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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

October 2015 eNews

Spotlight on…


AccessWorld app logo, AFBAccessWorld is the leading online magazine on accessible technology. Published monthly, this magazine features in-depth article on the latest devices, apps, and tools for individuals with vision loss.

The October issue covered employment resources for job seekers who are blind or visually impaired, along with many new product reviews and guides. The November issue will feature the annual holiday gift guide, a popular feature for finding gifts for that special someone. You can sign up to get monthly e-mail alerts when the new issue is available through My AFB or you can download the free AccessWorld app for easy, 24-7 access via iPhone or iPad.


Hot Topics

Registration for 2016 AFB Leadership Conference Now Open

The 2016 AFB Leadership Conference is slated for March 3-5 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, just minutes from Washington, D.C. Register today for the best rates and join your colleagues for what is sure to be another enlightening and intellectually stimulating event. We will be celebrating AFB's 95th anniversary, as well as the upcoming retirement of Carl Augusto, our president and CEO, so this is sure to be a conference to remember.

For those attending the conference on Thursday, we are offering a special day-long workshop called "Cerebral/Cortical Visual Impairment: A National Conversation." AFB and the American Printing House for the Blind have teamed up to sponsor this motivating, informative dialogue. It is designed to unite a core group of people who will work together to build upon prior knowledge, initiate research, and discuss best practice interventions in support of the CVI population. Space is limited for this special event, so be sure to register early!

Conference attendees receive a special group rate of $189/night for stays at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. Be sure to book your room early!

AFB Leads Raises Matching Funds for Helen Keller Archives

Helen Keller with friends around a table eating Thanksgiving Dinner

Coming off the heels of a $275,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant, AFB was offered a further $25,000 in the form of an NEH challenge or matching grant to further digitize the Helen Keller Archives. After several generous donations, we were still nearly $14,000 short of our goal, so we launched an intensive weeklong social media campaign to complete the fundraising effort. Due to an extraordinary outpouring of support for this fundraising challenge, we raised over $18,000 for a total of $29,626—far exceeding our goal!

Donations came from individuals and organizations around the world, and we are grateful for this outpouring of support. This success is a sensational testament to the continuing inspirational power of Helen Keller worldwide and to the collective power of individuals—something she so strongly believed in. Thank you again and be on the lookout for updates on our digitization progress!

Photo: Helen Keller with friends around a table eating Thanksgiving Dinner

New Technology Content Coming Soon to

Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, have become more or less portable computers. They can run third-party programs not originally installed on the device, called apps, and an overwhelming majority of these apps can be used with screen magnification, and are accessible with built-in screen readers.

New content, coming soon to AFB’s website, will take a look at apps in two categories: those created for the general public and those developed specifically for users with visual impairments. This content will provide information about making and receiving calls, reading and composing text and e-mail messages, listening to music, consulting your calendar, checking the local weather, and how to do a bit of web browsing. This new content is designed to empower people with vision loss and help them get up and running with mobile technology.

Cogswell-Macy Act Reintroduced

On September 17, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act (H.R. 3535) was reintroduced by Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and David McKinley (R-WV), thanks to dedicated advocacy from AFB and other sensory impairment organizations. This comprehensive legislation, once enacted, will ensure that the educational needs of every child who is deaf, blind, or deafblind, regardless of whether they have additional disabilities, will be properly served.

This updated version of the Cogswell-Macy Act includes additional language to support students who are deafblind. Contact your member of the U.S. House of Representatives to ask him/her to cosponsor H.R. 3535 today!

Diabetes Information Now Available in Spanish

VisionAware, AFB’s site for adults with vision loss, now offers its diabetes resources in Spanish. Visitors will find an introduction to diabetes, its symptoms, and treatment, along with links to rehabilitation services for those experiencing diabetes-related vision loss.

