WBH Weekly Blind News Digest – Edition 49

What's Inside

  • Five year old invents GPS necklace for the blind
  • ACB announces DVS award winners
  • Teaching microbiology to blind students
  • Medical bills remain inaccessible for most blind Americans
  • Blind girl gang raped by school teacher and security guard
  • Disabled activists sue DC over bicycle lanes
  • Blind cricketers prepare for championship
  • And, about 60 more stories about blindness and blind people from the entire world

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

This was a pretty big week for blind news with a fair number of articles in nearly all categories.

My favorite stories this week are a pair in the section on guide dogs. As I'm a guide dog handler myself, the volunteers for whom I have the most gratitude are the puppy raisers. These people take an adorable 12 week old puppy into their homes, do all of the basic training and after living with and loving the puppy for about 18 months, they need to return the dog to the school for its more advanced training and then to be given to one of us blind people. This is issue 49 of this digest and these are the first two articles about puppy raisers and I was very happy to see them get a tiny bit of the credit they're due.

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.


Big milestone for PWDs as govt launches braille constitution

The government has launched a number of legal tools as the country moves to become more responsive to Ugandans with disabilities. This story comes to us from: monitor.co.ug.


'She wanted to find ways to help': 5-year-old girl bags first prize at invention contest with GPS necklace for the blind

Five-year-old Renee Hairiyanto saw a blind man get into an accident when he could not hear the beeping sound at a traffic light due to road noise. In May this year, Renee was walking home from pre-school when she witnessed the accident. This led her to ask her parents, Mr Hairiyanto and Madam Siti Qadriyah, questions about why the incident occurred and what she could do to help. This story comes to us from: AsiaOne.

Google opens its first UK centre making tech for disabled people

If you design technology with disabled people in mind, you design technology better for everyone.
This was the sentiment from Google as it opened its first UK research and development centre dedicated to making tech to help people with disabilities.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People, the Royal National Institute for Deaf People and disability charity Everyone Can have worked with Google on developing the centre in London. It is the company's first accessibility-focused site outside the US. This story comes to us from: BBC.

Google launches Reading Mode app to help visually disabled to read easily

Editor: This sounds like a really interesting bit of software. I'm sort of uncertain why Google is making this a separate app rather than just extending TalkBack to include these features or, maybe as I predicted years ago, the TalkBack design did not lend itself well to upgrades in the future. Either way, this is good progress as not everyone can afford an iPhone and Android provides much more less expensive options.

The new app is designed to help those with visual impairment or dyslexia to read what is on the screen. One will have to install the app via the Play Store. Post that, you will have to specifically turn on the toggle button under Accessibility settings. This will enable the app to have a floating button on the screen irrespective of the app that might be on at that moment. This story comes to us from: goodereader.

Blind Invention Competition builds confidence for young visually impaired inventors

Make48 and KSSB hosted the first-ever invention competition for visually impaired and blind students out of Kansas. This story comes to us from: KSHB.

Smart Contact Lens To Detect Eye Infections Developed By UK, Indian Scientists

"Eye infections – microbial keratitis – are a major cause of vision loss and blindness worldwide, and more so in India," said Dr Prashant Garg. This story comes to us from: NDTV.com.

Elon Musk expects Neuralink to begin human trials in six months

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and Austin, Texas, Neuralink has in recent years been conducting tests on animals as it seeks U.S. regulatory approval to begin clinical trials in people. This story comes to us from: Daily Mail.

Blindness Organizations

American Council of the Blind Salutes Audio Description Award Winners

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) would like to thank all those who participated in the 2022 Audio Description Awards Gala. This story comes to us from: PR Newswire.

Free library service helps blind & print disabled people keep reading and living productive lives

Georgia Library Service for the Blind & Print Disabled (GLS) provides library services for individuals who are blind and to those whose physical abilities require the use of books and magazines in audio format or in braille. Services are delivered through a network including a walk-in location and a central distribution center. This story comes to us from: YouTube.

Blind Brook Student Wins Lions Club Peace Poster District Contest

The Lions Club announced that Blake Goldstein, from Blind Brook Middle School, has won the Lions District 20R2 Peace Poster Contest, which took place in November. Goldstein's poster will be entered into the NYS competition in mid-December, and might then move on to the international levels, with a winner announced at a United Nations event in the spring. The district win follows his winning the local Port Chester/Rye Brook Lions competition on Nov. 12 from all entries from the Blind Brook Middle School. This story comes to us from: Patch.

