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Showing posts from October, 2010

Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective

On October 20, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective. The Toolkit is an 11-part health literacy resource whose purpose is to help people create written material in printed formats that are easier for people to read, understand, and use. Originally released in 1999 under the title Writing and Designing Print Materials for Beneficiaries: A Guide for State Medicaid Agencies, this updated and expanded version describes how to develop effective outreach products for all CMS populations. While the guidelines and advice offered in the Toolkit are geared to the needs of CMS audiences, most of them reflect general principles for effective communication of information that can be applied to any audience. The Toolkit includes detailed guidelines for writing, graphic design, and culturally appropriate translation from English into other languages. It includes a book-length guide to methods of testing writte…

Better Undergraduate Recruiting at CollegeJobConnect

From the website: "CollegeJobConnect helps you connect with employers across the country. We are your tool for finding the perfect job. With CollegeJobConnect you can research, apply to, and get recruited by companies from across the country throughout the whole year. Search through our company directory and find employers that match what you are looking for. Get your own personal career search underway in less than 5 minutes! After you register, we walk you through how to set up your profile, which takes about 5 minutes. After that, you are ready to start applying to companies. Your profile also makes you discoverable by the employers. Talk about being in the game! You can also view notifications and interview offers, track submitted applications, and browse featured companies. Our one of a kind directory includes over 5,000 companies that you can search through based on name, size, location, industry, and much more. Find companies that match what you are looking for! For …

A DAISY Reader Application for iPhone and iPod Touch

Levelware has announced the availability of InDaisy Reader, a DAISY reader application that allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to enjoy different flavors of unprotected DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3 books from Bookshare, CNIB, HKSB, Huseby kompetansesenter, Internet Archive, JSRPD, PaTTAN, ReadHowYouWant and Vision Australia on their devices. Playback speed control, heading level navigation, text to speech capability and support for DAISY books from other organizations will be added in future upgrades.

For more information, please visit the Levelware website at http://levelware.com.

The Job Seeker's Toolkit

The Job Seeker's Toolkit is an accessible, self-paced, and free online course that helps users develop skills and tools that last a lifetime. The course covers self awareness, career exploration tools, the preliminary employment process, the interview, and maintaining employment. The Job Seeker's Toolkit also allows professionals to follow their students' progress and provide feedback. Professionals and families can easily register to generate a short code that students can include in their profile. This code will allow students to send associated professionals their completed assignments with the check of a box. Use it with your students or clients today! The Job Seeker's Toolkit brings you: Great tips & advice
Useful employment tools
Easy navigation
Capability for professionals to follow the progress and provide feedback on assignments The Job Seeker's Toolkit was developed through the generosity of the Marriott Foundation. Click this link to visit The Job…

Unsubscribe From Any Email Newsletter

Unsubscribing from mailing lists manually is so frustrating and time-consuming that most people continuously delete the email messages when they come in. Unsubscribe.com is a service that will let you add a "unsubscribe" button to every email, so the next time you get email from a mailing list that you don't want, just click that button and the mailing list will be zapped from your in-box forever! Both Gmail and Outlook are already supported, with Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL coming soon. There is a fee to use the service without limits, the free plan is limited to five unsubscribes per month.

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

World Maps by APH Help Children Who Are Blind See the World

by Kristie Smith-Armand, M.Ed, CTVI“Students Who Are Blind Are Seeing the World Through APH Materials ” “This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me” As the song, “This Land is Your Land”, states this land was made for you and me, but children without sight struggle to understand the concepts of land, bodies of water as well as other types of topography and with good reason. A sighted child can watch television, a DVD, look at pictures in a book or on a map and be able to understand spatial concepts, land and water formations when learning vocabulary terms. However, children without sight are at times simply taught straight vocabulary words about the earth without any conceptual building, hands-on or real experiences. Educators and parents innocently deter students without sight when teaching children about rivers, lakes, oceans, mountains and hills. We j…

tennis for the Blind

Blind tennis originated in Japan when Myoshi Takei invented the sport in the 1980s before the first national tournament took place in 1990. Myoshi lost his sight through cancer when he was 18 months old. He is totally blind; and currently works as a masseur in Tokyo. As a high school student he decided he wanted to play tennis and sought the help of his teacher Ayako to help develop the sport – not an easy feat considering a blind person can only imagine how tennis is played in the first instance, having never actually seen the game. The Tennis Foundation is working with the Japanese Blind Tennis Association to develop the rules of the sport so there can be a consistent approach as the game expands both within our own country and overseas. Key to the game is being able to hear the ball travel through the air. The ‘soundball’ is a table tennis ball with ball bearings inside for weight and noise; encased inside a foam casing which will not hurt a player should it hit them. It takes a…

