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The National Federation of the Blind Sponsors Tactile Exhibit at the Newseum

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:16
Blog Date: Friday, February 16, 2018Author: Stephanie EllerCategories: General

Last month, the Newseum became the first US museum to host a major tactile art exhibit. “The Marines and Tet” exhibit, sponsored in part by the National Federation of the Blind, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive which was staged on January 31, 1968. This first-of-its-kind, interactive exhibit is comprised of twenty photos taken by John Olson during the Vietnam War, ten of which Olson’s company 3DPhotoWorks made into tactile renderings. The displays also include audio components made up of descriptions of the photos and interviews with the Marines featured in them reflecting on their experiences.

The importance of this exhibit extends beyond honoring these men and the Tet Offensive. It is hopefully the sign of a new day when tactile and interactive exhibits become the norm, rather than the exception. Not only does this enable blind and low-vision visitors to appreciate these exhibits, it enhances the experience for all visitors.

On January 30, 2018, the National Federation of the Blind hosted a reception to celebrate this first-of-its-kind exhibit. Here’s what some attendees shared on social media about the reception and the exhibit:

@kea_anderson said, “Super excited to be at the @Newseum for the first tactile photo exhibit I’ve ever been to. I also get to enjoy a reception with my @NFB_voice colleagues.”

@Slateandstylish said, “’This is our gift to the sighted.’ Thank you John Olson, @NFB_voice, and @Newseum for the gift of this exhibit! As a wife of a veteran, I can’t wait to experience this historical moment!”

Members of the Federation also attended the Newseum’s opening reception on January 25, 2018. As a sponsor of the exhibit, the National Federation of the Blind was invited not only to attend, but President Riccobono was asked to give some remarks during the program segment of the evening. Below you’ll find video of the opening reception program, photos from both receptions, as well as various stories from media outlets that covered the exhibit.

We encourage you to visit the exhibit and share your thoughts with us. It runs through July 8th, 2018. Learn more at www.newseum.org.

Watch our short video to learn more.

Newseum Facebook Live Video Tour and Interview

“The Marines and Tet: The Battle That Changed the Vietnam War” Opening Program

Washington Post

CBS Sunday Morning

Fox News

Tags: tactile artaccessibilty

National Federation of the Blind Receives Grant from National Science Foundation

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 10:26

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgNational Federation of the Blind Receives Grant from National Science FoundationFive-Year Grant Will Allow Blind Youth to Explore Engineering and Yield Innovative Research in Informal Education

Baltimore, Maryland (February 13, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has received a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that will allow blind students to explore the field of engineering and provide useful educational research.

Working with researchers from Utah State University and educators from the Science Museum of Minnesota, the National Federation of the Blind will gather blind high school students from across the country to attend weeklong summer programs called “NFB EQ” (Engineering Quotient). These programs will teach engineering through hands-on activities and connect students with blind adult mentors. The NFB and its partners will research the spatial abilities of blind youth and develop model practices and nonvisual tools to strengthen those abilities. Toolkits based on project activities will be produced so that other parents and educators will be able to use these practices.

Many blind people struggle with spatial skills and mental mapping. This is primarily because blind students do not have access to educational opportunities that foster the development of these skills. Among the STEM disciplines, engineering relies most heavily on spatial reasoning skills, so these programs will provide ample opportunities for students to utilize and strengthen them. This will help blind youth to develop engineering skills, prepare them for success in STEM fields, and strengthen their ability to travel independently with a white cane or guide dog.

“A combination of lack of knowledge about nonvisual techniques and society’s low expectations for the blind prevents too many blind youth from developing spatial reasoning skills and, if they desire, participating in engineering or other fields that use these skills,” said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “We have dedicated significant resources to changing this unacceptable status quo, and we thank the National Science Foundation and our partners at Utah State and the Science Museum of Minnesota for helping us accelerate our progress and broaden our reach.”

“Since we know that spatial ability is such a strong indicator of success in STEM education and STEM professions, we need to understand how it is developed in our blind youth and how they utilize it in solving engineering problems,” said Dr. Wade Goodridge, Assistant Professor in Engineering Education at Utah State University. “We can then develop methods to leverage spatial thinking and help our students have better chances to succeed. My team seeks to develop nonvisual techniques to facilitate, motivate, and open pathways towards engineering, allowing blind youth to pursue a profession they may have previously thought was not within their reach. We hope to initiate a momentum that will enhance their engineering educational opportunities.”

“At the Science Museum of Minnesota, showing those who visit us and participate in our programs that we are all scientists is at the heart of what we do,” said Alison Rempel Brown, president of the Science Museum of Minnesota. “We’re so pleased to partner with the National Federation of the Blind and Utah State University to develop ways to bring engineering education to blind students and create new pathways to success in the STEM disciplines.”

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1712887. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org.

National Federation of the Blind Applauds United Airlines for Prudent Service Animal Policy

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 14:39

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Tuesday, February 6, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgNational Federation of the Blind Applauds United Airlines for Prudent Service Animal PolicyMajor air carrier’s policy on trained service animals remains unchanged

Baltimore, Maryland (February 6, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people, commends United Airlines for announcing that there will be no changes to its policies regarding travelers with dog guides and other service animals, as opposed to animals that may fit other categories.

“Blind people have worked for decades to make sure that dog guides are trained and managed in a manner that supports the equal treatment of blind people in public places,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “Every day, dog guides facilitate smooth and independent travel by the thousands of blind people who choose to use them, including my own wife. Unnecessary and burdensome notice and documentation requirements would have limited the independence of these travelers. We therefore thank United for continuing to recognize the qualifications of trained dog guides in its recently announced policy revisions, and we call on all other air carriers to adopt this same approach. We also urge United and the rest of the airline industry to engage with us to ensure that all aspects of the air travel experience, including in-flight entertainment and the use of mobile applications and websites, are accessible to blind people.”

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About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org.

National Federation of the Blind 2018 Summer Internship Program

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 08:14
Blog Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2018Author: Anil LewisCategories: General

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. As we continue to raise expectations of and for the blind, we realize that we must actively work to empower the next generation of dynamic leaders and innovative thinkers that will dream, develop, and implement the next ground-breaking project or program that changes the lives of all blind people.

To that end, we must share our knowledge with young, motivated blind students as they travel their individual paths toward full participation. We seek to accomplish this goal through our National Federation of the Blind Summer Internship Program, a unique learning experience that can only be directed by the National Federation of the Blind.

