- Various technology stories about AI in access technology.
- Former employee at deaf and blind school charged with sexual abuse of a student.
- RNIB announces 1 million books now on Bookshare.
- Blind Minnesota woman provides health care to wounded Ukrainian soldiers.
- Blind 67 year old man arrested for drug trafficking.
- Notre Dame sued for inaccessible web site.
- Blind volunteer calls people on their birthdays.
- Imagining accessibility in the outdoors.
- Blind woman participates in kick boxing.
- And, more than 70 stories about blindness and blind people from all around the world.
Editorial By Chris Hofstader
This was a big week for Blindness Briefs with more than 70 articles included in this week's edition. The stories range from a blind man being arrested for drug dealing to a blind woman who does kick boxing. We also remember a pair of interesting blind people who have passed away in our In Memoriam section.
The story that jumped out at me the most this week was that about the sexual abuse arrest made of a former employee at the Alabama School For The Deaf And Blind. What made this story so interesting is that this school's administration fired this employee immediately upon hearing the allegations in September and, after a thorough investigation, the local authorities have charged the employee with a variety of crimes related to sex with a minor. The reaction of the school administrators is admirable and stands in sharp contrast to the way other blindness organizations have dealt with sexual abuse in the past. The Alabama School For The Deaf And Blind did not spend a minute trying to cover up the story to protect its reputation but took immediate action to remove the alleged perpetrator from their organization and away from its students. If found guilty, I sincerely hope this pervert spends a long time in jail.
I hope you enjoy this larger than usual edition of Blindness Briefs.
How It's Organized
WBH Weekly Blind News Digest 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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Editor: I try to copy the blurbs about stories directly from the source so as to not accidentally include any of my own bias in the news stories aside from these occasional editor's notes. This blurb says there are 1.3 million legally blind people in the US, other materials from NFB says the number is 7.5 million. I think the reporter meant to say "totally blind" as the 1.3 million number is closer to the number we've seen cited for that population in many places.
Winona Brackett, 12, reads from her Braille science school book on Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Stuart, Fla. Fewer than 10 percent of the 1.3 million legally blind people in the United States read Braille, and just 10 percent of blind children are learning it, according to a report to be released Thursday by the National Federation of the Blind. This story comes to us from: – Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
As technology advances, the potential for assistive devices to improve the lives of those with visual impairments is becoming a reality. This story comes to us from: Jumpstart Magazine.
… to deliver relevant and personalized content that adapts to smartphone accessibility settings (for partially sighted or nearly blind people). This story comes to us from: Packaging World.
Artificial intelligence and smart technology could make it easier for people dealing with vision loss to navigate their everyday environment. Engineers at the University of Colorado-Boulder are working designing a “smart” walking stick that would help guide the visually impaired through everyday tasks, from finding a seat to shopping at a grocery store. The study authors describe their device as “assistive technology meets Silicon Valley.” This story comes to us from: Study Finds.
Envision upgrades smart glasses range with more accessibility options for people with vision impairments
Envision has announced that it is further enhancing the accessibility of its smart glasses for blind and visually impaired individuals. This story comes to us from: AT Today – Assistive Technology.
Rachel Owen (gray sweater) is a blind woman who uses the PENfriend 3 device. This story comes to us from: Abilene Reflector-Chronicle.
Editor: It's good to see that this school took immediate action upon learning of the sexual abuse perpetrated by one of their staff, I wonder why all blindness organizations aren't as responsible.
A former employee at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind is accused of sexually abusing a student under the age of 12 while working for the school, according to authorities. Talladega police said they arrested Robert Godbold on Friday and charged him with sodomy and having sex with a student who attended the school where he was employed. A spokesperson with the institute told WBRC that it was notified of the charges brought against Godbold on Jan. 19 and said the criminal sexual activity did not take place on the institute’s grounds. The spokesperson also said the school was originally notified of the possible impropriety last September and relieved Godbold of his duties at the school. Court records obtained by WBRC showed Godbold is free on $100,000 bond and set to appear in court in March.
This story comes to us from: KALB.
Parents and teachers are concerned about the policies at the SDSBVI put in place by the most recent administration. Vincent Stuwe is 16 years old and visually impaired. Vinny had been enrolled in the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired since he was six years old. Vinny’s mother, Krystal Stuwe, said she was happy with the education Vinny was receiving. “We had no complaints. Actually, they knew what Vinny needed before we did. We hardly ever had to advocate for any services for him because they did it so well,” said Stuwe. That changed when a new superintendent and administration came to the school in 2020. ”New administration came in and began to very quickly cut his services in the Expanded Core Curriculum, which really eliminates community-based instruction, which is navigation skills, how to get out and about in your community. It’s all of the things that you would envision that a specialty school for the blind should have,” said Stuwe. This story comes to us from: Dakota News Now.
