Sep 11


In 1983, Jane Bernstein had everything she ever wanted: a healthy four-year-old daughter, Charlotte; a happy marriage; a highly praised first novel; and a brand new baby, Rachel. But by the time Rachel was six weeks old, a neuro-ophthalmologist told Jane and her husband that their baby was blind. Although there was some hope that Rachel might gain partial vision as she grew, her condition was one that often resulted in seizure disorders and intellectual impairment. So began a series of medical a…

Read more about Loving Rachel: A Family’s Journey from Grief.

Aug 26


The inspiring story of Rex, a boy who is not only blind and autistic, but who also happens to be a musical savant. How can an 11-year old boy hear a Mozart fantasy for the first time and play it back note-for-note perfectly-but struggle to navigate the familiar surroundings of his own home? Cathleen Lewis says her son Rex’s laugh of total abandon is the single most joyous sound anyone could hear, but his tortured aversion to touch and sound breaks her heart and makes her wonder what God could h…

Read more about Rex: A Mother, Her Autistic Child, and the Music that Transformed Their Lives.

Jul 10

A comprehensive description of the techniques of teaching orientation and mobility, presented along with considerations and strategies for sensitive and effective teaching. Factors like individual needs, environmental features, and ethical issues are also discussed in this important text…. More >>

The Art and Science of Teaching Orientation and Mobility to Persons With Visual Impairments

Jul 01

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal officials are requiring colleges that use Kindles and other electronic book readers in the classroom to make sure the gadgets have accommodations for blind and vision-impaired students.

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education sent a letter to college and university presidents Tuesday instructing them to find alternatives for blind students if the devices are required in the classroom.

Not doing so would be a violation of federal law, said Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department.

“It is unacceptable for universities to use emerging technology without insisting that this technology be accessible to all students,” Ali wrote in the joint letter with Thomas E. Perez, assistant U.S. attorney general.

The federal government began examining last year whether the use of Kindles and other e-readers violated the Americans with Disabilities Act after a blind Arizona State University student sued the campus in June alleging that Kindle’s inaccessibility to blind students constituted a violation of federal law.

The lawsuit was settled in January with the help of the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind.

Many e-readers have text-to-speech functions, but those don’t apply to menus, which means that a blind person would still need help using the device, Ali said.

“The key here is fully accessible, not in-part accessible,” Ali told The Associated Press. “Blind users cannot navigate the menu. They couldn’t fast forward or even know which book they were reading.”

So far, four universities — including Princeton University — testing Amazon’s Kindle in the classroom have struck deals with the Justice Department and agreed to shelve the e-readers until they are fully functional for blind students.

The other campuses are: Pace University in New York, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Reed College in Portland, Ore.

A settlement is still being worked out with the University of Virginia, Ali said.

Amazon officials did not immediately return a request for comment. The company has said it is working on expanding features of the Kindle to ensure blind people can use them independently.

Ali said the policy also would apply to any K-12 schools wanting to use e-readers in the classroom, but so far only the school district in Clearwater, Fla., has expressed such interest. She said the Education Department is monitoring that district to be sure they meet federal requirements.

Jun 25

Stephen Kuusisto, an American, has been almost completely blind since a post-natal operation severely damaged his retinas. In this autobiography he tells of the years of lonely childhood spent behind bottle-lens glasses, the struggle through high school and college, and first love and sex. Derided by classmates, his parents pretending that nothing was wrong, he stumbled through life enraged and mortified. Only when a five-year-old labrador entered his life did he be… More >>

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