Our National Federation of the Blind 2018 Summer Internship Program will provide an opportunity for individuals to contribute to the programs of the Federation, while gaining valuable experience at the center of innovation in the blindness field. Our 2018 summer interns will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of program areas including:

  • Access technology
  • Civil rights—especially advocacy around voting rights and educational accessibility
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Governmental affairs
  • Information technology
  • The Jacobus tenBroek Library
  • Membership building
  • NFB-NEWSLINE®
  • Outreach and fundraising

The National Federation of the Blind Summer Internship Program is like no other. It’s filled with unique opportunities for personal and professional growth, including the chance to work closely with National Federation of the Blind President Mark Riccobono. Our 2017 summer interns shared their thoughts at the end of their internship experience:

“As I reflect upon my experience as an intern at the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), I think about how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to learn from and work alongside our organization’s leaders. While here, I had the opportunity to pursue personal projects that will make an impact in the lives of blind Americans. I grew personally and professionally this summer, and much of that growth is a result of participating in the NFB Internship Program. The knowledge and experience that I have gained will be invaluable as I continue my academic journey at Furman University and eventually law school.” — Kenia

“It is said that you receive just as much as you give and that was certainly true of this internship. It was very challenging in many ways, and I was always expected to give my best. However, the gains most certainly outweighed the sacrifices; I received much mentoring and guidance, both personally and professionally. I learned a lot about the Federation and how it is run which gave me a deeper appreciation for the organization which is the National Federation of the Blind. I am motivated more than ever before to take what I have been given during this internship and use it to go back home and continue to build the Federation.” — Lily

“As a member or elected leader of the National Federation of the Blind, we see how many things work, but as an intern at the Jernigan Institute, I was a part of making those things work. When I used to pick up my Brailled list of exhibitors at National Convention, I would look at it and leave it somewhere, but as someone who had to go through and staple multiple copies of those very lists, it gives me a greater appreciation of all the work that goes into even the little things. Getting to work so closely with our national leaders was truly an experience, and it was a privilege to be able to contact them and meet with them in person instead of always having to conference call them. This internship will surely give you an inside look into the organization, and teach you many things you never could’ve guessed.” — Vee

“When I applied for the 2017 Summer Internship program at the NFB, I really did not know what to expect. My goal was the learn more about the resources of the NFB at the national level; however, I learned so much more. Working at the NFB Jernigan Institute instilled in me a strong appreciation for all of the work that goes on behind the scenes, from the legislative initiatives to the preparation for the national convention and programs like NFB Youth Slam. The highlight of my summer was the week I spent at Towson University as a teaching assistant during NFB Youth Slam 2017. I could not have anticipated how rewarding it would be to work with so many excited young people from all over the country. If you are looking for a summer experience that you will never forget, I would encourage you to apply for an NFB Summer Internship. It all takes great effort from amazing people to make a difference. Are you ready?” — David

For more information about the 2018 NFB Summer Internship Program and to apply, visit nfb.org/internship.

Tags: interninternshipsummer internship

National Federation of the Blind Celebrates Opening of Tactile Photography Exhibit

Thu, 01/25/2018 - 10:59

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Thursday, January 25, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgNational Federation of the Blind Celebrates Opening of Tactile Photography ExhibitUnique, Nonvisually Accessible Exhibit Honors Fiftieth Anniversary of Tet Offensive

Members of the National Federation of the Blind will host a reception at the Newseum to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Tet Offensive and celebrate a new exhibit, “The Marines and Tet: The Battle that Changed the Vietnam War.” This reception will honor John Olson’s work in the development of tactile fine arts printing and commemorate the sacrifices of the men in his photos. The exhibit features tactile renderings of the photos as well as audio interviews with some of the Marines shown in them. The audio is activated by touching sensors embedded in the tactile prints.

Special Guest: General Glenn M. Walters, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps

When: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 program at 6:30 p.m., immediately followed by reception

Where: Newseum 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001

RSVP’s appreciated but not required; email cdanielsen@nfb.org. If you cannot attend but wish to know more about the exhibit and/or the technology that allows blind people to access it, please contact us.

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About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org.

National Federation of the Blind Statement on Delta’s New Service Animal Policy

Tue, 01/23/2018 - 17:19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Tuesday, January 23, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgNational Federation of the Blind Statement on Delta’s New Service Animal Policy

Baltimore, Maryland: (January 23, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind stated the following with regard to the new service and support animal policy announced by Delta Air Lines on January 19:

We are deeply concerned that Delta Air Lines has taken this action without consulting the National Federation of the Blind, our division the National Association of Guide Dog Users, or any other democratically elected representative of blind Americans. Blind people have safely and successfully used guide dogs for decades, but this policy fails to make a clear or practical distinction among guide dogs, other “service and support animals” (as Delta puts it), and pets. Onerous restrictions on guide dog handlers do not resolve anything and violate the principle of equal access for passengers with disabilities. Furthermore, we believe that elements of Delta’s policy, as currently articulated, violate the Air Carrier Access Act.

We are particularly troubled by the requirement that guide dog users submit paperwork to Delta forty-eight hours before flying. Travelers without guide dogs are not required to plan their travel forty-eight hours in advance. Furthermore, guide dog users will no longer be able to fly Delta in family, medical, or other emergencies. We believe that this forty-eight hour requirement is both unnecessary and unlawful.

We are asking for an urgent meeting with Delta and stand ready to work with it and other airlines to craft fair and reasonable policies to address the concerns of air carriers, their personnel, and their passengers, without imposing undue, unsupported, and unlawful hardships on guide dog users.

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About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org.

Better with Age: The BrailleSense Polaris Shows Significant Improvement with Its Android Support

Tue, 01/23/2018 - 08:08
Blog Date: Tuesday, January 23, 2018Author: Karl BelangerCategories: Access Technology

The BrailleSense Polaris has received several updates since our initial blog post on the Polaris at the end of August. Math support has been added to the word processor, there are more details in the quick start, and significant improvements have been made to the performance of the Android side of things. While the interface hasn’t changed, it is now discussed in the quick start guide, and the whole experience feels much more fluid and snappy. Even so, there are still occasional stability problems when using Android apps and the reset process is still a nightmare, taking the unit back to a skeleton of the firmware, requiring a lengthy upgrade process to get back up and running. What is even more odd is that if you attempt to add a passcode to your device during initial setup, the upgrade won’t even start.

