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What do you see when you dream
A person sleeps on a beige couch covered by a turquoise blanket with only their hands and feet visable.A recent study, though small in numbers, showed that people who are blind dream with all their senses much more than sighted individuals. The study looked at people who have been blind since birth and those who have lost their sight during their adult lives comparing their dreams to those of sighted people. Compared to sighted individuals, the blind participants were less likely to have visual dreams and the longer they had lived without sight, the less likely they were to have visual components to their dreams.
 
Read more about the results of the study in this article.
 
What are your experiences with the dream world? Share yours in the comment section.
 
What do blind people ‘see’ when they dream?

Posted in Research | View Post
Why -I admire you- can be anything but a compliment
A hand above and below cup a sphere with the word respect written in it.In this blog, a writing instructor shares an uncomfortable conversation with a colleague and explains her discomfort with the exchange.
 
She then goes on to share her daily schedule as opposed to what many people think her daily schedule would be as a blind person.
 
The blog is worth a read for a bit of a chuckle but also to see what her response is to a conversation that many blind people have had.
 
If you are living with vision loss, learn how we can help you adjust. Visit our First Steps After Vision Loss page.
 
A Day in the Life

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Blind, Living Independently, Personal Stories | View Post
3D Images Bring Baby to Life
A pregnant womans belly is overlaid with an ultrasound image showing the outline of the baby.Until recently, visually impaired pregnant women couldn’t fully experience the images that are created by ultrasounds. A new project has tackled that problem creating a program to print ultrasound images in 3D so that parents can fully examine their unborn child. The 3D images are extremely detailed showing the fingers and facial details.
 
Read more about this exciting project in this article.
 
Which images would you like brought to life in 3D? Share your choice in the comment section.
 
In Utero: A Project Helping Blind Parents To Be

Posted in Assistive Technology, Living Blind | View Post
Story Time with a Child who is Visually Impaired
Grandma holds a toddler and a story book on her lap.Reading out loud to your child can be a great bonding experience that helps them learn and understand the world around them. Stories can spark imagination and help children engage in the emotions and actions of the main characters.
 
When a child is visually impaired, it may help to change a few things about how you read to your child. This article suggests ten ways to engage your child in the story to help them fully experience the book.
 
What would you add to this list of tips? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
 
10 Tips for Reading Aloud

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Visually Impaired | View Post
Audio Descriptions of Popular TV Shows Online
A cartoon of a man sitting on a chair in front of a television holding the remote control.Audio Descriptions aren’t available for nearly as many television shows as we’d like. But a new online platform offers the audio and audio descriptions of TV shows without the visual component.
 
Blindy TV is “a charitable project created by blind people that believe that the blind should be able to enjoy the same television programming that entertains and contributes to the shared culture of their sighted family and friends.”
 
The site offers a variety of programming including comedy, drama and Sci-fi with some of the most popular shows. The schedule can be accessed on their site.
 
To read more about Blindy.TV, visit this article from American Foundation for the Blind
 
If you are experiencing vision loss, learn more about how we can help you adjust in our First Steps Program.
 
Described Video: Taking the Vision out of Television

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Blind Living Skills, Living Blind | 4 Comment(s)
A Comic Book Site Specifically for the Visually Impaired
The word Kapow in red with a blue and yellow cloud to show action as used in comic books. One comic book lover is changing how visually impaired people access comic books with his new site, Comics Empower. The site, when viewed without assistive technology, looks pretty basic, but for the visually impaired, the site is full of comics and stories that come alive.
 
The site’s creator isn’t visually impaired, but he wanted to share his love of comic books with people who can’t access them in the same way he can. The team consists of artists from around the world including sighted and visually impaired sound artists and writers.
 
To read more about the site, visit this article. To explore the site itself, visit Comics Empower.
 
Comics Empower Brings Comic Books Alive for the Blind
 
Have you explored Comics Empower? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Blind Living Skills, Living Blind | View Post
Physical activity is not limited to the sighted
A young girl in pink pants and bunny slippers sits on a couch next to a brown puppy.A common thread through this article about competitive athletes who are visually impaired is the idea that “I’m not different, I’m just blind. I figured out a long time ago that I wasn’t going to have anyone tell me I couldn’t do something.”
 
The author talks about the stigma attached to the idea of visually impaired kids participating in sports and physical activities and how this can be overcome. Games that have been designed, or modified, to fit the different abilities are also introduced as a great way for kids and adults alike to get active and stay fit.
 
Learn how we can help you adjust to vision loss in our First Steps program.
 
