Announcement: BRF Version of the March 2020 Braille Literacy Canada Newsletter

Dear Braille Literacy Canada members,


Thanks to a partnership with CELA, it has been possible for quite some time now for members to request a hard copy version of the Braille Literacy Canada newsletter through the CELA library. As a result of a government directive, the production of DAISY CDs and physical braille through CELA are now on hold in an effort to combat Covid-19. Access to digital books, magazines and newspapers will continue. For more info please visit the CELA website:


For those who have access to a braille display, from this link you will be able to download a BRF copy of the March 2020 newsletter sent to members yesterday. We hope that this will be helpful to those who prefer reading each issue in braille. I would like to thank our Past President, Jen Goulden, for working so quickly on the braille transcription. We would also like to thank CELA for their continued partnership!


Happy reading!

Natalie Martiniello

President, Braille Literacy Canada



CCB Monthly National Newsletter, VISIONS – December 2019

The Canadian Council of the Blind’s National Visions Newsletter for December 2019 is now ready for consumption.


For more information or to get on the CCB Visions Newsletter email distribution list please contact Becky Goodwin as per below:

CCB National Office

100-20 James Street Ottawa ON  K2P 0T6

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968

Email: URL:




CCB National Newsletter, Visions, November 2019


Canadian Council of the Blind Newsletter

November 2019

“A lack of sight is not a lack of vision”


To access all the good news in this month’s newsletter follow this link.


CCB Backgrounder:


The CCB was founded in 1944 by a coalition of blind war veterans, schools of the blind and local chapters to create a national self-governing organization. The CCB was incorporated by Letters Patent on May 10, 1950 and is a registered charity under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

The purpose of the CCB is to give people with vision loss a distinctive and unique perspective before governments.  CCB deals with the ongoing effects of vision loss by encouraging active living and rehabilitation through peer support and social and recreational activities.

CCB promotes measures to conserve sight, create a close relationship with the sighted community and provide employment opportunities.


The CCB recognizes that vision loss has no boundaries with respect to gender, income, ethnicity, culture, other disabilities or age.

The CCB understands in many instances vision loss is preventable and sometimes is symptomatic of other health issues.  For the 21st century, the CCB is committed to an integrated proactive health approach for early detection to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

As the largest membership organization of the blind and partially sighted in Canada the CCB is the “Voice of the Blind™”.



CCB National Office

100-20 James Street Ottawa ON  K2P 0T6

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968 Email: URL:


CCB National Newsletter: Visions, April 2019





Canadian Council of the Blind




April 2019



“A lack of sight is

not a lack of vision”








President’s Message++

1 Louise Gillis – National President

As we March into spring, weather is improving and everyone is becoming more active. We continue to be active at the National level on working toward great access medications and health care by proving input to companies and Government at all levels. As new medications become available or are in the very preliminary stages, we along with other organizations, are providing information regarding accessibility concerns that many of us have to try to avoid as many issues as possible by the time they reach end users.


Several groups have been busy preparing submissions to Canada Transport Agency and the CRTC regarding their proposed regulations prior to these regulations moving to Government for final approval. The regulations along with the Accessible Canada Act are not perfect but at this stage it is very important to have them passed in legislation before the summer recess. Once in place they will provide greater accessibility to all federally run jurisdictions. They will come up for review in five years which gives more time for organizations to provide recommendations for change where needed. The submissions take a great deal of time and work, by all the committees, for which I thank everyone involved for their hard work and dedication.


Also, I wish to thank the over 450 people who responded to the technology survey which was completed and now is being compiled. This has given a lot of valuable information, which will be submitted to government, and will be very useful toward the hiring of persons with sight loss by government in their budget promise of 5000 persons with disabilities over the next five years.


CCB’s other committees such as By Laws, Membership and Advocacy continue to meet on a regular basis on their differing agendas. Other groups that have met over the month of March are World Blind Union (WBU),, Consumer Access Group (CAG), Barrier Free Canada (BFC), and Braille Literacy Canada (BLC) for which we have representation.


Check the website for these groups for their latest updates. { WBU – CAG – all position papers are on the site. WBU The World Blind Union (WBU) is the global organization representing the estimated 253 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Members are organizations of and for the blind in 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of vision impairment.  BFC – Barrier-Free Canada/Canada Sans Barriers (BFC/CSB) advocates for the Canadian Parliament to enact a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act (CDA) to achieve a barrier-free Canada for all persons with disabilities. BLC – BLC is a not-for-profit corporation committed to braille promotion and the right of braille users to equal access to printed information.}


Check out GTT & CCB Health and Fitness for the latest news items through Facebook, blog and twitter. There are lots of helpful hints, tips and ideas there for many of our individual needs. Now that curling is over watch for news on the Atlantic Sports & Recreation Weekend coming up in May.


It is important for members to keep active in whatever way they can at local, divisional and national levels. That can be by going to socials, sports & recreational activities, advocacy, membership development, mentoring, or taking a leadership role. Everyone counts no matter the level of ability. Enjoy Visions and send in any interesting items you may taking place in your community.

Louise Gillis, National President




Thank You Volunteers++

In Celebration of National Volunteer Week

Canada is a nation where volunteering is a mainstay.  According to Volunteer Canada’s website, 12.7 million volunteers currently give of their time, energy, skills and experience.

National Volunteer Week takes place from April 7-13 this year.  There is no better time to thank the many volunteers that contribute to CCB’s success.  We have recently marked out 75th Anniversary; we know that volunteer power played an important role in helping our organization to reach that milestone.


Volunteers fulfill a wide variety of positions nation-wide within the 80+ chapters throughout Canada.  Leadership roles, such as President, Treasurer and secretary are occupied by volunteers.


Each chapter allows for a certain percentage of volunteers with vision to help with some administrative tasks.  At the national level, volunteers serve on CCB’s Board of Directors.  Chapter volunteers also staff display booths, assist with special events and provide help and support during programs and activities.


Peers volunteer to teach peers through the Get Together with Technology (GTT) program.  Volunteer guides guide and assist those involved in sports programs. Sighted volunteers provide some help with Book Clubs.

Volunteers also serve on various committees both within CCB as well as in the community at large. Their tireless efforts are helping to break down barriers and create a more inclusive Canada.  Advocacy, pharmacare, transportation and telecommunications groups have become more aware of the requirements of those living with vision loss thanks largely to the input from those who give of their time and experience.

Volunteers also contribute to our monthly Visions newsletter.

It is said that one of the prime reasons that people choose to volunteer is having been deeply and personally affected by a cause or situation.  In many instances, those who have directly or indirectly experience vision loss have chosen to take what they have learned and experienced to bring about positive changes for themselves and others. With the trend toward short-term, episodic volunteering, it is worth noting that many of CCB’s volunteers have been involved with CCB for many years.


Those in the blind/low vision community and beyond would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers involved with the Canadian Council of the Blind. During National Volunteer Week and throughout the year, please take the time to thank the volunteers for their continued enthusiastic support for CCB.


Peterborough Woman Wins Medal for Making Angels for Service Personnel++


In mid-January of this year, Suzanne Thomas, formerly a CCB member in Toronto, now living in Peterborough, was struck speechless when she received a medal from Chief of Defense General Jonathan Vance for the angels she provides for service personnel around the world.


2 Suzanne Thomas working at her craft table

A highlight of Suzanne’s involvement with CCB in Toronto was when she took on Howard Moscoe, who was not only a city councilor at the time, but also chair of the board of the Toronto Transit Commission.  In that position, Moscoe encountered a good deal of opposition from blind or partially sighted patrons who were bounced off the Wheeltrans program because they didn’t use wheelchairs.  CNIB didn’t take up the cause, but CCB Toronto, led by Suzanne, gave voice to the issues, and was successful in getting many of the patrons back on the program.  Now, the Thomases daughter, Debora is a vice-president of CCB Peterborough chapter.


“I was blown away,” Suzanne said in a recent interview about the medal for CCB Peterborough chapter’s weekly radio show, Insight Peterborough.  “General Vance says that they love these angels that come in the Christmas boxes that go all over the world.  They’ve got them hanging on their shaving mirrors, on their key rings, on the ceiling of their little huts, on their night tables, and on their filing cabinets.”


Suzanne has received many E-mails from the people who have received her angels.


“Some of them are very sad, some of them are funny,” she recalled.  “There was a young fellow, and he was 20 years old.  He said: ‘I hope you’re not offended, but I have a bomb-sniffing dog.   She goes first, so I put my angel on her harness so that if she dies, I want to have the angel go with her.’”


In the past “ten years plus,” Suzanne has made 40,000 angels.


“The only thing that slowed me down was that I got sick, and had to spend a lot of time in bed,” Suzanne recalled.  “I’m kind of panicking, because I want all my kids to get an angel.  You see, when you’re 74, you can call all these people your kids.  I have to have the boxes ready by September 1 so that they can go down to Nova Scotia.  They may put them on a frigate,” Suzanne continued, and then I’ve got angels in the helicopters, the American helicopters, and the big airplane that sends supplies over to the countries that they’re going to, and it’s army, navy, air force, and military police.  They all get these angels, and so do the heads of staff.

3 A close up of Suzanne’s beads.

Suzanne explained that the angels are made with seven safety pins, each containing five beads, a bit of wire, and a bow which serves as the wings.  The halo is made of much smaller beads.


Suzanne said that she has no idea when her medal actually arrived at her house.


“It was in the mail during the strike, and then the mailbox froze, so I don’t know how long it was in there before we got it, but it was a lovely surprise.”

By Devon Wilkins.

The Canadian Blind Chess Association and the 2019 Quebec City tournament++


Are you an avid chess player living in Canada?


Or maybe you are an aspiring one who is looking for ways to play chess and have some fun while at the same time make new chess friends?


Then the Canadian Blind Chess Association may be what you are looking for.


Why not become a member and join our group!


Come on in and let’s play chess together!


We want to invite you to register for the Quebec chess tournament to be held in April.


It’s opened to everyone!


For more info on the annual Quebec chess tournament please go to this link



Gor more information about the Quebec City tournament and to look for the Canadian Blind Chess Association on Facebook, contact Rebecca at

or at



Assistive Technology




Get Together with Technology (GTT) at CSUN, March 13 to 15, 2019++


Thanks to Markido Inc. of Ottawa

( ), four CCB staff and volunteers had the great good fortune to attend the 34th CSUN Conference in Anaheim California.


Visit the GTT network for reports from Kim Kilpatrick, Rebecca Jackson, Maryse Glaude- Beaulieu and Albert Ruel.


Sam Burns, CEO of Markido Inc. promoted their PowerPoint Plug-in, “Engage” during CSUN and you can get a peak at its great support for accessible presentations by activating the below links.

4 People entering the conference (photo from

You can download your own free version and see how it will help you get access to all the information in the PowerPoint presentations you receive, and to create your own accessible presentations for circulation.


One of the exciting products produced by Markido is Engage.

( )


Engage is a PowerPoint add-in that lets people of any skill-level create visually impressive presentations. Engage comes with thousands of design assets that are easy to incorporate into any presentation using drag and drop functionality. Users can also create and edit infographics and data maps right in PowerPoint.


Make your presentations more accessible for people with disabilities.

( )


Run our accessibility tests to get an overview of how accessible your presentation is.


-We provide quick and convenient shortcuts to fix the issues that are found.

-Visually check and fix the screen reading order of your slides without having to use the selection pane.

-Add a slide description so users with screen readers can get an overview of what the slide is about before reading the detailed content.


Over 100,000 amazing presentations have been created with Engage.


Get a free trial version of Engage. ( )




Donna’s Low Tech Tips, Pen Friend++


Meet the Pen Friend.  If you have not already been introduced to this nifty little gadget then here is your opportunity.  Meet this very affordable and very useful little gadget.  It was developed by the RNIB of Britain.


Yes, it is shaped like a large pen and has a very nice speaker that enables you to hear what you are doing.  The Pen Friend enables you to label things using specially adapted tiny labels.  The instructions can be accessed on the card that it comes with; a really nifty way to produce instructions.  This is how it works.


– When you turn on your Pen Friend you hear some very delightful sounds and then you know that Pen Friend is ready to go to work.

– Place Pen Friend on one of those special labels that comes with your Pen Friend then press the record button.

– Give a short audio description of what you want the label to describe.

– Press a button to end the recording.

– Now you are ready to complete the task by taking your label and placing it on wherever you want it to be. Can, tin, box, file folder, whatever.

– You can go back to what you have just labeled and using your Pen Friend you can tell what you have just done.

– Turn on Pen Friend and voila! With the press of a button Pen Friend will tell you what your label says; what you have just recorded in your own voice.


This is indeed a neat little gadget and is extremely affordable.  You can find this gadget at such places as and  So go out there and make friends with the Pen Friend. To contact me, send me an email at


In the News



  Lynda Todd with art displayed, “Rites of Passage” series, at Cavan Art Gallery, Cavan, Ontario++


Visually impaired artist paints her mark in galleries!


Lynda Todd was born into a family of artists, so she naturally had an affinity for creative expression. However, she never took herself seriously as an artist. Why not?  Lynda was born legally blind and much of her remaining vision is colour blind.


5 Lynda Todd with “Rites of Passage” series at Cavan Art Gallery

In spite of this challenge, Valerie Kent, Director of Cavan Art Gallery, encouraged Lynda to take lessons and she started acrylic abstract painting. Her desire to explore and express creativity have resulted in unique colour choices melded with interesting use of texture. This particular medium has evoked an intense desire to communicate and express herself to the visual world.


Valerie was able to ascertain early on Lynda, “was painting from the heart.”


“I am blown away with the interest and enthusiasm that my work has garnered.  Commissions and sales starting occurring immediately. Then I received multiple gallery acceptances.  I would never have thought I would find my happy place in a paint studio!” stated Lynda


She describes her visual disability as an “inconvenience”. Lynda is active in her community striving to bring awareness to those living with inconveniences and provide education and understanding to create a more inclusive and kind community.


She believes anyone facing a challenge can achieve whatever they want to.  Sometimes modifications may need to be made to make that happen.  Everything is possible. Including a blind woman creating visual, expressive and beautiful art.

6 Lynda’s art in the Cavan Gallery


Moving from a small town Lynda had no idea how much her life would expand with so many more opportunities living in the city of Peterborough, Ontario. She has embraced her “inconvenience” and speaks about it openly providing education and awareness through motivational speaking.


One opportunity keeps leading to another. So many doors have opened now that she has the independence to get around herself and embrace city life.

Lynda is a wife, mother, artist, motivational speaker and adrenaline junkie who enjoys axe throwing, tandem bike riding, and pistol shooting.


Her art has been accepted in three galleries plus a solo show:

  • Paul’s Art & Frame Gallery, Peterborough
  • Solo feature artist for the month of June.
  • Gala opening will be June 1st.
  • Spirit of the Hills Art Association Show and Sale, Warkworth April – September
  • Miskwaa Gallery, July – August
  • Cavan Art Gallery- ongoing

Check out her website at


Get Free On-Demand Verbal Descriptions of Museums ++

Starting this spring, Smithsonian visitors who are blind or have low vision can access a groundbreaking technology that uses their smartphone cameras or special glasses to get free on-demand verbal descriptions of everything from individual objects to entire exhibitions from sighted agents. The Aira technology is available at all Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., and the National Zoo. The new service is provided by Access Smithsonian, which oversees accessibility and inclusion activities for Smithsonian visitors.


