Blindness Briefs – Edition 54

What's Inside

  • World Braille Day celebrated around the globe
  • BSES now offers braille bills
  • NFB sued over sexual misconduct, inaction
  • Cuts to railway staff in UK a problem for blind travelers
  • Guide dog shortage leading some to train their own dogs
  • Split between US Circuit courts over ADA continues
  • More Internet related ADA lawsuits
  • World's fastest blind man honored by King Charles
  • And, about 50 more articles about blindness and blind people from all over the world

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

This was a pretty big week for Blindness Briefs with more than 55 articles in all. A lot of the stories this week are celebrating the braille writing system as last week (January 4) was Louis Braille's birthday and his invention is likely the single most important contribution to literacy and education among blind people and has been for nearly two centuries. A lot of technical advances may make braille seem antiquated but it remains an incredibly important tool for the blind and especially the deaf-blind community.

The story I found most compelling this week is the lawsuit filed against NFB over sexual assault and its lack of action to remedy the problem. In July of last year, we published an article by Amanda Carson called "NFB: Sex, Crimes; Cover Ups and Excuses" detailing the problem. It was our most well sourced and referenced article we've ever ran and the primary sources were mostly documents NFB published themselves. Amanda started the research on this article nearly a year ago and, as far as we can tell, NFB has made no changes to correct the problems, the same people who are accused of perpetrating the harassment and the cover-up are still NFB officials and the organization has done nothing to compensate survivors.

We hope you enjoy this edition of the digest. It's got lots of good stuff in it and we work hard to make it better every week.

How It's Organized

Blindness Briefs is a very simple page to read. The categories are at heading level 2 and the stories are links at heading level 3. So, navigation to the sections and stories you find interesting is quite simple.

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4th January is the World Braille DayReaching blind and visually impaired persons is must

We are fortunate that we are able to read this article but there are many around the world who cannot read the way we can read. There are people with disabilities and one of them is the visually impaired. Even under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities—one billion people worldwide— are less likely to access health care, education, employment and to participate in the community. This story comes to us from: The Sangai Express.

Braille Communication in the Technological Age

Braille is a tactile phonetic alphabet system invented in the early 1800s by a blind teacher, Louis Braille. The braille system was first adopted in 1860 by the Missouri School for the Blind, and has become one of the major literacy mediums for people who are blind or visually impaired. This story comes to us from: Rising Kashmir.

What it takes to ace Braille Code

According to the Kenya Society for the Blind. The blind and visually impaired benefit immensely from the Braille writing system, which is named after its French inventor, Louise Braille, who was accidentally blinded while still a very young child aged three. Braille is characterised by raised dots. Using either one hand or both, the blind or those interested to learn and teach Braille, move the tips of their fingers from left to write as they read it. There are 63 possible dot combinations in each Braille cell. Hence, all the letters and punctuation in most alphabets can be assigned a specific combination of dots. This story comes to us from: The Star.

‘What would people with sight think if labels were removed?’: Blind Oban physiotherapist joins campaign to add braille to food packaging

A blind physiotherapist based in Oban has joined the campaign to add braille to food packaging. Marie Harrower was brought up on the Isle of Mull and has been blind since birth. She attended the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh and trained as a physiotherapist in London – qualifying in 1972. This story comes to us from: pressandjournal.

Glaucoma sufferer learned Braille in lockdown after losing sight

Remote learning was a struggle for many people during the Covid-19 pandemic but for Dawn Hopper it presented a particularly tough challenge.
The 42-year-old was diagnosed with glaucoma three years ago and is now registered as severely sight impaired. This story comes to us from: BBC.

Do you know why people celebrate World Braille Day on Jan. 4?

The universally accepted writing system of Braille is being celebrated Wednesday, along with its impact on the world since its inception in 1824. Here’s what we know about it. This story comes to us from: Deseret News.

[World Braille Day: opening up written world to the blind][

To raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication in the full realization of human rights for blind and partially sighted people, World Braille Day, celebrated since 2019, is observed annually on January 4. Even under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities—one billion people worldwide— are less likely to access health care, education, employment and to participate in the community. They are more likely to live in poverty, experience higher rates of violence, neglect, and abuse, and are among the most marginalized in any crisis-affected community. This story comes to us from: Tehran Times.

