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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Connecting to Everyday Life

Recognizing the need for all people to better connect to current events, entertainment, and the world at large, AFB put free or low-cost radios into the hands of blind listeners in 1924–a time when radios were incredibly expensive.

Today, AFB ensures that people experiencing vision loss remain a vital part of their communities by helping them gain access to the products, information, and resources they need to live, work, and learn every day.

From the 1920s on, radio helped people with vision loss stay in touch with the world. c. 1935.

Woman with a radio


AFB TECH Publishes Accessibility Report on Home Appliances

Warming up leftovers in the microwave. Doing the laundry. These are activities that most people take for granted. But what if you have trouble seeing? This past year AFB TECH, a hub for AFB's technology and employment efforts, set out to systematically determine just how accessible home appliances are. The results were published in a two-part report in AccessWorld ®, AFB's technology magazine. Now, people experiencing vision loss are better prepared to locate and buy appliances that make everyday living possible.

In other issues of the monthly online magazine AccessWorld, consumers with vision loss can read about the latest technological developments pertaining to blindness and visual impairment. Whether you want to know which blood glucose monitor is accessible or decide what computer screen reader to purchase, consumers can find all the answers they need about mainstream and accessible products in AccessWorld. To read the home appliance review, and more, visit www.afb.org/accessworld.


Groundbreaking Releases from AFB Press

We all have different concerns and needs at the various stages of life, and people experiencing vision loss are no different. As always, AFB Press has released timely and important books addressing the most pressing issues of families, students, professionals, consumers, and parents.

More than 6.5 million Americans age 55 and over have lost all or part of their vision, and in the coming years as Baby Boomers age, these figures will dramatically increase. Aging and Vision Loss: A Family Handbook offers the growing ranks of families coping with vision loss in an elderly parent, relative, or friend the comprehensive advice, practical information, and resources they need to adjust.

Autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities in the United States, and children with both autism and visual impairment have varied and complex learning needs. Educators now have a one-of-a-kind guide to teaching strategies in the book Autism Spectrum Disorders and Visual Impairment: Meeting Students' Learning Needs, which provides a comprehensive look at the issue, and ideas, tools, and techniques that teachers will find effective and invaluable.

Other AFB Press titles of note published in 2006 include:

2006 AccessWorld ® Guide to Assistive Technology Products;

College Bound: A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments;

Proceedings of the Summit on Cerebral/Cortical Visual Impairment;

Teaching Social Skills to Students with Visual Impairments: From Theory to Practice;

Tactile Strategies for Children Who Have Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities;

Tactile Learning Strategies.

For these titles, and full list of AFB Press publications, visit www.afb.org/store.


CareerConnect ® Web Site Expands

Finding a job is all about making connections–to information, skills, and, most importantly, people. Individuals with vision loss, however, don't always have access to the resources they need to compete in today's marketplace. In fact, less than 50 percent of working-aged adults with vision loss are successfully employed, and a third of those with jobs have an average monthly pay rate that is 37 percent lower than the pay rate of people who are not disabled. Although the technology and educational infrastructure exists today to enable more people with vision loss than ever before to enter the workforce, job seekers and employers alike lack the specific information they need to make good use of it.

To address this critical situation, AFB unveiled a greatly expanded Web-based resource in 2005 to ensure that people with vision loss have equal access to employment opportunities. All of AFB's employment content is now available through one site, CareerConnect (www.afb.org/careerconnect). In addition to showcasing the diversity of jobs held by people with vision loss, CareerConnect provides targeted employment resources for several distinct audiences: job seekers with vision loss; employers and HR professionals; rehabilitation professionals and educators; mentors; teenagers; and parents, family, and friends. AFB's CareerConnect program is leading the way to ensure that employers and job seekers alike come to believe what AFB already knows–people with vision loss are productive, loyal workers who deserve equal access to contribute to the workforce.


AFB Center on Vision Loss Offers Help and Hope

Nancy Shugart's 90-year-old mother had recently lost some of her vision due to glaucoma, and she found it almost impossible to do a number of ordinary tasks. After Nancy visited the AFB Center on Vision Loss in Dallas, TX, however, she got some great ideas from staff members on making her mother's adjustment to vision loss a lot easier. When her mother received a dome magnifier, a simple device that allows people with low vision to read small print, she exclaimed, "This is the best thing that has ever been invented!"

When her mother received a dome magnifier, a simple device that allows people with low vision to read small print, she exclaimed, "This is the best thing that has ever been invented!"

Just like Nancy's mother, millions of people around the country don't always realize how a relatively simple device can vastly improve their ability to successfully cope with declining vision. That's where the AFB Center on Vision Loss comes in. The number of people experiencing vision loss in this country continues to grow, and AFB established the Center as a vital connection between them and the information, community groups, professional services, and helpful technologies that they need to successfully enter a new phase of life.

To further serve this ever-increasing population, in 2007 AFB will expand the reach of the Center and introduce a new web site that will offer comprehensive information on all aspects of vision loss. Millions of Americans who are losing their vision will have help and hope at their fingertips with this one-stop resource–the only one of its kind.

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