“For far too long, museum visitors with vision loss have depended on accompanying friends and family to help them navigate around museums,” said Beth Ziebarth, director of Access Smithsonian. “Now, with the touch of a button, visitors have instant access that not only helps them engage with the museum but also increases their mobility and independence. In the words of one recent user, ‘This revolutionizes the way people with vision loss experience museums.’”


Visitors can access Aira in two ways: by downloading the app to their iPhone or Android smartphone or by using their personal Aira smart glasses—at no cost to the user. In both cases, through artificial intelligence and augmented reality, visitors will be connected to highly trained sighted live agents who can see from their remote location what is in front of or near the user. The agent then helps the visitor navigate the museum.

For instance, in the National Museum of American History, live agents can guide visitors to specific objects, such as the Ruby Slippers; specific exhibitions, such as “The First Ladies” and the Star-Spangled Banner Gallery; as well as restrooms, cafés and museum stores. Ongoing services and materials for visitors who are blind or have low vision will continue to be available, including Braille and large-print brochures and docent-led verbal-description tours. In addition, talking tactile floor plans will soon be installed in the National Museum of American History.


About Access Smithsonian

Established in 1991, Access Smithsonian believes the Smithsonian’s exhibitions, programming and content should be inclusive, integrated, independent and dignified. The office is charged with ensuring that all visitors, including people with disabilities, are able to benefit from and have access to what the Smithsonian offers in its buildings, collections and programs. Through collaborations with Smithsonian museums, Access Smithsonian improves access to existing resources and helps design new programs, exhibits and buildings that are accessible to all. Signature programs include Morning at the Museum, designed for youth with sensory-processing disorders and other brain-based disabilities; See Me, for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers; and Project SEARCH, a 10-month internship-to-job training program for young adults with intellectual disabilities. For information, visit


About Aira

AI stands for Artificial Intelligence; RA stands for Remote Assistance. When you put them together, you get Aira. Aira is a service that connects people who are blind or have low vision to highly trained, remotely located agents.


At the touch of a button, Aira delivers instant access to information, enhancing everyday efficiency, engagement and independence.


Breaking barriers: accessibility at home a costly process++

It’s just a few centimeters high, but the sill of the sliding glass door that leads to the back deck of her Barrhaven home is a mountain to Jennifer Glanz.


“It’s little, but I can’t get over it,” said Glanz, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair. Glanz and her husband, Eli, have already installed a $4,000 electric lift in their garage so that Jennifer can get out of the house, and recently completed a renovation to make their bathroom barrier free.


They moved with their daughter Emelia, to a bungalow a few years ago when Jennifer’s deteriorating condition made it impossible for her to manage the stairs in their former two-storey home. The small ramp over the door sill is the next item on their reno list for summer — “if we ever get a summer,” Jennifer jokes.


“It’s the next project. And a ramp down to the grass. Emilia will be playing on the grass this summer and it would be nice to be there with her.”


Whether it’s a senior who wants to age in place in her own home, a person battling a debilitating illness, or someone injured in a sudden, catastrophic tragedy like the Westboro OC Transpo bus crash, those facing disability find that barriers abound in the home. In fact, 22 per cent of Canadians live with some sort of physical disability, according to Statistics Canada.


“The older you get, the more likely you are to have a disability,” says Patrick Curran, national executive director of Independent Living Canada, a national non-profit agency that advocates for those living with disabilities and promotes independent living.


“And if you live long enough, you will have a disability.”


Many of the modifications needed to make a home accessible are obvious: a wheelchair ramp to the front door, for example. Others aren’t so apparent.


“One item that’s really big, especially for someone with head injuries, is lighting,” said Sean MacGinnis, co-founder BuildAble, an Ottawa company that specializes in building and renovating homes for accessibility. “You want lighting that won’t put a strain on your eyes. Or if it’s for someone who has a visual impairment, better lighting will eliminate shadows and help them see any changes in elevation in their home.”


MacGinnis founded BuildAble five years ago with partner Kyla Cullain, a registered nurse. The company works closely with their clients’ medical teams -their family doctor or occupational therapist, for example — to develop an appropriate construction plan, he said.


“We started the company out focusing on people who are aging in place, but we’ve found the majority of our clients are people who have had a medical crisis, MS or a stroke or something like that … and we do have a lot of people who’ve been in vehicle accidents too. They’re in mid-life and they want to stay in their homes or they have family that they don’t want to move.”


For Eli and Jennifer Glanz, that meant redoing their bathroom to make it accessible. BuildAble installed a barrier free bathroom that Jennifer can roll up to and swing herself into a spare wheelchair that stays in the shower. The tile floor slopes gently to a drain and a waterproof barrier under the entire bathroom floor means spills or floods cause no damage.

The old sink and vanity was replaced with a “floating sink” that lets Jennifer wheel up to it like a desk. Three heavy-duty handrails give support and stability at the toilet.


“For the longest time we had a standard tub and shower that you see in most showers. Jennifer can’t transfer herself into a standard tub, even if there’s a shower seat. It would be me physically lifting her up and into the tub. That was hard for both of us,” Eli said.


“She keeps reminding me, I only have one back.”


“It brought more independence to me,” Jennifer said. “Before, I would have to have him home and helping me have a shower. Now I don’t. He doesn’t know how many times I shower.”


It cost $15,000 to renovate the bathroom, about 80 per cent of which was paid for with grants from March of Dimes. The family had to cover the cost of the garage lift on their own.


Another clever addition are offset hinges that allow doors to swing completely out of the way, adding a crucial extra five centimeters width to the doorway for Jennifer’s chair to pass.


The simplest and most common modification to a home is to add grab bars and handrails, MacGinnis said, including railings on both sides of a staircase. In the kitchen, countertops and cabinets can be made to lower to wheelchair level, while full-extension drawers are easier to access without awkward reaching.


One of BuildAble’s biggest jobs was to add a full elevator to a home for a man with Parkinson’s Disease, he said.


The cost can vary widely. The cost of home modifications are often included in the insurance payout for accident victims or — as in the case of an Ottawa Public servant who is suing the city for $6.3 million for injuries in the Westboro bus crash — part of the lawsuit claim. Others are helped with the cost through grants from the March of Dimes and other charities or through tax breaks.


“There’s a lot of low-cost things we can do that have a high impact,” MacGinnis said. A grab bar might cost $100. A second staircase railing $1,000. A wooden ramp to the door can range from $500 to $5,000, while a more aesthetically pleasing ramp of interlocking brick could cost $15,000 to $20,000.


A barrier-free bathroom costs between $12,000 and $15,000 while a full reno to make a kitchen full accessible can run up to $30,000, he said.


In Ontario, someone who has suffered catastrophic injuries in a car crash is eligible for $1 million in under the province’s the province’s Statutory Accident Benefit Schedule. But for non-catastrophic injuries, that benefit is capped at $65,000 and will only last five years, said lawyer Najma Rashid, a partner in Howard Yegendorf & Associates.


“Just because someone’s injuries aren’t catastrophic, doesn’t mean they’re not serious,” Rashid said. “Many people with serious injuries might be stuck with that $65,000 and it’s only available for five years so they have to make a judgment call as to whether they’re going to use part of the money for changes to their home or for ongoing treatment needs.”

Additional costs could become part of a lawsuit claim, she said. Lawyers would work with their client’s medical team or hire an occupational therapist or consultant to determine what renovations are needed and their cost.


“And if they do claim it in a lawsuit, they have to wait for that lawsuit to be over. Or self-fund it and look for a reimbursement, but most people don’t have the money to pay for it themselves.”


Those looking for more information on improving accessibility will be able to find it Independent Living Canada’s AccessABLE Technology Expo on May 30 at the Ottawa Conference and Events Centre on Coventry Road. The one-day expo will bring together 20 exhibitors with a broad range of products for disabilities such as visual or hearing loss, cognitive impairment and mental issues. Admission is free, Curran said.


“We’re doing this to build awareness for Independent Living Canada,” Curran said. “But we also want to give to hope to people who have disabilities — to show them that there are people out there doing research and introducing new products that will be of interest to them.”

For more information, visit

By Blair Crawford


Guest Post: Let’s Talk Tips for Tuesday, January 1st 2019 Volume 4 An Author Donna Jodhan Publication

Let’s Talk Tips for Tuesday, January 1st 2019 – Volume 4 An Author Donna Jodhan Publication About | Let’s Talk Tips is your monthly resource for the most current and reliable informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media, Business, and Advocacy. Find out more at: Web Version | Read this Volume of the Let’s Talk Tips Newsletter on the web at:, or at

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Dear Reader,

Happy New Year! This month in Let’s Talk Tips:


➜ Technology


1.) Netflix is Testing an Instant Scene-Replay Feature Did that scene in “Black Panther” or “Stranger Things” wow you so much that you wanted to stop everything and instantly rewatch it? A new feature being tested by Netflix could give viewers the ability to do exactly that.


2.) SMS to RCS. A New Messaging Standard. What it is and why you might want it.

A lot of people have become bored with SMS messaging, and the tech industry is very aware of it. While services such as Apple’s iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp allow you to add photos, GIFs and videos to your messages, they are not universal solutions.


3.) The AI boom is happening all over the world, and it’s accelerating quickly.

The second annual AI Index report pulls together data and expert findings on the field’s progress and acceleration.


4.) The Worst Passwords of 2018. Is yours on this list?

Making it into the Top 25 for bad passwords this year are “donald,” “princess,” and “sunshine.” If you’re guilty of using one of the offending passwords on SplashData’s 100 Top Worst Passwords List of 2018, it’s time to get more creative.


5.) CNET Gives Us The Top Tech Stories of 2018 From Google’s scary Duplex AI to Fortnite mania, this year showed the good, bad and uncomfortable ways that tech is changing our lives.



➜ Nutrition


1.) Arjun Kapoor’s Weight Loss Diet Plan & Workout Routine. Before & After Pics Bollywood actor Arjun Kapoor’s incredible weight loss story is indeed an inspiration for many people struggling to get fit. Read on to learn his diet plan and workout routine.


2.) How to Lose Belly Fat and Build Muscle Fast. 5 Workout and Diet Secrets Every Man Should Know Building muscle is tricky in itself, doing that while losing the unwanted belly fat is perhaps, trickier. Here are some things that you need to incorporate in your workout routines to meet your goals.


3.) What is the Fast Metabolism Diet and How Does it Help with Weight Loss?

Essentially, the Fast Metabolism Diet is a 28-day eating plan that aims to speed up your metabolism by consuming specific foods in a certain time, resulting in weight loss. The diet, developed by a celebrity nutritionist and wellness consultant Haylie Pomroy, claims that eating the certain foods at the right time can ‘trick’ your metabolism into speeding up, helping you lose up to up to 20 pounds (9 kilos) in just 28 days.


4.) Why Relaxing is More Important for Weight Loss Than You Think. And How Often You Need to Chill Out More and more gyms are investing in relaxation areas and luxury saunas, but you can reap the same benefits at home.


5.) 7 Tips for Exactly How to Eat Before and After a Workout Nutrition pros break down the guidelines for pre and post workout eating, so you can maximize the benefits of your sweat session.



➜ Media


1.) All of Facebook’s Ad Targeting Options in One Infographic Facebook’s Ad Targeting Options got you dizzy? Well you’re not alone. Check out this awesome infographic for a complete visual represenation of your options, fully categorized and illustrated.


2.) The Verge Gives Us 22 Predictions for Social Media in 2019 What to expect from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more.


3.) For the first year ever, Pew Research Study reveals more people now turn to social media for news than actual newspapers.

It’s a sign of the times. Pew also found that other sources of news, including television, radio and news websites still outrank social media. You can take a look at Pew’s data distribution here.


4.) Why businesses are relying on Facebook Groups to build engaged audiences.

At the beginning of 2018, Facebook switched up its algorithm in an attempt to “fix” the News Feed by promoting more posts from family and friends and demoting content from businesses, brands and media. The move actively distanced brands from their followers on the platform by limiting exposure to organic content posted by businesses. At first glance, the only solution for brands was to invest more in their Facebook ad campaigns, but some businesses have found an alternative to connect with their audience by building vibrant Facebook Group communities.


5.) Instagram Strips Out Fake ‘Likes’ Tied to 3rd-Party Apps Instagram has begun to remove inauthentic engagement with accounts that used third-party apps to grow their follower count and engagement on the platform — a practice that violates the app’s community guidelines and terms of use.



➜ Business


1.) Barriers to Working Longer are Coming Down Whether by choice or necessity, more adults are working past retirement age.


2.) Long Term Care and Nursing Home Information Systems Market Report The Long Term Care and Nursing Home Information Systems Market Report provides an overview of the Long Term Care and Nursing Home Information Systems Industry, including industry characteristics, manufacturing technology, industry chain analysis and the latest market trends & dynamics.


3.) Hunger Among Senior Citizens is Serious Problem The period of life known as “the golden years” is often more bleak than bright for a lot of senior citizens in the United States. Nearly 5 million seniors citizens currently deal with hunger in the U.S., according to Feeding America, a nonprofit organization that focuses its efforts on hunger relief.


4.) Perennials, Not Millennials, Will Trigger the Next Wave of Talent Retention Efforts Headlines in recent years have trumpeted workplace changes demanded by millennials, from nap pods to flexible scheduling to student-loan repayment. But there is another fundamental shift in workforce demographics. Older workers — or “perennials,” as this cohort has sometimes been called — are now the fastest-growing population of workers, with twice as many seniors as teenagers currently employed in the US.


5.) LinkedIn’s 50 Big Ideas for 2019: What to Watch in the Year Ahead The business leaders, authors, journalists and academics who gave us their 2019 predictions foresee a shaky economy, a troubled world order and continued anxiety — but also a renewed focus on caring for ourselves, for each other and for doing the right thing. Here’s our annual look at the year ahead.



➜ Advocacy


1.) Accessibility at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan Tokyo, Japan is hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics. As usual, the Paralympics will follow. It is expected that forty million people will travel to Japan to watch the Olympics and Paralympics. As a result, Japan is examining accessibility at the 2020 Summer Olympics. While Japan is accessible in some places already, the country will be making improvements between now and 2020.


2.) People With Disabilities Face Significant Barriers in Education System, Commission Finds Ontario’s education system needs to modernize its approach to supporting disabled students at every age level and do more to eliminate persistent barriers they face in school, the province’s human rights commission said in a statement.


3.) Research Shows 1 in 5 Museums Do Not Provide Online Access Information and are Inadvertently Contributing to a “Disability Engagement Gap”

Museum websites are key tools for providing visitor access information, and the absence of this contributes to the ‘disability engagement gap’; where people with a disability are less likely to be regular or frequent visitors of museums than those who are not disabled.


4.) Equal Access in Air Travel for the Blind. Raising Expectations from the United States Department of Transportation Air travel and the treatment of blind passengers by the airlines are not new topics for the NFB and in the Braille Monitor. But recent events have the topics squarely on the NFB Agenda as you will read in this article.


5.) What would a truly disabled-accessible city look like?

Most cities are utterly unfriendly to people with disabilities, but with almost one billion estimated to be urban-dwellers by 2050, a few cities are undergoing a remarkable shift.



