Catching up with Alexa Jovanovic of Aille Design, on the intersection of Braille and Fashion

July 14, 2020
Alexa Jovanovic knew at age 10 that she wanted to work in fashion. Several years later, when she launched her own fashion business, she also adopted a personal business philosophy: That good design shouldn’t exclude anyone. It was the marriage of these two elements that led to Aille Design, an emerging Canadian brand that makes braille-beaded clothing with a social purpose. The brand incorporates detailed beading to form phrases in braille. The intricate beading describes clothing…

Dr. Kirk Adams Ponders How Post-COVID-19 Workplaces Might Better Accommodate Workers with Disabilities

July 2, 2020
In his June 30 HR Dive op-ed “'A moment of inclusion': Will the post-pandemic workplace be more friendly to people with disabilities?” AFB’s president and CEO suggests that the work-from-home experience millions of Americans have faced in response to the novel coronavirus might lead to a more inclusive and accessible workplace – whether that be at office or home. Dr. Adams writes: “For a sizable faction of the workplace that already struggled with unreliable, time-consuming, or expensive…

AFB Chats with Jasmine Glass, Founder of a Braille-Labeled Beauty Line

June 30, 2020
Jasmine Glass, founder of Spktrm Beauty, has always been committed to inclusion. In many ways, she says, “The products are really just a vehicle for connecting with people from different communities.” Spktrm was born from her desire to transform and redefine beauty standards because, Glass says, “Since the beginning of the beauty industry, they've always been very harmful and exclusive. As I've been on this journey, I've realized so many new areas where the industry has been doing the least…

Governors: Treat Transportation as an Essential Service for People with Disabilities

June 29, 2020
The American Foundation for the Blind's Public Policy and Research Institute, working in coalition with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, wrote to the National Governors Association to express the needs of public transportation users with disabilities as states across the country implement reopening policies. In particular, we joined forces to highlight the considerations that the country's governors must take as transit and other transportation services transition back to the…

Helen Keller Born 140 Years Ago Today!

June 27, 2020
Helen Keller seated in three quarter profile, possibly in a photographer's studio. She is seated in a chair that is sideways to the camera. She is wearing a loose, shimmering dress that is dark and has a boat neck. Keller is leaning over and has her arm around the back of a young girl who is wearing a light colored organza-type fabric dress with ribbons. Keller's dark shoes and the child's light-color boots are typical of the early 19th century.
“What induces a child to learn but his delight in knowing?”-Helen Keller, 1927
The 20th century was tumultuous. As a fierce champion of civil rights, Helen Keller would applaud the nation’s demand for equal justice for all its citizens, and would be thrilled by the active engagement of so many young people to improve the world we live in. Helen understood that changing society requires changing preconceptions and prejudices. That one must engage all citizens, and that access to education by every member of society is key to creating systemic change. AFB is proud to…
Author AFB Staff
Blog Topics Helen Keller

Free and Accessible Helen Keller Archive Lesson Plans for Distance Learning

June 15, 2020
"Education should train the child to use his brains, to make for himself a place in the world and maintain his rights even when it seems that society would shove him into the scrap-heap." -Helen Keller, "Going Back to School," The Home Magazine, September 1934 As AFB’s archivist since 2002, I have had the honor to lead the charge to organize, preserve, and digitize Helen Keller’s massive archive, and to make the collection freely available around the globe. The digital Helen Keller Archive…
Author Helen Selsdon
Blog Topics Helen Keller, Education

Congressional Hearings on School Reopenings

June 15, 2020
Last week, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing on returning to K-12 schools safely. Considering that students with disabilities are often left out of the conversation, it was exciting to hear that they were considered in multiple lines of questioning presented by the witnesses and the Senators themselves. From the witnesses, we learned that educators are deeply concerned about the digital divide, the health and safety of students and educators, and…

Questions to Tackle as Students Return to School

June 10, 2020
As schools around the country navigate how and when students might safely be able to return to school, given the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Foundation for the Blind encourages legislators, educators, administrators, superintendents, and parents to ask the following questions: Compensatory Services Some students have individualized education programs (IEPs) that require instruction from a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments or an Orientation and Mobility Specialist on specialized…

Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day with Action

May 21, 2020
Today marks the ninth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a day designed to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion for people with different disabilities. By “accessibility,” we mean the design and development of a website (or app, or any digital tool) that allows everyone, including people with disabilities, to independently use and interact with it, as well as create with it and contribute to it. What follows are just a few easy ideas that you…
Blog Topics Accessibility

Requesting Congressional Support for Blind and Low Vision Students by Opposing Waivers and Providing Additional IDEA Funding

May 11, 2020
On May 8, 2020, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the American Council of the Blind (ACB) joined forces with eight other national organizations to pen a letter to the Chairs and the Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension and the House Committee on Education and Labor. The letter is a request to Congress to continue supporting children who are blind or have low vision by opposing waivers that would affect the services that children receive…