The competitive world of blind sports

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Living Blind, Living Independently, Real Life Stories | View Post
Surf camps for visually impaired children
A young boy in a wetsuit walks across the sand, away from the camera carrying a surf board on his head.Nearly ten years ago, Cliff Skudin was asked to help with a surf camp for autistic kids. He had never heard of the concept but jumped in to help and had a great experience. But after some time, he decided to venture out and start a new organization that would include kids with varying abilities and disabilities to ensure that everyone who wanted to learn to surf could have the opportunity.
 
This article is a question and answer with Cliff on the organization, his motivation and how learning to surf affects kids.
 
If you are living with vision loss, we offer a variety of programs that may be of use to you.
 
Surfing for all




Posted in Blind Living Skills | View Post
The impact that internet access has on the visually impaired community
A womans face is overlaid with binary code. On either side of her face are digital replicas of a face.Lynette, a recent Huffington Post blogger wrote about the effect the internet has had on her life as a visually impaired person in this article.
 
Often we take for granted the amount of time, or amount of assistance that we are given by being able to access the internet through our phones, computers and tablets. For Lynette, news would be inaccessible as she can’t read the traditional paper. She would find getting around much harder if Google Maps and other similar maps weren’t able to guide her. Without leaving the house, she wouldn’t know what the weather was and how to dress appropriately.
 
How has the internet most helped you? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
 
Without the Internet, I wouldn’t be me

Posted in Assistive Technology, Living Blind, Personal Stories | View Post
Get Visually Impaired Children Involved and Active
A young boy sits on the ground playing with a blue toy car.When parenting a visually impaired toddler, it can be difficult to think of where to begin to help the child explore their environment.
 
These four suggestions from RNIB are a great start to help your child explore and learn more about the objects and activities around them. The ideas may also kickstart your imagination so that you come up with new ways to explore every day.
 
Share other ways that you encourage your child to explore their environment in the comment section.
 
Four Fun Ways to Get Blind Toddlers Exploring Their Environment

Posted in Living Blind, Living Independently, Visually Impaired | View Post
A man on a mission to get visually impaired tech professionals working
A line of heavy traffic crosses through a busy intersection.Mike Hess founded a non profit helping visually impaired tech professionals enter the workforce after a 20 year career in the tech sector. He is also blind.
 
Before Uber entered his area, Mike had to take public transit. Of course, the bus never took a direct route to where he needed to be and cost him time he didn’t want to spare.
 
After using Uber extensively, and being impressed with their accessible website and app, Mike approached them about giving free rides to blind or visually impaired people who are on their way to a job interview. The company quickly agreed in the Denver area and will roll out the program across the country later this year.
 
Read more about Mike’s experience and the program with Uber in this article from the Denver Post.
 
If you are a visually impaired job seeker, contact us to learn how we can help.
 
Blind Man Uber-ing: One man’s quest to get visually impaired a tech job

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Blind, Living Independently, Visually Impaired | View Post
The Benefits of Being on Social Media if You Are Visually Impaired
The logos for all the well known social media platforms form a circle around a picture of the worldSocial media has become a popular past time for people all over the world. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are all working to make their platforms more accessible to the visually impaired. Even with current formats having a few issues for people with impaired vision, it’s worth being on social networks.
 
You might ask what the benefits of these social media platforms are, and this article will give you five very good reasons.
 
Do you use social media? What benefits do you draw from using it? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
 
5 Reasons Why You Need Twitter if You’re Blind or Partially Sighted

Posted in Assistive Technology, Living Independently | View Post
What you should not say to a visually impaired person, from a visually impaired person
A signal for a crosswalk has a yellow button in the middle and Braille text at the bottom.Emily Davison, also known as The Fashioneyesta, is a young woman who lives with severe visual impairment. She blogs and vlogs about fashion, life as a young master’s student and living as a visually impaired woman.
 
Her blogs often share a part of her life. In this recent video, Emily talks about the things that people have said or done to her because of her visual impairment and suggests ways that we can avoid offending those with limited vision.
 
What would you add to Emily’s list of things not to say or do to a person who is visually impaired? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
 
Things you should not say or do to a visually impaired person

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Visually Impaired | View Post
Review of a touching documentary of vision loss
A close up of the top third of a silver microphone.Described as a “beautiful, accessible and thoughtful work of art,” the documentary Notes on Blindness is based on the life and work of theologian John Hull. Married with small children, Hull begins to lose his sight. He records his thoughts on life, sight, marriage and God as time goes on and his vision declines.
 
The documentary takes these recordings and pieces them into the story of his life and struggle with vision loss.
 
To read the full review, visit the Guardian’s article.
 
Have you watched the movie? Add your review to the comment section.
 
