Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Resources for Partners March 5,2021

CSUN Conference Registration Closes 6 pm ET Tonight: Still time to sign up TODAY!
The 36th CSUN Assistive Technology Conference begins tomorrow, March 6, and runs through March 14. Today is the final day to register for the first virtual version of the largest assistive technology conference in the nation. There is a fee for the conference; however, exhibits can be visited free of charge by requesting a pass at registration. For more information and to register.

March Observances

The month of March is marked by a wide range of relevant monthly observances, including: Workplace Eye Wellness, Save Our Vision, Brain Injury Awareness, Social Work and Women’s History. We’re also recognizing World Glaucoma Awareness Week, beginning March 7 (cited in last week’s Bulletin), and Diabetes Alert Day on March 23. The next few Resources for Partners Bulletins will share related information and news.

Webinar: “The Impact of COVID-19 on Employment for People with Disabilities”

Find out about the results from the national online dialogue convened in October by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy on providing employment services during a time of increased health risks and unemployment. Hosted by the Employment First Community of Practice, the webinar on March 10 at 9 pm ET will cover safety, remote work and workplace accommodations, offer innovative ideas, and implications for the field. ” Register for The Impact of COVID-19 on Employment for People with Disabilities: Notes from a National Online Dialogue and Implications for the Future

Patricia Era Bath, MD, Ophthalmologist and Inventor

The National Women’s History Alliance in 2013 honored Patricia Era Bath, MD as one of the “extraordinary visionaries and role models in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field, where women are noticeably underrepresented.” Dr. Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe, an important advance in the development of cataract surgery. She also co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness. Additionally, Dr. Bath achieved renown as the first African American woman doctor to receive a patent related to medical purposes. For more information: Dr. Bath’s Women’s History Alliance Award

Virtual Art Class Series

Kansas City-based vision rehabilitation agency Alphapointe’s youth program has launched a virtual series for children to “find their inner creativity,” with agency alum Lily Dickson. Sessions, beginning on March 6 at 10 am, feature such activities as making pinch pots, a keychain, action figures and using sunglass paint. Classes are free, with optional fees art supplies. Learn more and register.

Are Tax Sites Accessible?

Filing income tax is one of the inevitable facts of life. From the Internal Revenue Service site to those of tax preparation services, it’s important that these sites be accessible for people who are visually impaired. With tax season in full swing, we have checked out the IRS and other sites to gather information about accessibility. The IRS website includes an policy
summarizing website features for people who use assistive technologies, including alt text for images, HTML equivalents for many PDF files, and the use of screen readers. Since 2002 Free File has provided millions of Americans the opportunity to prepare and file returns electronically, free of charge for those with adjusted gross incomes up to $72,000. However, the IRS Free File Alliance “has delivered tax preparation choices that are limited at best for taxpayers who are blind and visually impaired.” Although affiliated with the IRS, Free File provider sites are not always accessible, since they are linked with but not part of the IRS website. Free File vendors include major tax preparation services utilized by Free File and non-Free File tax payers. An informative article from the American Foundation for the Blind’s “Access World” provides an analysis and recommendations for using this service that can be helpful to all taxpayers with vision impairment: Evaluating IRS Free File. Tax preparation sites cited in the article (from 2014) as accessible that are current Free File vendors are, Free Tax USA, Free 1040 Tax, and Tax Slayer. For additional insights and specific pointers on Free File vendors, check this out. And, finally, from the Bureau of Internet Accessibility, a summary of: Why Web Accessibility Is So Important During Tax Season

Monthly Tele-Support Presentations from Lighthouse Guild Now Open to the Public

Lighthouse Guild’s Monthly Tele-Support Presentation program provides information to support children, teens, and families with vision loss. Tele-Support Program participants select the topics, which include child development, education, and advocacy. Presentations are given by experts in the field of blindness and visual impairment. All are welcome. On March 15, “Empowering Parents,” Sheila Adamo, LCSW, CADC, will discuss difficulties parents have in meeting the needs of a child with visual impairment while taking care of themselves. In the April 19 program, “Utilizing Adaptive Technology for Children with Visual Impairments,” Angelo Pacheco, Program Administrator for Lighthouse Guild’s Assistive Technology Center and Adaptive Living Program, will explain how advances in technology can make learning more accessible and encourage independence. Both programs are from 8:30 – 9:30 pm ET. For more information: Tele-Support Presentations  

After School Program Our Space Our Place Helps Students Connect

Our Space Our Place, an innovative after school program, promotes social interaction and networking among middle and high school students who are blind or have low vision. The program encompass the arts, theatre, dance, poetry and more. An enlightening podcast on Blind Abilities interviews its founder, Cheryl Cumings, who shares her experience, why and how she established this innovative arts, sports and community service and mentoring initiative. The podcast also interviews Ruth Kahn, a professional audio describer, who talks about an upcoming live performance of the Urban Nutcracker Ballet, April 20 -23, where she will describe the actions on and around the stage. To hear the podcast, click here. To learn more about the event, email [email protected] or call 

New Camp Abilities World Website

Camp Abilities shares its history as a sports camp for children with vision impairment and their many camps around the world through its new Camp Abilities World website. Each year 4,000 children spend time each year at one of their camps in the U.S. and abroad. The site also includes a very informative resources link and blog. To check it out: Camp Abilities World

Head Trauma and Vision: What Can Be Done

Traumatic brain injury often results in loss of vision – visual field and acuity. Dr. Danielle Rutner, SUNY College of Optometry University Eye Center Chief of Neuro-Optometric Vision Rehabilitation, discusses the impact and how to help those affected in “Traumatic Brain Injury and Vision.” For Dr. Rutner’s comments, click here. For more information on Traumatic Brain Injury and Vision
Visual Impairment and Mental Health
: Unmet Needs and Treatment Options
Visual impairment often is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, especially among the growing number of older adults experiencing the onset of vision loss. “Moreover, individuals of lower socioeconomic status may be at increased risk for vision impairment and subsequent mental health problems.” A recent article published by Dove Press/Clinical Ophthalmology, “Visual Impairment and Mental Health: Unmet Needs and Treatment Options,” reviews literature on mental health outcomes as well as existing treatments in people with vision impairment, including vision rehabilitation.  The article examines the intersection of vision impairment and socioeconomic factors involved in receiving health and medical care, and mental health consequences. Among its conclusions are the need for improved overall medical and eye care, particularly to combat preventable vision loss, as well as better screening for mental health changes and increased access to effective treatment and mental health professionals trained to understand the psychological consequences of vision loss. Read the full article here.

An Invitation to a Podcast by a Kid, for Kids

Ari Kelly, from Needham, Massachusetts, like most 10-year-olds in Spring 2020, was home from school. It was hard, and as one of his friends says in the first episode of his podcast for kids,  At Your Level, it was “really, really, really, really boring,” even though quarantine had just started. After a fun packed Season One with topics like pandemic birthdays, food, kids who podcast, and engineering, Season 2 is about to start. Ari is inviting kids who like video games and talking about them or who hate going to sleep at night and have thoughts about it, to be his guests on upcoming episodes. Kids can also submit a recording (there’s a button on his website) and tell a riddle or a bad dad joke to become part of the podcast themselves and learn a little about this new craft. Listen to last season’s episodes on Google podcasts at At Your Level – for kids by kids. Now, Ari is looking to expand his audience through a posting on Perkins Paths to Technology. Listen to his invitation here.