Learn about Audio Description

Audio Description logoAudio description, also referred to as a video description, described video, or more precisely called a visual description, is an additional narration track intended primarily for blind and visually impaired consumers of visual media (including television and film, dance, opera, and visual art). It consists of a narrator talking through the presentation, describing what is happening on the screen or stage during the natural pauses in the audio, and sometimes during dialogue if deemed necessary.” – Wikipedia

The addition of this requirement to the Section 508 Refresh will make many folks scramble to meet this accessibility guideline. To help with the conversation, 3 Play Media is offering a free webinar, Introduction to Audio Description on May 4th at 2:00 PM ET.

Here is more information and registration for the free webinar, Introduction to Audio Description…

___

Image Credit: By Mikael Persson, Syntolkning.nu [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

New Program Offering Digitized Books Free to People with Print Disabilities

American Academy of Ophthalmology, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and VisionServe Alliance, Work in Partnership on Important Initiative

electronic books on various devicesNew York, (Feb. 1, 2017) – Reading is a simple pleasure. However, millions of people are denied the joy of reading due to vision loss. Now, Lighthouse Guild and Bookshare®, are collaborating with the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) to provide greater opportunities for students with low vision or print disabilities. They are working in partnership with LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco and the members of VisionServe Alliance, who provide services throughout the United States for individuals who are blind or have low vision. The new program will use an application known as Spotlight Gateway to expand access to print materials specifically designed for people with low vision.

“Reading should not be a privilege,” said Mark G. Ackermann, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Lighthouse Guild. “Books document our history, mark our present and inspire our future. We’re pleased to join in establishing this program to break down barriers and open a world of possibilities to students who are visually impaired.”

Rebecca Alexander, author, psychotherapist, fitness instructor, and extreme athlete who is almost completely blind and deaf due to a rare genetic disorder called Usher syndrome type III said, “I am an avid reader, and I access the extensive Bookshare® library through the Spotlight Gateway app. It has changed my life. I am thrilled this new initiative will allow more people with low vision to expand their horizons and explore new worlds through reading.” Ms. Alexander, author of the book “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found” added, “This is a wonderful program that helps students of all ages with low vision to live as fully and independently as possible.”

Lighthouse Guild is working with the American Academy of Ophthalmology to help ensure that students of all ages with vision loss are made aware of the new program. In order for a student to become a program member, an ophthalmologist must confirm a qualifying vision disability. Once eligibility is confirmed, the ophthalmologist can register the student online through the AAO website.

Since the program requires the use of iPads, Lighthouse Guild in New York City and LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco will distribute a limited number of iPads through participating vision agencies. This will help make the online library available to students who do not have access to iPads. In addition, VisionServe Alliance, which has offices across the country, will provide locations where students can access iPads if they are not in NYC or Northern California.

Bookshare®, a Benetech initiative, is the world’s largest online library for people who are blind, visually impaired, have a physical disability, or a learning disability that interferes with reading, such as dyslexia. “We are proud to partner with Lighthouse Guild to make Bookshare®’s library of over 500,000 books available to individuals unable to read standard print,” said Brad Turner, Benetech’s Vice President of Global Literary. “Organizations like Lighthouse Guild help Bookshare® ensure everyone has equal access to content by expanding our reach into the communities we serve.”

Training and educational sessions will be available at Lighthouse Guild headquarters in New York, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco, and participating vision agencies. to help patients and their families access, navigate and utilize the library. Detailed videos have also been created and uploaded to YouTube to help participating vision agencies and individuals understand how to access and navigate the expansive library.

Support for the Spotlight Gateway program has been provided in part by a generous grant from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

About Lighthouse Guild

Lighthouse Guild, based in New York, is the leading not-for-profit vision and healthcare organization with a long history of addressing the needs of people who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities or chronic medical conditions. With more than 200 years of experience and service, Lighthouse Guild brings a level of understanding to vision care that is unmatched. By integrating vision and healthcare services and expanding access through its programs and education and awareness, we help people lead productive, dignified and fulfilling lives. For more information, visit Lighthouseguild.org

About American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit aao.org.

