[NFBOK-Talk] Fwd: [Brl-monitor] The Braille Monitor, May 2017

Audrey Farnum atfarnum at icloud.com
Tue May 16 18:08:56 UTC 2017

See below for the latest issue of the Braille Monitor. 

Audrey T. Farnum
Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

> From: buhrow at lothlorien.nfbcal.org (Brian Buhrow)
> Date: May 16, 2017 at 11:05:16 AM CDT
> To: brl-monitor at nfbcal.org
> Subject: [Brl-monitor] The Braille Monitor, May 2017
> Reply-To: buhrow at nfbcal.org
>                               BRAILLE MONITOR
> Vol. 60, No. 5   May 2017
>                             Gary Wunder, Editor
>      Distributed by email, in inkprint, in Braille, and on USB flash
> drive, by the
>      Mark Riccobono, President
>      telephone: (410) 659-9314
>      email address: nfb at nfb.org
>      website address: http://www.nfb.org
>      NFBnet.org: http://www.nfbnet.org
>      NFB-NEWSLINE® information: (866) 504-7300
>       Like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/nationalfederationoftheblind
>                      Follow us on Twitter: @NFB_Voice
>            Watch and share our videos: YouTube.com/NationsBlind
> Letters to the President, address changes, subscription requests, and
> orders for NFB literature should be sent to the national office. Articles
> for the Monitor and letters to the editor may also be sent to the national
> office or may be emailed to gwunder at nfb.org.
> Monitor subscriptions cost the Federation  about  forty  dollars  per  year.
> Members  are  invited,  and  nonmembers  are   requested,   to   cover   the
> subscription cost. Donations should be made payable to  National  Federation
> of the Blind and sent to:
>      National Federation of the Blind
>      200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
>      Baltimore, Maryland 21230-4998
>                                 OURSELVES.
> ISSN 0006-8829
> © 2017 by the National Federation of the Blind
>      Each issue is recorded on a thumb drive (also called a memory stick
> or USB flash drive). You can read this audio edition using a computer or a
> National Library Service digital player. The NLS machine has two slots-the
> familiar book-cartridge slot just above the retractable carrying handle and
> a second slot located on the right side near the headphone jack. This
> smaller slot is used to play thumb drives. Remove the protective rubber pad
> covering this slot and insert the thumb drive. It will insert only in one
> position. If you encounter resistance, flip the drive over and try again.
> (Note: If the cartridge slot is not empty when you insert the thumb drive,
> the digital player will ignore the thumb drive.) Once the thumb drive is
> inserted, the player buttons will function as usual for reading digital
> materials. If you remove the thumb drive to use the player for cartridges,
> when you insert it again, reading should resume at the point you stopped.
>      You can transfer the recording of each issue from the thumb drive to
> your computer or preserve it on the thumb drive. However, because thumb
> drives can be used hundreds of times, we would appreciate their return in
> order to stretch our funding. Please use the return envelope enclosed with
> the drive when you return the device.
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Palm-lined drive leading to front entrance of Rosen Shingle
> Creek Resort]
>                     Orlando Site of 2017 NFB Convention
>      The 2017 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will take
> place in Orlando, Florida, July 10 to July 15, at the Rosen Shingle Creek
> Resort, 9939 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32819-9357. Make your
> room reservation as soon as possible with the Shingle Creek staff only.
> Call (866) 996-6338.
>      The 2017 room rates are singles and doubles, $83; and for triples and
> quads, $89. In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at
> present is 12.5 percent. No charge will be made for children under
> seventeen in the room with parents as long as no extra bed is requested.
> The hotel is accepting reservations now. A $95-per-room deposit is required
> to make a reservation. Fifty percent of the deposit will be refunded if
> notice is given to the hotel of a reservation cancellation before June 1,
> 2017. The other 50 percent is not refundable.
>      Rooms will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
> Reservations may be made before June 1, 2017, assuming that rooms are still
> available. After that time the hotel will not hold our room block for the
> convention. In other words, you should get your reservation in soon.
>      All Rosen Shingle Creek guestrooms feature amenities that include
> plush Creek Sleeper beds, 40" flat screen TVs, complimentary high-speed
> internet service, in-room safes, coffee makers, mini-fridges, and hair
> dryers. Guests can also enjoy a swimming pool, fitness center, and on-site
> spa. The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort has a number of dining options,
> including two award-winning restaurants, and twenty-four-hour-a-day room
> service.
>      The schedule for the 2017 convention is:
> Monday, July 10  Seminar Day
> Tuesday, July 11 Registration and Resolutions Day
> Wednesday, July 12     Board Meeting and Division Day
> Thursday, July 13      Opening Session
> Friday, July 14  Business Session
> Saturday, July 15      Banquet Day and Adjournment
> Vol.  60,  No.  5                                                        May
> 2017
>      Contents
> Illustration: Teaching Designers About Nonvisual Access
> A Window into KNFB Reader: An Evolving Project, a New Platform, and New
> Horizons
> by Joel Zimba
> The State of Amazon Device Accessibility
> by Karl Belager
> The Tools of Self-Advocacy for Airline Passengers with Disabilities
> by Parnell Diggs
> Uber and Lyft Agree to Improving Service for Riders with Service Animals:
> We Need Your Help with Monitoring Their Progress
> by Valerie Yingling
> How Do You Work This Thing?
> by David Andrews
> A Legislative Update and a Call to Action
> by Parnell Diggs
>> From the President's Inbox: The Mail Must Go Through
> by Mark A. Riccobono
> Blindness: Showing Up for Parenthood
> by Noel Nightingale
> There Is a List for That!
> by David Andrews
> Independence Market Corner
> Dots from Space!: Inching Towards Understanding
> Recipes
> Monitor Miniatures
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Amy Mason demonstrates screen-reading software for Towson
> students on one of the computers in the IBTC]
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Mark Riccobono speaks with a few Towson students]
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Amy Mason and Mark Riccobono speak to Jonathan Lazar and
> his Towson students in the International Braille and Technology Center
> (IBTC) at Jernigan Institute]
>                  Teaching Designers about Nonvisual Access
>      One of the reasons why technology is so seldom created with
> accessibility in mind is that too many developers simply cannot conceive of
> blind people using the mainstream products they design. A superb way to
> demonstrate the interest of blind people in this technology to those who
> will be designing it in the future is to talk with them when they are in
> the process of getting a degree, and there is no better ambassador than
> Jonathan Lazar, a professor at Towson University in Baltimore, when it
> comes to connecting blind people and soon-to-be computer scientists.
>      On February 24, 2017, Jonathan and his students visited the
> International Braille and Technology Center at the Jernigan Institute to
> see the technology blind people use, the things it allows us to do, and the
> things that are made difficult or impossible because of shortsighted
> design. The staff of the International Braille and Technology Center
> demonstrated screen-reading programs, Braille displays, 3D printing,
> tactile graphics, and even how low-tech solutions can be used to
> demonstrate meaningful concepts. One example was the use of LEGOs to show
> the layout of the Windows desktop.
>      This is a tremendous beginning and one we should work to expand
> throughout the country. Not every computer science major can visit our
> Jernigan Institute as the students in the Human and Computer Interactions
> class were able to do, but many of our chapters can get invited to classes
> and teach soon-to-be designers that there should always be a nonvisual
> alternative in the toolbox of every program they design.
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured are Joel Zimba, Jim Gashel and several Microsoft
> employees all holding a tablet running KNFB Reader. All are wearing Cat in
> the Hat style hats in observance of Read Across America Day which occurred
> on March 2.]
> [PHOTO CAPTION: William De Prêtre]
>   A Window into KNFB Reader: An Evolving Project, a New Platform, and New
>                                  Horizons
>                                by Joel Zimba
>      From the Editor: Joel Zimba is the reading project innovation manager
> for the National Federation of the Blind. One of his major responsibilities
> is to supervise the innovation of the KNFB Reader, a dream come true for
> those of us who want to be able to read print with a device small enough to
> fit in our pocket. Joel and Jim Gashel recently had the opportunity to
> introduce the groundbreaking program to the wider tech world at the largest
> assistive technology conference on earth, hosted by California State
> University, Northridge. Here is what he has to say about that experience:
>      I am taking the stage with Jim Gashel, vice president of business
> development and product evangelist for KNFB Reader, LLC, and Jenny Lay-
> Flurrie-the chief accessibility officer for Microsoft. The room full of
> onlookers quiets as she approaches the podium. It is the first day of the
> thirty-second annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, and we are
> launching a new product.
>      After over a year of development, a project I was introduced to on my
> first day working with the National Federation of the Blind is being
> presented to the world. I man the controls and demonstrate the capabilities
> of KNFB Reader for Windows, while Jim describes the history as well as the
> globe-spanning collaboration that led to this moment.
>      I can remember sitting in the audience of the 2014 National
> Convention of the National Federation of the Blind, when Jim Gashel first
> demonstrated the modern incarnation of KNFB Reader for the iPhone. You can
> read Jim's perspective on those events in the December 2014 Braille Monitor
> article, "A New Era in Mobile Reading Begins: Introducing the KNFB Reader
> for iOS." In that article Mr. Gashel details his first meeting with Ray
> Kurzweil. He discusses events leading to the creation of the first reading
> machine for the blind, resulting in the KNFB Reader Mobile line of
> products. Finally these collaborations bring us to the indispensable KNFB
> Reader app so many of us carry everywhere and use every day. On that July
> afternoon, I never imagined I would be part of the team that would keep
> KNFB Reader evolving, much less metaphorically cutting the ribbon on an app
> that brings the power of KNFB's text recognition to Windows 10-powered
> desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones.
>      The launch event, held in the Microsoft area of the CSUN conference
> rooms, is not the end of a story but the beginning of an ongoing tale. It
> consists of three madcap days of networking, demonstrating KNFB Reader on
> three platforms and multiple configurations, and promotion of the KNFB
> Reader technology, which is the most widely available, efficient, and
> powerful text recognition solution available to date. By night I am
> mingling, recruiting distributors of our multi-platform Enterprise product,
> and talking with researchers and other app developers.
>      I am no stranger to conference exhibit halls. Since 2011 I have
> demonstrated various forms of assistive technology for both professionals
> and end users at dozens of such events. None compare to the size and scope
> of the CSUN exhibit hall. If you have attended a national convention, you
> will have some idea of the frenzy of such a loud, busy, and heavily
> populated space. Hundreds of vendors both intentionally and unintentionally
> competing for the attention of passersby with their colorful displays,
> video presentations, and of course the talking, beeping, and otherwise
> calamitous technology itself.
>      On the second day I am already losing my voice from trying to be
> heard over the call of the great blue whale echoing from the Touch Graphics
> booth next door. Behind me President Riccobono announces the debut of KNFB
> Reader for Windows in our own multimedia promo created just for CSUN, while
> I demonstrate the stand mode feature of KNFB Reader, which takes pictures
> automatically as you turn the pages of a book. The gentleman I just met had
> not yet ventured into the modern era and still uses a desktop-based, stand-
> alone device from the last decade. My new friend will likely purchase his
> first smartphone just for KNFB Reader, which is not an uncommon situation.
>      On Friday morning a visitor to our booth had a question about using
> KNFB Reader on her BrailleNote Touch from HumanWare. In November of 2016
> all users of the BrailleNote Touch received KNFB Reader free of charge. The
> device I am now holding in my hand is the first product of its kind which
> can turn printed text into Braille with a single command. This makes good
> on the promise Jim Gashel made in the final lines of his 2014 article, when
> he teased the KNFB Reader expansion to the Android platform. I battle the
> typically congested conference WiFi to configure cloud synchronization
> using Dropbox for her.
>      This is my job: to know the intricacies of our products on all
> platforms, to work with our engineers to squish bugs, and to provide
> support to KNFB Reader customers. I usually do this from behind a desk or
> at the end of an often-tenuous telephone connection. Meeting so many KNFB
> Reader users from all over the world face-to-face reaffirms my goal of
> improving this powerful tool that increases the independence of blind
> people worldwide, enabling them to live the lives they want. This is the
> mission of the National Federation of the Blind, and I am honored to play
> my part.
>      Perhaps my favorite question comes from the sighted person being
> introduced to KNFB Reader for the first time. "How do you take a picture if
> you're blind?" Of course, I was wrestling with this question myself before
> the release of the app in 2014. When I demonstrate the program's Field of
> View Report, which details how much of the printed page is visible to the
> camera and how that can be coupled with tilt guidance to help keep the
> device in the horizontal plane, incredulity gives way to surprise and then
> often unease. No longer is this seemingly fundamentally visual activity
> solely the domain of the sighted.
>      I now know that this is only half the story. The part we benefit
> from, but never directly observe, is the powerful KNFB image pre-processing
> system, which can turn a picture that would otherwise be unsuitable for
> recognition into a document that is read nearly flawlessly. I am often
> cavalier when I throw a piece of paper under a document camera at a rakish
> angle. I know I will soon be navigating the recognized output with ease.
