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AFBAmerican Foundation®
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Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

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VisionAware Turns 3!

June marks the third anniversary of VisionAware™, AFB’s online program for adults with vision loss. The site is full of information and resources that make it easier to live independently with sight loss. Visit VisionAware today to learn about an eye condition, get emotional support, find tips for living and working with vision loss, and ways to get connected with others sharing the same journey. Get the latest news or some savvy analysis from the VisionAware bloggers, and use the message boards to ask questions or make new friends. And because June is Cataract Awareness Month, don’t forget to check out all of the information we have available on cataracts.

Hot Topics

VisionConnect™ App Now Available

VisionConnect logo - an eye with the pupil drawn as a magnifying glass search iconAre you looking for resources or tips for living independantly with vision loss? VisionConnect, a free, accessible iOS app is here to help. The new app provides a directory of services and training available in the United States and Canada for children and adults who are blind or visually impaired. Find services such as computer and technology training, daily living skills training, braille and reading instruction, dog guide training, employment services, low vision services, and more. VisionConnect is designed for doctors and their patients, and provides information on products, technology, and employment. Users can also have home survey checklists and medication management tips emailed to them. To download the app, visit the Apple App Store or today.

AFB Submits Comments to White House on Aging with Vision Loss

AFB, together with 69 other organizations in the blindness field, has submitted recommendations to President Obama in response to the White House Conference on Aging, which will take place on July 13. A team of researchers at AFB, comprising Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D., senior policy researcher, Priscilla Rogers, Ph.D., program manager of VisionAware, and Mark Richert, Esq., director of AFB Public Policy, developed an analysis of extensive feedback gathered from older Americans and service providers across the United States, which identifies the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of aging and vision loss. The feedback was collected from older Americans and service providers around the United States via surveys, discussion forums, and a “National Conversation on Aging and Vision Loss,” held at the April 2015 AFB Leadership Conference. It is clear from the results of this effort that older Americans who are blind or visually impaired need access to 1) training for independent living, 2) critical technologies to enhance their independence and safety, and 3) appropriate support services such as transportation. It is our hope that the recommendations submitted will highlight the strengths, skills, challenges, and needs of older Americans with vision loss across the United States. The full letter is available with a synopsis of the feedback from AFB's DirectConnect website.

New Features from CareerConnect™

AFB CareerConnect is launching a new free, online, self-paced course on advancing you career or maintaining employment. Modeled after the Job Seeker's Toolkit, the course is designed for youth and adults who are blind or visually impaired. Sign in or register today to access this new course. If you are a professional, log in and generate your teacher code to pass this course on to your students as this will allow you to receive copies of their assignments and track their progress.

And if you haven’t yet downloaded the AFB CareerConnect App in the Apple App Store, it’s a great time to do so. We are launching an update soon that will allow you easy access to your AFB CareerConnect profile and a lot more.

Going to the ACB Convention? Visit AFB’s Center on Vision Loss!

If you’re headed to Dallas for the American Council of the Blind’s annual convention, make sure you sign up to tour Esther’s Place at the Center on Vision Loss. Esther’s Place is a fully furnished model apartment designed with accommodations for vision loss. The environmental design includes lighting, color, contrast, texture, and physical arrangement to enhance safety and independence. Over 500 adaptive products are available for hands-on demonstrations. Learn about and sign up for tours on the ACB Tours webpage.

AFB’s Helen Keller Achievement Awards a Huge Success

Pictured from left to right: Larry Kimbler, Chair, AFB Board of Trustees; Carl Augusto, AFB President & CEO; Kate Holland, VP, Sales and Marketing, Vanda; Ward Marston, musician and recording engineer; Charlie Cox, actor; Greg Joswiak, VP iPod, iPhone and iOS Product Marketing.The Helen Keller Achievement Awards, which recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding achievement in improving quality of life for people with vision loss, were presented at a beautiful gala event on June 18 at the JW Marriott Essex House in New York City.

The honorees were Apple Inc. for breakthroughs in accessible technology, actor Charlie Cox for his portrayal of blind superhero Daredevil, Ward Marston, a musician/recording engineer with vision loss, and Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. for pioneering treatment of a circadian rhythm condition called Non-24 Sleep-Wake Disorder, which can affect individuals who are totally blind.

Proceeds from this stellar fundraising gala will enable us to continue to provide our vital programs and services that remove barriers, create opportunities, and expand possibilities for people with vision loss.

Tools for Professional Development

AFB eLearning Center to Release Webinar on Bioptic Driving

Many individuals with low vision would like the privilege of driving an automobile. Some have driven before, but are now experiencing vision loss and have lost their license, while others have never been able to meet the visual requirement for a driver’s license. Specialized telescopic lens systems, referred to as bioptics, are now making it possible for some of these individuals to drive.

A new webinar from the AFB eLearning Center, Bioptic Driving for People with Low Vision,is aimed at service providers working with individuals with low vision who might be candidates for bioptic driving. Topics discussed include a history and description of bioptic driving, low-vision driver laws, suggestions for training, and resources about bioptic driving.

Bioptic Driving for People with Low Vision is presented by AFB’s National Project Manager, Ike Presley, and a bioptic driver. The webinar was developed through a partnership with the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER). It will be available in summer 2015, and can be purchased from the AFB Bookstore.

Awards and Events

Call for Access Award Nominations

Photo of Access Award plaquesEach year, AFB’s Access Awards honor individuals, corporations, and organizations that are eliminating or substantially reducing inequities faced by people who are blind or visually impaired. Nominations are now being accepted for the AFB Access Awards. Nominees 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.

For more information and to submit a nomination online, please visit the Access Award Nomination webpage.

From the AFB Blogs

Finding Fun Things to Do When You Are Visually Impaired
by Irwin Ramirez on 6/23/2015, posted on "FamilyConnect: A Parent's Voice"

The AFB Helen Keller Achievement Awards and Interview with Charlie Cox
by Joe Strechay on 6/23/2015, posted on "CareerConnect Blog"

Summer Challenge: Get Mentally Fit as a Person With a Disability
by Katy Lewis on 6/22/2015, posted on "CareerConnect Blog"

In Honor of Father’s Day, A Son’s Thoughts About Parenthood and Blindness
by Irwin Ramirez on 6/18/2015, posted on "FamilyConnect: A Parent's Voice"

Blind Bandits on the Run: An Adventure Tale
by Maribel Steel on 6/17/2015, posted on "Visually Impaired: Now What?"

The Frustration of Being Visually Impaired Without Looking Visually Impaired, and How to Handle It on the Job
by Shannon Carollo on 6/17/2015, posted on "CareerConnect Blog"

Our Readers Want to Know: What Is the Role of Lasers in Cataract Surgery?
by Maureen Duffy on 6/16/2015, posted on "VisionAware Blog"

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