AFB Teams with Salus University to Provide Technology Training

Ike Presley, AFB’s national project manager, has been working closely with instructors at Salus University to update and expand their technology curriculum. As part of a grant-funded project, Salus students in the teachers of the visually impaired program will have the opportunity to attend the ATIA Conference in Orlando, FL, in February, where they will learn about free and low-cost screen-reading and screen-magnification software, accessibility features in iOS, and using the iPad for students who are blind or visually impaired during a special two-day pre-conference session. These future teachers will have the unique opportunity to try out and compare all of the available technologies in one place.

Tools for Professional Development

AFB Press Releases Two Books to Promote Independence in Older Adults Losing Vision

In November, AFB Press will release two books with the goal of supporting the independence of adults who are losing their vision, O&M for Independent Living and the new third edition of Making Life More Livable.

The impact of aging on mobility can be profound, and it can affect nearly every aspect of a person’s life. O&M for Independent Living: Strategies for Teaching Orientation and Mobility to Older Adults, edited by Nora Griffin-Shirley and Laura Bozeman, is an important guide for orientation and mobility instructors, rehabilitation specialists, occupational therapists, and other professionals who work with adults who may be new to vision loss. In addition to information on the effects of aging and considerations for assessment and instruction, chapters include strategies on adapting O&M skills for older adults, environmental modifications, exercise and its relationship to mobility, daily living skills, and effective collaboration among professional who serve this population.

Making Life More Livable: Simple Adaptations for Living at Home after Vision Loss, Third Edition by Maureen A. Duffy, has for years been an indispensable resource for older adults who are losing their vision and the family members who support them. This newly revised, large-print book provides practical tips and easy modifications that improve the safety and security of the home and promote independence for the person experiencing vision loss. Readers will find general guidelines, color illustrations, and specific, room-by-room ideas for adapting the home that are simple, easy, and cost-effective. This updated edition also includes information on how to use current technology and independent living products, a new section on preventing falls, and a helpful resource guide. Making Life More Livable gives older adults with vision loss effective solutions to continue living independent and productive lives.

Both Making Life More Livable and O&M for Independent Living will make their debut at the AER Conference on Vision Loss in Older Adults and Veterans, November 4–6, 2015, in Norfolk, VA.

The books will be available for purchase from the AFB Bookstore or by calling 1-800-232-3044. They will also be available through, the iTunes store, and Both books will be published in print, accessible e-book, and online subscription formats.

AFB Press Revises Popular Text, Beginning with Braille

AFB Press will be releasing the much anticipated second edition of the book Beginning with Braille: Firsthand Experiences with a Balanced Approach, by Anna Swenson, in late November at the Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This exceptional resource has been an essential learning and reference text for teachers and university programs across the United States and abroad. It helps educators teach braille to students who are blind or visually impaired. The second edition will include new sections on a range of critical topics, including trends in general education literacy instruction and the teaching of braille, working with dual media learners, and addressing diverse needs effectively.

Beginning with Braille, Second Edition will be available for purchase in late November 2015 from the AFB Bookstore or by calling 1-800-232-3044. It will also be available from, the iTunes store, and It will be published in print, accessible e-book, and online subscription formats.

AFB eLearning Center Releases Webinar on Bioptic Driving

Many individuals with low vision would like the privilege of driving an automobile, and 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 and is presented by AFB’s National Project Manager, Ike Presley, a bioptic driver. The webinar was developed through a partnership with the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), the professional association in the blindness field. It is available through the AFB Bookstore.

AFB Press to Release Webinar on Tactile Graphics

Touching on Tactile Graphics: Designing Graphics for Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired  will be the first in a series of webinars presented by Lucia Hasty, former educator, author, and  chair of the Tactile Graphics Committee of Braille Authority of North America (BANA). It will be released in the AFB eLearning Center in early December.

A tactile graphic is a set of symbols selected to represent a print image which is designed to be meaningful to a tactile reader. This presentation offers examples of print images and their braille counterparts for discussion of design strategies and techniques. Topics discussed will include using a planning sheet to determine content, planning and editing techniques, standards for readability, and more.