> Some of the algorithms developed by Ray Kurzweil forty years ago are still
> alive and well in KNFB Reader. We use them every day. This is how that
> crumpled receipt still gives up the telephone number of the restaurant
> where I left my hat.
>      I am not alone in representing KNFB Reader at CSUN. I am joined by
> Jim Gashel and William De Prêtre. William is a chief software engineer with
> our partner Sensotec NV located in Belgium. He, very nearly single-
> handedly, coded the Windows version of KNFB Reader. Every morning we gather
> for a working breakfast to assess any new developments from the
> Twittersphere, take on long-standing challenges in real time, and plan for
> where we are going next. In addition to the pleasure of having a colleague
> become a good friend, I have the opportunity to personally express my
> appreciation to William for his herculean effort over the past year:
> deadlines, unexpected dead ends, and undocumented interfaces-he faced them
> all; developers all-too-often never meet the happy customers who benefit
> from their work every day.
>      In the launch event speech, Mr. Gashel stressed the importance of
> partnerships. Indeed, I would say that is the thread which unites all of my
> experiences throughout the CSUN conference. Our ongoing partnership with
> Microsoft, which certainly shaped KNFB Reader for Windows, also led to
> changes and improvements in Microsoft products, especially with regard to
> accessibility. While I was acquainted with many of the Google contingent
> attending CSUN, many more of them were familiar with KNFB Reader and
> certainly with Ray Kurzweil, who is now a vice president at Google devoting
> his time to the arcane art of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
> A gathering composed of thousands of people from all over the world very
> quickly came to feel like a community.
>      A three-day conference is never all business. Several of us spent the
> entire day wearing Cat-in-the-Hat-style hats in celebration of Read Across
> America Day-March 2. Several Dr. Seuss books were on hand for reading with
> KNFB Reader. Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904. Every year the
> National Federation of the Blind marks this auspicious occasion and
> promotes literacy-especially Braille literacy-and access to books for all.
>      Speaking of community, our Federation family was well represented.
> Dozens of us descended upon a nearby restaurant early in the week. Before I
> knew it, I had plenty of volunteers for the exhibit hall booth. I am
> especially thankful for the help I received from Lisa Irving, Nahrain
> Spurlock, and Ali Farrage, intrepid members of the San Diego chapter who
> took on the duty of breaking down the booth and shipping everything home on
> the last day.
>      The launch was not the end, and CSUN was not the end. The Windows
> product will establish a foothold, and it will grow and change. KNFB Reader
> will continue to become more robust and powerful. Very soon another of Jim
> Gashel's promises will come to pass; Chinese and Japanese will make an
> appearance. This will put KNFB Reader into the hands of countless more of
> the world's blind people. Soon a document recognized on your home computer
> will appear, ready for reading on your mobile device with no effort on your
> part. A separate multi-platform product called KNFB Reader Enterprise now
> brings our software to all of your devices at one low price. Looking ahead,
> major new developments are underway which will begin to reveal themselves
> at our National Convention this coming July. Stay tuned.
>      To learn more about KNFB Reader and KNFB Reader Enterprise, go to
> www.knfbreader.com or call (347) 422-7085. You can also email
> support at knfbreader.com. To obtain a quote for volume purchases of KNFB
> Reader Enterprise or a site license, contact enterprise-
> info at knfbreader.com.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Karl Belanger]
>                  The State of Amazon Device Accessibility
>                              by Karl Belanger
>      From the Editor: Karl Belanger is an access technology specialist at
> the Jernigan Institute. He has worked for the National Federation of the
> Blind for more than two years, coming to this position after working as a
> consultant for web accessibility and access technology training. In this
> piece he provides some history about the accessibility of products made and
> sold by Amazon and chronicles significant changes in accessibility that
> have resulted in some very exciting products for the blind. Here is what he
> says:
>      Amazon sells a number of devices, from dedicated Kindle book readers
> to Fire tablets and the new and popular Alexa devices. Historically, many
> of these have had limited to no accessibility for blind users. Fortunately,
> with some involvement from the National Federation of the Blind, this is
> changing.
>      Amazon released the first E Ink Kindle in November of 2007. It was
> wildly popular with the sighted public, but this device did not contain any
> accessibility features that could be used by a blind person. It was quickly
> replaced by the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX, which added text-to-speech for
> reading of some books, but could not be independently operated by a blind
> person as the menus were not spoken.
>      Shortly after the Kindle 2's release, the Authors Guild, which is the
> largest national organization representing the interests of writers,
> protested Amazon's deployment of text-to-speech on the Kindle 2. Viewing
> this feature as a potential threat to the audiobook market, the Guild
> argued that the automated reading aloud of a book is a copyright
> infringement unless the copyright holder has specifically granted
> permission. Any agreement of this nature would be against the interests of
> blind people, since it would set a precedent equating the very different
> formats of text-to-speech rendering and audiobooks. The NFB worked to
> oppose any such restrictions and stood with Amazon in opposition to the
> Author's Guild.
>      Amazon ended up removing text-to-speech from titles whose authors or
> publishers were opposed to its continued availability, but did compromise
> in as much as they would only turn it off if explicitly requested instead
> of only turning it on with the publisher's express permission.
>      Around the same time, the National Federation of the Blind also began
> to ask for increased accessibility because Amazon had become the world's
> largest eBook store and access would represent an enormous benefit for
> blind and otherwise print-disabled users.
>      In 2009 Kindle for PC with Accessibility Plugin was the first Kindle
> reading platform that offered enough features for blind users (and many
> print-disabled people) to use books from the Amazon ecosystem at all, and
> its features were, like those on the hardware players, very limited. Many
> blind people began to read novels and other non-intensive text with this
> platform, but it could not be used for more active reading. Books could not
> be read with Braille because they were self-voicing, and the smallest unit
> a user could navigate by was the sentence, so it was not possible to spell
> words or use any of the study tools available to other users.
>      The Kindle Keyboard (sometimes known as the Kindle 3), released in
> 2010, offered the first usable, if rudimentary, accessibility features for
> this population on an Amazon hardware device. Shopping, web browsing, and
> many of the reading functions were disabled, and navigation was limited to
> moving through the text in read-all mode or by page, but it was now at
> least possible for a blind person to make some use of it. The situation on
> Fire tablets was initially not much better. Upon launch, the first of the
> Android-based Fire tablets did include TalkBack, but the Fire OS had not
> been built to support it. Even basic features like the keyboard could not
> be used by a blind person when the device was first available.
>      Despite the marginal level of accessibility in the Kindle platform,
> Amazon began to push into both K-12 and higher education with their books
> and devices. With the devices crippled by a lack of fundamental
> accessibility and restrictions on the titles that could be accessed using
> text-to-speech, the NFB became an adversary instead of an ally to Amazon.
> This resulted in a number of legal challenges in schools that used Kindle
> materials with blind students and a protest highlighting the lack of access
> in Amazon's tools at their headquarters in December of 2012.
>      In May of 2013, Kindle for iOS gained VoiceOver compatibility for
> most books and immediately became the favored platform for blind Kindle
> users. Likewise, Fire OS gained further accessibility support in the next
> couple of years, and at the time the Fire Phone was released, it had
> reached a point where for a time it surpassed the accessibility available
> on traditional Android devices.
>      These improvements were critical and welcomed by blind users, but
> Kindle continued to fall short of the robust accessibility required to read
> academic textbooks, and August of 2015 saw Amazon and the NFB in conflict
> once again. The New York City public schools were considering a large
> contract with Amazon based around the Kindle and Whispercast ecosystem. The
> National Federation of the Blind, aware that the partial accessibility of
> books on the platform would continue to put blind students at a serious
> disadvantage, prepared for a public protest of the meeting where the fate
> of the contract was to be decided. The buses were ready to roll, the signs
> were printed, and the Federation was loudly and publicly denouncing the
> partnership, when suddenly-at the eleventh hour-the meeting was canceled
> and the contract shelved.
>      Not long after this very public conflict, Amazon and the NFB sat down
> to discuss opportunities to partner on the accessibility of the Kindle
> platform in order to ensure that blind users could derive as much benefit
> from its ecosystem as sighted users. The National Federation of the Blind
> has been working with Amazon on the quality of their educational content
> ever since.
>      In the last year or so, we have begun to see the earliest fruits of
> this partnership. As of mid-2016, Amazon has begun rolling out its
> VoiceView screen reader to all its Kindle readers, tablets, and TV devices.
> It has taken steps to make its Alexa app for controlling the Echo devices
> mostly accessible. Finally, they retired the old "Kindle for PC with
> Accessibility Plugin" and have replaced it with a fully integrated version
> of the Kindle for PC software. This now works with NVDA to allow for much
> more robust accessibility in most Kindle texts.
>      This brings us to the present day. Amazon is still working toward
> further accessibility on many of their products, but we have seen such
> rapid improvement that it is a good time to discuss the experience a blind
> user can expect today.
> Current Accessibility of Amazon Devices
> Kindle Readers
>      Amazon sells four different Kindle devices, which all have some level
> of accessibility. These are, in ascending order of price and
> specifications: the Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite, the Kindle Voyage, and
> the Kindle Oasis. The most basic model, just called Kindle, is relatively
> inexpensive and has the most basic feature set. Each additional model adds
> higher quality screens, better lighting, etc.
> Activating VoiceView
>      How you activate VoiceView changes somewhat depending on the model of
> Kindle you have. The basic Kindle uses a Bluetooth headset or speaker to
> transmit the audio. The Kindle Paperwhite uses an audio adaptor that plugs
> into the micro USB charging port. Both these methods have their benefits
> and drawbacks. The Bluetooth method means that the device can be charging
> while VoiceView is active. However, there is no immediately obvious
> indication how to pair a headset when a user first gets the device, without
> looking up instructions online. For the Paperwhite, the obvious drawback is
> that the audio adaptor takes up the charging port, so you will always be
> running the device on battery power. For the basic Kindle, to pair a
> headset the power button is held in for seven seconds once the Kindle has
> fully booted. Then, hold two fingers near the center of the screen for a
> little over a second. At this point the Kindle will begin trying all
> Bluetooth devices it can detect. Once the device you want begins to
> broadcast an audio message, press and hold with two fingers again until the
> Kindle confirms VoiceView is on. For the Paperwhite just plug headphones
> into the adaptor and then plug the adaptor into the Kindle, and VoiceView
> turns on within a second or two.
> Basic Gestures
>      As with other mobile screen readers, the most basic gestures are
> flick left, right, and double-tap. Moving your finger around the screen to
> explore by touch is also possible. Page changing and scrolling is done with
> two fingers. Swiping left and right with two fingers will flip pages in a
> book or move through multiple pages of content in other areas. Slowly
> swiping up or down with two fingers will scroll through long lists or any
> other content that doesn't all fit on one screen. Much like on iOS, it is
> possible to flick up and down to move by a selected granularity, and the
> gesture to change granularity is to flick up then down or down then up in
> one motion.
> Reading Books
>      The process of reading a book on the Kindle is straightforward. From
> the home screen, find and double-tap on the book you want to read. If the
> book supports the screen reader, the book will start reading automatically.
> If the book is not supported, you will receive a message to this effect,
> but the book will still open. Once a supported book is opened, a two-finger
> flick down from near the top of the page will start the book in continuous
> reading mode. While the book is shown, it is possible to flick left or
> right with two fingers to go to the next or previous page. To access the
> reading bar where it is possible to navigate through the book or go back to
> your library, simply double-tap on the text while reading. It is possible
> to select text and highlight or add notes, but the initial step of this is
> somewhat clunky. To select text, move your finger around the screen to try
> and find the word you want to select. After this is done, double-tap and
> hold on the word to be selected. This will bring up an interface with
> buttons to adjust the selection, define a word, highlight or annotate the
> selected text, etc., which works quite well.
> Limitations with VoiceView
>      VoiceView on the Kindle has a number of limitations that
> significantly affect how useful the device is. There are many features that
> simply state they are unavailable when focusing on the button to activate
> them. The first instance of this a user may run across is when initially
> setting up the device. While signing into an account is accessible,
> creating an account directly on the device isn't currently possible with
> VoiceView. Probably the most significant of these missing features is the
> Kindle FreeTime kids section. This is where a lot of content for kids
> resides, and parents can also set up reading lists, goals, time limits, and
> book restrictions for their children. Not having this feature means the
> Kindle readers are much less useful for a blind child whose parents want to
> get them into reading by using this service or to blind parents having no
> access to the parental controls. The Kindle's integration with Goodreads,
> (an online site where people can share the books they're reading, reading
> lists, and reviews of books they have read) is also disabled with
> VoiceView.
> Fire Tablets
>      Amazon's Fire tablets are a series of relatively inexpensive tablets
> that run Amazon's Fire OS. The current tablets include a basic, seven-inch
> tablet simply called Fire, plus the Fire HD6, HD8, and HD10 which have six,
> eight, and ten-inch screens respectively. These tablets all come with
> Amazon's VoiceView screen reader, which has a few additional features over
> the version on the Kindle devices.