Notes on Blindness Review: a beautiful, accessible and thoughtful one-off

Posted in Emotional Adjustment to Vision Loss, First Steps After Vision Loss, Real Life Stories, Vision Loss | 20 Comment(s)
A forgotten society and the photographer who is bringing them to the forefront
Picture of a stairway leading to the balcony of a building with a tree branch in the forefront.German photographer Marcel Maffei has created a project based on a small settlement on the outskirts of Tibilsi, Georgia. Established in the 1930’s by the Soviet government to house people who were blind or visually impaired, the complex is now run down and nearly forgotten by many of the residents of surrounding areas.
 
Maffei started the project after visiting an exhibit in Tibilsi and coming across the settlement for the visually impaired. He wanted to raise awareness of a group who has been marginalized within the country.
 
To read more about the group living in this settlement and learn more about his photographs, visit the article.
 
If you are dealing with vision loss, we can help you learn skills to adapt. Visit our First Steps After Vision Loss page to learn more.
 
Leftovers from a fallen society

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Blindness, Real Life Stories, Visually Impaired | 5 Comment(s)
Accessibility is a choice we all make
A hand writes Facebook with a red markerThis is an interesting look at accessibility by a fully sighted individual. The author realized that many items shared on Facebook couldn’t be viewed by visually impaired friends and screen readers couldn’t decipher what was in the image.
 
She started transcribing what was in each image that she shared and quickly realized how much can be missed when friends aren’t doing this. The article is a good reminder of what can and can’t be read by screen readers and what an extra minute or two of time can achieve.
 
For assistance with assistive technology, visit our Store.
 
Visual Impairment and Internet: What I learned when I started transcribing Facebook memes

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Visually Impaired | View Post
A sensory garden and a visually-impaired-friendly walking trail
A path through the forest is lined with tall trees and low bushes in beautiful shades of greenThe governor’s initiative to increase access to the state park system includes a park that is fully accessible to the visually impaired.
 
Recently opened, the park’s main feature is a quarter-mile walking trail with guide wire and sign posts in Braille. Along the guide wire, there are a variety of beads that help hikers know where a sign post is located as well as where rest stops can be found.
 
A sensory garden has also been opened in the park incorporating unique sounds, scents and textures for all to enjoy.
 
Visit our Programs page to learn how we can help people dealing with vision loss.
 
Watertown Park Opens With Sensory Garden for Visually Impaired

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Blind Living Skills, Living Blind, Living Independently | View Post
Small changes, big impact
A female hand presses the button on a yellow and black crosswalk box.We all know that a few modifications can make a big difference to a person who is visually impaired. Text being added to describe a photo can enhance enjoyment of a webpage. Audio signals at a crosswalk can make crossing safer. Documents being made available in a range of formats can help those with a variety of abilities to access the information they need.
 
This article looks at the small tweaks that can be made to a variety of programs and activities to ensure that blind and visually impaired people can access what they need to in an independent, straight forward manner.
 
What tweaks would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
 
From Pokemon Go to the Business World, Small Accessibility Adjustments Could Make a Huge Difference

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Independently, Visually Impaired | View Post
Are we defined by our belief in our abilities
The UNs flag is flying with a large, multi-story modern building in the background. The flag has a blue background with white olive branches as a symbol for peace surrounding the world map.“As a disabled person I believe two things to be true: the impairment defines the person, unless the right mind set is adopted; and the actions of disabled people who come before us usually define the future successes of disabled people today.” So goes the talk that Robbie Crow gave the UN office in Geneva earlier this year. 
 
In this article Robbie illustrates how his volunteer experience has changed his perception of himself, his disability and his multitude of abilities. His attitude that all perceptions can be, and should be challenged should make us all stop and think about how we act and what abilities or disabilities we allow to define us.
 
If you are experiencing vision loss, learn about the programs that we offer that can help you adjust.
 
How Volunteering Changed My Perception of My Impairment as a Disabled Person

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Blind, Personal Stories | View Post
Hints for the restaurant industry from visually impaired customers
A menu board written in French welcomes customers to the restaurant. In the background, out of focus, people sit at patio tables.Dining out can be an enjoyable experience. The opportunity to choose delicious food, eating with pleasurable company and not having to do the dishes afterwards should be perfect. But sometimes, as a visually impaired person, there are things that get in the way of fully enjoying the event.
 
This article highlights some of the things that many visually impaired people would like restaurants to know. One favorite in the list is that stealth service is expected at a fine dining restaurant, but a visually impaired person needs a verbal cue when a server takes something from the table or puts something down.
 
What would you add to the list of what you’d like to tell restaurants about improving service for visually impaired customers? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
 
Things we wish restaurants knew about serving guests with blindness

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post
A teacher who understands his subject is the perfect teacher
On a chalk board, the word literacy is written. A silhouette of a teacher stands beside the board.Keith Christian is a Braille teacher in an elementary school. He works with kids who are visually impaired to teach them many of the skills they don’t learn in their regular classrooms. Along with the technical skills of Braille and navigating, he helps instill confidence and belief in their own abilities.
 
