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.)


Friday, September 24, 2010

Directions for Me

From the site:

Welcome to directions for me, your one stop source for accessible packaging information. This site will provide a consistent, quality source of complete packaging information for everything from preparation instructions to ingredient lists to Nutrition Facts labels for many common grocery, health and beauty products. 

We encourage you to support our corporate partners who have made a commitment to the blind and visually impaired community. If you don’t see a specific product listed, please contact that company directly to suggest that they partner with us to make their packaging information accessible to a large and often ignored market. 

Directions was designed to be 100 percent accessible for text to speech users and braille output devices. It's brought to you by HORIZONS for the BLIND.

Click this link to visit

When Did I First Discover?

by Donna J. Jodhan

One of the most frequently asked questions that I have had to answer throughout my life is this one: When did I first discover that I was blind? In other words, how early in my childhood did I realize that I was blind? Boy o Boy! A simple question but not a very straightforward response on my part. You see, I really do not remember how or when I discovered.

Thinking about it now, it seems as if I always knew that I was blind. I seem to remember as a child that I always knew that I could not see very well. I knew that I could not see well enough to run around and play hide and seek but my brothers never let this get in the way. I always played with them and played with their toys. I knew that I could not read and write print but my parents and granny were always there to read things to me and as for writing? I remember trying to write with a pencil like my brothers but I would make up what I wrote and then commit it to memory.

I remember that my dad used to play soccer with me using a brightly colored ball and when it came to cricket; both dad and brothers used to use a huge bright red ball. Then when it came to flying kites; my dad always let me fly brightly colored kites. Everything that required balls, bats, kites, and so on, were always brightly colored. However, I was unable to draw or paint because I did not have enough vision but it did not prevent me from trying.

My first days of primary school were spent at a school for blind children and I had to get used to reading and writing in Braille; the use of dots and devices used for us to communicate. Braille was first developed in the days of Napoleon so that his soldiers could communicate with each other in the dark and was then quickly expanded to include helping blind persons to communicate. Braille was invented by a Frenchman named Louis Braille and the year 2009 is being marked to commemorate his 200th birthday.

I can tell you with great delight that I have had the privilege of being able to function in both worlds; the blind and the sighted and I owe all of this to a wonderful and devoted family made up of two terrific parents, brothers, granny, and cousins, aunts, and uncles. In addition, to friends, and teachers and mentors. I can also say that having received an excellent foundation as a blind child has enabled me to walk through life listening, learning, and understanding how to adjust to my blindness without too much difficulty. True it is that I have and continue to face many challenges as a bind person but that's okay. It's what makes life interesting and exciting.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and tell the world that yes indeed! Blind persons can certainly enjoy things by using their sense of touch. 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:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

Universally Accessible Products, A Benefit

by Donna J. Jodhan

Make your products universally accessible and I can guarantee you that this is the way to go! What am I singing about this day? Very simple indeed!

So many manufacturers and developers are petrified when they hear the term universally accessible. They practically shake in their boots and they believe that making their products universally accessible would mean that they would lose consumers! Not so! Definitely not so and here's why! You can attract many more consumers because your products would be more attractive to a much wider spectrum of consumers.

Allow me to give you two brief and simple examples.

  1. Your cooking appliance: If the knobs and buttons are brightly colored, easy to read, and can easily be handled, guess who can benefit? Not just those who are blind or with poor vision, but seniors, those who are afflicted with dexterity challenges, and persons who identify themselves as just plain old clumsy. Make the displays on these products easy to read and clear to see and guess what? You'll definitely attract universal consumers.

  2. Your cell phone: Yes, so often the displays are o so difficult to see, buttons are so small, and menus are very difficult to read. What this means is that you are barring many consumers from wanting to buy your product. Those who are blind, have sight problems, those with dexterity problems, those who are technically shy meaning that they did not grow up in the age of technology, and those whose first language is not English.

You got it! Too often many manufacturers fail to take these types of consumers into consideration and accordingly, they end up missing out on practically millions of consumers. Seniors and retirees are going to become more and more of your bread and butter consumer in the near future, like now. Aging baby boomers will do so, like tomorrow. Those whose first language is not English will be yours forever.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and tell the world that yes indeed! Blind persons can certainly enjoy things by using their sense of touch. 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:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Give and Receive Items at Sight Exchange

Are you familiar with the Sight Exchange group? It's a Yahoo group that helps people easily give and receive low vision-related items, all for free. From the site:

"The Sight Exchange group is open to all who want to give and receive items that serve the needs of the blind, low vision or visually impaired population. Whether it's a mobility device, cane, talking clock, book or computer, feel free to post it. Or maybe you're looking to acquire something yourself! Individuals and Nonprofit groups are all welcome to participate!"

"Things to remember: Everything posted must be free, legal, and appropriate. Everyone must begin by offering an item before requesting an item. Mail items via "Free Matter for the Blind or Visually Impaired" whenever possible."

When you join, you will receive two email messages explaining the basic's of the group and how to get started. Please be sure to read each carefully. There are lots of cool things offered for those with low vision or visual impairment!

Click this link to visit the Sight Exchange Yahoogroup Website:
You can also subscribe by sending an email to

Great news! Sight Exchange is also on Facebook and Twitter! Not only is it a great way to never miss out on those super great offers with instant notification via Twitter, but now it's easier than ever to share important news, information and updates with over 500Sight Exchange members!

Don't worry, Sight Exchange will remain on the Yahoo platform for those who may not have a Facebook or Twitter account.

To sign-up simply search for Sight Exchange on or Be sure to "like" SightExchange so you can receive regular updates and information.

Click here for a direct link to the Sight Exchange Facebook page.

Accessible HD Radio

Digital radio broadcasting has been a slowly emerging technology over the past several years. This technology, similarly to its television counterpart, promises to deliver richer sound as well as affording stations the opportunity to multiplex programming. Multiplexing means that a station can transmit multiple audio streams on their parent frequency. Take, for example, the local NPR affiliate here in Baltimore. In addition to their primary programming on the standard FM channel, 88.1MHz, they also transmit, on one of their subchannels, the BBC World Service.

Most digital radios, commonly referred to as HD radios, rely on a visual display to identify the frequency and any “HD” subchannel being received. Most of these radios, as with many consumer electronics devices, are not natively accessible to blind users. Enter the Dice Electronics ITR100A. This tabletop style radio provides spoken feedback, in an easy to understand female voice, for all functions and commands.

There are a minimal number of controls on the ITR100A. Buttons for Power, Mode (AM/FM/Auxiliary), preset channels 1-6, and a dedicated Radio Reading Service scan button, along with knobs for changing the volume and active channel are all the necessary controls to operate the unit.

When turned on, turning the frequency selection control one or two clicks will move the radio .2HKz, or, if an HD channel is being received, one subchannel.