> Activating VoiceView
>      Several different ways to activate VoiceView are available, depending
> on what state the tablet is in. VoiceView can always be activated under
> Settings > Accessibility. For a brand-new or freshly reset tablet, press
> and hold two fingers on the screen to start VoiceView. In addition, the
> user can hold down the power button from anywhere in the system until a
> sound is heard, then hold two fingers on the screen until VoiceView starts.
> To turn off VoiceView, go into Settings > Accessibility and turn it off.
> Using the Fire Tablet
>      VoiceView on Fire OS is very similar to the version on the Kindle,
> with a few added gestures. As is the case in TalkBack on Android, the angle
> gestures are present, such as swiping right then down to access
> notifications, or up then left to reach the home screen. One unique gesture
> that VoiceView has is the "jog wheel" gesture. To use this, swipe up then
> down or down then up to choose the granularity you want to use to navigate.
> Then, double-tap and hold, then draw a circle on the screen without lifting
> your finger. As you continue going around, VoiceView will scroll through
> items on the screen matching that granularity quite quickly. Draw a circle
> in the other direction to go back.
>      VoiceView can handle the built-in apps on the Fire tablet, plus many
> third-party apps such as Audible or BARD Mobile. The responsiveness is very
> good, though gestures need to be fairly precise; the double-tap action
> needs to be quick, and these default controls cannot be customized. It is
> possible to navigate through web pages, but the granularity options are
> limited to sections (what other devices call headings) and lists. Reading
> books works just as it does on the Kindle.
> Braille Support
>      There is a version of BrailleBack currently available for the Fire
> tablets. This version, like the Android version, lacks many necessary
> features such as contracted Braille input, word wrap, and consistent and
> complete sets of commands across displays. Amazon has stated publicly that
> they are working on a better, more integrated version of Braille support,
> but no other details or release date have been provided as of this writing.
> Current Limitations
>      VoiceView and Fire OS accessibility in general do come with some
> limitations. As mentioned previously, the navigation in web content is
> extremely limited, which can make navigating larger pages awkward.
> Similarly, there are no headings or other navigation elements in the App
> Store, Kindle Store, and other stores, again making navigation difficult.
> The gesture recognition, especially on the lower-end devices, can also be
> somewhat picky, resulting in failed angle gestures, occasional
> misinterpreted flicks, and fast double-taps that make using the tablet
> occasionally frustrating.
> Alexa Devices
>      Alexa, Amazon's personal assistant service, is on an increasing
> number of devices, both from Amazon and other companies. The devices that
> are most associated with Alexa are the Echo devices, which will be
> discussed here. Alexa devices work through the Alexa app, which acts as a
> hub for configuring, monitoring, and adjusting aspects of your experience.
> The Hardware
>      There are three Echo devices in the line. The Echo is a stand-alone
> speaker which was the first device to have Alexa. It has a decent speaker,
> 360-degree microphones, and connects to your WiFi to provide access to
> Alexa. The Amazon Tap is a smaller Bluetooth speaker. Until recently the
> Tap could not listen for the Alexa command, rather requiring a button press
> to cause it to listen. Now the Tap can listen, thanks to a software update.
> It is also the only battery-powered device in the lineup. Lastly, the Echo
> Dot is a much smaller version of the Echo, which is primarily designed to
> connect to other devices. The speaker on the Dot is fairly weak, but good
> enough for a small room or bedroom. All three of these devices serve
> different purposes depending on where and what the device is used for.
> The App and Web Interface
>      There is an Alexa app for both iOS and Android, as well as a web
> interface. The setup is basically the same whichever platform you're on. In
> the app it opens a home screen which shows your recent requests along with
> more information about them. These might be additional details about sports-
> or weather-related requests, information on the song playing, or other
> possible information. The app is also where it is possible to search for
> and enable skills, connect smart home devices, and configure or set up
> other Echo devices. The app is very accessible on all platforms, though it
> can be laggy on mobile. There are also some unlabeled links, mostly in the
> section at the bottom of every screen that shows what your devices are
> currently playing.
> General Usage
>      To use an Echo device, simply say "Alexa," and state your request.
> "Alexa, what's the weather in Baltimore?" "Alexa, play the Nation's Blind
> podcast from TuneIn." There are a vast number of things it is possible to
> do with the Echo. You can ask for the info on most professional and college
> sports teams, play music and stations from TuneIn radio, read some Kindle
> books, and listen to content in your Audible library. If you are a Prime
> member, it is also possible to listen to music from Prime Music and even
> order products directly through the Echo. There is also an ever-growing
> number of skills which will be discussed further in the next section. If
> you've connected a smart home device, the Echo can also be used to control
> your thermostat, lights, connected switches, and many other types of
> devices.
> Smart Home and Skills
>      The number of Alexa skills is varied and growing daily. From simple
> trivia games to recipe databases to controls for your security systems-you
> can find almost anything in the skills section of the Alexa app. To enable
> a skill, simply find it in the Alexa app and tap the enable button. Or, if
> you know the name, simply tell Alexa to enable the skill. Some noteworthy
> skills include Jeopardy, AllRecipes, and Uber/Lyft.
>      Another growing area of Alexa is smart home devices. Many devices
> including thermostats from various companies, lighting from companies such
> as Philips, smart door locks, and even whole home security systems can be
> controlled through an Echo device. Generally the device must be set up
> either directly on the device and/or through its connected app, which may
> or may not be accessible. Once the smart home device is connected to your
> WiFi, it can be connected to Alexa. This is done in the app, generally by
> enabling a skill and connecting either directly to the device or by signing
> into the related account.
> Reading Kindle Books on Other Platforms
> PC
>      Reading Kindle books on the PC has traditionally been a less than
> enjoyable experience. The book could only be read by the system's text-to-
> speech voice, and navigation was minimal at best. Very recently, Kindle for
> PC version 1.19 paired with NVDA has enabled much more granular navigation
> of Kindle books. It is possible to navigate by chapter, by page, right down
> to character-by-character navigation. However, only Kindle books that
> support enhanced typesetting will work in this version. Unfortunately, the
> only place this information is located is in the product details on the
> Amazon site, and no warning is given when opening an incompatible book
> other than it not being possible to read the book using the arrow keys.
> Highlighting and attaching notes is completely accessible with NVDA, and it
> is also possible to navigate by link or graphic on the current page.
> Currently, the best results are with NVDA, though JAWS does provide a
> reduced level of access, but selecting text and the associated functions
> are not compatible.
> Mac
>      Kindle for Mac is, unfortunately, completely inaccessible. The login
> screen is unusable with VoiceOver. While the menu bar is accessible after
> logging in, none of the content can be used or interacted with in any way.
> iOS
>      Kindle for iOS is very accessible. The login process, book selection,
> and download are all very usable with VoiceOver. Once in a book, a two-
> finger swipe down starts continuous reading. A double-tap on the screen
> shows the menu bar, where it is possible to navigate to different parts of
> the book, share the book, or return to the library.
> Android
>      Kindle for Android is also very accessible with TalkBack. When
> loading a book, simply swipe right to start continuous reading. Just as
> with Kindle on the Fire, it is possible to drag a finger around the screen
> to find a word to start a selection. Once the start of the selection is
> found, a double-tap and hold brings up the usual selection options, though
> once something is selected, when returning to that location later, there is
> no announcement from TalkBack that something is there.
>      Amazon's devices have come a long way since the original Kindle for
> PC was released in 2009. The Fire tablets and Fire TV are becoming
> increasingly viable entertainment devices for the blind and low vision. The
> Alexa devices are very popular, thanks to their ability to provide access
> to smart home products that may not be natively accessible. Even the Kindle
> reading apps mostly continue to show improvement. Amazon has made
> significant strides in accessibility in nearly all their products, and it
> will be exciting to see what new developments arise in 2017 and beyond.
>      At the time of writing in March 2017, the products mentioned in this
> article are commercially available at the following prices:
>      Kindle E-reader: $79.99
>      Kindle Paperwhite: $119.99
>      Kindle Voyage: $199.99
>      Kindle Oasis: $289.99
>      Fire Tablet: $49.99
>      Fire HD 6: $69.99
>      Fire HD 8: $89.99
>      Fire HD 10: $229.99
>      Amazon Echo: $179.99
>      Amazon Tap: $129.99
>      Amazon Echo Tap: $49.99
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Parnell Diggs]
>     The Tools of Self-Advocacy for Airline Passengers with Disabilities
>                              by Parnell Diggs
>      From the Editor: Parnell Diggs is the director of government affairs
> for the National Federation of the Blind, a former president of the NFB of
> South Carolina, and the previous owner of a law firm in that state which
> bore his name. One of his talents is translating the technicalities of the
> law into prose that laypeople can understand. Here is what he says about
> the letter of the law:
>      The general rule is simple enough: carriers are admonished that "You
> must not discriminate against any qualified individual with a disability,
> by reason of such disability, in the provision of air transportation" (14
> CFR 382.11). But the pleasantries very often deteriorate from there, as
> many people with disabilities (including those who are blind) have
> experienced while flying the not-so-friendly skies.
>      The stories are all-too-familiar for members of the National
> Federation of the Blind who travel to the convention, Washington Seminar,
> or on other Federation business throughout the year. The purpose of this
> article is to flag some of the regulations passengers can cite en route to
> the Orlando national convention, for example, if confronted with an awkward
> situation at the airport or during flight.
>      Where appropriate, I will also give you citations to the Code of
> Federal Regulations, which will make your self-advocacy more effective and
> hopefully improve the flying experience. In this case, the origin of most
> of the regulations cited in this article are promulgated in the
> implementing regulations adopted by the United States Department of
> Transportation, pursuant to the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, which
> protects passengers with disabilities from discrimination in various
> aspects of air travel.
> The Complaints Resolution Officer (CRO)
>      Every air carrier that operates an aircraft with nineteen or more
> seats must designate a complaints resolution officer. "In any situation in
> which any person complains or raises a concern with your personnel about
> discrimination, accommodations, or services with respect to passengers with
> a disability, and your personnel do not immediately resolve the issue to
> the customer's satisfaction or provide a requested accommodation, your
> personnel must immediately inform the passenger of the right to contact a
> CRO and then contact a CRO on the passenger's behalf or provide the
> passenger a means to do so... Your personnel must provide this information
> to the passenger in a format he or she can use" (14 CFR 382.151(c)(1)).
>      The CRO must be available at the airport at all times that a US
> carrier is operating flights at that airport; for foreign carriers, the CRO
> must be available at the airport for all flights beginning or terminating
> at that airport.
>      The CRO is intended to be a powerful individual with authority to
> make dispositive decisions for the carrier of all complaints and even
> overrule decisions made by other airline officials except where the "pilot-
> in-command of an aircraft" makes a decision based on safety. But, short of
> a safety decision made by a "pilot-in-command of an aircraft," the CRO can
> address your issue.
> Website Accessibility
>      As of December 12, 2016, airlines that operate at least one aircraft
> with a seating capacity of more than sixty passengers and own or control a
> website must insure that the public-facing pages on its primary website are
> accessible using World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Recommendation (11
> December 2008, Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 for
> Level AA standards).
>      This means that, whether you are booking a flight, changing a
> reservation, purchasing additional services, or dealing with frequent flyer
> programs, the Department of Transportation requires that those activities
> and services must be available to disabled passengers if they are made
> available to the general public online.
> The Airport
>      Entities which contract with airlines are also bound by the Air
> Carrier Access Act implementing regulations. (e.g., those who provide gate-
> to-gate assistance for passengers needing to make connections or for
> passengers arriving at the airport or departing after reaching their
> destination.) Contract personnel are also subject to CRO authority.
> The Aircraft
>      Quoting the regulations, "You must not require a qualified individual
> with a disability to accept special services (including, but not limited
> to, preboarding) that the individual does not request" (14 CFR 382.11(2)).
> The airlines are required to offer preboarding, and some personnel take
> this obligation very seriously, but a blind passenger who does not want to
> preboard cannot be compelled to do so.
>      Under the regulations, airlines may offer an extra safety briefing to
> blind passengers, but blind passengers are not required to accept it.
> According to 14 CFR 382.115(b), "You may offer an individual briefing to
> any other passenger, but you may not require an individual to have such a
> briefing except as provided in paragraph (a) [referring to the general
> passenger briefing] of this section."
> Canes and Guide Dogs
>      14 CFR 121.589(g) In addition to the methods of stowage in paragraph
>      (c) of this section, flexible travel canes carried by blind
>      individuals may be stowed -
>           (1) Under any series of connected passenger seats in the same
>                 row, if the cane does not protrude into an aisle and if the
>                 cane is flat on the floor; or
>           (2) Between a nonemergency exit window seat and the fuselage, if
>                 the cane is flat on the floor; or
>           (3) Beneath any two nonemergency exit window seats, if the cane
>                 is flat on the floor; or
>           (4) In accordance with any other method approved by the
>                 Administrator.