Aston Lioness Club offers women opportunities to make new friends while making a difference

“I don’t think that I could be a member of any other organization that would be more rewarding than this one,” added Harriet Reynolds of West Chester. “I’m always able to genuinely help people and make a difference in local communities." The women were talking about why they have been longtime members of the Aston Lioness Club, a service club of community-minded, caring women that provides community service opportunities, supports programs that benefit the blind and visually impaired, as well as the police, fire company, library, Scouts, schools and churches. This story comes to us from:

Prevent Blindness Declares Second Annual Geographic Atrophy Awareness Week as Dec. 5-11, 2022

Prevent Blindness declares Dec. 5-11, 2022, as the second annual Geographic Atrophy Awareness Week, providing free educational resources to the public. This story comes to us from: Online Press Release Distribution Service.


Microbiology for Blind or Visually Impaired Students

Students with visual disabilities and blindness want to learn science just as much as anyone else and can be successful. This story comes to us from: Mirage News.

After national invention contest, Holton's Addie Bartels will be able to take on the world

Addie Bartels is a one-of-a-kind girl, two times over. The Holton Middle School eighth-grader only recently learned how to fully pronounce familial exudative vitreoretinopathy — the disease that has severely limited her eyesight ever since she was born. She only asks that you don't hold her to spelling it yet. "She’s rare even within the rare," said her dad, Leslie Bartels. "She was No. 74 in the country to be diagnosed with FEVR since 1968. Most people only get it in one eye, if you do get it. She got it in both. This story comes to us from: The Topeka Capital-Journal.


In 'Blanca', a blind investigator must solve her own dark mystery

A consultant for the Genoese police, Blanca Ferrando brings her unique perspective as a blind person. But many of her colleagues aren’t exactly supportive of her involvement. This story comes to us from: SBS.

Inside the world of a blind City lawyer

As somebody who has been registered as blind (legally blind) since the age of four, meaning that I can’t read, recognise people or deal with any hard-copy books and documents, you may be wondering why I decided to become a lawyer and how I manage to do my job on a daily basis. The answer isn’t simple, nor is it mono-facetted. It requires support in the form of specialist accessibility software, extra junior lawyer, trainee and secretarial support and a whole lot of resilience, determination and the ability to get yourself back up off the floor when something knocks you to the ground (metaphorically of course. This story comes to us from: Legal Cheek.

Blind Auto Mechanic : Blind Man Hafeez Repairs Autos For Living In Warangal

Editor: This story is entirely told in the YouTube video.

This story comes to us from: YouTube.

Blind people graduate as massage specialists

The National Board of the Blind introduced 34 new professionals to society who specialize in massages using Japanese techniques. The graduation ceremony took place on Wednesday, November 30, in the Rafael Aguayo Room at the board of trustees’ main headquarters. Alexandra Ventura, the institution’s president, emphasized their enthusiasm and the efforts made by the new massage and rehabilitation professionals to achieve their goals during the inauguration. This story comes to us from: Dominican Today.


UK's first audio guide for blind people launched in Bristol

The guide is the first in the UK to help blind and partially-sighted people navigate train stations. This story comes to us from: BBC.

Discrimination and Inaccessibility

Medical bills remain inaccessible for many visually impaired Americans

Editor: This article includes a reference to our friend Lucy Greco, one of the strongest voices in the world of accessibility.

A Missouri man who is deaf and blind said a medical bill he didn't know existed was sent to debt collections, triggering an 11% rise in his home insurance premiums. In a different case, from California, an insurer has suspended a blind woman's coverage every year since 2010 after mailing printed "verification of benefits" forms to her home that she cannot read, she said. The problems continued even after she got a lawyer involved. This story comes to us from: NPR.


Bleaching Gone Wrong! Woman Goes Blind After Using Skin Lightening Chemicals

A US woman is reported to have become partially blind after losing part of her vision due to using skin-bleaching chemicals. This story comes to us from: iHarare.


Blind Girl Gang Raped by School Teacher and Security Guard

In a horrifying incident, a security guard and a teacher sexually assaulted a visually impaired 16-year-old girl in Okara on Tuesday. This story comes to us from: ProPakistani.

Northampton: Woman stole £1000 from blind disabled man

A conwoman posed as a nurse to scam more than £1,000 from a blind man which she spent on cigarettes and scratchcards. This story comes to us from: Metro UK.

Beverly Hills man accused of assaulting blind, disabled father

Editor: It should be noted that this is Beverley Hills, Texas and not the famous one in California.

