World Glaucoma Awareness Week: March 7-13
The IAPB (International Association for the Prevention of Blindness) is partnering with organizations and experts worldwide to focus attention on this leading cause of blindness. IAPB is marking the “Focus on Glaucoma” initiative with a number of lectures, webinars, blog posts and a live event in Australia. The webinars cover timely topics related to glaucoma care in the pandemic, affordability and inequity in care and the launch of a glaucoma management toolkit in sub-Saharan Africa. The live program, “Innovation and Glaucoma,” features a panel discussion, focuses on research and includes consumer perspectives. It takes place on March 11. For more information and free registration: Focus on Glaucoma
Salesforce Management System Offers One-Stop Shopping, Accessibility for Nonprofits
Our ears perked up when we heard that a blindness agency was using Salesforce for its case management system, as we knew it had to be accessible for staff who were blind or visually impaired. Of course we Googled “Salesforce accessibility” and 6 or 7 different suggestions immediately popped up, including that it had started an Accessibility Support Team in October 2020. The company states it “is the world’s #1 customer relationship management (CRM) platform. We help your marketing, sales, commerce, service and IT teams work as one from anywhere — so you can keep your customers happy everywhere. The agency’s ability to unite all of its departments – case management, fundraising, marketing, sales, human resources and security – on one cloud based system plus a reduced rate for nonprofits and a free 10-license nonprofit starter pack was especially appealing. Both the Classic and Lightning versions have good out of the box accessibility, and there is the ability to toggle between the two. A page on setting up profiles for blind and low vision users points out that employers should set up screens by the type of task so employees can work optimally. “As not all blind or low vision users in your organization will be performing the same work, it is important to understand how people with these disabilities will be using Salesforce. Talk to your users with disabilities. Gain an understanding for how they work so you can configure Salesforce to be efficient given their workflow and disability.” Salesforce does have an entire page on its site devoted to using Lightning with a screen reader. But even with Salesforce’s emphasis on accessibility, the agency found the Classic version easy for JAWS desktop users while they have encountered quite a bit of difficulty with Lightning, so they are working with a consultant on JAWS scripts. There is excellent user support and their online Trailblazer Community offers a platform where users can exchange ideas and get suggestions, so we’ll be looking forward to Salesforce upgrading their products to full accessibility. Interested? Take a deeper dive with this Getting Started Guide.
March 16 Webinar on Preparing for AI Employment Practices
Job-seekers and professionals are invited to attend this free webinar, sponsored by the Kessler Foundation, on how artificial intelligence (AI) is reconfiguring the world of work for people with disabilities. AI’s growing role in the screening and hiring of job candidates and the data sets it uses, such as facial recognition, employment history, and gaming, do not often include the experience of people with disabilities and can contribute to bias in hiring. “Hiring on Aupilot: How to prepare yourself and people with disabilities for AI employment practices” features a panel of experts who will consider how to deal with this technology effectively in online interviews and in securing accommodations. It takes place on Tuesday, March 16, 12 pm – 1:15 ET and 4:45 pm – 6:15 pm GMT. To Register.
Stay Fit at the Met: Virtual Artistic Workout on March 7
The Metropolitan Museum of Art invites youth who are visually impaired or blind and their families to a “fun, fit, and artistic morning.” This free program, Sunday, March 7 11 am to 12:30 pm, utilizes art as inspiration for working out. Reservations are required. To register, contact [email protected]. For more information about Access programs for people with disabilities.