>      Longtime Federation leader Patti Chang recently used this regulation
> to convince a flight attendant to allow Patti to store her cane at her
> seat, though she was first threatened with forced removal from the flight
> by federal marshals. Also, 14 CFR 382.121 requires carriers to permit
> passengers to bring "mobility aids, such as canes (including those used by
> persons with impaired vision)" into the aircraft cabin.
>    The final set of regulations in this article refers to guide dog users.
> Carriers have been making it increasingly difficult for guide dog users to
> travel in peace. Accordingly, the relevant regulations are being set forth
> below in their entirety as information for those who would like to learn
> and use them for future travel plans. These regulations can be found at 14
> CFR 382.117 as follows:
>      (a) as a carrier, you must permit a service animal to accompany a
>           passenger with a disability.
>      (1) You must not deny transportation to a service animal on the basis
>           that its carriage may offend or annoy carrier personnel or
>           persons traveling on the aircraft.
>      (2) On a flight segment scheduled to take 8 hours or more, you may, as
>           a condition of permitting a service animal to travel in the
>           cabin, require the passenger using the service animal to provide
>           documentation that the animal will not need to relieve itself on
>           the flight or that the animal can relieve itself in a way that
>           does not create a health or sanitation issue on the flight.
>      (b) You must permit the service animal to accompany the passenger with
>           a disability at any seat in which the passenger sits, unless the
>           animal obstructs an aisle or other area that must remain
>           unobstructed to facilitate an emergency evacuation.
>      (c) If a service animal cannot be accommodated at the seat location of
>           the passenger with a disability who is using the animal, you
>           must offer the passenger the opportunity to move with the animal
>           to another seat location, if present on the aircraft, where the
>           animal can be accommodated.
>      (d) As evidence that an animal is a service animal, you must accept
>           identification cards, other written documentation, presence of
>           harnesses, tags, or the credible verbal assurances of a
>           qualified individual with a disability using the animal.
>      (g) Whenever you decide not to accept an animal as a service animal,
>           you must explain the reason for your decision to the passenger
>           and document it in writing. A copy of the explanation must be
>           provided to the passenger either at the airport, or within 10
>           calendar days of the incident."
> Enforcement
>      The regulations discussed herein would be meaningless without
> mechanisms to enforce them. One thing is certain: if you say nothing when
> you feel you have been a victim of discrimination, no action will be taken.
> Ideally, you should make a complaint to the CRO at the airport prior to
> takeoff or after landing. If you do this, the CRO will be required to act
> on your complaint immediately.
>      If the CRO agrees that your rights may potentially be violated,
> he/she has the authority to take action on behalf of the carrier to prevent
> a violation of the Air Carrier Access Act. Or, if the harm has already been
> done, the CRO is required to provide a statement summarizing the facts and
> setting forth the corrective actions the carrier intends to take.
>      If the CRO believes that no violation has occurred, he/she must
> provide a statement in writing summarizing the facts and the reasons for
> the determination. The statement must also inform the complainant of the
> right to pursue enforcement action with the Department of Transportation.
>      Whether the CRO takes favorable or unfavorable action on a complaint,
> the statement must be provided to the complainant at the airport if
> possible but within thirty days thereafter in any case. There is also a
> provision for filing a complaint directly with the Department of
> Transportation. This section is set forth verbatim as follows:
> 14 CFR 382.159
>      (a) Any person believing that a carrier has violated any provision of
>         this part may seek assistance or file an informal complaint at the
>         Department of Transportation no later than 6 months after the date
>         of the incident by either:
>      (1) Going to the web site of the Department's Aviation Consumer
>         Protection Division at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov and
>         selecting "Air Travel Problems and Complaints," or
>      (2) Writing to Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer
>         Protection Division (C-75), 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE,
>         Washington, DC 20590.
>      (b) Any person believing that a carrier has violated any provision of
>         this part may also file a formal complaint under the applicable
>         procedures of 14 CFR part 302 [The Department of Transportation
>         general administrative review process].
>      (c) You must file a formal complaint under this part within six months
>         of the incident on which the complaint is based in order to ensure
>         the Department of Transportation will investigate the matter.
>      While this is by no means an exhaustive accounting of the applicable
> regulations concerning air travel for passengers with disabilities, these
> are the most common types of issues brought to our attention in the
> National Federation of the Blind Department of Advocacy and Policy.
> Familiarizing yourself with these regulations and discussing them civilly
> with airline personnel will give you the best chance of enjoying a positive
> traveling experience the next time you plan to board a flight.
>                                 ----------
>  Uber and Lyft Agree to Improving Service for Riders with Service Animals
>              We Need Your Help with Monitoring Their Progress
>                             by Valerie Yingling
>      From the Editor: Many blind people have welcomed the arrival of new
> ridesharing services with open arms, but the same cannot be said for the
> services, which sometimes have refused to provide rides to blind passengers
> accompanied by guide dogs. In this article Valerie Yingling, legal program
> coordinator for the National Federation of the Blind, discusses settlements
> between the National Federation of the Blind and the two major ridesharing
> services that operate in the country, Uber and Lyft. Here is what she has
> to say:
>      Within the last year, the National Federation of the Blind has
> resolved allegations of discrimination against both Uber and Lyft. In
> landmark settlement agreements, both companies have agreed to revise their
> policies and procedures to prevent drivers from discriminating against
> riders with service animals. With these agreements, the NFB has pushed back
> against biases and misconceptions regarding the blind and their service
> animals. Policy and procedure changes outlined in the Uber and Lyft
> settlement agreements are designed to afford blind riders with service
> animals the ability to travel to doctors' appointments, school, work,
> grocery stores, and elsewhere, with the same ease of travel that Uber and
> Lyft offer to sighted customers. In short, the agreements support our
> living the lives we want, and the NFB commends both Lyft and Uber for
> instituting these changes.
>      As a result of the settlement agreements, both Uber and Lyft now
> require that existing and new drivers acknowledge their legal obligations
> to transport riders with service animals. Both companies have adopted
> stricter enforcement policies-if Uber and Lyft drivers knowingly deny rides
> to individuals with service animals, the drivers will be immediately
> terminated. Additionally, if either company receives plausible reports that
> a specific driver refused to transport or otherwise discriminated against
> riders with service animals on more than one occasion, that driver will be
> terminated, regardless of the driver's intent. Uber and Lyft have agreed to
> improve their complaint procedures, including implementing more effective
> customer service responses to riders who register service animal
> discrimination complaints. See the agreement terms in full at
> https://nfb.org/rideshare.
>      The National Federation of the Blind will coordinate with both Uber
> and Lyft to gather data on the success of these efforts for the three- to
> five-year duration of the agreements. The NFB will gather feedback from its
> membership on both ride denials and the quality of rides provided for
> individuals with service animals. This testing will be a critical tool for
> measuring Uber and Lyft's compliance with its NFB settlement agreement.
> Testing Program Specifics
>      This is where we need your help. The Uber and Lyft testing program is
> open to all NFB members and nonmembers nationwide. Riders with service
> animals or individuals traveling with riders with service animals are asked
> to complete the following online questionnaire promptly after requesting
> and/or completing a ride with Uber or Lyft: https://nfb.org/rideshare-test.
> This testing tool will be used to measure not only ride cancellations and
> denials, but also whether a driver appeared to understand his or her
> obligations to provide equal access and to not discriminate as per the
> protections provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Specifically,
> testers will provide the following information via the online
> questionnaire.
> Uber and Lyft Testing Questions
>    . Rider's name
>    . Email
>    . Date ride was ordered
>    . Time ride was ordered
>    . Address for pick up
>    . Driver's name
>    . Did the rider alert the driver of his/her service animal prior to the
>      ride?
>    . Did the driver appear to be unaware of his/her responsibility to
>      transport riders with service animals?
>    . Was the ride denied?
>    . How was a complaint filed regarding the denial (e.g., using website,
>      app, or complaint hotline)?
>    . Was the rider treated disrespectfully during the ride (e.g.,
>      threatened, harassed, ridiculed, or provided inferior service because
>      of the presence of a service animal)?
>    . How was a complaint filed regarding the driver's disrespectful
>      behavior (e.g., using website, app, or complaint hotline)?
>    . Was the rider charged a cleaning fee because of his/her service
>      animal?
>    . Did the rider encounter any accessibility barriers with the rideshare
>      service's app or website?
>      Please note that the Lyft agreement contemplates that the NFB will
> conduct targeted testing in predetermined metropolitan areas. Those areas
> are Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Los Angeles, New
> York, Nashville, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle,
> and the District of Columbia. NFB's testing reports to Lyft will be built
> around the experiences of riders in these cities. That does not mean,
> however, that we don't want to hear from Lyft riders outside of those
> cities. The testing tool is not restricted by geographic area, and we
> welcome Uber and Lyft testing across all affiliates. I'm pleased to note
> that the testing tool will also be available in Spanish.
>      NFB's testing program will open on May 8, 2017. If you are an Uber or
> Lyft customer who has a service animal or travels with someone who has a
> service animal, I strongly encourage you to participate in the testing
> program. Please know that the NFB's feedback to Lyft and Uber will only be
> as strong as the data we gather from testers. Please plan to join us on May
> 8 and for the duration of our testing program!
>      For more information, contact Valerie Yingling, NFB Legal Program
> Coordinator, at vyingling at nfb.org or (410) 659-9314, extension 2440, or see
> https://nfb.org/rideshare.
>                                 ----------
>                         How Do You Work This Thing?
>                              by David Andrews
>      From the Editor: One of the tools most helpful to me in editing the
> Braille Monitor is the World Wide Web. My searches usually begin with
> Google and end by navigating some webpage to which it directs me. I am
> surprised by how often I am asked for some tidbit of information by people
> who don't think I will know it off the top of my head but who believe that
> I have the capacity to find it for them. In their mind the key is that I
> know how to use the computer, and although many of them own one, they do
> not know how to benefit from a search engine or to navigate the webpage to
> which it will take them.
>      As a person who has worked with a lot of blind people in his career,
> David Andrews has a good grasp of what lots of blind folks understand and
> knows how to make them more independent. Here is what he has to say about
> the basics of navigating the World Wide Web and gaining the freedom that so
> many sighted people take for granted:
>      When we look back at this era, it will probably be remembered as the
> time of "the Cloud." What is the Cloud, you ask? Well, basically, the Cloud
> is a place and way of doing things on the internet. Applications and data
> are stored on servers which are reached using the internet and a browser.
> This makes it easy for a company to update an application because they just
> have to do it in one place, not on individual computers or servers
> scattered around the world.
>      Consequently, we are using browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer,
> Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari to do more and more things. I order my
> groceries online, get taxis, use Facebook, read Gmail, etc. At work I use a
> browser to enter my time sheet, to approve time and expenses for employees
> I supervise, to recruit and hire people, and to do my taxes and banking
> online as well.
>      Consequently, it is necessary to use and learn new websites on a
> regular basis. Unfortunately, many blind and visually impaired computer
> users are not taught how to explore new websites; they are only taught how
> to do very specific tasks on the web. A number of years ago at a technology
> conference I saw a presentation from Fidelity, the mutual fund folks. They
> observed blind computer users and categorized their techniques for using
> unfamiliar sites. One of the things they said that stuck with me was that
> most people just know one or two commands in their browser, and they keep
> using them whether or not they work.
>      I am going to give you several techniques or strategies for
> exploring, learning, and navigating a new website. They will not be screen-
> reader-specific, that is, I am not going to list commands for JAWS or
> VoiceOver, but most screen readers have the same basic set of functions,
> and you can look up the specific commands for your particular screen-
> reading program.
>      Screen readers put a web page into a virtual buffer which allows you
> to freely explore it like a word processing document. If you have the time,
> it is generally beneficial to fully explore a new website's home page, use
> your arrow keys or read all commands to explore the complete page. In this
> way you know what is there and have an idea where things are located.
>      There are a number of strategies that can be used to explore a page
> in addition to reading the whole thing. You can tab through the page, going
> from link to link. This can be a relatively quick way to see what is there,
> but it doesn't give you a lot of context. A related strategy is to use a
> "links list." For some reason, for a period of time many JAWS users were
> taught to do this, no matter what. Personally I think this strategy is only
> good for sites with which you are familiar. A Links List, with first letter
> navigation, can be quick, but is of little help unless you know the site.
>      Depending on your screen reader, there may also be commands to get
> lists of forms, tables, frames, or headings. Here again, these commands can
> be useful or of no help depending on your knowledge of the site and what
> you are trying to accomplish. Your screen reader may have commands to get
> other kinds of element lists as well.
>      Probably the most popular means of navigation and exploration besides
> the arrow keys is the use of headings. A heading can be made to visually
> emphasize something, like the beginning of a section. Headings can also be
> thought of as parts of an outline. There can be headings from level one
> through level six. A given site will only use the levels it needs,
> depending on its structure and organization. Headings are ideally
> hierarchical, that is like an outline. You have a level one heading, then
> one or more level two headings below that. Below each level two heading
> there may be additional levels. Think of it as an outline, a way to
> organize content. If you read DAISY books, like those from NLS, you are
> familiar with the concept of headings.
