Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

RDPFS Resources for Partners July 15, 2022

Starting Your Own Podcast

Have you ever thought about producing a podcast and wondered how to get started? Find out tomorrow, Saturday July 16, from 2 to 4 PM Eastern Time (ET) during a Roundtable from the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library of The New York Public Library. The program will cover what tools are needed, how to launch a podcast, edit the show, and promote it on social media. Hear from Brian Fischler and Allison Meloy from That Real Blind Tech show, Jeanine Stanley from the Airacast Podcast, Steven Scott from Blind Guy Talks Tech Podcast, and David Goldstein from ICantCU and White Cane’s Connect Podcast. They will talk about what works for them, issues they have encountered, and best practices in podcasting. For more information, check out Getting Started with Podcasting and to sign up, go to the Meeting Registration.

Virtual Training on Accessibility Requirements for the Fair Housing Act

A free series running from July 26, 2022 to September 27, 2022 will provide comprehensive training on the Fair Housing Act’s accessibility requirements for “residential elements and spaces,” from kitchens to bathrooms, public and common-use areas, structures, and more. The training, conducted by the Office of Fair Housing/Equal Opportunity (FHEO) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will also include an overview of technical requirements as well as information and resources to understand and comply successfully with the Act. Disability advocates, architects, designers, civil engineers, builders, developers, housing program specialists, property managers, and owners are invited to attend. Training sessions are offered at no cost, but registration is required. Questions may be submitted on the session registration pages and each session will include time for “subject matters” to respond to questions. More information on the series is available from the U.S. Access Board page describing HUD’s Office of Fair Housing/Equal Opportunity Opens Registration for Accessibility First Training. To register, go to HUD’s Accessibility First Training Calendar webpage.

Disability Pride Month continues…

Disability Pride Author Talk on July 21, 2022

Authors M. Leona Godin and Andrew Leland will discuss their work and “journeys toward understanding and embracing blind pride” during this online Disability Pride Month event. Godin, a writer, performer, educator, and author of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness, has been published in The New York Times, O Magazine, Electric Literature, and other print and online publications. She holds a PhD in English, teaches at New York University, and has lectured on art, accessibility, technology, and disability. Leland has written a book about “the world of blindness (and figuring out his place in it),” which is being published by Penguin Press. His writing and audio stories have been in The New York Times Magazine,, and other media. This free talk is offered on July 21, 2022 from 6:30 to 8 pm Eastern Time (ET) through The New York Public Library’s Andrew Heiskell Library. For more information and to register, visit the listing for this Disability Pride Author Talk: M. Leona Godin and Andrew Leland.

Learning How to “Celebrate Your Accomplishments:” A Disability Pride Month Workshop: July 26, 2022

#IamRemarkable, a Google initiative, invites members of the disability community and other interested individuals to join in a 90-minute online seminar to celebrate Disability Pride Month by learning how to “amplify the voices of your disabled peers, co-workers, (and) family members.” This free program, being held on July 26, 2022 from 7 to 8:30 pm ET, will feature group discussions and exercises aimed at helping participants to increase confidence and effective self-promotion skills. It will include sharing of data and research and an exercise in articulating achievements and practicing self promotion. The #IamRemarkable initiative seeks to empower women and “underrepresented groups” to speak out about their accomplishments in the workplace and elsewhere to break “modesty norms and glass ceilings.” To learn more or register, find out how to Celebrate Disability Pride Month by participating in an #I am Remarkable Workshop!

Networking Events

The Global Disability Network holds sessions every Tuesday from 9 to 10 am ET on Zoom to help participants share resources and gain access to a professional global network to support their success in business. This free, live networking call provides access to a “professional global network” ready to serve individuals who sign up for sessions. To learn more and register for one or more meetings, visit the Eventbrite listing for Global Disability Network.

Call for Nominations for Awards Recognizing Global Leaders with Disabilities Sparking Worldwide Change

The Viscardi Center is inviting nominations for their 2022 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards, an international recognition of “distinguished leaders with disabilities.” The Awards honor “innovators, role models, and mentors in the disability community” who continue the legacy of Dr. Viscardi through their professional accomplishments and advocacy efforts. Previous recipients have come from such diverse fields as academia, healthcare, entertainment, government, nonprofit organizations, law, and the corporate sector. Dr. Viscardi, a disability right pioneer who wore prosthetic legs, served as an advisor to eight U.S. presidents, implementing “groundbreaking programs that continue to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities.” The submission deadline is September 9, 2022. For additional information, visit The Viscardi Center webpage entitled Nominations Open for 2022 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards. And click here to learn more and submit a nomination for the 2022 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards.

