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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Current Projects & Activities, Spring 2003



The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), the organization to which Helen Keller devoted her life, is a national nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate the inequities faced by the ten million Americans who are blind or visually impaired—inequities in literacy, access to information, employment, and aging. Current Projects & Activities is an update on the work AFB is doing to fulfill this commitment. We encourage you to share it with your staff and others involved in services for people who are blind or visually impaired. We at AFB are always interested in hearing from you how we can best address the significant issues facing our field.

Carl R. Augusto
President and CEO



AFB Invites Nominations for 2003 Migel Awards

AFB invites nominations from the field of blindness for the 2003 Migel Medal in both the professional and volunteer categories. The Migel Medal was established in 1937 by the late M.C. Migel, AFB's first board chairman, to honor professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements have significantly improved the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired.

Nominees for the Migel Professional Award should be those whose professional work directly or indirectly benefits blind people. Potential nominees include, but are not limited to: professionals working in organizations or public institutions serving blind people; professors teaching in personnel preparation programs; and related professionals such as heads of regional libraries for blind people, or optometrists and ophthalmologists specializing in low vision patients.

Nominees for the Migel Volunteer Award should be volunteers within the blindness and visual impairment field or professionals who are employed in other areas, such as university professors who develop adaptive technology.

Migel Award nomination and selection guidelines have been published, and nominators must include a detailed summary and provide specific examples that explain how nominees meet these guidelines. In addition, nominators who have submitted names in previous years are welcome to resubmit the nominations using the guidelines.

Nominations should be sent—preferably in electronic format or by e-mail—to Scott McCall, vice president, National Programs, American Foundation for the Blind, 100 Peachtree Street, Suite 620; Atlanta, GA 30303; migelaward@afb.net. The outside envelope should state that a Migel nomination is enclosed. Submissions must be postmarked no later than Monday, June 2, 2003. Nominations may also be faxed to (404) 659-6957. Award recipients will be announced in early summer.

Migel Awards Nomination and Selection Guidelines

Professional Category

The individual nominated should meet most of the following guidelines:

  1. Contributions have direct or indirect impact on the blindness field and/or on people who are blind or visually impaired
  2. Outcome of contributions has national implications for:
    1. Advocacy
    2. Innovation or replication
    3. Positive effect on professions serving people who are blind or visually impaired
    4. Influence on blindness system
  3. Lasting leadership
  4. Has disseminated work through publications, presentations, committee memberships, active professional affiliations, etc.
  5. Is recognized by peers for contributions

Volunteer Category

The individual nominated should meet most of the following guidelines:

  1. Contributions have direct or indirect impact on blindness field and/or on people who are blind or visually impaired
  2. Outcome of contributions has national or regional implications for:
    1. Advocacy
    2. Innovation or potential for replication
    3. Positive effect on professions serving people who are blind or visually impaired
    4. Influence on blindness system
  3. Has positively influenced individuals as a mentor or role model
  4. Exemplifies spirit of voluntarism

 

2004 AFB Access Awards Nominations

AFB is inviting nominations for its 2004 Access Awards. AFB Access Awards honor individuals, corporations, and organizations that are eliminating or substantially reducing inequities faced by people who are blind or visually impaired. For more information, visit www.afb.org in June 2003.

 

www.afb.org

To add a job listing, event announcement, or news item to the AFB web site, contact Sara Hernandez, AFB Headquarters, sarah@afb.net.

New Activities on the Braille Bug™ Web Channel

The Braille Bug™ kid's channel, one of the most popular areas on the site, continues to schedule new activities and events for children, including the introduction of all-new games and books to celebrate diversity. AFB is proud of the many awards the Braille Bug™ has received:

  • American Library Association "Great Web Sites for Kids"
  • The Teacher's Corner Award of Excellence
  • National Education Association "Web Winner"
  • USA Today "Best Bet"
  • Kids Online Magazine.com "Great Kids Site Award"
  • Golden Web Award
  • Disability Network "Outstanding Website Award"

Visit www.afb.org/braillebug to see what all the excitement is about, and don't forget to check out what new books kids are discussing at the Reading Club.