➜ Subscription Information:



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Guest Post: Braille Literacy Canada Newsletter, November 30, 2018

November 2018 Newsletter

In This Issue

  1. Message from the President (Natalie Martiniello, BLC President)
  2. Braille is …
  3. Helping Santa Deliver Braille Letters: A T-Base Tradition (Cassandra Peterson)
  4. Report on the 2018 CNIB Braille Conference (Kim Kilpatrick, BLC Secretary)
  5. CELA Braille Services Update (Lindsay Tyler, Senior Manager, CELA)
  6. Titres en impression relief et en braille français (Rebecca Blaevoet (BLC Director) and Emmanuel Blaevoet)
  7. Braille Transcription Free of Charge!(CNIB Brailleroom)
  8. UEB Christmas Trees? (Jen Goulden, Past President)
  9. Braille and Technology Together: Braille Screen Input in iOS (Ashley Eve Shaw Galbraith)
  10. Social Media News Links

Message from the President

By Natalie Martiniello, BLC President

Dear BLC friends,

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

This is a quote by Anne Frank that often comes to mind when I observe a gesture – even a small one – that has an impact on someone else. When a hundred small gestures take place at once, then each one contributes to the end result – which is positive change of some kind. And surprisingly, sometimes there are trickle down effects that end up having positive impacts in ways one could not have imagined.

I am a firm believer that few things are “impossible” if you dream big enough, remain committed, and collaborate with the talented and equally passionate people around you.

Just over four months ago, BLC embarked upon a quite ambitious goal for a small volunteer-run organization – Raise $6,500 by November 30th, and a private donor would match every dollar. With this amount in hand, we would have enough to establish a permanent endowment to offer the Edie Mourre scholarship on an annual basis to those pursuing careers as braille transcribers and educators.

Today, as that campaign draws to a close, we have not only met that goal, but have surpassed it. This is a reflection of what is possible when we come together. With $14,000, the Edie Mourre fund will be self-sustaining for the years to come. What a wonderful legacy to Edie Mourre who committed so much of her time to the braille community, and what a wonderful example of how many small gestures could lead to a lasting wave!

The BLC board would like to thank every individual, both within and outside the organization, who supported this initiative in different ways. We would also like to thank two of our corporate members – T-Base Communications for donating $300 and Crawford Technologies for donating $2,500, ensuring that we’d speed through that finish line with a great big triple dot six!

I mentioned trickle down effects. In addition to raising funds, the campaign served as a powerful public education tool. The events held as a consequence educated members of the general public who, beforehand, new little or absolutely nothing at all about blindness and braille. After our storytelling fundraiser in Montreal (performed by our fabulous board Secretary, Kim Kilpatrick) we received a letter from someone who had attended our show and said that they had learned so much about braille, equal access and literacy for people who are blind. These moments are great triumphs – because every time we tackle misconceptions, we are chipping away at the inaccuracies that may exist about blindness, and which sometimes lead to questions like “is braille really important, anyway?” A few more people out there can now answer – Yes, of course it is! Right alongside us.

So, as we approach the holidays, the BLC board would like to thank all of you for your commitment and dedication – and may this serve as a reminder of what is possible when we come together!

You will find many treasures in the coming pages. Among them, T-Base tells us about their partnership with Santa himself and how blind children can receive a letter in braille from Santa this holiday season. Tactile Vision Graphics shares with us their French braille resources for children. Jen Goulden, Past President, tackles another transcription conundrum. Kim Kilpatrick, Secretary, gives us a recap of the 2018 CNIB Braille Conference. Over the past month, we’ve asked members to tell us what words and thoughts come to mind when they hear the word “braille”. The collection of responses is found in this issue, and the power of literacy rings true in every word!

Finally, remember that BLC runs on a calendar year from January 1st to December 31st, which means it is soon time to renew your membership. To learn more about membership options (annual, lifetime and corporate) and member benefits, visit our website at or write to us at Members who are due for renewal can expect to receive an invoice from PayPal in the coming days to make the process easy and painless.

From the entire BLC board to you, happy holidays! Here’s to another year of endless possibilities.

Yours truly,
Natalie Martiniello
President, Braille Literacy Canada

Braille is …

We’ve asked BLC members and friends to complete the sentence “braille is…”. Here is what they had to say!

Braille is…

…Independence (Tammy, braille reader)

…An excellent tool (Walter, Low Vision Therapist/Researcher)

…Fun to read in the dark under the covers so I don’t get cold! (Steph, adult braille learner)

…A necessity (Chantal, braille reader)

…rough! (Albert, blind technology trainer)

…magical (Kim, braille reader)

…A true “feeling” of beauty (Veena, Low Vision Therapist)

…Literacy (Elizabeth, braille reader)

…fun! I like playing braille bingo and braille memory games! (Ainsley, Grade 3)

…The best way to teach and learn!


…The best way to help me learn

…Useful on elevators, money and medication (Ahmad, ESL student)

…Reading, writing and math



…Helping (Santiago, ESL Student)

…The best way for blind people to study

…An international language for blind people

…Like a secret code! (I think you’re smarter if you can read braille, because not everyone on the street can read Braille!) (Fatlum, ESL student)

…the gateway to Middle Earth, Narnia, Hogwarts, Regency England, Green Gables … and so much more! (Jen, lifelong braille reader: so many books, so little time!)

…a lifetime of memories of storybooks, campfires, bedtimes, make-believing and library adventures (Natalie, lifelong braille reader)

…what print is to you: a door and a window to everything!

…B – Believing
R – Reaching
A – Achieving
I – Imagining
L – Limitless
L – Learning
E – Empowering

Helping Santa Deliver Braille Letters: A T-Base Tradition

By Cassandra Peterson

Editor’s Note: T-Base is a corporate member of BLC and Jessica Blouin sits on the BLC board as our T-Base representative. This article is reprinted with permission and can be found on the T-Base website at

Cassie Peterson, Marketing Coordinator at T-Base Communications, sat down with Jessica Blouin, Manager of Transcription Services, to talk about an initiative near and dear to our hearts here at T-Base: the Santa Letter Program. Every year we help Santa deliver braille letters to children who are blind or have low vision.

C: How long has T-Base been participating in the Santa Letter Program?

J: T-Base has been participating in the Santa Letter Program for over a decade.

C: Please tell us about the process.

J: Every year in the fall we receive a call from Kris Kringle himself. He tells us how many children he needs to respond to in braille, plus how many of those need a response in English and how many need a response in French. Santa provides us with his print response to each child’s letter, and then our Transcription team gets to work! As is the case with all documents we transcribe into braille (or other alternate formats), Santa’s letters go through rigorous quality assurance checks to ensure nothing is amiss and that the transcribed documents meet Santa’s high expectations. Finally, we help pack up the letters for Santa to deliver.

C: By which date should children send their letter to Santa?

J: Children should send their letters to Santa by the 10th of December. (If you send one after, he might not have enough time to respond before the big day!)

C: What address should children send their letters to?

J: Children should send their letters to Santa Claus at his North Pole address:

Santa Claus
North Pole HOH OHO

C: Why is it important that T-Base participates in this program every year?

J: For children, receiving a letter from Santa Claus is a great joy during the holiday season, and it is one all children should have the opportunity to experience. I do remember how happy I was as a child receiving a letter back from Santa. Collaborating with Santa on this project is important to T-Base because we get to help ensure children who are blind or have low vision experience the same joy their sighted family members and friends experience. This is such a wonderful program.

C: What feedback have you received on this program?

J: T-Base has always received positive feedback on the Santa Letter Program. We have heard from both parents and teachers that children are always so happy and thankful to receive a braille letter from Santa in the mail.

C: In what other ways is T-Base committed to ensuring that people who are blind or low vision have access to information?

J: At T-Base, we believe that equal access to information is key to literacy and independent living, regardless of whether that information is in a simple letter from Santa Claus or a complex math textbook. Everyone has the same rights, and we are committed to ensuring that organizations have the resources they need to provide their customers who are blind or low vision with equal access to information. We produce statements, documents and textbooks in a wide range of alternate formats: accessible PDF, e-Text, audio, braille and reflowed large print. We also give $2,000 every year to one or two post-secondary students who are blind or low vision through the T-Base-AEBC Scholarship Program (in support of an accessible education).

C: What are some other holiday traditions at T-Base?

J: Typically, we host a potluck lunch at the office and Secret Santa gift exchange. This year we will have an ugly holiday sweater fashion show.

C: Wonderful! Thanks for letting our readers know about the program and T-Base’s involvement in it. Something else our readers might be interested in hearing about is your favourite memory from a T-Base holiday gathering.

J: My favourite memory from a T-Base holiday gathering is when Scott Bagshaw, Production Manager, dressed up as Santa Claus, sang karaoke and handed out candy canes to the team.

C: Before we wrap up, what is on your wish list this holiday season?

J: A puppy! Besides that, I know everyone here at T-Base wishes our readers a safe and happy holiday.

Report on the 2018 CNIB Braille Conference

By Kim Kilpatrick, BLC Secretary

The 2018 Braille conference took place for the first time at the Ontario Science Centre on October 18 and 19, 2018.

This was a wonderful venue and it was nice to have the braille conference in a public place where the many visitors saw people moving around with canes, guide dogs, and lots of braille in hand.

As usual, there were many workshops on a multitude of topics and several BLC board members presented on research, braille and technology, and more. Among these talks Past-President Jen Goulden and I (BLC Secretary) presented on the use of refreshable braille with iOS, President Natalie Martiniello presented the preliminary results from her qualitative study on the experiences of older adults who have learned braille, and director Rebecca Blaevoet presented on Tactile Vision Graphics. BLC board members also had the opportunity to circulate our new print-braille BLC bookmarks – available upon request!

The AMI Audio show Kelly and Companybroadcasted live from the conference on both days and several BLC members were featured on this show.

As usual, one highlight for me was hearing the winners of the braille creative writing contest for students in elementary and high schools from across Canada.

I was excited to touch for the first time, the first ever multi-line braille display (The Canute) which may be on the market within the next year or so.

As usual, it was wonderful and heart warming to be in a room filled with others who love braille as much as we all do.

CELA Braille Services Update

By Lindsay Tyler, Senior Manager, CELA

Braille readers who receive books from the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) are receiving books in a new way. Since April 2018, we emboss a fresh copy of each braille book we send. This procedure allows us to offer as many copies of each book as needed, so readers do not need to wait for others to return a book before they can receive it. Each copy we send is fresh and crisp.

Instead of sending braille books in a cloth bag, we send them in a cardboard box which can be recycled along with the book. Readers may choose to keep books, if they prefer.

Printbraille books (children’s picture books with braille added) are the exception to this new system; readers must continue to return them.

The formatting of the books is different, too. Newly transcribed books are formatted as a single volume with continuous page numbers. The title will appear in the header as well as at the beginning of the book. Previously transcribed books are split into parts of about 80 pages each.

Looking forward, CELA staff are planning a new website that will bring even more books to Canadian braille readers. The new website will bring together Bookshare’s braille offerings with CELA’s in a single, accessible site.

The new year will also bring the opportunity to exchange books with libraries for people with print disabilities in the United States and Europe, thanks to their recent ratifications of the Marrakesh Treaty. The goal of the Marrakesh Treaty is to remove barriers so that organizations like CELA can share accessible reading materials with other similar organizations in countries who have signed the Treaty.

As we work to improve our services and offer you greater access to books and information, we hope you will let us know how we are doing. Visit our website at, email us at or call 1-855-655-2273.

Those who are interested can also contact CELA to subscribe to the hard copy braille version of the BLC newsletter.

Titres en impression relief et en braille français

By Rebecca Blaevoet (BLC Director) and Emmanuel Blaevoet

Note: We’ve received several requests lately for information on where to purchase french print-braille books. In this article, Rebecca and Emmanuel from Tactile Vision Graphics describe their French collection. We will include an English translation of this article in the January issue.

Tactile Vision Graphics Inc. a toujours eu le but de produire toutes nos ressources et en Anglais et en Français. Notre entreprise est de très petite taille, donc nous n’avons pas encore été capables de produire en Français la totalité des titres qui existent en Anglais. Il nous a fallu faire des choix au départ. Il reste encore du travail.

Pour commencer, il nous a semblé que le domaine le plus important et celui par où il fallait commencer était les ressources pour le développement des concepts: la littératie et la numératie.

Chaque livre contient un peu de texte, en braille intégral, évidemment, et une image correspondante que les enfants peuvent toucher, (et même colorier) et discuter.

Les images tactiles enseignent des concepts importants:

  • Les formes de bases;
  • Accorder une image avec un mot qui le décrit;
  • L’orientation spatiale;
  • La directionalité;
  • La taille relative;
  • Le commencement de l’abstraction, qui est une connaissance critique pour le développement de l’enfant et la préparation à sa vie d’adulte;
  • Une représentation des choses qui sont plus difficiles à toucher en réalité (une maison par exemple)

Ainsi nous avons en catalogue un série de livres tactiles pour enfants, parmi eux « Mon Abécédaire », « Mon Livre des Chiffres » et « Discret Comme Une Souris: un Petit Livre des Similarités »

Au delà notre collection de livres pour enfants, nous avons aussi plusieurs cartes de vœux pour toutes les occasions et des livres à colorier avec les titres en impression relief et en braille français.

Nous vous invitons à visiter notre site web, chercher le “shop” et découvrir l’étendue de nos publications.

Vous pouvez aussi bien sûr nous appeler pour poser des questions ou pour placer une commande au (226) 221-8849

Braille Transcription Free of Charge!

By CNIB Brailleroom

We’re all familiar with the adage “Nothing in life is free”; but the CNIB Brailleroom can braille just about anything, free of charge, for CNIB clients and their families.

  • Letters and greeting cards
  • Household labels
  • Music scores
  • Course materials
  • Prescription/medical information

Note that this is not an exhaustive list.

Email your text in a Word document to:

Mail or drop off your printed materials:

CNIB Brailleroom (Room 104)
1929 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON M4G 3E8

UEB Christmas Trees?

By Jen Goulden, Past President

It is that time of year again, and it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas where I live. You might be wondering how I could possibly make a connection between Christmas trees and UEB, but whether you prefer to decorate a pine, spruce or Douglas fir, they are all conifers … or coniferous.

So here’s the question for transcribers: Are they con-i-fer-ous or co-ni-fer-ous trees?

Section 10.6.1 of the UEB rule book states the following: Use the lower groupsign for “be”, “con” or “dis” when the letters it represents form the first syllable of a word (such as concept or control … or contraction). According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary the first syllable of both conifer and coniferous is “co”. This means that the “con” contraction cannot be used.

I think the main cause of the confusion is that DBT does use “con” in these words. Ironically, there was no “con” in conifer or coniferous before UEB either. This is just another example showing that not much has changed in literary braille with the update to UEB.

Of course, we could just avoid the co-nun-drum altogether by simply calling them evergreens!

Braille and Technology Together: Braille Screen Input in iOS

By Ashley Eve Shaw Galbraith

People often ask me if braille skills are still useful, given the recent development of technologically advanced accessibility solutions. There are many reasons why braille is still necessary, but some of my favorite examples are the ways in which braille and technology intersect. Braille screen input, for instance, provides touch screen users with a typing method that is both fast and efficient.