Repeatedly turning this knob will instruct the radio to “seek”, skipping frequencies where it does not find a strong signal. If the tuning knob is not touched for approximately two seconds, the radio will interrupt the program to announce the frequency, the HD subchannel if present, and if provided by the HD broadcast, the call letters of the active station.

Pressing any of the buttons on the radio will yield an announcement as to the action taken. For example. Pressing preset 1, the radio announces that it is switching to preset 1, followed by frequency information for that subchannel. Holding down a preset for about 2 seconds will save the active channel in the memory, and an announcement to that effect will be spoken.

Speech is also provided to set both the clock, and the alarm. When the alarm goes off, the radio will announce the time and begin playing the active radio station.

This radio also includes the capability to receive Radio Reading Service broadcasts. Pressing the RRS scan button will begin scanning the active band, AM or FM, for a Radio Reading Service signal. Note that this feature may require you to register our radio’s serial number with the RRS, if this is the case, hold down the RRS button for 2wo seconds and the serial number will be spoken.

For those interested in exploring the world of digital radio, the Dice ITR100A is an accessible, easy-to-use, radio that will get you started.

©2010 All Rights Reserved – Copyright 2010 NFB

How to Treat Poisoning

How to Treat Poisoning

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Unintentional poisoning causes thousands of deaths every year, many as a result of products around the home. Quick response and proper emergency assistance can help prevent some of these deaths. The following information will help you to know what to do for a victim of poisoning.


  1. Understand what poisoning is. A poison is a substance that enters the body and causes injury, illness, or death. A poison can be in the form of a solid, a liquid, a gas, or vapor fumes. The areas through which poisons can enter the body are:[1]
    • the mouth and digestive system
    • through the lungs (fumes)
    • absorption of a chemical or plant extract through skin
    • via injection.
  2. Remain calm. When approaching someone who appears to be poisoned, it is crucial that you observe and check for anything that may endanger you as well, especially in the case of gas and vapors.
    • Ensure that you, the victim, and any other people are safe before attempting to give first aid. If needed, and if safe to do so, move the patient to somewhere safer, away from the poison.
    • If the poison is in the form of a gas, check the area first for your safety, then remove the victim from the area and go to an area with fresh air. For more information, read wikiHow's articles on how to survive a gas attack and preventing carbon monoxide poisoning after an emergency.
    • Look for what may have poisoned the person. Look for tablets, plants (berries), mouth burns, etc. Knowing the source of the poison is essential for treatment purposes.
  3. Check for signs and symptoms of poisoning. Symptoms and signs of poisoning will vary according to what has poisoned the victim. Some of the more common symptoms include:[2]
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal pain
    • Burns or redness around the mouth
    • Unconsciousness, or slipping into unconsciousness
    • Seizures
    • Difficulties in breathing, breath that smells of chemicals or almonds, etc.
    • Unusual behaviors such as aggression, hallucinations, confusion, sudden exhaustion, etc.
    • Physical signs such as stains on clothing, spilled pills, bottles, etc.
  4. Check the victim's state of consciousness. The state of consciousness determines the approach to be taken to caring for the victim and who to contact.
    • If the victim is unconscious but is breathing normally, turn the victim on her side in a supported position. This will open and clear the airway.
    • If the victim is unconscious but there are no signs of life, begin CPR.
    • Call for emergency services to get medical assistance immediately.
  5. Call the poison control center for a conscious (awake and alert) victim. This will enable you to seek specific advice on treating the victim. The phone numbers for various countries are noted under "Tips". Have the following information at hand:
    • Victim's age and weight.
    • The container, bottle of poison, or any other relevant item, (if available).
    • The time the poisoning took place.
    • Address where the poisoning happened.
  6. Stay on the phone and follow all the instructions given to you by emergency assistance or the poison control center.
  7. Note some of the basic responses that you might be able to do before help arrives. The following actions can be helpful, coupled with advice you're provided from emergency advisers:
    • If the source of the poisoning is in solid form, such as pills, wrap your finger in a clean cloth and remove any pills or residue that may be in the victim's mouth.
    • If the poison is a skin corrosive, remove the victim's clothing from the injured area and flush with water for 30 minutes. Discard the clothing to prevent further injury to anyone else.
    • If the poison has come in contact with the victim's eyes, flush the eyes with clean, lukewarm water for a minimum of 15 minutes. Ask the victim to blink a lot but to avoid rubbing their eyes.
    • Check the product label if the victim has swallowed a household product. There will often be emergency instructions provided on the label.
    • Do not induce vomiting unless you're advised to do so by medical professionals.
    • Do not administer syrup of ipecac. This is no longer advised as an appropriate approach to treating poisoning and can either mask symptoms or interfere with reliable treatment options.[3] Vomiting alone will not remove poisons from a stomach.[4]



  • Place the poison control number near your home telephone and save it to your cell or mobile phone. The numbers for poison control centers are:
  • Whenever possible, have the container or label from the poison with you when you call for help. You'll need to answer questions about the poison.
  • Read the label before using a product that may be poisonous.
  • Follow the directions on the label when giving or taking medicines.
  • It's a good idea to have a list of common poisonous plants from your region or in your garden, with photos, so that you can easily recognize berries, flowers, etc.
  • Remember, the goal in the first place is to prevent a poisoning from happening. To prevent future poisonings, keep all potential toxins stored responsibly out of reach of children.


  • Always call for emergency assistance no matter what form of poisoning has occurred. Quick and proper medical assistance is imperative.
  • Never mix household cleaning or chemical products together as some combined chemicals can create toxic gases.
  • Never leave children alone with household products or drugs. Keep all poisonous and toxic items safely out of reach and securely stored.
  • Do not try to remove pills from the mouth of an infant, it could force the pills further into the throat.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean water
  • Safe resting place
  • Telephone

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. St John, The New Zealand First Aid Handbook, p. 48, (2009), ISBN 978-014-301187-3
  2. St John, The New Zealand First Aid Handbook, p. 48, (2009), ISBN 978-014-301187-3
  3. Global Crisis Solution Center,
  4. Wikipedia, Syrup of Ipecac,

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Treat Poisoning. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Finding Flexibility and Accessibility in an Exercise Bike

by Karen Keninger

I’ve had a Schwinn Airdine exercise bike for years. It has one tension, and doesn’t have any programming. It’s great as far as it goes, but I wanted something more flexible with training options. I found a NordicTrack C2 Si Upright Exercise Bike online that seemed to have the price tag and the features I wanted, and took a chance on it being accessible. Here’s what I got.

It came in a bazillion pieces with a very comprehensible instruction manual. Following the step by step instructions, it was possible to put it together even without the drawings.

The bike has an MP3 player connection that routes the player through a set of decent speakers. My Victor Reader Stream works perfectly. The volume up and down buttons are part of a flat panel area with circular “push” buttons. I stuck some plastic Braille labels on them and they’re easy to find and use. The Stream fits well enough in the allotted slot and connects through a simple cord into the earphone jack.

