Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Resources for Partners February 12, 2021

What to Tell Your Employer When You’re Losing Your Sight

As people are living longer, many who are still working are experiencing vision loss and
question whether they can continue in their jobs. Vision loss does not mean job loss.
However, “The initial stages of vision loss can be difficult, especially if you enjoy your work
and don’t want to give it up, are concerned that your job may be in jeopardy, or know that
you can’t afford early retirement.” In a very comprehensive VisionAware article, John
Zamora, MS, CDMS, provides step-by-step guidance on gaining information about your
Vision loss, low vision resources, workplace adaptations and vision rehabilitation services.
Talking to Your Employer

Managing Blindness or Low Vision in the Workplace for Employers – in Australia

The Australian Government’s Job Access: Disability driving employment website includes a
section on Managing Blindness or Low Vision at Work. Recognizing how visual impairment
can impact “an employee’s ability to perform job responsibilities,” the site highlights
workplace modifications, including lighting, high and low-tech devices and accommodations.
Support services and information on products and suppliers are cited as well.
Managing Blindness or Low Vision at Work

High-Tech Devices for Low Vision

As the number of people with low vision grows, “fortunately, so has the number of technologies designed expressly to help people with low vision,” states the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists (IALVS). On its website, IALVS includes concise information on a wide range of technology options available to address the challenges of low vision on the activities of daily living. Practical information about lighting and optics are also outlined: ” High-tech Devices for Low Vision

Early Detection of Eye Disease Protects Sight of PA Lt. Governor’s Daughter

After observing a “yellow glow in one pupil” in a photograph, Giselle Baretto Fetterman, wife
of Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, prevented her daughter Grace from
experiencing the possible consequences of Coats’ disease, a rare eye condition. “Left
untreated, this rare eye disease can lead to detached retina and blindness,” as noted in The
Philadelphia Inquirer. Treatment varies, depending on the patient and how early it is detected, with early detection key. Read about this noteworthy story: ” Coats’ Disease Eye Glow

African Americans and Vision Loss: Glaucoma and Diabetes Increase the Risk

In a comprehensive article, “African Americans are losing their vision at a rapid pace; here’s how you can stay on top of your vision health,” The Voice of Black Cincinnati, states: “African Americans are 15 times more likely to suffer vision impairment caused by glaucoma than white Americans,” citing a Glaucoma Research Foundation survey. Additionally, diabetes affects 18.7% of Black Americans ages 20 and over, according to and American Health Association data show that more than 40% of non-Hispanic Blacks have high blood pressure. “Unfortunately African Americans believe that vision loss is part of the aging process, and many do not seek medical care or support services as they should.” Eye care tips are included and resources available to benefit individuals with vision impairment live more independently, such as those of the Cincinnati Association for the Visually Impaired. For the full article: ” African American Eye Health

Blindness and Black History: One Leader’s Perspective”

Former NLS reference librarian Freddie Peaco chronicles Black History Month and the many contributions to American history by African Americans who are blind or visually impaired. In the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) website, Peaco states, “Personally, my blindness and being an African American motivated me to try harder, strengthening my desire to excel and accomplish what others told me I could not do, such as achieve academic success and independence and be productive.” She cites parallels between the experiences of being a blind African American and those of sighted African Americans, noting that myths and stereotypes are “surrounding our contributions and abilities.” For the full article: Blindness and Black History

A Star for Now and the Future

Jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker has been regaling audiences around the world since starting to play professionally at age 11. Last spring, at age 20, Whitaker, who is blind, made his first appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. He also was featured in a CBS-TV 60 Minutes segment. According to the CBS News website, “Whitaker doesn’t just play music, he plays with it. Twisting melodies, crafting complex harmonies and improvising at lightning speed. It’s acoustic acrobatics performed over 88 keys and it is not for the faint of heart.” The website article also explains how a neuroscientist in California, Dr. Charles Limb, did an MRI showing little activity in Whitaker’s visual cortex for other activities, but high activity when listening to or playing music. Whitaker, whose vision loss resulted from retinopathy of prematurity, began his musical training at age 3 with the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg (FMDG) Music School in New York City, a school for students with vision impairment, where he continues to study today. For more on his story: ” Matthew Whitaker


