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RDPFS Resources for Partners November 13, 2023

Tune In Tomorrow, November 14, 2023, to the Audio Description Awards Gala

The 2023 ACB (American Council of the Blind) Audio Description Awards Gala will air on multiple media platforms tomorrow, November 14, 2023 at 7:30 pm ET. This Gala debuted in 2021 to “recognize outstanding achievement in audio description in entertainment and educational media.” Tomorrow’s program features celebrity guests, audio description, and simultaneous Spanish translation. Hosts Marilee Talkington and Conchita Hernandez Legorreta will welcome guests from the arts, entertainment, and sports to applaud accessible films, series, books, and video games. Awards will be presented in such categories as Innovation, Popular Entertainment, Lifetime Achievement, Spanish Media, and International. Among the special guests are Shawn Levy, director of the series All the Light We Cannot See; Barbara Hinske, author of the Guiding Emily books; Maria Runyan, Olympian and Paralympian in track and field; Precious Perez, pop, R&B, and Latin singer/songwriter; and Lavender Darcangelo, singer, activist, and contestant on America’s Got Talent, to name a few. The Awards Gala will be available on ACB Media 1; ACB’s YouTube channel; ACB Community watch party on Zoom and Clubhouse,, and Peacock, courtesy of NBCUniversal (subscription required). For additional details, read the webpage announcing: The American Council of the Blind’s 2023 Audio Description Awards Gala To Be Broadcast on November 14.

Also Tomorrow, November 14, 2023: Virtual Verbal Description Tour on Global Art Deco

A “Vibrant Verbal Description Tour” taking place from 4 to 5 pm ET on November 14, 2023 will highlight Art Deco around the world. Offered by Poster House, this “Global Art Deco” tour will be available online through Zoom. Vibrant Verbal Description Tours are held every month for individuals who are blind or have low vision. To sign up, email [email protected] or call 914-295-2387. Those attending will be sent poster images for reference as well as information about accessing Zoom for the event. Learn more on the Poster House webpage here about Vibrant Verbal Description: Global Art Deco.

November is National Native American Heritage Month

Each year, in November, National Native American Heritage Month is celebrated. This occasion offers the opportunity to recognize the “traditions, languages, and stories of Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and affiliated communities and ensure their rich histories and contributions continue to thrive with each passing generation.” This year’s theme, “Celebrating Tribal Sovereignty and Identity,” underscores the assurance that any decisions made regarding the property and citizens of Tribes are made with “their participation and consent.” Events and recognitions throughout the month emphasize this theme. Read more on the U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairs webpage on National Native American Heritage Month.

Eye Conditions and Disabilities Among Native American and Alaska Native Populations

The National Native American Month commemoration is a timely opportunity to understand more about disabilities and, specifically, the prevalence and nature of eye conditions. “Compared with the general population in North America, Native American/American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations experience a disparate prevalence of eye diseases.” Earlier this year, a Review of the Prevalence of Ophthalmologic Diseases in Native American Populations was cited by the National Library of Medicine. This research report, published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, reviewed the prevalence of eye diseases between AI/AN and non-AI/AN populations. Results showed that rates of retinopathy, cataracts, visual impairment, and blindness were higher for AI/AN individuals. The study concluded that, due to underinsurance and “geographic variability,” increased attention needs to be focused on expanding access to eye care in AI/AN communities. To boost awareness and knowledge of the needs of individuals in these communities, the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) provides a toolkit entitled “Understanding Disabilities in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities.” It includes information about disabilities, specific tribes, and resources. The kit is divided into sections on healthy living, education, independent living, vocational rehabilitation and employment, assistive technology, housing and facilities, and transportation. Overviews are included on federal disability laws, initiatives, agencies, and organizations supporting work with Native individuals with disabilities. The spectrum of disabilities is represented on the toolkit’s cover through four symbols depicting: Access for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired; Mobility Access: Communication Access for People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing; and Hidden Disabilities, such as epilepsy, developmental disabilities, mental illness, learning difficulties, and others not covered by the universal disability symbols.
Read more about the research report cited by the National Library of Medicine as A Review of the Prevalence of Ophthalmologic Diseases in Native American Populations. This overview is also published by the American Journal of Ophthalmology here, with links and information about ordering the full research article, which requires either payment or a subscription.
For information about the toolkit, read the NICOA webpage on Understanding Disabilities in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities. Download the toolkit here.

Planning for the Thanksgiving Holiday Feast

Planning for the Thanksgiving Holiday Feast

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, whether hosting, cooking a dish, setting the table, or just attending festivities, if you or your guests are blind or have low vision, advance planning and a few practical tips can add to the celebration.

Cooking Tips and Resources
Following are some suggested “ingredients” for an enjoyable holiday experience for the cook with limited or no vision, provided by the APH (American Printing House for the Blind) Connect Center:
- Determine your skill level and plan dishes accordingly. Examples: If you’re still learning adaptive skills, plan dishes such as easy-to-assemble casseroles, or oven bag meats, or poultry. For the cook who is more comfortable with kitchen skills, make rolls or desserts from scratch.
- Recruit friends or family to help with “food prep fun.”
- Check out online groups geared toward the cook who is visually impaired that provide tips and accessible recipes and answer questions. Sources include Google Groups, Yahoo groups, and Facebook.
- Make of list of what you are preparing and need to purchase, using braille, large print, a digital recorder, or smart phone.
Read more from APH Connect about Cooking for the Holidays When You Are Blind or Visually Impaired.