World Braille Day lauds communication method for blind and partially sighted

World Braille Day is celebrated annually on January 4. The event marks 214 years to the day of the birth of legendary Braille creator, Louis Braille. The UN General Assembly chose January 4 as World Braille Day in November 2018, a day that is now celebrated and recognised by many. This story comes to us from: Irish Examiner.

World Braille Day: Ghana lags behind Braille evolution

As the world marked Braille Day yesterday, the Executive Director of the Ghana Blind Union (GBU), Dr Peter Obeng-Asamoa, called on the government to lead the process to digitise braille in the country. This story comes to us from: businessghana.

[BSES launches electricity bill in Braille for visually impaired][

On the occasion of World Braille Day on Wednesday, the BSES Braille bill was launched by S.K. Rungta, lawyer and General Secretary of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) at BSES' head office in Nehru Place in the presence of NFB officials and visually impaired consumers. This story comes to us from: ET EnergyWorld.


Company unveils latest generation of assistive device for the legally blind

eSight is previewing its eSight Go, a wearable device that allows users to gain a level of independence. According to the company, eSight will be available on the market starting in Q4 2023. This story comes to us from: Ophthalmology Times.

SLU researcher, collaborators awarded NSF grant to create software system that generates accessible STEM content for persons with disabilities

A collaborative team of academia, industry, start-ups, and non-profits, led by Jenna Gorlewicz, Ph.D., associate professor in aerospace and mechanical engineering and associate dean of research and innovation in the School of Science and Engineering at Saint Louis University, was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Convergence Accelerator Phase 1 grant. Gorlewicz and her team aim to develop technology to enhance the quality of life, employment access, and opportunities for persons with disabilities, specifically individuals with blindness or visual impairments (BVI). This story comes to us from: EurekAlert.

Kearney Public Library's scanner aids visually impaired

Editor: This is a very confusing site with lots of stories on it. This story is told in audio.

Legally-blind Gibbon fifth-grader now has tool to help him read, learn. This story comes to us from: Kearney Hub.

Neuralink Cofounder Says This Company's Eye Implant Could Be “Ultimate” VR Tech

Max Hodak left Neuralink in 2021 and now has made a comeback with a new brain-computer interface startup, and it’s working on a next-generation prosthetic eye that he hopes will both provide a new treatment for blindness and help in virtual and augmented reality. This story comes to us from: Wonderful Engineering.

Blindness Organizations

The nation’s largest organization for blind people faces lawsuit alleging widespread sexual misconduct and lack of accountability

The largest and oldest nationwide group advocating for the rights of blind people was sued Friday for allegedly failing to protect its students, including minors, from known sexual abusers employed by the organization in a culture the lawsuit claims enabled the abuse to continue for years. The lawsuit against the National Federation of the Blind was filed by attorneys representing Alyssa Mendez, 20, who is legally blind and says she was repeatedly sexually assaulted when she was 16 by her instructor, Michael Ausbun, while attending a training program in 2018 at an NFB-affiliated center in Louisiana. Ausbun was 22 years old at the time he is accused of first sexually assaulting Mendez. Ausbun denies the allegations, his lawyer told CNN. This story comes to us from: CNN.

Support group formed for blind & visually impaired

Lions Club president Karen Strife and NRCIL's Aileen Martin say the group supports the blind and visually impaired and their caregivers. This story comes to us from: WWNY.

Qatar Charity holds 'Ibsar Camp for Combating Blindness' in Tanzania

Qatar Charity (QC) held the ‘Ibsar Camp for Combating Blindness’ in Tanzania, providing various services that included eye examinations, treatment, surgeries, medicines and eyeglasses, in addition to organising awareness workshops. This story comes to us from: Gulf Times.

Charity beach walk aims to help Friendship Society for the Blind

Ayadi Relief has partnered with Dana Zubari in organising a charity walk to raise funds for The Friendship Society for the Blind. Ayadi Relief is an international and humanitarian, youth-led association that aims to serve affected communities in the Middle East and Africa. According to the Ministry of Health, approximately 40 million people are blind around the world. This story comes to us from: News of Bahrain.

Local Organization Gifts Macy's Shopping Spree to Blind and Visually-Impaired Young People

Editor: This story is told entirely in a video.

This story comes to us from: NBC Chicago.