General Improvements

The Polaris has had many quality of life improvements across the board. These include adding the Android settings into the Polaris settings menu, letting a user close Android apps with space+Z as with other BrailleSense programs, refining network stability and more. Allowing one to exit Android apps is a big one, as they used to stay in the multi-tasking list until the task manager was opened and each app was removed from the list. Now, the Android apps are closed just like any other program or menu on the Polaris. It is also possible to press enter+I to access the App Info dialog for an Android app, where it is possible to view data and storage usage, configure notifications, etc.

Nemeth in the Word Processor

Another new feature of the Polaris is Math mode in the word processor. After pressing backspace+M, it is possible to enter math in either Nemeth or UEB math. The Polaris supports a full range of symbols, from basic operators, exponents, fractions, and even geometric and calculous functions. Pressing space+H will bring up a help menu with a categorized list of all the different symbols and their Braille dot combinations. However, there is no way to enter the symbols from this menu. Once math is entered, it will display properly when printed or transferred to a computer.

Using Android Apps

The area that has seen the biggest improvement is Android app usage. Using them is now mostly smooth and fluid. Using apps like YouTube, Google Music, Amazon, and many others works very well. Contracted Braille is also usable in Android apps, unlike in the initial version of the software. When playing media from apps like Netflix or YouTube, it is not possible to control playback with the media keys, meaning it is necessary to go back into the app to skip tracks or pause playback. While I experienced almost no lag when using apps, I did experience the occasional hard crash, requiring a full reboot by holding in the power button until the device powered off and back on. With some slight improvements in stability, the Polaris is shaping up to be a serious contender in the Android notetaker space.

Some Thoughts on the Polaris Android Interface

In the initial post on the Polaris, I had issues with the interface the Polaris uses for Android apps. After using the product more and thinking about the situation, I think I’ve figured out why the interface felt so awkward the first time I used it. If you’re familiar with Braille on iOS, Android with BrailleBack, or the BrailleNote Touch, the expected behavior is that the mobile interface is navigated with space+dot1 and space+dot4, which have traditionally been representative of the arrow keys. This is further reinforced both by the use of the same combinations for moving through documents, and the fact that both iOS and Android use the arrow keys on a Bluetooth keyboard to navigate around the interface. However, the Polaris uses the equivalent of the tab key—F3 or space+dot4+dot5. Space+dot1 and space+dot4 are still used to navigate in documents and within some lists, which makes things slightly more confusing. Having this information added into the quick start guide helps, but it is still necessary to learn another mobile interface. I still find myself pressing space+dot4 to move through an Android app at times, and still having that momentary confusion when nothing happens until I remember to use F3 instead.

Conclusion

The Polaris has seen significant improvements in the overall feature set and especially the stability and responsiveness of Android apps. However, there is still a way to go. I have been told they’re coming in the future, but features like native support for Exchange accounts, document formatting such as headings, lists, tables, and integrated file management between BrailleSense and Android apps are still not implemented. Given the progress that has been made so far, I am confident that these features will be added and the issues with stability and resetting will be remedied in the near future. I look forward to seeing what new features and options the Polaris will gain in the coming months.

Tags: accessibilitytechnologyproduct reviewbraille

NFB President Receives Automotive Innovation Award

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 16:19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Monday, January 22, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgNFB President Receives Automotive Innovation Award

Baltimore, Maryland (January 22, 2018): Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, has received one of the inaugural Autos2050SM awards. The awards are being presented by the Auto Alliance and the Alliance for Transportation Innovation.

President Riccobono is among twelve state and national political leaders and automotive innovators who will be honored at a dinner and awards presentation in Washington, DC on January 24. The new awards and dinner are part of the larger Autos2050SM event.  

On October 25, 2017, the National Federation of the Blind and the Auto Alliance hosted a first-of-its-kind gathering of consumers with disabilities, auto representatives, ride-sharing providers, and policymakers. The purpose of the gathering was to discuss the advances, challenges, and path forward for autonomous vehicle development. It was a key step in the ongoing conversation about how autonomous vehicles can be developed and deployed safely, while considering the needs of the 57 million Americans with disabilities.

On January 29, 2011, President Riccobono became the first blind individual to operate a vehicle independently. He navigated a course at Daytona International Speedway as a demonstration of how technology can allow the blind to drive.

“As much as I appreciate the honor of this award, its significance is greater than recognizing the National Federation of the Blind,” President Riccobono said. “It is also a sign that leaders in the automobile industry recognize the importance of incorporating the input of the blind as the next generation of automotive technology is designed. This gives us hope that new autonomous vehicles will provide a level of mobility and independence that the blind have never experienced before, enhancing our ability to live the lives we want.”

"The Autos2050 Driving Innovation Awards are designed to honor those who have made significant contributions over the past year,” said Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO, Auto Alliance. “Mark and the NFB have been tireless and effective advocates for the needs of the entire disability community in the ongoing national debate around the development of autonomous vehicles.”

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About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org.

Join the National Federation of the Blind Parent Mentoring Program

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 09:15
Blog Date: Tuesday, January 16, 2018Author: Melissa RiccobonoCategories: Parenting

All parents have questions and worries about their children, no matter how old their children get. Is she eating enough? Will these tantrums ever stop? Is he doing well enough in school? Will she ever be out of diapers? Is he really ready to have his own cell phone? Will everyone be safe on the road now that she’s driving?

Parents who are blind sometimes have additional questions—especially when they are expecting their first child or while their children are infants. How will I measure formula and medications? How will I be sure my baby is clean? Is there an easy way to keep matching outfits and socks together? What are the best car seats, strollers, or baby carriers to use? How will I keep track of my baby when he becomes mobile?

As a parent who happens to be blind, I enjoy talking to other parents and helping them find answers to their questions. I certainly do not know everything, and I certainly do not believe the ways my husband and I choose to do things are the best or only ways they can be done. However I do know I have parenting experience, and I am always happy to pass along my knowledge, support, and advice to others.

I was very lucky to have had parent mentors when my first child was born. My sister, who is also blind, was always willing to share techniques with me and my husband. Members of the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland were also ready to help. Parents on the NFB blind parent email list always patiently answered my questions. 

During National Mentoring Month, the National Federation of the Blind is excited to revitalize our Blind Parent Mentoring Program. Whether you are looking for a parent mentor or willing to mentor a parent, we’d love for you to fill out our short parent mentoring form. Blind parents, expecting parents, foster parents, grandparents, and those interested in fostering or adopting children are welcome and encouraged to sign up.

Once you’ve filled out the form, someone from the National Federation of the Blind Blind Parent Initiative will contact you so that we can match you with a mentor or mentee as quickly as possible. Even if you have signed up to be a mentor in the past, we would appreciate it if you would fill out the form.