The bike has multiple levels of tension on the pedals so you can work pretty hard down to not hard at all. The controls for this function are big plastic arrows. They’re easy to find and shaped like arrows so I didn’t need to label them.

The unit has 16 preprogrammed exercise routines, eight for weight loss and eight for aerobic exercise. Each group is controlled by a round, pressure-sensitive button on a flat panel. Pressing either the “weight loss” button or the “aerobic exercise” button repeatedly cycles through the eight settings and then returns on the ninth press to off. Therefore, selecting the routine I want is just a matter of counting. I labeled these buttons the same way I labeled the volume controls.

During the exercise routines, the machine beeps each minute. If the tension on the pedals is changing, it has a series of beeps. If it’s staying the same for the next segment, it has one beep. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a different set of tones to tell me my routine is finished. Since I know they’re all 20 and 30-minute routines, I time them. The on-screen feedback that tells you you’re pedaling too fast or too slow for the routine is not accessible.

Heart-rate monitors are built into the handlebars, and a host of other information is displayed on the screen that is completely inaccessible. I couldn’t find any exercise equipment that had voice readouts of the information displayed on the screen.

The bike also has a couple of built-in video games that are not accessible as far as I can tell unless you enjoy random luck. The controls are built into the handles and easy to operate, but the action takes place on the screen. Audio feedback will tell you if you earned any points, though.

This model also accommodates the interactive iFit Workout Card Technology. I haven’t spent the $29.95 per card yet though. Thought I’d try out the built-in routines first.

Article Source:

Technology for the Blind

Bridging the Gap Through APH Materials

by Kristie Smith, M.Ed, CTVI

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.”- Les Brown

I have been an educator for over twenty-eight years and have taught most grade levels. While I love the individuality of each group, teaching students who are blind or visually impaired has been my favorite.

It has always been my philosophy that all children can learn. Some may learn slower or different from others, however, the fact remains that all students can achieve. Can you imagine if Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Franklin Roosevelt and Walt Disney were overlooked because they had a disability? So many of our greatest accomplishments have been achieved through others who have had a disability. The American Printing House for the Blind gives children who have a visual impairment and other disabilities a chance to compete with their sighted peers, so that they, too, can make a difference in the world through their many achievements.

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) has been in business since 1858. APH products are designed for infants, toddlers, children in grades K-12, adults and people with multiple impairments both in academics and daily living.

My students’ teachers are so excited when I hand them the APH catalog and explain that they can also order materials for their classroom. I further discuss that as long as the items are on quota funds they are free. APH makes me the superstar and most popular itinerant teacher because of all the exceptional materials. Bold line paper, Talking Calculators, tape players, headphones, 20/20 pens, a periodic table in Braille, as well as many other items from APH help students who have a visual impairment to function successfully in the classroom.

APH has such a variety of excellent materials that meet many needs of people with a visual impairment. I do, however, have my favorites when I am teaching children ages three months to twenty-two-years old. Since I have so many beloved items from APH that help my students to master their goals and objectives, I must limit my discussion to my daily picks, otherwise my article would take months to read. American Printing House products are that awesome.

One of my most used items from APH is the Mini- Lite box and Lite Box Materials. The Mini-Lite Box comes equipped with a dimming control, tilting stand and many materials to inspire children to look, touch and explore. Goals such as exploring the environment, hand-to-eye coordination, learning colors, shapes, counting, using upper and lower fields can all be met through this product. I use the Swirly Mats and place them on the Lite Box and my infants and children with multiple disabilities become interested in their surroundings. They explore, touch, pick up the mat and look through the colors. Lite Box materials come in levels 1-3 depending on the child’s developmental needs. The Lite Box is small but like they say, “Dynamite comes in small packages,” and this product is dyno-mite!!!

Two other wonderful items that I could not live without are The Sensory Learning Kit (SLK) and Let’s See. The Sensory Learning Kit helps people without much control over their environment to make choices as well as giving themselves sensory input independently. The kit is an extensive set of items that help children increase their curiosity, understand cause and effect and work on goals that are designed especially for them. I use the Let’s See Kit for infants and children with multiple disabilities to explore the high contrast objects. One of my favorite pieces from the Let’s See Kit is the black, white and pink soft blanket for little ones. Teachers and parents are always asking me for additional blankets.

Since many students who are blind or visually impaired are often times behind in their younger years because of understanding concepts and their world around them, reading materials must be presented to children at a young age. APH supplies teachers and others who work with children with a visual impairment an array of fun items for reading, writing, math, science, daily living and social studies.

I teach children as young as two-years-old to feel the Braille dots. I call this technique ‘sprinkling’ knowledge. The seeds are sprinkled on the ground and not yet ready to grow, but with watering, sunshine and air the seeds begin to blossom. Sprinkling skills to a younger student who is blind is crucial in keeping them on grade level or higher in later years. Teaching pre-Braille reading skills to a young future Braille reader will help bridge the gap between the child with a visual impairment and their sighted age group. When a young child feels the Braille dots when being read to, he will begin to make the association that the dots he is feeling represent words and that words represent ‘real’ objects, people and his surroundings.

There are many items from APH that help our younger children to pre-read in Braille. For example, books that are in Braille and in large print like Giggly-Wiggly Snickety-Snick have real and textured objects throughout the story, so that a child who is blind can ‘see’ pictures throughout their books, too. Some of my favorite Braille books are Jennifer’s Messes, Jellybean Jungle and many others that are also equipped with Braille and raised-line drawings.

Another popular book from APH is Splish the Fish. Skills such as positional words like up, down, middle, first, last, etc. can be taught throughout this fun rhyming book. Splish and his friends are embossed, so a child who cannot see may use his hands and begin to explore for information and learn about rhyming words.

I cannot write an article on APH without mentioning Patterns. The familiar characters who are brother and sister named Tim and Pam teach contractions throughout every phase of learning Braille until the young student becomes a fluent Braille reader. Tim cannot see so younger students are able to identify with him and his struggles. My mother and I bought one of our younger students two groovy gal dolls- one boy we named Tim and the girl Pam. Everyone in the school was in on the fun. My student’s orientation and mobility specialist even bought the toy Tim doll a cane and the school yearbook committee put pictures of the Tim and Pam dolls in the school year book.

Vision teachers everywhere were ecstatic to see a new series that will also inspire new readers to read. The Sunshine Kit contains many high interest books for little ones and comes with Braille labels as well as an interactive website. Books like Ratty-Tatty and the Cooking Pot are just a few of many that will entertain and instruct children through many reading skills.

I could go on and on about other favorite items- The All-in One board, Math Builders and many others, however, since I am now a writer for Fred’s Head I will continue to write more about how using APH materials will fill in the gap between children who are blind and sighted children.

As Stevie Wonder once said, “Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision,” and how correct he is because through APH materials and enthusiastic teaching our students will accomplish great things.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Mobile Divide

by Donna J. Jodhan

What exactly am I concerned about today? The growing gap between those mobile devices that are accessible to sight impaired persons and what is not accessible.