When his own vision deteriorated to the point he could no longer read large print, he had to learn Braille, but says that he wishes he’d learned at the age that his students are now. It would have made his college years a lot easier.
 
Read the full Los Angeles Times article about Keith and his inspirational outlook.
 
To learn how we can help adjust to vision loss, visit our First Steps After Vision Loss page.
 
How to live blind and bold – a Braille teacher’s lesson plan for life

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, First Steps After Vision Loss, Living Blind, Living Independently, Personal Stories, Vision Loss, Vision Loss Technology & Products, Visually Impaired | View Post
Facebook’s quest to become accessible to all users and all abilities
Blue bolts of what might be electricity come from a silver sphereFacebook is among a group of large, well-known technology companies who are working to ensure their platforms are user friendly for people with different disabilities.
 
Over the past year, Facebook has introduced quite a few changes to assist the visually impaired. Most notably is the use of artificial intelligence to create ALT text describing photos that have been posted so that screen readers can read the text to the user.
 
Facebook is also a part of a number of organizations who are working to ensure that students are learning accessibility options in school before entering the workforce. They believe that this was a big drawback to grads entering the work sphere and are attempting to change this.
 
Read more about what Facebook and some of the other large online companies are doing to change accessibility in this article.
 
To learn more about assistive technology and how we can help, please visit our Assistive Tech page.
 
Behind Facebook’s efforts to make its site accessible to all

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology | View Post
Be prepared: fire safety for children who are visually impaired
A campfire burns in a metal containerFor kids who are visually impaired, fire safety may be an abstract concept. Though they can hear the lick of flames on wood, they may not fully understand the danger that can be associated with fire. And in the event of a fire in the home, the senses that visually impaired kids normally rely on may be overwhelmed by the smoke and noise of the alarm.
 
It’s important to make sure that your children fully understand what fire can do and how to get out of the house safely in the event of a fire.
 
This link includes a short animated video to help parents and children know what to do to prepare for a fire in the home. This article outlines 8 different tips to ensure that your kids understand fire safety.
 
Both articles stress that practice is key to prepare kids for what needs to be done if a fire ever breaks out in the home. They also emphasize the need for children to be acquainted with the sound of the smoke alarm so they understand what needs to be done when the alarm goes off.
 
Do you have a plan in place for your family in case of fire? Share your action plan in the comment section.
 
Fire Safety for Families with Kids who are Visually or Hearing Impaired
 
8 tips for teaching fire safety to kids who are blind

Posted in Assistive Technology, Blindness, Living Blind, Visually Impaired | View Post
A new app gives a marathoner even more freedom
The IBM logo is shown in white and blue stripesA new navigation app has been developed by IBM in conjunction with Simon Wheatcroft, a blind marathon runner who wanted to be able to run independently without the use of a guide.
 
Using the app, Simon recently completed a 90-mile ultramarathon in the Namib Dessert. Instead of detailed directions, the app emits different beeps to tell the user if they are off-course and how to get back on course. The app will be downloadable to most smartphones. It’s still unknown what the price tag will be or exactly when the app will be available but it’s impressive to read about the success that one user is already having. Read the full article about Simon and the new app.
 
We can help with assistive technology. Visit our online store to learn more.
 
New App Gives Direction to Visually Impaired

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Blind Living Skills, Living Blind, Living Independently, Personal Stories, Visually Impaired | View Post
Comic books for the visually impaired – without relying on Braille
Comic books line red shelves in a comic book storeUntil now, comic books for the visually impaired have included Braille text, possibly with some raised graphics. But comic book creator Ilan Manouach has developed a new tactile comic book targeted to visually impaired reader that can also be enjoyed by the sighted.
 
There is some text in Braille, but the majority of the story will be told through tactile designs that cross languages and abilities.
 
To fully understand this new design, visit this Fast Company article to read more.
 
If you are experiencing vision loss, visit our First Steps page to see how we can help.
 
A comic book artist reinvents his craft for blind readers



Posted in Living Blind, Visually Impaired | View Post
How to be a Helpful Sighted Guide
A concrete staircase with concrete walls.People want to be helpful, but without any experience as a sighted guide, sometimes it’s hard to know how best to be helpful.
 
These articles together outline 14 ways to be a better sighted guide. The first article goes over straight forward options such as offering assistance instead of pushing yourself on to someone who is visually impaired, using helpful language that gives useable direction, and making sure there is space for the guide, the visually impaired person and any bags that the two of you are carrying.
 
The second article highlights more helpful tips such as being present during every moment that you act as a sighted guide, ensuring that the person you are guiding has heard you correctly before you step away for a moment and using as many verbal cues as necessary to safely and comfortably get where you’re going.  
 