Adaptive Cooking Strategies, Tools, and Informative Resources

Adaptive cooking tools, strategies, and “specialized knowledge” are offered by The Blind Kitchen to cooks who are blind or visually impaired. Examples are tips for cooking hot dishes and using sharp knives and other tools safely. Their Library covers such topics as how people with vision loss can organize the kitchen and pantry, identify food items in closed containers, and access and read recipes, to name a few. The Blind Kitchen also offers a catalog of cooking tools for purchase, including such items as a “Boil Alert Disk,” that makes a rattling sound (for $6.99), and “Egg Rings,” that help to contain or mold liquid foods as they cook (for $7.99). Their catalog features extensive cooking collections for purchase as well. The organization’s founder and executive chef, Debra Erickson, who is blind, emphasizes that “vision loss does not have to end your love of cooking.” Adaptive techniques and tools make it possible to “work around your vision loss.” A culinary school graduate and cooking instructor for adults who are blind and visually impaired, Erickson shares her knowledge with other experienced and aspiring cooks. Find out more about how Everyone has a place at the table in The Blind Kitchen!!

Hosting a Dinner Guest with Vision Loss
Hosts whose guests may be experiencing vision loss can find it “difficult to know what someone can see and where that person may struggle in a new location.” A few subtle steps can be taken to provide a “low-vision friendly holiday gathering.” Set up all table arrangements uniformly; do not single out the individual with vision loss. A few specific tips on “being a good host when you have a guest with vision loss” are offered in a blog written by Jessica Hipp, chief operating officer of WayAround®, which features an app for smart devices that “provides on-demand details about everyday things.” Pointers included in the blog include modifications such as making table settings high contrast, avoiding tall glasses to prevent spilling, and keeping decorations and other hazards off surfaces that are frequently used (like coffee tables). Find out more about these and other tips by reading the WayAround blog on How to be a Good Host for a Dinner Guest with Vision Loss.

Thanksgiving Day Parade Available via Audio Description

The 97th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will feature character balloons and magical floats, marching bands from across the nation, a star-studded line up of guests, and a television broadcast that will be available with live audio description. This celebration begins with a “showstopping performance” by musician and television star Jon Batiste and includes an appearance by “music legend Cher,” to “usher in the holiday season.” NBCUniversal has announced that the NBC broadcast of the Parade will be presented with live audio description on the Secondary Audio Program channel (SAP). Provided by Descriptive Video Works, the SAP broadcast will be available with additional audio narration describing the Parade’s vivid visuals. The event begins at 8:30 am ET. For more information about the day’s festivities, read the Macy’s inc webpage detailing how The World-Famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade® Kicks Off the Holiday Season.

Upcoming Free Seasonal Online Programs

A number of virtual activities for youth and adults are coming up from Future In Sight. Here are some descriptions:

On November 18, 2023 from 10 am to 12 pm ET: “Carrot cake muffins and the Great Escape,” for youth, will begin by preparing muffins for the holiday season. As they bake, workshop participants can join in the “Great Escape,” finding answers to riddles, puzzles, and more. More information and a link to register are available here for the Carrot cake muffins and the Great Escape.

On November 19, 2023 from 3 to 4 pm ET: “Outta Sight Cooking: Crunchy Chicken Fingers with Tater Tots and/or Garden Salad,” for adults, will visit the kitchen of Heidi Piroso, who will prepare her delicacies. Participants will receive a list of ingredients beforehand to cook along with her. For additional details and a registration link, visit the webpage listing for Outta Sight Cooking: Crunchy Chicken Fingers with Tater Tots and/or Garden Salad.

On November 22, 2023, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm: “BLAST Tech Workshop: 10 iPhone/IPad Tips,” for adults, will offer pointers to make life easier for users of these devices. Among the topics covered will be creating an icon for quicker access to a website and how to copy and paste where there is no option to do so. Find out more and access a link to register here for BLAST Tech Workshop: 10 iPhone/IPad Tips.

On November 27, 2023, from 10:30 am to 12 pm: “Mindfulness, Meditation, and More: Gratitude,” for adults, will explore and discuss exercises to gain the “benefits of gratitude and mindfulness, and how they can be used to improve our physical and mental health, relationships, and overall well being.” Additional information and a link to register are available here for Mindfulness, Meditation, and More: Gratitude.

Free Virtual Art Workshop for Youth Who are Blind or Visually Impaired: December 9, 2023; Register by November 27

An art workshop will be offered online by Lighthouse Guild and The Metropolitan Museum of Art on December 9, 2023 from 11 am to 12:30 pm ET. Children ages 5 through 12 years and teens ages 13 through 18 years will explore The Met Collection through detailed description and innovative drawing techniques and will have the opportunity to create their own work of art. All levels of experience are welcome. Participants will need access to Zoom or a phone to join via a dial-in number as well as a flat surface for creating art, such as a table, desk, etc. Art materials, which will be provided, will be mailed to those attending prior to the workshops. Advance registration is required to receive the art supplies. The registration deadline is Monday, November 27, 2023. Space is limited. For more information, and to register, visit the Lighthouse Guild webpage on Free Virtual Art Workshops for Youth Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired.

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