News from the Department of Labor:

“Disability: Part of the Equation” to be the Theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2022

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that the theme of this year’s National Disability Employment Month (NDEAM), in October, will recognize the “vital role people with disabilities play in making the nation’s workforce more diverse and inclusive.” NDEAM, held annually, calls attention to the contributions workers with disabilities make to the nation’s economy. Led by the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), NDEAM also showcases practices that are supportive and inclusive and benefit workers and employers. As the date approaches, a poster and other resources will be provided to promote the theme. For additional details, read the news release from the Department of Labor on National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2022.

Request for Information for Population Survey on Disability Employment Issues

A Request for Information (RFI) from ODEP has been issued to gain input regarding a supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) on issues related to disability employment. This request seeks to elicit public comments to help in revising the CPS Disability Supplement and “to inform its general disability employment research agenda.” The CPS, which has existed since the 1940s, serves as the official source of government statistics on unemployment and other labor market issues. Compiled by the Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS) and the Census Bureau, the Supplement will be “fielded in 2024.” Similar to the three previous versions, the 2024 Disability Supplement will be conducted along with the monthly CPS, and “therefore the same detailed demographic information collected in the basic monthly CPS will be available for respondents to the Disability Supplement.” Because the CPS is “a rich source of information” on current employment, “it will be possible to examine in detail the nature of various employment and unemployment situations for individuals with disabilities.” Public comments may be submitted online or via mail and must be received by August 8, 2022. For more information about the RFI, including links and instructions for submitting comments, visit the Federal Register webpage: Request for Information on Current Population Survey Disability Supplement 2024.

Research Updates:

Eye Fluid Protein Levels May Predict the Need for Lifelong Macular Degeneration Therapy

A recent study from Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that levels of a specific protein have been found to predict whether people with wet macular degeneration may need lifelong, frequent injections into the eyes to preserve vision or if they can be weaned off treatments safely. Macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss among individuals who are age 50 and older, affects an estimated 7.3 million people in the United States. The standard treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration involves the injection of “anti-VEGF drugs” that slow the progression or stop the growth of leaky blood vessels, preventing further vision loss among most of those affected. The injections, however, are “inconvenient, costly, uncomfortable, and carry risk of infection, retinal detachment and other side effects.” This protein can also be the target of new therapies to stop loss of vision. The study team investigated whether levels of certain proteins in the eye could predict “disease stabilization or progression despite treatment.” Their work received support from the National Eye Institute (NEI), the Research to Prevent Blindness Special Scholar Award, the Alcon Research Institute, and the Brianna and Irving Siswein Professorship in Ophthalmology. For more information, read the article from NEI: Measuring Levels of Proteins in Eye Fluid May Accurately Predict Need for Lifelong Macular Degeneration Therapy or the press release from Johns Hopkins Medicine News. You may read the full research findings here in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight.

New Human Cell Line Developed to Study Retinal Eye Disorders

A “new, experimental human cell line” has been shown to be a reliable way to investigate retinal degenerative diseases, such as macular degeneration. Developed by scientists from the LSU (Louisiana State University) Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence, these new cells closely resemble “native pigment epithelial (RPE) cells.” RPE cells serve “serve as part of the blood/retinal barrier” and protect the cells that are ”critical to vision.” When they are damaged, the resulting impairments in RPE may lead to eye disease. The development of the new cell allows for the study of what is involved during the normal repair process, when cell structures that have been damaged are eliminated. The study was directed by Boyd Professor Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD at LSU New Orleans Health School of Medicine supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Eye Institute (NEI) and the Eye Ear and Throat (EENT) Foundation of New Orleans. More details about the study are available from NEI: LSU Health New Orleans Develops New Human Cell Line to Study Blinding Eye Disorders and from the LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom. For the study’s findings, published in in Frontiers in Neuroscience, read the article entitled New Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cell Model to Unravel Neuroprotection Sensors of Neurodegeneration in Retinal Disease.

Yoga for All: Virtual and In-Person Classes for Those with Vision Loss

Virtual yoga classes specifically designed for people who have low vision or are blind are offered by Blue Awning Yoga, in conjunction with Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh (BVRS). Classes, which are taught by an instructor who is visually impaired, highlight the other senses and focus on verbal cues to help students participate actively in each session. Gentle movement and “flowing postures” are among the features of the program, aimed at enhancing balance and mindfulness. Other classes are offered as well, concentrating on such areas as gentle flow, power, raja, and seniors/chair yoga. Each live and interactive virtual session is available for a fee of $5; for residents of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, the fee is waived. The program is offered every day of the week at convenient times for individuals across the United States. To learn more or to sign up, visit the website for Blue Awning Yoga and Wellness. More details are also available on the BVRS webpage on Blue Awning Yoga.

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