As the variety of mobile devices continues to grow at boundless rates, we as a group are becoming more and more isolated in so many ways. We barely have time to catch our breaths. We barely have time to test out one device that has been made accessible to us before we have to deal with three or four new ones on the market.

The thing is this: In many cases when a mobile device becomes accessible, it is almost always not entirely accessible as one or two features are inaccessible through the lack of either speech or large print. Many access technology vendors are selling cell phones that still lack for complete accessibility. Many of the hand held devices are nowhere near being accessible. Many of the MP3 players and iPods still require sighted assistance to get set up and this is the case across the board.

This picture is only going to get worse as time passes and for logical and realistic reasons. Access technology is unable to keep up with the growth of mobile devices so maybe it's time for us to admit this and work on finding a solution that could be an alternative to all of this. Not sure what that could possibly be but we as a group need to address it sooner than later. The time may be now.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and tell the world that yes indeed! Blind persons can certainly enjoy things by using their sense of touch. 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:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

eBay's Help Section for the Blind and Visually Impaired

From our friends at

"If you've noticed some increased access on the eBay website, this may not just be a happy coincidence. Thanks to a partnership with the National Federation of the Blind, eBay has increased access to many parts of its website,. Instructions on the accessibility page include information on buying and selling items with a screen reader. A partnership was also announced with the NFB which aims to promote eBay as a viable platform for business owners who are blind."

Visit eBay's Accessibility page.

Monday, September 13, 2010

How to Play Chess

How to Play Chess

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Chess is a very popular game and is widely accepted as one of the oldest games still played. Although it has a set of easily comprehensible rules, it requires a lot of practice to win against skilled opponents. This is because chess is a strongly strategy and tactically oriented game, without the amount of luck found in card or dice games. However, given that chess is still a game involving at least one human, blunders (mistakes in thinking/planning) do occur. Even so, chess is still a very fun game to play. Each player has control of one of two sets of colored pieces, referred to by the nominal color of their respective pieces, i.e., White or Black. White moves first and the players alternate turns, moving one piece per turn. To win, a player must use his pieces to create a situation where the opponent's King is unable to avoid capture (a condition known as checkmate). Making a move is compulsory; it is not legal to "pass", even when having to move is detrimental. Play continues until a King is checkmated or a stalemate occurs.


Pieces and Moves Each piece has a specific name, abbreviation in chess notation, and move set.
  1. Rook (castle) - R - starts on a1, h1, a8, h8
    • Rooks may move any number of vacant squares vertically or horizontally. If an opponents piece blocks the path, that piece may be captured by moving the rook into the occupied square.
  2. Bishop - B - starts on c1, f1, c8, f8
    • Bishops may move any number of vacant squares in any diagonal direction. Like rooks, they may capture an opponents piece within its path.
  3. Queen - Q - starts on d1, d8
    • Queens can be thought of as the rook and bishop combined. Queens can move any number of vacant squares diagonally, horizontally, or vertically. Attacking with a queen is the same as with rooks and bishops, taking an opponents piece that lies within its path.
  4. King - K - starts on e1, e8
    • Kings can move exactly one space in any direction and can attack any piece except the opponent's king and queen (it cannot go near it or else it would result in check).
    • Castling is used to get your king out of the center early in the game, where it is most vulnerable. To castle, you move your king 2 squares to the left or right, and your rook at the corner square jumps over the king. You cannot castle if:
      • There are pieces between the king and rook.
      • The king is in check, or it will have to go through check or into check to castle.
      • The king or rook has already moved in the game.
      • The rook is not on the same rank as the king (prevents castling with a promoted pawn).
  5. Knight (horse) - N (Kt for older texts) - starts on b1, g1, b8, g8
    • Knights are the only pieces that can jump over other pieces. They move to the nearest square not on the same rank, file, or diagonal, i.e. two squares horizontally or vertically and then one square perpendicular to that in an "L" shaped pattern. For example, a knight may move two spaces horizontally and one space vertically, and vice versa. The knight cannot be blocked, and only captures pieces that it lands on. In other words, you can "jump" over all the pieces blocking the knight, and capture a piece as you land.
  6. Pawn - P
    • The Pawn is the most complex of all the pieces. They normally only move forward one space with the exception of the first time it is moved, when it may move forward one or two spaces. If another piece is in front of the it, the pawn may not move or capture that piece. Pawns may only attack a target if the target is one space diagonally forward from the pawn. i.e. Up one square and one square to the right or left (see picture).
    • En passant (from French: "in [the pawn's] passing" is a special capture made immediately after a player moves a pawn two squares forward from its starting position, and an opposing pawn could have captured it if it had only moved one square forward. In this situation, the opposing pawn may, on the immediately subsequent move, capture the pawn as if taking it "as it passes" through the first square; the resulting position would then be the same as if the pawn had only moved one square forward and the opposing pawn had captured normally. En passant must be done on the very next turn, or the right to do so is lost.
    • Promotion. If a pawn reaches the 8th rank (or 1st rank if you are black), it can be promoted to a Knight, Bishop, Rook, or Queen. It cannot stay as a pawn or be promoted to another king. To indicate pawn promotion in chess notation, write the square that it moves to (i.e. C8). Then you put an equals sign (i.e. C8=). Then put the abbreviation for the piece that you want it to promote it to (i.e. C8=R)
  1. Set up the chess board.
  2. Start the Game. The player with white pieces begins the game by moving one piece as described above. Turn then passes to black.
  3. Continue play with each player moving one piece per turn until the game ends. Making a move is compulsory; it is not legal to "pass", even when having to move is detrimental. Play continues until a King is checkmated or a stalemate occurs.
  4. Capture an opponent's piece by moving a piece into an occupied square. The captured piece is then removed from the board and does not return for the remainder of the game.
  5. End the game.
    1. Check and checkmate:
      • A player is in check when their king at risk of being captured the next turn. The player in check must get his king out of check on their next turn as a first priority. Do one of the following to get out of check:
        • Take the piece threatening your king. You can do this with another piece or take it with your king directly (if the piece is not protected).
        • Move your king out of the range of the attacking piece.
        • Block the piece threatening your king with another piece (this does not apply for enemy knights for they cannot be blocked).
      • If you cannot get your king out of check, this is a checkmate and the game ends with your opponent winning.
      • You can not put yourself into check. In other words, you cannot make a move that exposes your king to capture on the next turn. This means you cannot move your king into an area an opponent's piece can move to in 1 turn (except pawns which do not capture through regular movement), and you cannot move a piece blocking the king from an opponent's piece that could capture the king the next turn.
    2. Stalemate. A stalemate is a special case where a player does not have any legal moves, but is not in check. A stalemate is a draw.
      • The Fifty-Move rule is a special case where each player has made fifty moves without a pawn move or capture. This is a draw.
      • Three times repetition of position is a special case where a certain position has been achieved three times. This is a draw.
    3. Resign. Either player can resign at any time and accept a loss.



