Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

RDPFS Resources for Partners June 30, 2023

Disability Pride Month Begins Tomorrow

Each year, Disability Pride Month is celebrated in July. The commemoration began in 1990, the year that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. It celebrates individuals with disabilities “embracing their disabilities as integral parts of who they are, reclaiming visibility in public and interacting fully with their disabilities out in the open, and rejecting shame and ableism.” The occasion provides an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of members of the disability community and advocate for ensuring and building on the legal rights advanced with the passage of the ADA. In many cities across the country, Disability Pride Parades are held to recognize the community. The RDPFS Resources for Partners Bulletin will cover events, other news, and items of note as the month of July unfolds. Read more about the occasion and its importance from the American Bar Association’s webpage on Celebrating Disability Pride Month, a U.S. Embassy piece entitled Disability Pride Month celebrates Americans with Disabilities Anniversary, and, from Hallmark, What is Disability Pride Month?: Understanding its Importance and finding ways to celebrate. [...]

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Nominations Now Being Accepted for Awards Recognizing Leaders in the Disability Community Worldwide

The Viscardi Center has announced that nominations for the 2023 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards are now being accepted. These Awards salute leaders, advocates, role models, and innovators in the disability community, highlighting their positive impact on society. Established in 2013, the recognition honors the memory and legacy of the Center’s founder, Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., “a distinguished disability advocate who worked tirelessly to advance opportunities for people with disabilities.” Nearly 90 recipients from more than 20 countries have been recognized through the years, including individuals with a wide range of disabilities from the fields of academia, entertainment, health care, sports, government, nonprofit, and corporate sectors. The submission deadline is August 4, 2023. Award winners will be announced in the fall. For additional information, visit the webpage on the Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards. And click here to submit a nomination. [...]

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Fireworks and Eye Safety

As we approach the Independence Day holiday and its celebrations, it’s important to keep eye safety in mind, particularly when it comes to fireworks. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 14 percent of injuries from fireworks were to the eyes. And the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) reports that fireworks can cause injuries, such as chemical burns, corneal abrasions, and retinal detachment, that can result in permanent eye damage and vision loss. To underscore the importance of eye safety, Prevent Blindness has declared June 28 to July 4, 2023 as the Third Annual Fireworks Safety Awareness Week. To enjoy a safe Independence Day, leave “’the fireworks to licensed professionals,’” stated Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “’And remember to be vigilant about your surroundings, as bystanders can also be injured by errant fireworks and shrapnel.’” The organization provides free fact sheets, social media graphics, suggestions for fireworks alternatives, and other resources to help children and adults celebrate the holiday safely. For more information, read the press release entitled Prevent Blindness Declares June 28-July 4, 2023, as Third Annual Fireworks Safety Awareness Week, Seeking to Educate the Public on the Dangers of Fireworks. [...]

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Upcoming Virtual Events

Future In Sight is offering online workshops on a variety of topics during the coming weeks, including: On July 13, 2023 from 7 to 8:30 pm: A Sneak Peak at NLS (National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled) Talking Books Coming to Alexa: NLS Talking Books will soon be available on Amazon’s Alexa. This free workshop for adults will provide a demonstration of how this new feature works and what it will sound like. Learn more here about Sneak Peak at NLS Talking Books Coming to Alexa. On July 18, 2023, from 10:30 am to 12 noon: An Indoor Gardening Workshop: Gardening indoors can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors inside, even in a small space. This workshop, offered at no cost and open to adults and youth, will provide basic information about selecting and caring for plants. Find out additional details here about the Indoor Gardening Workshop. On July 25, 2023 and August 1, 2023 from 3 to 5 pm: Parts One and Two of Kaila’s Crafts: Basketry: Learn the basics of basket making, using a wooden bottom and reeds. Instruction will cover how to prepare the materials, weave the sides of the basket, and how to finish it “so that it is both beautiful and functional.” The event is open to both adults and youth. A craft kit is available for $18. However, registration is free for anyone who does not want to buy a kit. Learn more here about Part One of Kaila’s Crafts: Basketry and here about Part Two. The Zoom link for all of the events noted above will be provided with registration confirmation. Creating a Disability-Inclusive Workplace: Webinar on July 19, 2023 An upcoming webinar, marking the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab Act) and the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act of 1990, will explore the important role of accommodations in creating inclusive places of employment. The primary goals of both of these legislative advances include “full participation, equal opportunity, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.” The program, Creating a Disability-Inclusive Workplace: The Role of Accommodations, will take place July 19, 2023 from 2 to 3 pm ET. The discussion will focus on the “significance of accommodations in achieving the goals of the Rehab Act and ADA and how they contribute to creating inclusive workplaces.” Some people with disabilities require modifications to have equal opportunity and success at work. Not only are these adaptations required by law, they also are a necessary part of the creation of inclusive workplaces. Webinar attendees will learn about: the impact of the Rehab Act and ADA on today’s work environments; the role of accommodations in developing an inclusive workplace culture; and how to go beyond compliance in using effective accommodations. To learn more and register, visit the EARN (Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion) webpage for Creating a Disability-Inclusive Workplace: The Role of Accommodations. Livestream Available for Virtual Attendance to Town Hall Meeting About Accessibility on July 25, 2023 A town hall meeting of the U.S. Access Board on July 25, 2023 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm ET, will be available online to interested members of the public. The meeting will be held in person at the national headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), in Baltimore, Maryland and broadcast live via Zoom for virtual attendees. Access Board members, as well as representatives from other federal agencies and the Maryland governor’s office, will be at the meeting to hear from local community members about the state of accessibility in Baltimore and in the national capital D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area. Virtual attendees will be able to listen to the meeting, but not make public comments. For more information, and the Zoom link, read the Access Board webpage announcement about the Livestream Available for Virtual Attendance to U.S. Access Board Town Hall Meeting in Baltimore. The U.S. Access Board, a federal agency, “promotes equality for people with disabilities through leadership in accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards for the built environment, transportation, communication, medical diagnostic equipment, and information technology.” [...]