New Directory of Services Online Update Center

AFB is pleased to announce the new Directory of Services Online Update Center, which allows organizations to access the information describing their services directly via the Internet and update that information at their convenience. Organizations are able to visit the Update Center to revise their listings and to broadcast news of announcements, events, and job openings directly on the Community Center area of AFB's web site. Visit the Update Center at www.afb.org/directorycenter.

National Literacy Center

The AFB National Literacy Center (NLC) develops programs, products, and strategies to ensure that people who are blind or visually impaired will become literate to the fullest extent possible in the most appropriate media.

National Symposium on Literacy for Adults with Visual Disabilities

Last fall, AFB's National Literacy Center hosted the first-ever National Symposium on Literacy for Adults with Visual Disabilities. The day-long symposium featured 20 speakers from all over the United States who presented on topics such as adapting commercially available adult literacy materials for visually impaired learners, solutions for working with consumers who have learning disabilities, accommodations for visually impaired learners who wish to take the new GED, and many more.

The proceedings of the symposium have been collected and edited for publication later this spring. To receive a free copy, contact Tina Tucker, AFB National Literacy Center, (404) 525-2303, fax: (404) 659-6957, ttucker@afb.net.

National Technology Program

The goal of the National Technology Program (NTP) is to eliminate or reduce inequities in access to information and technology-based products and services faced by people who are blind or visually impaired.

Reading Systems and PacMate Evaluated in AccessWorld

The January issue of AccessWorld: Technology and People with Visual Impairments, edited by Jay Leventhal, focused on various reading systems with computer generated speech output. In conjunction with this issue, Jim Denham, NTP Chicago office, completed an extensive evaluation of a brand new device, the PacMate, Personal Data System (PDA) produced by Freedom Scientific. This device has been compared to a competitor's product, the Voice Note, produced by Pulse Data Corporation, and sold by HumanWare.

The March issue included articles on the history of reading machines, the Linux operating system, and talking ATMs. Part one of an evaluation of top-of-the-line cell phones, focusing on the Audiovox 9500 phone, is presented in the May issue. Evaluation criteria included tactile identification of keys, the ability to navigate menus, presence of auditory or vibratory feedback and the readability of the visual display for people with low vision. In July, similar reports on products from Motorola, AT&T, Sanyo and Nokia will be presented. For more information about AccessWorld: Technology and People with Visual Impairments and its content, contact Jay Leventhal, AFB Headquarters, (212) 502-7639, jaylev@afb.net.

National Employment Program

The goal of the National Employment Program is to eliminate or reduce inequities in employment options and opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired in the United States.

National Employment Center on the Move

The AFB National Employment Center (NEC) has a new address: 44 Montgomery Street, Suite 1305, San Francisco, CA 94104. Telephone numbers and e-mail addresses remain the same. The NEC, directed by Gil Johnson, serves as the hub of all of AFB's employment programs and activities.

New Employment Video Widely Disseminated

The NEC's new video for employers, entitled "A Hire Vision: What Employers Want to Know About Hiring Visually Impaired Workers," has been distributed to numerous employers, rehabilitation professionals, and consumers. This 8-minute video is packed with information directly from blind or visually impaired workers participating in a variety of occupations, and their supervisors. The video is designed to inform employers and alleviate their fears. It is available for viewing online at www.afb.org/announcement_detail.asp?AnnoncementID=103. VHS and CD versions are available by contacting Jackie Watkins, AFB National Employment Center, (415) 392-4845, jwatkins@afb.net.

Assistive Technology Competencies and Certification

The assistive technology (AT) specialist competencies task force, led by AFB employment and technology program staff, has compiled comprehensive lists of AT specialist competencies and has published them on the web site of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired at www.tsbvi.edu/technology/afb/index.htm.

