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.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Site Where the Music Matches Your Mood

When we feel down and out, there's nothing like a sad song to help us drown in our tears. Some people give uplifting numbers a try in order to escape a bad moment they feel they couldn't get out of otherwise. Whatever your situation, I have a site for every mood, even the romantic one.

Stereomood.com is a sort of web-based emotional radio that will let you set your emotions to music. It's as simple as it sounds. All you do is choose a mood and away you go. If you feel broken-hearted, you can simply blast “One” by U2, if you feel unstoppable, you can play The Proclaimers “I’m On My Way”, all lovey-dovey, try “Unchained Melody”.

Music is such a part of our lives, there's no escaping its effect. This site gives us the chance to discover some new favorites based on what we're feeling at the time we visit.

Click this link and let your emotions guide you to new music at http://www.Stereomood.com.

Classic Cinema Online

Whether you're in the mood for some classic animation or some old-school spooky films to get you into the spirit of things, Classic Cinema Online has hundreds of films in dozens of categories. The movies are not audio described but are certainly worth a listen for their archaic dialogue and small budgets.

Classic Cinema Online has gathered together hundreds of films in categories ranging from Action to Westerns and even old cinema shorts and news reels. They routinely feature selections of movies based on the time of year, holidays, and other notable events. Even if you can't sit down and watch a film from yesteryear, browsing the awesome movie posters is worth the price, free admission.

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

Watch Full Length Horror Movies Online

Are you a fan of watching horror movies? If you are, then you should check out Free-Horror-Movies. This website streams various horror flicks using a DivX web player or a flash plugin. Their selection has reached more than 450 movies including the latest releases for 2009 such as Zombieland, Jennifer’s Body, and Paranormal Activity. Classic horror hits like the 1931 Dracula, the original Friday the 13th, and Dawn of the Dead are also available. You can search for a particular movie, browse collection by various categories (aliens, cannibals, classics, cults, monsters, vampires, serial killers, demons, ghosts, and many more) and alphabetically list movies too.

Click this link to be scared at http://www.free-horror-movies.com.

The Mercury Theatre on the Air

Now, if you want more classics, check out The Mercury Theatre.

The finest radio drama of the 1930’s was The Mercury Theatre on the Air, a show featuring the acclaimed New York drama company founded by Orson Welles and John Houseman. In its brief run, it featured an impressive array of talents, including Agnes Moorehead, Bernard Herrmann, and George Coulouris. The show is famous for its notorious War of the Worlds broadcast, but the other shows in the series are relatively unknown. This site has many of the surviving shows, and will eventually have all of them.

The show first broadcast on CBS and CBC in July 1938. It ran without a sponsor until December of that year, when it was picked up by Campbell’s Soup and renamed The Campbell Playhouse. All of the surviving Mercury Theatre shows are available from this page in RealAudio format (some are also in MP3 format). There are several Campbell Playhouse episodes available here as well, in both RealAudio and MP3 formats; the rest are being added gradually.

Click this link to visit The Mercury Theatre on the Air: http://www.mercurytheatre.info.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Music Literacy: Its Role in the Education of the Blind

This book is a fascinating historical journey tracing the emergence of various musical notation systems for the blind in Europe and the United States. It includes twenty-eight illustrations, a great addition to your library!

From the author:

"This book is a revision of my Master’s thesis of the same name. During three years of research, information was obtained from sources in Great Britain, France, and the U.S. Music education in institutional and public school settings is discussed. Illustrations show a variety of means by which literary and music materials were presented to the blind in the 19th century and the early 20th century, as well as writing instruments used to produce the symbols. The role of the American Printing House for the Blind in producing books and music is discussed. Factors influencing the delay in acceptance of the Braille codes in the U.S. are considered. An interview with Dr. Abraham Nemeth, the creator of the Nemeth Braille Mathematics Code who is also a pianist, was conducted to discuss the role of braille music in his education in the New York City public schools. The results of three surveys involving braille music are detailed. The surveys concern learning braille music, teaching braille music in institutions, and teaching braille music in the public schools. Music education of the blind in the public school system is discussed, and the influence of technology is considered."

