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Rural Canada’s Blind Machinist
A mechanical engineering shop with machines and tools in a large spaceCurtis Heinin grew up in rural Canada without any sight. Naturally good with his hands, he didn’t let his visual impairment stop him from becoming a well respected machinist.


He has made special adaptions, putting Braille labels on boxes that hold different parts and he has memorized where various items are stored, but he does the same work that any machinist in his position would do.


According to his customers, he’s one of the best. And his coworkers say they often forget he can’t see because he’s just that good at what he does.


Read the full story on Curtis and watch the news clip at this link.


Dealing with vision loss? We can help with job training.


Blind Machinist Works Wonders in Saskatchewan


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Give the Gift of Shared Time
Two children pose in front of a Christmas tree in holiday outfits holding hands.So often, when we buy presents for other people, they are nice, but not necessarily needed. But what would happen this year if instead of buying gifts, we spent quality time creating a unique experience together?


This article highlights experiences that you can give a child who is visually impaired and the importance of quality time together.


If you’re stuck for what to buy, or you’re thinking of someone who has everything, consider the gift of shared experiences.


What experiences have you given to a friend or family member? Share your story in the comment section.


Experience Gifts for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa


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Art reshaped my life
All the colors of the rainbow swirl Due to complications from epilepsy and Lyme disease, John Bramblitt lost his sight. Once an aspiring creative writing teacher, John struggled with depression and had to find a new focus.


“Art reshaped my life.”


He found a different form of art. Learning to distinguish the various colors of paint from the feel of the paint, and figuring out how to use raised guides to position himself on the canvas, John has mastered the art of painting.


His work has sold around the world and he now teaches classes and works with museums to ensure that everyone has access to art.


To read more about John Bramblitt and to learn more about his art, visit his website.


Do you have any favorite artists to share? Post links to their works in the comment section.


Sightless Works: The art of John Bramblitt


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Parathlete, record holder, inspiration
A male athlete in the air as he jumps at the long jump pit"There’s no need for sight when you have vision” is the motto that has propelled 31 year old Lex Gillette into the realm of professional sports despite his visual impairment.


Having begun experiencing vision loss at the age of eight, Lex joined his school’s track and field team anyway. He excelled and went on to compete in the Paralympics. Currently, he holds the long jump world record for visually impaired parathletes.


To read more about Lex’s journey through vision loss and gaining independence, visit the article.


To see how we can help people living with vision loss, visit our First Steps After Vision Loss page.


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Santa Writes in Braille for Visually Impaired Kids
Santa Claus greets a young childChildren who live with a visual impairment shouldn’t have to miss out on the letters from Santa that so many of us cherished as kids.


And now they don’t have to! Braille Works is offering to mail letters in Braille to kids who read Braille. All you have to do is visit this link, click on “The Letter” and enter the necessary information.


Do you have any other Christmas hints to share to make the holiday season as fun and inclusive as possible? Share them in the comment section.


Letters From Santa Claus in Braille


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Christmas Gift Ideas for a Visually Impaired Child
A young girl in a white dress holds a gold wrapped Christmas present in front of a beautiful Christmas tree.

It’s that time of year again. Carols are playing on the radio, the mall is decorated and Santa is packing up his sleigh.


If you have a child with a visual impairment on your shopping list, you might be wondering what to buy him for Christmas this year.


This article has some great suggestions for what to look for in a toy for a visually impaired infant, toddler, older child or teenager. If you’re stumped, have a look.


Do you have any additional suggestions to add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comment section.


Title as Link

What DO you buy for a child with visual impairment at Christmas?


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Art Can Change The World
A cartoon of a painters paletArt is good for so many things; to break down barriers, share emotion and open new methods of communication.


Hosting a recent conference, the author of this article asks if using Braille and audio descriptions more artistically could help improve public perceptions about blindness and also give people living with visual impairments better access to art.


What do you think? Can art be used to help change attitudes?


How the arts can help change attitudes to blindness


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Kids Cooking: Tips and Tricks
A basket of fresh vegetablesWe, as parents, want our children to grow up to be independent, self sufficient, and able to live happy, successful lives. And what better way to start than infusing them with a love of creating good food.


If you have a child who is blind or visually impaired, it might be hard to imagine how to start introducing them to the kitchen. This article has some great ways to get them involved. Though aimed at holiday meal preparation, the tips and tricks can be used for any meal throughout the year.


Leave your tips and tricks for getting kids involved in the kitchen in the comment section.


