Tune in Tomorrow: Accessible Origami Online and In Person
Join in the session on “Easy Origami with Verbal Description” tomorrow, January 14, 2023 from 1:30 to 3 pm ET, offered by The New York Public Library’s Andrew Heiskell Library. Available in person and virtually, via Zoom, the program will use verbal description for participants to learn how to create a rabbit, lantern, a wallet, and more. Those joining online can use origami paper or else any standard size paper (8.5 by 11 inches) as well as scissors, if desired. Materials will be provided for in-person participants. Register here for "Easy Origami with Verbal Description." For more information, or to register to attend in person, email [email protected] with "Origami in person" in the subject line.
Creating a Sensory Room on a Budget: A Tele-Support Presentation on January 16, 2023
Sensory rooms can be helpful to children in many ways, allowing for independent movement, facilitating communication, and easing difficult behaviors. On January 16, 2023, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm ET, Lighthouse Guild’s Tele-Support Presentation will cover how to create a sensory space that is not expensive and does not require an entire room. The speaker is Amber Bobnar, founder of Wonderbaby.org, a website that supports parents and caregivers of children who are blind or visually impaired. Those attending this virtual program will learn more about sensory rooms and gain pointers on building sensory areas. Register here for the Tele-Support Presentation:" Create a Sensory Room on a Budget".
Upcoming Virtual Eye Health Events
The Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington is hosting eye health events online over the next few weeks to encourage people to take care of their eyes. These webinars take place on the following dates:
On January 20, 2023, from 12 noon to 1 pm ET, during “Love Your Eyes: Healthy Aging and How to Detect an Eye Emergency,” Mona Kaleen, MD from Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine, will cover how to tell when a change in vision needs attention. Find out more about the program and register here for "Healthy Aging Eyes and How to Detect an Eye Emergency."
On January 24, 2023, from 7 to 8 pm ET, tune into "Love Your Eyes: Let’s Talk About Eye Health," where an ophthalmologist will lead an interactive webinar about vision, including common eye diseases, tips for vision health, and the importance of regular comprehensive eye exams. Learn more and register here for "Let's Talk About Eye Health."
On January 26, 2023, from 7 to 8 pm, during Love Your Eyes: Children’s Eye Health, Nancy Morrison, MD from Northern Virginia Ophthalmology Association will talk about children’s eye health, how to identify vision challenges, and how to access resources for assistance. Get additional information and register here for "Children's Eye Health."
Call for Nominations: Excellence in Vision and Public Health and Rising Visionary Awards
Prevent Blindness has announced a submission deadline of February 3, 2023 at noon ET for two awards: the 2023 Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health and the 2023 Prevent Blindness Rising Visionary Award. Both awards will be presented at the Focus on Eye Health Summit in July 2023, including an invitation to speak at that event.
Presented annually, the Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health recognizes an individual, group, or organizations for significant contributions to advancing public health related to vision and eye health locally or at the state, national, and/or international levels. It pays tribute to Jenny Pomeroy, former CEO of Prevent Blindness Georgia, who “brought a passionate understanding of public health to her work and (the Prevent Blindness) mission.”
Also presented each year, the Prevent Blindness Rising Visionary Award is given to a student, intern, or resident in a health-related field whose application and essay addresses the theme of the 2023 Focus on Eye Health Summit theme: Why the Eye? Nominees need to be located in the United States and pursuing a career in optometry, ophthalmology, primary health care, nursing, or other health-related field.
For a nomination form, submission requirements, and additional information: Click here for the Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health and here for the Prevent Blindness Rising Visionary Award.
LinkedIn to Release Accessibility Updates in 2023
by Daniel Parker, RDPFS Intern
The professional social networking website LinkedIn has recently announced seven major updates due to roll out this year, as they do annually. The first three updates on their summary list have to do with accessibility. First, LinkedIn will now be generating automatic captions for videos. Currently available only in English, you can also add or edit captions before uploading. This is in addition to the high contrast features already included in the app for users with low vision. Second, the site will be standardizing job titles for professionals in the accessibility field. This will help these professionals become more easily noticed and allow companies to search for those who meet their accessibility needs. Finally, LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, an advertisement creation tool, will now allow users to add alt text explicitly to images in their ads. This will permit screen readers to describe these images to users who are blind or have low vision, although the alt text is not automatically generated. The effectiveness of the new functionality will, of course, depend on advertisers’ knowledge and conscientious use of it. Articles such as our source will help increase awareness. The last four updates on the list had to do with more general improvements such as scheduled posts, enhancements to content analytics, and changes to the job and product searches. You can read more in this article from Search Engine Journal on new updates to LinkedIn in 2023.