Sylvia Clark is certified in both Literary and Music Braille by the Library of Congress. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA in Music History, and from the University of Texas-Pan American with a Master of Music, Thesis. MUSIC LITERACY: ITS ROLE IN THE EDUCATION OF THE BLIND is the text of her Master’s thesis, which includes twenty-eight illustrations. She has published articles in The American Harp Journal and The International Journal of Music Education.

Sold exclusively by the author, Sylvia Clark. To order, please write to musicliteracy@aol.com. Now listed with other educational books on the Products page of the braille music site http://www.opustec.com and on the Publications page of the braille music site http://www.papermusic.org.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Products Sold with Inaccessible Manuals

by Donna J. Jodhan

This is probably one of the most frustrating things for me; products that cater to the needs of blind and visually impaired persons being sold with manuals in inaccessible formats. Just a darn shame that manufacturers and vendors continue to sell us products without manuals in accessible formats.

There are some companies that have made the effort or gone the extra mile to provide accessible manuals but you know what? It should not be viewed as a nice to have; it is only logical and courteous that when a product is sold to us that manuals in readable formats be provided. How would it be if a product were to be sold to a mainstream person and that the manual were to be provided in Braille? Or not at all? I don't think that the mainstream person would put up with this. So why should we?

Over the years, I have bought timers, calculators, and other products that have not been accompanied by manuals in readable formats and my humble opinion is that there are sellers out there that are more interested in making a buck at our expense rather than ensuring that the products they sell contain manuals in readable formats. This to me should not be allowed to continue and the only way to put an end to it is for us to do something about it. As long as there is a printed manual, then there should also be an accompanying manual in an alternate format if the product in question is advertised as one that can be used by blind and visually impaired persons.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, an accessibility and special needs business consultant wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Talking Brix

Here's another item that I believe could be helpful to the blind. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how they could be used in a classroom or around the home. Use the comment section to reply.

Easy as 1-2-3, still affordable at 4-5-6! Simple communication has never been more affordable with AbleNet’s Talking Brix! Use one Brix for personal reminders, or attach as many as you like, creating simple, scalable communication grids.

Talking Brix are thin, light communicators with built-in magnets, perfect for carrying in a pocket, or placing around the room! For table-top users, Talking Brix use an ingenious tab and slot connector to link to other Brix. Create multi-message communicators in any arrangement you like. At a cost-conscious price, one, two, three or more messages are within your budget!

Each pack of 3 Talking Brix includes 1 each in Red, Blue, and Green. Shipping early 2010. Dimensions: 2.56” by 2.56” by 0.6” (L times W times H), Activation Area: 1.8”. Talking Brix feature:

  • Connectable devices for customizable layouts
  • Easy single-message recording on each Brix
  • 10 seconds of recording time
  • Power on/off switch
  • Rechargeable battery (built-in)
  • 1.8” Activation area
  • Free Snap Switch Cap included
Click this link to purchase a three pack of Talking Brix communicators.

Social Security Accessibility

The Social Security Administration must give the nation's 3 million blind or visually impaired recipients the option of receiving benefit notices in braille or by audio computer disc, a federal judge in San Francisco said on October 20, 2009.

Ruling in a nationwide class-action suit, U.S. District Judge William Alsup said that by sending notices only by mail and phone calls, the agency is violating a law that guarantees the disabled equal access to its programs. He ordered the government to make the additional choices available by April 15, 2010.

The case involves some of the 100 million notices the Social Security Administration sends each year to its 61 million beneficiaries, advising them of scheduled appointments, program changes, tax filings and possible benefit cuts.

About 250,000 Americans receive benefits because of blindness, and another 2.7 million blind or sight-impaired people get Social Security for other reasons. Under rules authorized by Congress in 1988 and 1990, they can choose to be notified of agency actions by mail, with a follow-up phone call, or by certified mail with a return receipt. Those who make no choice are contacted by mail without a phone call. Alsup said the current system may have been effective 20 years ago, but no longer provides the "meaningful access" the law requires, in light of advanced technology.

Alsup said the Social Security Administration refused to acknowledge that it was even covered by the anti-discrimination law until after the suit was filed in 2005, and "has been quick to find lame excuses for noncompliance."

