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Use These 8 Tips to Teach Fire Safety to Children with Visual Impairments
A fire in the home is every parent’s worst nightmare. When a child who is blind or visually impaired lives in the home, the danger can be even worse.

All children need to be taught fire safety and how to evacuate in a fire. When a child is blind, there are some different methods that can be used to make sure he fully understands the danger and what needs to happen in the event of a fire.

This article outlines 8 good tips for teaching fire safety to children with visual impairments and should help you to keep your kids safe in a fire.

Do you have any advice to add?

8 Tips for Teaching Fire Safety to Kids Who are Blind
Posted in Blind Living Skills, Living Blind | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
Nurture Your Green Thumb This Summer
Gardening allows us to commune with nature, enjoy food grown with our own hands and smell the flowers around our own homes.

For many who have lost their sight, gardening seems to be a thing of the past. But this article shows that it can be an activity for the present and the future too.

With some advice on container planting, how to know what to plant and labelling your garden, you will be well on your way to a greener kind of day.

To see how we can help you adjust to vision loss, please visit First Steps After Vision Loss.

Gardening After Vision Loss: Tips from an Experienced Blind Gardener
Posted in Blind Living Skills, Living Blind, Low Vision | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
Advanced Technology to Assist Travelers with Visual Impairments
The upper half of a white android type robot is shownImagine if you stepped off a subway car, onto a busy platform and were met with a robot that could guide you through the station and out into the city. As a visually impaired person, could this make independent travel a less stressful task?

Researchers are looking at how robotics could make it easier for visually impaired people to navigate. Already being implemented are strategies involving beacons that can be read by mobile phones to guide users throughout subway stations. See the full story here.

It will be interesting to see what advanced assistive technology will be developed over the next few years and how it will impact travel for people with visual impairments.

What would you love to see created in the assistive technology sphere?

Transit Guide-Bots for Blind Passengers?

Posted in Assistive Technology, Living Blind | 1 Comment(s) | Add Comment
Students learn echolocation to navigate
A skateboard and helmet sit on the floor of a skate parkA school in Australia is teaching students echolocation to navigate and understand their surroundings more completely.

In this video, 7 year old Christian, a student at the school, demonstrates his skill and explains how it all works.

Daniel Kish, an American echolocation expert is also interviewed about the process of navigating using echolocation.

Do you have any experience with echolocation? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Blind Students “See” With Echoes, Like Bat
Posted in Blind Living Skills, Living Blind | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
An architect, a brain tumor and unexpected blindness
An intricate building structure is shown to illustrate architecture.Chris Downey lost his sight suddenly during an operation to remove a brain tumor. At the time of the operation, he was already a successful architect in a thriving firm and was determined to go back to work.

About a month after his surgery, he returned to the firm and learned to work without sight. He is keen to point out that although he lost his sight, he has not lost his vision.

Watch the video to learn how Chris completes projects and inspires others.

To see how we can help you adjust to vision loss, please visit First Steps After Vision Loss.

Architect who lost sight becomes pioneer for visually impaired community
Posted in Living Blind, Low Vision | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
A teacher uses her own life experiences to teach visually impaired kids how to dream big
An apple and a mug of pens and pencils sits on a deskRosalinda sees only shadows but she has never let that stop her from achieving her goals. She traveled with the U.S. Association of blind athletes as a weight lifter and graduated from college. She has written a book and now dedicates her life to teaching visually impaired students at a school in LA.

Watch the video of her life at the school to hear her story and see her interactions with her students.

Have you had an inspiration teacher touch your life? Share your comments.

Blind Teacher is “Joyous Heart” of LA School for Visually Impaired Kids

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Blind beauty blogger shares makeup tips and techniques
A blush brush sits on a white table with pink powder spilling from the brushApplying makeup can be a very difficult task for the visually impaired. But this young beauty blogger has developed techniques for the blind and visually impaired over the past two years since she lost her sight.

Looking at her with her fully applied makeup, you would never guess that she hadn’t been able to see to apply each step of her makeup process.

As well as makeup and beauty advice, this blogger also gives life hacks for people with visual impairments and answers questions about life as a blind person.

Read the article about her blogging life and watch one of her many YouTube videos to get to know her!

