Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Resources for Partners December 18,2020

Audio Described TV and Film for the Holidays

Your profile: stuck inside due to weather or paying close attention to COVID restrictions. Film or TV fan. Likes free things. Watch films like “The Weight of Water,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” or “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” and TV series like “Downton Abbey,” “Young Sheldon,” and “Chicago Med, P.D., and Fire” on Spectrum Access: Enabled Media. On the same page, through ACB, there is a regularly updated list of available titles plus guidance on how to use Spectrum Access, which requires no registration or login. You don’t have to be a Spectrum customer, but you do have to be an iOS user, and download the app. Spectrum’s parent, Charter Communications, hopes to have an Android version sometime in 2021.

Looking for Christmas themed movies for the holidays? Spectrum Access offers “Almost Christmas,” “Black Christmas,” “Office Christmas Party,” and “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas.” If these don’t fit the bill, the Audio Description Project has a long list of audio described films and videos available through a number of streaming services as well as on DVD. Thanks to Cheryl Cumings of Our Space Our Place for the tip.

Or Listen From Your Pocket

Put your earbuds in, find free Tune In Radio on the web or download the app on your iOS or Android device, and have holiday music with you wherever you go. Not in the holiday mood? Listen to many of your favorite radio stations for sports, news and podcasts when you search by your location. Pay for premium service to avoid the commercials. Other in app purchases also available.

Be My Eyes / Clearblue Partnership

Awhile ago we reported on laundry help and other assistance available through a partnership between Procter & Gamble and Be My Eyes. Just over a year ago, the partners also began offering assistance with reading the results of P&G’s home pregnancy test Clearblue. A businesswire article recounted a personal story from Sumaira Latif, P&G’s Accessibility Leader, who is herself vision impaired and who “experienced the difficult task of taking a pregnancy test without family in town to help her. After arriving at a local pharmacy for her test results, the pharmacist declined to help her.” Latif became a champion for the project, and now “women who take the test can make a video call to a Clearblue expert advisor through the Specialized Help function in the app. From there, the advisor will read the test result to them or answer their questions about taking the test, alleviating the stress of having to rely on friends and family for help.”

The Activist Helen Keller – almost banned from social studies curricula

“What scholars of disability point out is that when students learn about Helen Keller, they often learn about her efforts to communicate as a child, and not about the work she did as an adult. This limited instruction has implications for how students perceive people with disabilities,” said Time Magazine in a December 15 article, “Co-Founding the ACLU, Fighting for Labor Rights and Other Helen Keller Accomplishments Students Don’t Learn in School”. Keller supported the NAACP and was an early proponent of birth control. A champion for workers, she advocated for better working conditions that resulted in accidents that left workers blind. She supported the eugenics movement for a period of time, and was on the radar of the FBI for supporting far left political groups. These latter activities almost caused teaching about Helen Keller’s life to be from the Texas social studies standards. Haben Girma, a deaf-blind attorney and advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities in school curricula, “argued that if Keller’s life is not taught, students might not learn about any history-makers with disabilities.” Girma told Time, “’Since society only portrays Helen Keller as a little girl, a lot of people subconsciously learn to infantilize disabled adults. …That makes it difficult to get a job, to be treated with respect, to get good quality education and healthcare as an adult.’”

Find free or reduced cost services – nearby or nationwide

Aunt Bertha, a b corporation, has created Find Help a database of programs for food, housing, good, transit, health, money, care, education, work and legal. Enter your zip code and select the “Closest” tab to get nearby programs first. Subcategories allow you to narrow your search. Some vision services are listed under health. Each program listed has a “More Info” tab that includes a link to the program’s website or social media page. The “Next Steps” tab lists best way to connect with each program. I searched by my current zip code and by my eastern Connecticut home town zip code and found useful information in both. Includes help for COVID-19 relief.

Your Questions Answered: Allergic Reactions to COVID Vaccine

The news from Britain about adverse reactions to the Pfizer COVID vaccine in people with allergies have spurred lots of questions, some of which may be coming to you as providers. This blog post from Dr. Marc Goldstein at The Asthma Center in Philadelphia provided some straight talk about the subject. Goldstein explains what might cause allergic reactions and states: “Patients who have a history of allergic reactions should inform their providers before getting vaccinated and they should receive the vaccine at a place where they can be observed for any adverse reaction for at least 20 minutes after the vaccine is administered. The facility should also have the capability of treating a severe allergic reaction.”

Need bold line or graph paper? A weekly planner? A-B-C flashcards?

Use the free digital downloads from Live Accessible. Choose from 18 styles of bold line paper, weekly planners in two different print sizes, to do lists, meal planners, six sizes of graph paper, plus handwriting paper, letter match exercises, or letter flashcards for preschool and kindergarten students with visual impairments.

End of Year Fundraising

While you’re reading posts from its graduate teams, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a recipient of RDPFS funds for its Special Needs Program, has Year End Giving Tips 2020″ that inform about tax incentives under the CARES Act, making an IRA Charitable Rollover gift in 2020 while required minimum distributions are suspended, and other ways to contribute. Always good for donors to have a reminder about the benefits of giving.

Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation wants donors to “celebrate what’s possible” by viewing their Fidelco Film Festival, testimonials from “to hear personal stories from our clients and team. And to donate to Fidelco Guide Dogs.” They’re encouraging repeat visits by adding two videos a week.

Social Media and Accessibility

In an upcoming January 20 webinar from the Center for Inclusive Design at Georgia Tech, presenters will demonstrate “how to make shared information more accessible on frequently used platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok”. This webinar is one of a series on COVID-19 Accessible Materials for People with Disabilities. Register here.

It’s Beethoven’s 250th birthday

Xiong Linghao likely celebrated with a rendition of one or more of Beethoven’s sonatas, like the Pathetique, excerpted on YouTube. Last August, she competed in the 13th Shanghai International Youth Piano Competition, and hopes to major in music performance or music production at university. Then when she begins her career, her first step will be to become a guide dog user, said China Daily.

An Orchestra in Egypt – All Women, All with Vision Loss

In September, after Egypt loosened pandemic restrictions, the women of the Al Nour Wal Amal (light and hope) chamber orchestra were able to practice together and perform, albeit with limitations, again. The 48-woman orchestra was founded in the 1960s as a program of the Al Nour wal Amal Association, “the first non-governmental association in the Middle East to help visually impaired girls and women. … it provides care, education, vocational training, job opportunities and integration into society”. Girls interested in joining the orchestra practice five or more hours a day to learn their instrument, then move on to memory training. Orchestra members must memorize the group’s 45-piece repertoire. Now in its fourth generation, the only orchestra of its kind has performed in 25 countries spanning five continents. Read more and hear them perform in Berlin. A short video well narrated in English is available here.

Happy Holidays from the Fil’

The brilliant audio engineers at the Fil’, the FMDG Music School , have given us all a special holiday gift with “’The Fil’ Holiday Card for 2020”, a nine-minute video featuring performance highlights by all the musicians, young and old, who sing it up for the holidays with familiar tunes like “Ding-a Ding-a Ding,” and “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland.” Full performances on their YouTube Channel.