Would you add any advice to these articles? Share your top tip for being a better sighted guide in the comment section.
 
7 Ways to be a Better Sighted Guide Part 1
 
7 More Ways to be a Better Sighted Guide

Posted in Living Blind, Living Independently, Visually Impaired | View Post
Apple’s commitment to the visually impaired and a young staff member who’s helping to make a difference
A white iPad and iPhone lay on a table side by side.Jordyn Castor is an Apple engineer. Originally hired as an intern, her insatiable curiosity, tech skills and winning life-outlook convinced her bosses to hire her full time. The fact that she was born prematurely and as a complication, has always been blind, has done nothing to dampen her enthusiasm or curb her success.
 
This article on Mashable interviews Jordyn on her past, her career and her life passions. Jordyn says “[blindness] does not define you or what you can do in life.”
 
The article also delves into the workings at Apple and their commitment to providing accessible products to the visually impaired community without adding extra costs.
 
If you are experiencing vision loss, we can help. Visit our First Steps page to learn more.
 
This blind Apple engineer is transforming the tech world at only 22

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Living Blind, Real Life Stories, Vision Loss Technology & Products | View Post
Why would you say that? Tips on what you shouldn’t do or say to a person who is visually impaired.
A grid of dots with some bright white and some blurred grey on a black background.People without any firsthand knowledge of visually impairment can say and do things that come across as offensive or rude. Two young women who are visually impaired have taken on the task of creating a list of their most hated things that people do or say when reacting to their vision loss. The writers collaborated on the posts, but chose their own pet-peeves to highlight.
 
The first blogger includes things like asking what food is being eaten and assuming a guide dog or cane has sat nav qualities. The second blogger takes a look at meanness disguised as comedy and holding out items assuming they will be taken by the visually impaired person.
 
What would you like to add to the list of “things you should say or do to a blind or visually impaired person”?
 
Things you shouldn’t say/do to a blind/VI person

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Personal Stories, Visually Impaired | View Post
Assistive Technology making waves with the visually impaired
A pair of light blue running shoes is stacked one on top of the other on a diagonal.With the increase in available technology, we are fortunate to have hundreds of apps and assistive devices available. And thankfully, with the increased availability comes a decrease in cost for much of what is being created. Some products are still way out of the budget for many of us, but many are now within reach.
 
While the 5 assistive devices listed in this article are by no means the end all be all in technology to help the visually impaired, it’s an interesting list ranging from a Brailler to go over your iPad to shoes that tell you which direction to turn.
 
We have a broad range of products to help adjust to vision loss and retain independence. Visit our Store to find out more.
 
5 Amazing Inventions That Are Helping the Visually Impaired

Posted in Assistive Technology, Living Blind, Living Independently, Vision Loss Technology & Products | View Post
Physical fitness starting at a young age
A black barbell 2.8kg weight lays on a white background.Being visually impaired can have an impact on physical fitness for adults and children. But great strides are being made to increase the availability of inclusive sports and activities. Some sports have been adapted with audio signals, while others have been created specifically for visually impaired participants. Though these activities aren’t yet available everywhere, there are more and more towns introducing various ideas to the population.
 
This article looks at a class at Perkins that is keeping kids physically active from the beginning, teaching techniques and activities that are enjoyable and have a positive impact on overall health.
 
What do you do to stay physically active? Share your favorite activities in the comment section.
 
ECC at Perkins: Helping Kids Get Active and Healthy

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Living Independently | View Post
Summer Camp for Kids With Visual Impairment
A brightly colored cartoon of a boy and girl with life jackets paddling a yellow canoe on a river. In the background are jagged mountains, trees and grass.Kids with visual impairments can enjoy summer day camps and stay-away programs. Children have the right to attend any camp, but parents may feel safer, and children may have more enjoyment at a camp that either makes special accommodations for a child who is visually impaired, or at a camp that is specifically for the visually impaired.
 
This article highlights a few different programs and discusses possibilities for involving children in non-specific camps. The American Federation of the Blind compiled this list of camp-style programs that are suitable for visually impaired children.
 
If your child has attended, and enjoyed, a summer camp not on the list, consider sharing the details in the comment section.
 
4 Fabulous Summer Camp Programs for Kids with Blindness
 
Summer/Day Camps and After-School Programs: AFB Directory of Services Listings

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Blind Living Skills, Visually Impaired | View Post
3D Technology Brings Art to the Visually Impaired
A 3D male human head is composed of wires and shown in half profile as an example of art that is accessible to people with visual impairments.It was only a few years ago that museums were pretty much inaccessible for the visually impaired. Art exhibits might have had a descriptive placard in Braille, but it wasn’t possible to touch the artwork or sculptures to actually experience the piece of art itself.
 