The agency must inform all blind and visually impaired recipients by Dec. 31, 2009 that they will have the choice of getting notices in braille or by Microsoft Word CD in mid-April 2010, Alsup said. He said those who want another option, such as notification by e-mail, must be allowed to request it and show why they need it.

Article Source:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/10/20/MNQ21A8D2F.DTL&tsp=1

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blind Adrenaline, Do You Have Enough for These Games?

BlindBargains.com points us to another great gaming site for the blind.

Blind Adrenaline has added another great game, online Blackjack. Both standard and tournament mode games are available with the ability to create your own private and public tables. In addition to Blackjack, they offer Texas Holdem, Draw Poker, and Hearts.

The Blind Adrenaline Card Room offers multiplayer versions of these games, compatible with major screen readers or Windows text-to-speech. A free 14-day trial is available.

Click this link to visit http://www.blindadrenaline.com/cardRoom.

Dirpy Converts YouTube Video to Audio

Dirpy is a site that allows users to upload YouTube videos and extract the audio. This is ideal when all you need is that hard to find song/blurb/quote that can only be found on YouTube. I'm not sure what kind of permission rights come into play, but anything "common craft" should be just fine.

What makes Dirpy so good is how easy it is to use. Just upload a YouTube video (via a URL), adjust your settings and file size, and click download to Mp3. How cool is that! As of this article, Dirpy was operating in Beta, so aspects of the site may be down for brief periods of time for updates and maintenance.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why I Learned to Ice Skate

by Donna J. Jodhan

Growing up in Canada often means that ice skating is par for the course but for blind and visually impaired kids? Many of you may think that it is not possible but I am here to tell you that it most definitely is.

Now, please do not go limp on me here! You're probably trying to figure out in your minds how or why would someone want to skate on ice if they are unable to see where they are going? Why would they want to put themselves through share torture? How on earth would they be able to retain their footing and keep from falling? These are all very logical and legitimate questions and I'll be very honest with you. I took the step to learn to ice skate in order to improve my confidence. Skating without much vision can be very daunting and scary and it was for me when I first started but I was determined to overcome my fears.

When I first learned to ice skate, I had some vision so it was not too bad for me and it has helped me tremendously to continue on now that I have lost most of my vision. I managed to complete four of six levels and learned to do such things as: Glide on one foot, skate backwards, skull, do cross cuts and hockey stops, and more. I still skate regularly but without much vision I have to use different techniques in order to stay on my blades.

Ice skating gives me the feeling of power, self-control, and togetherness. Up until five years ago, I used to skate on my own with limited guidance but now I skate by holding on to a friend’s arm. Ice skating brings me freedom! The feeling of pure bliss and exhilaration! I can be myself when I step on to the ice. I can fly high by feeling the wind in my face and smelling the fresh air and as Whitney Huston says in one of her songs: “Give me one moment in time. When I’m more than I thought I could be! When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away and the answer is all up to me.”

When I am on the ice, I am on the top of the world and sight or the lack of really does not matter to me. I know that when others see me ice skating they stop and stare but I do not really care. My friends often tell me that occasionally skaters bump into each other while staring at me. Let them! I am blind but I can skate and have fun just like them.

I even played ice hockey! No, not within the mainstream environment, but with a team of blind and sighted players. This hockey team has been in existence since the 1970s and has traveled to such places as Russia and Finland to play other teams of blind players. Click this link if you would like to learn more about this team: http://www.iceowls.ca.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, an accessibility and special needs business consultant wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

Are Agencies Really Acting in Our Best Interest?

by Donna J. Jodhan

This question has lingered in my mind for many years now and it is a very troubling one. I know that there are many persons with disabilities who continue to ask the same question and I am afraid that the reader may not like the answer. That is, if you are a person with a disability, you would most likely agree with me but for the mainstream reader, you may be either surprised or dare to call me a pessimist or even a grouch or maybe something stronger.

It does not matter which country we look at here, the answer would still be the same. As a generality, most persons with disabilities truly believe that agencies that are supposed to be working on behalf of their best interests, often really do not. Many have told me that they do not believe that agencies have the right to speak on their behalf and I do agree. However, what bothers me greatly are those agencies that deliberately turn away from providing appropriate and useful services for us. In my case, I am referring to agencies that go out there and make the appearance of advocating for blind and visually impaired persons.