>      Good web practice says that there should be only one level one
> heading per page. Most sites follow this, although there is nothing
> preventing the use of multiple-heading level ones. The use of just one is
> most common, and it is generally at the top or the beginning of the content
> of a site. Below it will be other headings as needed. Most screen readers
> have commands to go to specific levels of headings and to skip from heading
> to heading. If a site has headings and uses them well, this is a quick way
> to get an idea of what is there, as well as to navigate around the site.
> However, not all sites use headings or use them correctly.
>      An increasingly popular way of orientation and navigation is the use
> of landmarks or regions. A landmark denotes a part of the page and is used
> for things like banners, navigation, main content, and footers. Most screen
> readers have a command to jump from landmark to landmark if they are
> present. This is a quick way to make big jumps to different parts of a
> site.
>      Many sites also have a "skip to content" link near the top. This may
> or may not be hidden from visual users and only available to screen-reader
> users. It is a quick way to get to the guts of a site. They can be useful
> but don't always work correctly. Some screen readers also may have a
> command to jump to the beginning of a site's content, but here again, they
> don't always work as intended.
>      The Find command can also be very useful. You can search for a
> keyword on the site. It may be something you know is there or something you
> suspect is there and want to locate. Find will quickly get you to the right
> place.
>      Safari and Firefox have a "reader button" or "reader mode" on some
> sites. This is a button or icon that appears near the top and that skips
> all the header information at the top of the page and jumps to the content.
> The feature in Safari is available on both the Mac and on i-devices. It
> isn't available for all sites but can be useful when present.
>      Screen readers also have commands to move to different kinds of
> elements on a web page such as edit boxes, forms, checkboxes, buttons, etc.
> Knowing these commands and using them to explore and/or navigate through a
> page can be very useful.
>      One peculiarity that crops up from time to time is links that the
> screen reader doesn't identify as links. This situation depends on the
> screen reader/browser combination and the tools used to author the website.
> Sometimes you will be reviewing a page, and you will hear phrases that
> sound like they might be links or buttons and from their context seem like
> they should be, but your screen reader isn't saying "link" or "button."
> They may in fact be links or buttons; it won't hurt anything to move to one
> and hit enter to see if it does something.
>      If things don't work as you would like, you may want to try a
> different screen-reading program. Some people use NVDA, Nonvisual Desktop
> Access for this purpose. Also, with Window-Eyes now being free to Microsoft
> Office for Windows users, a second or third screen reader is available to
> nearly everybody. It can sometimes work to try a different browser as well.
>      You might not use all of these strategies on a new website, but it is
> useful to have as many tools as possible in your toolbox. That way you will
> have a wide variety of strategies which you can use to master a new
> website.
>                                 ----------
>                  A Legislative Update and a Call to Action
>                              by Parnell Diggs
>      From the Editor: in the March 2017 issue of this magazine we ran the
> legislative fact sheets distributed at the Washington Seminar. At the time
> of our visit some of the legislation was still being drafted, but we now
> have bill numbers and are requesting action. In this letter, which was
> circulated to members on our listservs, Parnell Diggs, director of
> governmental affairs, provides bill numbers and asks for our action. Here
> is his letter:
> Dear Federation Family,
>      The purpose of this update is to bring you up-to-speed on legislative
> developments since we left the Washington Seminar two months ago and to ask
> you to activate on several crucial issues. Please use this information as a
> good reason to reach out to your two senators and your congressman or
> congresswoman and update them on developments since your visit to their
> offices. The summary of legislative developments will be followed by the
> call to action on three bills:
> The Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act, also known
> as "AIM HIGH," H.R. 1772
>      Congressman Phil Roe (Republican, Tennessee) and Congressman Joe
> Courtney (Democrat, Connecticut) introduced this legislation in the House
> of Representatives. H.R. 1772 will promote instructional technology and
> content that are accessible to the blind and other students with print
> disabilities.
> The Access Technology Affordability Act of 2017 (ATAA) H.R. 1734 and S. 732
>      These companion bills were introduced by Representatives David Young
> (Republican, Iowa) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (Democrat, California) in the
> House and by Senators John Boozman (Republican, Arkansas) and Benjamin L.
> Cardin (Democrat, Maryland) in the Senate on March 28, 2017. Please remind
> your senators and representative that this legislation will establish a per-
> person individual refundable tax credit to be used over a multi-year period
> to offset the cost of access technology for blind people.
> The Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act of
> 2017 H.R. 1377
>      As President Riccobono indicated, the TIME Act is still a priority of
> the National Federation of the Blind. It just wasn't front and center at
> the 2017 Washington Seminar. The bill was introduced by Representative
> Gregg Harper (Republican, Mississippi) on March 8, 2017, to remove barriers
> to employment opportunities for people with disabilities by phasing out
> Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act and facilitating the
> transitioning of people with disabilities now working in segregated
> employment settings into competitive employment opportunities in their
> communities. There is low hanging fruit we can secure from cosponsors of
> previous iterations of the TIME Act. Please see if your senators and
> representative will cosponsor this bill in the 115th Congress, especially
> members of the House of Representatives who have done so before.
> Call to Action
>      Please call both of your senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 732,
> the Access Technology Affordability Act. Also, please call your congressman
> or congresswoman and ask him or her to cosponsor the AIM HIGH Act (H.R.
> 1772), the Access Technology Affordability Act (H.R. 1734), and the TIME
> Act (H.R. 1377).
>      This is an excellent opportunity to circle back with your senators
> and representative to provide them with updates on legislation that will
> help blind Americans live the lives we want. The number to the Capitol
> switchboard is (202) 224-3121. From there, the operator can transfer you to
> your desired contact. Let me thank you for the groundwork you laid at the
> Washington Seminar, which has led to the introduction of this legislation.
> Let's build on that momentum as we turn our focus toward Orlando.
>      As always, thanks for all you do.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Mark A. Riccobono]
>            From the President's Inbox: The Mail Must Go Through
>                            by Mark A. Riccobono
>      From the Editor: One of my favorite columns in the Braille Monitor
> when I started reading it in the early seventies was called "From the
> President's Mail Basket" and was written by then-president Kenneth
> Jernigan. In those days there was no President's Notebook and no monthly
> Presidential Release, most of President Jernigan's communication with the
> membership was done through the United States Postal Service, and these
> columns in the Braille Monitor spoke clearly to the issues of the day, the
> concerns of the membership, and the talented man who was responsible for
> coordinating it all. This article from President Riccobono brings some of
> the best of what made "From the President's Mail Basket" special: the
> interaction with a member, the highlighting of an important issue, and a
> chance to observe the thinking and the talent of our current president.
> Here is his article:
>      We live in a communication rich world. With those rich communication
> tools-mobile phones, email, social media, etc.-comes a pace of activity
> that sometimes prevents us from taking the time to tackle the artificial
> barriers we face. Some of those barriers are a real nuisance when we face
> them, but the immediate move to the next thing makes stopping and dealing
> with a problem feel like more work than it is worth. A recent exchange and
> its outcome prompted me to take a moment to write this article. I believe
> this situation demonstrates the importance of individual members taking the
> initiative to raise their voice to activate our vehicle for collective
> action-the National Federation of the Blind.
>      As President of the National Federation of the Blind I receive a lot
> of correspondence-mostly via email but often via telephone. Attempting to
> deal with them quickly and effectively can be a challenge. Yet I am often
> surprised by the correspondence that does not make it to me. I try-
> sometimes successfully and sometimes not-to stay plugged in to social media
> knowing that many members of the Federation are discussing important topics
> in those communication channels. One day I came across a tweet from David
> Bouchard of Oregon. I reached out to David and asked him to send me an
> email to tell me more about his situation. Here is what he wrote to me on
> September 24, 2016:
>      Good afternoon, Mark,
>            Yesterday, at approximately 5:00 p.m. PST, I went to the Post
>      Office at 101 SW Madison Street in Portland, Oregon, to mail a package
>      for a friend. I purchased a box for the item, and when I asked the
>      attendant behind the counter to assist me with filling out the
>      shipping label, she refused, stating that she was forbidden to fill
>      out customers' shipping labels per a USPS regulation. She asked
>      another customer to assist me. I accepted that assistance to save
>      time, but pressed the issue once my package was shipped. Her
>      supervisor informed me that employees could be fired for filling out
>      the shipping labels and that I would need either the assistance of
>      another customer or a "caregiver." When I asked him if this was a
>      federal regulation, he said that it was. As we both know, this is
>      unacceptable, and I will do whatever it takes to change this outdated
>      policy. I am still trying to find the offending regulation. Please
>      feel free to contact me with any questions by email or at _________.
>      Regards, David Bouchard
>      I appreciated David's email because it demonstrated that he had taken
> positive steps to solve this problem by himself. He had questioned the
> policy and pressed the local postal worker for as much detail about the
> policy as he could get. Furthermore, he was attempting to research whether
> a regulation of the type described really exists in the federal code.
> David's email stands in contrast to those that simply request help from the
> National Federation of the Blind without demonstrating that the individual
> has done their part to solve the problem at hand. Often, we can get the
> most effective outcome when the blind individual has done all that they can
> to solve the problem before activating the national organization.
>      I asked Parnell Diggs to research this issue and draft a request to
> the United States Postal Service to get clarification on this regulation.
> Below is Mr. Digg's letter:
>      October 17, 2016
>      The Honorable Megan J. Brennan
>      Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer
>      Office of the Postmaster and Chief Executive Officer
>      United States Postal Service
>      475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 10022
>      Washington, DC 20260
>      Dear Ms. Brennan:
>            We received the following inquiry from David Bouchard, a blind
>      gentleman in Portland, Oregon:
>            "On Friday, September 23, 2016, at approximately 5:00 p.m. PST,
>      I went to the Post Office at 101 SW Madison Street in Portland, Oregon
>      to mail a package for a friend. I purchased a box for the item, and
>      when I asked the attendant behind the counter to assist me with
>      filling out the shipping label, she refused, stating that she was
>      forbidden to fill out customers' shipping labels per a USPS
>      regulation. She asked another customer to assist me. I accepted that
>      assistance to save time, but pressed the issue once my package was
>      shipped. Her supervisor informed me that employees could be fired for
>      filling out the shipping labels, and that I would need either the
>      assistance of another customer or a 'caregiver.' When I asked him if
>      this was a federal regulation, he said that it was."
>            We would greatly appreciate your kindly providing us with the
>      regulation in question. I have provided my contact information below
>      so that we may further discuss this matter.
>            Thank you in advance for your assistance, and I look forward to
>      hearing from your office in the near future.
>      Sincerely, Parnell Diggs, Esq.
>      After receiving David's initial email, I mentioned the issue to a
> number of blind people and a surprising number of them told me they or
> someone they knew had encountered a similar situation. It got me wondering
> if blind people are sometimes too quick to brush off unfair treatment based
> on false information. Is the problem that the small incidents are too
> easily left behind in our fast-paced society? Is it that we believe some
> requests are unreasonable-even if they are small-or that we are afraid to
> question the officials that are directing us? Or is it simply that we face
> too many barriers in one day, and we can only choose so many to tackle?
> Whatever the case, I was surprised that the issue was known but had never
> been tackled in a way that would answer the question once and for all. In
> order to resolve the matter, I give you the response from the United States
> Postal Service so that you might use it whenever the question comes up in
> the future:
>      November 16, 2016
>      Mr. Parnell Diggs, Esq.
>      National Federation of the Blind
>      200 East Wells Street
>      Baltimore, MD 21230
>      Dear Mr. Diggs,
>            This letter is in response to your recent inquiry to Postmaster
>      General Megan Brennan on behalf of Mr. David Bouchard. The letter
>      described Mr. Bouchard's visit to a Post Office in Portland, Oregon.
>      During the visit Mr. Bouchard asked the window clerk for assistance
>      completing a shipping label and was told "a federal regulation
>      prohibited such assistance." Your letter asked to be provided with the
>      federal regulation in question.
>            There is no federal regulation prohibiting a postal employee
>      from providing assistance filling out a shipping label for a customer
>      with a disability. To the contrary, it is the Postal Service's policy
>      to offer assistance to customers with disabilities if requested.
>            Employees are expected to be flexible and responsive in
>      providing such assistance.
>            I apologize on behalf of the Postal Service for Mr. Bouchard's
>      unsatisfactory customer experience. The Postal Service provides
>      training to employees about serving customers with disabilities. We
>      want all customers to receive great service from Postal Service
>      employees, and it is our responsibility to ensure they get it-
>      everywhere, every day, every time.
>            Thank you for bringing this problem to our attention.