Editor: I'm really proud that Jim Fruchterman, the person who started Bookshare, was the first person to agree to join the World Blind Herald group of advisors and I'm happy to see how the project has grown into an international success.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) Bookshare service has added its millionth title, with a number of children’s authors championing the service in celebration of the milestone. The Bookshare website provides books, worksheets and resources for downloading in accessible formats, including electronic braille, PDF and audio, free of charge to teachers, pupils and students. This story comes to us from: The Bookseller.
Next week, hundreds of blind Americans will converge on the nation's capital to meet with their representatives in Congress to tell their stories and emphasize the need for legislators to advance key priorities that will help the blind. The annual event organized by the National Federation of the Blind, known as its Washington Seminar, will officially begin with a kick-off meeting on Monday, January 30 at 5 p.m. Eastern time. This story comes to us from: PR Newswire.
Editor: This story is told in a video.
This story comes to us from: YouTube.
Louisville's American Printing House For The Blind Is Getting A Facelift And A New Name For The Museum
The American Printing House for the Blind (1839 Frankfort Ave) is the leading nonprofit organization creating accessible books, products and learning tools for people who are blind and have low vision. After starting in 1866 with a single press to emboss books in the basement of the Kentucky School for the Blind, which sits right next door, APH now records talking books, creates braille and tactical graphics materials and products that continue to revolutionize access to those materials for those in the blind and low vision communities. This story comes to us from: LEO Weekly.
Noor Dubai Foundation, a UAE-based charity focused on the prevention of blindness and visual impairment globally, recently held a ceremony to award its partners and contributors. Awadh Seghayer Al Ketbi, Chairman of the Board of the Noor Dubai Foundation, expressed his gratitude to the partners and contributors of the Noor Dubai Foundation. Since its inception in 2008, Al Ketbi said that Noor Dubai succeeded in benefiting 33 million people around the world, through its treatment, preventive and awareness programmes. This story comes to us from: wam.ae.
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) today announced the two honorees who will receive the prestigious Helen Keller Achievement Award at a special event on April 19, 2023, at the Crystal City Hyatt Regency in Arlington, Virginia. This year's recipients will be the Honorable Tony Coelho, former California congressman and champion for disability rights who led the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and Charter Communications, for its breakthrough innovations in expanding inclusive media for audiences who are blind and low vision. "Both of our honorees this year embody the heart and passion of Helen Keller in their efforts to create a more inclusive and just world for people with disabilities," said AFB Board Chair Debbie Dennis. This story comes to us from: PR Newswire.
American Printing House for the Blind has picked a new name for its museum, which is undergoing a renovation and expansion project. The nonprofit — one of Louisville's largest with $62 million in 2021 local income — has named the museum The Dot Experience. This story comes to us from: Louisville Business First.
The PRPH2 and Associated Retinal Diseases Workshop is designed to bring together leading experts from academia and industry, to discuss openly, and in detail, what is known about PRPH2 disease pathology, disease models, clinical characteristics, and therapeutic approaches. This story comes to us from: Modern Retina.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Amy Lepper, the home provides long-term life care for senior women who are visually impaired and blind. This story comes to us from: Webster-Kirkwood Times.
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) — one of the nation's premier organizations for improving the lives of people with vision loss — has announced the election of three new members to its board of Trustees following its December 12th board meeting: Jonathan Chesshire, Kiran Kaja, and Melissa L. Weisse. "We are excited to welcome such an outstanding group of professionals to our board," said Debbie Dennis, AFB board Chair. "Each one of them brings an outstanding range of expertise that will help secure our second century of success at AFB." This story comes to us from: PR Newswire.
During his studies, he made extensive use of the Bookshare service operated by sight loss charity, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
He is now studying law at the University of Nottingham.
The service provides books, worksheets and resources free of charge to teachers, pupils and students, which can be downloaded in accessible formats including electronic braille, PDF and audio. This story comes to us from: BBC.
according to the CDC 1 in 44 students are autistic. That is just one of a plethora of reasons our kids are feeling excluded by their classmates and devalued by society. But this video makes them feel valued. Students with disabilities like autism can often feel like burdens. This video of an autistic and legally blind person giving a speech in front of the whole High School makes them feel valued. "Our differences are our strengths." says Mickey Rowe. This story comes to us from: EIN News.