A Beverly Hills man who police say assaulted his 80-year-old blind and disabled father, prevented him from leaving his residence, and then tried to fight officer, remains jailed on a variety of charges. Beverly Hills police arrested Timothy Ray Fuentes, 46, after Fuentes’ blind father called police Monday to report his son assaulted him because he wouldn’t give him his debit card. Officers responding to the home in the 4000 block of Sherry Lane reported they saw the elderly man in the doorway of the home as they approached and witnessed Fuentes “push him against the wall repeatedly,” according to an arrest affidavit. This story comes to us from: KWTX.

Ballymena: 61-year-old sentenced for attacking blind man

A man who punched a blind man in the face three times and then kicked him as he lay injured on the ground has been given a three-month jail sentence. This story comes to us from: BBC.

Guide Dogs

Turning puppies into heroes: How Guiding Eyes for the Blind is changing lives

Editor: This is a story about the amazing volunteers who take a puppy into their home, do all of the basic training and then return them to guide dog schools so we guide dog handlers can have well trained animals. These are wonderful people and I deeply appreciate their efforts.

After doing some research, they stumbled upon Guiding Eyes for the Blind and its puppy raiser program, not knowing that their lives would be forever changed. Guiding Eyes for the Blind is a nonprofit organization that provides and trains guide dogs for people with vision loss. For over 60 years, it has strived to connect seeing-eye dogs with visually impaired people to help them regain freedom in their everyday lives. This story comes to us from: Niagara Frontier Publications.

Want to help a blind person? Consider raising a puppy

Editor: This is the 49th edition of this digest. To date, we had no stories about guide dog puppy raisers and here we have two in a row. If you're a guide dog handler, you know how terrific these volunteers are and I'm happy they're getting a bit more exposure.

… detail at Guide Dogs of the Desert, which is celebrating its 50th year providing mobility, companionship and independence for the blind. This story comes to us from: The Desert Sun.

Blind Warwick woman receives college diploma alongside her guide dog

A blind Warwick woman and her guide dog have a lot to celebrate. The pair recently took a trip up north to receive their bachelor's degree from the University of Southern New Hampshire. This story comes to us from: WJAR.

Blind man left without seat shares video to show how hard his guide dog works

A blind man who was left feeling humiliated when fellow commuters ignored him and his guide dog on a busy train posted a video to show how hard life can be for the visually impaired. This story comes to us from: LADbible.

Blind woman says she was denied ride twice in a row by Uber drivers because of guide dog

A Winnipeg woman says she was left waiting in the cold after not one, but two Uber drivers refused to give her a ride because of her service dog. This story comes to us from: CBC.


21 Blind Women Cast Votes In Rajkot

A total of 21 blind women from Mahila Vikas Gruh reached the polling booth in a bus to cast their votes at Ma Sharda Vidhyala in Rajkot that falls. This story comes to us from: Times of India.

Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng says Biden must help protesters

“Everyone knows that these organic protests of the Chinese people are not just about COVID policies, but about their yearning for freedom. This story comes to us from: New York Post.


Disability Groups Sue DC Over Bike Lanes

The Nov. 21 lawsuit filed in federal court alleges that D.C.’s redesigned bike lanes, which lie between sidewalks and parking spots throughout the District, prevent wheelchair users from safely accessing curbside parking, using sidewalk ramps and crossing streets. The D.C. Center for Independent Living (DCCIL), a nonprofit organization that assists disabled D.C. residents, is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, new bike lanes on 17th Street NW block disabled residents from entering or exiting parked vehicles. Richard Simms, the executive director of DCCIL, said 14th Street, U Street and P Street are other locations with problematic lanes. Simms said the design of the new protected bike lanes will cause safety issues with visually impairments individuals from safely reaching bus stops. “What you have to do is you would have to come off the sidewalk, cross a bike lane and go to the bus stop,” Simms told The Hoya. “It is just a tremendous disadvantage to blind people.” This story comes to us from: The Hoya.

Gamefly class action claims website inaccessible to visually impaired, blind visitors

A legally blind woman from New York filed a class action lawsuit against Gamefly.com, a popular gaming retail website, alleging the company makes its content inaccessible to legally blind people who use screen-reading software. Plaintiff Jovan Campbell claims that other major retail sites make use of technology to help visually impaired individuals navigate sites, such as alternative text, accessible forms, descriptive links and resizable text. However, the Gamefly class action says Gamefly chooses to “rely on an exclusively visual interface” that discriminates against visually impaired customers. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.


Designer Nayana Ascharya Peiris among BBC's 100 inspiring women of 2019

Ashcharya Peiris was on her way home from work at a bank when a bomb blast left her blind in 2000. She lost her job to her disability but ended up fulfilling her dream of becoming a fashion designer by describing her designs to a seamstress. She was a finalist in Sri Lanka's Up & Coming Fashion Designer competition, and is now a motivational speaker in garment factories, inspiring young women to follow their own dreams. This story comes to us from: Sunday Times.