Here’s to the beginning of many wonderful mentoring relationships!

Tags: blind parentsparentingmentoringsupport

The Power of the Run Dialog for Accessing Things Quickly

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 09:27
Blog Date: Tuesday, January 9, 2018Author: Karl BelangerCategories: Access Technology

The Run dialog has been around in Windows since the days of Windows 95, and can be accessed using the keyboard shortcut Windows+R. In Windows 10 the Run dialog can also be accessed from the Windows+X menu, and it has been in various locations in the start menu in older versions. The Run dialog consists of a box to type in, with Ok, Cancel, and Browse buttons. You can enter many different commands into the box, from launching screen readers or Microsoft Office programs, to opening websites, and even getting quick access to various Windows settings and administrative features. Using the Browse button it is possible to browse, using a standard Open dialog, to any program or file on the computer. Throughout this post there will be many commands that can be typed into the Run dialog, which will have quotes around them. When typing these into the dialog on your computer, do not include the quotes.

Launching Screen Readers

Job Access with Speech (JAWS), NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA), and Narrator can be started using the Run dialog. For NVDA, regardless of version, simply open the Run dialog and type “nvda” and press Enter. Similarly, Narrator is also launched by typing “narrator” in the Run dialog. The installed version of NVDA will start. For JAWS, it is necessary to enter the version number as well since it is possible to have multiple versions of JAWS installed. To launch JAWS 2018, the latest version, type “jaws2018.” To launch older versions, simply include their version number instead: “jaws18,” “jaws16,” etc. This can be very useful if you do not have a keyboard shortcut configured to launch your screen reader, or if you are on someone else’s computer that you know has a screen reader on it. Simply press Windows+R, type the command for the desired screen reader, and press enter. If done correctly, the screen reader will launch in a couple of seconds. If done incorrectly, you will usually hear an error sound. After that, press escape a few times and try again.

Opening Websites

The Run dialog can also be used to open websites, not only in your default browser, but in any browser installed on the computer. To open a site in your default browser, simply open the Run dialog and type the address. For example, to open the National Federation of the Blind home page, just type www.nfb.org in the box. If the address doesn’t have the “www” in front, then add the “http://” to the front, as in http://nfb.org. To open a site in a specific browser type:

  • For Mozilla Firefox: “firefox www.nfb.org
  • For Google Chrome: “chrome www.nfb.org
  • For Microsoft Edge: “Microsoft-edge:www.nfb.org”
  • If Internet Explorer is still needed for something: “iexplore https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/index.html”
Opening Microsoft Office Programs

It is also possible to run any Microsoft Office program from the Run dialog. Running them in this way is equivalent to selecting them from the start menu or a desktop shortcut. Typing “winword” opens Microsoft Word, “excel” opens Microsoft Excel, “outlook” opens Microsoft Outlook, and “powerpnt” opens Microsoft PowerPoint. These will work for all modern versions of Office, from at least 2007.

Opening Windows Settings, Administrative Features, or Anything at All

It is possible to do many more things with the Run dialog, from opening system settings like Programs and Features, Task Manager or Device Manager, other programs like Calculator and the Command Prompt, or just about anything at all on your computer. To open many of the user folders in Windows, such as Documents, Downloads, Music, etc., just type the name of the folder in the Run dialog. To open any other folder or file, simply type the full path of the file. For example, to open a file called demo.docx, the path would look something like “c:\users\user\documents\test.docx.” This also works for files on USB or other removable drives provided you know the drive letter.

Opening Windows Programs

Some other programs besides Office can be opened from the Run dialog.

  • Open Calculator: “calc”
  • Open Notepad: “notepad”
  • Open Command Prompt: “cmd”
Opening Control Panel Items

These settings are still valid in Windows 10, but are mostly for older versions of Windows as more and more items are being included in the Settings app in Windows 10.

  • Open Control Panel: “control”
  • Open Date and Time settings: “Timedate.cpl”
  • Open Device Manager: “devmgmt.msc”
  • Open Disc Cleanup: “cleanmgr”
  • Open Ease of Access Center: “utilman”
  • Open Internet Options: “inetcpl.cpl”
  • Manage computer power settings: “powercfg.cpl”
  • Open Programs and Features: “appwiz.cpl”
Windows 10 Settings

Here are some commands that open specific pages within Windows 10 Settings.

  • Open Settings: “ms-settings”
  • Open the Apps and Features page, equivalent to Programs and Features: “Ms-settings:appsfeatures”
  • Open the Power and Sleep options: “Ms-settings:powersleep”
  • Access Bluetooth settings: “ms-settings:Bluetooth”
  • Adjust Date, Time and Time zone: “ms-settings:dateandtime”
Resources for Run Commands

Here are two resources for a vast quantity of options from the Run dialog, some of which are included in this article. There are probably even more commands than listed in these articles, so go ahead and search on Google to see if you can open the program you’re interested in through the Run dialog.

How to Access Individual Settings Directly in Windows 10 Using Run Dialog Box

A Complete List of Windows 10 Keyboard Shortcuts and Run Commands

Tags: access technologywindows

New Accessibility Features Coming to PrestoPrime EMV System

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 09:01

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Tuesday, January 9, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgNew Accessibility Features Coming to PrestoPrime EMV SystemE la Carte, Applebee’s® Grill + Bar, National Federation of the Blind, and LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco Announce Collaboration to Make In-Restaurant Table-top Tablets Accessible to Blind Guests

Redwood City, Calif. (January 9, 2018): E la Carte, Inc., creators of the PrestoPrime™ EMV System™ for full-service restaurants, and Applebee’s® Neighborhood Grill + Bar, announced today a partnership with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco to produce a text-to-speech capability for the PrestoPrime EMV System that will be incorporated into all current and future Presto tablets, including those used in Applebee’s Grill + Bar restaurants nationwide. This enhancement is a result of collaboration among these organizations and several blind members of the NFB in California to develop new functionality that enables blind persons to interact with the Presto System.

The new Presto tablet functionality enables blind persons to independently order menu items, pay their bills, and perform other functions using the tablet that is provided for guests to enhance their in-restaurant dining experience. By performing certain gestures, blind patrons can turn on the text-to-speech capability of the tablets in order to access the new functionality. In addition, blind patrons can take advantage of the audio jack available on newer PrestoPrime EMV tablets to activate the text-to-speech capability by simply plugging in a pair of headphones. The audio jack on PrestoPrime EMV tablets can be found and identified by a Braille tactile label located next to the jack.