For users of Apple’s iOS, Braille Screen Input has been a standard feature of the screen reader VoiceOver for several years now. The option allows users to enter text by touching the screen with the combination of fingers associated with each Braille character, in either contracted or uncontracted Braille. Accessed through the Voiceover Rotor in any text field, this option allows Braille users to type much faster than with the touch screen’s qwerty keyboard. It also allows for a greater degree of discretion than the use of text dictation, and makes it possible to enter long passwords with ease and privacy. Since Unified English Braille is an available translation table, I’ve also been able to get a lot of practice with UEB whenever I use my iPhone.

Learning to use touch screen Braille takes a bit of initial effort. The user holds the device in landscape mode, either on a flat surface or with the screen facing outward. Touching and holding fingers on the screen will activate Explore Mode, and the device will report the corresponding combination of dots from the Braille cell. A single finger swipe to the right enters a space, a single swipe to the left erases the previous character, a two finger swipe to the left erases the previous word, and a two finger swipe to the right starts a new line. Swiping up and down after completing a word provides any alternative suggestions. After a bit of practice, the user will be able to type quickly and smoothly.

Before Braille screen input was available, I was stuck either carrying around a Bluetooth keyboard, or typing relatively slowly on the touch screen qwerty keyboard. Now I use Braille to type text messages, emails, web addresses and phone numbers. This is just one example of Braille’s versatility and efficiency when combined with technology.

Social Media News Links

Social Media Links

Here are just some of the gems posted on BLC social media platforms since the last issue: Follow us on twitter or like us on Facebook for more!

Time to celebrate – the United States ratifies the Marrakesh Treaty!

Brick-A-Braille teaching system – available for testing:

A story about introducing braille to sighted children:

Custom-made braille cards with your personalized messages – great for the holidays!

Is braille still relevant in the 21st century workplace? spoiler alert Like print, the answer is… YES!!

Tips for teaching braille to students with decreased tactile sensitivity:

French alphabet print-braille book available through Tactile Vision Graphics:

The SENSEsational Alphabet Book is back in stock at Seedlings! This popular book for ages 0-5 features the English alphabet in print, braille and sign language. Kids can press the buttons to hear each letter, as well as feel and smell pictures of items starting with each letter:

The Bank of Canada has announced that it will begin to phase out the bank note reader program. It has been determined “that there are more modern devices that can be used to denominate bank notes”. For example, did you know that all paper money in Canada has tactile markings to help blind and LowVision people identify each bill? For more information, visit:

A collection of high-interest short stories from National Braille Press for adults who are learning uncontracted braille! Visit:

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CCB Tech Articles: Donna’s Low Tech Tips, Talking MP3 Player, July 30, 2018

July 30, 2018

Meet the talking MP3 player

Hi there!  It’s Donna and thank you for allowing me to come into your inbox.

Today, I’d like to talk about the talking MP3 player.


Meet the talking MP3 player


I have not yet met this nifty little gadget but I could not help but post this article.  I hope that some day soon I can go out there and meet it.  So, enjoy!




Tiny Tunes: What It Is Really All About


By Kelsey, on Mm-friends.



I’m writing this as a review of the new Tiny Tunes KD1000 Talking

MP3 Player.  As some people are saying that it is great, some

people are saying that it is awful, I thought it would be good

for someone who actually has this player and is not biost on

either side of the marketing trade to review this pocket sized,

lighter shaped device.  Below is a complete guide and report of

the mini machine.


Description and General Functions

Tiny Tunes is a very small MP3 player from Future Aids, a

company based in America.  It has a 1 inch screen with 3 bars

underneath the screen, a headphone and usb port on the bottom of

the device and a locking switch on the top.  The bars are the

controls for the player and can be pressed from either the left

or the right side, performing different actions depending on

which side you press.  The top bar when pressed on the left is

play, and the right is mode (select).  The second bar is the

volume bar: You press right to increase the volume and press left

to decrease it.  The third and final bar work the same as arrow

keys on a computer.  The switch on the top disables the keys from

accidental use when you’re on the move.  The device has 70 hours

battery life and takes 2 hours to charge from a computer.  It can

only be used with a pair of earphones/headphones plugged into the

jack on the bottom.

Below is a chart of some vital features of the player:


Memory: 4 GB

Size: About the size of a lighter

Screen: 1 inch

Controls: 3 (can be pressed from either side)

Battery life: 70 hours

Charging time: 2 hours

Speech: Yes

Ebook reader: Yes

Internet access: No

Music listening: Yes

Radio: Yes

Recording: Yes

Memory stick or memory card support: No

Video support: No


Turning on/off the player and the main menu

To turn on Tiny Tunes, hold down the play button for 2 to 3

seconds.  It will take a few more seconds for the player to load

before the speech announces the first item on the main menu which

is music.  To turn off the player at any time, hold down the play

button for 5 seconds.  Visually on the screen, when you perform

this action, the machine reads `goodbye` although this message is

not spoken aloud.  On the main menu the following options are



Continue listening.




Text files.

Notes and Record.

You can select any of these items with the mode button which can

also be pressed from any place in the Tiny Tunes menu or app

system to return you to either the previous menu or the main




The music app can play from a few different options.  These are

type of music, album, artist and all songs.  You can put music on

the machine by placing files or folders into the route of the

player when it is connected to a computer and the device will get

the info from the tags.  It only plays MP3 or WMA files.  Use the

arrow bar to move through your tracks.  The track names are

spoken aloud to you.  When you find one you want to hear, press

mode and then press play to hear it.  You can hold down the play

button for a second to find out the track name and album while

listening to a song.



MP3 player is a misleading name to say the least…  but that

is in a good way.  Tiny Tunes is much more than an MP3 player.

Well, as I’m describing here, it also includes an FM

radio–builtin.  of course.  When you select the radio app from

the main menu, you are placed back into the station you were

listening to last time.  You can use the arrow bar to move

through the stations available to you.  You can record FM radio

shows with the recording app (described later) too.  Of course,

the headphones are used to receive the signal for the radio.


Record and Notes

The Tiny Tunes player enables the recording of notes or longer

things using its internal microphone.  Simply select record from

the main menu, hold down play for half a second (then let go) and

speak.  You can pause the recording at any time just by pressing

play and then pressing it again when you’re ready to resume.

When you’ve done, hold down mode and you’ll be placed in the

notes folder where you can review and delete the note you’ve just

recorded or notes that you have recorded before.  Another way to

access the notes area of the device is to select notes from the

main menu and either select micrecord for microphone recordings

or fmrecord for radio recordings.  Then select the file from the

folder and hit mode, then hit play.



The Tiny Tunes player also plays text files.  Just place them

on to the route of the player and it puts them automatically into

the text files section.  Your books will be read aloud in clear,

synthetic speech or the book can be read on the 1 inch display.

The book voice is the same voice that reads the rest of the

content on the Tiny Tunes player such as the menus and music



Browse and Settings

In the main menu, there is an option called settings.  This has

several settings which modify the way the player works.  If you

want to use your player normally and are not some high tech music

developer etc these settings can be left at their defaults.

However, some are useful for people if you want a sleep timer,

auto shut down after so much time of inactivity, screen shut off

time and so on.  It also has speech enable/disable.

The browse function enables you to browse everything on your

player.  Just select browse and you can view books, audio and



Personal Comments

I think the Tiny Tunes KD1000 MP3 player is an extremely

powerful device with many features and a long battery life.  I

believe that however many people have said that it is just like

tossing $75 in the trash, the player is certainly a player that

is worth buying.  It is good for all people whether they do not

use much technology or are computer geeks as it has a simple and

basic interface which is impossible for you to get lost in.


**I wrote this article in the hope that perhaps it may help with

the research and hopeful presentation of the Tiny Tunes player in

the future on Main Menu.  Maybe you could read the article out

with your demonstration or without it to give people more idea

about the player from a person who has first-hand experience with

the device.**


If you would like to become a member of  my CCB Mysteries chapter you can do so for the price of $10 annually and in return you will receive unlimited access to any of the following libraries.

Recipes – A collection of hard to find recipes

Audio mysteries for all ages – Comfort listening any time of the day

Home and garden – A collection of great articles for around the home and garden

Or you can subscribe to all 3 for the price of $30 annually.



To contact me, send me an email at and I’d be happy to respond.

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.


CCB Tech Articles: Donna’s Low Tech Tips, Kitchen Knife With Guide, July 23, 2018

July 23, 2018

Meet the kitchen knife with the guide


Hi there!  It’s Donna and thank you for allowing me to come into your inbox.

Today, I’d like to talk about the kitchen knife with the guide.


Meet the kitchen knife with a guide


No, no joking!  There is a kitchen knife out there that has a guide attached to it and this enables a blind person to use it safely without worrying about cutting one’s self.


This knife is good for anyone; not just a blind person.  The guide enables a blind person to feel along the blade of the knife and to set how thick they wish to cut their stuff.  It works and I use it all the time.  Once you get used to how to use it, your life becomes a bit easier in the kitchen.


So go out there and meet the kitchen knife with a guide.


If you would like to become a member of  my CCB Mysteries chapter you can do so for the price of $10 annually and in return you will receive unlimited access to any of the following libraries.

Recipes – A collection of hard to find recipes

Audio mysteries for all ages – Comfort listening any time of the day

Home and garden – A collection of great articles for around the home and garden

Or you can subscribe to all 3 for the price of $30 annually.



To contact me, send me an email at and I’d be happy to respond.

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.


CCB Tech Articles: Donna’s Low Tech Tips, In The Kitchen Part 2, July 16, 2018

July 16

In the kitchen part two


Hi there!  It’s Donna and thank you for allowing me to come into your inbox.

Today, I’d like to talk about in the kitchen.

This is part two.  You can read part one for the week of July 09.


IN THE KITCHEN        part two


Stoves, thermostat controls, washing machines, and other household appliances with dials can be marked with small strips of colored electrical tape (several layers make it easier to feel), small strips of colored or clear embossing (demo) tape,

Locator Dots (available from CNIB) or by filing notches.  Only mark essential numbers to avoid a cluttered dial.  For example, put a piece(s) of bright colored contrasting tape on the oven dial at the twelve o’clock (top) position when the oven is off.  Put another piece(s) of tape on the stove where the 350  is.  When you turn the dial and match or line up the two pieces of tape, you will have a 350

or moderate oven. You will easily be able to judge temperatures above and below this point.


A wooden spoon or wooden rack puller (which doesn’t conduct heat) can be used to locate a hot oven rack, a dish on the rack, or to pull out the rack.


When reaching into the oven, prevent burns by wearing long flame-resistant oven mitts which extend to your elbow.  (These are available from the CNIB)


Before removing a casserole or baking dish from the oven, make sure the oven door is completely open and the rack pulled all the way out.


If you suspect a casserole or baking dish may boil over or splatter while in the oven, place a cookie sheet underneath to catch the spills.  It is easier to clean than the whole oven.


Use large print or raised dot (braille) timers as a guide to know when food is cooked.

You can also use other types of timers. You can also judge the readiness of food by using a combination of sensory clues – touch, smell, hearing, taste or remaining vision.


A muffin tin is ideal for baking potatoes, stuffed peppers, or tomatoes.  It is easier to locate and remove a muffin tin than several items scattered on the oven rack.


For even proportions of mashed potatoes and turnip, use an ice cream scoop.  A scoop is also useful for making muffins, cupcakes, etc., because it allows you to get equal amounts of batter in each section and is easier than pouring directly from a bowl or using a spoon.  Use a small ice cream scoop to make cookies.


To spread peanut butter, or other hard-to-spread foods, use a small narrow spatula.


Use a tray or cookie sheet to organize utensils and ingredients when cooking.  A tray catches any spills, making clean-up easier, and ensures small items are not misplaced.


Use measuring cups in graduated sizes (available in department stores and from Tupperware), rather than a one cup measure with small dividing lines marked in print.


To measure a portion of a block of butter or shortening, use a plastic stick which has notches cut for 1/4 cup, etc.


When measuring herbs and spices, sprinkle into the palm of your hand first so you are able to determine how much you are using.  This will prevent accidentally adding too much to a dish.


Measuring small amounts of liquid such as 1 tsp. vanilla is difficult.  Dipping is easier than pouring into a spoon.  You may find it beneficial to transfer liquids you use often into wide mouth containers for easy dipping.  Large eye droppers or a small plastic syringe are also great for measuring extracts, flavorings, and colorings.


To separate egg whites from yolks use an egg separator or small funnel (both available in department stores).  Or, break the egg into the palm of your hand and let the egg white run through your spread fingers.  The yolk will remain in your hand.


Fill a large salt shaker full of flour for dusting baking pans, making gravies, etc.  It isn’t messy and saves flour.


A canning funnel is helpful when pouring liquids into narrow-mouth containers.  Square-topped funnels are easier to use.


Place a jar lid, pebbles, or marbles in the bottom of your double boiler or kettle.  The rattling sound will signal if the water has boiled away.


Prevent ants, flour beetles, or other pests from invading your cupboards by leaving sage or bay leaves on food shelves.


If you would like to become a member of  my CCB Mysteries chapter you can do so for the price of $10 annually and in return you will receive unlimited access to any of the following libraries.

Recipes – A collection of hard to find recipes

Audio mysteries for all ages – Comfort listening any time of the day

Home and garden – A collection of great articles for around the home and garden

Or you can subscribe to all 3 for the price of $30 annually.



To contact me, send me an email at and I’d be happy to respond.

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.


CCB National Newsletter, “Visions” for June 2018













Canadian Council of the Blind Newsletter

June 2018



“A lack of sight is not a lack of vision”


President’s Message++

1Louise Gillis – CCB National President

Now that spring will soon be changing into summer many chapters will be slowing down their activities and events. One big event that did take place in May was the annual Atlantic Sports & Recreation Weekend (ASRW).

This year the ASRW was sponsored by the CCB Sydney Chapter as everyone knows a lot of planning many months in advance has to take place with a group of individuals who work independently on varying items and then come together on a regular basis to see how it is unfolding then continue on that path or work out alternate plans. We had that process here even including “Mother Nature” to work with us and on Saturday for the outdoor events we had fantastic weather so all went very well.

We had 45 individuals with vision loss of one sort or another who took part along with their drivers, support persons and some family members. What really helps in an event like this is to have sufficient volunteers, accessible venues and persons who are properly trained in how they can help people with vision loss find their way and get to where they need to be so all events run smoothly without long wait times. I personally, along with our chapter, would like to thank all who helped make this a successful weekend. Lots of medals and ribbons were won. These are very special to each person and just the fact of being able to participate is very important whether you win or lose. Participants don’t need experience in the events just a desire to be part of all the excitement. See you all in Summerside PEI next May.

To see/hear an interview on with Laura Bain talking about her experience on the weekend in Sydney go to:

The last week of May was a very busy week as well. Braille Literacy Canada held their AGM. Also some workshops on Braille technology –what is best for the individual needs, cost, access, and how best to use the newest refreshable braille note-takers. Check out their website.

The World Braille Council also met in Ottawa. As most of us know Braille is used by blind and partially sighted people to read the same books, and periodicals as those printed in a visual font. It is used for all European-based languages and has also been adapted to present Arabic, and Asian languages as well. Learning to read and write in braille allows a child to be fully literate and they can excel in learning from any books published in braille form.

One of the important notes of this meeting was the shortage teachers of Braille in all countries including Canada. Another issue is teaching Braille to students with multiple disabilities and in many cases the blind student sits in the class without any education being received. The technology sector collaborated to develop universal standard for braille displays during the event.