Liberia: Christian Association of the Blind President Beyan Kota Decries Removal From The National Budget

The President of the Christian Association of the Blind (CAB) Mr. Beyan Kota has decried the marginalization and deprivation of scores of visually impaired children and adults seeking education and counseling at his institution from benefitting their fair share of the country’s wealth and resources by the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government of President George Manneh Weah. This story comes to us from: FrontPageAfrica.

People with visual impairment, blindness in Switzerland still face many barriers: Advocacy group

People with visual impairment and blindness in Switzerland "still face many barriers," the Swiss National Association of and for the Blind (SNAB) told Anadolu Agency in an interview, citing a UN report on how Switzerland implements the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This story comes to us from: aa.


Blind 2021 top achieving matriculant on his way to becoming an advocate

Lethabo Maleka, 20, is in his second year of a Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Limpopo. This story comes to us from: TimesLIVE.


Blind man on a mission to attain tour guide dream

Although blind, Winston Fani is not giving up on a dream he hopes to materialise through the help of good Samaritans, so that he may become South Africa’s first blind tour guide. From Mfuleni, Fani, 35, has been blind since age 12 due to having developed the degenerative eye disease, glaucoma. He lost his job at a call centre during the pandemic and has since struggled to overcome many adversities. Since hearing of his plight, Cape Town Tourism chairperson, Enver Duminy, has offered to pay Fani’s tuition to further his studies. But Fani would still need support for various (other) items besides tuition fees. Fani’s fund-raising campaign through Backabuddy has gained traction with about R6 500 raised towards his R20 000 target. “I want to be the first blind tour guide in South Africa. I want to make history. I want to show it’s not impossible to do what you want to do, despite the obstacles. I want to meet new people and learn from people from different countries who come to visit our country. This story comes to us from: IOL.


Board pushes for mobility access for the disabled

Marian Wildgruber, chair of the new Disability Advisory Board for the city of Oak Ridge, hopes to make city officials and citizens better aware of the mobility access needs of disabled people. Because she is legally blind, she has a mobility access issue that she described at a recent meeting of the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge in her talk about improving mobility access in the city. This story comes to us from: Oakridger.

Cuts to railway staffing will isolate disabled, charity says

The petition, organised by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) UK charity, is requesting safety, security and accessibility on rail networks. This story comes to us from: BBC.


Firm fined after blind man falls into open manhole

A family-run plumbing business has been fined £4000 after a blind man fell into an open manhole. This story comes to us from: Safety and Health Practitioner.


Blind and homeless: 93-year-old Sunnyvale man faces uncertainty

A transistor radio, a portable analog device with an antenna, is Mir Sayed’s connection to the world. The 93-year-old lives in a motel room in Sunnyvale and spends his days listening to his radio. He’s visually impaired, suffering from glaucoma and cataracts, and is hearing-impaired. Sayed’s housing situation is unstable and part of the longstanding issue of unhoused seniors in Silicon Valley, advocates said. This story comes to us from: San Jose Spotlight.


Jake Boothman: 'Arrogant' thug who assaulted blind man has been jailed for eight weeks

Jake Boothman, 29, attacked the man and his girlfriend as they waited for a taxi outside Preston train station on Tuesday, December 13. This story comes to us from: The Independent.

Roy Gilmour: Jail term suspended for attack on blind man

A man who was due to go to jail for punching and kicking a blind man has had his sentence replaced with a suspended term following an appeal. This story comes to us from: BBC.

LPD: Man assaulted 'legally blind' mother

A man assaulted his mother who was described as being “legally blind,” according to Laredo police. Esteban Cisneros Jr., 29, was arrested and charged with injury to a special needs person. This story comes to us from: – Laredo Morning Times.

Guide Dogs

Guide dog shortage: The blind people who train their own guide dogs

In early January a shortage of available guide dogs was reported. For some visually impaired people the wait is too long and they decide to train their own guide dogs.
Isabel Holdsworth had been making the daily commute across London from Dagenham to Kings Cross for years. Being visually impaired she had worked with five different guide dogs, until it came to a sad and abrupt end.
"My dog died suddenly and I had to go to work and college the next day – two tubes, a 40 minute walk – with no dog," she told BBC Access All. This story comes to us from: BBC.

Restaurant Owner Tries To Refuse Service To A Blind Man Because Of His Guide Dog

Several years ago, a blind man recorded a video of an incident that occurred to him when he decided to go out to a restaurant with his wife and his service animal, who acted as his guide. The video has recently gone viral after uploading and has caused outrage online because of the cruel way the former restaurant owner behaved towards the man because of the animal. This story comes to us from: YourTango.