As someone who has traveled to several countries, I have had the opportunity to see first hand how agencies interact with their clients and it seems to be a common theme that exists here in Canada and extends to the United States and beyond. To put it mildly, agencies really do not have much respect for their clients. They generally treat them like second class citizens; they do everything in their power to make clients dependent on them, and they do not seem able to generate employment opportunities for their clients, both internally and externally.

There are a few heated opinions that I, as both an accessibility consultant and a visually impaired person would like to bring to your attention on this day. I will note here that these opinions are not just mine but those of several friends and clients who have taken the time to share with me.

First, many agencies are being run by staff that are really not too savvy when it comes to understanding how they should be interacting with the real world. Their ideas and strategies are ancient and out of date and it is probably why so many fail in their attempts to be successful.

Second, many agencies seem unwilling to hire the appropriate staff to provide the necessary services. In addition, they seem very unwilling to hire persons with disabilities and I am not very sure why. They seem to prefer hiring under qualified persons to be a part of their team.

Third, too many of these agencies seem to feel that portraying an image of asking for handouts from both governments and the public at large is a better route to go rather than trying to be as independent as possible.

Fourth, too many of these agencies continue to be bogged down in red tape and because of this they are unable to take advantage of opportunities that could help them to be better positioned in a real world.

Fifth, When it comes to interacting with the outside world, many of these agencies seem to be at a loss. They often do not treat their volunteers with much respect, and they fail to realize that timely and courteous responses are what count.

So many times I have seen agencies in Canada fall into these traps and through personal experiences with some agencies in Britain and America, I have seen the same. They really do not understand how to interact with the rest of the world. They are caught up in red tape and internal politics and this prevents them from being able to blend in. Several clients have told me that some of these agencies even go as far as using their clients to gain funding from governments and others. That is, using creative paperwork to make others believe that they are providing certain services when in actuality they are not. So, what is the consensus here? Do agencies on the whole really act in our best interest?

I put this question to our esteemed panel of wise ones and the overwhelming consensus was as follows: It does not really matter which country we look at, it is the same. Most agencies that go out there and advocate for the needs of their clients do a very poor job. They fall short on being able to interact effectively with their clients, their staff, and the rest of the world. Their attitude of constantly seeking handouts from governments and the public often gets in the way of their image. Their executive bodies do not seem to have a clue as to how to design and develop plans that would make them more of a business-run entity rather than as an agency depending on the charity of others.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, an accessibility and special needs business consultant wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

Accessible Interface to YouTube

From the site:

"This website is designed to provide an accessible version of the popular video-sharing website YouTube. In addition to traditional accessible design practices such as semantic, well-structured markup, high-contrast colour schemes and standards compliance, newly-available technologies such as WAI-ARIA have been implemented to allow users of assistive technologies to benefit from rich functionality such as dynamic page updates.

Unlike the regular YouTube site, videos here don't auto-play. You can start them by hitting the Play button or, alternatively, by using a keyboard shortcut. The combination Alt+Z will play a loaded video (or pause one currently playing), while Alt+X will skip 15 seconds backward and Alt+C will skip 15 seconds forward. To begin viewing videos, use the search form at the top of the page.

It should be noted that this website has been built as a technical exercise, so certain functionality may operate differently from how you might expect. Similarly, screen reader users using an application which doesn't support WAI-ARIA live regions may have some trouble using dynamically-updated parts of the site. If you do not have Adobe Flash player installed, or if you have JavaScript disabled in your browser, this site will not work properly and you won't be able to watch videos from YouTube."

Click this link to visit the Accessible Interface to YouTube: http://tube.majestyc.net.

Google's Accessibility Site

Google offers accessibility features for many of their websites such as Gmail, Google Maps, and Youtube. Now, you can learn about these and other features from one location, through Google's accessibility resource page. It includes resources for many Google products as well as the latest blog posts across Google's network pertaining to accessibility.

From the site:

"Information access is at the core of Google’s mission, to make the world’s information universally accessible and useful. That’s why in addition to crawling, indexing and ranking billions of websites, images, videos and other content, we also work to make that content available in all languages and in accessible formats.