The World Blind Union (WBU) is the global organization representing the estimated 253 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Members are organizations of and for the blind in 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of vision impairment. ​The WBU Executive Committee had their meeting in Ottawa as well this week. Below are a few bits of information from that event.

{While I understand many may not be able to connect to the links below I think it is important to include them for those who can and also for others with computers to go to the websites to see more information to share with their members}. You can check out a video of WBU North America/Caribbean Regional President, Mr. Charles Mossop, welcoming members of the Executive committee, representatives from regions and international organizations to the WBU Executive Committee at

Dr. M.N.G. Mani, CEO of International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) emphasizes the strong collaboration between ICEVI and WBU during the WBU Executive Committee meeting.

2WBU Members, Mr. Ajai Mittal, Mr. Arnt Johannes Holte, Ms. Martine Abel-Williamson, Ms. Donatilla Kanimba, Dr. Fredric K. Schroeder, Ms Michiko Tabata, Mr. Fernando Riano, Mr. Santosh Kumar Rungta

Ms. Donatilla Kanimba the WBU Second Vice President appeals for access and use of technologies to the benefit of people with visual disabilities. Dr. Aubrey Webson, UN Ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda urges WBU to continue working within the UN system especially on SustainableDevelopmentGoals building on the promise of “leaving no one behind”.

“My first impressions here is how everyone comes from different continents to discuss issues we share together to improve the quality of lives of blind people” Ms. Nantanoot Suwannawut (Apple) from Thailand,

Each year, 37% of tourists with disabilities decide not to travel because of limited accessibility. With a strong EU AccessibilityAct that includes tourism the sector can generate revenues of almost € 90bn.

I, as President and our Executive Director, Jim Prowse accepted the Century of Change Award from the CNIB on behalf of CCB at Library and Archives Canada, in Ottawa. It was presented by CNIB President and Directors at a dinner in celebrating a 100 years of changing lives CNIB.

This last several months the WBU has carried out several surveys – Barriers for Women – Empowerment and Leadership, Survey for persons with low vision, and one for Elderly Persons with results currently being compiled. These surveys have been sent out in previous Newsletters for members to complete.

In the upcoming month CCB will be preparing and providing further information on our upcoming AGM on June 27th for members.

Louise Gillis, National President





CCB Toronto Visionaries to hold 5th Annual 5km Fund-raising Walk-a-thon & Beach BBQ! ++


On Wednesday, June 20th, the CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter will host its 5th annual 5km ‘Walk-a-thon & Beach BBQ’ along the Woodbine Beach Boardwalk in Toronto.  Funds raised at this event will help support the Visionaries’ Chapter operations for the coming year.


The site of the Walk was selected for its accessibility, with good access to public transit, accessible washrooms, and a path that is tactile and easy to follow.  The Woodbine Beach Boardwalk is a 3km long wood plank walkway with sand on either side, following the shoreline of Lake Ontario in Toronto’s East End.  The Walk takes us from our picnic site, to the west end of the Boardwalk, where we turn and retrace about 2.5km and then return to the picnic area for a celebratory BBQ.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, all the trimmings, salads, potato chips and soft drinks will be served to all Walkers and sighted guides, free of charge, as all of the food is being donated by local merchants!  And since the only cost to our Chapter is the Parks permit, almost every dollar donated goes directly to our operating expenses.


In addition, the CCB Toronto Visionaries has invited other CCB Chapters active in the Toronto area and other blindness-related organizations to join us, making this a vision loss community event!  This year, the Visionaries will be joined by the Hands of Fire Blind Sculpture Group, the CCB Mysteries Chapter, and the Toronto Chapter of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, each group raising funds for its own organization.  And the CNIB has not only lent us their BBQ, but will be transporting it to and from the picnic site!


But it’s more than just a blind community event.  We’ve partnered with so many other groups and organizations from the sighted community as well.  We’ve been working with City of Toronto Parks Recreation & Forestry, Toronto Public Health, and Boardwalk Place to secure the Special Event Permit.  We’ve partnered with local businesses, Bloor Meat Market, Cobs Bloor West Bakery & Nicholson’s No Frills, who are generously donating all the food for the Walk.  Our dedicated group of sighted volunteers will team up with any walker who’d appreciate an extra hand.  We’re even talking to Accessible Media Inc about the possibility of covering the Walk on AMI This Week, as part of our partnership-building strategy.  And if successful, we’ll have another tool in our communications toolkit, one that demonstrates the determination of the blind community to overcome barriers and exceed expectations.


The goals of this event are equally split between raising funds, bringing community partners together and encouraging member involvement.  While it is vital for us to raise money to fund our activities and events throughout the year, it is just as important to build a sense of community and encourage our members to come out, join in the fun, and set and exceed their own personal goals.  Not everyone can walk 5km and many don’t feel comfortable asking family or friends for charitable donations.  But to encourage as many people as possible to participate, we’ve made this a ‘Walk-what-you-can’ event, with members securing donations for whatever distance they think they can travel.  If you think you can walk 2km, then set your own goal and conquer it!  If walking 100meters is what you can do, secure donations to support that goal and come out and join us!


And if walking is not your thing, it’s perfectly okay to raise donations to participate as the cheering section!  If a CCB member, who thought their blindness meant they couldn’t possibly participate in, or contribute to, the success of our Chapter, comes out to the Walk, bringing a single donation of a few dollars, or even just coming out to cheer on the other walkers and be part of this event, then we’ve accomplished a big part of our mandate.  Its also great to know that so many of our members are out talking to their families, friends, co-workers and colleagues about the CCB and what it means to them.


In addition to all the community support we’ve received, our National Office in Ottawa has been enormously encouraging.  Being able to offer tax creditable receipts for donations makes a huge difference to our efforts.  Working with Mary Ellen Durkee, National’s Accountant, and the administrative team at the National Office, we’ve even been able to have donors direct funds to us through the donation link on National’s website, making online donations possible for any chapter without its own website or Pay-pal account.


At this year’s Walk, we’re targeting to raise a substantial portion of our annual budget to help fund the activities and programs so vital to our members throughout the year, and we’re hoping to increase the number of Walkers from last year who will come out to share our vision.  Walking with our peers, we’ll have encouraged our members to reach a little farther, strengthened the bonds between the CCB and its community partners, and we’ll have reached out to the broader sighted community for their support and to show them what we can accomplish.  We’ll be celebrating all this and more down on the Boardwalk, sharing a great BBQ on the Beach with friends on June 20th!


The CCB Toronto Visionaries


Tele Town Hall Update++

As promised, at the end of our last tele meeting in March we committed to producing a report based on input from you over the course of our 5 tele town halls.  We are hoping to circulate these reports sometime in the summer; mid to late summer.

In the meantime, we wish you a super summer.


The tele town hall organizing committee



GTT Vancouver and New Westminster Meetings Agenda, The Accessible iOS Calendar App++

Get Together With Technology (GTT) New Westminster/Vancouver!

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind in partnership with Blind Beginnings and Vancouver Community College


People who are blind or partially sighted of all ages are invited to “Save the Dates” for these two sessions of the GTT Vancouver and New Westminster meetings where the Calendar App on iPhones/iPad/iPods will be demonstrated and thoroughly discussed.


June 2018 Theme: iOS Calendar App

Participants have expressed a desire to find accessible tools aimed at better organizing their busy leisure, work and volunteer lives, and one of those tools could be the great Calendar App found on the smart phones and tablets we now carry with us.  So, the upcoming GTT New Westminster and Vancouver meetings will work through the insertion of a calendar entry, how to set notifications, how to create a monthly recurring event, how to invite others to an event, and how to edit the date/time of an existing appointment.




Who Should Attend?


– People who would like to know what is possible to do with the iOS Calendar App;

– People who want to know how to set reminders for appointments;

– People who want to know how to invite others to their events/activities/appointments;

– People who want to know how to set recurring events like monthly meetings, birthdates etc;

– People interested in determining what other accessible Calendar Apps that are usable and accessible;

– People who want peer assistance with other assistive technology.


GTT New Westminster:

Date & Time: Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Where: Blind Beginnings Office, 227 6th Street, New Westminster



For more information contact either Shawn Marsolais or Albert Ruel: or 604-434-7243. or 250-240-2343





CCB Health & Fitness++:




On June 1st we were pleased to have 13 people from coast to coast…and actually across the pond in Europe, participate in our event.  The walk/run is to help folks aim for a fitness goal and then tackle it alongside their friends.  We are still waiting on updates from the west coast but in Chatham Ontario, we had a big group on a beautiful day!


Congrats to Brenda from the West coast for winning our draw prize!

We will be airing to set up some more challenges and events as the year unfolds, so keep active, send us any ideas you have in terms of a goal and stay tuned to our social media for updates




Just a reminder that our podcast is pumping out great content regularly and the episodes are generally 20-30mins so nothing too long but just long enough to provide some great health and fitness topics.

Everything from blood pressure, to axe throwing, we cover lots of random and useful things.  If you have a topic you’d love to learn more about, we encourage you to suggest them!!!

Simply search “The Canadian Council of the Blind” on your Apple podcast search app or anywhere you find your podcasts


As always, if you have questions, want to chat 1 on 1 with Ryan for some fitness advice, or any feedback at all, just drop us an email.

Have an awesome day!!



CCB Health & Fitness

National Program Manager & Coach



Go to our page:

To find links to Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Podcast & Email Chat List


Chapter News++

News Updates from the Peterborough Chapter


Hello everyone,

We have been busy here in Peterborough and would like to share some of our successes with you.


Our very own chapter member Devon Wilkins organizes and host a weekly radio show on Trent Radio 92.7. Devon, along with co-host Simon Treviranous of The BIG IDeA, presents this one-hour talk show to showcase all things accessible in Peterborough. The program’s goal is to bring awareness to the general public about disabilities and the barriers that result, as well as other organizations in our community assisting those with disabilities.


Devon and Simon are focusing on abilities, highlighting the positive stories of people with disabilities of all kinds. Congratulations to Deon and Simon for making this a success.


Another project of the CCB Peterborough Chapter is a program called “From the Blind for the Blind”. We are collecting any gently used visual aids that people are no longer using and then redistributing them to other folks within our community who can use the items. Often someone just needs to try out an item for a while before purchasing one. Or sometimes an item cannot be purchased because of affordability.


We would like to collect as much as possible so we are able to share the items with those who can use them. Our chapter member Debbie Haryett and chapter volunteer Aileen Hill have been putting a lot of work into starting this project up. They are also working with The Lions Club, which has offered storage space for us to use. In addition many of our local optometrists and doctors’ office are giving their support. A huge thank you to both ladies for doing this.

We also have a wonderful summer planned with picnics, local outings, boat rides on Little Lake, and much more. We just finished a tour of our newly rebuilt Peterborough Library, where we were shown the many accessible features in this lovely building, along with information about audio books and other accessible reading materials.


Bringing awareness of CCB to the general community is an important goal. That’s why we will be participating in Peterborough Pulse 2018 on July 21st. For this summer festival, Peterborough’s main street will be closed down for the day and community groups, clubs, businesses and other organizations will line the streets to share their stories with the public.  We, of course, will be there to talk about CCB Peterborough. It’s a fun-filled day of music, friends and laughter.


Later in the year, the Senior Summit will be held gain in the fall. We are looking forward to having an awareness table there to showcase CCB Peterborough.


We are proud here in Peterborough to be an active chapter. And soon – through our very own website – we will be able to share stories and pictures, and showcase the partnerships we have developed within our community.


Peterborough chapter members are happy to be active, and we believe in our Abilities not Disabilities.


Now Listen to Eyes On Success Podcasts on Smart Home Devices++

We recently added a new way for listeners to keep up to date with the latest episodes of Eyes On Success.


Now you can listen to Eyes on Success on your Alexa or google smart home devices.  Simply ask Alexa or Google to “play Eyes on Success podcast” and you won’t miss a thing!


3Promotion shot for Peter Torpey and Nancy Goodman Torpey

We hope listeners enjoy this new capability and pass the word along to their friends.


The Hosts: Peter Torpey and Nancy Goodman Torpey

Check out Eyes on Success (formerly ViewPoints)

A weekly, half hour audio program for people living with vision loss.


Find out more about the show and get links to past episodes at:

4Peter and Nancy Torpey

Find the podcast on iTunes or use the URL:

Find us on social media at:



Meet the talking timer++

Hi there!  It’s Donna and as mentioned previously, I would like to concentrate on the lower levels of technology and today I’d like you to meet the talking timer.


Ah yes!  The talking timer and over the years this precious commodity has both shrunk in size and cost.  There was a time when the talking timer was not very portable and it was also extremely clumsy and clunky in shape.  Today however, the talking timer has shrunk in both size and cost and it is even now possible for you to stuff one in your pocket or purse.


The cost of a talking timer has also dropped dramatically and you can now buy one for less than $20.  The nice thing about the talking timer is that there is a variety of styles and sizes for you to choose from.

Some talking timers come with a talking clock add on while others do not.  I have both.

You can get a talking timer for your kitchen or have one that clips on to your belt.  I have a talking timer/clock that gives me the option of choosing different sounds for when the timer goes off and I also have one that does not give me the option.  They are both very portable and I can clip them onto my belt.

You’ll have to find the one that best suits you.  Just make sure that the one you want is the one you end up with.  The talking timer is a very nifty little gadget to have.  Use it to time your cooking and baking.  Use it when you wish to time yourself while you are pedaling away on your exercising equipment or use it for anything else.  The ones that I have work with AAA batteries.


Of course, the talking timer is now competing with other types of talking timers that can be found on your smart devices, and on your appliances.


Here are a few places for you to contact if you are interested to learn more.

CNIB – toll free = 1800 563 2642

Frontier Computing – toll free = 1-888-480-0000

Or visit

You can also call them at 1-800-987-1231


So have fun now with your talking timer and see you next week.





Spotlight on CELA++

The Centre for Equitable Library Access, CELA, is Canada’s most comprehensive accessible reading service, providing books and other materials to Canadians with print disabilities in the formats of their choice. A national not-for-profit organization, CELA serves 90% of the estimated 3 million Canadians with print disabilities in partnership with member public libraries. CELA provides access to more than 500,000 professionally produced titles to provide people with print disabilities with a quality library experience.


Our collection includes award winners, best sellers, fiction and non-fiction with a special emphasis on Canadian authors and stories, and favourites for kids and teens.

Patrons have access to close to 50 newspapers and 150 DAISY magazines which are available on the same day they are published.


CELA Services

In addition to our collection, CELA supports libraries by offering marketing materials, training and staff development opportunities. The CELA website includes a variety of tutorials and training videos to assist libraries, educators and patrons in learning and troubleshooting the technology and apps needed to access our collection. In addition, patrons can call our dedicated Contact Centre for assistance and support.


We provide a level of service unattainable if each individual library were responsible for providing the service within their existing capacity.


What’s New at CELA?

150 New DAISY Magazines Available!


  • Enjoy 150 of today’s most popular magazines as soon as they are published.
  • See the complete list of titles

On our new Magazines page, search the catalogue or browse by category to find your favourites.

  • Read the full text, including images, using popular DAISY apps for iOS and Android.
  • Tutorials are available on our website.


