Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Resources for Partners June 4, 2021

Recitals, Classes and More From FMDG Music School
The Filomen M D’Agostino Greenberg (FMDG) School continues to offer performances and instruction, as it has throughout – and despite – the pandemic. Two events being held tomorrow, June 5, are: the Spring Comprehensive Music Program for Young People (CMPYP Recital) at 1 pm and, at 7 pm, “Presenting M. Leona Godin,” Author of “There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness,” partnering with the Blind Writers Salon, at the Strand Book Store.
On June 11, at 7 pm, the Spring Adult Recital will be featured, and on June 12 at 1 pm, a webinar on Accessible Music Technology, presented by Yo Kano, from FMDG, and pianist and former student Matthew Whitaker. For more information. During the summer, a number of mini-courses are available, on such topics as “Managing Performance Anxiety,” “Try a New Wind Instrument,” and “Improv 101.” To learn more about the classes, enrollment and tuition, visit the FMDG website Music Classes listings.

Reflection on a Year of Education During COVID-19:” Study Participants Needed
A team of researchers is seeking to recruit families, teens and young adults (early 20s) receiving services under IDEA, teachers and other education and rehabilitation professionals for focus groups and surveys on the impact of COVID-19 on the education of children with visual impairments. Researchers from the University of South Carolina Upstate, American Foundation for the Blind, and The Ohio State University have come together in this study. We invite you to take part in our research study this spring. Click this link to learn more or contact: Dr. Tina S. Herzberg, University of South Carolina Upstate [email protected], 864-503-5572; or Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum, American Foundation for the Blind [email protected], 202-469-6837. This is the third Access and Engagement report issued during COVID-19. Find out more about the earlier reports here.

New Audio Apps
Light Detector is an application designed to detect light through your phone’s camera, helping you “hear” light rather than see. It uses sound to convey the intensity of the light. For example, the closer to the light you are, the higher pitch the sound will be. In a darker room, the sound will be a lower pitch. If you have windows that reflect light, the app may detect that light and you may hear a higher pitch, as if the light is on. If you live alone and you do not have visual light perception, this app could come in handy in telling whether the light is on or off. The Light Detector app is only available on iOS and is free to from Appstore.

Another useful app is Audible. Audible contains a wide variety of audio books for you to download and listen to. You use your amazon account to log in. There is a monthly fee of $14.92 a month. Users receive a credit each month to select a book. If you do not use the credit in a given month, they will accumulate for future use. The only catch is that you cannot keep more than six credits on your account. If you do not use the sixth credit, you will not receive credit for subsequent payments until the number of credits has been reduced. Find out more here.

Smart Shoes” Alert People with Vision Impairment About Obstacles in Their Path
New “intelligent” shoes built by Austrian researchers “can increase the safety of visually impaired and blind people in their everyday life,” according an article in La Prensa Latina Media. Developed by Austria’s Tec-Innovation company, with the Graz University of Technology, the shoes contain a warning system with a bright LED and sensors in the front of the shoes. Vibrations in the shoe or sound serve as warning signals via a smartphone.

Braille Cards for Father’s Day
The Braille Bookstore offers 16 Father’s Day cards that can be customized, for a fee. A wide variety of themes are offered, including humor, love, “special father,” “looking up to you,” and more. Check them out here.

Blind Dad Tells His Story
Dr. Amit Patel “always wanted to be a dad…I just never thought it would be like this.” He lost his sight not long after getting married and now has two children, ages four and 20 months. Dr. Patel shares his struggles with some of the common parenting challenges, like getting his children to eat or sleep well, as well as the challenges he faced as a blind father, in a by-lined article in Dadadvengers. “My lack of sight meant we needed the things we bought to be easy for me to use. Even finding a baby monitor that was straightforward and tactile enough was not a simple task.” He recounts his transition to parenthood, offering insightful glimpses along the way about changing the baby, joining playgroups and preparing for the second child.

Blind Father and Son
Jason Fayre and his son, Pandu, share experiences that are common to many, including bedtime stories and a sleep time routine. Both father and son, however, are blind and Mr. Fayre uses tactile information in the books to read the stories, as reported in The Denver Post. He shares that his “blindness had never been a big deal to him,” not stopping him from learning how to use and teach others how to use computers as well as traveling. Mr. Fayre and his wife now live in Colorado and signed up to adopt a blind child through the World Association for Children and Parents, which provides support to help with the costs of adopting a blind child. Read more about their experiences here.

A Daughter as “The Bridge” Between Her Father’s “Blind and Sighted Lives”
Imogen Blood’s father became blind when she was seven years old, after losing his sight gradually. In an article in The Guardian, she recalls how she became his “human guide dog,” largely due to the fact that he was allergic to dogs. Ms. Blood recalls joining her father, who a professor or religion, on trips to conferences and speaking engagement around the world. Her father kept extensive audio recordings of his experiences as a blind person, which are now the soundtrack of a documentary film, “Notes on Blindness,” “recently released alongside a cutting-edge virtual reality project that immerses you in a world without sight.” Read the complete article: here. And, for more information about “Notes on Blindness.

Kayaking Blind
“How do blind people kayak the Grand Canyon?” is a question he’s often asked, says Lonnie Bedwell, a blind roofer from Indiana, who learned to kayak on his farm’s pond before becoming the first blind person to kayak the entire 226 miles of the canyon’s river. Bedwell, a veteran who lost his vision in a hunting accident after his military service, next partnered with Team River Runner, a veterans’ paddle sports organization, to lead a group of four other blind veterans on a 12-day group paddle in the canyon. Steve Baskis, one of the veterans, described paddling some of the rapids as like being in a washing machine. “Things really aren’t that impossible. If we can work together, we can figure out a way through anything. That place, it changed me,” he told the Colorado Sun. The trip was documented in a YouTube video using Google’s Street View
technology. Interested in kayaking but not ready for the Grand Canyon? Seek out a training program like the one offered at Cal Polytech.. Or check with a local recreation department that’s offering instruction and a guided paddle on calm water, find a sighted friend who’s up for an adventure, and paddle off.

Rhythms for Walking
Occasionally, the Atlantic’s music critic offers up a playlist of songs that is both eclectic and energizing. For Spotify subscribers, this list of 15 includes songs by Cardi B, Rita Ora, and Carla Thomas, mixed in with 90’s rave, New Orleans dance, Colombian psychedelic and R&B will keep you walking along to the rhythm. Listen here.