New AFB Press Books
AFB Press published two new books recently:
Learning to Listen/Listening to Learn: Teaching Listening Skills to Students with Visual Impairments, edited by Lizbeth Barclay, is the first comprehensive resource in the field that addresses the importance of teaching listening skills, a crucial area of instruction for visually impaired children.
Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind: Personal and Professional Perspectives on Age-Related Macular Degeneration, edited by Jennifer E. Miller, was released in December. Published in partnership with The Chicago Lighthouse, the book opens with a powerful and personal account of living successfully with age-related macular degeneration, including the emotional and psychological components of vision loss, and presents a model pioneered by The Chicago Lighthouse that integrates the individual's psychological recovery into low vision service delivery. In January, The Chicago Lighthouse will be featured as Agency of the Month on Senior Site®.
News and Announcements
Looking at the Year Ahead: AFB to Launch Small Visual Display Database
Almost all electronic equipment now employs small screens. These screens, called small visual displays (SVDs), provide vital information—such as the song you're listening to on your iPod or the caller ID information on your cell phone. But for individuals with vision loss, such products can be hard to use safely and effectively because the visual displays often utilize inexpensive display technologies and poor design choices.
The "readability" of an SVD depends on the ability of a visually impaired person to discern details and the ability of the screen to generate them. AFB Tech staff are working with the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System to test screen readability.
AFB's long-term goal is to create and improve an optics lab to evaluate SVDs and a set of guidelines for the design of SVDs. An online database will also be made available to the public so that devices can be easily compared to determine which has the most readable display.
AFB Names Kathleen Mary Huebner and George Kerscher 2012 Migel Medal Recipients
The 2012 winners of the Migel Medals, the highest honor in the blindness field, are George Kerscher, Ph.D., and Kathleen Mary Huebner, Ph.D. The AFB Migel Medal was established in 1937 by the late M.C. Migel, AFB's first chairman, to honor professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements improve the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired.
Dr. Huebner serves as professor and director of the National Consortium for Leadership in Sensory Disabilities at Salus University. Paramount in Dr. Huebner's accomplishments was the creation of the National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairment and National Consortium for Leadership in Sensory Disabilities. These programs have and continue to increase the number of doctoral candidates and directly addressed the need for more professionals and leaders in the field of blindness and visual impairment.
Dr. Kerscher is an internationally recognized accessibility expert and has worked tirelessly to standardize accessible digital books. His work contributed greatly to the establishment of the DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) standard, which has been adopted worldwide as the standard for accessible books. Dr. Kerscher is currently both secretary general of the DAISY Consortium and president of the International Digital Publishing Forum.
The Migel Medals will be presented at the 2012 AFB National Leadership Conference at St. Pete Beach, FL, in early May.
AFB Welcomes New Trustee to Its Board
AFB announced the election of a new distinguished board member: Arthur Weisberg, founder and owner of the State Electric Supply Company and Arthur's Enterprises, Inc. Weisberg was elected during the November 2011 Board of Trustees meeting.
Arthur Weisberg is a proven and successful entrepreneur. Under the corporate umbrella of Arthur's Enterprises, State Electric has 33 branches in five states—West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Along with his wife, Joan, Weisberg is an active community participant and supporter, as evident in the Weisbergs' service on several boards of directors in Huntington and Charleston. Weisberg is a native of Brooklyn and a 1950 graduate of City College of New York, with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.
"Arthur is a dear friend and supporter of AFB Tech, and we are pleased to welcome him to our Board," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB president and CEO. "With his expertise and enthusiasm, AFB stands to benefit immensely from his perspective and experience."
Take AFB's Travel Website Accessibility Survey
While you're recovering from your holiday travels, please consider taking a few moments to complete AFB's survey on the relative accessibility and usability of travel-related websites. Whether you are an occasional Internet user, a regular Web surfer, someone who's blind or visually impaired, or a family member, friend, or colleague of someone who is, we want to hear from you. What online travel services have you used? How accessible/usable have you found them to be? The sites we hope to hear about from you include everything from airline, bus, and hotel sites, to commuter rail, cruiseline, and so-called aggregator sites, websites that help users comparison shop among travel providers and book reservations and purchase tickets. Your participation, and that of your family, friends, colleagues, students, and clients with whom we hope you'll share this invitation, will help AFB assess the areas of greatest need for improvements in the accessibility of these popular online offerings.
AccessWorld® Celebrates Louis Braille
This month AccessWorld celebrates the anniversary of Louis Braille's birthday, January 4, 1809. In celebration, the AccessWorld team invites readers to visit The Louis Braille Museum on the AFB website, which traces Louis Braille's life from his childhood in Coupvray, France, through his student years in Paris, to his invention of the braille code and the recognition of its importance throughout the world. Also available on AFB's website is The Reading Fingers, the full text of Jean Roblin's classic 1952 biography of Louis Braille, and Braille, the Magic Wand of the Blind, Helen Keller's essay on Louis Braille, written around 1924.
JVIB Publishes a Special O&M Issue
In October, the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness (JVIB) published a special, 160-page issue celebrating the first 50 years of professional orientation and mobility in the United States. Edited by Dr. Richard Long of Western Michigan University and Dr. Diane Fazzi of California State University, Los Angeles, the issue includes cutting-edge research on effective navigation of complex intersections, the evaluation and effectiveness of electronic travel aids, wayfinding in urban environments, travel with dog guides, and teaching O&M to preschoolers and seniors.
New Photo Tools on FamilyFriends
A new photo resizing tool on FamilyFriends, the online social network available through FamilyConnect, makes it easy to upload pictures of your family to share with friends from across the country. Now you can:
- create private photo albums
- upload multiple images
- describe your photos
- comment on your friends' pictures
- reorder the photos in an album
- view them as a slideshow
- pick a photo to use as your profile picture
CareerConnect® to Offer New Course
AFB CareerConnect will launch a new course through the AFB eLearning Center that is designed to meet the needs of professionals who want to learn about the wide range of job accommodations available for employees with vision loss. Users of the CareerConnect program will be provided with even more opportunities to contact mentors through CareerCluster message boards and posted mentor profiles.
AFB Senior Site® Unveils Radio Dramas
Senior Site is featuring two radio dramas related to employment and the older worker. These are part of a new section on employment of older workers that was added to Senior Site this fall: Finding a Job Can be Murder and Stay in the Employment Game.
From the AFB Blogs
Helen Selsdon, AFB's archivist and resident Helen Keller expert, discusses Keller?s travels through Japan in the latest installments of "Helen on Helen."
Paul Schroeder, vice president of the programs and policy group, provides his thoughts on the M-Enabling Summit held near Washington, D.C., to address access to mobile technologies for people with disabilities and seniors.
Joe Strechay, CareerConnect project associate, helps readers decide if working at home is for them.