Accessibility and Assistive Tech at 2023 Technology Conference
by Daniel Parker, RDPFS Intern
The CES 2023 conference, a major technology industry event held last week, featured a number of accessibility and assistive technology exhibits. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which develops CES, created its own accessibility awards presentation in collaboration with USA Today, with information coming later about award recipients. Another session focused on the potential for artificial intelligence to improve the lives of those with disabilities. Accessibility for the individuals who are visually impaired at CES even received attention in an article in the Wall Street Journal, exploring everything from low vision glasses that offer close captions to accessible games. accessibility.com also offers a post about the accessible innovations announced at CES, two of which focus on low vision. The first is, eSight Go, wearable glasses intended to aid those with central vision loss. eSight devices are “used by thousands of people across the globe with over twenty different eye conditions.” Available starting in the fourth quarter of this year, the device has a 45-degree field of view meant to enhance the usability of peripheral vision, with customizable color and contrast settings. eSight Go at CES 2023 was also mentioned in this AT Today press release. The second item for users with low vision included in the blog post is Samsung’s Relumino Mode. Already featured in some Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets and set to be available on Samsung televisions later this year, it is designed to “enhance the viewing experience for people with limited or low vision. The feature incorporates intuitive camera technology that can highlight outlines, adjust brightness and contrast, enhance colors, and sharpen the content for a better and more comfortable TV-viewing experience.” You can find much more information in the links above. The accessibility.com post concludes by stating, “With over 3,000 exhibitors and 115,000 attendees, CES 2023 was an impactful international platform for companies to exhibit their accessibility and inclusivity-based innovations. As more innovators try to modify and expand their product ranges to address the needs of people with disabilities, there is no doubt that we can expect to see more such solutions go mainstream in the coming years.”
New Corporate Partnership Advances Accessibility of Cereal Packaging
by Daniel Parker, RDPFS Intern
The Kellogg Company recently announced a collaboration with NaviLens intended to make the packaging of some of their products, including Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Special K Original, Rice Krispies and Crispix, accessible to people with vision loss. These products will now feature a NaviLens optical smart code. The codes can be detected with the free NaviLens mobile app, allowing users to navigate to them from a distance, such as in a grocery store, and obtain product information comparable to what is displayed on the cereal box. By the end of 2023, NaviLens technology will also be implemented fully in Kellogg’s U.S. corporate facilities for the benefit of employees who are visually impaired. Charisse Hughes, Kellogg’s chief brand and advanced analytics officer, stated, “’The heart of Kellogg's Better Days Promise ESG strategy is the advancement of sustainable and equitable access to food. We work hard to think outside the box to ensure our products are accessible to as many people as possible. Thanks to the hard work of our cross-functional teams, we're able to adapt and leverage this technology to ensure we're living by our purpose – to create a place at the table for everyone.’” The partnership was the brainchild of Kapable, an inclusion group at Kellogg focused on employees with disabilities, in particular its co-chair, Bethany Foor, a Corporate Affairs team member, who has vision loss. Foor said of the initiative: “"I'm honored to be able to play a part in making some of Kellogg's most iconic products more accessible, and grateful for my colleagues and our leaders who are helping us create better days for the blind and those with vision loss.’” You can read more about the collaboration in this press release on the incorporation of NaviLens technology into Kellogg cereal packaging.
Continuing to Celebrate Braille Literacy Month: A Blog with Resources
In celebrating January, Braille Literacy Month, Charlotte Cushman, former manager of the Paths to Literacy website, has compiled information on where to learn braille, where to get free braille books, and more. Highlights include:
- Playing the Louis Braille Timeline Game. The game can be downloaded, with the timeline of Louis Braille’s life in print and braille versions cut into strips that can be lined up in the order in which events occurred.
- Learning about the importance of braille literacy. A video from Perkins School for the Blind interviews braille users of various ages discussing the continued value of braille as technology advances in school, at work, and in the community.
- Introducing braille to young children, with ideas such as creating tactile books, story boxes, and lessons for beginning braille readers, to name a few.
- Introducing sighted children to braille basics. Helpful webpages include Braille Bug (from APH), Braille Chart for Sighted Classmates Learning Braille Visually (from Jessica McDowell, TVI), and Fun Sheets (from Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness).
- Learning braille resources for parents including Braille Courses from Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Just Enough to Know Better (from National Braille Press); UEB Online, a training program for people with sight to learn Unified English Braille; and more.
- Obtaining books that are free of charge from the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled of the Library of Congress as well as Sources of Free Braille Books. Learn more from the Paths to Literacy webpage on how to Celebrate Braille Literacy Month!
Commemorating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Some Accessible Material
As we head into this weekend and the Monday holiday commemorating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and honoring his legacy, you may want to review some of the accessible materials documenting his life and work. For children, for example, the National Braille Press has a number of books documenting Dr. King’s life and work, such as, in print and braille, Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down for ages 6 through 10, and A Lesson for Martin Luther King, Jr., a nonfiction publication based on Dr. King’s childhood. The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled of the Library of Congress (NLS) also has a multitude of materials for readers of all ages in braille, print, digital, and audio formats. In addition to books, their catalog contains such offerings as a transcript in print and braille of the historic “I Have a Dream” speech and readings of other noteworthy addresses like “The Birth of a New Nation” and his final presentation, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” two of a collection of 11 speeches included in A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For more information about these historic resources, visit the NLS page covering Key Documents in American History.
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