Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

RDPFS Resources for Partners September 11, 2023

Dear Readers: Today, Patriot Day, commemorates a time when the nation remembers the heroes and those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and rededicates the commitment to unity, patriotism, and service that marked that day and those that followed. The article below provides details about the occasion.

This is also the first time this Bulletin has been published on Monday, providing the timely opportunity to recognize the importance of this date in the nation’s history. Subsequent issues will be published on Mondays, with the exception of federal holidays celebrated at the beginning of the week, when it will be sent out on Tuesday. We welcome submissions of ideas for articles as well as relevant news, events of note, and resources. Please send suggestions and entries to [email protected].

Observing Patriot Day and Remembering September 11, 2001

by B. E. Lewis, RDPFS Intern: Since today is September 11th, this inaugural Monday Bulletin begins with a moment of reflection to honor the lives of those who lost their lives that day in 2001. Now observed as Patriot Day each year, the anniversary commemorates the events that occurred as a result of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Virginia as well as the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. A joint resolution of the U.S. Congress on December 18, 2001 designated September 11th as Patriot Day. The resolution calls for the President of the United States to issue a yearly proclamation requesting that all U.S. flags be flown at half-staff. The first Patriot Day was commemorated in 2002 and has been recognized each subsequent year. Last year, the White House Proclamation from President Joseph Biden stated that: “On this Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, we pay tribute to the heroes and victims who lost their lives on September 11, and we recommit ourselves to the spirit of unity, patriotism, and service that carried our Nation through in the days that followed.” To find out more information about the holiday, visit the Britannica webpage on Patriot Day.  For the full White House statement from last year, read A Proclamation on Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, 2022. The September 11th Memorial: An Accessible In-Person and Virtual Museum Today, a National Memorial and Museum exists on the grounds of the former World Trade Center site. It is the “country’s principal institution concerned with exploring 9/11, documenting its impact, and examining its continuing significance.” It honors the lives lost in 2001 as well as during the attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993. The main memorial contains two pools of water to indicate the two fallen towers. According to the memorial’s website, the design of the bronze names parapets surrounding the twin pools allows visitors to discover the names of the victims by touching the contours of the letters. Affiliations included on the Memorial, such as company or flight names, are embossed, while the names of individual victims are cut out of the bronze. The memorial and museum are accessible for both in-person and virtual participation. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum seeks to ensure access for all visitors and to provide an equal opportunity for every individual to participate in their mission. Guide dogs are welcome. Their audio guide features an audio description tour, allowing visitors who are blind or have low vision to explore the Museum independently through detailed descriptions of the exhibitions. The audio guide is VoiceOver compatible on all iOS devices, including devices provided by the Museum. For those who cannot visit in person, the Museum offers online resources. These include such features as: – an Interactive Museum Experience, where virtual visitors can explore and select different paths through the Museum’s many spaces and exhibitions; – Activities at Home that offer simple, collaborative activities with instructions to create artwork from materials that are generally found at home; and – an Anniversary in the Schools Webinar, an interactive program connecting participants with Museum staff and guest speakers to learn more about the attacks and the commemoration. For details and additional online offerings, visit the Museum webpage describing how to Learn and Explore from Home. And learn more here about their general policies on Accessibility. [...]

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Free Live Virtual Program on September 14, 2023 to Feature Audio Awareness and Navigation Aid

The latest installment of Vision Forward’s “Tech Connect!” series features the Lazarillo app, a free navigation aid that helps users get around safely and independently. This event will be available live via YouTube on September 14, 2023 at 11 am Central Time (12 noon Eastern Time). The app offers audio messages that announce places of interest as people walk, from streets and intersections to restaurants, stores, and transit locations. It can also provide walking and directions to any destination. “Tech Connect Live!” is offered every other Thursday at 11 am Central Time (12 noon Eastern Time).  The event features demonstrations and discussions of assistive technology options for people with vision loss, accessed live via YouTube. To participate, register for Tech Connect Live! here. New users will need to create an account. VisionConnect’s YouTube Channel can be accessed here for the live event on September 14th as well as previous segments. Additional information about TechConnect Live! is available here. To learn more about this navigation app, read the article from Perkins School for the Blind on Lazarillo: A Free Accessible GPS App for the Blind and Visually Impaired. [...]