  • The best, and really only, way to learn and improve your game is to play. Against others, or even against yourself.
  • Practice everyday so that you can get better and remember all of the stuff.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Play Chess. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Problem with Inaccessible Products

by Donna J. Jodhan

As I see it, there are two important things that make a product inaccessible.

  1. When the product does not have audio cues.
  2. When there are no accompanying manuals in alternate formats.

A product may have audio cues but if the cues are not enough to make it possible for a blind person to use it independently, then it is not accessible. This example can be used in the case of several hand held language dictionaries that are only half way accessible. That is, only part of the command is spoken or only certain menus are audible. In other words, there is no audible sound when keys are pressed and an audible response is only heard after the enter button is pressed. This is what I call halfway accessible.

If a product is accompanied by a manual that is not in alternate format, then it is not accessible. Or, if a product is accompanied by an incomplete manual or a manual that does not cover the entire set up of the product, then it is deemed to be inaccessible. To make things less confusing, here is the picture.

For a product to be completely accessible, a blind or disabled person must be able to both use it and set it up or install it independently. No sighted assistance unless the product is difficult to maneuver. There also needs to be accompanying manuals in alternate formats; Braille, large print, CDs with no PDF formats or files in PDF format, and other types of audio formats.

I have seen strides toward making products more accessible but we need more manufacturers to join the trend towards making products more accessible.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and tell the world that yes indeed! Blind persons can certainly enjoy things by using their sense of touch. 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:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

Putting On Makeup in the Dark

by Donna J. Jodhan

When it comes to putting on makeup as a blind person, it's really like doing it in the dark because I am unable to use a mirror to guide me. There was a time up until five years ago when I was able to do so because I had enough vision then to see my profile in the mirror but now it's primarily by touch.

Having been able to see before gives me an advantage now in that I am able to visualize things but not to worry. Blind persons can be taught to put on their own makeup by using touch techniques plus some other important strategies that are really not too difficult to understand once you get the hang of it all.

In the case of putting on lipstick: I take the lipstick and gently move it along the line of my lips. Then I take a tissue and blot it just like what a sighted person would do. In the case of face powder, I use a cosmetic pad to do the job. I gently place the pad on the top of the compact where the powder is, press lightly, and then apply the pad to my cheeks and nose. In this way, I am almost certain to ensure that the powder is applied evenly.

Blind persons are also taught to apply such things as eyebrow pencils plus more and like sighted persons they too make errors when applying their makeup from time to time. The only big difference here is that sighted persons can see their errors but blind persons are unable to do so. So they need to depend on the sighted world to tell them.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and tell the world that yes indeed! Blind persons can certainly enjoy things by using their sense of touch. 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:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

Dogs Need to Go, Too. Airports Are Adding Doggie Restrooms!

Airports say "pet relief areas" enhance customer service. But they're also being nudged by a federal rule that orders airlines to work with airports to install facilities for travelers who have service dogs.

Among airports with dog bathrooms: Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington Dulles, Washington National, Chicago O'Hare and Phoenix.

The facilities are typically outside, within walking distance of the terminal. The federal rule requires they be kept clean, free of odor, contain a gravel or sand surface and have adequate drainage. Some airports have added synthetic grass, fire hydrants and benches.

About 2 million pets and other animals fly each year in the U.S., according to the Transportation Department. But convenient relief areas weren't required until the department published changes last year to the Air Carrier Access Act, which spells out travel rights for people who have physical disabilities.

Washington Dulles is one of the few airports with indoor facilities within its security zone, in addition to three relief areas outside. Engineers designed them after studying other dog parks. They contain ventilation and wall-mounted water-distribution systems for cleaning.

Article Source:

PBS Programs on DVD with DVS

The WGBH website has a list of programs which originally aired on PBS and have been released on DVD with optional descriptive narration tracks and captioning. All but a few can be purchased by following the links to the product page on The remaining discs listed can be purchased directly from PBS at the toll-free number listed under the disc title.

Description of many PBS programs is funded by a grant to the Media Access Group from the U.S. Department of Education. WGBH's Media Access Group is an Amazon Associate, which means that when you click through their site to purchase movies or TV shows on DVD from Amazon, they receive a small portion (4%) of the revenue. As a nonprofit organization addressing media access barriers of all kinds, they are grateful for the financial support you can provide through your purchases.

Click this link to see the list of PBS Programs on DVD with DVS.

VI Fit: Exergames for Users Who Are Visually Impaired or blind

Lack of physical activity is a serious health concern for individuals who are visually impaired as they have fewer opportunities and incentives to engage in physical activities that provide the amounts and kinds of stimulation sufficient to maintain adequate fitness and to support a healthy standard of living.

Especially children with visual impairments tend to exhibit lower performance in motor skills, lower levels of physical activity and fitness, and higher levels of obesity.

Exergames are video games that use physical activity as input and which have the potential to change sedentary lifestyles and associated health problems such as obesity. Unfortunately most exergames are not accessible to users with visual impairments as they rely upon the player being able to see visual stimuli. The VI Fit research project seeks to explore how exergames can be developed that can be played without visual feedback, with the goal to increase the participation of users with visual impairments in physical activity and to improve their health. All VI Fit games can be downloaded for free and played using low cost motion sensing controller (called the Wii Remote) capable of providing vibrotactile and audio cues.


Pet-n-Punch is a novel exergame inspired by whack-a-mole. Help a farmer protect his fields of carrots by bopping varmints on their head..... but make sure not to hit any kitties! You can play with either one or two Wii remotes.

VI Bowling

VI Bowling implements the gameplay of Wii sports Bowling. VI Bowling has a novel motor learning feature that allows players to find the direction in which to throw their ball using vibrotactile feedback. Audio and speech effects are used to indicate the result of each throw. VI Bowling was evaluated with six adults and was found to yield levels of active energy expenditure that are comparable to walking.

VI Tennis

VI Tennis implements the gameplay of Wii sports Tennis. This game provides audio and vibrotactile cues that indicate when to serve and when to return the ball. You can play this game against the computer or against a friend using two Wii remotes.

Requirements and free downloads for the VI Fit Exergames can be found at

Verizon Customers, Welcome to Haven!

by Walter Gramza

It’s finally here! An affordable, fully accessible phone from Verizon Wireless.  As of July 29th, 2010, Verizon Wireless has available in its stores a phone for blind and visually impaired persons which is fully audible via Nuance speech.

There is no extra charge for the speech package, as it is already installed in the phone and ready for use out of the box. It is important to note here that when you go to the store, please make sure that you tell the person assisting you to be sure to turn on the voices called read outs, located under settings, then sounds, and down to voices. The six items to be turned on are:

  1. Menu read out
  2. digit read out
  3. alert read out
  4. flip open and talk
  5. text message read out
  6. full read out

In order for the phone to be audible these features need to be turned on.

