Described and Captioned Media Program

Blind boy using Braille embosserThe Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) provides premium media designed for students with disabilities and leads as a resource for families and teachers, supported by the Department of Education.

DCMP’s mission is to promote and provide equal access to communication and learning through described and captioned educational media.

The ultimate goal of the DCMP is for accessible media to be an integral tool in the teaching and learning process for all stakeholders in the educational community, including students, educators and other school personnel, parents, service providers, businesses, and agencies.

The DCMP supports the U.S. Department of Education Strategic Plan for 2014-2018 by committing to the following goals:

  • Ensuring that students (early learners through Grade 12) who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind have the opportunity to achieve the standards of academic excellence.
  • Advocating for equal access to educational media as well as the establishment and maintenance of quality standards for captioning and description by service providers.
  • Providing a collection of free-loan described and captioned educational media.
  • Furnishing information and research about accessible media.
  • Acting as a gateway to Internet resources related to accessibility.
  • Adapting and developing new media and technologies that assist students in obtaining and using available information.

The Described and Captioned Media Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf.

Please visit DCMP for more information…

New Choice in Braille Transcription Software

This new product was recently announced by American Printing House for the Blind…

Person reading BrailleBrailleBlaster™ is a braille transcription program developed by the American Printing House for the Blind to help transcribers provide blind students with braille textbooks on the first day of class.

BrailleBlaster takes advantage of the rich markup contained in NIMAS (National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard) files to automate basic formatting and gives you tools to make advanced tasks quicker and easier. Designed primarily for editing textbooks that meet the specifications published by the Braille Authority of North America, the purpose of BrailleBlaster is to help braille producers ensure that every student has their hard-copy braille textbooks on the first day of class.

BrailleBlaster relies on Liblouis, a well-known open-source braille translator, for translating text and mathematics to braille.

Features include:

  • Translate braille accurately in UEB or EBAE
  • Format braille
  • Automate line numbered poetry and prose
  • Split books into volumes
  • Add transcriber notes
  • Describe images
  • Automate braille table of contents, glossaries, preliminary pages and special symbols pages
  • Automate a variety of table styles
  • Translate and edit single line math

The development of BrailleBlaster and modifications to Liblouis are part of the REAL Plan (Resources with Enhanced Accessibility for Learning). The REAL Plan is an ongoing initiative of the American Printing House for the Blind to improve the conversion and delivery of braille and other accessible formats to students who are blind.

Learn more about Braille Blaster…

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