Books by “Big Five” audio publishers now available

Just in time for summer reading, CELA is thrilled to announce access to audiobooks by the big five publishers. Thanks to our agreement with Recorded Books, we are now able to add more popular titles, New York Times bestsellers and favourites our patrons have been requesting. New titles have already been added to our collection, including one of our most requested books, All The Light We Cannot See, current New York Times bestsellers, Little Fires Everywhere, and the High Tide Club, and the shocking memoirs by James Comey and Hilary Clinton.


More titles will be added in the coming weeks and months.  Look to our communications for highlights as they become available.


For more information or to become a CELA member contact: or 1-855-655-2273


Assistive Technology

Great news! The world’s best print-reading app for the blind and print-disabled is now even better, KNFB Reader Version 3.0, from the National Federation of the Blind and Sensotec NV++


KNFB Reader 3.0 represents the continued evolution of over forty years of text recognition technology. It now has more features for a wider variety of users than ever.


Since its first release in 2014, KNFB Reader has been allowing users all over the world to get access to print anytime and anywhere. The latest version of this award-winning app sports a new look and feel to help you work better and faster. Navigation within the app is easier, with tabs at the bottom of the home screen to access key functions quickly and easily. The enhanced cloud support for Dropbox, GoogleDrive and OneDrive allows easy access to all your documents when and where you need them.


KNFB Reader 3.0 now reads ebooks and documents in the increasingly popular ePub format, as well as PDFs (image or text, tagged or untagged). This makes it ideal for students and professionals who must read content in multiple formats from multiple sources. The app is also customizable, so that people with different reading needs can tailor its settings to meet those needs. Now able to recognize and read documents in over thirty languages, KNFB Reader 3.0 is a comprehensive reading solution for people who are blind or who have low vision, dyslexia, or other reading differences.


KNFB Reader 3.0 is a free update for existing customers. For new customers, the app is now available for USD $99.


To learn more about KNFB Reader 3.0, visit


If you already have the app and love it, help us spread the word to others. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation about KNFB Reader 3.0.


Foundation Fighting Blindness RESEARCH NEWS++

RNA Therapies for Inherited Retinal Diseases (IRDs)

Dr. Mary Sunderland recently participated in a tremendously inspiring meeting, hosted by ProQR, a company that is creating new sight-saving treatments and planning a new clinical trial for people living with Usher Syndrome.


Read more at:





In the News


Ford Develops Smart Window Prototype For

Blind Passengers — Feel the View!++


Ford has developed a prototype smart window, allowing blind passengers to feel the passing landscape outside.


The ‘Feel the View’ technology was created by an Italian startup, Aedo in collaboration with Ford. The prototype uses vibrations to give a blind or partially-sighted passenger a sense of the scenery outside.


The technology takes pictures of the passing scenery from the outer side of the window. The images captured are then converted into high-contrast black and white pictures. These monochrome images are then reproduced on the glass using special LEDs. On touching the images, the various shades of grey vibrate at different intensities up to the range of 255. These vibrations allow the blind passengers to touch the scene and rebuild the landscape in their mind.


As the finger moves over the different parts of the image, different intensities of vibrations provide haptic feedback to the person using the technology.


The smart window technology also has an AI voice assistant, which uses the car’s audio system to give the passengers a context of what they are feeling.


A Ford spokesperson stated, “We seek to make people’s lives better and this was a fantastic opportunity to help blind passengers experience a great aspect of driving. The technology is advanced, but the concept is simple – and could turn mundane journeys into truly memorable ones.”  This technology of the Smart Windows is part of Ford’s Advanced Research. The company has no plans of introducing it in the market anytime soon. This might be part of Ford’s autonomous vehicle program to research how a vehicle will interact with its passengers when travelling.

By Rahul Nagaraj


Virgin Atlantic Launches In-Flight Entertainment for Passengers Who Are Blind++

Virgin Atlantic has recently begun offering specially adapted iPads which provide audio descriptions for films and programming. For example, the recorded narration will explain what is happening during gaps in a film’s dialogue.

The technology was designed by the tech firm Bluebox and was tested by Guide Dogs for the Blind. Passengers can specially request the iPad from the flight crew prior to takeoff. The service is available on all aircraft providing travel to various destinations, including North America.

Source:                1-877-304-0968

CCB Tech Articles: Donna’s Low Tech Tips, In The Kitchen Part 1, July 9, 2018

July 09

In the kitchen part one


Hi there!  It’s Donna and thank you for allowing me to come into your inbox.

Today, I’d like to talk about in the kitchen.

This is part one.




Hang most used pots and utensils from a wooden strip or                 pegboard on a wall or cabinet to easily locate.


When storing canned products such as fruits, vegetables and soups, reserve a shelf or a section of the shelf for each food group. The food most used                                    (soup for example) may be placed in the most convenient-to-reach location and the remaining cans arranged in alphabetical order according to their contents.


Extra shelving wide enough to accommodate one row of canned, bottled, or packaged goods eliminates the need to conduct extensive searches for items. Shelves can be installed on any convenient wall in the kitchen or basement, on the back of a door, in a closet or pantry. Attaching labels to shelf edges will help eliminate the need to label individual products.


Shelves can be sectioned off with a plastic straw laid horizontally and glued or taped into position. Strips of wood or dowels can be used for the same purpose.  Use easily recognized items as dividers (for example large bottles of mayo or ketchup) to separate canned goods of a similar size.


A variety of plastic trays and adjustable drawer dividers are available in hardware and department stores.


Canned products, baking products, etc., can be organized in different ways:  according to frequency of use, in alphabetical order, or into categories used.  For example, spices may be divided into two groups – those used for baking (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.) and those used in main dishes (garlic, celery seed, etc.).


To help you find what you are looking for in your freezer try grouping foods of a similar type – fish, vegetables, or meats for example – into larger bags which you can take out while you find the particular packet you want.  If you have some color perception, differently colored labels and tags or colored bags may help.


A simple way to distinguish between a small number of identical containers such as cans, bottles, or salt and pepper shakers is to put an elastic band around one of them.  Alternately, select brands so that no two items are in identical containers.


Use large print or braille to make labels for spices, etc.  When a bottle is empty, you simply transfer the new item to the old bottle to avoid having to make new labels.  If the name can be shortened so that the label can be put on the lid of the container, you only need to change the lids.



Use a variety of materials and techniques.  There is no one material or technique that covers every labelling need. You may elect to use some or all of the methods described here, and even invent some new ones.



Do not be obsessed with labelling!  Among your food items and household supplies there are a number of items easily recognized by the touch, shake, or smell method.  These need not be marked.  Good organization in storing canned and packaged products, as well as personal items, and keeping everything in its place will significantly cut down your need for labelling.  Label only those things that cannot be distinguished by any other convenient means and keep any labels as short and concise as possible.


People who are visually impaired hould take advantage of colour contrasts. Work with dark ingredients on a light-coloured counter top or cutting board. Work with light ingredients on a dark surface.


Remove the eyes from potatoes with point of peeler or knife before peeling.


It is easier to determine if the peel on vegetables has all been removed when the vegetable is wet.  The portion of the vegetable that has the peel remaining on it will have a rough texture, while the portion peeled will have a smooth, moist texture.


Keep fingers curled in and downward while chopping vegetables, etc.  To gauge the thickness of a slice, put the blade of a sharp pointed knife by the forefinger of the hand that is holding the vegetable, then move knife and forefinger the required distance before cutting.  Some vegetables ( for example turnips ) should be cut in half  and placed flat side down on the chopping board before cutting into slices.  The Magna Wonder Knife (available from CNIB) has an adjustable slicing guide that makes it  safe and easy to cut slices of bread, vegetables, and meat into different thicknesses.


Toss a salad by shaking in a large covered bowl or container.  It gets well dressed and there is no mess!


Safety should never be overlooked, especially in the kitchen!  When working around the stove, avoid wearing anything that might dangle over the burners, such as loose sleeves or ties.


Don’t store flammables, especially oven mitts and dish towels, near the stove.


Be very familiar with your stove and oven before using.  Know which knobs control which burners.


Place your filled pot on the stove burner before turning the burner on.  If you have to place or replace a pot on a burner that is already hot, use a long-handled wooden spoon (which doesn’t conduct heat) to feel around the edge of the pot, ensuring the pot is centered on the burner.


Make sure pot handles do not extend over the front or sides of the stove where they can be easily bumped or knocked over.


When frying eggs, use an egg ring (available from CNIB).  Grease the ring before placing in the frying pan and drop one egg into each greased ring.  A food turner may be slid under the ring to easily remove the egg from the pan.


When frying meat which has to be turned, use a two-sided spatula (available from CNIB), which works like a pair of tongs.  Some people prefer oven baking or roasting meats because they do not have to be turned over.  Bacon, for example, which is very difficult to turn, may be cooked in your oven or microwave.


A colander, placed in a sink, provides an easy way to drain water from vegetables, pasta, etc. Pot strainers which attach to the rim of the pot are also excellent for draining water.


Explore your oven when cold to                     ensure you are aware of the                            position of the rack(s).


If you would like to become a member of  my CCB Mysteries chapter you can do so for the price of $10 annually and in return you will receive unlimited access to any of the following libraries.

Recipes – A collection of hard to find recipes

Audio mysteries for all ages – Comfort listening any time of the day

Home and garden – A collection of great articles for around the home and garden

Or you can subscribe to all 3 for the price of $30 annually.



To contact me, send me an email at and I’d be happy to respond.

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.


Guest Post: Braille Literacy Canada Newsletter June 2018, a Publication of Braille Literacy Canada

Newsletter ● June 2018

Message from the President

Dear members of Braille Literacy Canada,


I love braille.


I love to read it. Left to right. Right side up. Even upside down or backwards (which is completely possible – trust me!).


I love to read it alone, or when I’m out. Or when I just accidentally happen to stumble upon it in an elevator or on a sign. Or when the electricity fails and I’m the only one able to read to my nieces and nephews. Lights out? No problem. I love the feel of the dots as they run beneath my fingers.


I love the scent of every braille book I’ve ever received. Just like those dusty old print books I remember, these scents tell a story of their own, transporting me back in time to the first place – that library, that corner on the kitchen floor, that classroom – when I first opened its pages and the world was brought to me. Even to this day, decades after I was first introduced to the wonders of Louis Braille, I am in awe that six mere dots could hold the key to every letter, symbol, word, thought, story.


I love electronic braille books, too. The feel of the crisp dots, the sound as each line refreshes to reveal a new secret. I love that, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I can hold thousands of pages – endless possibilities – on one small device.


I love to write braille. I love the loud, clunky, ever reliable, ever present Perkins brailler, with its iconic “ding!” as I reach the end of a line. And the satisfying “punch” as I press the stylus into the paper. I love that – even with all the fabulous technology around me – I can carry this one small tool everywhere, just like a pen and paper, and it will never, ever fail me.


I love braille because it truly is literacy. And that, as I have experienced firsthand, is nothing short of freedom, emancipation, and equality. I love braille, not because it is a replacement for any other format (like audio), but because it is part of the rich tapestry of choices available to me. Braille, however, has transformed me into a reader, a writer, and not one who must rely on others. With these tools in hand, it has made everything possible.


It was at the age of six when I first began learning braille. In those very first days before braille and I knew each other, I saw it as something that set me apart. My Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, with her infinite wisdom and creativity, encouraged me to invite a sighted classmate to those first few lessons. That first year, we made braille Valentine’s Day cards for everyone in my class along with special decoder cards. It became a yearly tradition. I very quickly came to see that – yes, braille did set me apart. But in an immensely positive  way. I wasn’t the odd one out who “needed” braille. I was the luckiest one of all, because I was the only student in the class learning it. Fast forward many years later, I began working as a rehabilitation specialist, teaching braille to children, adults and seniors, and now also as a Ph.D Candidate, where I experience the joy of engaging in meaningful braille related research every day.


I write to you wearing my new cap as President of Braille Literacy Canada, to thank all of you who participated in our recent Annual General Meeting, either in person or virtually, and for putting your trust in your new 2018 BLC board. Our organization is successful not merely due to one person, but because of the many busy working hands – both on and off the board – who collaborate to make BLC what it continues to be today. And with this in mind, I am eager to introduce you to our new 2018 board, which includes:


  • Natalie Martiniello, President
  • Daphne Hitchcock, Vice-President
  • Anthony Tibbs, Treasurer
  • Kim Kilpatrick (Canadian Council of the Blind), Secretary
  • Jen Goulden (Crawford Technologies), Past President
  • Cathy Ausman, Director
  • Rebecca Blaevoet (Tactile Vision Graphics), Director
  • Jessica Blouin (T-Base Communications), Director
  • Jen Jesso, Director
  • Jenn Monks, Director
  • Laurie Moore (W. Ross MacDonald), Director
  • Dwila Nixon, Director
  • Cheryl Roberts-Dupasquier, Director
  • Melanie Romer-Noel (CNIB), Director


I am excited to work with such a talented team of braille readers, transcribers, producers, teachers and researchers for the 2018-2019 BLC year. On a personal note, I want to thank our Past President, Jen Goulden, for her countless years of dedication and commitment to the organization.  We are fortunate that we can continue to benefit from her immense knowledge and experience as she remains on the board as our Past President, and I know she will continue to be an invaluable member of our board. On behalf of all of us, thank you Jen!


In addition to the elections, two proposed bylaw amendments were considered at the AGM. The first proposal (which would have resulted in lifetime members who were “inactive” being excluded from quorum calculations) was tabled and not voted upon. The second proposal (which relaxes term limits on the board so that an individual may remain on the board more than 3 terms but only if they are elected to a different position) was accepted by the members. For more details on each of these proposals, please see the documentation included in the 2018 AGM call or write to us for more information.


Two workshops were also held at the AGM. The first (presented by Kim Kilpatrick and myself) focused on the use of braille displays with iDevices. In the second workshop, Jen Goulden and Anthony Tibbs introduced participants to a freely available braille transcription program developed by the American Printing House for the Blind called “BrailleBlaster” (


We look forward to continuing our tradition of offering braille related teleconferences throughout the year – So let us know what topics you’d like us to feature, and stay tuned!


We are always happy to hear from you! If you have ideas, stories to share, comments, or questions, please feel free to write to me at


Here is to a year full of possibilities, hard work, lots of fun – and most of all – many, many dots!


Yours truly,


Natalie Martiniello

President, Braille Literacy Canada


Membership in BLC


BLC membership coincides with the calendar year. If you are not yet a member or haven’t renewed for 2018, we invite you to visit


If you are a member you can:


  • Have your say: attend the Annual General Meeting
  • Get involved in the work of BLC: join one of our committees
  • Help to promote the use of braille in Canada
  • Participate in teleconferences on braille-related issues (free for members)
  • Receive our bi-monthly newsletter, as well as other communications, directly from BLC
  • Get answers to all your UEB questions: join our UEB listserv by sending an email to


Braille Copies of the BLC Newsletter Now Available Through CELA!

The Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) now offers braille versions of the BLC newsletter upon request. Readers can subscribe by emailing or by calling 1-855-655-2273 and asking to subscribe to the braille copy of the Braille Literacy Canada newsletter. The newsletter will also continue to be published electronically. Thank you to CELA for this partnership!


Calling all braille stories!