The project of which these lists are a part is designed to increase the number of qualified assistive technology specialists who work with people who are blind or have low vision. The Task Force is currently producing demonstration modules that can be used by train-the-trainer course instructors or technology center hiring managers to determine if AT specialists possess desired competencies.

In January and March, AFB staff conducted open forums to discuss prospects for AT specialist certification. The forums, held at the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference in Orlando, FL, and the California State University at Northridge conference in Los Angeles, CA, elicited many good ideas, which AFB will continue to share with all stakeholders.

AFB encourages review, comment, and input on any and all aspects of the project. If you wish to comment or have questions, contact: Jay Stiteley, AFB Midwest, (312) 396-4420, stiteley@afb.net; Jim Denham, AFB Midwest, (312) 396-4420, jdenham@afb.net; Gil Johnson, AFB National Employment Center, (415) 392-4845, gil@afb.net; or Tony Candela, AFB National Employment Center, (415) 392-4845, tcandela@afb.net.

Job Placement Training: Online and In Person

AFB, in collaboration with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), is offering a course titled "Placement Techniques in the 21st Century for People with Visual Disabilities." Registration is available through the UALR distance education program in rehabilitation counseling, and the course is offered in its entirety online. For further information, contact Karen Wolffe, (512) 707-0525, wolffe@afb.net.

AFB continues to offer in-person training in techniques of job placement to vocational rehabilitation counselors and related staff of public and private rehabilitation agencies. This in-depth course has been presented to hundreds of rehabilitation professionals over the past 5 years by Gil Johnson from AFB, John Maxson from Mississippi State University, former director of the Oregon Commission for the Blind Chuck Young, and Karen Wolffe, AFB national program associate and career consultant. Sessions can be tailored to specifically meet training needs of public and private agencies. For more information, contact Gil Johnson, National Employment Center, (415) 392-4845, gil@afb.net.

Reaching Out to Employers

National Employment Center staff members are available to answer questions from employers about hiring and retaining qualified workers with visual impairments. Employers may contact AFB by e-mail at employertalk@afb.net.

Employment Relations Today, a human resources journal, has published an article written by AFB Employment Program staff members Karen Wolffe and Anthony Candela. Entitled "Expanding the Labor Pool: Recruiting, Hiring, & Maintaining Workers with Visual Impairments," the article appears in Vol. 29, Number 3, (Autumn 2002). To read the manuscript, visit www.afb.org/info_document_view.asp?DocumentID=1816.

AFB CareerConnect™ Continues to Grow

Blind or visually impaired workers are continuing to join the AFB CareerConnect database and serve as mentors, and newly added occupations include graphic artist and maintenance worker. AFB CareerConnect is a free, online resource for people who are blind or visually impaired to learn about the range and diversity of the jobs that are performed throughout the United States and Canada by adults who are blind or visually impaired. The database encompasses a wide array of occupations and a wealth of career-related information and self-help tools for career exploration and job seeking. Visit www.afb.org/careerconnect to explore this valuable employment resource. For more information, contact Detra Bannister, AFB TECH, (888) 824-2184 (toll-free), dbannister@afb.net, CareerConnect@afb.net; or Gil Johnson, AFB National Employment Center, (415) 392-4845, gil@afb.net.

National Aging Program

The goal of the National Aging Program is to increase the availability of vision-related rehabilitation and other supportive services to the growing population of older people experiencing vision loss, in order to help them maintain or regain their independence.

Public Education Packet Available

"Do You Have Trouble Reading?" is the title of AFB's national aging program's public education packet, available in English and Spanish. The packet includes a poster, health fair card, and booklet on low vision called "What You Should Know about Low Vision" by the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health. The packet encourages older people to see their eye care professional and to request a low vision evaluation. To request a package, send an e-mail to dallas@afb.net.