Contact us to learn how we can help adjust to life after vision loss.

Watch Out Zoella, This Blind Beauty Blogger is Giving You a Run for Your Money

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Photography for the blind lends creativity and a different type of visual on things sighted people overlook
An old style SLR camera sits on a wooden deskBob Lee recently spoke at TEDx Singapore to share how he teaches photography to blind and visually impaired students. While most of his students have limited or no vision, their photography skills are extraordinary and capture many of the daily items and experiences that many of us overlook.

In this video, he shares his story and displays photos from many of his students.

What did you think of the video? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

How I teach photography to the blind: Bob Lee at TEDxSingapore

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Encouraging new skills in a blind or visually impaired child
A young child sits on the floor holding on to a matRaising a child who is visually impaired or blind raises some interesting questions for parents. How do we get them to crawl? To climb? To feed themselves?

For community help and advice, is a great resource. They post articles to address issues such as crawling and feeding and community members join in with their own advice from personal experiences.

If you’re coming up against areas in child rearing that have you stumped, or if a little bit of support would make your day better, head over to any of their articles.

To see how we can help, visit our program page.

Crawling and Climbing
Using Messy Play to Teach Self Feeding Skills

Posted in Blindness, Low Vision | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
Ongoing research shows possibility of regeneration of eye cells in the future
A small zebra fish swimsWe’re always interested in the research that is being done and what is being discovered through these studies.

Recently, scientists have been looking at zebrafish, a species that has the unique ability to regenerate certain types of cells. Researchers believe they have discovered how this regeneration occurs and are trying to mimic it in humans.

This video uses animation and simple language to illustrate why some diseases, such as Usher Syndrome and Retinitis Pigmentosa, cause deteriorating sight that ultimately leads to blindness. It then goes on to explain the zebrafish discovery.

Watch the video for an interesting look at what is being done in one area of the research field.

Have you seen any interesting research studies recently? Share what you’ve found in the comment section.

Eye Regeneration – A Look Into the Future

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Blind athlete works to inspire others with her story
The paralympic symbolLilo Ljubisic’s sight steadily deteriorated throughout her childhood and early adult years. In the early 90s, the last of her sight was gone. But she hasn’t let that stop her.

She is a 5 time paralympic athlete who shares her story through public speaking engagements around the world.

Recently interviewed for ESTEEM, she shares why she is involved and her thoughts on overcoming obstacles through sheer determination.

Watch the short video on her website and then browse to read her other blogs and personal story.

Meet Lilo – ESTEEM Team Athlete Since 1996

Posted in Real Life Stories | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
The Top 5 Things You Should Remember When Spending Time With a Person Who is Visually Impaired
The sun sets over water creating a pink and purple skyTo celebrate Blogging Against Disabilism Day, which was on May 1st, Francesca Marinaro shares her top 5 things that we should all remember when interacting with a person who is blind or visually impaired.
  • Unsolicited help is normally unwanted
  • Body language can be difficult
  • Words like “see”, “watch” or “look” aren’t offensive
  • Guessing games really aren’t fun
  • Living alone is no big deal

The author goes into detail and shares personal stories about each of her points in this entertaining and educational blog post.

What do you think of this top 5 list? Do you have anything to add? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Five Things to Remember if you Know Someone Who’s Blind: Blogging Against Disabilism Day 2015

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Blind | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
The Apple Watch Takes Center Stage in the Tech Sphere: Helpful Assistive Technology?
A black and white mock up of the Apple Watch is shown Source: WikipediaReleased just last month, the Apple Watch has taken center stage in the tech sphere. With many of the same capabilities as the iPhone, and the ability to synch to other Apple products, the Apple Watch sold more on one day or pre-orders than all Android Wear watches in 2014.

But the question for us is whether or not the Apple Watch is helpful as assistive technology? It seems that some visually impaired people think it is.

In this blog, Molly, a woman living with Usher Syndrome, discusses how she feels about using the Apple Watch after 5 days and how it is helping her in social situations.

This podcast gives hints and tips on using the watch and getting the settings right to make it helpful to the visually impaired.

Visit our First Steps guide to learn how we can help you adjust to vision loss.

