Skip to Content

AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

April 2016 eNews

Spotlight on Carl Augusto

Photo of Carl AugustoAfter 25 years of exceptional leadership, Carl R. Augusto will be retiring from his position as the fifth president and chief executive officer of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) in early May. Augusto has been a preeminent leader in the field of blindness and visual impairment, having served in a variety of professional and volunteer capacities since 1971. During his tenure at AFB, he has guided the organization toward a greater focus in addressing critical issues facing the field of blindness. Under his leadership, AFB has forged numerous strategic partnerships and alliances with organizations inside and outside of the field that has resulted in programmatic and financial synergies and innovative service delivery models. He has expanded AFB's scope to influence corporate America to make products and services accessible to blind and visually impaired people and has brought organizations, of and for the blind, together toward common objectives and greater collaboration.

Earlier this year, the AFB Board of Trustees named Kirk Adams, previously the president and CEO of The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., in Seattle, as its next president and CEO after a nationwide search.

We wish Carl all the best in his retirement and we look forward to working with Kirk to build on Carl’s many accomplishments.

Hot Topics

Reserve Your Seat for the 2016 Helen Keller Achievement Awards

The 20th annual Helen Keller Achievement Awards will be held on June 16 at the J.W. Marriott Essex House in New York City. Established by AFB in 1994 to acknowledge Keller's extraordinary efforts and promote the notable achievements of individuals and organizations that have improved quality of life for people with disabilities, the awards this year recognize:

Comcast Corporation, for breakthroughs in making its Xfinity X1 set top box technology and programming accessible to people with vision loss.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., for offering accessible personal banking products and customer services.

Rebecca Alexander, LCSW-R, MPH, author/psychotherapist, for showing the world how to live an accomplished life in spite of severe vision and hearing loss.

For tickets or further details, please visit

Celebrate Teachers

Black and white photograph of Annie signing into Helen's hand“The most important day I remember in all my life is the one on which my teacher, Anne [Mansfield] Sullivan, came to me.” —Helen Keller

Anne Sullivan Macy dedicated her life to making sure her pupil Helen Keller reached her full potential. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, and throughout the month, you can pay tribute to a teacher who has made a difference in your life by supporting our Helen Keller Archives. Until May 31, donations to the Helen Keller Archives will be fully matched up to $25,000.

The Helen Keller Archives contains over 80,000 one-of-a-kind items, including rare photographs of Anne Sullivan Macy, Helen’s correspondence with icons of the 20th century, and precious artifacts. This historical collection is currently being digitized so it can be preserved for future generations, but we need your help! Please visit our donation page to make your contribution today!

VisionAware Adds New Content for Older Employees

May is older American Month, so there’s no better time to recognize the contributions of older workers. There’s a trend of Americans ages 50 and older staying in the job market past retirement age. The Alliance for Retired Americans reports that the number of unemployed older workers has gone down significantly over the last six years. In 2009, the rate for unemployed older workers was 7.1%. In November 2015, the unemployment rate for this same group was 3.7%, one of the lowest since the beginning of the recovery in 2010.  

If you’re an older American looking for work, thinking about putting retirement off, or searching for information on today’s job market, visit today.

Updates to the Glossary of Eye Conditions

Have you experienced the sudden onset of flashing lights and visual field changes? You may be experiencing symptoms of acute zonal occult outer retinopathy (AZOOR), and you’re not alone. Learn more about this disease at

VisionAware has a comprehensive guide to eye conditions reviewed by medical professionals. Visit our recently updated Glossary of Eye Conditions for more details.

AFB Press Releases Two New Resources for Teachers

This spring, AFB Press is releasing two new books designed to support the work of teachers of students with visual impairments: iOS in the Classroom: A Guide for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments and I-M-ABLE: Individualized Meaning-centered Approach to Braille Literacy Education.

iOS in the Classroom: A Guide for Teaching Studentswith Visual Impairments,  written by Larry L. Lewis, Jr., is a fully illustrated, step-by-step guide to teaching students how to use an  iPad running iOS 9. The book is geared to allowing students with visual impairments to use the iPad to complete the same classroom tasks as their peers. It covers a variety of tasks and accessibility features, including getting acquainted with VoiceOver and Zoom, using external keyboards and refreshable braille displays, utilizing specific apps, and much more.

I-M-ABLE, or the Individualized Meaning-centered Approach to Braille Literacy Education, written by Diane P. Wormsley, is an innovative method for teaching braille and making it exciting for children who have difficulties learning braille. In this teaching approach, instruction is centered on analyzing the strengths and needs of students, emphasizing engagement through key words and phrases based on the student’s experiences and interests. Teachers will find this resource invaluable for helping students with mild to moderate cognitive impairments or other difficulties in making progress in braille reading and writing.

Both books will be available via print, e-book, and online subscription in the AFB Store. e-Book and print versions will also be available from,, and the iTunes store.

May Is National Nurses Month

We’re celebrating nurses and the nursing profession with a series of blog posts from and about nurses with vision loss:

Nurses with Disabilities Have Great Abilities, Part One, by Detra Bannister

Nurses with Disabilities Have Great Abilities, Part Two, by Detra Bannister

Even Nursing Careers Can Be Adjusted to Vision Loss, by Detra Bannister

Where Are They Now? Visually Impaired Nurse and Blogger, Audrey Demmitt, by Katy Lewis

From the AFB Blogs

Four Ways Google Is Building a More Accessible World for the Visually Impaired
by AFB Staff, posted on the “AFB Blog”

Happy 150th Anniversary Anne Sullivan Macy!
by Helen Selsdon, posted on the “AFB Blog”

What Networking Isn't…for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
by Shannon Carollo, posted on "CareerConnect Blog"

There is Hope; There is Help: Part 1 in a Series on Low Vision and Low Vision Services
by Maureen Duffy, posted on "VisionAware Blog"

During Older Americans Month 2016, AFB Initiates the 21st Century National Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss
by Priscilla Rogers, posted on "VisionAware Blog"

Out of Sight Vegetable Gardening
by Priscilla Rogers, posted on “Visually Impaired: Now What?”

What Your Future Adult Son or Daughter Will Say to You on Mother's Day
by Shannon Carollo, posted on "FamilyConnect: A Parent's Voice"

Meaningful Gift Ideas for Teacher Appreciation Day from Your Child with A Visual Impairment
by Shannon Carollo, posted on "FamilyConnect: A Parent's Voice"

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
by Shannon Carollo, posted on "FamilyConnect: A Parent's Voice"

Autism Awareness Month: The Child Versus the Label
by Emily Coleman, posted on “Raising a Child Who Is Blind and…”

Like Our Programs? Support Us!

If you like the work we do, please consider making a gift to AFB.

Connect with Us

AFB employs a number of social networking tools to keep you in the loop:

services icon Directory of Services

book icon Featured Book



Join Our Mission

Help us expand our resources for people with vision loss.