Guest Post: BLC 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” (http://brailleblaster.org/).

 

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 president@blc-lbc.ca.

 

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 http://www.brailleliteracycanada.ca/en/about-us/get-involved/become-a-member.

 

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 UEB-request@lists.blc-lbc.ca.

 

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 help@celalibrary.ca 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 info@blc-lbc.ca 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 info@blc-lbc.ca. 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: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/blc-lbc/campaign/edie-mourre/

 

Email treasurer@blc-lbc.ca or visit http://www.brailleliteracycanada.ca/en/donate-now 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 https://sites.google.com/site/2018cvtc/handouts.

 

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 anne.jarry@umontreal.ca.

 

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 natalina.martiniello@umontreal.ca 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 karen.brophey@cnib.ca 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 www.bristolbraille.co.uk.

 

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 www.innovisiontech.co.

 

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 ueb-request@lists.blc-lbc.ca.

 

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: https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/fr/fr35/1/fr350110.htm

 

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:

http://www.brailleliteracycanada.ca/view.asp?ccid=388

 

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

https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/fr/fr35/1/fr350110.htm

 

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: http://blog.freedomscientific.com/usbhid1/

 

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

http://iceb.org/papers18.html

 

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

http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/blog/yoga-activities-increase-literacy-skills?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Paths%20to%20Literacy%20Newsletter%20May%2029%202018&utm_content=Paths%20to%20Literacy%20Newsletter%20May%2029%202018+CID_6574467e363155775ac2b881d51342c0&utm_source=Paths%20to%20Literacy%20newsletter&utm_term=Yoga%20Activities%20to%20Increase%20Literacy%20Skills

 

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

http://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2018/04/16/korean-company-makes-braille-socks-for-visually-impaired.html?platform=hootsuite

 

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

http://www.perkins.org/stories/adding-it-up

 

Tips for promoting #braille in your community:

http://www.afb.org/info/national-literacy-program-fact-sheets-resource-lis/tips-for-promoting-braille-in-your-community/35

 

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

https://coolblindtech.com/graduate-student-creating-smartphone-app-for-deaf-blind-users/

 

Wondering which assistive technology options to use with beginning braille readers http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/technology/assistive-technology-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:
http://iceb.org/ueb.html

 

@brllitcan

Braille Literacy Canada

LinkedIn

 

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

info@pacifictrainingcentre.ca

 

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

Pacifictrainingcentre.ca

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?

 

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

https://www.butchartgardens.com/summer-entertainment-calendar/

 

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

 

ami.ca/report-pacific

 

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

250-595-5888

Email: lbartram@telus.net

 

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

 

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

sierra@skam.ca

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

lbartram@telus.net

 

 

***

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

reception@royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

 

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

lbartram@telus.net

 

 

 

***

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.

 

 

 

ABOUT THE PACIFIC TRAINING CENTRE FOR THE BLIND

 

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

Email:  info@pacifictrainingcentre.ca

 

 

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.

 

Description

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

refund.

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

customerservice@hammacher.com 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.

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, 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 –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-recipes.html

Audio mysteries for all ages –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-audio-mysteries.html

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

 

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, 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 http://www.futureaids.ca

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

There is also no harm in checking out http://www.independentlivingaids.com and

http://www.maxiaids.com

 

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 –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-recipes.html

Audio mysteries for all ages –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-audio-mysteries.html

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

 

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, 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 –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-recipes.html

Audio mysteries for all ages –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-audio-mysteries.html

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

 

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, 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 http://www.futureaids.ca

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

There is also no harm in checking out http://www.independentlivingaids.com and

http://www.maxiaids.com

 

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 –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-recipes.html

Audio mysteries for all ages –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-audio-mysteries.html

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

 

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, Medications, May 28, 2018

May 28 2018

Medications

 

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

Today, I’d like to talk about how we deal with medications.