By Kim Kilpatrick


In our recent survey of BLC members, you asked for more personal stories about how we use braille in our news letter.  We want to deliver!  In honour of International Literacy Month in September, we will be publishing a special issue of the newsletter devoted to “braille in action” – filled with your personal stories about braille. Help us celebrate braille as literacy and the brilliance of braille! Send us your stories about how you use braille or what braille means to you. Be as creative as you like – stories, letters, poems – we’d love to read it all! We invite submissions from braille readers of all ages (children, adults, seniors!), parents, teachers and anyone else who has a braille story to share! Send your entries  (in English or French) to by August 31st and help us spread the word about the beauty of braille!


Naming the Newsletter

We haven’t received many submissions, so we will keep the contest open and announce a winner for the September issue. Please email your suggestions to Thanks to those of you who have already sent in your ideas!


The Brailler Bounce Initiative


We are continuing to run this program but we do not have braillers available at this time. We will send out an update to BLC members once we have more braillers on hand and are able to take new requests.


Immortalizing the Edie Mourre Scholarship Program: Calling on all members to help us secure the future of this important initiative!

By Anthony Tibbs, BLC Treasurer


Braille Literacy Canada established the Edie Mourre Scholarship Program in 2008 to provide financial support for those seeking certification as a transcriber or proofreader of braille.  The scholarship has been offered annually since that time, as funds have become available.


We have an exciting opportunity this year to make this a permanent and self-sustaining program, but we need your help to make it happen! Between now and November 30th, 2018, every dollar donated to BLC in support of the Edie Mourre Scholarship Program will be matched by a third-party donor (up to $6,500).  That means that if BLC raises $6,500 by November 30th, we will actually have raised $13,000.


The exciting part is that with $13,000 in hand, we will have enough to establish a permanent endowment fund to guarantee that the Edie Mourre Scholarship will be awarded to at least one deserving applicant each and every year.


Consider this – If every single member of BLC raises $100 between now and November 30th, we will have surpassed our goal! Just $100 each! Or $20 a month between July and November. Here are some creative ideas on how to help us get there – If you have other fundraising ideas, we’d love to hear from you!


  • Host a special brunch, lunch, dinner or braille game/braille bingo party at your house. Invite all your friends and ask them to donate $20 (or an amount of your choosing) to attend. Make it a braille themed party if you like!
  • Follow the link below: One of the options is to donate $20 each month between now and November 30th to total $100!
  • Share the link on social media. Spread the word to family, friends and teachers!
  • Give a Coffee – Ask your friends and colleagues to skip one morning coffee and bagel by giving the amount they would typically spend on that meal – and donate it to a good cause instead! Better yet, donate and eat that delicious meal anyway!
  • Kids! Help your child run a lemonade stand – maybe include some braille chocolates for sale too! Check out the Braille Superstore for chocolate braille molds.
  • Braille Read-A-Thon! Students or any supporters obtain pledges from their friends and family members for the number of pages of books that they can read in a month – Raise money while keeping up those braille skills over the summer!
  • Get a local coffeehouse or club to host a poetry slam. Charge admission at the door, and advertise a Poetry Slam night with prizes. To raise awareness, challenge each participating poet to write a poem about your cause and invite braille readers to participate too!
  • Stay tuned for special announcements about other exciting ways you can help, while celebrating braille too!


Donate now:


Email or visit for more information on other methods of donating to BLC and to the Edie Mourre campaign.



BLC Goes to Seeing Beyond the Horizon!

By Daphne Hitchcock


The 15th Biennial Canadian Vision Teachers’ Conference: Seeing Beyond the Horizon was held in Nisku, Alberta last month, May 3-5. Most every province and territory was represented by at least one of the 200 delegates.


A comprehensive line up of keynote speakers and presenters covered a wide range of topics, including cortical vision impairment, technology options, creating accessible materials, Canadian National Standards, budget AT solutions, teaching strategies, youth transitions and much more. It was difficult to decide which session to attend, as there were so many excellent presentations available. Fortunately, the presenter handouts are available for download through accessing this link


Braille Literacy Canada PosterBLC presented at the conference poster session. Delegates could view information and ask questions about BLC activities, who we are, membership benefits and BLC contributions. There was an opportunity to enter a membership draw at the poster session. This attracted additional new members – welcome!


All conference delegates were given an BLC info flyer in their conference bag.  To heighten our BLC profile and support the CVTC conference, BLC donated 3 children’s books in print and braille (UEB) to the Silent Auction.


Towards a simpler contracted French Braille

Originally published in the May 2018 BLC newsletter, authored By Anne Jarry, M.Ed, CVRT/SRDV

Translated into English by Emmanuel Blaevoet


In this column, I will share with you my opinion on the reform of the contracted French Braille code that might be taking place soon.


Personally, I had the pleasure of learning contracted French Braille as an adult after losing my sight at the age of 25 due to juvenile diabetes.  Back in 1986, there was no such thing as computer speech software.  So, Braille was for me the only option to read, write and learn, whether at University, or later on, at work. I have loved the fact that through the discovery of French braille, a whole new world of information and knowledge reached me.


However, considering that the contracted French Braille code contains over 900 symbols, one had to be extremely motivated and focused to learn and master this beautiful but extensive code. Had there been any speech software or audio access to information available to me at the time, would I have chosen to follow this arduous path? Today, less and less people who lose their sight at a later age deliberately choose to learn the contracted French Braille code. Why? Is it really far too difficult to learn over 900 braille symbols? Failing to think carefully on the state of abbreviated French Braille today, we might not be able to keep it a viable option for future blind and visually impaired learners.


We seem to be on the verge of finding a solution today. A process, initiated in 2008 at the same time that the new Uniform French Braille code was adopted, and later implemented in 2010, is the last stage towards the reform of French Braille. For the committee in charge, the positive points are important. They suggest, among other things, a huge reduction of the number of contractions to 103, down from over 900. We could see a greater number of readers and users of contracted French Braille, but also a greater number of teachers would be able to learn it and teach it in return.


All the same, changing a code that has been in effect since 1955 is not welcomed by all long time French braille users. A survey that was held from January to March 2018 gave us insight into the point of view and opinions of French Braille users and readers throughout the whole of Quebec. Following this survey, the members of the Quebec committee will present their report to the international representatives of the whole Francophonie in June 2018.


We will then have to take into account the input and comments of experts from Quebec as well as from the rest of the French speaking world before we can see the adoption of the new code. This extensive task is a necessary step but might require, as often the case, a fair amount of diplomacy and resilience in order to reach a consensual agreement from all parties.


If you would like a copy of all working documents supporting the work of this committee, as well as the documents in their .brf version, please feel free to reach me via email at


It will be my pleasure to provide them on demand.


Looking forward to the opportunity to write the next column and announce the adoption of the new code very soon!


Study on the Experiences of Adults and Seniors who Learn Braille

By Natalie Martiniello


I am seeking participation for a research study that I am conducting through the University of Montreal to better understand the experiences of adults who have learned braille. The results from this study will help us to better understand the facilitators and barriers that adults experience during their braille training, and how to improve the training provided in future. We are seeking participation from people who are blind or who have low vision, are 40 years or older, and who have learned braille sometime within the past 10 years. Participation would involve a single, confidential, anonymous phone interview that will take between 60 and 90 minutes to complete.


If you are interested in participating, we will send you a consent form in advance that will tell you more about the study in either large print, braille or electronic (email) format. You also have the option of requesting a copy of the questionnaire in advance, to give you a better idea of the kind of questions we’ll ask.


The results from this study will help rehabilitation professionals design braille training programs that better meet the needs of adult and senior learners. Please feel free to tell others who may be interested in participating as well. Please feel free to write to me at to learn more. Thank you for your time.


Braille Club at the CNIB Community Hub (GTA) Update

By Karen Brophey


June 8 – with Literacy Staff from Deaf Blind Community Services we kicked off Deaf Blind Awareness month with a Braille Demo table in front of the Hub on Yonge Street! We handed out Braille Activity sheets, let folks try out a Perkins and put their hands on some books. Inside they had a chance to learn how people communicate via Intervenors, two-hand manual, etc. In the kitchen we handed out ice cream cones! (some kids even used fingerspelling to request their choice of flavours).


Coming Up:


  • June 23 – at the Hub’s next party for kids at the Hub (1525 Yonge St.) we’ll demo how to use the Perkins to draw tactile pictures.
  • June 24 – join CNIB walking in Toronto’s Pride Parade – all are welcome! We have 10,000 braille bracelets that we’ll be handing out as we walk!
  • July 7 and 8 – visit the Braille Club at the Maker Festival being held at the Toronto Reference Library (Yonge and Bloor!)
  • September 24 we’ll have a booth at Word on the Street at Toronto’s Harbourfront.


Lots more in the works including presentations and activities for the Braille Conference!


ALL braille enthusiasts are welcome to attend our meetings. Contact for more information!


Low-Cost Refreshable Braille

By Jen Goulden


You may have heard people wrongly claiming that braille is dying but the reality is that it is very much alive. The future of literacy for blind people is more secure now than at any time in the past, thanks in large part to the advent of refreshable braille technology. Whether you use a notetaker on its own or you connect a display to your computer or smartphone you are benefiting from technology that makes braille easier to access than ever before. The only drawback is that the cost to purchase one of these devices has traditionally been significantly more than most people can afford to spend. Thankfully that is beginning to change! In the last couple of years a number of braille devices have been developed. While most of them are still in the testing phase it looks like there will be some affordable options for braille readers in the very near future.


While attending the midterm executive meeting of ICEB in Ireland earlier this year I had a chance to check out a couple of these low-cost devices. The Canute e-reader is a multi-line braille display with a total of 360 cells. The braille is very easy to read and because it refreshes one line at a time you don’t have to wait for the whole page to refresh before you can continue reading. I found that this model is much quieter than previous versions. Although it can be used to read any kind of document it would really be beneficial for material such as music scores, math textbooks and even tactile graphics. For more information please visit


The Braille Me is another device that will soon be available. This 20-cell display has some notetaking capability and can be connected to a computer or paired with an iPhone. The braille is crisp and the display has cursor routing buttons. One thing that is different about the Braille Me is that the keyboard is closer to the front and the braille cells are at the back, which is the opposite of most devices on the market. It also does not contain dots 7 and 8. It does make some noise when the display refreshes, but I believe that the advantages of the Braille Me make it an excellent option for low-cost refreshable braille. For more information please visit


Tips for Transitioning to Post-Secondary Learning

By Betty Nobel


At this time of year, I often think of students transitioning to post secondary learning.  Many students will be excited but a little fearful about going to college or university.  While support varies in different provinces, what students can count on is that the braille and other supports they had access to previously will not be the same as in high school.


What to do?  Here are some ideas.


Get some O&M training on campus.


Use the internet until you are comfortable being online.


Practice scanning printed materials and converting image files to text


Find out about how you can obtain adaptive equipment, including refreshable braille technology, if you need it.


Contact the disability services department and see if you can get a reading list for any of the courses you want to take.  This way, you can sometimes “get ahead of the game.”


Organize financial aid if needed.


Find out about sources for written materials such as Kindle, Ibooks, etc which can be accessed with speech-output and refreshable braille


Make sure you have a membership with Bookshare.


Listen to Ted talks or other podcasts and practice taking notes.


Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.


Remember to acknowledge and appreciate those who assist you and try to find ways to give back to them.


Make sure that you take breaks and find balance in your life.  School is important, but so is your mental health.


And most important…HAVE FUN!


Harry Potter and UEB

By Jen Goulden


What does Harry Potter have to do with UEB, you ask … well, aside from the obvious answer that braille makes it possible for blind people of all ages to read these fabulous books? It’s probably more precise to ask what UEB has to do with Professor Dumbledore.


Based on member feedback, we’ve decided to highlight a UEB-related question in each issue of the newsletter. What better place to start than the magical world of Harry Potter?


Our UEB list recently received a question regarding the use of the “ed” contraction in the word Dumbledore. As we had hoped when setting up this list, there was some discussion back and forth on why the word should or should not be contracted. UEB allows for contraction use that would not have been permitted before, but Duxbury – which is quite reliable about these things – does not contract Dumbledore. So, does the famous fictional professor have a contraction in his last name? Why or why not?


No. According to The Rules of Unified English Braille, groupsigns such as “ed”, “st” and “wh” should not be used when the contraction would bridge two words in a non-hyphenated compound. As a result, the word “boredom” can be contracted but “kettledrum” cannot. If you’re like me and thought that Dumbledore is just a name that J.K. Rowling made up you might be surprised to learn that it can also refer to an insect, some sort of dung beetle. It also happens to be considered a compound word, so the “ed” contraction cannot be used.


If you have code-related questions about UEB and would like to join our list, please sent an email to


If Braille Were Print


In the Winter 2016 issue of Future Reflections, Erin Jepsen wrote a passionate and powerful piece that so eloquently and clearly articulates the importance of braille – that braille is to the blind what print is to the sighted. In it, she addresses head on many of the misconceptions and stereotypes about braille that are voiced through the questions we too often hear from others: Isn’t braille hard to learn? Is braille really needed, now that we have access to so much audio? Jepsen beautifully illustrates that if we replaced the word “braille” with “print” many of these questions would not be asked. And that is the crux of it – braille is literacy!


To read this article and share it with others, go to:


Social Media Updates

Here is a taste of some of the gems posted on the BLC Facebook and Twitter pages over the past few weeks!


Braille Literacy Canada honours Darleen Bogart with the President’s Award:


If Braille Were Print? This article from Future Reflections is a must read:


You may have read recently about a new universal standard for #Braille displays adopted by the USB Implementers Forum. This is an industry body comprising  manufacturers and software developers who wish to move the USB specification forward. Participants include Microsoft, Apple and Google among many others.

Freedom Scientific has been a part of the process that has led to the adoption of this standard. Read more here:


International Council on English Braille Country and Committee reports from the 2018 ICEB mid-term Executive meeting in Dublin are now available:


Check out this great post on how to incorporate #braille and #literacy skills into your blind student’s yoga activities! A great example of how to combine different parts of the expanded core curriculum #braille #ECC #PhysicalLiteracy


Harry Potter fans will know that Dobby the houseelf would like this idea! Braille socks for the visually impaired:


The evolution of #tactile solutions for doing #math. Today, students can use a tactile graphics pad for complex equations:


Tips for promoting #braille in your community:


Graduate student creating digital #braille smartphone app for deafblind users:


Wondering which assistive technology options to use with beginning braille readers


From the International Council on English Braille – UEB UPDATE: New UEB symbol for the check mark/tick (dots 4,146) is approved for use:



Braille Literacy Canada



Guest Post: Blind News Victoria, a Publication of the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind, Summer 2018

Blind News Victoria


A publication of the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind

Vol. 8: Summer 2018



Well here we are almost half way through 2018 and the end of another Pacific Training Centre for the Blind (PTCB) school year.  Here are some of the highlights of the winter-spring term.


  • PTCB celebrated the graduation of 4 students, TJ in January and Ann, Anna and Delores in June.  They have all worked very hard to complete graduation requirements which include cooking a meal for 8, learning Braille and screen reader technology and becoming as independently mobile as their physical limitations would allow.  Congratulations to TJ, Ann, Anna and Delores.  We’re all very proud of your accomplishments. 
  • Our first Home Stay student, after six months of intensive training, has now returned to Chilliwack and is living on her own and planning to attend school this summer and fall.  Please consider becoming a Home Stay host.  It is a very rewarding experience knowing that you have really made a difference in a young blind person’s life.  Contact us if you would like to know more about the Home Stay host’s role.
  • AMI (Accessible Media Inc.) spent two days filming PTC training sessions and doing interviews with both staff and students for a 23 minute documentary which will air on AMI’s Our Community.  We do not know yet when it will be scheduled but will let you know.
  • PTCB has received several awards and grants in the past year including the top ABC Life Literacy Innovation Award which included a grant of $20,000.  Elizabeth travelled to Ontario to accept this award and give a power point presentation about PTCB.