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National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month: Outreach Materials Now Available

As announced in a previous Bulletin, the theme for this year’s National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is “Advancing Access and Equity.” NDEAM, observed every year in October, “celebrates the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities past and present and showcases supportive, inclusive employment policies and practices that benefit employers and employees.” The official poster, illustrating the 2023 theme, is now available for downloading and mail order. This resource communicates the importance of ensuring that individuals with disabilities have equal opportunities to prepare for and succeed in the workplace. It also recognizes the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. New outreach tools are available on the NDEAM website, including customizable versions of the poster, NDEAM messages, and social media graphics that organizations and individuals can use in their observances. The website also includes ideas for celebrating the occasion, designed for use by employers, educators and youth service professionals, government officials and agencies, and professional and disability-related organizations. NDEAM activities can be held year round as well, with suggestions offered for ongoing efforts that can highlight the “importance of including disability in all of your organization’s diversity endeavors.” Learn more by visiting the webpage for NDEAM. [...]

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September: Sports Eye Safety Month

by B. E. Lewis, RDPFS Intern: Eye injuries are a leading cause of vision loss in children in the United States, according to the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The majority of these mishaps occur during sports activities. To address the issue, and avoid accidents, Prevent Blindness has declared September Sports Eye Safety Month. The goal of this commemoration is to educate the public about the importance of wearing proper eye protection while playing sports. They cite data indicating that “more than 32,000 sports eye injuries (were) treated last year, an increase of almost 20 percent over previous annual data.” Among the sports posing a high risk of eye injury are “non-powder guns, darts, arrows, and slingshots,” as well as pools and water sports, basketball, baseball, softball, and soccer, to name a few. Types of “sports-related eye injuries include blunt trauma, penetrating injuries, eye infections, and corneal scratches and abrasion.” Fortunately, according to NEI, using the right protective eyewear can prevent nine out of ten sports-related eye injuries. Athletes should always consult an eyecare professional to determine the best kind of eye protection for their sport and medical needs. Types of protective eyewear for sports include safety goggles, face guards, and special eyewear designed for specific sports. Although regular eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses don’t provide protection from eye injuries, most protective eyewear can be made to match glasses or contact lens prescriptions. Players can also wear safety goggles over their regular glasses or contacts. Protective eyewear is important whenever practicing or playing a sport that poses the risk of eye injury. In addition to offering fact sheets that can be downloaded, a dedicated webpage, and a variety of shareable social media graphics in English and Spanish, Prevent Blindness is also seeking to increase public awareness through the newest episode in their Focus on Eye Health Expert Series, “Sports Eye Safety.” Learn more about eye safety from the NEI’s webpage on Sports and Eye Safety: Tips for Parents and Teachers. For additional details about resources available from Prevent Blindness, read the press release announcing that Prevent Blindness Declares September as Sports Eye Safety Month to Educate Public on the Risk of Significant Eye Injuries and the Need for the Proper Sports Eye Protection. [...]

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Applications Available for Training Program for Actors with Disabilities

Applications may be submitted through September 23, 2023 for Queens Theatre’s sixth annual Theatre for All (TFA) Professional Training Program for performers who are deaf or experience other disabilities. Part I of the program runs virtually from November 6 through November 17, 2023. Following the completion of Part I students will have the opportunity to audition for Part II, which will be an in-person “training and performance intensive” that will be held in the Queens Theatre in New York City in Spring 2024. TFA Program Manager Mary Theresa Archbold explained the benefits of the virtual training, stating that “’By hosting the intensive virtually in November we can reach a much broader community of artists. Often artists with disabilities, particularly those who don’t reside in a major city such as Los Angeles or New York City, struggle to find accessible, high-quality training.” Accepted students will receive their instruction free of charge, thanks to philanthropic support. Training will be provided by industry professionals, including those with and without disabilities. Students will participate in a university-level training program through inclusive, intensive workshops to “prepare them for acting on the stage and screen.”  Elements of the program focus on auditioning, acting, improvisation, musical theater, voice, and movement. There will be two tracks for performers of varying levels of experience: “Early Career” and “Working Actor.” The placement of students into tracks will be determined by the application review committee. Audio description and ASL Interpretation will be provided during the program. For more information, application instructions, and a link to the application form, visit the Queens Theatre webpage on the Theatre for All Actor Training Program 2023. Additional details are also included in an article from announcing that Applications (are) now open for Queens Theatre’s training program for actors with disabilities. [...]

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