ACVREP credit will be available for this webinar. It can be purchased from the AFB Bookstore.

Awards and Events

AFB President Carl Augusto Receives Industry Awards

AFB President and CEO Carl Augusto poses with Dennis Steiner, president, NAEPB and and Kevin Lynch, president and CEO, NIB

On October 8, the American Printing House for the Blind recognized AFB President and CEO Carl Augusto with its highest honor, the Wings of Freedom Award. The Wings Award was established to recognize and honor individuals who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in the areas of education or rehabilitation of persons who are blind and visually impaired. Augusto also received the Crystal Lighthouse Award for his many years of support to the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and its associated nonprofit agencies, as well as his dedication to creating opportunities for people who are blind. Augusto was an honored guest at the 2015 NIB/National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind (NAEPB) National Conference and Expo, and received the award after his remarks on October 15. Kevin Lynch, NIB’s president and CEO, and Dennis Steiner, president of NAEPB, presented Augusto with the award. Augusto was also honored to receive the lifetime achievement award from VisionServe Alliance during the organization's fall conference in La Jolla, CA.

Photo: AFB President and CEO Carl Augusto poses with Dennis Steiner, president, NAEPB and and Kevin Lynch, president and CEO, NIB

From the AFB Blogs

H.S. Junior Raises Funds and Awareness for AFB
by Vivienne Heston-Demirel on 10/7/2015, posted on the AFB Blog

High School Assistant Principal to Run 2015 NYC Marathon for AFB
by AFB Staff on 10/2/2015, posted on the AFB Blog

Is it Possible to Find Real Workplace Advice in The Office?
by Katy Lewis on 10/26/2015, posted on the CareerConnect Blog

Mentoring Enhances Meaningful Outcomes in Career Education and Exploration for Those with Disabilities
by Detra Bannister on 10/23/2015, posted on the CareerConnect Blog

Cue the Applause: Celebrating Our Mentors on Disability Mentoring Day
by Katy Lewis on 10/22/2015, posted on the CareerConnect Blog

Practical, Research-Based Tips for Preparing Your Teen who is Blind or Visually Impaired for Gainful Employment
by Shannon Carollo on 10/21/2015, posted on the FamilyConnect: A Parent's Voice Blog

Halloween Fun With Pumpkin Spice Playdough
by Maria Dibernardo on 10/19/2015, posted on the FamilyConnect: A Parent's Voice Blog

White Cane Day: Post Your Picture!
by Amber Bobnar on 10/14/2015, posted on the FamilyConnect: A Parent's Voice Blog

If It Doesn’t Work the First Time, Try Again!
by Emily Coleman on 10/13/2015, posted on Raising a Child Who is Blind and...

Of Socks and Burrs
by Anne McCarthy on 10/26/2015, posted on Raising James: Multiply Disabled, Low-Vision, Adorable

My Sweet Daughter
by Anne McCarthy on 9/22/2015, posted on Raising James: Multiply Disabled, Low-Vision, Adorable

I Have A Cataract, What Now?
by Priscilla Rogers on 10/27/2015, posted on the VisionAware Blog

New Macular Degeneration Research: Some Eyes not Responsive to Initial Eye Injection Treatments May Benefit from Continued Treatment without Switching Drugs
by Maureen Duffy on 10/20/2015, posted on the VisionAware Blog

Enrollment News about the New PIVOT Study: Patient-centric Innovative Vision Home Testing
by Maureen Duffy on 10/13/2015, posted on the VisionAware Blog

Taking Your Disability to Work, Part 2: Peer Advisors Offer Advice
by Audrey Demmitt on 10/23/2015, posted on Visually Impaired: Now What?

Taking Your Disability to Work: Part 1
by Audrey Demmitt on 10/22/2015, posted on Visually Impaired: Now What?

When Your Visual Impairment Isn't Visible
by DeAnna Quietwater Noriega on 10/19/2015, posted on Visually Impaired: Now What?

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