Split persists over websites qualifying under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Editor: This is one of the biggest challenges to a fully accessible Internet, more US circuit courts now rule that if a business has no brick and mortar establishment, they do not need to be accessible under ADA while a few circuits have ruled that they do. This is why most of the cases we see filed are in the Western District of Pennsylvania or the Southern District of New York, those are the forums most favorable to our civil rights. The big risk is that one or more of these cases will be appealed to the US Supreme Court which, given its current make-up, could rule that all of ADA is invalid or, more likely, that the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 is invalid and, unless the bills introduced by Tammy Duckworth and Eddie Markey in the US Senate pass, we'll have no rights regarding accessibility on the Internet at all.

The circuit split on whether commercial websites that don’t have a “nexus” to a physical location qualify as “a place of public accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities Act is now 4-2, with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals being one of the two. This story comes to us from: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Blind B.C. woman files discrimination complaint over city roundabouts, bike lanes

Maria Kovacs won't risk waiting for the bus near her church on her own anymore. The last time she tried it, a cyclist hit her. "When I got out of the bus, the bike hit me in the back," she told CBC News. "This [area] is very unsafe for someone who is blind." Kovacs has been blind for more than 30 years. Historically, she's been able to get around independently in her community in Maple Ridge. But in recent years, she says infrastructure developments, including bike lanes, have made it increasingly dangerous for her to go out alone. This story comes to us from: CBC.

Hiland to pay $140K to resolve discrimination lawsuit

According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City in May 2021, Hiland refused to hire the man because of his vision impairment, the commission said in a news release. "Hiland initially offered the applicant a dairy plant worker position knowing he had a disability, but then withdrew the offer after a standard pre-employment medical exam," the release stated. This story comes to us from: Yahoo News.

Invicta class action claims website inaccessible to blind, visually impaired users

Invicta Watch Company of America failed to make its website fully accessible to individuals who are blind or legally impaired, a new class action lawsuit alleges. Plaintiff Daniel Rodriguez claims Invicta failed to design, construct, maintain, and operate its website in a way that would make it independently usable for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions. class action alleges website inaccessible to blind, visually impaired consumers

Shivan Bassaw, a visually impaired individual, filed a class action lawsuit against, alleging the website makes it impossible for visually impaired or blind individuals to complete a transaction. Bassaw claims he wanted to purchase products from but could not because the website is not compatible with screen-reading software. He says that because of the website’s visually dominant design and coding flaws, the website discriminates against blind or visually impaired individuals, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.

Omni Hotels class action alleges website inaccessible to blind, visually impaired consumers

Omni Hotels’ website is not compatible with screen-reading software that audibly reads websites’ content, a new class action lawsuit claims. Plaintiff Danie Rodriguez sued Omni Hotels on claims the company violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. Blind and visually impaired people rely on technology just like the rest of society, using screen-reading software to independently navigate the internet, the Omni Hotels’ class action states. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.

SoulCycle class action claims website not accessible to visually impaired, blind visitors

SoulCycle failed to design and construct its website in a way that would make it fully accessible and independently usable for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, a new class action lawsuit alleges. Plaintiff Daniel Rodriguez, a legally blind man, claims SoulCycle denies individuals who are blind or visually impaired the full and equal access to the goods and services it offers on its website. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.


Apellis Appoints Leading Retina Specialist Dr. Caroline Baumal as Chief Medical Officer

Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: APLS), a global biopharmaceutical company and leader in complement, today announced that leading retina specialist Caroline Baumal, M.D., has joined Apellis as chief medical officer. Dr. Baumal replaces Federico Grossi, M.D., Ph.D., who plans to remain at Apellis until February 28, 2023 to help with the transition and preparations for the potential launch of pegcetacoplan for geographic atrophy (GA). This story comes to us from: The Bakersfield Californian.

Ophthalmic Drug Delivery Systems Market Size and Forecast 2030

The market size for global ophthalmic drug delivery systems is projected to grow at a CAGR of above 8.4% during the projected years and reach a value of over US$ 24,556 Mn by 2030. This story comes to us from: Digital Journal.


Nurse Takes Care of Rich Blind Man for 10 Years, One Day Learns She Is His Daughter

The sudden confession left his other children shocked and regretful of how they treated the woman all those years. This story comes to us from: AmoMama.