Create a Will Online

I must admit that this site is quite original. True to its name, it will let you create a legal will, just as easily as if being personally assisted by a lawyer. You can take care of specifying your funeral instructions, determining who will inherit your property and who is going to be the legal guardian for your children… The process in which a will is created is quite remarkable, just fill out a questionnaire. When you're finished, the will is assembled and presented so you can print it and have it signed.

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

With Vocaloids, Who Needs Singers?

I am always amazed at how advanced computer speech has become over the years. Remember those old speech devices in the 80s? That's nothing to the software I'm going to introduce you to now. VOCALOID is an entirely NEW kind of instrument, that uses the natural tone and articulation of a real human voice as its source - allowing the user to synthesize incredible vocals, the like of which have never been experienced before. It can also sound like a real singer if required, with an unprecedented degree of realism for a synthesizer. From the website: "When it comes to creating vocal tracks, Yamaha's VOCALOID singing synthesis technology brings you exciting new options. Even a singing voice can now be SYNTHESIZED to a remarkable degree, through LOLA, LEON, MIRIAM, PRIMA and SONIKA, the VOCALOID virtual vocalists from Zero-G, thanks to the incredible new technology developed by Yamaha." Let's take a closer look at one of these voices, TONIO. "Once TONIO …

Radio? Sure! Over Ten Thousand Stations

It's no secret that I love internet radio and streaming music over the web. I am still amazed that you can click a button and hear radio stations from the other side of the world. I've found another Windows only application that is screen reader-friendly and will tune into more than twelve thousand stations! If you can't find something to listen to, you're probably not looking hard enough. The following directions from the AccessContent Blog will have you listening in minutes! Launching Radio Sure:If you've been successful with the install, the program should launch automatically afterwards.  An online radio station should start playing.  First thing to do is stop the music and configure a few things.  TAB through the screen until you hear "play Button".  Press the SPACEBAR and the stream will stop.  TAB to options and press the SPACEBAR to activate the option pages.    General Tab:Remember, you can move between the tab pages by pre…

Dog or Cane, You decide

by Romeo Edmead For some blind people, the decision to travel with a cane or guide dog comes very natural, leaving no room for debate in their minds. Then, there are those who make a choice, but the internal tug-of-war never grants them the absolute conviction about their decision. The third and final group, used both a cane and guide dog for a substantial amount of time, and they are extremely satisfied with their final choice, even if that means alternating between the two. In order to provide legitimate perspective on both sides of the spectrum, only people who have used a cane and guide dog were interviewed for this article. One person who goes back and forth utilizing both is 43-year-old Daniella Robinson. Ms. Robinson, who is employed full-time as a switchboard operator, lives in New Jersey and commutes to work in New York by train. Currently a cane user, Ms. Robinson has had several guide dogs throughout her life for a total of 18 years, while using a cane for approximately h…

Visualizing What Someone Looks Like

by Donna J. Jodhan For most blind persons, this is a very difficult chore. However, if you were born with vision and then you have lost it later on in life, this is not too hard to do. Why? Because for someone who was born with vision, they have had the opportunity to see and it is easy to transform this into visualization after losing vision. As for me, I was born with very little and when I was a teen I got quite a bit of vision that enabled me to see faces. What a shock it was for me. Before I received my new vision, I had imagined certain things about specific persons; specifically what they would or could look like and when I got to see the real person, then I had to learn. In a few cases, I was halfway there but for the most part I had to learn about looks, faces, body structures, and so much more. I had to learn that everyone in their own way was unique in look. Each person had a unique walk and set of mannerisms. Each person had a unique combination of facial st…

Commercials That Do Not Tell All

by Donna J. Jodhan It has always been a standard practice for advertisers to create and produce commercials that are glitzy, flashy, and commercials that are packed with lots of visual effects. For after all, these are the ones that more often than not bring in the big bucks to all involved. All well and good for those who are able to appreciate the visual effects, but what about for those who are not able to enjoy all of this? Those who are blind, vision impaired, and those who have difficulty viewing TV screens? Very often, when I am sitting down to watch or rather listen to some TV programs, I have difficulty understanding many of the commercials because there is not enough audio description for me to be able to fully grasp the content and meaning of the commercial in question. Certain sounds within a commercial often give me a hint as to what it is all about but at the end of it all, I am still missing some important pieces to complete the picture. For example; the commer…

On the Way to Literacy: Books that I like to Touch and that Touch Me!