Accessible Children’s Stories from India
Free online stories for young children, in large print, braille-ready and other accessible formats and in multiple languages are available through Chetana, a nonprofit organization in India. Their website also offers pointers for creating tactile overlays for books to help children experience three dimensions. To access the books and other resources: Chetana
The Club House! Drop-In Audio Chat
Called an “audio-chat social network,” The Club House premiered in 2020 and has garnered growing attention and popularity. Its two million plus users can drop into conversations, interviews and discussions on a wide range of topics, similar to a podcast but live. You can just listen or raise your hand to be allowed to speak. Currently, you need to receive an invitation to join and it is available on iOS. When you sign up, you select topics of interest, such as history, voice over artists, film makers, guide dog users, yoga and many more, which generate alerts about chat rooms you can join. You can join any public rooms or create private or public rooms. Many Club House members are blind and are using this to network. More information on The Club House, where it is and plans for the future, is provided by its founders: Clubhouse Welcoming More Voices
Blind Willie Johnson: Musician and Preacher
Blind Willie Johnson, considered “one of the masters of blues,” drew from the expressiveness of the blues in creating religious messages. He mastered the bottleneck guitar technique in his gospel singing. One of his songs, “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground,” was selected by NASA in 1977 for the Voyager Golden Record based on a NASA consultant’s observation that “Johnson’s song concerns a situation he faces many times: nightfall with no place to sleep. Since humans appeared on Earth, the shroud of night has yet to fall without touching a man or woman in the same plight. More About Blind Willie Johnson
For a recording of the song: YouTube
Jazz Piano Soloist Art Tatum
Ranked among the greatest jazz piano soloists, Art Tatum was blind from birth in one eye and had partial sight in the other. He was mostly self-taught, from recordings and other musicians, although he had some formal training at the Toledo School of Music. He learned to read sheet music using glasses and Braille. He had his own radio show in Toledo, later going to New York as accompanist to the singer Adelaide Hall. “Among his first recordings… was ‘Tiger Rag’ which displays astonishing dexterity. Legend has it that classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz was so awed by Tatum’s ability that it brought him to tears.” For more detail: Kennedy Center Article on Art Tatum.
Hear the full album of Tatum’s Greatest Hits
Geraldine Jerrie Lawhorn: Actress, Pianist, Teacher
Geraldine Jerrie Lawhorn, a figure in the American Deaf-Blind community, achieved renown as a performer, actress pianist and educator. She was an instructor at the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired and in later years traveled across the nation to educate people on how to teach deaf-blind individuals. At 67 years old, she became the first deaf-blind African American to earn a college degree in the United States of America, and the sixth deaf-blind American to achieve that milestone. More About Geraldine Jerrie Lawhorn.
The Intersection of Black History and Disability Inclusion Explored
As Black History Month draws to a close, the U.S. Department of Labor blog features an article by Nakisha Pugh, senior policy advisory in the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), “Exploring the Intersection of Black History and Disability Inclusion.” Pugh highlights the role of Brad Lomax, a Black American, in both the civil rights and disability rights movements. She also shares her own perspectives on the role of ODEP in “increasing employment opportunities for all people with disabilities, including Black Americans with disabilities.” Read the article here.
COVID-19 Materials in Accessible Formats
The Georgia Tech Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (CIDI) is adapting COVID-19 materials into accessible formats for people with disabilities. You can request embossed braille, download accessible Word Documents and PDFs, and register for upcoming webinars related to COVID-19 and people with disabilities. Accessible COVID-19 Materials.
Federal Internships for School Year 2021-2022
The Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS) is an eInternship program for U.S. citizen students, college-level and above, to work on projects of global importance throughout the U.S. government.” In this unpaid academic year program, students (who must be U.S. citizens) work ten hours a week with a mentor/supervisor in a broad spectrum of positions. Mentors submit their projects in late Spring, applicants review projects and apply to their top three on USAJOBS.gov , interview virtually in August and are notified if accepted in early September. According to the site, there will be a greater number of opportunities in 2021. And read about two 2020 virtual interns’ experiences here.
Math Melodies, a fully accessible app with Voiceover, is designed for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. It allows for first through fifth graders to be able to practice math digitally and includes long addition, long subtractions, and other math content. The student must have a basic understanding of borrowing and carrying concepts in order to use the app successfully. Over all, the app is very engaging with its mini games making math fun. Math Melodies is available on Apple Appstore and Google PlayStore. Learn more about this app from Paths to Technology here.