We want to make information available to everyone, and that includes people with disabilities, such as blindness, visual impairment, color deficiency, deafness, hearing loss and limited dexterity. We’ve found that providing alternative access modes like keyboard shortcuts, captions, high-contrast views and text-to-speech technology helps everyone, not just people with disabilities. For example, keyboard shortcuts help power users get things done more quickly without using a mouse, speech-to-text technology enables people to skim and search audio content, and custom product themes give people more opportunities to personalize."

Click this link to visit http://www.google.com/accessibility.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Growing Up with Sighted Parents

by Donna J. Jodhan

In a previous blog, I talked about blind persons being parents. I grew up with two wonderful sighted parents who allowed me to go out there and take the world by the tail or the bull by the horns. For the most part, it was a delicate balance of ensuring that I fitted in and at the same time being realistic enough to understand that being blind had its limitations.

The great thing was that my parents never really said no to my requests for adventure but they were naturally cautious and timid towards certain things. My dad allowed me to reach for the stars when it came to education but he was always leery when it came to my choice of career. My mom on the other hand was a bit more outgoing and made very sure that I fitted into the sighted world. With two loving brothers for company, a gentle granny who prodded me along, and wonderful cousins, I managed to grow up in a very unique type of environment.

It was not always easy for me at times and these were times when I wanted to be a bit too mainstream for my own good but I learned fast. These were the times when I was limited by my lack of sight and my parents had to step in and teach me about reality. Nevertheless, I soldiered on and as far back as I can remember it was always my goal to leave home as early as I could in order to be independent as I could be. It has paid off but not without tremendous sacrifice on the part of both me and my family.

Yes! I learned to ride a bicycle and had bike races with my dad along the beach. He taught me how to swim and fly a kite. We went fishing together. He and my brothers played football and cricket with me in the park. My mom and granny taught me how to cook and bake and even played doll's house with me. My dad was my constant source of knowledge while my mom and granny were my constant tutors of life. As for my brothers? Well, they were brothers all the way.

If you would like to learn more about how sighted parents can interact with their non-sighted children, then you can contact me directly at donnajodhan@sterlingcreations.ca and I would be delighted to give you some useful pointers.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, an accessibility and special needs business consultant wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

AFB eLearning Center on Aging and Visual Impairment

Developed and produced by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Senior Site, this web-based training program is for service providers who work with older adults experiencing vision loss. The material presented will benefit anyone working with adults with vision loss. The content is designed for professionals who are not trained in vision loss, as well as those who have either formal or informal training in blindness rehabilitation and seek a refresher on the many aspects, implications, and far-reaching effects that vision loss has on an individual, the family, and society.

The content in this training program is based on two premises:

  1. Older persons with vision loss should have services and opportunities for learning to help them maximize independent living potential and quality of life.
  2. These services should be provided by individuals who are knowledgeable, interested in the welfare of those whom they serve, and committed to the concept that older people with vision loss can learn and take charge of their lives.

The eLearning Center is divided into four modules, each of which includes several courses on specific topics related to the overall module topic. Each of the courses is a stand-alone course and includes references and resources that will help service providers apply new knowledge in carrying out the job. At the end of each course is a 10 question post-test. The post-test requires a 70% accuracy rate to receive a certificate of completion for the course. For an additional fee, continuing education hours for ACVREP will be available late fall, 2009 and for CRC in January, 2010.

The eLearning Center also includes a general section on Resources with information related to the history of services for older people with vision loss, conducting a public education campaign, the aging network, scenarios regarding family relationships, and social and legal issues that confront older consumers and the laws that protect them.

Experts from around the country have generously shared their knowledge and expertise in writing the content for the courses that related to the area in which they specialize. In addition, experts in aging and vision loss services and programs reviewed and edited the content.

Click this link to visit the AFB eLearning Center on Aging and Visual Impairment website.

Free Recorded Media for Visually Impaired People from the Braille Institute of America

From the site:

"Our digital catalog of audio and video content at Braille Institute includes instructional clips of classes, workshops and seminars designed to educate, inform and enrich the lives of people who are visually impaired. If you find these clips useful and you are a Southern California resident, we invite you to take the next step and sign up to participate in any of our numerous free programs offered through one of our five regional centers.

Simply find an audio or video clip that interests you and click to listen!

