Skip to Content

AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Fall 2016 eNews

Hot Topics

AFB Offers Free NVDA Tutorials

AFB is proud to announce the launch of Learn Tech, a technology access initiative that features free online tutorials to help people who are blind or visually impaired learn how to improve their computer and technology skills. The tutorials can be accessed at

Learn Tech is a 10-part series on “Using Google Docs and Google Drive with NVDA.” Google Docs is a free, web-based application in which documents can be created, edited, and stored online. Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service that allows users to store files in the cloud, and share files with people who are working on the same project. NVDA (Non-Visual Desktop Access) is a free screen reader for people who are blind or visually impaired.

When these tools are used together, computer users who are blind or visually impaired are able to use the computer for work or school without any additional, expensive software. These tools also allow for easy project collaboration with others at school or in the workplace, leveling the playing field.

Also available from Learn Tech are the previously released Learn NVDA free video tutorials that describe how to use the NVDA screen reader. Additional tutorials will be added to Learn Tech over time.

Learn Tech tutorials were made possible with support from the Lions Club International Foundation, the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund, and the Consumer Technology Association Foundation. AFB is pleased to partner with these organizations to support technology literacy. Together, we are working to create a more accessible, inclusive world for people with vision loss.

AFB Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and AFB is pleased to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities. Check out our “Five Great Ways to Celebrate NDEAM.” And if you’re looking for good data on employment as it relates to individuals with vision loss, check out this issue of AFB’s Research Navigator.

AccessWorld® Named Award Finalist

AccessWorld was recently nominated as a finalist for the Folio Eddie & Ozzie Award for Standalone Digital Magazine from an Association/Non-Profit. Presented annually by FOLIO, the Eddie & Ozzie Awards honor the media industry’s leaders in uncompromising journalism and gorgeous designs. Be sure to check out the current issue of AccessWorld to see what all the buzz is about!

VisionAware™ Launches New Series for Parents with Visual Disabilities

AFB’s VisionAware now offers a comprehensive series of articles for parents with vision loss. Each article will provide first-hand accounts of how blind and visually impaired parents use organizational strategies with adaptive techniques to parent safely and independently. This series will explore everything related to raising a child, from preparing for pregnancy to potty training, dealing with teens, and grandparenting.   

Call for Migel Medal Nominations

AFB announces an invitation for nominations for the 2017 Migel Medal, the highest honor in the blindness field. The Migel Medal was established in 1937 by M.C. Migel, the first chairperson of AFB, to honor those whose dedication and achievements have significantly improved the lives of people with vision loss. Past honorees include legendary disability-rights advocate, Helen Keller, Senator Tom Harkin, social entrepreneur and engineer, Jim Fruchterman, and renowned educators, Kathleen Mary Huebner, Ph.D., and Philip H. Hatlen, Ed.D.

Nominees should be those whose life work affects services to people with vision loss on a national level. Prospective candidates include, but are not limited to, professionals with specific training and expertise in education, rehabilitation, technology, vision rehabilitation, personnel preparation, health, administration or related fields. They may work in the public or private sector.

Nominations for AFB's Migel Medal are due by October 14, 2016, and should be e-mailed to George Abbott, Director, AFB Press and Professional Development, at

Nominators should send a one-page description of the nominee and his/her accomplishments, or fill out our online nomination form at You must also submit two letters of recommendation with the nomination.

AFB Press Launches Webinar on Accessible eBooks for iOS

“The Why, When, and How for Reading eBooks”is the second webinar of the series based on the recently published book iOS in the Classroom: A Guide for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments by Larry L. Lewis, Jr. This webinar introduces participants to four different tools for readers who are blind or visually impaired to access books using braille, and/or speech.

  • Hard copy braille books
  • eBooks on accessible PDAs/notetakers
  • Dedicated eBook readers
  • eBook reading apps

Strategies for introducing and transitioning between these four tools are offered. Concrete demonstrations of eBook reading Apps are presented as viable options for accessing eBooks on iOS devices. After completing this webinar, participants will be able to develop a game plan for their students to effectively read eBooks using the appropriate combination of these four tools.

The Why, When and How for Reading eBooks will be available for purchase in the AFB store in late October at

AFB Press Releases Second Edition of Book about College Transition

The transition from high school to college is a significant turning point in a student’s life, especially for a student who is blind or visually impaired. The revised and updated book College Bound: A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments, 2nd edition, written by Ellen Trief, discusses how students can prepare for this transition, develop useful skills, and negotiate for and coordinate appropriate services. This guide, which addresses the student directly, also includes strategies for organization, time management, research, studying, and self-advocacy. Updates on the most recent college application procedures as well as navigating the web and assistive technology are integrated throughout the book. College Bound provides the roadmap for a successful journey through college life. The second edition is in color and large type print.

College Boundwill be available in November in the AFB Store at,,, and the iTunes store.

From the AFB Blogs

If I Could Ask the Candidates: A Presidential Debate About Blindness and Visual Impairment 
by Mark Richert, posted on the “AFB Blog”

Voices Heard: Disability Policy Becomes Part of the Public Debate
by AFB Staff, posted on the “AFB Blog”

Beyond Recognition: What Machines Don't Read
by Helen Selsdon, posted on the “AFB Blog”

Checking in from the CTIA Super Mobility Conference
by Paul Schroeder, posted on the “AFB Blog”

Resources You Haven't Thought of Before as a Visually Impaired Job Seeker 
by Neva Fairchild, posted on “CareerConnect Blog”

Resources You Haven't Thought of Before as a Visually Impaired Job Seeker, Part 2
by Neva Fairchild, posted on “CareerConnect Blog”

Make No Mistake, Reduced Vision Is Not Equivalent to Reduced Quality of Life
by Shannon Carollo, posted on “CareerConnect Blog”

Happy Anniversary to IDEA Part C: Early Intervention! #babyIDEAis30
by Shannon Carollo, posted on “FamilyConnect: A Parent’s Voice”

This Fall, Maybe We Should Teach Our Children (With and Without Visual Impairments) It's Okay to Fall
by Shannon Carollo, posted on “FamilyConnect: A Parent’s Voice”

Ready, Set, Go!
by Emily Coleman, posted on “FamilyConnect: A Parent’s Voice”

Meet Alan R. Morse, J.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Lighthouse Guild
by Maureen Duffy, posted on “VisionAware Blog”

African-American Patients: Highest Risk for Diabetic Retinopathy and Lowest Rates for Follow-Up Eye Care—What Kind of Education Is Needed?
by Maureen Duffy, posted on “VisionAware Blog”

A Powerful New Report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: Making Eye and Vision Health an Imperative for All Americans
by Maureen Duffy, posted on “VisionAware Blog”

I'm Not Blind
by Steve Kelley, posted on “Visually Impaired: Now What?”

What Does It Take to Become a Guide Dog?
by Audrey Demmitt, posted on “Visually Impaired: Now What?”

The Reserve Bank of Australia Hits the Jackpot with an Accessible Banknote
by Maribel Steel, posted on “Visually Impaired: Now What?”

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.