 

If you are taking medication, you may wish to take advantage of the many pill organizers available at drug stores.  Some               have one section for    each day; others are larger and have two or more sections for each day.

These are especially useful for people who take several kinds of pills in the morning, at lunch, at dinner, and            at bedtime.

 

Organize medication according to frequency of use, in alphabetical order, or in categories used.

Large print or braille labels may be placed on medicine bottles to easily identify them.  Any personal marking (for example, a piece of tape) will do the trick as long as it is understandable by you.

When refilling medications, simply transfer the new medicine to the old bottle or ask your pharmacist to use the same container.  If your label will fit on the lid of the bottle, you only need to transfer the lid.

 

“Bubble Packing” service is available from drug stores. The system consists of a weekly supply of medication per card. “Days of the week” are located along the left side of the card and the “time of day” is located across the top of the card. The upper side of the card consists of a series of clear moulded elastic bubbles, containing the pills; the under side is foil. By pushing down on the bubble, and breaking the foil, medications are easily removed into your hand or small glass.                      Since the bubble is crushed by this procedure, it is always easy for a blind or visually impaired person to tactually check to ensure medications have been taken.

 

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 –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-recipes.html

Audio mysteries for all ages –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-audio-mysteries.html

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

 

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, The Talking Watch, May 21, 2018

May 21 2018

Meet the talking watch

 

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 watch.

 

I am a great advocate of the talking watch and it may not be for everyone but for those who do not know Braille and would prefer to hear the time announced out loud; then this is the perfect product for you.

 

The talking watch comes in all sizes and styles.  Several manufacturers have put out their own version of the talking watch.  There are talking watches for the man, talking watches for the lady, and talking watches for the sporty one and even more.

 

The talking watch is what I call a sort of backup device for you to tell the time.  It is portable of course and most talking watches have an alarm set on them.  You would be amazed to learn how this nifty little device can help you to keep up with your schedule.  Sure!  The Apple watch is now here but there is absolutely no reason to ignore the talking watch.

 

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

 

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 http://www.futureaids.ca

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

 

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 –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-recipes.html

Audio mysteries for all ages –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-audio-mysteries.html

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

 

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

May 21 2018

Meet the talking watch

 

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 watch.

 

I am a great advocate of the talking watch and it may not be for everyone but for those who do not know Braille and would prefer to hear the time announced out loud; then this is the perfect product for you.

 

The talking watch comes in all sizes and styles.  Several manufacturers have put out their own version of the talking watch.  There are talking watches for the man, talking watches for the lady, and talking watches for the sporty one and even more.

 

The talking watch is what I call a sort of backup device for you to tell the time.  It is portable of course and most talking watches have an alarm set on them.  You would be amazed to learn how this nifty little device can help you to keep up with your schedule.  Sure!  The Apple watch is now here but there is absolutely no reason to ignore the talking watch.

 

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

 

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 http://www.futureaids.ca

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

 

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 –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-recipes.html

Audio mysteries for all ages –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-audio-mysteries.html

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

 

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, Bathroom Tips, May 14, 2018

May 14 2018

In the bathroom

 

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

Today, I’d like to touch on the subject of in the bathroom.

 

If you have a white or light-                           colored bathtub, buy dark colored contrasting soaps. They are easier to locate than white soap, especially if they float.

 

Use soap on a rope or liquid soap dispensers.  They are easy to locate and you avoid the slippery soap problem.

 

A shower caddy (available in department stores and at hardware stores) is useful to hang over your shower head and to hold personal care items such as shampoo and soap.

 

A clear plastic shower curtain allows more light into the shower area than an opaque or solid one.

 

Use your index finger to guide a small amount of toothpaste onto your toothbrush.  If you have your own personal tube of toothpaste, squeeze a small amount directly onto your finger or directly into your mouth. It’s much easier and less messy.

 

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 –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-recipes.html

Audio mysteries for all ages –

http://www.donnajodhan.com/library-audio-mysteries.html

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

 

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