Now, with the use of 3D print technology, the art world is opening up to people who can’t see. Reproductions are being printed in 3D with different textures to symbolize different aspects of the original.
 
This article explains more about how 3D technology is used to make the art world more inclusive and how it is impacting visually impaired visitors.
 
If you are experiencing vision loss, please contact us to learn how we can help.
 
Opening up a world of art for the blind with 3-D technology

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Visually Impaired | View Post
Sensory Medals for Rio 2016 Paralympics
The Christ the Redeemer Statue is shown on the mountain against a setting sun in Rio de Janeiro where the 2016 Paralympic Games will be held.The medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic games are not only embossed with Braille, but also have a rattle within the medal to give off a different sound depending on whether the medal is gold, silver or bronze.
 
The creators of these medals hope that the trend will catch on in future Paralympic games, adding sensory items to ensure athletes with different disabilities can fully experience the medals.
 
Visit this link to learn more about Rio’s Paralympic medals.
 
Share your thoughts on the updated Paralympic medals in the comment section.
 
New Sensory Paralympic Medals Created for Rio 2016 for Visually Impaired Athletes

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post
A Miniature City Prepares Visually Impaired Kids for the Big World
A traffic light shows both lights for cars and pedestrian lights.A local union in Kentucky has created a mini ‘city’ to help prepare visually impaired preschoolers for the big wide world they are starting to enter.
 
Equipped with miniature traffic lights, curbs, and some of the noises and distractions of a big city, this recreation allows preschoolers to explore in a safe, controlled environment. Those involved say that it’s giving the kids the experience they will need to navigate later in life.
 
Read more about the project in this article. There’s also a short news video about the venture.
 
For those with sight loss, we can help. Visit our First Steps After Vision Loss page for more information.
 
Mini ‘city’ gives visually impaired preschoolers new way to learn

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Blind, Living Independently, Real Life Stories | View Post
Your Words Influence the World: Use Them Well
Words Have Power is written in chalk on a blackboard. Lightning strikes through the text.The way that we talk about, or write about, people with disabilities impacts the way that society feels about disabilities and the people who live with the disability.
 
In this article, a woman living with a disability gives a few helpful tips to remember when talking about a disability or a person with a disability.
 
One of the tips that really stood out was the fact that it is appropriate to mention that a person has a disability if it is relevant to the story. However, if the disability doesn’t influence the story, it’s not worth mentioning. A person is much more than their disability.
 
Would you add any tips to this list? Share your tips in the comment section.
 
Language Matters: Tips for Talking and Writing About Blindness and Other Disabilities

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post
First Visually Impaired Competitor in The Amazing Race
The Amazing Race television show logo which is the words in front of a world map.The Amazing Race Canada has just begun a new season. Among the pairs competing, there are couples, friends and parent-child relationships. But this season, one couple is dealing with a different challenge than the other competitors.
 
Lowell and Julie Taylor have been married for quite awhile and always wanted to compete on The Amazing Race. Lowell has Retinitis Pigmentosa and is losing his sight. The couple decided to enter to inspire their children and society as a whole.
 
Read more about this couple, the first person with a visual impairment to enter The Amazing Race in this article.
 
If you are living with vision loss, find out how we can help by visiting our Programs Page.
 
Amazing experience for couple

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Blind Living Skills, Real Life Stories, Vision Loss, Visually Impaired | View Post
Sight loss to accessibility specialist
The Google logo is shown with a dark shadow falling behind the letters.Jyotsna Kaki is a determined, hard working woman who landed her dream job at Google after years of hard work. When her skills didn’t seem to fit the job opportunities that were being advertised, her father suggested she create her ideal job description and pitch it to companies for which the role might be possible.
 
After her brother, unbeknownst to Jyotsna, gave her pitch to Google, she was called by the company for an interview. Now she heads their accessibility team and works to ensure all Google products and platforms can be accessed by people with a variety of disabilities.
 
Read more about Jyotsna’s determination and how she manages the demanding job in this CNN article.
 
We can help people who are adapting to vision loss. Visit our First Steps After Vision Loss Page to learn more.
 
She overcame blindness to thrive at Google

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Living Blind, Personal Stories | View Post
Gardening with fragrance
5 white jasmine blooms lay on a black background. The flower petals are bright white and the stamen are bright yellow.Gardening is an outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by sighted and visually impaired alike. This blog talks about some of the beautifully scented plants that can be used in a garden to guide a visually impaired person or used just for the pleasure of the fragrance.
 
Mike Burks helps with some of the soil questions gardeners may have and suggests optimal placement for certain plants to ensure regular enjoyment.
 
Don’t shy from gardening, but take the tips from other visually impaired gardeners to enjoy the activity.
 
What are your favorite boldly scented plants? Share your top 3 choices for your garden in the comment section.
 