>      Sincerely,
>      Samuel J. Schmidt
>      Managing Counsel
>      9350 South 150 East, Suite 800
>      Sandy, UT 84070-2716
>      (801) 984-8400
>      As a follow up, I wrote the email below to David on December 1, 2016:
>      Dear David,
>            As the motto says, "the mail must go through." Your letter of
>      September 24 pledged that you would do whatever it takes to change the
>      outdated practices that you experienced at the Post Office on Friday,
>      September 23, 2016. I appreciate that you recognized discriminatory
>      practice and you activated the Federation network to resolve the
>      issue. You could have walked away figuring it was just the way life
>      goes. You could have decided that blind people simply had to give up
>      some privacy to get equal access. You could have decided to never
>      bother with that post office again. You did none of these things, and
>      you did not expect someone else to solve the problem for you, but
>      rather sought assistance on how you could be part of solving the
>      problem. For that I am thankful, and I commend you on your active
>      leadership.
>            I am sharing with you the response we have secured on your
>      behalf from the United States Postal Service. I believe you will be
>      pleased with the response. I have asked Mr. Parnell Diggs, our
>      director of governmental affairs, to respond to the letter and invite
>      the postal service to work with members of the Federation on their
>      training. I suspect if they accept our offer we might call on you for
>      assistance. Thank you for raising this issue and for helping us secure
>      this useful response.
>            I am going to publish the letter and details of your case in the
>      Braille Monitor so that others encountering this problem know the
>      truth. The mail must go through, and the blind can expect equal
>      treatment in the post office according to the leaders of the
>      organization. Since your case came to my attention, I have talked with
>      others who have experienced this problem or know people who have, and
>      it appears as though they chose not to challenge the practice. I am
>      glad you pushed a little further. Keep raising expectations.
>            If you decide to take the response down to your local post
>      office, I will be interested to hear how they react.
>      Sincerely,
>      Mark A. Riccobono, President
>      National Federation of the Blind
>      There you have it, the answer to the question of whether or not the
> United States Postal Service will assist you with your packages. I
> encourage all members of the National Federation of the Blind to continue
> to share with each other the barriers that are encountered and work
> together to break down those barriers. When an issue comes up locally, be
> sure to share it with your chapter president and, if appropriate, your
> affiliate president. If you find that an issue requires the attention of
> our nationwide network, please be sure to call upon the national President
> so that we might have an opportunity to evaluate the situation. I can be
> reached at our national office by telephone at (410) 659-9314 or by email
> at officeofthepresident at nfb.org. The more that we take the time to address
> the artificial barriers we face rather than shaking them off as a nuisance,
> the faster our pace of progress will be. We might find that in many cases,
> like this one, a simple letter requesting clarification from the entity
> involved might give us the answer we seek. Then, we should find a way to
> share that correspondence with others within our Federation network.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO/CAPTION: Jim Peterson and Noel Nightingale]
>                    Blindness: Showing Up for Parenthood
>                             by Noel Nightingale
>      From the Editor: Noel Nightingale is the mother of three children who
> resides in Seattle, Washington, with her husband Jim Peterson. She first
> met the Federation when she won a national scholarship in 1991. Her work in
> the Federation has included service as a chapter president, a state
> president, and as a member of the national board of directors. By training
> she is a lawyer who currently works for the United States Department of
> Education in the Office for Civil Rights. She currently serves as a member
> of the board of directors of the National Association of Blind Lawyers, a
> division of the NFB. Here is what she has to say about deciding to become a
> parent and the challenges it has posed in her life:
>      Before becoming a mother, I asked an attorney I worked with what was
> so great about having children. My colleague had often described the
> inconveniences of parenting. Having children seemed to cause her to create
> boundaries that made life not as fun, preventing her from engaging in the
> social life of the law firm because she had to get home. When I asked her
> why she liked being a mother, if indeed she did, she told me, "When I come
> home and my kids run to greet me with hugs and kisses, it makes it all
> worth it." I thought to myself, "Hmmm, after all you have told me about how
> your children disrupt your life, the scales seem heavily tipped in favor of
> non-parenthood." However, after having had three children, my husband Jim
> and I now understand what my colleague meant. The rewards of parenthood,
> though perhaps not easily described, are real.
>      Becoming a parent was significantly harder than becoming blind. When
> I became blind, other blind people taught me that I just had to acquire the
> skills and attitudes I needed to live well as a blind person. I already
> knew basic life skills as a sighted person, and I merely needed to tweak a
> few things such as: learning to use a long white cane; learning Braille;
> learning how to use various assistive technologies; and, hardest of all,
> truly believing that I could still do the things I wanted to do without
> limitations. Of course, I now knew about being discriminated against as
> well.
>      When Jim and I became parents, our lives changed drastically, and I
> needed to learn new skills like diapering, nursing, functioning on limited
> sleep, and getting around with a child connected to me in some way. Bennett
> Prows, who is a father of three and is blind, told me that when he and his
> former wife, who is also blind, were expecting their first child, a
> neighbor came over asking how the two of them were going to take care of a
> baby. The neighbor expressed skepticism that Ben and his wife would be able
> to change the baby's diapers. Ben asked his neighbor what he looks at when
> taking care of his own toileting needs and that ended the neighbor's doubt,
> at least on that particular topic. The basic skills of parenting are not
> that hard, sighted or blind.
>      The most dramatic challenge that came with parenthood was that I had
> to change my perspective and priorities. I realized that neither Jim nor I
> came first anymore, and I sacrificed many of the things I enjoyed doing to
> spend time with my children. Like the rewards of having children, it is
> difficult to describe how the mundane aspects of parenting rule our lives.
> I trained myself not to use profanity anymore lest I inadvertently do it in
> front of the kids. Along with Jim, I adjusted my schedule around my
> children's schedules, and I learned that my children's homework was also my
> homework because if Jim and I didn't nag the kids to do it or didn't help,
> it may very well not get done. The list goes on and on of the seemingly
> boring yet enormously important and trying things we now spend time on to
> even reach the low bar of being adequate parents.
>      Though Jim is our primary stay-at-home parent and all I have to do
> during most weekdays is earn money, every day I think about all the things
> going on in my children's lives. I schedule doctor appointments and
> activities. I interact with teachers and have served on our elementary
> school's Parent Teacher Association board of directors. I feel guilty if I
> take "me time" when I could be spending time with my children exposing them
> to something new or just sharing quiet time with them. My motto of
> parenting is, "It's quality of time, not quantity of time." Some of the
> tasks and trials involved with parenting require the alternative techniques
> of blindness, but mostly they don't. For me, similar to becoming blind,
> becoming a parent involved a mental adjustment to a new way of life. But I
> have found the adjustment and the sacrifices a lot more daunting than the
> adjustment to blindness.
>      All parents I know, both sighted and blind, have similar struggles
> with parenthood that Jim and I do. They wonder how to properly and
> successfully discipline their children, debate the question of how much
> screen time to allow, when or if to buy their children cell phones, and are
> seeking the right balance between children's free time and scheduled time.
> The parents I know are today discussing whether to make their children
> learn a musical instrument, participate in a sport, or engage in some other
> kind of skill-building activity, knowing that if they cave in to the
> child's resistance, the adult child will turn around tomorrow and tell
> their parents that they should have made the child stick with the piano or
> Chinese lessons. Parents are under their children's microscopes and
> constantly think about needing to live up to the role models they have
> envisioned they should be for their children. They wonder how or whether to
> help their children acquire grit. Parents reflect on how they were raised
> and whether to follow in their own parents' footsteps in child rearing.
> These things and other aspects of parenting are enormously philosophical,
> and how we meet the challenges of parenthood can determine whether our
> children's lives will be as fulfilling as they could be. No parent that I
> know believes he or she has found the right answers to all of the thorny
> issues associated with being a parent. Yet, when I tell sighted people that
> being blind is a lot easier than being a parent, they are invariably
> skeptical.
>      Maybe it was because, as I lost my sight, I had a network of
> supportive blind mentors encircling me. I had blind role models to pattern
> myself after and quality training from blindness skills and attitude
> factories of the National Federation of the Blind and the Louisiana Center
> for the Blind. Consequently my acquisition of blindness skills and my
> emotional adjustment to blindness were simple and straightforward compared
> to the adjustment to parenthood. The challenges of parenting make the
> adjustment to blindness look easy peasy. Of course, I am constantly
> employing blindness techniques in my parenting, and of course, I never take
> my blind hat off to be a mom, but most of the time, I don't think those two
> aspects of myself interrelate. I just do what anyone does who is trying to
> live well and do their best for their kids.
>      I recently read a book by Bill Gates Sr. that has a title that
> perfectly represents parenting to me, with a one-word change that I don't
> think Mr. Gates would mind. Mr. Gates' book is called, Showing Up For Life.
> To me, the charge of parenting that sounds easy but isn't should be called,
> "Showing Up For Parenthood." Our kids are not another hobby to be played
> around with when we feel like it. We must show up twenty-four hours a day,
> seven days a week, and be at our best. I have many pictures in my mind of
> my fifteen years of parenting. Leila riding her first tricycle given to her
> by my mother who was then dying; Cosmo jumping up and down in his crib
> bawling until he vomited; Dexter, being the social butterfly, and talking
> to strangers from the time he was a toddler about topics of interest to him
> like Transformers. Then, of course, there are those moments I won't get too
> graphic about but involve fecal matter, an airplane, a crayon, and dental
> floss. More and more pictures flit through my mind of those very small
> moments in life unappreciated by anyone but Jim and me, poignant and funny,
> the type which snatches of memories all parents cherish.
>      Sometimes Jim, who is sighted, and I have fallen down on the job as
> parents. When our third child, Dexter, was about three, we noticed that he
> was telling us virtually every object around him was the color green. We
> asked his preschool teacher for an assessment of whether he was color
> blind, and she informally tested him and said that he may not only be color
> blind but be a very unusual type of color blindness, I think she said blue-
> yellow color blindness. Jim and I immediately made an appointment with a
> pediatric ophthalmologist. A couple days before the appointment, we sat
> down with Dexter and a bunch of Legos and told him what color each block
> was. Then we asked him what color randomly selected blocks were, and he
> correctly identified their colors. We took him to the ophthalmologist who
> said that he is not color blind. It turns out that neither Jim nor I had
> yet gotten around to teaching Dexter the different colors! Some call that
> third-child syndrome. With our two older kids, I had taught them the
> different colors using Braille picture board books but had neglected to do
> that for Dexter.
>      An unexpected time when parenthood and blindness starkly coincided in
> my life was when a parent volunteer was sorting the books in Dexter's
> second-grade classroom and found a book published by the National
> Federation of the Blind. We used to publish a series of books called Kernel
> Books, a couple of which I had written articles for. The one the volunteer
> found in my son's classroom happened to be one of the books I had written
> an article for and while leafing through it, he found that article and
> showed it to my son. Dexter came home proud that his mom had written a
> book, not quite an accurate description of my role in that book, but
> nevertheless, it created an opportunity for a discussion about blindness. I
> asked the teacher how the Kernel Book had found its way to her classroom,
> and she had no idea. To this day, I wonder what the chances are of a Kernel
> book ending up in one of my children's classrooms since I had not
> distributed any of those books to the school, nor, to my knowledge, had
> anyone else I know.
>      I have listened to hundreds of books from the library for the blind
> with each of my children, which I view as a way to spend time with my kids
> that also expands their worlds and vocabularies. I have now listened to the
> Harry Potter series more times than I can count and am looking forward to
> the day someone asks me to enter a Harry Potter trivia contest. Some of my
> kids' teachers have told me that the time I have spent listening to books
> with my kids is evident.
>      In dealing with homework, I have just required my kids to read it to
> me when they need help. I figure it doesn't hurt them to have to do a
> little more reading, though it is not ideal, especially at times when they
> don't read every word on the page to me and then we are both confused. I
> know that I have a legal right to receive what my kids' schools provide in
> Braille or electronic format. I could ask for copies of their homework in
> an accessible form; but, whether it has been the right decision or not, I
> have not asked for it to be provided in alternative formats. I don't want
> to ask my kids' teachers to take their limited planning time on creating
> accessible documents for me if I can avoid doing so. I have usually found a
> way to help my kids with their homework, by hook or crook.
>      There have been innumerable times when I felt left out of full
> participation in my children's education because I am blind. When I attend
> meetings at school for parents, any printed material distributed has not
> once been provided in Braille or any format accessible to me. I have never
> been asked what format I need to access documents. Because I usually know
> someone at school meetings, I have been able to ask him or her to read any
> important materials to me. Jim mostly reads any letters and documents the
> schools or school district mail to us. He does not, though, read every
> piece of paper that comes through our door. He is a Type B personality and
> I am a Type A. I am the one who signs up for the emails from the PTAs and
> school district and the one who obsesses about attending all the school
> events we can. However, Jim is my husband, not my reader, so I often have
> to let my obsessive-compulsive self sit in the backseat and relax about not
> reading everything that comes home from the schools in our kids' backpacks.
