Future Reflections        Summer 2013

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Odds and Ends


New Website on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Information Line: (800) 514-0301 (Voice)
(800) 514-0383 (TTY)
The US Department of Justice has launched a redesigned ADA website for the first time since 2002. The new design incorporates improved navigation and usability features, making it easier for visitors to find information on ADA technical assistance, enforcement, and regulations.


Typeability is a program that teaches the entire computer keyboard in ninety-nine user-friendly lessons. By the end of the lessons, the student will have mastered all of the letters, numbers, and punctuation marks, as well as navigation and editing in dialogs and text documents. Typeability is fun for learners of all ages. Typeability 4.1 for JAWS is compatible with JAWS Version 8 and higher. It is also compatible with the screen magnification program MAGIC, allowing students with low vision to see and listen to their lessons. A full range of video tutorials is available for both blind and sighted teachers.


The Princeton Braillists
76 Leabrook Lane
Princeton, NJ 08540
Contacts: Ruth Bogia, (215) 357-7715, rhbogia@aol.com
Nancy Amick, (609) 924-5207, jamesaamick@aol.com
The Princeton Braillists are a small group of senior citizen volunteers whose goal is to make high quality but inexpensive tactile maps and drawings for blind people of all ages. Using the Thermoform process, maps are made on thin plastic sheets with various textures to indicate cities, boundaries, rivers, mountains, and other features. Fourteen atlases of individual US states and seventeen atlases of countries and regions of the world are now available, as well as a book of basic human anatomy drawings. The most recent addition to the collection is an atlas of the state of Kansas.


The MOLinsight web portal is a gateway to open-source software that can be integrated into strategies for blind users to process chemical structures. The website provides documentation for available programs and a guide to help users select tools for specific tasks. The site offers guidelines to interpret or build a molecular structure, methods to verify if two chemical structures in different file formats are the same, strategies for gathering general information such as weight and mass for a specific molecule, and ways to interpret a molecule's stereotypical features. The newest free, downloadable program is NavMol, a prototype of a molecular editor for blind users. NavMol is a simple stand-alone application that provides an MS-DOS or Linux shell command-line interface. Users can interact with the program using text-to-speech software or an attached Braille device. NavMol allows the user to navigate the structure atom by atom, providing information about bond types and the neighbors of each atom. It also allows structures to be changed by adding and deleting atoms and bonds.

VIRTmac Learning Kits
595 Proudfoot Lane, Apt. 314
London, ON, N6H 4S1, Canada
Contact: John MacLellan, (519) 472-0549
VIRT-Mac (Visual Interactive Revolutionary Tactile Magnetic Classroom) offers comprehensive teaching tools for instruction in biology for students in grades eight through twelve. Magnetic models demonstrate how molecules are used over and over again in biological processes. The models combine visual, auditory, and tactile elements, and can be labeled with Braille. Three kits are currently available: the Membrane/Protein Kit, DNA/RNA Protein Kit, and Protein Folding/Enzyme Structure Function Kit. (Go to “Where to Buy” for US outlets.)


KeySense Games
The mission of KeySense Games is to help children with visual impairments learn faster and improve their social interaction abilities, all while having fun. The company was launched by a team of five students at the University of Washington. Sea Divers, the first tactile, interactive game from KeySense, has recently been released. Players collect tokens as they move around the board, learning about different sea creatures and watching out for creatures that may take their tokens. The game is designed for players ages four and up.

AbleGamers Foundation
PO Box 508
Charles Town, WV 25414
(855) 225-3426, Ext. 377
AbleGamers Foundation is a public nonprofit that aims to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through the power of video games. AbleGamers advocates on behalf of the disability community to increase the accessibility of video games and to achieve further inclusion by those who need special considerations. It maintains an accessibility database with reviews of more than two hundred mainstream games for accessibility to people with a variety of disabilities. It also consults free of charge with game developers to help them make their products accessible. Its practical guide, Includification, is a 48-page, fully illustrated roadmap for developers. AbleGamers also offers grants to encourage the development and distribution of accessible games.


Described TV Survey
Since July 1, 2012, the leading U.S. broadcast and cable television channels have been required by law to provide at least fifty hours of prime-time and children's programming with audio description in each calendar quarter, or approximately four hours per week per channel. Sponsored by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), this survey will help determine how well the networks are complying with the law, how successfully consumers are identifying and accessing described programs, and which television shows consumers are enjoying with description or would like to have described. It should take about five minutes to complete the survey.


Visitors to this Facebook page post ideas, links, resources, and information about gently used books, toys, assistive technology, and other equipment for children with disabilities.  Items on the site are available to be passed along to children who can use them.


National Braille Press
88 St. Stephen St.
Boston, MA 02115
(888) 965-8965

iOS Success: Making the iPad Accessible, A Guide for Teachers and Parents
by Larry L. Lewis
Large print, Braille, eBraille, DAISY, ASCII, audio/MP3, or Word
School districts across the countffy are purchasing and deploying iPads to students and integrating them into the classroom curriculum. But how many teachers and parents are ready to ensure that blind students have equal access to all that the iPad has to offer? iOS Success, written by a blind iPad instructor, gives step-by-step instructions for every pertinent accessibility feature the iPad has to offer. Chapters cover VoiceOver and Zoom, pairing external devices such as keyboards and Braille displays, setting up Apple accounts to buy apps, using the Cloud and Dropbox, and much, much more.

iPad Tactile Screen Shot Quick References iOS 6
by Tom Dekker and Tactile Vision, Inc.
In Braille and large print with tactile diagrams
These tactile screen shots of various iPad screens show readers what appears where on the iPad--from the buttons and camera lenses to the home screen apps, the App Store, messages, settings, keypad, contacts, iBooks, and iTunes. Readers will get a clearer sense of how to find icons and elements on the screen, as well as how to manipulate and interact with them. Explore diagrams with one hand while swiping through screen elements with the other, or practice the motions and gestures on the diagrams, then try them on the iPad. These tactile screen shots are meant to be used in conjunction with other teaching texts and are not meant to replace them.


AT Solutions in Minutes, Book II: Ordinary Items, Extraordinary Solutions
by Therese Willkomm, PhD
University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability
10 W. Edge Dr., Suite 101
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-4320
This book is a collection of ingenious, do-it-yourself adaptations to make products more accessible to students with disabilities. All of the solutions are low-cost; can be made with simple, everyday tools (e.g., utility knife, pliers, scissors); and require no electricity or power tools. Many of Willkomm's creations make assistive products easier to access, hold, or manipulate. The text contains over 700 photographs with step-by-step instructions and a DVD featuring 115 video clips, printable PDF files, and an accessible copy of the book with picture descriptions for people with visual impairments.

Lessons from CLOD: an Inspiring Story of Art, Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship
by Hal O. Hanson
Available from <www.amazon.com>
Jeff Hanson is a nineteen-year-old legally blind artist and philanthropist from Overland Park, Kansas. After losing most of his sight at age twelve due to a brain tumor, Hanson resolved to raise money for charity by selling his paintings. With the help of his family and friends, he met his goal, raising a million dollars for AIDS research, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and other causes. Written by his father, this book tells Jeff Hanson's story.

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