Gardening Blog: Mike Burks on Scents and Sensibility

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Visually Impaired | View Post
Fashion inspired by Braille
A model in a sunshine yellow, floor length dress walks down the runway at a fashion show. Her back is to the camera.A young fashion designer with no central vision is making waves with her Braille-inspired clothing collection.
 
Bianca used flowy, gauzy material to create the blurred effect she often sees herself and then added quotes from Helen Keller in Braille to some of the pieces.
 
The fact that this young woman is garnering praise for her designs shows that we can all do what we love. As Bianca’s instructor says, in order for her to be a successful designer, “We’ve had to re-write some of the usual rules – but that’s what designers have been doing for years.”
 
Read more about Bianca’s experience and fashion collection in this article.
 
If you are dealing with vision loss, we have programs to help you adjust. Visit our Programs Page to find out more.
 
Visually impaired student unveils incredible Braille-inspired collection at Graduate Fashion Week

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Low Vision, Real Life Stories | 1 Comment(s)
The Art World Is Becoming Accessible
The outside of The Louvre in Paris in winter with a light dusting of snow on the ground.It is becoming more popular for museums around the world to offer tactile exhibits that welcome visually impaired visitors. Some of these exhibits recreate old two dimensional paintings while others are created specifically to engage the other four senses.
 
Georgia Krantz is the creator of the “Mind’s Eye” series at the Guggenheim in New York. The series provides workshops that offer multisensory experiences to visually impaired museum visitors.
 
“We see through our brains, not our eyes,” Krantz explained. “The eye is just one of the channels through which sensory information is passed to the brain for processing.”
 
Read more about the work that is being done to make art fully accessible at museums around the world in this article.
 
Have you attended any accessible art exhibits? Share your experiences in the comment section.
 
A New Way to See Art

Posted in Assistive Technology, Blind Living Skills, Visually Impaired | 1 Comment(s)
Books Made Accessible
The profile of a human head is green with a cartoon of a guy with an audio book and headset in place of the brain.Having a visual impairment will not keep you from the books you love though adjustments might have to be made to the way in which you enjoy a good book.
 
This article highlights five of the many apps that are available for those who don’t want to forgo a good book. Many of the apps provide audio books in various formats, but the last app listed also offers large print versions in which you can change the font size, line spacing and brightness of the page on your tablet or computer.
 
All the apps listed in this article are either free with signup or very low cost. If you’re trying to find a new way to enjoy books, it’s worth visiting this article.
 
What’s your favorite reading app? Share your opinion in the comment section.
 
Five Great Reading Apps for Booklovers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Posted in Assistive Technology, Blind Living Skills | View Post
Sweeping cuts proposed by Congress for Visually Impaired
A nightscape of Washington, including Capitol Hill, awash in lights.Congress is currently discussing serious changes to the federal Workforce Innovation Opportunity act. With these changes, cuts would be made to all services for disabled “homemakers” including retired people.
 
After working their whole lives and contributing to the system, it is unfair to now refuse services to retired people who should no longer have to be a part of the workforce.
 
Read more about the proposed changes in this article written by our Chief Executive Officer, Kim Gibbens. 
 
Please consider writing a letter to your member of Congress to ask them to reconsider these unnecessary cuts to services for people who aren’t in the workforce.
 
Don’t Let Congress Cut Funding for Visually Impaired

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Vision Loss | 2 Comment(s)
Renowned oceanographer talks about vision loss
Neon blue jellyfish are highlighted in a brilliant blue ocean.Amy Bower was a student preparing for her dream career in oceanography when she realized that her vision was changing. A double diagnosis of macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa nearly convinced her to give up her career ambitions but an inspiring specialist helped her continue, introducing her to assistive technologies and strategies that she still uses in her day-to-day work.
 
Read more about Amy’s work, attitude and involvement in getting visually impaired kids into science programs in this article. There’s also a 50 minute interview with Amy that’s worth listening to.
 
If you’re dealing with vision loss, we can help. Learn how by visiting First Steps After Vision Loss.
 
She Goes to Sea, Even Though She Can’t See


Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Personal Stories, Vision Loss, Visually Impaired | 25 Comment(s)
Beep baseball growing in popularity
A white bucket holds 18 used baseballs with red stitching.Beep baseball has been gaining momentum and increasing in popularity around the country over the past few years. The sport began 40 years ago when a telephone engineer inserted an old telephone speaker and circuit module that beeped into a ball slightly larger than a baseball. Bases with audio cues were created and rules of the game were made to allow competitive play in the sport.
 
This article highlights that the highly competitive sport is not only enjoyed by visually impaired players, but also by sighted players. Blindfolds bring everyone to the same level of visual impairment forcing every player to use their hearing to gauge where the ball is and what’s happening on the field.
 