National Education Program

The goal of the National Education Program is to make a positive impact on significant national issues and concerns related to the education of children who are blind or visually impaired. In addition to addressing the shortage of personnel trained to teach children with visual impairments and supporting the upcoming reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997, the National Education Program is also committed to ensuring equal and timely access to textbooks and instructional materials for students who are blind or visually impaired through its Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum.

Accessible Textbooks Tool Kit

AFB's National Education Program and the AFB Textbook and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum have just announced the completion of a new and revolutionary national resource book for textbook administrators, publishers, educators, and community leaders. The AFB Solutions Forum's "Tool Kit" is a collection of information related to providing accessible textbooks and instructional materials to students with visual impairments. The materials include the contributions of many of the 43 stakeholders of the AFB Solutions Forum. The AFB Solutions Forum's Communication and Collaboration Work Group's goal is to have decision-making resources available that can be used to inform, educate, and move the field of blindness forward in finding appropriate solutions. The 286-page "Tool Kit" is available for $25.00, which includes shipping and handling. In early June, the "Tool Kit" will also be available on CD (also for $25.00) in an accessible format for people using screen readers or braille. Contact Mary Ann Siller, 11030 Ables Lane, Dallas, TX 75229, 469-522-1803, siller@afb.net. Make checks payable to AFB, and note that the payment is for the "Tool Kit."

Improving Educational Opportunities for Blind and Low-Vision Schoolchildren

The AFB and Verizon National Campaign for Literacy, Textbooks, Transcribers, and Technology was launched in October 2002. As a public awareness and advocacy program, we are now promoting the new career of braille textbook transcriber at the federal and state levels, and raising general awareness of the needs of blind and low-vision schoolchildren for timely access to textbooks and leaning materials alongside 43 national organizations throughout the United States.

The campaign was developed to alleviate the critical shortage of braille transcribers throughout the United States. Because of this shortage, blind and visually impaired schoolchildren frequently receive their textbooks late and sometimes, not at all.

In response to this crisis, AFB has developed a Call to Action packet to support the advocacy initiative of the National Campaign. During this advocacy phase of the National Campaign, we encourage you to use these materials to engage business leaders, policymakers, school boards, librarians, and the general public in the efforts underway to ensure the timely delivery of textbooks and instructional materials to America's blind and low-vision schoolchildren. Included are an explanatory cover letter, background materials, sample letters to Congress, the National Campaign advocacy video, the National Campaign poster, and bookmarks. To receive complementary copies of the complete packet, visit the Free Stuff section of AFB's online bookstore; call (800) 232-5463; or contact Mary Ann Siller, 469-522-1803, siller@afb.net.

IMAA 2003 Reintroduced in 108th Congress

In January 2003 Representative Thomas E. Petri (R-WI) introduced the Instructional Materials Accessibility Act (IMAA) (H.R. 490), which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) has confirmed that he will introduce the bill in the Senate. The IMAA legislation improves access to printed instructional materials used by blind people or others with print disabilities in elementary and secondary schools.

In spite of strong support and numerous cosponsors in the House and Senate in the 107th Congress, the IMAA did not move out of committee. However, the national advocacy organizations working to enact the IMAA—The American Council of the Blind, Association of American Publishers, American Printing House for the Blind, Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, National Federation of the Blind, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, and AFB—are again spearheading efforts in the 108th Congress to pass the bill.

Now more than ever, we need to help members of Congress and state education officials understand the problems associated with students accessing K-12 print materials. We also need to make sure these officials embrace the IMAA as a promising effort to ensure that students with visual impairments and those with other print disabilities have access to the general education curriculum.

Please take the time to fax a brief letter to your Representative and Senators describing your experience with textbook accessibility and ask them to cosponsor and actively work for enactment of the IMAA. You should also urge them to support changes to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that would ensure that students with print disabilities have a clear right to accessible books at the same time as their nondisabled peers.

You can track the bill's progress, read summaries of the legislation, find out who your Representative and Senators are and if they've become a cosponsor, and more at www.afb.org/textbooks.asp.