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by Kristie Smith-Armand, M.Ed, CTVIThe American Printing House for the Blind (APH) has an audacious collection of books called “On the Way to Literacy”. “On the Way” is a brilliant ensemble of books for young children that include: Giggly-Wiggly Snickety-Snick, Jellybean Jungle, Thinamajig, The Gumdrop Tree, Something Special, That’s Not My Bear and Geraldine’s Blanket and many other entertaining stories. The storybooks are equipped with large print, Braille and beautiful high contrast pictures that greatly enhance the development of literacy and comprehension in young children who have a visual impairment. As a teacher for over twenty-eight-years, I have witnessed children who were missing out on comprehension, vocabulary and the story background simply because they could not see the visual hints that assist young children in understanding the story’s meaning. I will never forget sitting with my adorable kindergarten student during circle time while the teacher was reading…

Your Voice As Your Password On PayPal

I love PayPal! I've used the service to purchase things from Amazon, Wal-Mart, eBay and various "one sale a day" sites on the net. The one thing I sometimes get a little nervous about is when I forget my password. I have this fear of being locked out of my PayPal account because I have a moment of brain freeze and temporarily forget my login information.
PoxPay is a cool service that uses voice biometric technology to uniquely identify and authorize purchases you make with PayPal. With PoxPay there is no need to enter a PayPal password, your voice + phone acts as your password.

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

Clothing Care And Sewing Techniques

Carol Woodward, Homemaking Teacher at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Handicapped has presented an excellent summary of tips on Clothing Care & Sewing Techniques. Topics included are:
Marking Clothes
Threading A Needle
Using Scissors
Patterns and Fabrics
Machine Sewing
Hems
Ironing Clothes
Folding Clothes
Hanging Clothes
Laundry
Stain Removal This article by Carol Woodward is available on the website of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Handicapped. Follow the web link below. Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired 1100 West 45th St. Austin, TX 78756 Phone: 512-454-8631 Fax: 512-454-3395 Web: http://www.tsbvi.edu/Education/clothing.htm
Automatic Needle Threader Threading needles can be difficult for people, blind or not. Here's a nifty tool to get the job done. You put a needle in one of the little funnels (eye down), drop the thread over the slot next to the funnel, and press a button. The thread is pushed through the eye of the needle and it com…

Qwitter: the Accessible Way to Access Twitter

From the Qwitter Readme file: Twitter is an insanely popular micro blogging service, that is, a service which allows you to post short little chunks of no more than 140 characters of text to the web at a time and have these updates, or tweets, as they are called in twitter speak, read by your followers, or the people who are following you. Qwitter is a program created to make using the twitter system as easy and efficient as possible. There are many advantages to using a twitter client, and qwitter in particular. Here are just a few. Using a client allows for easy and fast response to new tweets. No more going to the web page just to check if you've gotten a new tweet. In fact, one of Qwitter's best features is the ability to check your tweets no matter what you're doing. You don't even have to leave the application you're currently using.
Qwitter automatically alerts you when something new comes in, and wherever you are, you can use the various system wide short…

Students Can Get Microsoft Software Free

Being a student is often just as challenging for your wallet as it is for your mind. Different colleges require different, advanced toolsets. Each software suite could cost you a small fortune. If not supplied in volume licensing by your school or college grant, you will be building up some serious debt. Luckily, most of the software giants like to give their programs to you without any charge.  It’s a simple matter of  investing in the future. If you’re a student, read on to find out just what you need to do to get your hands on some very cool software! The MSDNAA is a Microsoft program in which most major high schools and universities around the world are enrolled. The institutions pay an annual fee, in exchange for which the appropriate (probably not if you’re studying dance) departments can download Microsoft freebies. These may include: Windows Server
Windows 7
Visio
Visual Studio
.NET Enterprise servers
MSDN Library
Microsoft Project
Visual Studio
Expression (Web, Blend, Design, Medi…