>      Jim and I have attended many workshops at my kids' elementary and
> middle schools to teach parents how to help their children learn particular
> skills, usually math. Parents are taught games they can play with their
> children to increase their math proficiency. Ninety percent of the time,
> the math games involve print materials. One time I knew in advance that the
> math games we were going to be taught involved playing cards, I told the
> school that the workshop leaders could easily purchase a set of Braille
> playing cards for me to use during the workshop and that they could then
> have on hand for any blind parents attending their workshops, which the
> school said would be arranged. I showed up for the workshop held one
> weeknight in the school cafeteria, and no Braille playing cards had been
> acquired. So, while the parents all around me played math games with
> playing cards, I stood there trying to be supportive of my son but feeling
> inadequate. While these times have bothered me enormously, they are usually
> isolated incidents, and I have moved on. We believe that our kids are
> receiving a good education, have had excellent teachers, and nothing until
> recently has dramatically gone wrong because I could not access information
> provided by one of my kids' schools.
>      Well, "until recently" is not quite accurate. Five years ago, during
> summer 2012, our school district changed websites. Until then, I had been
> able to obtain much of the information I needed from the school district's
> website; that is, I had been able to obtain any information available to
> all parents on the website. The new website, however, was extraordinarily
> inaccessible. I couldn't believe it. The majority of the links on the
> homepage didn't open when I entered on them. Apparently, something happened
> on the screen, but my screen reader didn't know it. The school district
> calendar of events-like days that school was not in session-was in an
> inaccessible table, so when I try to figure out significant events
> happening during the school year, my screen reader just told me the dates
> of the month with no information about what was occurring on those dates.
> When I saw that the website was horribly inaccessible, I wrote to the
> school district's webmaster. For the past four years, the webmaster has
> provided me with some of the information I sought but could not access on
> the website. Of course, this is not a good situation because the webmaster
> is not around at all times of the day and on all days of the week when I am
> looking for information. Also, the webmaster cannot browse the website for
> me, she can only respond to my specific information needs if my needs can
> wait until she is available. However, because the school district seemed to
> understand the problem and seemed to be willing to fix it, I patiently
> waited for the fix to come.
>      My patience came to a full stop when Cosmo was in fifth grade. I
> received an email from Cosmo's teacher. All year, he had had math homework
> using an online program called ST Math. Every weeknight, Cosmo would get on
> our computer and, we thought, diligently work on his ST Math homework. Not
> so. The teacher's email to me said that Cosmo was less than 40 percent
> complete with his ST Math problems, and he was supposed to be at 80 percent
> at that point and 100 percent by the end of the school year. Jim and I
> quickly figured out that Cosmo had probably not resisted the temptations
> offered by a computer, and instead of doing his math homework had been
> playing Minecraft (a video game) or watching YouTube videos. Cosmo
> vehemently denied it but could not explain why his classmates were able to
> be at 80 percent complete and he less than half that. Jim and I concluded
> that we needed to institute an accountability system for Cosmo and monitor
> his progress on ST Math so he could catch up to where he was supposed to
> be. I went to the computer to have Cosmo show me how to log into the
> program so I could see what percentage he started at and then come back
> after an hour and see what percentage he had achieved by then.
>      I got my first inkling that my ability to monitor Cosmo's ST Math
> progress was not going to be as easy as I thought when Cosmo said that the
> log-in was to click on a series of pictures. Not just one or two unlabeled
> graphic pictures but many unlabeled pictures. I had him login, then I went
> to find the part of the program that says what percentage he was at, and
> all I heard was "Flash, Flash, Flash, Flash, Flash..." The whole program
> was inaccessible. Now the school district's failure to ensure it is
> purchasing accessible technology was not only a significant accessibility
> problem for me in locating information on its website, but it was actually
> blocking my ability to monitor my son's homework progress. Now I was angry.
>      Enter the National Federation of the Blind. My touchstone. My source
> of inspiration. The members of the NFB have always reinforced to me the
> importance of parents' full participation in children's education. I had
> put up with inaccessible documents for umpteen years and found ways around
> the problem. This time, there was no way around the inaccessible
> technology. Technology is either accessible or it isn't, and unless I have
> a reader sitting on my shoulder every time I want or need to use a website
> or a piece of software, it must be accessible out of the box. A public
> school district has a legal responsibility to make sure that its programs
> are accessible, and apparently our school district hadn't been taking that
> obligation seriously. So, with the NFB's help, I filed a lawsuit in federal
> district court. I had the dream team of lawyers, one of whom admits he was
> put to the test by Dr. Jernigan and Dr. Maurer and somehow made it through
> the trial. That is Dan Goldstein. Through the lawsuit, I secured a
> commitment from the school district to create a system whereby it ensures
> the technology it purchases or uses is accessible from the get-go.
>      Thanks to those who continue the self-help movement founded by blind
> men and women in 1940, the National Federation of the Blind, we have the
> gift to learn from and lean on one another as we live full lives as blind
> people. I suppose there are organizations of parents who provide support
> for each other, but they don't and probably can't function in parents'
> lives the way the NFB does for me. My thanks to the organized blind
> movement that has given me a full life of working full time in a rewarding
> job and allowed me the freedom to choose the twenty-four/seven job of
> parenthood.
>                                 ----------
> Leave a Legacy
>      For more than seventy-five years the National Federation of the Blind
> has worked to transform the dreams of hundreds of thousands of blind people
> into reality, and with your support we will continue to do so for decades
> to come. We sincerely hope you will plan to be a part of our enduring
> movement by adding the National Federation of the Blind as a partial
> beneficiary in your will. A gift to the National Federation of the Blind in
> your will is more than just a charitable, tax-deductible donation. It is a
> way to join in the work to help blind people live the lives we want that
> leaves a lasting imprint on the lives of thousands of blind children and
> adults.
> With your help, the NFB will continue to:
>    . Give blind children the gift of literacy through Braille;
>    . Promote the independent travel of the blind by providing free, long
>      white canes to blind people in need;
>    . Develop dynamic educational projects and programs that show blind
>      youth that science and math are within their reach;
>    . Deliver hundreds of accessible newspapers and magazines to provide
>      blind people the essential information necessary to be actively
>      involved in their communities;
>    . Offer aids and appliances that help seniors losing vision maintain
>      their independence; and
>    . Fund scholarship programs so that blind people can achieve their
>      dreams.
> Plan to Leave a Legacy
>      Creating a will gives you the final say in what happens to your
> possessions and is the only way to be sure that your remaining assets are
> distributed according to your passions and beliefs. Many people fear
> creating a will or believe it's not necessary until they are much older.
> Others think that it's expensive and confusing. However, it is one of the
> most important things you will do, and with new online legal programs it is
> easier and cheaper than ever before. If you do decide to create or revise
> your will, consider the National Federation of the Blind as a partial
> beneficiary. Visit https://nfb.org/planned-giving or call (410) 659-9314,
> extension 2422, for more information. Together with love, hope,
> determination, and your support, we will continue to transform dreams into
> reality.
>                                 ----------
>                          There Is a List for That!
>                              by David Andrews
>      This month we will start out our monthly column of internet mailing
> lists with the state of Maryland, home of the Jernigan Institute and the
> National Center for the Blind. And for good measure, we will throw in the
> state of Delaware, since it is small.
>      The primary list for the state of Maryland is NFBMD. You can
> subscribe to the list by going to
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nfbmd_nfbnet.org or you can also
> subscribe by sending email to nfbmd-request at nfbnet.org and put the word
> subscribe on the subject line by itself. The list contains both discussion
> and announcements.
>      Most of the chapters in Maryland also have their own lists. Below are
> the list names and a brief description of each. To subscribe substitute the
> list name in the command above for the NFBMD phrase.
> central-md-chapter
> Central Maryland
> greater-baltimore
> Baltimore, Maryland, chapter list
> md-atlarge
> At-Large Chapter of the NFB of Maryland
> md-sligo
> Sligo Creek Chapter
> nationalharbor
> National Harbor Chapter list
> nfbtlc-chapter
> Towson/Lutherville/Cockeysville Maryland Chapter list
>      Two divisions in Maryland also have their own lists, Parents of Blind
> Children and Students. Their list names are MDPOBC and MDABS respectively
> and can be used in the web or email commands mentioned previously. The
> NFBNET server also hosts the NFB of Maryland website, http://www.nfbmd.org.
>      Finally, as a bonus, since it is small and close to Maryland, we will
> mention Delaware. Its list name is NFB-of-Delaware and you can subscribe
> either by going to http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nfb-of-
> delaware_nfbnet.org or by sending an email to nfb-of-delaware-
> request at nfbnet.org. Put subscribe on the subject line by itself.
>      Next month we will tell you about technology-related lists. As
> always, you can find all NFBNET.ORG-related lists at
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/.
>                                 ----------
>                         Independence Market Corner
>      The National Federation of the Blind Independence Market is the
> conduit through which our organization distributes our empowering
> literature to our members, friends, and the general public. As a service we
> also operate a blindness products store, which sells mostly low-tech items,
> designed to enhance the everyday independence of blind men and women. With
> spring well underway and summer just around the corner, we want to
> highlight a few products that promote outdoor activity.
>      We carry two different ringing balls, namely a basketball and a
> football. These balls contain two bells that jingle while the ball is in
> motion. More recently we replaced our ringing soccer ball with a rattle
> soccer ball. The rattles in this ball make more noise than the bells do, so
> it is better for outdoor play. We also have a beeping Frisbee, which emits
> a continuous beeping sound when turned on. This Frisbee, while not quite
> possessing the aerodynamic properties of a traditional one, is a foam disk
> covered with a bright orange nylon sleeve and includes a removable sound
> source, which is operated by one AA battery. Since the Frisbee is soft, it
> is suitable for both indoor and outdoor play by children of all ages. The
> Beeper Box is also sold separately. One may use it as a sound source for
> games and training situations.
>      And if you want to keep track of your steps and don't have a
> smartphone, our basic talking pedometer may be for you. After you determine
> your average step length and select this number in the setup, the pedometer
> will keep track of your steps and convert it to miles. It also announces
> the time and features an alarm.
>      Now all you have to do is go outside and have some fun!
>      For more information about the products and literature available from
> the Independence Market or to request a catalog in Braille or in print,
> visit us online at https://nfb.org/independence-market. You may also
> contact us using email at independencemarket at nfb.org or by phone at (410)
> 659-9314, extension 2216, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
> eastern time. Our staff will be glad to assist you.
>                                 ----------
>                              Dots from Space!
>                        Inching Towards Understanding
>                        by Amy Mason and Anna Kresmer
>      Eager to learn more about the ways that the vanished inhabitants of
> the building dealt with blindness, the roly-poly adventurers retreat inside
> once more and navigate through the empty hallways until they find a metal
> door. Rolling forward, Lieutenant-Commander Jot presses against and twists
> the door handle, preparing to open it. The door, with Jot still attached,
> swings forward over open air. Astonished to find nothing under her mass,
> she emits a small yelp of surprise.
>      "Jot!" cries the captain.
>      "I'm fine, ma'am. But it looks like we'll have to find another way
> down. The stairs have collapsed."
>      Captain Dottie reaches out a suction cup-like appendage and pulls the
> hanging Jot back onto firm ground. Once stable, Jot stretches out an
> exploratory appendage and feels the inside edge of the hole, whereupon she
> discovers the still intact hand rail.
>      "I think we can slide down this, Captain!"
>      "I'm not sure we should trust it," says Doctor Spot.
>      "What if one of us begins to slide down while one of the others holds
> on to them from behind? That way we aren't putting all our weight on the
> rail at the same time, and we'll have a braking mechanism." Jot explains.
>      "Alright," says the captain. "Let's do it, but we'll take it slow."
>      Two by two the members of the crew begin to slide down the bannister,
> with each pair stretching and compressing their bodies like an inchworm as
> they move along. Soon they come to the door to the next level and make
> their way down another empty hallway to a large room.
>      Dotted around the vault-like room are several statues and tactile
> exhibits standing silently on display. Lieutenant-Commander Jot admires a
> primitive rocket purported to have been launched in 2004, while Captain
> Dottie inspects a small white cane said to have been used by an alien
> called tenBroek, the first leader of the inhabitants of the building.
>      Row upon row of shelves, some long since collapsed, wind back and
> forth across the dimly lit room. Countless books line the shelves, while
> others are strewn across the moldering carpet. Bending down to retrieve one
> brittle book from the top of a pile, Ensign Bean begins to carefully flip
> through its pages. A short while later, Captain Dottie discovers he has not
> moved from his spot for some time.
>      "Report Ensign. Have you found something of interest?"
>      "It's this book, Captain. You've got to see this!" His voice shakes
> slightly as he bounces with excitement.
>      Squeak, squeak. "It appears that this book also uses multiple writing
> systems simultaneously."
>      "It's not just that, Commander. It also uses these raised diagrams on
> top of colored images of space phenomenon, like nebulas and celestial
> bodies."
>      "Oh? And what's so special about that, Bean?" Commander Point asks; a
> trace of sulking in his voice.