Placing a Call

You can enter the contact list by pushing the right soft key in the upper right hand corner of the phone and then arrow through the contacts or by pressing the letter of the contact you wish to call.  For example, “v” for Verizon Wireless. Then you can hit ok to view the contact information and hit send to place a call.

You can enter into your call list of choice which are: 1. missed calls, 2. dialed calls, 3. answered calls, 4. all calls.  After entering any one of the lists, you can edit the list and if desired, delete the specific name and number within the list.

You can find out how much battery strength you have, signal strength, and how many messages, voice mails, missed calls, you have. You can use the alarm clock, set a time audibly, use the calculator, tip calculator, and send and read texts.

In short, you are prompted through every one of the functions you are performing. You can even ask it to call someone provided that they are in the contact list.

A Braille manual is available through Samsung. Remember, when you go to Verizon Wireless you’ll need to get the hex number, which they can give you. You then call Samsung at 888-987-4357 and provide them with this number along with your address and it will take about one month to receive the manual.

You can also purchase an extended battery which lasts one and one half times longer than the standard battery.  This is best as any phone with speech uses more battery power and shortens the life of the battery.  By having the extended battery it should bring you through the day safely. I always make it a habit to charge the phone each night so that I begin a new day, the phone also begins a new day as well. When you put the phone into the base charger it says “charging.” When the phone is charged it says “charge complete.”

If you are a Verizon Wireless customer and are eligible for an upgrade, you can get the phone for free. If you want to start a new contract with Verizon Wireless, you get the phone for $40.00 complete with speech software included.

If anyone would like assistance in learning the functions of the phone, they may contact me via email at:

I hope that you will go and get this phone seeing that this is the only other phone outside of the 3gs iPhone by apple that is accessible with step by step prompts throughout the entire phone.

Let’s show Verizon how grateful we are for a well planned phone by taking advantage of such a great item.

Article Source:
Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind
Click this link for a lengthy podcast demonstrating all the phone's features:

Thursday, September 09, 2010

How to Use Keyboard Shortcuts in Google Instant Search

NOTE: Screen reader users will not be able to use the following keyboard shortcuts because your screen reader has control of your keyboard's functionality. These are posted to Fred's Head to benefit our low vision readers who don't use a screen reader.

How to Use Keyboard Shortcuts in Google Instant Search

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
On September 8, 2010, Google released Google Instant Search which enables users to view search results as they type. Instant search also offers a list of keyboard shortcuts to help people more quickly navigate a Google search page.


  1. Go to the Google homepage,.
  2. Log into your account.
  3. Try any of the following keyboard shortcuts:
    • Up and down arrows - Scroll between possible search queries.
    • Tab - Completes what Google thinks you are trying to type. For example, if trying to get a weather report and you press "w", pressing tab will fully enter "weather" into the search box.
    • Right arrow - I'm Feeling Lucky. However for this to work, you must have selected the search term by pressing the down arrow to have confirmed one of the search queries under the search box.
    • Esc - Temporarily disables Instant Search. It resumes when you start typing again though.


  • As of September 8, 2010 this will only work for logged in users in the USA who are using Chrome, Safari, Firefox or IE8. Google plans on expanding this to other geographies with a few days and to other browsers and mobile users within months.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Use Keyboard Shortcuts in Google Instant Search. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Put That in my DropBox Please

I've used all kinds of file-sharing programs, some primarily handle a particular type of file such as Hello the image sharing program, or Grouper used for sending huge files back and forth. Well this program also allows the sharing of files, and like the others, this has its own features and attributes, some of which are quite impressive. The best feature of all is that the program is totally accessible.

Dropbox is a good way to share files with students, friends, parents or coworkers. Dropbox is particularly useful for sharing large files like MP3s or slide shows. Rather than mass emailing an attachment you can share a file through Dropbox and save space in your email application. Using Dropbox, you can access and work on files from any Internet-connected computer and all files/folders stay up-to-date. Files can also be downloaded through a web interface, even deleted files can immediately be retrieved.

Click this link to learn more about DropBox.


Forward any attachment to free web service Habalis and it'll show up in your Dropbox folder (the free file-syncing service) within a few seconds.

The service is pretty simple to set up. You have to authorize it to access your Dropbox account, where it creates a shared folder. It then gives you a unique email address you can forward attachments to (I'd recommend adding this one to your contacts if you plan to use it much). You compose and send an email to the service, and, depending on the size of the file, it'll show up in your Dropbox folder in short order.

Click this link to get started with


AirDropper lets Dropbox users send a request for files to anyone, even if the person doesn't have a Dropbox account. The person you're requesting the files from just needs an email address or some other means for you to send them the secure upload link they provide.

Using the service is simple. First you connect AirDropper to your Dropbox account. Then you fill out a request form with a description of the files you want and how you want to send the request, whether by email or by using a secure upload link. Once the person you're requesting the files from visits the secure page and uploads the files, they are immediately put in a subfolder called "AirDropper" within your Dropbox. Simple for everybody!

AirDropper has several benefits over other ways to transfer files. Most importantly, AirDropper makes the process very easy for the person sending the files. The sender just has to visit the secure link and upload the files. Any files sent through AirDropper are secure from the sender's computer to your Dropbox. They can also handle files that are too big to send as email attachments. Plus you get all the benefits of using Dropbox for files you receive, including automatic syncing and backups.

Click this link to visit

O'Reilly Ebook Bundles Include DAISY Format

For years, O'Reilly has supplied digital files to Bookshare, a non-profit that provides accessible reading material to the print disabled. For qualifying readers, books are made available worldwide.

Although the DRM-free EPUB files in their ebook bundles are compatible with many reading systems for print disabled customers, many readers prefer the DAISY format that Bookshare provides, and either don't qualify for access via Bookshare, or would prefer to pay for the ebooks. Through a collaboration with Bookshare, O'Reilly has started making DAISY files available within their ebook bundles on for more than 800 titles. If you've already bought an ebook, you can find the DAISY files on your account page at or on a mobile device.

"Our mission at O'Reilly is to change the world by spreading the knowledge of innovators, and making our books available in accessible DAISY format helps us accomplish that mission."

There's more details on the DAISY format from the DAISY Consortium, including a list of software and hardware reading systems.

Adaptations for Young Children Who Are Visually Impaired

by Erin Monahan

Children with vision impairments will need to adapt to learn, but families and teachers can also learn some easy adaptations to facilitate that learning.

Blindness is legally defined as vision that is worse than 20/200, but visual impairments can also include congenital abnormalities that affect a child's ability to see, according to Virginia E. Bishop, Ph.D., who works with the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Impairments can include the inability to see color, visual perception problems, including issues with depth of field, or total blindness.

