, CDs, movies, or just about anything else. Great for your records or insurance protection.
  • Identify products and learn more about them.
  • Share and retrieve ingredients and product directions.
  • Link to Amazon, EBay, Secondspin.com, and other sites to sell your used stuff.

The main page on BCScan includes a box for you to scan items. Using a bar code scanner, place your cursor in the box and scan the item. With most scanners, you will hear a beep, and the page with the item information will be displayed.

Click this link to visit http://www.BCScan.com.
Click this link to visit BlindBargains.com to listen to the demo in MP3 and don't forget to sign up for the discussion email list.

Free Online Barcode Generator

Now you can put barcodes on anything. The Barcode Label Printer is a free online barcode generator that can create printable barcodes. Barcode labels can be printed and read by a cellphone camera with a built-in barcode reader or by a typical barcode scanner you see in almost any grocery store.

To generate a barcode, select symbology, enter the information (URL, text, anything) into the “value” field and click on the “Make me a barcode!” button. Then save and print out the generated image.

You can generate barcodes in the following symbologies: Code 39, Interleaved 3 of 5, Code 128 A, B, and C. You can make as many barcode labels as you want for free, no sign-up needed.

Click this link to check out the Barcode Label Printer at http://www.barcodesinc.com/generator.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Life and Times of a Disabled Job Seeker

By Donna J. Jodhan

At the best of times, job seeking can be one of the most tedious, frustrating, and nerve racking processes but for a disabled person it can be doubly difficult.

It does not matter whether the economy is good or bad, the trials and difficulties for a disabled job seeker remain the same. The excuses are the same, the reasons for rejection of disabled applicants continue to be the same, and the unemployment statistics continue to hover over the 80%mark. At least,
that is the statistic that we hear when it comes to North America but for the rest of the world it is probably the same and in the developing world it is even greater.

Shocker or shaker! Neither! Just very sad!

I myself was a job seeker with a disability at one time and I can tell you that based on my experience and those of many others, it is a very rugged and scary road for any job seeker with a disability. Even when the economy is good, things are the same and now that we are in difficult times, the road to a job for any disabled job seeker is extremely bleak. Some times it seems as if the forces get together to conspire against us because the excuses and reasons sound so similar. So many employers seem to come up with the same types of reasons and excuses. Something like this:

“We are unable to give consideration to the hiring of a blind person because of the cost to adapt our environment to their access technology.”

“It would cost too much to make our offices accessible to a physically disabled person.”

“Disabled persons cannot work fast enough to be productive.”

“We are in a hiring freeze right now and trying to reduce costs and we would not be able to afford to hire a disabled employee right now.”

When it comes to job seeking or job hunting, a disabled job hunter or job seeker is probably the most seasoned. They are likely to be presented with anything from the most plausible to the most laughable with the latter prevailing most of the time. In hard economic times most employers would probably feel that they can safely get away with excuses such as: Having to cut costs, a hiring freeze in order to save present jobs, and no new projects being worked on due to lack of investment money; but what about when times are good?

In bad economic times these excuses are probably true but in good economic times
they just do not seem to ring true. It is a well documented fact that when most global governments start cutting jobs and services, those directly associated with the welfare of disabled employees are usually the first to be cut and it does not matter whether it is here in Canada, the United States, in Europe, or even in a lesser developed part of the world.

When it comes to having doors slammed in one’s face, the disabled job seeker is probably the one who experiences this the most.
When it comes to being let down by one’s government, the disabled job seeker is the one who suffers the most.

When it comes to being able to depend on the education system to help identify a plausible and rewarding career for the job hunter, the disabled person is the one who is ignored the most. In short, the disabled person
is probably the most disappointed job seeker at the end of the day.

If I may be so bold as to offer this simple suggestion to anyone listening: If you are an employer then you should look at the picture like this. Do not look at it as a duty to accommodate but rather as an opportunity to take advantage of an untapped labour force. Potential workers who are willing and ready to work because they want to work. Potential employees who can be trained, easily motivated, and who are eager to become a part of the workplace.

Give it some serious thought. You may be pleasantly surprised.

To view the rest of my blogs and editorials please visit:

Marking Answers In a Braille Answer Sheet

Your questions and suggestions help us update and build the content of Fred's Head. The following is one of the many questions we have received in our electronic mailbox:

Question: How do you have a blind student mark his/her answers on a braille answer sheet? I have had a 6th grade student place a sheet of coarse sandpaper under the page, and mark a line next to the choice with a pencil. In doing this, the teacher can see the selection, and the blind student can feel the choice selected. This is helpful if the class is going over their work together. It has worked well this year, but I have wondered if there are "real" techniques for marking answers, other than using a separate answer sheet in which the student brailles the letter of choice.

The Fred's Head Team forwarded the question to Eleanor Pestor, Research Scientist of the American Printing House for the Blind. Eleanor had tested the process of marking answers with different materials, and was able to give this teacher several suggestions.

Answer: Your way of marking the multiple-choice test seems like a good one and should be added to Fred's Head.

A "China Marker" (somewhat like a narrow crayon wrapped in paper with a string embedded), makes marking easier than using a pencil or a regular crayon. China markers are less waxy than crayons, but their marks can be tactually identified better than pencil's.

In place of the sandpaper, you may want to use the APH "Tactile Marking Mat" (catalog number: 1-03331-00). This mat has a plastic texture that feels better to the touch than the coarse edges of the sandpaper.

At APH we have recently tested several products to mark answer sheets. We first tried using little balls of Plasti-Tack, which is an adhesive somewhat like Silly Putty. This method works fine, except that the students need to be careful because the markings roll away too easily from its intended site.

Another method we tested utilized reusable cellophane with adhesive on only one half of a narrow strip. The problem with this method is that the cellophane is somehow difficult to find tactually and sometimes pulled off when it was not supposed to.

The third method involved making a small crease in the paper beside the item of choice.

For older students and adults, we concluded that they could just use scratch paper to note an item they might want to refer back to.

Keep in mind that it's always a good idea to have students practice before taking a standardized test. If you can find out what kind of standardized answer sheet they will be using, you may want to get some of them. The student can take practice tests on social studies, history or whichever class they need to test. Practicing will help them answer more efficiently when the time comes.

If time and funds permit, you may want to invest in APH's "Multiple-Choice, Multipurpose Answer Sheets" which come in braille (catalog number: 1-04051-00), or large type (catalog number: 1-04072-00). Next to each numbered item are the letters a through e, and the student can cross out his or her answer choice, and independently go back to find the one selected. As with most answer sheets, it is difficult to change the answer independently. Usually the test administrator is called on to assist with answer changes.

For more information and/or to purchase the APH products listed in this record, search the Louis Database of accessible materials: http://louis.aph.org. Click this link to go to the APH Quick Order Entry page: http://shop.aph.org/quickentry.asp.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The View from Under the Pew

The View from Under the Pew by Diane Winters Johnson tells the story of Walter, a dog guide who assists Pastor Diane in her daily life at home, and at the church where she works.

Walter helps Pastor Diane get to the church, to the hospital where she visits the sick, and to his favorite weekly event -- the potluck supper. Walter loves his view from under the pew, where he can listen to the choir sing and see the faces of the families who have come to church.

For ages 6-10, the book is available in print or braille for $14 from National Braille Press. To order or read more about this book, visit http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/BC0608-VIEW.html, or call the National Braille Press at 888-965- 8965.

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The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.



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