About Bookshare®

Bookshare®, a Benetech initiative, is the world’s largest online library of accessible ebooks for people with print disabilities. Through its extensive collection of educational and popular titles, specialized book formats and reading tools, Bookshare® offers individuals who cannot read standard print materials the same ease of access that people without disabilities enjoy. The Bookshare® library has over 500,000 titles and serves more than 450,000 members. Access to Bookshare® is free for all U.S. students with a qualifying print disability. Bookshare® is an initiative of Benetech, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit that develops and uses technology to create positive social change. For more information, visit bookshare.org.

About LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Founded in 1902, the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers programs in six locations in San Francisco and throughout Northern California, annually serving over 3,000 blind and visually impaired individuals annually. LightHouse is the place where blind people come to learn skills to gain confidence and independence. At the LightHouse, people connect with resources, peers and mentors. Every day we prove that with training in Braille, cane travel, and adaptive technology, blind people can live the lives they want as competent and confident employees, students, and community members.

About VisionServe Alliance

VisionServe Alliance, founded in 1987 and now celebrating its 25th year, provides a forum for top executives of private agencies and organizations specializing in blindness, and represents the interests of such agencies before many organizations, professional, governmental and non-profit groups. VisionServe Alliance is the only organization whose members directly represent every aspect of services to people who are blind or visually impaired, including dog guide schools, adult rehabilitation agencies, private residential schools, early intervention and pre-school programs, career placement/employment and manufacturing, membership organizations, advocacy organizations, low vision clinics, and services to those with multiple disabilities. For more information about VisionServe Alliance, visit the website visionservealliance.org or call 314-961-8235.

About Spotlight Text

Spotlight Text, developed by Focus Reading Technology, Inc, is the first eBook reader specifically for individuals with vision loss. For more information, visit spotlighttext.com

About Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Regeneron (NASDAQ: REGN) is a leading science-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, invents, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines for the treatment of serious medical conditions. Regeneron commercializes medicines for eye diseases, high LDL cholesterol and a rare inflammatory condition and has product candidates in development in other areas of high unmet medical need, including rheumatoid arthritis, atopic dermatitis, asthma, pain, cancer and infectious diseases. For additional information about the company, please visitwww.regeneron.com or follow @Regeneron on Twitter

Free Braille For Kids!

The following announcement comes from the National Braille Press...

Blind boy using Braille embosserReadBooks! Because Braille Matters, is a FREE braille literacy program for families sponsored by National Braille Press. The purpose of this program is to encourage families to think about braille literacy at the earliest possible age. It costs nothing, and may start a child on the path to literacy.

National Braille Press is distributing attractive braille book bags to families with blind and visually impaired children, ages birth to seven, across the U.S. and Canada. The distribution process is a collaborative effort with educators and early intervention professionals. ReadBooks! has already distributed 16,000 of these bags to blind children in the United States and Canada.

There are three different levels of bags: red (birth-3); blue (4-5 year olds); green (6-7 year olds), and there are both English and Spanish versions of these bags. The bag contents differ slightly, containing age-appropriate books, tactiles, and toys. They also include two vouchers: one for an additional free print/braille book, and another for a free copy of Just Enough to Know Better – a primer on braille for sighted parents.

Use this link for more information and find out how to participate in the program…

14 Million Digital Books Available To Print Disabled Users

electronic books on various devicesMore than 14 million digital books will soon be made available to blind and print-disabled users, thanks to a new collaboration involving the National Federation of the Blind and the HathiTrust Digital Library, a digital repository hosted at the University of Michigan.

When launched, the program will dramatically increase the availability of books for users who are blind or print-disabled. According to the NFB, currently less than 5 percent of all published works are estimated to be available to the blind, most of which are popular titles.

Over the coming year, NFB and HathiTrust will collaborate to plan and implement these services. User eligibility will be determined by criteria used by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and similar services authorized under U.S. law.

According to Furlough, HathiTrust currently provides a similar service to qualified print-disabled students at its member schools. The new program will expand this service to allow similarly qualified users not affiliated with HathiTrust schools access to full-text works in the HathiTrust collection.