Use Voice and Touch

Visually impaired children may be able to see what a teacher or family member is doing, but it doesn't always register properly or isn't viewed accurately. Teachers of blind and visually impaired children will call the child by name or touch him on the shoulder to make sure he knows he's included in the conversation or activity. Use voice to engage the child in what he is seeing or to issue directions-, a visually impaired child won't know you're smiling if you are gently teasing him. Bishop notes this will give you an idea of how your child sees things and will help you more easily create adaptations to help him.

Alter Learning Objects

When teaching a child with visual impairment, you'll need to purchase toys that are larger than normal and brightly colored. If the child is totally blind, use toys that have texture. A visually impaired child will find it easier to learn about a triangle if it is large and in a neon color and presented to her as only one triangle. As the child gains success with learning games, you'll be able to add to the number of objects, but they will always need to be brightly colored and large. Use hands-on learning tools whenever possible.

Create a Safe Environment

Make sure the child's environment is safe and free from obstacles. Make sure that children and adults know your child is visually impaired and won't always see a toy on the floor or a glass of water at the edge of a table. Tape down rugs--if you have them at all--to prevent tripping or slipping. Immediately remove any items dropped on the floor by other children. An article in the July/August 2001 issue of "Teaching Exceptional Children" suggests making a checklist of environmental adaptations that will need to be addressed.

Use Special Materials

Although many learning materials for sighted children can be used effectively with the visually impaired, these children will also need some tools just for them. These would include large-print books, black pens, thick-leaded pencils, braille books, additional light sources and magnification devices for reading or seeing the front of the classroom.


About this Author

Erin Monahan is an author and editor with 25 years experience. She has written on a variety of topics including celebrity interviews, health reporting and parenting. Her work has appeared in daily newspapers and national magazines, including "Wondertime," and on websites such as She was recently named one of the top writers in Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Simmons College.


Thought Audio Has Free Audio Books

Thought Audio is a producer and provider of free audio books featuring classic titles across a variety of genres. Audio books are professionally narrated works that you can listen to online or download to play offline.

The library of audio books on Thought Audio contains some titles that are hard to find as audio files. For example you'll find titles like Thus Spoke Zarathustra, The Life of PT Barnum, and The Madman. You'll also find more commonly read titles like Alice in Wonderland, and Poe's The Raven.

From the website:

"As the world moves toward more complex interactions, one of the most fundamental aspects of humanity is to enjoy its thoughts and its great works. Our journey has always been one of making classic literature available to anyone willing to listen, and now in this next phase, to expand our scope to include more thinkers, writers and essayists. Although thinking may not seem as relevant today, with advancing technology providing alternative vehicles of entertainment, we are committed to bringing a small part of intellectual enjoyment to the globe."

This could be a good resource for reading and literature teachers in search of audio recordings to assist their students.

Click this link to start reading with

Puffy Paint the Planets

Here's a cool project that you can use to teach kids about the planets. Be creative and use a variety of colors and create your own solar system! Best of all, you'll be making something tactile that can also be enjoyed by kids who are blind or visually impaired.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some shaving cream, white glue, paint,scissors, a marker, paper, a spoon, and container or bowl.
  2. Start by mixing your paint. You will need 3 parts shaving cream to 1 part white glue, and colored paint . Use as much paint as you need to get the color you want.
  3. While they mix it up, draw a circle on your blue paper.
  4. Paint. It might get messy but it will definitely be fun! 
  5. Let dry and cut out. The paint will dry puffy !
Article Source:
No Time For Flash Cards

How to Teach the Visually Impaired Child

by Amber Keefer


Children who have visual impairments may be legally blind or have low vision and may, therefore, require assistance with their classroom learning. The level of support needed varies depending on the nature and degree of vision loss. While most children with visual impairments are able to function in the mainstream classroom, there are steps teachers can take to make learning easier. The American Council of the Blind points out that, with the proper teaching tools and access to an effective learning environment, a visually impaired child can receive a rewarding education.

Step 1

Build a rapport with the child from the start. Understand the extent of the child's vision loss. A student may possess low vision or perhaps be partially blind and, therefore, may require different learning aids than his seeing counterparts. Knowing at what age a student began to have problems with his vision can give a teacher a better idea of how much visual memory a child might have.

Step 2

Describe the classroom to the child and help her gain a sense of spatial position. Give her time to orient herself in the classroom. Use tactile means to familiarize her with the layout of the room and teaching equipment, as well as where to find supplies. Do not move furnishings, equipment or materials from their normal positions unless you inform the child of any changes.

Step 3

Seat the child near the front of the classroom and away from windows and other sources of glaring light. Teachers should not stand with their backs to a window as this can create a silhouette that is difficult for a visually impaired child to see. Make use of contrast and color to denote different areas in the classroom.

Step 4

Call the student by name to get her attention in the classroom. Always speak to the class in general whenever entering or exiting the room.

Step 5

Ask children to wear their eyeglasses in the classroom. Younger children in particular may need help when first developing the habit of wearing eyeglasses.

Step 6

Provide textbooks, handouts and other printed assignments in large, bold print or Braille. Order instructional equipment and other low vision aids, such as electronic white boards, audible screen readers and books with tactile illustrations, which the student can use for learning.

Step 7

Read written instructions and other information aloud when necessary. Give all assignments orally. Pay close attention to details when describing anything associated with the lesson. Inform the student in advance if you plan to use a video in a lesson. Ask one of the other students to watch the video with the visually impaired student in order to describe any visual aspects.

Step 8

Explain in detail any visual learning activities. Refrain from using gestures and avoid the use of vague terms when speaking. Use descriptive words in any explanations. Spell out new words or technical terms. Try to give the student a first-hand tactile example whenever possible.


About this Author

Amber Keefer has more than 25 years' experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering health, fitness and women's issues published in Family Digest Magazine, Chicago Parent and Woman's Touch. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.

Article Source:

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Glow-In-The-Dark Tape

Anything that is capable of glowing in the dark is just that much more handy for people with low vision.  If you’re tired of tripping over a stair or just want to make a Halloween costume more visible to cars, this tape could come in very handy. 

Having a whole roll of glowing tape is just something that you’re bound to use at some point or another.  These 1” wide rolls of tape come with 20′ to play with.

Click this link to purchase some Glow-In-The-Dark Tape for your home.

Color Wheel Match!

Here's an activity that's great for matching, learning colors and improving motor skills. All you'll need is some clothespins, paint, markers, scissors and posterboard.

  1. Use a large upside down mixing bowl (or anything else) to trace a big circle on the posterboard.
  2. Section it into 8 pieces(you can do as many as you like). Paint each section a different color.
  3. Paint a clothespin for each color of sections you created earlier.
  4. Write the names of each color in the section and on the clothespins. Use large pins and write the color names in braille and print.
  5. Give the kids the circles with the clothespins already attached to the appropriate sections.
  6. Ask the kids to pull off all of the clothespins and put them in a pile.
  7. Have them match the clothespins to the colors on the wheel. You may want to demonstrate the first match.

