The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has launched an all-new CareerConnect App™, a tool for professionals, job seekers, parents, and youth, and has announced that AccessNote®, a specialized notetaker for people who are visually impaired, will soon be available for use on Android devices. Thanks to generous support from funders, AFB is now making AccessNote (formerly $19.99 in the Apple App Store) available free of charge.
Based on AFB's popular CareerConnect® web program, the CareerConnect app is designed to be used on the go for job search tips, quick lesson ideas, and career advice. Key features include the CareerConnect Blog tab, providing current info about navigating the employment process; transition-related lesson plans grouped by topic; and Our Stories, packed with informative personal stories from people who are blind or visually impaired and successfully employed in various fields.
AccessNote, originally released in 2013 for use with iOS devices, is the first notetaking app developed and designed specifically for users with vision loss. AccessNote has been lauded for its user-friendly features such as easy text navigation, DropBox integration, compatibility with Bluetooth keyboards and wireless braille displays, and its powerful search function.
The CareerConnect app is available for download for iOS, and AFB will be adding new features through the coming year. AccessNote will be available for download for iOS and Android.
Since Medicare Won't Spend a Dime on Low Vision Devices, Offer Your Two Cents Via AFB's Change.org Petition!
Did you know that low vision devices are excluded from Medicare coverage? The federal agency that administers Medicare won’t provide coverage for these devices unless Congress tells them to. That’s why we hope you’ll join the thousands just like you who have already signed AFB's Change.org petition urging Congress to ensure Medicare coverage for low vision devices. If you have already signed the petition, thank you! But the effort to secure Medicare coverage for low vision devices requires all hands on deck. That's why we hope you'll share this announcement with anyone and everyone you know; with all of us working together, we can definitely make this change!
Join AFB's Change.org petition and tell Congress that it's time to end the failure of America's national Medicare system to cover low vision devices.
Tools for Professional Development
Summer Releases for Teachers from AFB Press: ECC Essentials Book and eLearning CVI Focus Series
This summer, AFB Press will release two highly anticipated resources for teachers who work in the field of visual impairment: ECC Essentials: Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments and the five-part eLearning offering, “CVI Focus Series: Assessment, Intervention, and Literacy for Individuals with Cortical Visual Impairment.”
ECC Essentials is a comprehensive new handbook designed specifically for teachers that presents effective strategies for helping students develop skills in all areas of the expanded core curriculum. The book includes chapters authored by a number of well-known experts in the field, and is edited by Carol Allman and Sandra Lewis, with Susan Spungin as consulting editor. It will be previewed at the AER International Conference in July, and available for sale in the AFB Bookstore by the end of summer.
The “CVI Focus Series” is a five-part webinar series presented by Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, an internationally known expert on the subject of cortical visual impairment. The series includes presentations on:
- Beginning with the Basics
- Using the CVI Range for Functional Vision Assessment
- Designing Interventions and Opportunities
- Facilitating Literacy
- Building Language and Literacy Skills
The CVI Focus Series will be released this summer and available in the AFB eLearning Center on an on-demand basis. ACVREP credit will be available.
VisionAware is celebrating its 2nd birthday! In June 2012, AFB and Reader's Digest Partners for Sight Foundation launched VisionAware, a free, easy-to-use, online resource center for adults with vision loss, their families, caregivers, healthcare providers, and social service professionals. In honor of this milestone, we’re sharing some features of the VisionAware website that might be helpful to you or your friends, family, or clients.
- Free, practical tips and articles on topics such as reading, finding the right technology, getting around for people with vision loss, their families, friends, caregivers, and related professionals.
- A glossary of eye conditions.
- Different ways to connect, including message boards and social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
- Breaking news on the latest developments in vision loss treatment via the VisionAware blog.
- Directories of helpful services, products, and resources.
- The Peer Perspectives Blog, which recruits peer advisor volunteers from around the world to provide a variety of perspectives on living with vision loss, including technology and accessibility insights, advice for family members, travel tips, and safety and accessibility throughout the home.
- A “Getting Started” Kit, containing 10 tip sheets with information designed to provide hope, connect people with important resources, and serve as a "roadmap" to finding useful information on VisionAware.
- The “My VisionAware” tool designed to help visitors by providing a listing of the latest articles, events, blogs, and announcements that relate to specific interest categories.
- A Peer Support Group Section that highlights peer support groups across the country.
Visit VisionAware today and get connected to this excellent resource center!
Awards and Events
Call for Access Awards Nominations
Do you know an individual or organization that is doing outstanding work in the area of accessibility? If so, we want to hear from you. AFB is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Access Awards. The Access Awards honor individuals, corporations, and organizations that are eliminating or substantially reducing inequities faced by people who are blind or visually impaired. Nominations for the AFB Access Awards should illustrate an exceptional and innovative effort that has improved the lives of people with vision loss by enhancing access to information, the environment, technology, education, or employment, including making mainstream products and services accessible. The effort should be one that has a national or international impact or can be a model for replication on a national or international level. The awards are presented annually at the AFB Leadership Conference.
AFB’s 18th Annual Helen Keller Achievement Awards a Great Success
Thank you to our generous sponsors and to everyone who attended the 18th Annual Helen Keller Achievement Awards. The gala was a great success, as was the online auction. Proceeds from this stellar event will enable AFB to expand its vital programs and services. For a more detailed description of the evening’s festivities, read AFB Program Manager Joe Strechay’s blog post on the gala. And congratulations again to our 2015 Helen Keller Achievement Award recipients for their extraordinary achievements:
- Mark Balsano, Executive Director of Compliance at AT&T
- Dr. Roman Rubio, Group Medical Director of Ophthalmology at Genentech
- Christine Ha, Winner of MasterChef, Season 3
From the AFB Blogs
Helen Keller and Tilly Aston: Beauty in Nature
Maribel Steel, VisionAware peer advisor, and Helen Selsdon, our archivist and resident Helen Keller expert, share the fascinating correspondence between Keller and her friend Tilly Aston, an Australian poet, writer and teacher who was blind, and who like Keller, had a great love of nature.
Win an e-Book for the Beach!
It’s not too late to win a great e-book from AFB Press. Simply go to the blog post and enter a comment by July 3, 2015, for your chance to win.
Helen Keller’s Presidential Medal of Freedom
Did you know Helen Keller won the Presidential Medal of Freedom? Helen Selsdon digs into our archives to give us these images of the medal and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s congratulatory telegram to Keller.
Research for Employment Means a Lot of Homework for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
Joe Strechay, CareerConnect program manager, discusses the research you should do for a prospective job.
Like Our Programs? Support Us!
If you like the work we do, please consider making a gift to AFB.
AFB in the News
Please check out our "In the News" webpage for recent media articles featuring AFB, our experts, and issues related to blindness and vision loss.
Connect with Us
AFB employs a number of social networking tools to keep you in the loop:
- AFB on Pinterest
- AFB on Google+
- FamilyConnect on Google+
- AFB Blog
- CareerConnect Blog
- VisionAware Blog
- AFB on Facebook
- Helen Keller on Facebook
- FamilyConnect on Facebook
- VisionAware on Facebook
- AFB Center on Vision Loss on Facebook
- JVIB on Facebook
- AFB on Twitter
- VisionAware on Twitter
- AFB Center on Vision Loss on Twitter