Click this link to visit the Free Recorded Media for Visually Impaired People page at the Braille Institute of America's website: http://brailleinstitute.org/recorded_media.

Friday, October 09, 2009

SELECT Versatile Video Magnifier

The Select is a desktop video magnifier for people with low vision. With the Select, you can easily read books and newspapers, write letters, manage your finances, do hobbies and much more. Featuring a flexible 3 in 1 camera, the Select is ideal for near, distance and self viewing.

  • Easily view a classroom board
  • Magnify your television screen
  • View across the room and see any object
  • Enjoy reading a novel, the latest newspaper article, or today's headlines
  • Stay active by doing crosswords
  • Reconnect with that long-time hobby
  • Keep up with family and view the latest photos
  • Read recipes
  • Keep track of your finances

The Select Desktop Video Magnifier is designed to fit the individual end user with fully adjustable positioning of both monitor and camera. Position the auto focus camera for distance and side viewing, straight down for reading documents or even aimed back at the user as a mirror image. Provides choice of true color, enhanced black on white and reverse white on black contrast viewing. It magnifies 2X to 65X. All controls are conveniently placed on the bottom of the monitor for easy operation. The monitor is connected to an adjustable arm, which may be positioned above, level, to the left or right of the X - Y table to provide the customer with the most comfortable viewing angle. The Select X - Y table is unique in that it contains a small storage space for pens and papers.

  • 3 in 1 Camera: Near, distance and self viewing.
  • Color, Autofocus,Ball bearing table movement, Desktop viewing
  • Reading Table: Movement pads, Unrestricted workspace, Storage compartment
  • Glass Optics: Magnification range 2x to 65x
  • Illumination: Light emitting diodes (LED's), Rated for 100,000 hours of use
  • Power Supply: Input Voltage 100-240 V AC, Frequency 50-60 Hz
  • Controls: Zoom in, Zoom out, Viewing Modes, Brightness, On/off, Electronic
  • Locking Table Image Choices: Picture mode for enhanced viewing of images. High contrast text modes
  • Video Output: LCD compatible
Click this link to purchase the SELECT Versatile Video Magnifier or call 800-560-7226.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Printable Money and Large Checks

Printable Money

So you need to teach your students how to work with money? Do you have a hard time finding play money in stores? Why not simply print your own money!

Teaching and learning how to identify and use money is an important skill to learn at an early age. These printable worksheets, lesson plans, and interactive lessons will help students master concepts of counting money with coins and bills, whether they are just beginning to learn to count coins, or if they need additional practice. Worksheets are customizable for varying abilities and ages.

Early students are encouraged to learn money skills with this reproducible play money. This site offers play money in the form of coins or bills. Pages of play money can be printed, which could later be brailled for a blind student, or printed in large print for the visually impaired. Other lessons that can be found on this site include:

  • Basic Money Skills Lessons
  • Earning and Spending Money Lessons
  • Saving and Investing Money Lessons
  • Interactive Money Lessons
Click this link to get your own printable play money: http://www.moneyinstructor.com/play.asp.

Money with Your Picture

Motivating students can be difficult. Many teachers create reward programs where a student can receive special valtures for good work or for good behavior. Here's a fun website that will allow you to create either a $1 or $10 bill with your picture on it. Now when your students complete a task worth receiving a valture, you can hand them a bill with your picture on it that can later be turned in for a special prize. Creating the bills is easy:

  1. Choose a money bill (dollar or yen)
  2. Upload a photograph
  3. Optionally, re-position the photograph
  4. Download your final image
  5. Print your bills
Click this link to create your personalized money.

Giant Checks

Ever wondered where they get those giant checks when they give away a million dollars? Would you like to have some large checks for your visually impaired students to practice on?

Click this link to visit the TrixiePixGraphics online store for large checks, Fake Newspapers, and other novelty gifts.

Talking Balance Coin Jar

Get Organized via Amazon.com. They have the Talking Balance Coin Jar! This jar will count your money as it is inserted and speak the total. Batteries not included.