For more information on the IMAA, contact Paul Schroeder, Governmental Relations Group, (202) 408-8172, pws@afb.net or Mary Ann Siller, 469-522-1803, siller@afb.net.

Governmental Relations

AFB's Governmental Relations Group has prepared several convenient and informative links on the AFB Web site to help you keep up-to-date and quickly track developments in several important policy areas. Now that the 108th Congress is moving quickly on many pieces of legislation (see below for more details), these links will help you find the latest action and assist you in your advocacy efforts.

  • Information about efforts to make school textbooks accessible, including the Instructional Materials Accessibility Act (IMAA) can be found at www.afb.org/textbooks.asp.
  • Information on special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) can be found at www.afb.org/idea.asp.
  • Access to digital material and e-books is an emerging area of interest and you can find pertinent information at www.afb.org/copyright.asp.
  • Everything you need to know about access to telecommunications products can be found at www.afb.org/section255.asp.

Work on IDEA Moving Forward

Representative Michael Castle (R-DE), Chairman of the Education Reform Subcommittee, has introduced H.R. 1350 to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA establishes the legal rights and requirements that ensure a "free and appropriate" public education for children with disabilities and authorizes federal funding to help states and local schools address those needs. IDEA also authorizes funding to universities to prepare special education teachers and other personnel with specialized skills. AFB is working with the Sensory Disabilities Roundtable to address the special education needs of students with sensory disabilities. You will find their comments, links to the text of the bill, committee information, and more at www.afb.org/idea.asp. For further information, contact Joy Relton, AFB Governmental Relations Group, (202) 408-0200, jrelton@afb.net.

Progress Towards Accessible Cell Phones

AFB has been investigating cell phone access issues and a white paper is available providing details about promising new approaches to provide access to cell phones. In addition, AccessWorld carried an article describing in detail the accessibility problems of a relatively new cell phone from Audiovox. Our investigations have found that text-to-speech can be provided on existing cell phones via software with little difficulty. However, we have also found that the manufacturing and service providers had not adequately investigated this promising area, even though Section 255 of the Communications Act required this kind of analysis. See www.afb.org/section255.asp. For further information, contact Janina Sajka, AFB Governmental Relations Group, (202) 408-8175, janina@afb.net.

Policy Research and Program Evaluation (PRPE)

AFB's "Livable Communities" Project Announces 2003's Best Places to Live in the U.S. for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired

On April 16, 2003, AFB named Charlotte, NC, as this year's best place to live in the United States for people who are blind or visually impaired, and presented its Mayor, Pat McCrory, with the 2003 AFB Most Livable Community Award. This award, a component of AFB's Livable Communities Project, recognizes cities and towns in the United States that have developed innovative solutions to the barriers faced by people who are blind or visually impaired, and that facilitate their participation in community activities.

Charlotte was honored with the 2003 AFB Most Livable Community Award for its achievements in public transportation, hiring people with sensory disabilities, the "walkability" of the city, and its low cost of living, among other features.

AFB also presented Livable Community Awards to five other U.S. communities that are significantly reducing inequities faced by people who are blind or visually impaired. Coming in second as most livable after Charlotte was Berkeley, CA, followed by Kalamazoo, MI, in third place, and New York City in fourth. LaCrosse, WI, and Louisville, KY, tied for fifth place.

AFB launched the Livable Communities Project to document environmental features that create or limit access for blind or visually impaired people. Relying on input from focus groups, informal interviews, and online and telephone surveys, the Livable Communities Project identified the criteria used by people who are blind or visually impaired to rate places to live: Getting Around, Safety, Employment, Cost of Living and Housing, Education/Arts/Recreation, Access to Services and Necessities of Daily Life, and Community Integration/General Sense of Acceptance.

To nominate your community as "livable," to get involved in improving the livability of your city or town, or to learn more about the Livable Communities Project (including more details on the profiles of winning communities), please visit: www.afb.org/livability.asp. For more information, contact Elaine Gerber, AFB Headquarters, (212) 502-7644, gerber@afb.net, or Corinne Kirchner, AFB Headquarters, (212) 502-7640, corinne@afb.net.

