The month of April includes some seasonal and timely celebrations, including Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, Sports Eye Safety Month, World Health Day (April 7), National Gardening Month and National Volunteer Month. We welcomed spring last week, with some gardening news, and will highlight other remembrances as the month unfolds.
World Health Day April 7, 2021: Building a Fairer Healthier World
Each year the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights a theme for World Health Day. For 2021, it’s “Building a Fairer Healthier World.” The pandemic has underscored disparities in health care, access to resources, income, employment and other factors that can lead to “unnecessary suffering, avoidable illness, and premature death.” WHO calls upon leaders to “Work Together,” “Collect Reliable Data,” “Tackle Inequities” and “Work Beyond Borders.” Media materials conveying these themes are available, along with additional World Health Day information: World Health Day 2021
New Website for People with Macular Degeneration
Leading advocacy organizations have joined together to launch AMD Central, an online resource with information and tools for patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and caregivers. Despite advances in treatment, AMD remains the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 65 in North America. AMD Central features clinical details about AMD and practical advice for living with low vision. Founding organizations are: The American Macula Degeneration Foundation, BrightFocus Foundation, MD Support, Prevent Blindness and The SupportSight Foundation. Find out more here.
Virtual Fitness Offerings for Blind Athletes
The Northwest Association of Blind Athletes in Oregon has a number of weekly virtual fitness offerings via Zoom that may be just the ticket for late exercisers as the classes are all on Pacific time. There’s a full body workout, a core and glutes workout, balance and control, Zumba and yoga. And for kiddos from pre-k all the way through grade 12, there are even virtual physical education classes. Get full descriptions of the classes and register at NWABA.
ReelAbilities New York, Largest Disabilities Film Festival, Set for April 29 – May 5
The ReelAbilities Film Festival presents films by and for people with disabilities. This year’s ReelAbilities Film Festival New York will be virtual and includes feature length and
short films. The festival is known for “its wide-ranging international film selection, riveting conversations, and performances…” Audio Description is available for every feature film and several short films. Of special note: The documentary, “Maricarmen,” profiles a cello player, music teacher, writer and marathon runner who is blind. She “subverts any expectations of helplessness with a biting sense of humor and a fierce attitude…Maricarmen navigates the trials and triumphs of a strong, perseverant woman.” Tickets are available for single films, the series and shorts (no charge for short films). For more information and tickets: ReelAbilities New York
April 11 Symposium Explores Sibling Relationships Among People with Disabilities
“Disability in the Family: Exploring the Experience of Sibling Relationships,” from INCLUDEnyc, will present an online panel in a “thought-provoking conversation on the unique challenges and opportunities siblings encounter throughout their life span.” A breakout room discussion “Finding Sibling Support,” follows with Lindsay Hyland and Emily Holl, director of the Sibling Support Project. The event, April 11 from 4 – 6 pm, is free. For more information and to register:
New Podcasts – and More
The Blind Tech Guys are three podcasters who discuss Android, iOS and other technology services from” a blindness perspective.” They release the podcast at least once a week, sometimes midweek as well. According to their website, their uniqueness and “strengths lie in providing you with tech content and commentary that is useful and easy to understand.” Blind Tech Guys also seek to connect app and product developers with users, review new apps and products, and encourage developers to be interviewed on the show. For more information Blind Tech Guys
A website designed by a group of blind high school and college students for blind students and their teachers, seeks “to provide lessons about life and technology for the blind and visually impaired via our blog, podcast, and YouTube channel.” They cover a wide range of topics, from math concepts to socializing with sighted peers to comparing smart home devices, to name a few. For more information and to subscribe: Challenge Solutions
“What It’s Like To Be A Legally Blind Illustrator and Graphic Designer”
“I can literally only see inches of paper at once; my art will always look a little off,” explains Keith Rosson. Freelance illustrator and graphic designer, Rosson, who notes that he has a “client list that I’m profoundly proud of,” was born with optic nerve hypoplasia and is legally blind. He began producing art work, drawing and other creative pursuits as a child and never stopped, growing up to be “Someone with a severe visual impairment succeeding in a visual field.” His work is highly stylized, depicting, for example, “a single-panel, single plane…a figure or two on a flattened panel…” He vividly describes his experience in a bylined article in the Huffington Post. For more about the artist, check out Keith Rosson’s website.
Can the Blind Be Graphic Designers? – A “Ted Talk”
“Can you design without sight?” is a question posed by an instructor in a college design course, recalling her experience with a student who is legally blind. The instructor shares her initial doubts about teaching someone who is blind in an essentially visual medium. She discovers the many non-visual components of design, explaining how this determined young woman utilized visual description and tactile solutions to produce and succeed in the course. Check out this brief talk here.
FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Payments
The FEMA Funeral Reimbursement Program reimburses up to $7,000.00 for COVID-19-related funeral expenses. Those requesting payment need to keep funeral documentation. FEMA will begin accepting applications for this assistance on April 12, 2021. For more information: COVID-19 Funeral Assistance
Blind to Billionaire You Tube Highlights COVID-19 Stimulus Check Arrivals
“Blind to Billionaire” You Tube star Matt, who lost his vision to retinitis pigmentosa, talks about the new stimulus check in his recent post. Matt’s channel name was inspired by his desire to “become a billionaire,” according to NoxInfluencer. Through his channel, he shares his experiences with vision loss and practical advice. Check It’s Here! $1,400 Stimulus Check Arrival! Including SSA, SSDI, SSI, VA
Thank You Veterans: March 28 Was National Blinded Veterans Day
Blinded Veterans Day, established by Congress in 2010, honors the efforts of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) to promote the establishment and improvement of rehabilitation services and benefits for America’s blinded veterans. In early March, BVA provided testimony before a joint session of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs calling upon the 117th Congress to address the a number of legislative priorities for constituents. For the full testimony: BVA Testimony
Vet-to-Vet Café Virtual Gathering on April 14, 2021
Veterans of all ages are invited to join in the “Café,” on April 14 from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. This is an opportunity to socialize, share stories and experiences and participate in discussions. Hosted by MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care, the event is free. Join via zoom: Vet-to-Vet Cafe, using passcode: 865797.
Smartphone-Linked Traffic Lights ZSignal Pedestrians with Vision Impairment
Traffic signals installed in locations across Japan now relay the color of the light and other information to pedestrians who are visually impaired through a smartphone app. Although audible traffic signals have been installed throughout Japan, most are disabled at night due to noise complaints. This new feature has been touted as a solution to the problem. The “pedestrian information and communication system” is added to already audible signals. Plans call for it to reach large cities over the coming months. Learn more
about this innovation Smartphone-linked traffic lights in Japan’s Fukuoka
RDPFS Board News
New Board member Elise Grossman brings her experience working in the field of rehabilitation, totaling more than 30 years, to the Partners for Sight Board. For 23 years, Elise worked at the International Center for the Disabled with individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), 13 as Associate Director of the Cognitive Rehabilitation Program. Most recently she was Director of the Vocational Rehabilitation Department at Lighthouse Guild, serving individuals who are blind or have low vision. Currently retired, Elise holds a Master’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from NYU. Welcome Elise!
RDPFS also seeks to recruit a new Board member with tax experience who can lead the Foundation’s Audit Committee. For the description and qualifications for this position: Audit Committee Chair
Happy 50th Anniversary SUNY Optometry!
Virtual Celebration Set for April 14
SUNY Optometry, RDPFS grantee, celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year with a virtual celebration set for April 14 at 7 pm. All are invited. To register.