>      "It all makes sense now, Commander. They wanted everyone to be able
> to access the information regardless of their ability. If that meant using
> three systems of communication, then that is what they used. As long as the
> content, the knowledge, was available to everyone then that was what
> counted."
>      "That's quite a theory you've got there, son," the commander says
> with a squeak. "But what evidence do you have to base it upon?"
>      Without a word, Bean hands Point a piece of paper which had been
> tucked into the front cover of the book. Giving the ensign a quizzical
> look, he unfolds the brittle paper, presses it to his chest, and begins to
> read.
>      [Note: Link to or copy text from "Access for All," by Noreen Grice,
> Future Reflections, Volume 29, Number 4,
> https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/fr/fr29/4/fr290408.htm]
>      Silently, the commander hands the paper to Captain Dottie.
>      "That's quite the discovery, Ensign. I think you may be onto
> something there. Access to information is one of the most basic rights of
> sentient life. It seems that these aliens understood this concept quite
> well."
>                                 ----------
>                                   Recipes
>      As many schools begin to adjourn for the summer, we at the Monitor
> thought we'd pull together some fun and kid-friendly recipes to make for
> and with your kids over the long break.
>                                Ants on a Log
>      Ants on a Log is an old scout standard snack, and incredibly flexible
> in flavors. Easy and quick to make any time, this recipe is perfect for an
> afternoon snack after running around.
> Ingredients:
> 1 bunch celery (the logs)
> Filling options:
> Peanut butter
> Honey
> Cream cheese (plain or flavored by preference)
> Ricotta cheese
> other vegetable spreads
> Ants options:
> Raisins
> Dried currants
> Miniature chocolate chips
>      Method: Wash and dry celery. Cut celery into snack-length pieces (two
> to three inches, usually). Fill celery pieces with one of the fillings,
> whichever you prefer. For Ants on a Slip-n-Slide, drizzle honey first, then
> fill with cream cheese or peanut butter. Place a line of "ants" down the
> log, usually three or four depending on size of ant and length of log.
> Enjoy!
>                                 ----------
>                               Indoor S'Mores
>      Everyone thinks of s'mores as a camp treat-marshmallows roasted over
> an open fire. But when your camping trip gets rained out, or your seasonal
> allergies make spending hours in the great outdoors not an option, there's
> no reason to entirely miss out on this summer staple.
> Ingredients:
> 1 bag miniature marshmallows
> 1 box Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or similar cereal
> 1 bag chocolate chips
> 1 box large paper clips
> 1 unscented candle
>      Method: Set up candle in holder on table or kitchen counter. Each
> person making s'mores will need a large paper clip. Straighten the
> paperclip, leaving only the smallest inner loop folded to create a handle,
> this is your roasting stick. Light the candle. Lay out two pieces of cereal
> and one chocolate chip in easy reach. Stick one marshmallow onto the end of
> the paperclip wire. Hold marshmallow over flame to toast. There are two
> schools of thought on the proper technique to roast a marshmallow: one says
> you hold the marshmallow slightly above the flame, turning slowly to allow
> the marshmallow to toast to an even golden brown. The other says to stick
> the marshmallow into the flame, then lift it out. Allow the marshmallow to
> burn briefly, creating a black crust around it before blowing the flame on
> the marshmallow out. Place the chocolate chip onto one piece of cereal,
> then rest the marshmallow on top of the chocolate chip. Place the other
> piece of cereal on top of the marshmallow, then pinch the cereal together
> and use it to pull the marshmallow off the paper clip. Repeat until candle
> burns out, you run out of ingredients, or get sick of dessert, whichever
> happens first.
>                                 ----------
>                                  Bird Seed
>      This recipe is a great way to practice using measuring spoons or cups
> as well as fractions, and allows for great personalization in this heathy
> snack mix to allow for picky eaters who disagree to exist in harmony on
> family road trips, sporting events, and other outings. Because there is no
> chocolate, this recipe is great for taking along in the summer heat without
> as much worry about mess.
> Ingredients:
> 1 Ziploc bag per person
> Toasted corn kernels
> Sunflower seeds (hulled)
> Chopped nuts (cashews, peanuts, almonds, pecans, or mix)
> Plain granola cereal
> Dried fruit (banana chips, raisins, currants, bananas, etc.)
>      Method: Each person measures 3 tablespoons of each ingredient into
> their Ziploc bag, shake to mix.
>                                 ----------
>                              Breakfast Cookies
>      Early morning marching band practice, summer school classes, or day
> camp? These breakfast cookies are easy and fun to make, then fast to grab
> and eat on the way out the door later.
> Ingredients:
> 1/2 cup butter, softened
> 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
> 1 teaspoon baking soda
> 2 eggs
> 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
> 3 cups multigrain cereal flakes with blueberries
>      Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick
> cooking spray or cover with parchment paper. Place butter in a medium
> mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer for thirty seconds. Add brown sugar
> and baking soda, beat until mixed. Add the eggs, then beat until mixed. Add
> flour and beat until the mixture no longer looks dry. Stir in the cereal
> using a wooden spoon. For each cookie, pack the mixture into a 1/4-cup
> measuring cup, using a rubber scraper to get it out of the cup and onto the
> cookie sheet. Press mound of dough with your fingers to flatten it
> slightly. Repeat with remaining dough, leaving about three inches between
> cookies. Bake cookies for eight to ten minutes or until edges are golden
> brown. Let cookies stand on the cookie sheet for one minute before
> transferring to wire rack to let them finish cooling. Makes twelve cookies.
>                                 ----------
>                                  Bug Juice
>      A fun and funky punch mixture that produces unusual colors and
> flavors to experiment with.
> Ingredients:
> 1 package of Kool-Aid or other non-sweetened drink mix powder per child,
> different flavors
> Sugar in quantity required by drink mixes
>      Method: Combine drink mix packages and sugar as directed by mix
> packages in large pitcher, bowl, size of container determined by size of
> group. If group is large enough, mix packages in twos or threes in multiple
> gallon jugs. Add water as directed. The combinations of two to three
> flavors give that odd "byproduct of bugs" appearance.
>                                 ----------
>                               Aquarium Jell-O
>      This cool treat is a cool treat for a hot summer, whether for a
> birthday party or just as a fun family dessert.
> Ingredients:
> 1 package blue Jell-O
> 1 package Swedish Fish
> 1 Package Life Savers Gummies
>      Method: This can be made in one large container, such as a glass
> fishbowl, or in smaller individual servings in a clear plastic punch cup or
> smaller glass drinking glass. First use scissors to cut Life Savers Gummies
> into smaller pieces to make the pebbles the bottom of your aquarium (bowl
> or cups). Judge the depth of the pebble layer for your own preferences. Mix
> Jell-O according to package instructions. Pour over pebble layer. Place
> Jell-O into refrigerator for several hours to set. Once Jell-O has set, use
> a long, thin knife to cut a slit in the Jell-O to the depth you want your
> fish to "swim." Poke Swedish Fish into slit, using knife to push fish down
> into position. Repeat to populate your aquarium with as many fish as you
> like. You can sometimes also find gummie sharks or other creatures to
> populate your aquariums with.
>                                 ----------
>                             Monitor Miniatures
>      News from the Federation Family
> Braille Book Fair Volunteering:
>      The Braille Book Fair has become one of the highlights of the
> convention for many teachers, parents, blind kids, blind parents, and adult
> beginning Braille readers. But the event could not take place without the
> help of many dedicated, talented volunteers. And that's where you come in.
> As a past worker, or simply interested supporter of the Braille Book Fair,
> I hope you can either volunteer, or give me the contact information for
> someone that you recommend.
>      We need people from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12. You
> do not need to work the entire afternoon or evening, but I do ask that you
> try to work an entire shift, and we prefer a two-hour shift. We especially
> need for people who help customers to come before we open the doors at 5:00
> p.m. and to commit to staying until at least 6:30 p.m. Book lovers are
> great for this shift, as you will assist visitors in book
> decisions/selections.
>      Thanks so much for taking time to consider this request, and I look
> forward to hearing from you soon!
> If you can help, please contact Sandra Oliver, NOPBC Board Member at (713)
> 825-4573 or Sandra.Oliver at ey.com. If emailing, please provide the following
> information:
>      . YES...I can work the following shift(s):
>      . My cell phone number that I will have at convention is:
>      . I live in (state):
>      . MAYBE.....I'll check my schedule. If possible, my preference is to
>        work these hours
>      . Braille skills (including if you read by touch or by sight as a
>        sighted person)
>      Note: If you are a parent of a blind child under the age eighteen (or
> still in high school or below), we know that you will want to attend the
> NOPBC Annual Meeting which takes place just before the BBF, but we would
> welcome you to work either during the event or on the clean-up shift after
> the event.
> Elected:
>      On Saturday, April 8, 2017, the Chicago Chapter held its annual
> election for all officers and board members. We elected the following:
> president, Steve Hastalis; first vice president, Patti Chang; second vice
> president, Jemal Powell; secretary, David Meyer; treasurer, Marco Gianotti;
> and board members Denise Avant, Gina Falvo, Howard Wilson, and Melissa
> Fuller.
> Kernel Books Available to All:
>      In 1991 the National Federation of the Blind began publishing a series
> of small volumes called Kernel Books. The books contained stories written
> by blind people about our lives, designed to show that they are not much
> different from the lives of our sighted friends, family members, and peers.
> We called them Kernel Books because each story contained a "kernel," such
> as an incident or a challenge that revealed a truth about blindness and
> blind people. We encouraged the sharing of these volumes with the public to
> increase understanding and combat low expectations and misconceptions about
> blindness.
>      The Kernel Books are a valuable part of our organizational literature
> and heritage. As an organization, we deeply value and treasure the real-
> life stories of hope and inspiration contained in our Kernel Book series.
> But the way that the public acquires information has changed, with more and
> more people reading and consuming information in a digital form. While the
> stories in the Kernel Books are timeless, the paperback volumes that
> contain them are not. Consequently, we are planning to repurpose these
> stories to make them more widely available in digital formats. At the same
> time, we would like to get many of the existing paperback Kernel Books in
> our storage facility out into the world and into the hands of those who
> would benefit from reading them. To that end, we are offering free cases (a
> case contains fifty books) on a first-come, first-served basis of the
> following Kernel Books published after 2000:
>      . Oh, Wow
>      . Safari
>      . Reaching for the Top in the Land Down Under
>      . Not Much of a Muchness
>      . The Lessons of the Earth
>      . Imagine
>      . Celebrate
>      . To Reach for the Stars
>      We are making these cases of books available so that chapters,
> affiliates, and divisions can distribute them within their local
> communities or to new members and supporters. You might donate some books
> to your local library, distribute copies to senior centers, take some books
> to church or to meetings of community organizations with which you are
> involved, give the books out as free literature at community festivals and
> events, and more. If you are interested in receiving a free case of any of
> these titles, please contact Ellen Ringlein in the Independence Market at
> (410) 659-9314, extension 2216, or at independencemarket at nfb.org.
>      We hope that many individuals, chapters, and affiliates will take
> advantage of this opportunity to spread our message of hope, love, and
> determination far and wide. The Kernel Books show how blind people live the
> lives we want and invite others to understand and support our work for the
> full and equal integration of the blind into society. Let's make sure that
> all of the copies of these books we can get into circulation are
> distributed before we transition these stories to new platforms and formats
> oriented towards reaching a new generation of readers.
>                                  In Brief
>      Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor
> readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we
> have edited only for space and clarity.
> NYSSB Alumni Association to hold Annual Reunion:
>      The members of the Alumni Association of the New York State School
> for the Blind will gather for their annual reunion from Friday, June 9,
> through Sunday, June 11, at the Quality Inn and Suites, 8250 Park Road,
> Batavia, New York. Activities will include:
>    . A technology demonstration
>    . Bingo and Jeopardy with prizes
>    . Our annual banquet, opening meeting, and business meeting
>    . Lots of chances to socialize with old friends and make new ones
>    . A picnic with the current students of NYSSB
>    . Our memorial service to remember recently deceased alumni
>    . A 50/50 raffle, money tree drawing, and auction
>    . A public reading demonstration to support our third annual read-a-thon
>      Annual membership dues are $15.00 with multi-year plans available.
> Our association began in 1918 and was incorporated in 1924. We will be
> celebrating our centennial and the 150th birthday of the school at our 2018
> reunion.
>      Membership is open to anyone at least eighteen years of age who
> either attended the New York State School for the Blind or has a
> substantive relationship to or is recommended by a member in good standing
> of the Association. If you wish to become a member or have questions about
> the reunion, please call Diane Scalzi at (586) 337-5226 or email
> dscalzi at comcast.net or send using postal mail to 21621 Briarcliff St.,
> Saint Clair Shores, MI 48082.
>                                 ----------
>                                 NFB Pledge
>      I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National
> Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for
> the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to
> abide by its constitution.
> _______________________________________________
> Brl-monitor mailing list
> Brl-monitor at nfbcal.org
> https://nfbcal.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/brl-monitor
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