Heating Controls in the 21st Century

by Karen Crowder Ten or twenty years ago, if it got cold outdoors on a late September day, all you had to do was turn a dial or lever on your thermostat and you had heat.  If you were blind, this was no trouble.  You could easily make markings with tape or a dot would tell you if you were at 70 degrees.  Heating your home in the dead of winter on a blustery January day was no problem–just turn the dial and you always had reliable heat.  Programmable thermostats came in to everyday use a few years ago, and blind home owners or apartment dwellers who used them required sighted assistance to start the heat during the winter season.  Some programmable systems have buttons, but some are completely flat, making it almost impossible for blind people to set their heat at an optimal temperature.  The ones that do have buttons utilize a general mode button that forces you to memorize and count through functions and settings.  The only real accessible option is an expensive talking thermostat,…

High Flying FlagHouse Services People with Disabilities

by Kristie Smith-Armand, M.Ed, CTVIFive-years ago, I worked with an adorable two-year-old who had a visual impairment and many facial abnormalities. Asia was a special little soul who was not meant to be with us long, but what a difference this little girl made in my life and many others in her short two-years on earth. Asia’s mother, Tabitha, was a dynamic parent who loved her daughter and expected great things from her and from the specialist who worked with her. Asia was not expected to do all the things that she was doing because of so many physical issues. However, Asia never knew this, and Tabitha did not accept anything but high expectations and happiness for her daughter. Asia waved her hand at others, blew kisses, loved to shop and had more personality than most children her age. Because of Asia’s many physical problems, Tabitha was constantly searching for adaptive equipment that helped her toddler to succeed in life. One day when I was working with Asia, Tabitha …

Educational Videos at Teachertube

The goal of Teachertube is to provide an online community for sharing instructional videos. "We seek to fill a need for a more educationally focused, safe venue for teachers, schools, and home learners. It is a site to provide anytime, anywhere professional development with teachers teaching teachers. As well, it is a site where teachers can post videos designed for students to view in order to learn a concept or skill." With TeacherTube, community members can: Upload, tag and share videos worldwide.
Upload Support Files to attach your educational Activities, Assessments, Lesson Plans, Notes, and Other file formats to your video.
Browse hundreds of videos uploaded by community members.
Find, join and create video groups to connect with people who have similar interests.
Customize the experience by subscribing to member videos, saving favorites, and creating playlists.
Integrate TeacherTube videos on websites using video embeds or APIs.
Make videos public or private, users can e…

Use 800 Information Numbers and Skype to Call Any U.S. or Canadian Business for Free

So you're talking to a friend on Skype and you suddenly remember that you need to call a business to get something done. You are disappointed to find that you're out of calling credits and can't make that call. Don't give up! There might just be a way to use Skype afterall! This tip comes from the folks over at Lifehacker. "Skype calls toll-free numbers in the U.S. or Canada for free. There are a couple of toll-free numbers, 1-800-373-3411 or 1-800-555-8355, that can connect you to any searchable business. Combine the two, and any business is accessible for free, from anywhere in the world. Skeptical, we called 800-555-8355 from a Skype account that had used up all of its free SkypeOut calling credits, and the call went through. When the friendly automated operator asked, we said we wanted to be connected to the Salt Lick in Austin, TX. The listing came up, the robo-operator said "I'll connect you," and we hung up as soon as we got voicemail, it wa…

All-In-One Board Makes Learning Fun

by Kristie Smith-Armand, M.Ed, CTVI
“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” ~Clay P. Bedford
I recently discovered an item from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) after my friend and fellow vision teacher, Karen Clay, told me about it.
“You need to order several of these,” Karen told me on the phone one day. “There are so many useful ways to teach with this board and the materials that go along with it for all of your students,” Karen encouraged.
Karen and others who know me understand that I am fanatical about great teaching materials. I am a self-confessed vision nerd. People in my department and others are always laughing when they hear me opening up my new materials from APH, Discovery Toys, FlagHouse, Frog Street Press, etc. because I am loudly expressing my joy that makes learning exciting.
The other day while standing in my offic…

How to Download Your Information from Facebook

One feature strangely absent from Facebook has always been the ability to download your pictures, videos, messages, and other information to your hard drive. Now, with a few clicks, your updates can be easily saved. All you need to do is head to Account, Account Settings, then to Download Your Information. From there, you can download a zip file containing all your profile information, including your photos, wall posts, messages, videos, friend lists, and other content. If you unzip the file, you can actually view a simple HTML page of your profile, with simple links to all of these things. It doesn't look like there's currently any way to re-import that information back to Facebook.