Sask. fashion designer creates unique gift for Jason Momoa

A St. Louis, Sask. fashion designer got a rare chance to gift her work to Hollywood star Jason Momoa.
Some friends of Christine Tournier responded to a casting call in Toronto for vision-impaired actors to appear in a TV series featuring Momoa.
“The [Canadian National Institute for the Blind] put out a tweet that the production Jason Momoa was in was shooting in Toronto,” said Tournier, who owns S.S. River Designs in St. Louis.
“They put out a call for Canadian actors that were blind or partially blind. My friend thought her husband would be perfect, so he auditioned and was selected." When they landed a role in the series, they asked Tournier to create a piece that they would give to Momoa during filming.
“They wanted to gift him with something that was meaningful and very special, so they asked me to do a beadwork piece,” she said. This story comes to us from: CTV News Saskatoon.

Love Island bosses sign first ever 'blind' contestant, 26, who suffered shock footballing accident

WINTER Love Island bosses have signed the franchise’s first partially-sighted contestant. Ron Hall, 26, lost the sight in his right eye in a footballing accident as a youngster. This story comes to us from: The US Sun.

Art and Artists

Castleton woman who is registered blind behind decorative crochet postbox toppers

A woman who is registered blind is the artist behind the numerous crochet postbox toppers in Castleton. This story comes to us from: InYourArea.

Aleandro Baldi: “Blindness was born with me but I didn’t cultivate it. Music does, with commitment and dedication

However, there are those who have always “looked beyond” despite being born without seeing. Aleandro Baldi in 1993 in Reggio Emilia
It is the case of Aleandro Baldi (63 years old) successful singer-songwriter born in Greve in Chianti (in the province of Florence), where he still lives. Graduated in 2010 in classical guitar, he was discovered by Giancarlo Bigazzi in the eighties. He achieved success in 1992 by winning the Sanremo Festival in the New Proposals category with his Do not love me, paired with Francesca Alotta. The song was later translated into Spanish and sung by Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. This story comes to us from:

New Fort Worth mural brings art to the blind

Editor: This story is primarily presented as a video.

Lighthouse for the Blind included many details that allows the visually-impaired to experience the art. This story comes to us from: YouTube.

Sports and Athletes

ON FIRE: Young Florida School for the Deaf and Blind girls basketball off to fast start

The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind return for the second half of the season next week, looking to build on what’s been a strong start to the season. The Lady Dragons are 8-3 and have a chance to make some more noise in January — a big month for them. They have the annual Clerc Classic — a tournament in which Deaf schools gather to compete for the Deaf Championship — the Mason Dixon Tournament and a rematch against tough regional opponent Oak Hall, who downed them earlier in the season. This story comes to us from: St. Augustine Record.

Announcing the First-Ever USA Blind Soccer Men's National Team

Ten athletes named to first-ever USA Blind Soccer Men’s National Team.
The roster includes eight athletes with visual impairments and two sighted goalkeepers. This story comes to us from: YouTube.

Certain gym activities may carry a risk of 'catastrophic' eye injuries – risk of blindness

Editor: We do not want to discourage people from exercising but this article shows that too much is too much.

Exerting too much pressure on the vascular system has been linked to irreversible vision loss. This story comes to us from: Daily Express.

West Coast blind curling bonspiel slides into Prince George

The Prince George blind curling team, came away with the victory on Sunday, earning the right to go to Winnipeg. This story comes to us from:

World's fastest blind man, from Bolton, honoured by King

The world’s fastest blind man, from Bolton, has been honoured by the King in the New Year’s Honours List. Mike Newman has been handed a British Empire Medal for services to people with disabilities, including visual impairments. Mike was born blind due to glaucoma. This story comes to us from: MSN.

Being legally blind couldn't stop a man from running 3000 miles across the U.S

Editor: This story is presented in audio.

Jason Romero suffers from a rare eye condition that is causing him to go blind. He came to StoryCorps with his daughter Sofia to talk about how he made it through some depressing days. This story comes to us from: KUOW.


Woman left blind after dying eyeballs black as bungling tattooist is fined £30000

A bungling tattoo artist has been fined nearly £30,000 after leaving a young woman blind by inking her eyeballs incorrectly. This story comes to us from: – The Mirror.

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