Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Resources for Partners November 20,2020

The presses are rolling – remotely

After just a two-week shutdown due to the COVID-pandemic, National Braille Press was up and running, affixing clear braille overlays to children’s books to make it possible for sighted family members to read while their blind children follow along in braille, and blind family to read while their sighted child reads the printed words. Head pressman Khith Nemh works from his home in Billerica, over 20 miles from NBP’s headquarters in Boston, running the presses with a combination of the right security and software. Also available, current best sellers like The Water Dancer. TV 25 found it newsworthy, too.

A Day at the Museum

In October, New York’s Guggenheim Museum debuted The Mind’s Eye: a Sensory Guide to the Guggenheim New York, a series of 10 audio tracks, each of which describes aspects of the museum structure itself, rather than the works within. New Yorkers like actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, actor Bobby Cannavale, and Marilee Talkington, actor (Law & Order: SVU, See) and activist and advocate for performers with disabilities, vividly describe the approach to the museum, the threshold, flow, suspension, sound, light, scale, touch, incline, and continuity. The Mind’s Eye guide is free of charge and available through the Guggenheim Digital Guide on the Bloomberg Connects app; on podcasting platforms, including SoundCloud and iTunes; and through The Guide is part of the museum’s free Mind’s Eye Program for art lovers who are blind or low vision. NPR suggested The Mind’s Eye to listeners, whether blind, low vision or sighted, as “a vivid escape for those of us stuck inside during the pandemic.” Says Talkington, “”I feel that I’m able to access what most people visually access. This sensory guide I feel is for us — it’s for my community. But it’s actually for everybody.”

Keeping It Moving in Philadelphia

Associated Services for the Blind in Philadelphia is physically closed until at least January, but they’re keeping their clients moving by offering virtual workshops in extended movement, yoga and dance with their community partners. Ballet X provided a workshop that explored modified, seated movements based on the teachers’ program development with the organization, Dance for PD, and they’ve just announced a “Mind, Body, Wellness program – a new virtual movement group offered in partnership with the Jefferson School of Pharmacy and the Pennsylvania Ballet that will discuss items such as medication management, nutrition and exercise, including virtual dance instruction with the Pennsylvania Ballet.” Search the ASB video library for cooking lessons with Justin, including “How to Cut a Pineapple”. Justin’s lived in Hawaii and knows the ins and outs of pineapples, so it’s a lesson not just in how to cut that pineapple, but pineapple life stages, how to choose the tastiest pineapple, and more.

Careers — All Rise

The website states: “DAVID S. TATEL has served on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 1994. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1966. Following law school, Judge Tatel was an instructor at the University of Michigan Law School…. Since then, he served as founding Director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Director of the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare…. Judge Tatel co-chairs the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Science, Technology and Law. He serves on the Board of the Federal Judicial Center and the Judicial Advisory Board of the American Society of International Law. Judge Tatel is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Education…he has chaired the boards of The Spencer Foundation and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Judge Tatel and his wife Edith have four children and eight grandchildren.”
Besides all that, Judge Tatel has run marathons and enjoyed skiing, and after many years of expert white cane use, recently got his first guide dog. FidelcoNews Judge Tatel began losing vision due to RP in 1966, after graduating law school. He was appointed to the DC court by President Clinton, filling the seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Richard Conway Casey, the first blind federal trial judge, served in the United States District Court in Manhattan. In the times piece memorializing him, Casey, whose blindness was also due to RP, is quoted as follows: “It doesn’t start out funny being blind,” he said. “You get mad. You get angry. You get depressed. But then you choose to either sit there and wait to die, or you get up and you move on. Once you make that decision, then you can find humor.” “Sometimes”, the New York Times noted, he found the humor in himself. When a law clerk walked him into a courtroom wall, he snapped, ‘You’re fired. Bring back my guide dog.’”
Courts in India should look to the West. In January, 2019, reported the Cane Foundation, the Supreme Court in India decided that persons with more than 50 percent vision loss could not be appointed to a judgeship. “…persons with more than the specified range of blindness are not eligible because they cannot perform functions of a judge…and upheld the decision of the Government and the Madras High Court, which felt that completely blind persons cannot perform the so called strenuous tasks of reading, writing, communicating, examining witnesses, following procedures, advising advocates, etc.”

Learn Disability Research – For Free

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine course in Global Disability: Research and Evidence is online, free, and meant for researchers, NGO workers, disability advocates, and health professionals. No prior qualifications needed for this three week course which covers the need for evidence about disability; measuring the impact of disability; analyzing data; and using the evidence in practice. Register by November 30, and take up to five weeks to complete the course.

Eye Health and Gender Equity

“Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.” Those of us of a certain age remember that old saying. Dr Priya Morjaria, an optometrist, program director, and assistant professor, discusses her experiences with gender inequity while conducting research in vision care. In a program in Pakistan, researchers found more women than men sought vision care when their hypothesis was the opposite. The issue? “It transpired that men weren’t accessing the services because Lady Health Workers were conducting the screening; people assumed that the service was only for women.” Writes Dr. Morjaria, “My own experience has taught me some invaluable lessons on how difficult it can be for a female growing up wearing spectacles – where you can be seen as being of less value to society or be reminded that if you wear spectacles you won’t be able to get married.” Read Mariam’s Pink Glasses

A Home Delivery Pharmacy for the Blind by the Blind…

Alex Cohen parlayed his experience as a blind person (Alex has RP) and his Ph.D. in marketing to co-found Accessible Pharmacy , the sole “comprehensive, home delivery pharmacy service specializing in the needs of the blind and low vision community”. The pharmacy, launched in 2020, states: “We do everything for you: we will coordinate all of the details with your doctor and insurance provider including helping to keep costs as low as possible.” In addition to prescriptions, they also offer over the counter medications, supplements, small medical equipment and health and beauty aids. There are several free packaging options. Accessible’s staff includes both blind and sighted sales and customer service reps, and their website has contact telephone numbers for consultation and information for their customers.
…and a pharmaceutical information partnership available to all
Earlier in November, Be My Eyes announced that Accessible’s reps will be answering “questions about medicine, drug interactions, and, starting in December [helping customers to] order in-home COVID tests from trained professionals.” Be My Blog

Thanksgiving 2020

Because our family is celebrating in our own pods this year, we decided to share recipes and agree that we’ll each make at least one thing from our group list. I’m sharing this recipe with you, our RDPFS family. It’s easy to put together, and kids can join in to make it, plus I have it on good authority that they’ll eat it up.
Corn Casserole

1 stick butter, melted
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can creamed corn, not drained
1 c sour cream

Mix all together in large bowl. Pour into 8×8 baking dish. 350 degrees, 40 minutes, until set and golden around edges.