edited by Sharon Strzalkowski
The announcement of products and services in this column does not represent an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its officers, or staff. Listings are free of charge for the benefit of our readers. “The ACB E-Forum” cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned. To submit items for this column, send a message to email@example.com, or phone the national office at 1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in Sharon Lovering’s mailbox. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.
Touch of Genius Prize Deadline Coming Up
National Braille Press’ Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation is coming up fast - January 10th.
The Touch of Genius Prize was developed to inspire entrepreneurs, educators or inventors to continue the promotion of braille and tactile literacy for blind and deaf-blind people worldwide. This prize can be granted for innovative and accessible computer software applications, tactile hardware, or curriculum that promotes braille and/or tactile literacy. NBP encourages all applicants to think outside the box to what can be used to help improve the lives of blind people.
The winner of this prize will receive up to $10,000. For more information, visit www.touchofgeniusprize.org.
News from Social Security
Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced four new Compassionate Allowances conditions: CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder, Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, Primary Peritoneal Cancer, and Richter Syndrome. Compassionate Allowances is a program to quickly identify severe diseases and medical conditions that meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits. For more information about the program, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.
Lighthouse Guild Awards Scholarships
Lighthouse Guild has awarded 18 college scholarships of $7,500 each to students who are legally blind. This year’s recipients are:
- David Abrahams, Havertown, PA, Harvard
- Alexandra Allers, Fort Gratiot, MI, University of Michigan
- Ryan Basso, Port Chester, NY, University of Delaware
- Mitchell Bridwell, Pittsboro, IN, Purdue University
- Stephen Friday, Muskegon, MI, University of Michigan
- Emily Hicks, Cumming, GA, University of Alabama
- Gene Kim, Cupertino, CA, Stanford University
- Aymon Langlois, Reading, MA, Skidmore College
- Jack MacDonald, Enfield, CT, University of Hartford
- Mikayla M, Lake Worth, FL, University of South Florida
- Luke Miller, Elmhurst, IL, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana
- Lukas Mullaney, Brightwaters, NY, Providence College
- Kaylee Nielson, Phoenix, AZ, Wellesley College
- Anna Ohrt, Issaquah, WA, Brown University
- Rio Popper, Redwood City, CA, Oxford University
- Caitlin Sarubbi, Brooklyn, NY, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine
- Lea Schiefele, Lake Worth, FL, Florida Southern College
- Kinshuk Tella, Miamisburg, Ohio, Miami University, Ohio
The 2019 Lighthouse Guild Teacher Award recipient is Jenny Padgett, a teacher at Cupertino High School in California.
National Braille Press has completely redone its website, www.nbp.org. It was re-conceived with accessibility in mind. The site is also geared to better serve audiences on tablets and smartphones.
Now available is the 2020 Peanuts calendar, which rings in the New Year with a different “Happiness Is…” quote each month. This full-color wall calendar is 12”x12”. The braille is included on clear plastic labels that go right over the print pages. NBP has placed gift certificates into 10 random copies of the 2020 calendar. If you order one, check to see if you’ve won a $10 or $20 gift certificate.
Also available is “Click, Clack, Quack to School!” It follows Farmer Brown and his barnyard brigade as they visit an elementary school for Farm Day. You will laugh and learn as the animals practice their best classroom behavior. This book comes in contracted braille (UEB).
“Getting Visual Assistance with an iPhone” by Judy Dixon is available in braille (one volume), BRF, DAISY, or Word. It takes you on an app tour of the 10 most user-friendly and accessible apps for getting visual assistance with an iPhone. Coverage includes assistance provided by apps through machine learning and artificial intelligence for identifying colors, currency, objects, and barcodes, as well as scene identification, handwriting recognition, and reading short text. The book also covers such apps as Aira and Be My Eyes.
Esther’s Place Has New Home
Envision recently announced that it will collaborate with American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) to establish Envision Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind as the new home of the American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss and Esther’s Place. Operating out of Envision Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind's headquarters at 4306 Capitol Avenue in Dallas, the AFB Center on Vision Loss and Esther’s Place will serve 150,000 individuals who are blind or low vision living in 11 North Texas counties: Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro, and Rockwall. A spring 2020 opening of the new facility is planned.
Accessibility of Polling Places on Tribal Reservations
The Justice Department has reached a settlement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Sandoval County, New Mexico, home to thirteen Pueblos and Tribal Entities, to make the county’s polling places accessible to individuals with mobility and vision impairments, including a dozen polling places located on Indian reservations. For more information, visit https://www.ada.gov, or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301.
ACB Member’s Book Now Available in Audio
Poet and author of three books, Ann Chiappetta’s book “Upwelling: Poems” (copyright 2016) is now available on Audible.com. Go to https://tinyurl.com/y5p7e3hz to listen to the sample poem narrated by Lilian Yves.
Chiappetta’s books are also available in print and all online eBook formats including Amazon. Her other books, “Follow Your Dog: A Story of Love and Trust” (2017) and “Words of Life: Poems and Essays” (2019) are being prepared as commercial audio books and will be released later this year.
Chiappetta is currently planning book readings and book signing events. For more information, including past appearances and future radio interviews, visit her website, www.annchiappetta.com. To learn more about the author, or view her author’s book page, go to www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/. You can find her blog at www.thought-wheel.com.