Museum Access Virtual Programs

The Met Museum Virtual Access Tour February 18: 2 – 3:30 pm: A Metropolitan Museum of Art virtual descriptive tour for visitors who are blind or partially sighted will be provided by the Met through its access program: “Picture This!—Scandalous Stories. 
Verbal Description Online February 19: 10 – 11:30 am: Offered monthly by the Whitney Museum, this service provides vivid descriptions of twentieth and twenty-first century American art to visitors who are blind or have low vision. This month’s session features the exhibition “Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop.” 
Both programs are free and open to the public with advance registration. To register or for more information about these and other access programs: Museum Access Tours

Free Audio Described Content for Entertainment

Audio Vault: This service provides audio and audio description of both movies and television shows. They use different sources for the audio description, so the extent and quality of audio description vary. Audio Vault requires the user to create an account to download mp3 files with audio description. “Audio Vault
Another option, Blind Mice Mega Mall: Designed for use with screen readers and low vision software, the site includes a link called “movie vault,” that can be used to download movies that are mp3 files, with no video, only audio from the film and audio description of the visuals. Blind Mice membership is free, with sign up: “Blind Mice Mall

Virtual Workouts
The Northwestern Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) has been hosting many accessible, audio described virtual exercise program, which “vary in intensity and style. For descriptions of the scope and range of virtual workouts, please click here. For the schedule of upcoming programs, go to: Virtual Workouts.

Virtual Internships

Summer 2021: ” Chegg Internships  brings “students and employers together in one centralized location, providing tools and services for students to develop the real-world skills they will need upon graduation and for employers to find the best candidates.” A check of internships available showed opportunities with social justice organization Turn Up, a robotics software developer for a startup, marketing, programmatic and HR interns in healthcare, virtual music instructors, and sports. Over 5,000 positions, both paid and unpaid, are currently listed, including the one below. Please note that some screen reader users may have difficulty accessing the application.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will hire interns for its “holistic and rigorous professional development program designed to elevate the next generation of leaders in the arts, cultural, and non-profit fields.” Candidates must be rising sophomores, juniors or seniors. Interns receive $15 per hour and begin work on June 7, 2021. ” Applications are due March 1. No need to wait for summer. Carroll Center for the Blind has two totally remote internships available in digital marketing and development communications. Interns must be able to work 10 or more hours per week and can be from anywhere in the U.S.

Something for President’s Day

In 2018, Vision Monday coined the term GOTPOTUS. We’re all familiar with the term POTUS, but GOTPOTUS? It’s “Glasses of The Presidents of the United States.” Official portraits show only three presidents wearing glasses, but the ” true story is much longer. Many presidents wore reading glasses, but LBJ had the most extensive collection – 53 pairs – notes the article. And glasses are even reputed to have saved a president’s life. According to one old story, Teddy Roosevelt, Progressive Party candidate for president in 1912, was on his way to make a speech when a would-be assassin shot him outside his hotel. “Although the bullet pierced Roosevelt’s skin and lodged against one of his ribs, its trajectory toward the former president’s heart was stopped by Roosevelt’s bulky overcoat, his folded lengthy speech, and (wait for it) his steel-reinforced eyeglasses case,” a blog post from ” Zenni Optical noted.

LEGO Braille Bricks

Developed by the LEGO Foundation, LEGO Braille Bricks are now available in the US and internationally, most recently introduced in Australia. The brightly colored bricks have embedded studs that correspond to braille numbers a letters. They make it possible for students are visually impaired to play and learn together with their sighted peers. APH (American Printing House), an official partner, is responsible for the distribution of Braille LEGOs in the US. For more information about obtaining LEGO Braille Brick: LEGO Braille Bricks: A Fun Way to Reinforce Braille Skills

Ask Alexa: Jokes for Kids

You know what they say: “Tell a kid a joke, and they’ll laugh for a minute. Tell a kid to ask Alexa a joke, and they’ll laugh for a lifetime. Or at least long enough to give you a little break.” helps kids with winter boredom and gives parents a little break, too, with ” 40 Funny Things to Ask Alexa (Kids Edition) . Find out what Alexa (or Siri) answers when asked questions like “What happens when you step on a Lego?”, “How much do you weigh?” or 38 other suggestions.