Click this link to purchase the Talking Balance Coin Jar from Amazon.com.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Listen and Think Auditory Readiness (AR) Level

Develop and improve listening comprehension and thinking skills. Covers basic listening skills such as understanding placement (e.g., up and down), using the senses, comparing, and classifying. The AR level includes:

  • Introduction and lessons on CDs
  • 250 Simple Multiple-Choice Answer Sheets
  • Regular print teacher's handbook
  • Eight plastic crayons

Recommended Ages: 5 to 7

Listen and Think Auditory Readiness (AR) Level
Catalog Number: 1-08510-01
Click this link to purchase Listen and Think Auditory Readiness (AR) Level.

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

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ III): Tests of Achievement 2001

Woodcock-Johnson III

With permission of Riverside Publishing Company, the American Printing House for the Blind now offers a full-color large print edition of one of the most widely used diagnostic tests for ages 2 through adult. The WJ III is commonly used to identify learning disabilities and for gathering details on individual strengths and weaknesses in preparation for educational planning.

For more information on WJ III features, the Compuscore® scoring and Profiles system, or the regular print battery and materials, go to www.riverpub.com

Features of WJ III Large Print Edition:

  • Minimum sans serif font size of 20 points
  • Formatting for maximum readability by persons with low vision
  • Space-saving 8 1/2" x 11" page size, in two volumes
  • Spiral bound books that can lie flat on the table or be used with a book stand
  • Pre-printed tabs for easy location of tests
  • Full-color graphics on high contrast paper
  • GlaReducers: non-glare acetate sheets in yellow and pink (also sold separately)

A roomy canvas bag, convenient for carrying and storing the WJ III Large Print test materials, is available separately.

*Note: In order to administer the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement: Large Print Edition, you must have training in administration of the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement. Examiners must own or purchase the regular print test and materials, including the audio cassette/CD, manuals, Compuscore CD, and Test Records (available only through Riverside Publishing). Contact: Customer Service Department / RIVERSIDE PUBLISHING / 425 Spring Lake Drive / Itasca, IL 60143-2079 / 800-323-9540 /Fax: 630-467-7192/ www.riverpub.com

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ III): Tests of Achievement 2001: Large Print Edition (2 volumes and one pkg. of GlaReducers):
Catalog Number: 4-66000-00
Click this link to purchase the Woodcock-Johnson III: Tests of Achievement, 2001: Large Print Edition.
GlaReducer Sheets GlaReducers only: Glare-reducing sheets (pack of 4):
Catalog Number: 1-03062-00
Click this link to purchase GlaReducer Sheets from APH.

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement, 2001: Braille Adaptation

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement, 2001: Braille Adaptation

With permission of Riverside Publishing Company, the American Printing House for the Blind has developed a braille/tactile adaptation of one of the most widely used diagnostic tests for ages 2 to adult. The Woodcock-Johnson® III is commonly used to identify learning disabilities and for gathering details on individual strengths and weaknesses in preparation for educational planning.

Practitioners now can derive interpretive information from 19 test cluster scores to help measure performance levels, determine educational progress, and plan interventions. The WJ III Standard Battery provides 10 cluster scores, and 9 additional clusters are provided by the Extended Battery. The CompuScore® Scoring and Reporting system on CD makes it easy to derive and interpret scores and prepare documentation.

Features of the WJ III Braille Adaptation
  • Pre-printed tabs for locating tests quickly
  • Tactile Toss-Away Rulers (LP/Braille: 1-03010-00) for measurement tasks
  • Floppy Braille Binders with preprinted labels, for organizing tests
  • Examinee's Braille Test Book (in both uncontracted and contracted braille)
  • Examiner's Test Book (Standard and Extended Batteries)
  • Supplementary Manual
  • Test Records (10-pack)
  • CompuScore and Profiles Program CD
  • APH Innovations Tote

Note: The Woodcock-Johnson III: Braille Adaptation kit includes all of the replacement items listed above. The kit also includes examiner's manuals which are not available separately. The examiner's manuals are required to administer the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement-- Braille Adaptation.