E la Carte and Applebee’s have been working with the National Federation of the Blind and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco for the past several months to develop the new functionality, which has been tested by blind consumers. This continued testing, and the related feedback, will help E la Carte to fine-tune the technology to provide a user-friendly experience for blind consumers that is similar to other mobile and small screen device applications.

“Like many new technologies, the E la Carte system has the potential to provide the blind with greater independence than ever before, since we will now be able to access a restaurant’s menu choices in the same way that other customers do,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “We therefore applaud E la Carte in its efforts to provide to blind diners the same access to the Presto System that sighted persons enjoy, while also helping the restaurants who deploy the system comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable laws.”

“E la Carte is proud to have produced a PrestoPrime EMV user experience for blind persons,” said Rajat Suri, founder and CEO of E la Carte. “The assistance we received from the National Federation of the Blind and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco was invaluable to the achievement of a user experience that is familiar and comfortable for blind users.”

“We are thrilled with this outcome,” said LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin, “Thanks to this collaboration, the E la Carte tablet will work for blind people, not just at Applebee’s, but at any restaurant that uses it. We hope others will follow their lead.”

The new accessibility functionality will be included as a standard part of the Presto System and tablets and is available to all E la Carte customers.

Attorneys at Brown Goldstein & Levy LLP, Disability Rights Advocates, and TRE Legal Practice helped facilitate this collaboration.

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About E la Carte and PrestoPrime EMV System

E la Carte, developers of the PrestoPrime EMV tablet and PrestoPrime EMV System, leads the table-top dining revolution with its guest-facing, pay-at-the-table, e-commerce system. Installed in over 1,800 restaurants across the nation, including Applebee’s (a division of DineEquity, NYSE:DINE) and selected Outback Steakhouse Restaurants (a division of Bloomin’ Brands, Inc., Nasdaq: BLMN), the Presto System enables restaurant guests to take greater control over their dining experience by allowing them to order from a full menu, play exciting interactive games, and pay their bill directly from the table. The PrestoPrime EMV tablet also provides operational and financial benefits to restaurant operators which drives increased profitability, and unlocks restaurant data that was previously inaccessible, enabling smarter decisions around guest satisfaction. E la Carte’s new dual processor, secure PrestoPrime EMV System is software compatible with the current generation Presto System - more than 90,000 of which are at work every day in more than 1,800 restaurants across the United States - and includes twice the memory and four times the flash storage of the current generation, and a securely partitioned payment module that enables point-to-point encryption (P2PE) security, EMV, and multiple forms of payment, including PIN-entry payment, Magstripe, and NFC capability for contactless payment systems such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

About National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org

About LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco

Founded in 1902, San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired promotes the independence, equality and self-reliance of people who are blind or have low vision. We offer blindness skills training and relevant services such as access to employment, education, government, information, recreation, transportation and the environment. We also pursue the development of new technology, encourage innovation, and amplify the voices of blind individuals around the world.

National Federation of the Blind Announces Winners of 2017 Onkyo Braille Essay Contest

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 15:15

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Thursday, January 4, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgNational Federation of the Blind Announces Winners of 2017 Onkyo Braille Essay ContestCompetition Encourages Braille Usage Among the Blind

Baltimore, Maryland (January 4, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), in celebration of World Braille Day, is proud to announce the winners of the 2017 Onkyo Braille Essay Contest. The NFB administered the Onkyo Braille Essay Contest on behalf of the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union and encouraged all countries in the Region to participate

The essays were required to be written in Braille and could cover a variety of proposed topics related to the importance of Braille. There were two groups of competitors: a junior category for persons up to age twenty-five and a senior category for persons aged twenty-six or older. Each winner received a substantial cash prize, a plaque, and other gifts from the Onkyo Corporation.

The seven winners from the North America/Caribbean Region were as follows:

 

Otsuki Prize

Jessie Mabry, Connecticut, US

 

Excellent Work Award, Senior

Tammy Frost, Minnesota, US

 

Fine Work Award, Senior

Jennifer Spears, Colorado, US

Jamie Lloyd, St. Catherine, Jamaica

 

Excellent Work Award, Junior

Kristen Steele, Iowa, US

 

Fine Work Award, Junior

Fernando Reyes, New Mexico, US

Hannah Neils, Minnesota, US

The essay contest, sponsored by Onkyo Corporation, a Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer, and the Braille Mainichi, part of the Mainichi Newspaper Company in Japan, was created to promote Braille literacy and to encourage the sharing of social and cultural information among blind and low-vision persons.

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We are pleased, once again, to have been a part of this important contest. There can be no doubt that the ability to read and write Braille competently and efficiently is the key to education, employment, and success for the blind. Despite the undisputed value of Braille, however, less than 10 percent of blind children in the United States are learning it. We congratulate the contest winners and commend them for demonstrating the positive impact Braille has had on their lives through their essays, and for raising awareness of the importance of Braille literacy as they live the lives they want.”

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About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org.

Blind People Condemn Nepal’s Ban on Blind Everest Climbers

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 16:51

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Tuesday, January 2, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgBlind People Condemn Nepal’s Ban on Blind Everest ClimbersNational Federation of the Blind and World Blind Union Call for Rescission of New Ban on Blind Mountaineers

Baltimore, Maryland (January 2, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the World Blind Union (WBU), which represent the United States and global blind communities respectively, today stated their opposition to a new ban on blind climbers participating in expeditions on Mount Everest, recently announced by the government of Nepal.

“The National Federation of the Blind is surprised and disappointed that Nepalese authorities have banned blind people from participating in expeditions on Mount Everest,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “While we recognize that this climb should not be undertaken by the unprepared or inexperienced, the ban on blind climbers is arbitrary. The first blind person to attempt this climb, Erik Weihenmayer, summited on May 25, 2001 in an expedition that we were proud to sponsor. This proves that blindness, by itself, does not prevent a climber from safely summiting Mount Everest.”

“Blind people regularly engage in all manner of activities, both ordinary and extraordinary,” Mr. Riccobono continued. “Despite the wide-ranging evidence of our capacity, however, society continues to arbitrarily restrict what we may do, and low expectations continue to create artificial barriers that prevent us from fully participating in our communities. There is no more evidence that we should not climb Mount Everest than that we should not walk the streets with our white canes, ride amusement park attractions, or raise children, all of which are things that some have tried to prevent us from doing, but which many of us have done successfully.”