Blind Student Always Felt Left Out at High School – Until One Look Into His Senior Yearbook Changed Everything
Students put more than 1,500 hours into this special, surprise gift. High school is one of the most formative experiences of a young person’s life. And sure, at the end of the day, everyone has a different high school experience. But that doesn’t mean some students should have access to specific events and mementos that others don’t. This story comes to us from: Goalcast.
Editor: This story is told entirely in a video.
This story comes to us from: YouTube.
Alan Mccal is a legally blind radio Broadcaster in Tallahassee, playing classic country music on 101.9 FM. This story comes to us from: WCTV.
Many blind and partially-sighted people are having job offers withdrawn because of delays in getting an assessment for the government’s Access to Work scheme, according to a sight loss charity. This story comes to us from: Personnel Today.
The Ukrainian soldiers who come to Minnesota to be fitted with prosthetic limbs have been face a long road to recovery. In that journey, they have an unlikely source of inspiration: a blind amputee from Eden Prairie who knows a thing or two about adjusting to sudden setbacks. This story comes to us from: Yahoo News.
Discrimination and Inaccessibility
"Disability pride is an important concept for me. I'm proud of who I am, and that includes everything about me — including my disability," says Catarina Rivera, a public speaker, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) consultant, and content creator. Rivera, who was born and raised in Maryland, has been disabled her entire life. But that's not stopping her from living a purposeful life filled with excitement and adventure. She was diagnosed as hard of hearing at a young age and has been wearing hearing aids since she was a toddler. Then at 17, Rivera was diagnosed with a progressive vision disability called Usher syndrome. "Today, I have a very small window of central vision, and I use a white cane to help me navigate the world," she says. This story comes to us from: POPSUGAR.
The city of Chicago’s efforts to make intersections accessible to blind pedestrians are moving at a snail’s pace, according to city records. Last March, the Chicago Department of Transportation said it was planning to install about 150 accessible pedestrian signals in 2022 and 2023. So far, only nine of those signals are actually up and running – and only eight of them are new, since one of those installations was an upgrade to an older signal. This story comes to us from: WTTW News.
A partially blind woman from Cape Town died in the early hours of Saturday morning after a train knocked her down. Edith ‘Baleina’ Kunonga, 63, was the breadwinner in her family and would regularly walk by the Heathfield train station to get where she needed to be in order to sell her feather dusters and brooms to make a living. This story comes to us from: ZWNEWS.
A blind woman fell into a road due to overhanging branches and vegetation blocking the pavement which Essex County Council didn't clear. This story comes to us from: Essex Live.
A blind man was hit by a snowplow driver in Spenard then has trouble reporting it to police. This story comes to us from: Alaska's News Source.
Martha Nkema (26), from eMbalenhle, turned blind when she was just 22 years old. Her parents were still alive then and took her to a doctor who examined her. He diagnosed her with diabetes and high blood pressure. Nkema’s parents have since died so she has never been able to apply for an identity document. “I need assistance to get an ID. That will make it easier for me to apply for a disability grant. “Currently, I survive by begging for food and other things. Sometimes I go to bed hungry,” explained Nkema. This story comes to us from: Ridge Times.
Rugby woman, 94, who is nearly blind and has dementia told to try 'take aways or frozen meals' after vital Meals on Wheels service axed
This will be the service cut that may be the factor that means people can no longer stay at home and need to move into care, ill health that puts extra strain on the NHS or even death” This story comes to us from:
A 67-year-old blind grandpa, Aliyu Adebiyi and a leper, Haruna Abdullahi are presently in the hands of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency. This story comes to us from: Daily Post Nigeria.
The people of Ejemekwuru in Oguta LGA for some days now have been searching for the whereabout of a 57 year old Pastor Gabriel Okwudigbo accused of stealing. The said Pastor is suspected of looting the property of a 67 year old blind woman, Mrs Ednah Nwafor, under the guise of praying for her to regain her sight. This story comes to us from: Imo Trumpeta newspaper.
Paintings of guide dogs by visual artist Karen Bailey provide the setting and ambiance for the stories and memories of blind storyteller Kim Kilpatrick that Lunchbox Theatre’s artistic director Bronwyn Steinberg has woven into a play that has been touring Canada since 2019. This story comes to us from: – Calgary Herald.