Research Roundtable (R-squared)

The Research Roundtable (or R-squared) met recently during the "Vision Loss in the 21st Century—Everybody's Business" conference, in Beverly Hills, CA, in February. The annual dinner, which was named in honor of the Delta Gamma Foundation for its support of this year's JLTLI meeting, featured a stimulating talk by Becky Brown, director: Service for Sight, Delta Gamma Foundation.

For the first time, R-squared invited submissions on topics of particular interest to the field—qualitative research methods and their use in federal projects in particular. (However, other presentations about on-going, recently completed, and planned research by attendees, were also welcomed). Building on the discussion at a workshop at the July 2002 Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired conference, this year R-squared addressed concerns that federal funds are restricting access to qualitative data through favoring "experimental design" methods. A summary of the ongoing debate about research methods can be found online at: topica.com/lists/R-Squared@igc.topica.com/read/message.html?mid=1711930367&sort=d&start=265.

The Research Roundtable and its listserv, R-squared@igs.topica.com, offers a forum for people conducting and concerned with non-medical research and the research agenda in the field of blindness/visual impairment. Discussions range from research in planning in early stages to input about research ideas and critique of ongoing studies to the development of original, collaborative projects that enhance the research dimension of service delivery, policy-making, and public education.

Join R-Squared's listserv to participate in ongoing actions or learn how you can shape the direction of this policy. We welcome the opportunity to hear from researchers, administrators, other users of research in our field, and to prepare a policy statement and some approach to protesting how research-based information (qualitative and quantitative) is being undermined.

To participate in online discussions and/or join the listserv, contact Corinne Kirchner, AFB Headquarters, (212) 502-7640, corinne@afb.net, or Elaine Gerber, AFB Headquarters, (212) 502-7644, gerber@afb.net.

Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute (JLTLI)

The 17th annual Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute (JLTLI), held in February, provided an opportunity to alter the usual format. Because JLTLI was attached to AFB and the Foundation for the Junior Blind's "Vision Loss in the 21st Century—Everybody's Business" symposium in Beverly Hills, CA, the venue changed from the usual site in Washington, DC, and the length of the meeting was condensed.

This year, JLTLI tackled what most leaders agree is a major concern of the field: personnel shortages, especially with regard to issues of certification and leadership development. JLTLI's planning team devised an innovative format in order to maximize the available time.

A panel with leaders from key organizations—those representing consumers, professionals, certification providers, public and private service agencies—responded to targeted questions posed by a neutral moderator, designed to highlight the barriers and potential solutions to dealing with personnel shortages. Susan Spungin, AFB vice president, International Affairs and Special Projects, who served as moderator, offered a background summary of the scope of shortages of teachers of people who are visually impaired, O&M specialists, and rehabilitation teachers. The panelists were: Sharon Mikrut, Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals; Mitchell Pomerantz, American Council of the Blind; Scott McCall, AFB vice president, National Programs; Mark Richert, Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired; Ron Ferguson, National Blindness Professionals Certification Board; Jeff Brasie, National Council of Private Agencies for the Blind; Linda Mock, National Council of State Agencies for the Blind; and Jim Omvig, National Federation of the Blind.

AFB is committed to following up on the remarkable mix of ideas and interchanges that occurred at JLTLI 2003. In the short term, we will disseminate the information generated that day (watch our website) and also will bring the panel together again by teleconference to elicit their commitments for next steps. In the long term, we will continue at JLTLI 2004 to develop solutions for the personnel shortage crisis. That meeting will once again convene in Washington, DC, span 3 days, and include time for Aging, Education, and Employment/Technology work groups to meet.

For a copy of the audiotapes (4 tapes) of the JLTLI 2003, at cost, contact Suzette Williams, (212) 502-7641, swilliams@afb.net. For further information, contact Regina Genwright, (212) 502-7658, reginag@afb.net; or Corinne Kirchner, (212) 502-7640, corinne@afb.net.