My Apple Watch After 5 Days!
Sounds and Haptics on the Apple Watch – No More Embarrassing Meetings

Posted in Assistive Technology, Low Vision | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
Don’t be awkward: a disability sensitivity training video
A close up shot of a person in a wheelchair focusing on the wheels with a hand on the wheel closest to the cameraThis disability sensitivity training video makes you chuckle while educating the general public about how to treat people with disabilities. It points out some of the “helpful” things that well-meaning people do that actually aren’t in the slightest bit helpful. It also offers suggestions on what might be a more welcomed type of assistance or attention.

No one wants to feel awkward in our daily interactions. This video might help to ease the discomfort that people feel when they just don’t know what to do or how to act.

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

Disability Sensitivity Training Video

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Art reproductions help the visually impaired to see the masterpieces
The Nobleman paintingThe Prado Museum in Madrid is among growing numbers of cultural facilities that are creating art reproductions to allow the visually impaired community art enjoyment.

Six reproductions are on currently on display for people to touch and experience. They were reproduced using textures and technology to allow the intricate details of the artwork to be felt with hands.

For many, this is the first time they are experiencing famous art first hand and it is an overwhelming feeling to finally understand what has only been described to them before.

Watch the video or read the transcript here.

Have you enjoyed a museum exhibit focused on blind or visually impaired people? Share your experiences in the comment section.

Art Exhibit Lets Vision-Impaired Visitors Touch Masterpieces at Madrid Museum

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A Veteran, A Paralympics Gold Medal Winner and a Champion
Brad Snyder swimsBrad Snyder was deployed in Afghanistan when he stepped on an explosive device buried in the ground. From this event, he lost his sight and life as he knew it changed.
He had always been a competitive swimmer and found that the water was one place that he still felt free and independent. He used swimming to his advantage, eventually competing, and winning gold, in the Paralympics for the USA team.

Watch this video to hear his personal story about losing his vision.

How have you coped with vision loss? Share your experiences in the comment section.

Stories of Service: Brad Snyder

Posted in First Steps After Vision Loss, Living Blind, Real Life Stories | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
Roseanne Barr speaks out about her 2 eye conditions that are taking her sight
A close up photo of Roseanne Barr wearing glassesRoseanne Barr has recently shared with the public that she has been diagnosed with both glaucoma and macular degeneration and is losing her vision.

The 62-year old actress says her symptoms are getting worse. She says, "I just try and enjoy vision as much as possible. Y'know, living it up." We’re thankful to celebrities like Roseanne for speaking up about their eye disease which helps to educate and raise awareness.

The article, by CNN, also goes on to share some steps to take to prevent eye disease or slow the progression.

A separate Health article, suggested by CNN, shared 9 of the worst eye care mistakes you’re making and how to protect your eyes for the long run.

We offer help with adjusting to vision loss.

Roseanne Barr’s Blindness and How to Prevent Her Diseases

9 Worst Eye Care Mistakes You’re Making
Posted in Eye Health, Real Life Stories, Vision Loss | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
Volunteering led to a successful career
Holding handsWe have all heard that volunteering can lead to future employment opportunities. Sue Martin proves it in this article detailing her journey to becoming a vision rehab therapist, a low vision therapist and then a subject matter expert for the Computer Access Training Section of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Although she didn’t set out to volunteer in order to get a job, it has worked to her benefit over her career and she encourages others to volunteer in areas that interest them. You never know where your volunteer experience will lead!

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please visit this page.

Volunteering with Blinded Veterans Leads to a Fulfilling Career at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Independently, Personal Stories | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
Retinitis Pigmosa has taught me 6 important things about life
Purple flowers are shown in a kaleidoscope of distortionAt the age of 6, Christina Hartmann was diagnosed with retinitis pigmosa which has caused her to lose her sight slowly over time.

In this insightful article, she shares her thoughts on life with a visual impairment, as well as the 6 things she has learned over the course of her life so far. She talks about having to constantly readjust to her continually declining sight and the fact that available choices narrow, but that’s a good thing.

We run programs to help you deal with sight loss and visual impairment. Visit our program page to find out more.