NFB and HathiTrust, like the federally operated National Library Service, will lawfully and securely make books available to qualified people in the U.S. who have print disabilities.

Read the entire press release to learn more about this announcement…

Transition to Work: Program Activity Guide

Man walking through mall with a guide dogThe American Foundation for the Blind CareerConnect® program is proud to announce a new guide to help professionals implement the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) and improve employment outcomes for teens and young adults who are blind or visually impaired.

The Transition to Work: Program Activity Guide includes 19 free lesson plans and assignments designed to facilitate workplace readiness and work-based learning experiences for youth. Activities include researching and applying for jobs; filling out job applications; preparing an elevator speech and a marketing message; handling on the job assignments; a work performance appraisal; and other related activities.

The guide is available online on the CareerConnect website. Each activity has a corresponding electronic braille file in the Unified English Braille Code ready to be downloaded and embossed.

The Transition to Work: Program Activity Guide in tandem with the CareerConnect Job Seeker’s Toolkit and the Maintaining Employment and Advancing Your Career course is the ultimate resource to enhance a student’s employability skills.

To access the materials or for additional information, visit CareerConnect or e-mail Katy Lewis at klewis@afb.net.


Photo credit: Image licensed through Creative Commons by Cobaka

New Book – IOS In The Classroom

The American Federation of the Blind – AFB Press has announced the release of a new resource for teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired.

iOS in the Classroom: A Guide for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments is a fully illustrated, step-by-step guide to teaching the use of the iPad running iOS 9. The book explores the extensive accessibility options available, where to find them, and how to configure them.

iOS in the Classroomis geared to allowing students with visual impairments to use the iPad to complete the same classroom tasks as their peers. It covers a variety of tasks and features including:

  • Getting acquainted with VoiceOver and Zoom
  • Using external keyboards and refreshable braille displays
  • Understanding touch screen gestures and braille chord commands
  • Finding and managing content in iTunes, the App Store, iCloud, and other file sharing apps
  • Using the iPad for online activities, including Internet browsing, e-mail, and instant messaging
  • Utilizing specific apps

This resource provides teachers with helpful, easy-to-understand iOS technology instructions, allowing them to support their students in learning, and ensuring success in the classroom.

iOS in the Classroom is written by Larry L. Lewis, Jr. The new book is available in print, e-book, and online subscription and can be purchased in the AFB Store.

 

Original Pub Date:

04/07/2016

NFB, Amazon Work To Improve Reading Experiences

The following news release is from the National Federation of the Blind (NFB):

National Federation of the Blind and Amazon Join Forces to Improve Accessible Reading Experiences for Blind and Low-Vision Students

Baltimore, Maryland (March 2, 2016): TheNational Federation of the Blind (NFB) and Amazon announced today that they will be working together to increase selection, enhance accessibility, and improve reading experiences for blind students, including those who have low vision or who are deaf-blind. Amazon and the National Federation of the Blind will collaborate on improvements to Amazon’s education content, platforms, and applications, and will meet on an ongoing basis to review progress and exchange ideas and feedback. Initial results of this collaboration are expected this year and beyond.

“We are seeing educational institutions embrace digital learning for its ease of access to a large selection of learning resources for students,” said Rohit Agarwal, General Manager, Amazon K-12 Education. “This shift provides a great opportunity to improve accessibility for blind students. By collaborating with the National Federation of the Blind, we hope to advance accessibility for all content, platforms and applications that Amazon develops to better serve K-12 and higher education students.”

“The National Federation of the Blind is dedicated to using our expertise in the development and implementation of built-in accessibility in technology to ensure that the blind have equal access to the information and tools we need to live the lives we want,” said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “The NFB and Amazon have sought a productive collaboration to improve accessibility, and we now look forward to working together closely to improve the technologies that will make digital reading experiences better for all customers. The commitment that Amazon has made in this agreement brings us ever closer to the day when blind students of all ages will have the same digital reading experience and access to content as others, and demonstrates that access for the blind goes hand in hand with continued innovation in technology.”

 

Original Pub Date:

03/04/2016