Inspired by the Holiday: Enlisting the Help of Your Child Who is Blind or Visually Impaired With Your Thanksgiving Meal Prep


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New Vibrating Device Helps to Avoid Obstacles
A busy train station with many peopleA visually impaired man has recently launched a new wristband that will vibrate to warn wearers of obstacles in their path. There are various modes that will define how far ahead the wristband is ‘looking’ to ensure optimal usage.
The device will also have locator assistance. Attaching a tag to objects will enable the wristband to vibrate when the tag and object get close. Great idea for luggage on an airport carousel.
To read more about this new technology, visit this page
Would you use a wristband like this? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Sunu Launches Sonar Wristband That Will Help Blind and Visually Impaired People Navigate

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Technology and a Blind Hiker
A single man walks away from the camera in a mountainous area with the sun coming up over the mountains.Trevor lost his sight just as he was entering law school. He thought he needed glasses and instead found out he would become blind. An adrenaline junkie before his vision loss, Trevor wasn’t about to give up everything that he enjoyed.
Without technology, his adventures would be more difficult, but don’t get him wrong, he would still find a way. Trevor is adept at taking current technology and finding ways to use it to help him. So far, nothing has been designed specifically for him, though with his growing number of followers, this may soon change.
Read more about Trevor, his amazing adventures and how his attitude makes it all possible.
To see how we can help with vision loss, visit our First Steps After Vision Loss page.
World’s Only Blind Professional Hiker Trevor Thomas Relies on Satellite Technology to Find His Way

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Attitude is Everything
The word happiness is written on a blank piece of paper“I want to remind you all that you are all capable of doing whatever it is that you want to do.” So ends the TEDx talk by Bobbie Hickey, a young woman living with 5% sight.
Her inspiring story reminds us all that no matter what our abilities are, we are all capable of succeeding and should push forward no matter what obstacles stand in our way.
Listen to Bobbie’s talk entitled Attitude is Everything. 
If you are dealing with vision loss or looking to learn skills to deal with a visual impairment, we can help. Visit our Programs Page.
Video: ‘Attitude is Everything.’ An Irish 16 Year Old’s Brilliant TEDx Talk.

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Blind Gaming? Of course!
An X box controllerGamers play for the fun, for the competition and, some say, for the relaxation that comes from time with a gaming console. But what happens if you’re visually impaired?
Though there are still limited options available, this is slowly changing as more awareness is brought of the problems posed to visually impaired players. With controllers being hard to use and games difficult to customize, the games that can be played are limited.
Recently, a convention for gamers, in Australia, addressed this topic. Visit this article to learn more about what happened at the gathering.
Visit our online store to learn more about the items that we have, including PDAs and accessible computer programs.
Accessible Gaming: Changing the Way We Play

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Accessible technology is key to the future
An Apple monitor, mouse, keyboard and tablet sit on a deskMaking technology accessible is about more than just being socially responsible. It’s about equality, customer service and providing options for people with varying abilities.
This articles reminds us that “it is crucial to remember that accessibility is about removing all the barriers that will restrict a potential user from interacting or engaging with any application or device,” and not just about a few minor changes that might assist a few people.
As part of a series looking at accessibility around the United States, this article gives a good overview of the various changes happening around the country.
To see how we can help, including assistive technology information, visit our Programs Page.
Why Accessibility is More Than A Social Responsibility

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Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Will Tell You What’s in the Picture
The Facebook homepage is displayed on a computer screenFacebook has just announced a new artificial intelligence that will determine what is shown in a photo and be able to describe the photo.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook says, “our AI can now look at a photo, figure out what’s in it and help explain it to you. This is especially helpful if you’re blind or can’t see the photo,” he wrote. “We see AI as helping computers better understand the world — so they can be more helpful to people.”
To read more about Facebook’s new development, visit this site.
Do you think this technology will be helpful? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Facebook is Developing Technology that Can Describe Pictures to Blind People

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Assistive Tech: Turning Images Into Sounds
A young woman with long dark hair wears a set of headphones.“Vision can influence sound and sound can influence vision,” according to one researcher who is currently testing this idea on sighted and visually impaired people. Pairing sounds, sights and textures, it appears that he is right. When we hear certain sounds, we picture specific items.
This information is now being used to give auditory signals that tell a visually impaired person about the environment around them using a device that translates images into sounds.

Included in this link is a detailed article and video with the two researchers who are working on this today.
Would you use this technology? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Device Plays Sounds to Let Blind People ‘See’

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Cooking Tips for the Visually Impaired
A hand holding a fistful of spaghetti noodles hovers over a pot of boiling water.We all need to eat. But cooking with a visual impairment can be a daunting task. How to find ingredients in the cupboard and how to deal with measuring, hot burners and fire hazards?
This 4 minute video discusses multiple easy tricks and tips to keep you safe while cooking and to help you enjoy the experience. The episode was created by a woman who is visually impaired so the tips are coming from firsthand knowledge as well as from her research.
We can help you learn skills for independence. Visit our Programs Page.
Cooking with a visual impairment
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Art Made Accessible
The Mona LisaFor many people who are living with visual impairment, experiencing art is difficult. Paintings are mostly two dimensional and though there is texture to the paint, it is not enough to tell the story of the picture on the canvas. To make it worse, most museums have a strict “no-touching” policy to preserve the paintings for future generations.
But more and more facilities are creating or replicating art so that visually impaired people can enjoy the masterpieces.
This video talks about a new project recreating well known paintings in 3D and the 12 year old volunteer who is helping to promote it.
Have you attended any events where art has been made accessible? Share your experiences in the comment section.
3D Paintings Help Blind People Experience Art