Editor: This story is told in a video.
A veteran performer is getting set to share the stage with an unusual co-star in Calgary. As Gil Tucker shows us, this co-star also plays a very important role outside the theatre. This story comes to us from: News Videos Online.
An Indian restaurant has been forced to pay £2,000 to a blind man who was refused entry for a family meal due to having a guide dog. This story comes to us from: Yahoo News UK.
Louise Harris says she felt like a second-class citizen after being told her assistance dog Bella was not welcome. This story comes to us from: Leicestershire Live.
An Irvine woman dealing with sight loss has hit out at the government after delays left her job "in limbo". Melinda Hanvey, 63, was diagnosed with the sight loss condition Rieger's Anomaly, with secondary glaucoma. After asking the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for advice on retaining her job as an income management officer, she says she has faced a “difficult few months” after their Access to Work scheme took four months to respond with any help. This story comes to us from: Irvine Times.
The Notre Dame College has failed to make its website fully accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired, a new class action lawsuit alleges. Plaintiff James Murphy claims Notre Dame’s website was not designed in a way that makes it independently usable for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Murphy, a blind man, argues Notre Dame’s website denies individuals who are blind or visually impaired equal access to the services it offers, in an alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.
John Hardy was told that having his dog, Sidney, in the restaurant would be “unhygienic. This story comes to us from: The Independent.
Tactile Printing Market is an intelligence report with meticulous efforts undertaken to study the right and valuable information. The data which has been looked upon is done considering both, the existing top players and the upcoming competitors. Business strategies of the key players and the new entering market industries are studied in detail. Well explained SWOT analysis, revenue share, and contact information are shared in this report analysis. It also provides market information in terms of development and its capacities. In addition, the Global Tactile Printing market study also covers several factors such as market status, key market trends, growth forecast, and growth opportunities. Furthermore, we analyze the challenges faced by the Global Tactile Printing market in terms of global and regional basis. This story comes to us from: Rejoice Magazine.
Alden Richards is set to appear on the cover of a new fashion bookazine (book magazine) for the benefit of visually-impaired children under the care of charities supported by the Kapuso star. Alden, alongside his good friend and fashion line collaborator, celebrity fashion designer Avel Bacudio, generously shared exclusive photos of the actor shot in New York City for the cover and cover feature of the fashion book that is laid out to become a visual feast like a magazine. This story comes to us from: Philippine Star.
Every day for 15 years, a blind volunteer has been calling people on their birthdays to brighten their days. This story comes to us from: WEWS.
With the money left over, they were able to give three additional pairs to local, legally blind teens. This story comes to us from: 6ABC.
The Savannah Center for the Blind and Low Vision hosted Dining in the Dark, a gala dedicated to raising awareness about vision loss. This story comes to us from: WSAV-TV.
He was born in Lima, Peru and as a young man he wanted to follow his father's steps and become a police officer or have a military career. This story comes to us from: KPTM.
A young Sag Harbor man who is going blind and has lost almost everything over the past year is finding new reason to hope — but still needs help to survive. Christopher Backlund is just 20 years old. He is rapidly losing his eyesight due to a rare genetic disease, Leber hereditary optic neuropathy. During the past months, Backlund also had to endure the passing of his grandfather and his mother — and now, has been forced by dire economic necessity to try and sell his Sag Harbor home, which he recently inherited and that has been in his family for 160 years. This story comes to us from: Patch.
For many blind and low vision people, accessing outdoor spaces like parks can be challenging. Trails are often unsafe or difficult to navigate, signs don’t usually have Braille, guides generally aren’t trained to help disabled visitors, and so on. This story comes to us from: Science Friday.
This Inspiring Social Media Star Is Blind + Her Fashion & Makeup Tips Have Gained Millions of Followers
Blind YouTuber Shares Her Inspiring Story With 1.9 Million Subsc… … "I had a very severe accident, a really bad blind girl moment. This story comes to us from: Rachael Ray Show.
Art and Artists
AGT All-Stars | AuditionsBlind soul singer, Robert Finley, wows the judges with original song, "Souled Out on You" on AGT All-Stars 2023. This story comes to us from: YouTube.
In a gymnasium. At the top of a rock climbing wall. Even in the middle of a race track with a car doing burn-outs around me. Those are all the places I’ve played piano – and that’s just in one music video. It was to promote the 2016 Paralympics and I was featured in the video alongside a bunch of other people with disabilities. We recorded the track – based on Sammy Davis Junior’s song, Yes I Can – in Abbey Road Studios and the whole process was intense, but electric. This story comes to us from: Metro UK.
