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:

https://celalibrary.ca/covid-19

 

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

president@blc-lbc.ca

 

 

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: Info@CCBNational.net URL: www.CCBNational.net

 

 

 

CCB National Newsletter, Visions, November 2019

VISIONS

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.

 

http://ccbnational.net/shaggy/2019/11/15/visions-november-2019/

 

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: info@ccbnational.net URL: www.ccbnational.net

 

CCB National Newsletter: Visions, April 2019

 

VISIONS

 

 

Canadian Council of the Blind

Newsletter

 

 

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 – www.cag-tccdv.ca/ all position papers are on the site. WBU http://www.worldblindunion.org. 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 – http://barrierfreecanada.org/. 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 – www.brailleliteracycanada.ca/ 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

Announcements

 

 

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 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zcji13ezaskeepa/AACsNyfRJWHOtIxw25Vz5xIia?dl=0

 

 

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

amrywoddyddiauheulog@gmail.com

or at cqpa@bellnet.ca

 

 

Assistive Technology

 

 

 

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

 

Thanks to Markido Inc. of Ottawa

(https://markido.com/try?utm_source=markido.com&utm_content=try-topnav ), 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 http://www.csun.edu)

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.

( https://markido.com/about )

 

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.

( https://markido.com/engage )

 

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. (https://markido.com/try?utm_source=markido.com&utm_content=try-topnav )

 

 

 

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 http://www.maxiaids.com and http://www.independentlivingaids.com  So go out there and make friends with the Pen Friend. To contact me, send me an email at info@sterlingcreations.ca

 

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 www.lyndatodd.com

 

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 http://www.si.edu/visit/VisitorsWithDisabilities.

 

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 www.ilcanada.ca

By Blair Crawford

www.ccbnational.net

ccb@ccbnational.net

1-877-304-0968

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: http://bit.ly/ADJLTT Web Version | Read this Volume of the Let’s Talk Tips Newsletter on the web at: http://bit.ly/LETSTALKTIPSV4, or at http://www.donnajodhan.com/lets-talk-tips-newsletter-2018/01012019/index.html.

Spam Filtering | To ensure that you receive each issue of the Let’s Talk Tips Newsletter please be sure to add the following two email addresses to your Address Book, Email Contact List, Trusted Sender’s List, and/or Safe Sender’s List today: enews@donnajodhan.ccsend.com and enews@donnajodhan.com.

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Subscribe | Subscribe to receive this newsletter at: http://bit.ly/ADJSubscribe.

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.

🌐 https://lat.ms/2ReaZbU

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2rYUgex

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2GC9W1f

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2QIFkjt

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.

🌐 https://cnet.co/2Reb2EC

________________________________________

➜ 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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2PVVjFl

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2QItHJ7

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2CsB7aN

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2V6sKcn

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2PUZNfi

________________________________________

➜ 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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2Lwa8y2

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

🌐 http://bit.ly/2EJ2nUQ

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.

🌐 https://cnet.co/2CthNu4

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.

ic https://mklnd.com/2QJB1nS

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.

🌐 https://mklnd.com/2Cs5mym

________________________________________

➜ Business

________________________________________

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

🌐 https://dpo.st/2BEA2uG

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2LtlaUJ

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2BDkZlg

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2rQznln

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2CtFS3C

________________________________________

➜ 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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2V1XFWW

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2EEjWoc

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2Sd3D5y

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2rOYpkU

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.

🌐 http://bit.ly/2PVpNYi

________________________________________

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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 www.brailleliteracycanada.ca or write to us at info@blc-lbc.ca. 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!

…Memorizing

…The best way to help me learn

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

…Reading, writing and math

…Information

…Entertainment

…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 https://www.tbase.com/helping-santa-deliver-braille-letters-a-t-base-tradition/?fbclid=IwAR3KkhcZpniRS_3fqjkYemW5Th_av0GfFEi5oqr5LTKjvxAQe30UvpJFpo4.

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
CANADA

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 http://www.celalibrary.ca, email us at help@celalibrary.ca 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

http://www.tactilevisiongraphics.com

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: brailleroom@cnib.ca

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! https://benetech.org/united-states-ratifies-marrakesh-treaty/

Brick-A-Braille teaching system – available for testing: https://robotics.benedettelli.com/braille/?fbclid=IwAR3V7N-aUd-rKLS9NOBqO5vfW8NjDMM_vsPSg8c4pE9BX6WutB1Z9BHXQYA#download

A story about introducing braille to sighted children: https://www.wvnews.com/prestoncountynews/news/read-aloud-program-incorporates-fun-into-reading/article_d9588de6-f61d-5cdd-9bb3-5438a6cb1501.html?fbclid=IwAR0syl8PYUrtygJxvm-a4R3eZtbWbRuY1VNDREVLy2YgrOqucP2ghxCkvWI

Custom-made braille cards with your personalized messages – great for the holidays! https://www.sensorysun.org/blog/send-braille-cards/?fbclid=IwAR1j9358r3brESYoBBIjO7bbGF522Zb6ozirQDSqSpFeAi07y5Zmz6vxExI

Is braille still relevant in the 21st century workplace? spoiler alert Like print, the answer is… YES!! https://www.afb.org/blog/careerconnect-blog/is-braille-useful-on-the-job/12?fbclid=IwAR3uFG1xExtQzLj4nCUZjN0PBlxGZe01G-AMRbQzB7YI4fNvhF0wmtlsgbQ

Tips for teaching braille to students with decreased tactile sensitivity: http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/blog/12-more-ideas-teaching-braille-students-decreased-tactile-sensitivity?fbclid=IwAR0XO6_SSqFDL9510HlCjG5UMStxwLA9AvM9GUaeXQp3HC1P3x33vmCOg4s

French alphabet print-braille book available through Tactile Vision Graphics: http://tactilevisiongraphics.com/product/livre-en-braille-mon-abcdaire/?fbclid=IwAR2RMKDsHCjPoQhS1a5mhph3U-bzkVWBJhcAbOWiU3jzMSc23AGblC6rpU0

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: http://www.seedlings.org/details.php?id=1353&cat=0&search=SENSEsational&fbclid=IwAR0c0uwhFaej9mUPV0ShdVyWb9T_yqa6NNivyhnhD5Or4L5UWtOEAOIUdd8

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: https://cnib.ca/en/news/bank-note-reader-program-and-recall?region=qc&fbclid=IwAR3B5sHXRMs28PioUSfxZ8YR1feDLF3p_tldayH_yqyHh0UlC15VhMxZ-8A

A collection of high-interest short stories from National Braille Press for adults who are learning uncontracted braille! Visit: http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/resources/short-stories-adults-learning-uncontracted-ueb?fbclid=IwAR2-MbIffsCryGdmfve9WQ-SAD1Tq1MUEC1UfnHw5Z7pl27V79MDjm81xT0


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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.

 

Hi,

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

available:

Music.

Continue listening.

Settings.

Browse.

Radio.

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

menu.

 

Music

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.

 

Radio

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.

 

Books

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

tracks.

 

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

recordings.

 

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.

Visit http://www.donnajodhan.com/subscription-libraries.html

 

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

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.

Donna

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.

Visit http://www.donnajodhan.com/subscription-libraries.html

 

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

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.

Donna