Note: In order to administer the Woodcock-Johnson® III Tests of Achievement: Braille Adaptation, you must have training in administration of the Woodcock-Johnson® III Tests of Achievement. See Examiner Qualifications as specified by Riverside Publishing: http://www.riverpub.com/products/examiner_qualifications.html#wjIIIach. Examiners must own, purchase or have available the regular print test and materials, including the audio cassette/CD, manuals, WJ III DRB with audiocassette/CD, and/or the WJ III Tests of Cognitive Abilities and audiocassette/CD (available through Riverside Publishing). Contact: Riverside Publishing, Rolling Meadows, IL, 800-323-9540, http://www.riverpub.com

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement, 2001: Braille Adaptation
Catalog Number: 6-66000-00

Replacement Items

Test Record (10 Pack):
Catalog Number: 4-66002-00

Examinee's Braille Test Book, Standard Battery:
Catalog Number: 23-201-001

Examinee's Braille Test Book, Extended Battery: 23-201-002

Shape Recognition Test (2 Pack):
Catalog Number: 23-201-003

CompuScore and Profiles CD:
Catalog Number: 23-201-004
Click this link to purchase the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement, 2001: Braille Adaptation.

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

Early Braille Trade Books, Sunshine Kit 2

Finding the right book for young students is now easier!

Montage of the twelve books in the Sunshine Kit 2

The Early Braille Trade Books Project combines commercially available books with braille labels for beginning readers. This kit includes books, braille labels, a quick start sheet, and access to an interactive website, please visit: http://tech.aph.org/ebt/

Features

  • Contracted or uncontracted braille labels
  • Match books to a student based on braille knowledge
  • The interactive website allows you to:
    • Search for books by genre, core curriculum, or expanded core curriculum
    • Access a book summary and activities designed for braille readers
    • Maintain a listing and percentage of contractions learned by each student -- great for documentation at IEP meetings
    • Share or transfer student records to other teachers

Sunshine™ Kit 2 Includes 12 books and label packs:

The Big Laugh · The Green Dragon · Griffin, the School Cat · The Horrible Urktar of Or · Just Like Me · My Feet Are Just Right · Sione Went Fishing · A Spinning Snake · Trees are Special · Yippy-Day-Yippy-Doo! · You Can Make Skittles · You Did It!

Notes: Customer applies the included braille labels (label packs not shown in picture). A user ID and password are required to access interactive website.

Contracted Braille Kit:
Catalog Number: 3-00203-00

Uncontracted Braille Kit:
Catalog Number: 3-00204-00

Contracted Braille Label Packs (labels only):
Catalog Number: 3-00203-CL

Uncontracted Braille Label Packs (labels only):
Catalog Number: 3-00204-UL
Click this link to purchase the Early Braille Trade Books, Sunshine Kit 2.

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, October 02, 2009

Guiding Light Mailbox: Good for the Visually Impaired, but Not So Good for Your Neighbors

This is one of those gadgets that might be useful, but your neighbors are going to hate you for it. 

It’s always a pain when you’re trying to find a house and everyone has numbers posted that can barely be seen.  It is equally difficult when you're leaving your house and trying to find your mailbox without stepping into the road. Well with this mailbox, you’ll make sure that anyone can find your house and that you can find the mailbox. It has a bright light behind the numbers, the light will allow for people to see your mailbox from half a football field away.  I’m sure the neighbors will just love that.

At least it manages to keep that bright light up and running in an eco-friendly manner. It has a solar panel on the top.  You won’t have to worry too much about cloudy days causing issues for the light, it only takes about four hours of sunlight to keep it charged for four days.

Click this link to purchase the Guiding Light Mailbox from http://guidingmailbox.com.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Accessible websites, not a priority in bad economy?

by Donna J. Jodhan

Very obvious to the keen observer! In a bad economy, making one's website accessible is definitely not a priority but then the question is: When would accessible websites become a priority? If the economy is bad then companies have some good reasons to give us. Such as: Saving jobs is more important, cutbacks on spending are the priority, a freeze on new projects is paramount in order to conserve funds, and so on.

In a good economy, companies often give reasons such as: It is too costly to make websites accessible at the moment and projects that generate revenue need to be undertaken first, new employees are needed to design and develop websites and services, and accessible websites are too costly to implement. Besides, accessible websites would not be beneficial to the mainstream person.

Too bad but what most companies fail to see is that if they take the time to make their websites accessible from the outset, none of these reasons or excuses would become necessary in good or bad times but getting back to the point at hand: We should not expect companies to give their attention to accessible websites during hard economic times. Not going to happen.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, an accessibility and special needs business consultant wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

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