National Task Force on General & Specialized Services

AFB's General & Specialized Services Task Force (GSSTF) is a forum for leadership of blindness and low vision services that strengthens, and sometimes even saves, specialized services and works to ensure that blind or visually impaired people can access non-specialized settings for community participation.

GSSTF provides early alerts and quick response if a specialized school or state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agency is threatened with loss of funding or autonomy. In recent months, GSSTF (as well as AFB directly) has provided letters of support and testimony in several states where specialized education and/or vocational services have been subject to loss of resources as a result of political and economic pressures. Connecticut, Kentucky, and New York, among others, have been the focus of GSSTF documents. Such materials, conveying interest from a national perspective, have proved useful when they were embedded into local (i.e. state-based) consumer and provider advocacy. Over the years, and especially in recent months, the Task Force has generated, contributed to, or simply collected, many examples of testimony in support of specialized services.

GSSTF has also supported situations where the initiative to strengthen specialized services has been proactive, rather than in reaction to a threat. Last year's example of creating a specialized service structure for vocational rehabilitation in California is an important success of that type. GSSTF has also been compiling, as a resource for all, state legislation governing specialized VR services.

For more information on GSSTF, contact Corinne Kirchner, AFB Headquarters, (212) 502-7640, corinne@afb.net; Scott McCall, AFB National Programs Group, (404) 525-0132, scottmccall@afb.net; or for California, Gil Johnson, AFB National Employment Center, (415) 392- 4845, gil@afb.net.

AFB Press

Art Beyond Sight: A Resource Guide to Art, Creativity, and Visual Impairment, edited by Elisabeth Salzhauer Axel and Nina Sobol Levent. AFB and Art Education for the Blind (AEB), a national nonprofit organization committed to making visual art accessible to all, have joined together in an important new partnership to co-publish a one-of-a-kind resource that provides vital information on all aspects of art and creativity for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Art Beyond Sight, a 500-page handbook containing almost 400 illustrations—many of them in full color—is the result of a decade-long international collaboration with museums and schools. Working with researchers, art educators, teachers of visually impaired students, psychologists, museum professionals, and blind and sighted art enthusiasts, AEB has been a leader in the area of arts accessibility and community education since its inception in 1987. In joining to co-publish this unique work, AFB and AEB have supplied readers with extensive information on how to render visual art accessible to diverse audiences, the perceptions of blind artists and individuals interested in creating and appreciating art, and available community and international resources. Paperback: 0-89128-850-3, $69.95; ASCII disk: 0-89128-858-9, $69.95.

Self Advocacy Skills Training for Older Individuals Who Are Visually Impaired: Training Manual, Participant Manual, Family Guide to Self-Advocacy by Alberta L. Orr and Priscilla Rogers, with Members of the National Agenda in Vision and Aging Goal One Working Group. When older people lose their vision, they encounter many challenges. One is speaking up for themselves with people in their daily lives, including health care professionals and members of their own families. Training in self-advocacy is crucial to restoring their self-esteem and getting their needs met.

This new, three-part kit contains an essential guide for group leaders conducting self-advocacy skills training, a user-friendly manual for older group participants, and a helpful booklet for family members. In one resource, everything needed to address an important issue effectively. The kit includes three manuals in a handy, three-ring binder, with paperback, cassette, and ASCII disk versions of each of the three components; 0-89128-868-6; $59.95.

For orders and inquiries about AFB Press books or videos, call (800) 232-3044; fax (412) 741-0609; e-mail: afborder@abdintl.com; international customers call (412) 741-1398. Mail orders must be accompanied by payment (for individuals) or institutional purchase orders. Send orders to AFB Press, P.O. Box 1020, Sewickley, PA 15143-1020, or order online at www.afb.org/store.

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See the Contact Us section of AFB's web site.

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