Thursday, July 9, 2015

Connecting the Dots



Now is the time to read the websites of the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind who are meeting for their annual conferences.  As these organizations serve the blind and people with low vision, any innovations will be showcased including informative websites for special groups such as the American Association of Blind Teachers.

While every state has its own guidelines for services and visual rehabilitation, the Library of Congress National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and its regional libraries still have the best list of resources.  The Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled at Ann Arbor District Library (WLBPD@AADL) received the prestigious National Award for Sub regional Library of the Year on Friday, June 19, 2015, during a luncheon ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.  Their website and blog are worth visiting.  Two resources used by this library to train their staff are the DVDs, What Do You Do When You See a Blind Person and The 10 Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities.

As more technology, including creative writing and music software, are graphically based and not accessible with screen readers, having cheerful and helpful librarians close by to help connect the dots and separate the chaff from the wheat is a blessing.  While some dots can be connected, there are still many blind spots and black holes that cannot.  Inequality and inaccessibility to services and training, along with inadequate training when it is available, keep people who have adapted to living with blindness and low vision from working and achieving their goals.

According to all organizations that work with the blind and vision impaired, the most important dots that a person needs to learn how to connect and use are the six dots in a Braille cell.  To access more information about Braille education, people living with low vision should contact their state rehabilitation service for the blind and the Hadley School for the Blind (www.hadley.edu).

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