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“Touch of Genius” Prize Winner Announced

National Braille Press (NBP) has announced that the 2023 winner of the Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation is Gregory Hargraves and the UK-based “Team of Inventors” for Paige Connect, an adaptation of the Perkins Brailler. This innovation “replaces the base of the brailler with a sturdy printed circuit board.” The board consists of its own Wi-Fi with sensors that create digital output from physical keystrokes on the brailler. The resulting output can be read on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Brian MacDonald, president and CEO of NBP, explained that “’Paige Connect is a device that will enhance the way that individuals write on their traditional braillers, and it will assist teachers to get instant feedback on how the student is typing…Its ease of use, functionality and low price point made it the winner among a lot of other great entries in this year’s Touch of Genius competition.’” Paige Connect’s estimated price is $125. The team’s next step is to bring the product available to users following safety testing and certification. Inventors from around the world participate in the Touch of Genius competition, showcasing their ideas and innovations aimed at improving the lives of people who are blind or have low vision. The prize winner receives $10,000. For more information, including the background, selection process, and funding of this award, read the press release entitled “National Braille Press Announces Touch of Genius Prize Winner Paige Connect.” [...]

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“Making Fashion More Inclusive:” Fashion Magazine Launches Braille Edition

For the first time in its 107-year history, British Vogue has released a braille edition of the magazine, beginning with its May 2023 issue. The publication is available in audio and braille formats to increase access by people who are blind or have low vision. According to editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, “readers are now able ‘to be sent the audio file, to print a Braille file of the issue at home for free or to register (their) interest in receiving a physical Braille copy.’” Enninful underscored the intent of this move, stating that “’The time has come for us to get real about who we are as a society, and for fashion to build a better, more accessible and inclusive industry.’” The introduction of this format has drawn positive reactions from a number of advocates from the blind and visually impaired (BVI) community. Kim Charlson, executive director of the braille and talking book library at Perkins School for the Blind, noted that this is a “’game changer,’” since “fashion and design publications, in particular, lack accessibility…It benefits the community and makes information available to us that probably other people kind of take for granted.’” Virginia Jacko, president and CEO of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, “a nationally recognized accessibility expert” who is blind, also affirmed that she is a “’strong proponent of access’” to this kind of information. Jacko told Yahoo Life that she considers herself “’kind of a fashionista,’” and that “’It’s a sighted world. Sighted people need to accept the blind or visually impaired and people with disabilities. And people with disabilities have to learn how to fit into a sighted world.’” For more details, read the Yahoo! Life article announcing that British Vogue is available in braille. Blind ‘fashionistas’ react. [...]

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Having Trouble Reading Standard Print? Enjoy today’s bestsellers in easy-to-read large print: Select Editions Large Type Books

Enjoy the best in current fiction, romance, mystery, biography, adventure, and more. Reader’s Digest Select Editions Large Type features expertly edited best-selling books in every volume. You get a full year of exciting reading (five volumes in all), for the low nonprofit price of $25. Indulge your love of great reading in a format that is comfortable and pleasurable to read. A portion of the proceeds from each subscription supports Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation’s work and dedication to fostering the independence of people who are blind and visually impaired. Each subscriber also receives a large-print calendar free of charge. Subscribe to Reader’s Digest Select Editions Large Type today or give a gift subscription. To order your subscription by phone, call 1-800-877-5293. [...]

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Note to Readers: Since Independence Day celebrations begin next weekend leading up to the July 4th holiday, we will not be publishing the Bulletin this coming Friday. Resources for Partners will return the following Friday, July 14, 2023.

Have a happy and healthy July 4th holiday!