If you are dealing with vision loss, visit our Programs page to learn more about how we can help you adjust.
 
Local baseball players proving you don’t always have to see the ball to hit it

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Living Blind, Personal Stories, Visually Impaired | View Post
A white cane on a commuter train
A close up picture of the London Underground sign that is used to mark where station entrances are. The sign is a red circle with a white center and with a blue line through the circle. Underground is written on the blue line.Georgie Bullen is legally blind and uses a white cane in unfamiliar places. Because her visual impairment leaves her with a 15 degree field of vision, she can see some of the reactions and events happening around her if they occur within her reduced field of vision.
 
She recently took wrote a short piece on the reactions of people around her in London, England on business trips that she took and shares them in this LinkedIn article.
 
What are you experiences as a visually impaired person in busy areas? Share them in the comment section.
 
A Day with a Cane: How do commuters react to seeing a white cane? 

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Low Vision, Personal Stories, Visually Impaired | 2 Comment(s)
Challenging preconceived notions
A large truck tire lays on its side on green grass. This type of tire is sometimes used in strongman competitions.Britain’s Disabled Strongman competition was started by Gary Clarke, a man living with cerebral palsy who believes the best way to change attitudes is through action.
 
His attitude about life and showing that, with adaptions, anything is possible is inspiring and should cause us all to pause and reconsider what we think we can’t do. “I think some people end up believing that they can’t do things because that’s what they’ve been told.” Gary takes this notion and turns it upside down.
 
Read more about Britain’s Disabled Strongman competition and Gary’s role in bringing the dream to reality in this article.
 
If you’re struggling with the emotional aspects of vision loss, please check out this page to learn about the support that we offer.
 
“The best way to challenge people’s attitudes is getting out and doing things” – Gary Clarke

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Personal Stories | 1 Comment(s)
Stunning art created to cope with vision loss
A fishing net hangs in open space. For 23 years after being shot in Vietnam, Jim Stevens was unaffected by the bullet fragments remaining in his body. But in 1993, the fragments shifted and most of his sight was lost. After spending time being angry at the sudden change, he was encouraged to get back into art, something that he had previously loved but had found little time to indulge.
 
Now, Jim is creating beautiful, intricately detailed string art that gives different sights from different angles. This video and article tell Jim’s story of moving past anger and finding his calling.
 
If you are experiencing vision loss, visit our First Steps page to see how we can help you adjust.
 
A veteran makes art from fishing lines, and he’s blind

Posted in Emotional Adjustment to Vision Loss, First Steps After Vision Loss, Personal Stories, Vision Loss, Visually Impaired | View Post
A driving experience for the visually impaired
Viewed as if sitting in the backseat, a young man sits in the drivers seat with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the gear shift.Let’s be fair, most people living with a visual impairment can’t drive. But for some, it’s a wish that has been granted under controlled circumstances, on a closed track with an experienced guide.
 
This article includes a short video showing Kevin Brousard in the driver’s seat. Kevin, legally blind, is a Paralympic athlete currently in training. He says this is a training course he won’t forget.
 
It’s always inspiring to see people try something for the first time and this experience is no different.
 
Have you had the opportunity to experience something that you hadn’t expected to be possible? Share it in the comment section.
 
MasterDrive experience gives the visually impaired a chance to drive

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Visually Impaired | View Post
An Interview with a Facebook Accessibility Engineer
A blue, 3D box, with each side a Facebook logo has a scattering of thumbs-up likes floating out.We’ve all heard about the changes Facebook is making to allow the visually impaired to more easily access their platform. It’s a great step forward and in many ways, they are leading the way for others to also change their websites.
 
This article, about the changes to photos and the artificial intelligence that is automatically describing the content of photos, includes an interview between Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, and one of his staff members who has been working on this technology. It’s worth spending a few minutes with the video to learn more about some of the staff who are driving the changes.
 
Visit our store to find out more about the assistive technology we can offer.
Facebook’s “Automatic ALT Text” Describes Images for Blind Users on its Own

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Living Blind, Real Life Stories, Vision Loss Technology & Products, Visually Impaired | View Post
Setting up Office Space for a Visually Impaired Employee
Two computer monitors sit on a desk with a coffee mug, mouse, pen and keyboard in front of them.This article highlights some simple adaptions that can be made to an office space to allow a visually impaired staff member to effectively manage their workload. Including items such as Braille labellers, PDAs and text-to-speech readers, the detailed guide will help anyone in the position of needing assistive technology because of a visual impairment.
 
It’s important to note that different items may be needed for different jobs and the preferences of the employee.
 
We offer employment training to people with visual impairments. Visit our Training Page for more information.
 
Office Worksite for Blind Users

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Living Independently, Vision Loss Technology & Products, Visually Impaired | View Post
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