“Most blind people will never climb Mount Everest, but neither will most of the sighted. The issue is not whether a climber is blind but whether he or she has the adventurous spirit, physical endurance, and requisite skill. As in all other endeavors, we demand to be judged by whether we have qualities relevant to the task at hand, not on the single characteristic of blindness. Nepalese authorities should immediately rescind the ban on blind climbers and should reconsider banning any other climbers with disabilities,” Mr. Riccobono concluded.

Dr. Fredric Schroeder, President of the World Blind Union, said: “Climbing Mount Everest is challenging and dangerous, and it is not surprising people would assume it is too challenging and dangerous for a blind person to attempt. But Erik Weihenmayer, a blind man, did just that and did it successfully. Excluding blind and partially sighted people from equal access based on assumptions reinforces and helps perpetuate economic and social isolation. Few blind people will attempt to climb Mount Everest—as few sighted people will attempt to climb Mount Everest—but Nepalese tourist authorities should recognize that they have neither the knowledge nor wisdom to justify the exclusion of blind people from attempting to achieve the seemingly unachievable, especially since it has already been done.”

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About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org.

Leveraging Technology to Achieve Greater Braille Literacy

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 10:54
Blog Date: Friday, January 5, 2018Author: Bre BrownCategories: EducationGeneral

I am fond of a blog post entitled Braille Is Not Dead (So Stop Trying to Kill It). The author articulately and systematically discusses the reasons why Braille remains critically important now and into the future and demonstrates that, while quite useful, audio alone should not be considered sufficient.

As a Braille instructor, I have encountered occasional resistance from students who believe Braille is becoming increasingly obsolete in the face of exponential technological advances. They will sometimes ask why they should work diligently to acquire a code which, in their minds, will soon be relegated to the past—being left in the metaphorical dust by an irrepressible digital juggernaut. Some of them are caught off-guard when they hear my reply.

Braille and technology are not mutually exclusive. In point of fact, thanks to KNFB Reader, NFB-NEWSLINE®, and countless other tools, Braille is more readily available than it has ever been through the interconnectedness of screen readers and electronic Braille displays. Consequently, students are able to cultivate Braille reading and writing acumen thanks to an endless supply of Braille-ready content.

Gone are the days when Braille production was so infrequent or problematic that reading material could be difficult to obtain and was, by necessity, closely guarded. Let us be mindful not to discount Braille’s efficacy given its availability. Active literacy is essential in today’s highly-competitive and ever-changing labor market and can go a long way toward dispelling long-held, stubbornly entrenched low expectations.

Once shown statistics regarding the correlation between Braille literacy and employment, many students redouble their efforts and are rewarded with markedly improved reading speeds and far greater written accuracy. Generally, as students realize increases in speed and proficiency through a combination of hardcopy and electronic Braille, and as they are able to apply the code in a variety of personal and professional contexts, they gain a much greater appreciation for its elegant and edifying influence.

Louis Braille and his intrepid students gave us a timeless gift. As we celebrate World Braille Day, let us never forget their courage and sacrifice. The ability to write in contracted Braille on Apple iDevices is testament to Braille’s enduring, life-altering power. In all its forms, Braille Rocks!

Tags: braillebraille literacyworld braille day

Braille Opens Doors Previously Closed

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 10:41
Blog Date: Thursday, January 4, 2018Author: Gary WunderCategories: EducationGeneralStories

As a child words meant everything to me. I loved to hear people talk and tell stories. One of the things I liked the best was when people read, but exactly what they were doing both perplexed and amazed me. When they told me a story, it would vary a bit. When they read me the story, it was always the same, and it was clear they weren't always the storyteller.

What was reading, I asked, and dutifully they showed me the newspaper, the magazine, or the catalog. When they read the newspaper, it usually had something to do with a soon-to-be cure for blindness. When they read from a magazine, it was usually about someone I had heard on the radio or television. When they read from the catalog, it was usually about something I really wanted for Christmas, and the more they read me, the more I liked it.

The newspaper, the magazine, and the catalog all had slightly different textures, but I couldn't get where the words came from. The texture was smooth and pleasant to the touch, but how did they find words? I asked, and again they answered. They said that the words came from letters, and they taught me the alphabet song and how to spell things like cat, dog, mom, dad, and even my name. The letters were fun to sing, and it was easy to memorize these words and spell them back, receiving praise on being a good boy, a bright boy.

But if the words came from letters, where could I find them on those pages? I was told they were different shapes, but I certainly couldn't feel shapes. I finally concluded I had to be content with the fact that grown-ups could read and children could not.

At six years of age I went off to school, and one of the things they said they were going to teach me was Braille. They put in front of me a book, and in addition to some of the smooth surfaces I had felt with other reading material, this one had bumps. They told me that the bumps were letters and started showing me a, b, and c. This was cool because I could feel the shapes and knew the song. Then it hit me with a joy that I have seldom experienced. These weren't just letters: they were letters that made words; I was learning to read. I remember asking in amazement, "Is C A T cat in Braille?" They said that it was, and they affirmed that mom and dad and even Gary were still the same.

I understand the problems we have in training enough teachers who are competent in Braille and even how many of those who are committed to it cannot read quickly enough to make a story interesting in the same way that my mom, dad, and grandma could. What I can't understand is how anyone could discount learning a reading and writing system, whether the shapes that make it up come from ink or toner or dots. I read rapidly enough that sharing stories with my children and grandchildren took place in just the same way the stories were read to me. The only difference is that I read with my fingers and they read with their eyes. Oh, there is one other difference: my children found their reading experience enhanced by turning off the lights, sitting close to me on the couch, and sometimes putting their head on my shoulder.

For more than thirty years of my life, the paycheck that I brought home came from analyzing complicated syntax necessary in writing and reviewing computer software. Being able to grapple with spelling, punctuation, and document layout is now what I do for a living, writing not for computers but for human beings. I learned from Braille how to read and write in large part by being able to touch the work of authors who were masters in their craft. Most of the words I know how to spell came from remembering what they felt like on the page and being able to reconstruct them in my own writing. Braille is beautiful, Braille is a blessing, and I am so fortunate to have the world under my fingertips.

Tags: braillebraille literacyworld braille day

Celebrate World Braille Day by Raising Awareness

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 09:56
Blog Date: Tuesday, January 2, 2018Author: Chris DanielsenCategories: EducationGeneral

Each year, January 4 is celebrated as World Braille Day. It marks the birthday of Louis Braille (1809-1852), the French inventor of the reading and writing code for the blind. In Louis Braille’s time, the code was only used at the Parisian school for the blind where he studied and later taught. Today, there are Braille codes for virtually every written language in the world, so that blind people everywhere can become literate and acquire the opportunities that literacy brings.