If you’re reading this, consider that I’m legally blind. That means even with corrective eyeglasses (some of the strongest prescribed lenses ever), I can’t see well enough to drive or ride a bike. I see the world kind of like a painting. My condition is called keratoconus, and it’s very difficult to see at times. However, it doesn’t mean I can’t shoot. Here’s what I learned about photographing with glasses over the years. This story comes to us from: The Phoblographer.
Editor: This story is told as a video.
This story comes to us from: WILX.
“Hayden is, to our knowledge, the first completely blind child actor to be given a lead role in a major feature film,” said Hayden's mom Shannon. In the film, Hayden plays Zack Warner, the blind son of Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner. Hayden, born blind in China, was adopted by Shannon and Michael Zaller in 2016. Soon after their arrival in Southeast Georgia, the Zallers discovered the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision. "As the Center continues to grow, they are able to offer so many more options for children," explains Shannon. This story comes to us from: WJCL.
Countdown star Susie Dent is hoping to help those who feel trapped and lonely by using her word skills with visually impaired people to guide them through their surroundings. This story comes to us from: The Mirror.
Editor: This was a hard story to categorize so I put it here even though I'm not sure.a reality show qualifies as "art."
A blind woman from Hertfordshire says Love Island is "accessible for contestants but not their audience" after they welcomed visually impaired Ron Hall but still don't include audio description. Claire Sisk, 43, from Hertford is registered blind and welcomes positive visual representation but feels left out as she can't watch the programme on her own, she says. This story comes to us from: Hertfordshire Mercury.
Blake Lindsay says while the obstacles in his life are different from most, everyone can overcome their fears. This story comes to us from: FOX 4 News Dallas-Fort Worth.
Sports and Athletes
When she was 17 years old, Wilma was attacked by criminals and blinded while she babysat. The moment left her without her sight but undeterred. Wilma decided, in part, to use sports as her way of forging through. One of those sports included kickboxing. After trying kickboxing because of a social media challenge, Wilma later asked Kick House Head Coach Andrea Furnace to teach a class for the visually impaired. Now the class meets every Tuesday and helps build camaraderie with the several women that are in it. This story comes to us from: FOX 2.
[Goalball tournament takes over the Valley][
Roughly 150 athletes competed in the goalball tournament over the weekend at Ability360. This story comes to us from: 12News.com.
A curling team from Prince George will represent B.C. at the Western Canada Blind Curling Championships to be held in Winnipeg in early March. This story comes to us from: CBC.
at the South Alabama Gun Club Rifle Range. … a 22-year-old woman who has been blind since birth, was named the event's “Top Gun” winner. This story comes to us from: Andalusia Star-News.
The crowd protested when the female referee brandished a card at one of the players in a game of nude touch rugby: “What are you, ref, blind? This story comes to us from: NZ Herald.
Partially blind women’s rugby club player aims to bring awareness to students with disabilities through sports
Alayna Lopez is a member of the women's rugby club team, despite her diagnosis with retinitis pigmentosa. This story comes to us from: NewsBreak Original.
Elfrida Valley Union's powerful offense roared to a resounding victory by pulling away from Tucson Arizona School for the Deaf & Blind. This story comes to us from: Arizona Daily Star.
Editor: This story is told in a video.
This story comes to us from: YouTube.
Meet Tyson Rettie, a backcountry ski guide who lost his vision, but kept right on guiding. This story comes to us from: Adventure Journal.
A brain tumor robbed Jacob Smith of his vision, but that hasn’t stopped him from making a name for himself on the slopes. This story comes to us from: CBS News.
Editor: This story is told in a video.
This story comes to us from: YouTube.
A 60-year-old woman who has been registered blind since birth has been described as an 'absolute superstar' after signing up to take on the Lister Abseil to raise funds for the Stevenage hospital where her daughter works. This story comes to us from: Hitchin Nub News.
Jack Schroeder, a 14-year caretaker and office aide to John Boyer, sits near Boyer’s workstation in Madison on Friday. Boyer, who died Jan. 17, was instrumental in making advanced STEM literature accessible to the blind. This story comes to us from: Madison..
[Marshall Tucker Band's Namesake Blind Piano Tuner Dies at 99][
He tuned pianos in South Carolina for decades. We are thankful for Mr. Marshall Tucker and the life he lived. This story comes to us from: CMT.
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