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Blind Sprinter Making Waves With His Guide
Two pairs of running shoes are jumbled togetherHere’s an inspiring story of a visually impaired sprinter and his sighted guide who are expected to enter the next Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro in 2016. Currently competing in the world championships in Doha, Qatar, they are aiming for double gold.
The two work in tandem with only a 4-inch tether actually linking them. They joke it’s like sprinting a 3-legged race, but their grace on the track is beautiful. With continuous training and improvement, they hope to eventually race without any physical tether holding them together.
Read their story and watch for these two at upcoming competitions.
We can help. If you’re experiencing vision loss, get in touch.
Tethered by a string and trust, a blind sprinter and his guide make history

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Helping to Overcome Air Travel for the Visually Impaired
A passenger airplane is captured from below just after taking off into a bright blue skyFlying as a visually impaired person can be a daunting task. First there are huge airports to navigate and then there’s the actual flight to consider.
Seattle-Tacoma’s International Airport is helping to tackle the fear around air travel for people who are visually impaired. They host an annual event to introduce potential flyers to a standard passenger aircraft and going through the inside of the craft to show how to find the washroom, how to call for assistance and how to care for guide dogs during a flight.
In this article and video, one of the participants discusses his fear prior to the event and his newfound confidence that he can handle an upcoming trip to visit family.
Have you attended a similar event anywhere? Share your experiences in the comment section.
Airline Offers Helping Hand to the Blind
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Eye Health in Developing World Aided by New App
An outlined map of India, where the new app has been trialed.Many developing countries have under resourced medical systems. It can take weeks for a patient to be referred to a specialist and even longer for paper files to be transferred.
A new smartphone app, developed in New York, is aiming to overcome some of these problems by allowing primary care providers to instantly enter data into the app and send it to the specialist or hospital that the patient is being referred to. The app also gives location details helping to find an appropriate referral site.
Though there are still some problems to work out after the pilot program in India, the program is being updated and prepared for roll out.  Find out more.
What do you think of this program? Share your thoughts in the comment section
A New Smartphone App is Revolutionizing Eye Care in Developing Countries

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NYC Visually Impaired Magician Astounding Viewers
A hand ruffles a deck of cards spread on a tableJustin Sight, legally blind for most of his life, has been performing his unique blend of magic and intrigue for big names in New York since a YouTube video went viral a few years ago.
Most drawn to close-up magic that happens with direct interaction with viewers, Justin is astounding individuals and larger audiences and keeping them guessing.
He openly discusses his visual impairment and his magic on his website. For more on Justin, check out this article.
To find out more about San Diego Center for the Blind, visit our About Us page.
Watch This Mind Blowing Blind Magician Wow L Train Riders
Justin Sight – Magician and Performer

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How Currencies Around the World Assist the Visually Impaired
A large number of Euros of varying denominations are splayed on a table The newly designed $10 bill will be the first American currency to include tactile features to make them accessible for the visually impaired, although, unfortunately, this change won’t be implemented until 2020 at the earliest.
This article looks at other currencies around the world and how other countries use different colors, sizes and tactile features to make money easier to handle for visually impaired people.
For help adapting to vision loss, visit our First Steps After Vision Loss page
How Other Countries Help Blind Tell Money Denominations Apart

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Changes to Braille to Unify with English Speaking Countries
A black Braille square with a full cell and Braille written in text under the full cell.Four years ago, the Braille Authority in the U.S. decided to adopt the unified code which will align Braille in the U.S with Braille in English speaking countries around the world. Since this decision, they have been educating Braille users on the upcoming changes before implementation this coming January.
The changes mainly focus on punctuation and will not drastically alter Braille as we know it in America, but as Braille readers, it is important to be educated.
For more information on the background of this change, visit this video and article.
To find out more about the individual changes, visit this link.
What do you think of the changes to American Braille? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
American Braille Gets Its First Makeover in More Than 80 Years
Overview of Changes from Current Literary Braille to UEB

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New Regulations for Televised Emergency Messages
A blurred photo shows an older television on a table with a lit screenThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has new rules regarding accessibility to televised emergency notices such as severe weather alerts or school cancelations. The rules state that all scrolling text must be audible for the visually impaired and all audible messages must also be written for those with hearing impairments.
The new rules come in to effect on November 30th but some television stations are having trouble comprehending what exactly is required of them. One of the worries is that to read aloud some of the scrolling emergency text messages will take much longer and will not allow the message to be repeated often enough.
To see more about the new rules and how it will impact television stations and people with visual impairments, visit this article
Read how we are involved in education and advocacy.
Confusion, Questions on Text-to-Speech Rule
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Running Guide Dog for Independence
A male runners legs are shown in actionRichard Hunter is a visually impaired athlete. Klinger is his guide dog; the only one trained to lead someone while running. In a trial program, Klinger was trained to lead both walking and running to enable Richard to live independently and actively.
If the pair is successful together, other dogs may also be taught to guide runners to enable more active lifestyles for people who aren’t able to run alone.
Watch the video to learn more about Richard and Klinger and this great pilot program.
Would you be interested in a guide dog that could lead you on a run? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 
Guide Dog Gives Blind Marathon Runner “Freedom”

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