The National Federation of the Blind is proud to celebrate Braille. At the same time, it is sobering to remember that the number of blind children being taught this crucial reading and writing tool in the United States is at an all-time low. The most recent available statistics from the American Printing House for the Blind suggest that only about 8 percent of blind K-12 students in the United States are Braille readers.

Considering the Braille literacy crisis, it is important that we continue to make the case for Braille. Braille is the only method that allows blind people both to read and write independently. While other tools, such as recorded or text-to-speech audio, are useful to blind people, only Braille provides us with true literacy. A correlation has been demonstrated between knowing how to read and write Braille and better educational and employment outcomes. Yet because of the false perceptions that Braille is hard to learn or that new technologies can replace it, Braille instruction continues to decline. The irony is that technology, such as Braille notetakers and displays that can connect to computers and smartphones, has made Braille more available than ever before.

Every day, thousands of blind people use Braille for everything from shopping lists to labels for canned goods, from reading novels to solving math and scientific equations, from learning a piece of music to composing one. The increasing availability of Braille signs makes it easier for blind people to get around hotels, office buildings, government facilities, university campuses, and more. Braille is as flexible as print, can be learned in roughly the same amount of time, and can be read just as fluidly.

There is much that needs to be done to combat the decline of Braille literacy, but one way that each of us can help is to create awareness of how Braille makes it possible for blind people to transform our dreams into reality. On World Braille Day, let’s commit ourselves to showing more blind people and more members of the sighted public how this versatile code helps us live the lives we want.

Tags: braillebraille literacyworld braille day

Braille Literacy: Success for Everyone

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 09:30
Blog Date: Wednesday, January 3, 2018Author: Alison TarverCategories: EducationParenting

My son Nicholas was born into this world with a bit of difficulty to say the least. The hows and whys are not as important as the journey that Nicholas and my family have been on since April 2006. Nicholas is an eleven-year-old boy who has multiple disabilities. His visual impairment, cerebral palsy, processing issues, and epilepsy are just hurdles he tackles, not his defining characteristics. Braille has been the key to his successful journey both in and outside of the classroom.

I can briefly explain how Nicholas became a competent Braille reader in mainstream sixth grade. First, I would say get a team together. Sometimes it takes a village to support all the needs of children with multiple involvements. I gathered together people who had positive attitudes and wanted nothing but the best for my child. So “Team Nicholas” consisted of his teachers, a paraprofessional, a Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Mom and Dad, a connection with the Louisiana Center for the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind, and numerous healthcare providers. Next, we introduced Braille in kindergarten and focused on it daily.

Here comes the critical step when instructing children with multiple disabilities: “TAKE YOUR TIME, AND THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!” Every step involved in teaching a new process to Nicholas had to be broken down. For example, when I taught him to dress himself, I couldn’t teach him to put on his shirt and his pants at the same time. First, we mastered putting on his shirt and practiced that one skill for months until he had it down pat; then we worked on the pants. This was the same process used with his Braille learning. He could master that dot 1 was a Braille a, but initially had difficulty spelling “cat” and remembering all the Braille cell combinations as well as how to spell “cat.” It was a step by step process. But little by little, he got it and continues to get better and better. Over the years, Team Nicholas has figured out the methods that give him the most efficiency and productivity.

With the help of blind role models, educators, and fellow parents, I have been able to understand all the options available to Nicholas—whether it be hardcopy Braille, refreshable Braille, screen readers, or other forms of auditory feedback. I can tell you that Braille has always played an integral part, and Nicholas would not be as successful if he had not learned the code.

Finally, don’t forget about extracurricular activities for your blind child. Thanks to LCB, I found out about the National Federation of the Blind BELL Academy, which Nicholas has attended five times during the summer. I cannot say enough about Braille enrichment programs! They have been paramount in Nicholas’ Braille reading and writing success.

If you are the parents of a blind or visually impaired child and have fears about his or her learning path using Braille, I can without a doubt tell you, you can do it and you can succeed! With passionate teachers, likeminded parents, supportive paraprofessionals, and deep-rooted connections to the National Federation of the Blind, Braille literacy is possible.

Tags: braillebraille literacyworld braille dayeducation

Sheltered Workshop and Honda of America Manufacturing Sued for Disability Discrimination

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 14:09

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Friday, December 15, 2017Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgRegina Kline or Kevin DochertyBrown, Goldstein & Levy(410) 962-1030Sheltered Workshop and Honda of America Manufacturing Sued for Disability DiscriminationSheltered Workshop Employee who Earned Subminimum Wages Brings Unique Employment Discrimination Action

Today, Michael A. Denoewer, an individual with autism, filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against his former employer, U-CO Industries, a sheltered workshop located in Marysville, Ohio, and Honda of America Manufacturing (Honda), for which U-CO is a Tier 1 Supplier.

Mr. Denoewer alleges that U-CO Industries, his former employer, discriminated against him because of his disabilities when it failed to evaluate him for jobs in the workshop that he was otherwise qualified to perform and that provided higher pay, greater opportunities for advancement, and additional training opportunities. Instead, during the nearly seven-and-a-half years that he was employed by U-CO Industries, Mr. Denoewer was relegated to piece-rate work for which he received as little as $1.38 per hour after taxes. Mr. Denoewer asserts that these actions were based on erroneous assumptions and stereotypes about his disabilities, and not on any objective assessment of his abilities, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Mr. Denoewer’s lawsuit against Honda is one of the first of its kind to be brought for aiding and abetting a sheltered workshop’s discrimination. Honda contracts with U-CO Industries for parts that are used in Honda’s new vehicles. As a Production Associate at U-CO Industries, Mr. Denoewer worked to assemble materials for Honda’s Owner’s Manuals. Because U-CO Industries is a Tier 1 supplier for Honda, a coveted designation that allows the workshop to supply Honda with components that go directly into new vehicles, Honda, in turn, closely monitors U-CO’s operations, labor costs, workforce composition, and workplace methods. Mr. Denoewer alleges that Honda aided, abetted, incited, and compelled U-CO into doing acts declared discriminatory under Ohio law, including discriminating against him on the basis of disability by relegating him to less desirable positions within the workshop.