What it’s like to go blind

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The blueprint for special education today came from a woman born in 1866
Anne Sullivan Macy and Helen Keller are pictured in an old black and white photo in a gardenWe sometimes forget about the people who forged the way for us, who pioneered areas that we now take for granted. Anne Sullivan Macy, a woman born in 1866, worked with Helen Keller and her work became the blueprint for education today for children with disabilities.

Helen Keller wrote about Anne, "By nature she was a conceiver, a trail-blazer, a pilgrim of life's wholeness. So day by day, month after month, year in and year out, she labored to provide me with a diction and a voice sufficient for my service to the blind."

In Anne’s name, The American Foundation for the Blind is drafting special education legislation for vision or hearing loss. 

To read more about Anne Sullivan Macy, visit the article.

Who are your heroes who have paved the way for assistive technology, education or other helpful areas for the visually impaired? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Celebrating Annie Sullivan’s Birthday

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Roseanne Barr is going blind
Roseanne Barr is going blindDue to macular degeneration, Roseanne Barr has announced that she is going blind.  However she is making the best of it, even thinking of hiring someone to read to her.  Roseanne is currently promoting her documentary “Roseanne For President!” about how she tried to run for president on 2012.  She was not elected!

Let us know your thoughts.

Roseanne Barr is going blind

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A Mantra for Job Interviews that’s Good for Every Day Life
2 men in business attire sit face to face having a serious conversationJoe Strechay, an employee at the American Federation of the Blind, recently published this article on the AFB blog. The article sums up his recent speech at the University of Southern Maine and highlights a mantra that can help with job interviews, and may also give some confidence in every day life.

To read the article and learn Joe’s mantra, visit the AFB blog.

To see how we can help with independent living, visit our programs page.

I Am, I Have, and I Will: A Message to Youths Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired and Their Families

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Surfing as a vehicle to teach? Sounds good!
A young boy carries a surf board on his head across the sand towards the waterJack Viorel started his career as a teacher to kids with special needs. He says his first year was full of “wipe-outs”, but he slowly came to realize 3 important things that are important in teaching:
1. Inclusion is necessary for all
2. Self-esteem is the foundation for learning
3. Surfing – or having a vehicle to teach is important

After his teaching experience, he started a special surf school to include anyone and everyone, hiring the best staff possible and creating equipment for all types of needs.  Though it’s a “surf-school”, building self-esteem is the actual goal of the program. Surfing is just the vehicle to teach!

His school offers a week long course for kids with visual impairments to help with self-esteem, limiting beliefs and other issues that kids might be struggling with.

To hear his Jack’s Tedx talk, and read more about his school, visit this website.

Have you participated in an interesting program like Jack Viorel’s surf school? Share your experiences in the comment section.

Special Needs Teacher Shares Lessons Learned on Tedx Talks

Posted in Real Life Stories, Vision Loss Support | 1 Comment(s) | Add Comment
It’s National Gardening Week and Visual Impairment Can’t Stop a Gardener
A flower garden holds many different types and colors of flowersAction for Blind People has published this article interviewing a blind gardener on why he gardens and how he got his green thumbs.

Although gardening with visual impairments is more difficult, it can be extremely rewarding to smell the flowers you cultivated or eat the vegetables you grew.

Read the article to find out more or visit Thrive’s Carry on Gardening website dedicated specifically to people with visual impairments. Thrive provide a whole host of advice and numerous articles on getting your hands dirty in your garden using tips and tricks for the visually impaired.

Do you enjoy gardening? Share your tips or favorite things to grow in the comment section.

Get Gardening
Posted in Blind Living Skills, Living Blind | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
Visually Impaired Oceanographer Making Waves
Grey ocean water swirlsAmy Bower is a successful oceanographer who supervises PhD students, leads oceanographic cruises, advises interns and studies ocean currents.

OceanInsight is an organization that Amy is heavily involved in that helps to introduce blind and visually impaired learners to oceanography. Did we mention that she herself is legally blind?

We love hearing about people living with visual impairment who are successful in interesting careers and involved in unique organizations. To read more about Amy Bower, her work and OceanInsight, visit the article.

To see how we can help with independent living, visit our programs page.

Where Are They Now? A Profile on Oceanographer Amy Bower

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Blind, Real Life Stories | 0 Comment(s) | Add Comment
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