So there you have it, an activity that can be done by different ages and developmental stages including children with special needs.

Customize Your Chocolates

Chocomize is a site where you can create personalized chocolates and either indulge yourself, or give them to that special someone for an anniversary, Valentine’s day, a birthday… Whenever you have to tell them how important they are.

The creation process involves selecting a chocolate base and then personalizing it by picking the candies, fruits, nuts and herbs that you want from a list that has over one hundred choices. The chocolate bars themselves are Belgian, and they are entirely handmade.

In theory, more than thirty billion possible custom chocolate combinations are possible. You will have to pick the best one based on the person and the occasion you are going to celebrate, that's something only you can do, naturally.

I wrote this from the point of view of creating and buying a gift for your other half, a service like this is also suitable for corporate gifts and wedding favors.

Click this link to visit

DIY Light Box

by Katy

Kids with low vision are often given a chance to “practice” using their eyes in a nice calm environment. Light boxes are a great way to do this, but they can be expensive. Like always, I developed this method to make one on the cheap.

You will need a print out of planet earth. I Googled “earth” and found one easily. You will also need tape, an empty soda box (or similar), a flashlight, a pen, a pair of scissors, and a knife.

First you need to cut off one of the long sides of the soda box.

On the opposite side of the box, in the center, you will want to cut out a hole that is slightly smaller than your earth picture. To cut the hole, I used my knife to get it started and then finished with a pair of scissors.

Then tape your earth picture to the outside of the box, with the earth picture facing in.

Next, take your pen and poke holes in the box all around the earth cut out.

Take your box into a dark room and place the flashlight behind the earth. If you’ve got a strong flashlight like I did, it might help to dim it a little with a paper towel.

And there you go–the most-magical Diet Coke box I’ve ever seen. This could easily be adapted for other planets or even the entire solar system if you were feeling up to it.

Article Source:
No Time For Flash Cards
Click this link to learn more about Light Boxes: Materials, Activities, and Guides from APH.

That Song is Driving Me Crazy! If Only I Could Unhear It!

You know when you get a song stuck in your head, and no matter what you do you can't get it out? And how awful it is? Yeah, I hate that too. Which is why I love this site: Unhear It.

Designed to get that annoying song out of your head by playing a different song, Unhear It delivers a selection of music they claim is "equally annoying" as the song that's stuck in your head in the first place. The site pulls in songs from SoundCloud, so it's legal to listen, and you can share your experience via social networks, so it's fun.

"We created this site for those of you that have a song stuck in your head and you can't get it out no matter what you do. Using the latest techniques in reverse-auditory-melodic-unstickification technology, we've been able to allow our users to "unhear" songs by hearing equally catchy songs."

One potential pitfall: the songs played by Unhear It do such a good job at getting a song out of your head that they tend to get others stuck in there. Case in point, my most recent selection, the Macarena. Screen reader users please note that the site comes up playing a random song, press space on the first button of the Flash player to stop it.

Click this link to visit

How to Teach Music To Visually Impaired Children

by Gail Sessoms


Visually impaired musicians participate in every area of music. They are vocalists, pianists and drummers; they play every instrument imaginable, learn to sight-sing; and read and compose music. Children who are visually impaired learn music in much the same way they learn other material---with special tools and technology. With the right tools, visually impaired children have the same potential and ability as other children to develop their talents and engage in musical creativity.

Step 1

Determine the needs of your visually impaired student. If your student has limited vision, magnification may suffice to help him learn music. If he is completely blind, you will need Braille materials and assistive technology for the blind.

Step 2

Enroll the student in a class or arrange for private lessons. If appropriate, make sure your student has access to his instrument of choice for regular practice. If he uses computer technology to learn music, classes or lessons must take place in a location that accommodates the technology.

Step 3

Purchase or borrow the Braille music book. Braille music provides the same information found on sheet music. You do not need to know Braille to use the Braille music book to teach a blind student. Regular print teacher instructions are included on each page.

Step 4

Allow your student time to learn the Braille music code, which differs slightly from the Braille literary code, until she becomes comfortable with using it. While vocalists can read Braille music and sing simultaneously, pianists learn to read, memorize and then play. Once your student understands Braille music, he can participate fully in all music activities, including the study of music theory and reading musical scores.

Step 5

Purchase or obtain access to music technology for blind students. Blind musicians use computer software for scanning sheet music, transcribing and print-to-Braille conversion. Use technology like audio software, screen readers, speech synthesizers, MIDI sequencers, notation software and keyboards to help your student learn, practice and perfect her music skills. Use Braille music translation software to produce Braille music sheets if your student is part of a band or ensemble.

Step 6

Use screen magnifiers and large print materials for visually impaired children with some sight. These materials may be helpful in combination with other technology, such as voice synthesizers, for students with limited vision.

Step 7

Teach your student the fundamentals of music and allow time for him to master the lessons. Use early lessons, before working with Braille music readings, to help your student become familiar with rhythm values, intervals, numbers in the scale and the letters that correspond to musical notes.

Step 8

Locate sources for Braille music sheets. The National Library Service, which is the largest source of printed material for the blind, can also help locate certified transcribers. Purchase or download and print Braille music charts.

Step 9

Contact the National Resource Center for Blind Musicians for information, suggestions, and assistance. Stay connected with the resource center and similar organizations to keep up with best practices and new technologies.


About this Author

Gail Sessoms began writing short fiction in 1988. She has since worked as a technical writer and as the editor of a university publication. Sessoms began her career as a grant writer in 2000. Since earning a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies, she writes for eHow and has returned to writing short fiction.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

EaseOut Bulb Remover

If you tend to have a lot of broken lightbulbs around your house or business, you know that they are dangerous and a pain in the tush to remove. For those of us who are totally blind, it's just another reason not to have the things around.

I don’t know why you have one or many broken bulbs but you’ve got a problem and the EaseOut Bulb Remover Takes Broken Bulbs Out...wait for it...with Ease and makes it simple to remove those pesky broken bulbs. Just insert the long handled device into the socket and ease that lightbulb out. A plastic shield that looks like one of those clear disks you get when you buy a 50 CDR pack protects your hands and eyes from falling glass. Also works for lightbulbs that have rusted in place (although you’d have to smash them first). This is an inexpensive solution to an annoying problem.

Click this link to purchase the EaseOut Bulb Remover from

Basic Guide to Troubleshooting Common Windows PC Problems

Your Windows PC might be designed to make your life easier, but they often have a non-stop list of problems. Our friends at Lifehacker walks through some of the more common problems and how to troubleshoot them.

This list is, of course, by no means complete, and you should always use best practices to make sure that your PC doesn't need to be reinstalled all the time, is properly secured with anti-virus and a firewall, and is properly backed up at all times, but if you're having difficulty, click the link below for a list of common problems and troubleshooting techniques.

Click this link to read The Basic Guide to Troubleshooting Common Windows PC Problems from Lifehacker.

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