“Paying workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage reflects low expectations based on false perceptions of our capacity,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, which is assisting in this litigation. “Relegating workers like Michael Denoewer to low-paying, dead-end work based solely on the characteristic of disability is the very definition of discrimination. The National Federation of the Blind is committed to making sure that workers with disabilities are valued for what we can do and afforded the basic rights to which all workers are entitled.”

“Michael Denoewer understands that he has rights like any other employee and that U-CO Industries and Honda have obligations to evaluate him on the merits, not based on unproven and erroneous assumptions about his capabilities,” said Regina Kline, an attorney for the Plaintiffs. “That an employer holds itself out as a special employer of people with disabilities does not immunize it from the obligations that attach to any other employer under the ADA. Moreover, contractors must be aware of the labor conditions in sheltered workshops to avoid aiding and abetting discrimination. It vitiates the very purpose of disability employment programs to deny employees like Michael Denoewer the opportunity to advance within the workshop’s operations.”

Marc Maurer, another attorney for the Plaintiffs, explained, “The ADA and its provisions prohibiting employer discrimination flow from the presumption that people with disabilities have value and can contribute in the workplace and society. Paying workers with certain characteristics subminimum wages and refusing to consider them for jobs for which they are otherwise qualified sends the false message that they have no value and violates the law.”

The Complaint is available at http://www.browngold.com/wbcntntprd1/wp-content/uploads/Denoewer-v-UCO-Honda-Complaint.pdf.

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About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org.

What I Learned at NFB Youth Slam

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 14:45
Blog Date: Tuesday, December 5, 2017Author: Camryn GattusoCategories: EducationStories

I am Camryn Gattuso, fifteen years old, and a sophomore at Tuslaw High School in Massillon, Ohio. I have been totally blind since birth and have been educated in a typical public school. I have attended Space Camp® in Alabama for three years in a row, and after receiving my Advanced Space Academy® Wings I wanted to try a different STEM camp. I applied to the STEM program put on by the National Federation of the Blind and was picked to attend.

This is what I did while attending the 2017 NFB Youth Slam. My parents and I drove to Baltimore, Maryland, where I was dropped off at Towson University to start my week at Youth Slam with the sixty other students from the USA. After registration we followed our program marshals to the dining hall and had lunch together. After lunch, we had an activity that was supposed to get us acquainted with each other. The object was to blow up a balloon and see whose would pop first. Then an instructor told us the rules for the week and what would happen if we didn’t follow them. After that I went to my room and met my roommate, Marley, from Utah.

The next day after an early breakfast, I went to my first class, Installation Art. Our instructor’s name was Ann, and she told us that we would be working all week to make an exhibit to show at the conclusion of Youth Slam. We would also be going to White Marsh wetlands the next day to collect random items or ideas that we could use in our project. During the first day we spent over two hours learning where all the tools and the other necessary items for our project would be kept. I figured I would use a motor in my project and was shown the three types of motors they had available. The one I was particularly fascinated by was the 180 motor, which when connected to a controller box, moved back and forth similar to the way a bird flaps its wings.

After we were dismissed from Installation Art, we had some free time before the evening program of Karaoke. At this session I sang two Disney songs, “Beauty and The Beast” and “Let It Go”. Then we went back to the dorm room, and I was fascinated at the Cozmo robot that my roommate brought with her from home.

The next day I continued with my project in Installation Art. My class then boarded a bus to White Marsh wetlands in the afternoon. We were supposed to listen and tell the people in charge how many different bird calls we heard, which was really fun. We were then given a project to identify by feel whether the plants in that area were living or dead. Then we put on rubber boots and went into the water and tried to catch random aquatic lifeforms with a net. Next a forest ranger took us on a nature walk along a wooden boardwalk where we were told about different plants native to the area. We then returned to the university for more afternoon session work.

My next day session was the Chemistry of Cooking, where we learned how to prepare food items. Later that day we had a jam session. I played songs on the piano and listened to others as they performed their talents.

The following day I continued Installation Art, and I came up with the brilliant plan of making a bird with flapping wings using the 180 motor. I learned how to use a hot glue gun in creating my project. I made the head out of foam, body from piece of cardboard, and the beak out of a triangular-shaped piece of paper. After making sure everybody’s projects worked, we set up our exhibits that would be display at the end of the week. Later that day, I went to a session called Hot Stuff, where I learned how to solder wires together or to a terminal.

That night there was an outdoor carnival set up for us, and we had hot dogs and cotton candy. The funniest thing that happened that night was when I was sitting on the concrete outside, this kid walked up to me and asked, “What is this?”

I raised my head and yelled, “You know full well what it is. It’s a person!” I was surprised that he didn’t know that I was the person sitting there.

The next day, I did some finishing items for my Installation Art project. The afternoon session that day was 3D Printing the Stars, where we all got to feel 3D models of stars and other things. The evening session was yoga. We got to make essential oils, and then we learned different yoga positions. There was relaxing music in the background, which sounded good and calming.

The final day was when everyone got to see what their peers had learned to make. Everyone was fascinated by my bird project, and I was most fascinated by the computer science projects where the kids programed audio games on computers. This required knowledge of JAWS to play the games. In the afternoon, we went to the NFB Jernigan Institute, where I listened to presentations on the college application process. Then we finished up with a block party in the garage at the NFB Jernigan Institute. This consisted of a dance and food for us and was the conclusion of a fun-filled and educational week-long program.

I’m looking forward to possibly attending another Youth Slam if chosen to participate again.

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Organization Says Senate Tax Bill Disastrous for Education, Employment of Blind Americans

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 15:27

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Wednesday, November 29, 2017Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgOrganization Says Senate Tax Bill Disastrous for Education, Employment of Blind AmericansNational Federation of the Blind Denounces Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Baltimore, Maryland (November 29, 2017): The National Federation of the Blind officially opposes the United States Senate’s current Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

The organization cites a probable dramatic increase in unemployment among blind Americans, which already approaches sixty percent, as the reason for its opposition.

According to projections by the Congressional Budget Office, the losses in tax revenue under the TCJA will be so high, at least initially, that they will trigger the “pay-as-you-go” rules of the Office of Management and Budget. This will eliminate funding for vital programs and services for the blind, such as Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding. These vital services link blind people to educational and employment opportunities by providing the training and resources that they need.

The 2015 American Community Survey, the most recent data available, reported that, for working age adults reporting significant vision loss, only 42.0% were employed.

“The detrimental impact the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will have on blind Americans cannot be denied,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “This bill slams the door on education and vocational rehabilitation, and ultimately on employment, for some seven million blind Americans. We call upon the United States Senate either to protect these critical programs and services, or to vote no.”

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About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org.

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