Please consider becoming a member of the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind Society.  Membership is only $5 per year.  The larger the membership, the more successful the Society will be in acquiring grants from the government which are essential to us carrying on the vital work of the PTCB.


To join call Elizabeth at 250-580-4910 or email


You can also join on-line through our website which can be found at





The Butchart Gardens has Nightly live entertainment at 8:00 and fireworks set to music Saturdays at nightfall during the summer.

Highlight: July 27 Victoria Symphony


Go to


for a list of dates and performers.


There is free admission to those with a CNIB card and free admission for your attendant with your Leisure Pass.

The #75 bus takes you right into the grounds



You can find out what’s happening in Victoria between Blind News Victoria newsletters by listening to the live Victoria Community Report on AMI Audio at 7:00 a.m. (repeated at 9:00 a.m.) every fourth Thursday.  The next report will be on Thursday June 28.


AMI Audio can be found at 889 on your television or on line at


If you miss the live report, you can listen on-line to the most recent report.



The Victoria Society for Blind Arts and Culture offers an Arts and Cultural Bursary to its blind members, reimbursing 50% of the cost of an arts or cultural activity up to $50.


For information or to apply, contact Linda Bartram







Theatre SKAM Summer Festival Sunday July 15, 2018

360 Harbour Road, Victoria

Free described event at 2:00 and 4:30

Walk along the Galloping Goose Trail and stop at several venues to take in a short theatrical performance described by Rick Waines, VocalEye live describer.

Note: This event involves 15 – 20 minutes of walking along a level trail and standing at four,   5 to 7 minute performances.


To register for this free described event contact Sierra

Or by phone 250-386-7526


For those booking the 2:00 walk and coming on the bus, a Victoria Society for Blind Arts and Culture member will meet folks at 1:15 at the bus stop on the north side of Esquimalt Road at Harbour Road. 

For those using HandyDart, book your ride to 354 Harbour Road, to arrive by 1:30 and you will be met there and escorted to the event.

Let Sierra know if you wish to be met at either the Esquimalt bus stop or 354 Harbour Road when you book your place

or contact Linda at 250-595-5888




Described tour at the Royal BC Museum (organized by the Victoria Society for Blind Arts and Culture)

Egypt –The Time of Pharaohs

Monday July 23 at 3:30


Admission: Adult (19+) $17.00

Senior (65+) $11.00

Youth (6-18) $11.00

Student (19+ w/ ID) $11.00

Attendant is free if you have a Leisure Pass


For more information about the museum call 250-356-7226 or 1-888-447-7977


For more information about the described tour contact Linda at 250-595-5888





The VIP Singers will be performing in the library courtyard at noon on Tuesday July 24.  Come and enjoy this free lunchtime concert.




The PTCB hopes to organize Kayaking and a picnic in August with Power to BE at Prospect Lake.  If you would like to receive more information as it becomes available, call Linda to register your interest at 250-595-5888.




The PTCB AGM will be held in September on either the afternoon of September 11 or 18so please set aside these dates until we have finalized the date.






The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind (PTCB) is a Canadian grassroots nonprofit charitable service organization founded and run by blind people.  Its training fosters independence, where blind people empower blind people to be employed, independent and free.


The Blind People in Charge Program, provided by the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind, is the only program of its kind in Western Canada that offers regular, intensive rehabilitation to people who are blind or who are losing their vision; it is also the only program that uses an empowering, problem-solving model of instruction, where blind people are the teachers, planners, directors and administrators.


The program involves a collaborative, positive, and empowering approach to blindness, where blind people learn from and teach each other in a supportive, can-do atmosphere. Instructors and mentors teach the skills of independence such as Braille, adaptive technology, cane travel, cooking and other life skills, and develop strategies for coping with blindness and vision loss in a sighted world.


The Blind People in Charge Program held at the Victoria Disability Resource Centre 817a Fort St., runs two days a week from 10:00 – 4:00 and participants are encouraged to attend as full time students (12 hours a week).  Drop in students are also considered.  Teaching takes place in group and one-on-one sessions and participants progress at their own pace.  Past participants have ranged in age from 24 – 88.  Anyone over 18 who is blind or is experiencing significant vision loss may apply including those who are experiencing other challenges.  There is no charge to students; however donations are always welcome.  For more information, or to participate in our program, please contact us.


Phone: 250-580-4910




CCB Tech Articles: Donna’s Low Tech Tips, Talking Measuring Cup, July 2, 2018

July 02, 2018

Meet the talking measuring cup

Hi there!  It’s Donna and thank you for allowing me to come into your inbox.

Today, I’d like to talk about the talking measuring cup.


Meet the talking measuring cup


I have always wanted to find a talking measuring cup and I recently found this online.  I have every intension of buying this but I wanted to share my info with you so that you could go out and see for yourself.  I think that this product will do exactly what I am hoping for.



Lifetime Guarantee

This is the measuring cup that verbally announces the volume of wet or dry

ingredients, eliminating the need for cooks to estimate by eye. When set in

its base, the cup states how much has been poured into it in a clear female

voice—1 1/4 cups is spoken as “one and one-fourth cups”. Tare function

lets chefs add multiple ingredients without emptying the cup. The cup can also compensate for items with different densities, such as water, oil, milk, flour, and sugar to ensure recipes are followed precisely. Readings can be stated in volume (cups or milliliters) or weight (ounces or grams). The three

-cup capacity cup is made of unbreakable frosted plastic, has a removable flip-up lid, and is microwave and dishwasher safe for easy use and clean-up. Base wipes clean. Requires two AAA batteries. 6″ H x 7″ W x 5″ D. (1

1/4 lbs.)

The Talking Measuring Cup comes

with The Hammacher Schlemmer Lifetime

Guarantee at no additional charge. If

this product ever disappoints you, for any

reason, you may return it for exchange, credit, or


Should you have any questions, we are available 24 hours a

day, seven days a week.

Please call 1-800-321-1484 to

speak with a product specialist or email us at to receive a response within one hour.

Item 82370

Price $59.95


If you would like to become a member of  my CCB Mysteries chapter you can do so for the price of $10 annually and in return you will receive unlimited access to any of the following libraries.

Recipes – A collection of hard to find recipes

Audio mysteries for all ages – Comfort listening any time of the day

Home and garden – A collection of great articles for around the home and garden

Or you can subscribe to all 3 for the price of $30 annually.



To contact me, send me an email at and I’d be happy to respond.

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.


CCB Tech Articles: Donna’s Low Tech Tips, Pouring Liquids, June 25, 2018

June 25

Pouring liquids


Hi there!  It’s Donna and thank you for allowing me to come into your inbox.

Today, I’d like to talk about pouring liquids.


When pouring cold liquids use your index finger to position the spout over and in contact with the edge of the glass.  Slowly pour the liquid into the glass using your index finger to gauge the liquid level.  Listen to the change in sound as you pour the liquid.  Also, become familiar with the weight of the empty glass and notice the change as the glass is filled with liquid.


Frosted or coloured drinking glasses are much easier to see.


When pouring hot liquids put your finger slightly over the edge of the cup and stop pouring as soon as you feel the warmth of the liquid.  Be sure your finger is                         placed away from the direct flow                   of liquid.


When pouring hot liquids you may find it easier to place the cup in the sink or on a tray.


A liquid level indicator is another alternative when pouring hot liquids.  It is a simple battery operated device with two prongs that hang over the inside edge of the cup and bleeps when the liquid touches the prongs.                                      (Liquid level indicators are                             available from CNIB as well as at other places).


Measure water before boiling.  A measuring cup with a spout makes it easier to pour both hot  and cold liquids into other containers.  For example, fill your teapot with cold water and pour it into your kettle, so that you boil exactly the right amount.


People who are visually impaired should take advantage of color contrasts!  Pour dark liquids into light-colored containers and light liquids into dark-colored containers.


To find the proper place to open a milk carton, locate the seam which runs along one corner edge of the carton from top to bottom.  Always open the carton on the side opposite to the seam.


I hope that these tips are helpful to you.


If you would like to become a member of  my CCB Mysteries chapter you can do so for the price of $10 annually and in return you will receive unlimited access to either of the following libraries.

Recipes –

Audio mysteries for all ages –

Or you can subscribe to both for the price of $20 annually.


To contact me, send me an email at and I’d be happy to respond.

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.



CCB Tech Articles: Donna’s Low Tech Tips, Talking Thermometer, June 11, 2018

June 18 2018

Meet the talking Thermometer


Hi there!  It’s Donna and thank you for allowing me to come into your inbox.

Today, I’d like to talk about the talking thermometer.


Meet the talking thermometer


There used to be a time when dreaming of having a talking thermometer was just that; just a dream!  No more!  This nifty device has been on the market now for several years and you can find them as either stand alone units or folded into other gadgets.


As an example, you may find talking thermometers that also tell you the time.  Mine tells me the time as well as both the indoor and outdoor temperatures.  It tells the time on the hour.


Again, it is the best of both worlds.  The advantage of a stand alone unit may be that there are no other add-ons to it; clock, alarm, time, and so on.  The advantage of having it as part of another gadget is that you get other things with it but if that main gadget breaks or stops working then there goes the thermometer along with it.


Almost all talking thermometers will give you the temperature in both Farinheight and Celsius versions.

So go out there and make friends with the talking thermometer.


Want some contact info?

Here are a few places for you to contact if you are interested to learn more.

CNIB – toll free = 1800 563 2642

Frontier Computing – toll free = 1-888-480-0000

Or visit

You can also call them at 1-800-987-1231

There is also no harm in checking out and


If you would like to become a member of  my CCB Mysteries chapter you can do so for the price of $10 annually and in return you will receive unlimited access to either of the following libraries.

Recipes –

Audio mysteries for all ages –

Or you can subscribe to both for the price of $20 annually.


To contact me, send me an email at and I’d be happy to respond.

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.




CCB Tech Articles: Donna’s Low Tech Tips, At The Table, June 11, 2018

June 11 2018

At the table


Hi there!  It’s Donna and thank you for allowing me to come into your inbox.

Today, I’d like to talk about things to consider while at the table.


To locate items at your place setting, start at the edge of the table and with your fingers                            curled and arms flexed, move gently toward the centre of the table until you find your plate.  With fingers low to the table, extend arms and fingers gradually to the right and left to find silverware, teacup, glass, salad bowl, bread and butter plate, etc.  Accidents can happen easily, so remember to keep your hands on the surface of the table and move slowly.  If you cannot find the item you need, ask for it to be passed to you.


To determine contents on a plate, use the tip of your knife or fork to gently probe the food on the plate, noting the difference in the texture, shape, smell, and location of the food on the plate. Try to determine any special characteristics.  Are there paper containers of relish?  Is the baked potato cut down the middle?  Does it contain any sour cream or is a separate container provided?  Is there finger picking food on the plate?  Does the meat have a “cooking-directions” marker pierced into its middle?  Does the meat have a bone?  Is the decorative salad cut or are there large lettuce leaves?  Is there a separate container of gravy or sauce on the plate?  Such questions are endless, yet each is easily answered by thoroughly checking out the contents with your utensils and determining the characteristics of your food before you start to eat.  As with most people, you will make the occasional mistake or misjudgment.  Laugh it off, learn by it, and go on.  If you are doubtful or need affirmation of your plate’s content, don’t be afraid to ask.


A sighted person may describe the location of the various items on the plate. Imagine the plate to be like the face of a clock.  For example, if peas are located at the top of the plate, it is said that the peas are at 12 o’clock.


You may find it helpful to turn your plate so that foods that require cutting or special attention, such as meat or corn on the cob, are brought to the bottom of the plate (6 o’clock position).  In this way they are easier to locate and manage without reaching over other foods.


“Loose” food such as peas or corn can be difficult to pick up.  Many people use a “pusher” such as a piece of bread, a roll, or a knife to help guide food onto the fork.  Another idea is to gently move the “loose” food, i.e., peas, against a barrier of “solid” food, i.e., mashed potatoes.  This will give you the advantage of being able to get under the “loose” food, as the barrier prevents such food from moving around the plate.


While eating, direct the motion of the fork or spoon toward the centre of the plate. Food on the plate should be pushed inward for it tends to move out to the edge of the plate during the normal course of the meal.


As you eat, be aware of the weight of the food on your fork or spoon.  With practice and patience, you will soon be able to gauge whether you are lifting an appropriate amount of food.


When sprinkling salt from a shaker onto food, sprinkle first into the palm of your hand to determine the amount and how fast the salt is flowing.  This will prevent a fast-flowing shaker from ruining your food.


It’s easier to put sticky jam, honey, etc., on your bread if you use a teaspoon to scoop it out of the jar and then use the back of

the spoon (or a knife) to spread                      it.


People who are visually impaired should keep colour contrast in mind when setting the table. White plates almost disappear on a white tablecloth but show up well against a plain dark tablecloth. Similarly, if food is dark (such as roast beef), use light dishes and if food is light (fish, cheese, eggs) use dark plates.


It is fine to make special requests (ie., to have meat cut or shellfish served out of the shell) when eating away from home.


Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance at home or when                                     eating out.


I hope that these tips are helpful to you.


If you would like to become a member of  my CCB Mysteries chapter you can do so for the price of $10 annually and in return you will receive unlimited access to either of the following libraries.

Recipes –

Audio mysteries for all ages –

Or you can subscribe to both for the price of $20 annually.


To contact me, send me an email at and I’d be happy to respond.

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.


CCB Tech Articles: Donna’s Low Tech Tips, Talking Alarm Clock, June 4, 2018

June 04 2018

Meet the talking alarm clock


Hi there!  It’s Donna and thank you for allowing me to come into your inbox.

Today, I’d like to talk about the talking alarm clock.


Of course, there are several places where you can buy one of these and I would prefer not to endorse any one in particular but here is the picture.


I am always excited whenever someone comes along and improves on an existing product and this is what I have seen in the case of the talking alarm clock.


Just imagine!  Now you can find a clock that accepts voice commands!  No more having to press the button to hear the time!  No more having to set the time with buttons!  You now have the best of both worlds!


You can either choose to set and hear the time with the press of a button or you can do this through voice commands. Most of these alarm clocks come with extra nice to have add-ons.  Timers, thermometers, date, and more.  You can even choose which voice you want to have announce the time and so on and many of these voices are extremely clear and easy to understand.


No more having to depend on sighted assistance to set the time or alarm for me.  No more having to ask someone for the time.


So go out there and make friends with the talking alarm clock.


Here are a few places for you to contact if you are interested to learn more.

CNIB – toll free = 1800 563 2642

Frontier Computing – toll free = 1-888-480-0000

Or visit

You can also call them at 1-800-987-1231

There is also no harm in checking out and


If you would like to become a member of  my CCB Mysteries chapter you can do so for the price of $10 annually and in return you will receive unlimited access to either of the following libraries.

Recipes –

Audio mysteries for all ages –

Or you can subscribe to both for the price of $20 annually.


To contact me, send me an email at and I’d be happy to respond.

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.