Article Source:
Lifehacker

Avoiding a Heartbreaker

by Donna J. Jodhan I have learned the hard way that avoiding a heartbreaker may not always be as easy as you may think. Sometimes, and especially so in my case, I allow myself to be caught up in the moment as they say and in doing so I often fail to use my logic and experience to save me from heartaches. This is what happened over six years ago when I decided to go for broke and gave my approval to the doctors to perform a third cornea transplant on me. This despite my gut feeling that I should have left well alone and that my doctor's warning that the success rate would probably have been 50-50%; but the quest for additional vision clouded my judgment and six months after the surgery my heart was aching and breaking and I was fighting to keep my life together. Anything and Everything that could have gone wrong, did. My retina detached in three places and the cornea failed. As the doctor later said to me, it was one of the worst detachments that he had ever seen but th…

Attending Functions at Work

by Donna J. Jodhan Attending functions at work is probably one of the more challenging things for a disabled employee. Each type of disability has its own unique challenge but for someone who is blind or sight impaired; I would like to list just a few of these. It is always a good idea for someone in the workplace, a sighted employee, to ensure that when a function is about to take place, that the blind or sight impaired employee's needs are understood. Blind and sight impaired employees in the workplace often need help to do such things as navigate the room, find a seat, find the buffet table, and if it is a sit down meal to know what is being served. It is a good idea to have someone act as a so-call escort/tour guide through out the function. In addition, it is always helpful for a blind or sight impaired person if they are able to know where their friends are sitting or standing in the room. When I worked in the mainstream workplace, I always made sure that whene…

REVISED! Desk Board with 27 Cell Slate & Large Stylus

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Board now made with durable white plastic!After writing four lines, open the slate and slide it down until the pegs fit into the next set of holes, and continue writing (up to 28 lines).IncludesDesk board with clip for holding paper27 cell slateLarge handle stylus Catalog Number: 1-00060-01
Click this link to purchase the Desk Board with 27 Cell Slate & Large Stylus.

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

CVI Complexity Sequences Kit

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Card sequences for use by students with CVI who have had success with 2-dimensional materials.APH's CVI Complexity Sequences Kit includes cards that present sequences of images designed to refine the ability to identify a target in the presence of increasing amounts of background information. These cards may be used individually or as a sequence and should be presented against a black or plain, light-absorbing background.Designed to assist individuals with CVI improve ability to:Recognize or identify simple, colored, 2-dimensional images presented in isolationRecognize or identify images presented with increasing numbers of background elementsIdentify a key image based on the salient features of that imageRecognize or identify images presented in a variety of locations and with increasing numbers of background elementsIncludesTen sets of eight Sequence Cards stored in vinyl pouchesBlackout window to isolate the target imageGuidebook in large print and on CD in brf, html, dtb, and …

The Expanded Core Curriculum Forum

ECCadvocacy.org is a joint website of the American Foundation for the Blind and Perkins School for the Blind, dedicated to ensuring that children who are blind, visually impaired, and deafblind have access to equal and appropriate education through the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).ECCadvocacy.org is a grassroots forum and a central resource and gateway to more information about the Expanded Core Curriculum, a curriculum that provides students with the foundational skills they need to access the core curriculum and achieve independence throughout their lives. The site advocates for inclusion of the ECC as an integral part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) scheduled for re-authorization in 2011.Whether you are a parent, teacher, administrator, or just someone concerned with providing effective education to all children, you are invited to join the community. http://www.eccadvocacy.org/eccforum.asp

Meet The Mother of All Curriculums, Frog Street Press’ Pre-K Curriculum

by Kristie Smith-Armand, M.Ed, CTVI(Sung to the tune of Sesame Street’s theme song) “Can you tell me how to get, How to get to Frog Street Press.

Come and play
The new curriculum is A-OK
Friendly themes and learning there
That’s where we meet

Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Frog Street Press
It’s a magic ride
With lots of learning once inside
Every door will open wide
To smart people like you and me

Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Frog Street Press…” I may not know much about song writing as you may have noticed, but I can tell you after twenty-eight-years of teaching, I know a great curriculum when I see one, and Frog Street Press’ Pre-K curriculum is the mother of all curriculums. Headed by a dream team of authors and writers, an incredible integrated curriculum meets the needs of all children, and when they say All Star Team of authors- they mean it! The Who’s Who of team writers is lead by Dr. Pam Schiller, a noted professor, public speaker and author o…