Birding As a Blind Person Is Now Easier in Colombia, Thanks to a Tourism Project

Born blind, Culasso pays attention to the sounds of nature more than most birders; in fact, he can identify more than 2,000 birds by their song. This story comes to us from: National Audubon Society.

Holiday gifts for people with a disability or chronic illness

People with disabilities or chronic illness have unique needs. … Two Blind Brothers sell stuffed toys with Braille names stitched onto the ears. This story comes to us from: The Washington Post.

Blind etiquette: Don't be a goober, be a helper instead

Mary Fisher is a gold medal Paralympic swimmer, disability advocate, chorister and goalballer. She was born with a visual impairment which caused her to lose her vision as a teenager. Fisher is about to school me on how visually competent people can be better allies to our blind and low vision community. Basically, she is going to teach me how sighted folk can stop being awkward, ignorant goobers. This story comes to us from: Stuff.co.nz.

[I'm not surprised wife asked me out –Blind graduate][

A visually impaired graduate, Demola Adeleke, who recently got married and shared his joy on social media, tells TEMITOPE ADETUNJI how he achieve his goals despite losing his sight to glaucoma as a teenager. This story comes to us from: punchng.com.

International Day of Disabled Persons: Visually-impaired people in China getting more

December 3 marks the International Day of Disabled Persons. It aims to promote understanding of disability and mobilize support for safeguarding the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. Our reporter GUO TIANQI visited a blind writer in southwest China's Chengdu City, to find out how people with disabilities can be employed with the help of technology and society. This story comes to us from: CGTN.

Art and Artists

Blind artist Lynne Wastell leaves Alice Springs due to crime

An altercation and fear of crime has prompted her to leave Alice Springs
"You've got to try things and not be afraid," she said. "I'm always happy when I'm painting. "I'm just so lucky to have that." Ms Wastell thought everyone saw the world in the same way that she did until she was diagnosed. "I didn't know any different," she said. "It's just a thing that you have and you've got to deal with. There's worse things in life." It wasn't until she obtained her license at the age of 30 while living in London and "started crashing into things" that she realised she had a vision problem. This story comes to us from: ABC.

St. John's theatre company launches audio description for plays

A St. John's theatre company is launching a service it hopes will make performances more accessible to people who are blind or have low levels of vision. Paul David Power, artistic director of Power Productions, has been working to bring live audio description to productions in Newfoundland and Labrador for some time. His dream became a reality when the company began offering the service this week. This story comes to us from: CBC.

A Beijing Theater Is Committed to Screening Movies for the Blind

A Beijing Theater Is Committed to Screening Movies for the Blind. Reckoning Theater has organized over 1,000 screenings since its opening in 2004. This story comes to us from: Sixth Tone.

An immersive theater experience with nothing to see

“Odd Man Out” at Bucks County's Bristol Riverside Theatre takes place in complete darkness. … For blind people, it feels like a release. This story comes to us from: The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Blind brain tumor survivor finds serenity in playing the banjo

Wortman has been legally blind ever since. Wortman can still see a sort of abstract version of reality, but nothing is clear or coherent. This story comes to us from: thesalemnewsonline.com.

Blind after a car crash, he turned to Christ and became a sculptor

Andrea Bianco compares his accident to St. Paul's fall to the ground on the way to Damascus. Andrea Bianco is an artist of faith. This story comes to us from: Aleteia.

Sharing Poetry on Facebook to Help the Blind Community

After a difficult diagnosis, Dave S. turned fear into hope by sharing his poetry on Facebook as Dave Steele The Blind Poet. Dave has Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare genetic disease that causes severe and permanent sight loss over time. When Dave lost his job and his home, he transformed his struggles into words and advocacy for the blind. He’s written hundreds of poems that help others relate and understand the experiences of the blind community. This story comes to us from: Meta – Facebook.

Sports and Athletes

BOXING BLIND: Man puts up fight after losing his sight

Tom Wagner, 52, of Youngstown, wouldn’t go down for the count after losing his sight. Now he hears one count for a jab, two for a right cross, three for a left hook — and comes out swinging. Going blind led him to try new things in life, he said. One of them is boxing. Wagner began going blind in 2018 when a blood vessel popped near his right eye, and he lost sight in it. At that point, he was working for General Motors in Lordstown, but when the plant closed in 2019, he was transferred to Spring Hill, Tenn. In June of that year, he had surgery on his left eye in an attempt to save his sight — but it didn’t help. By 2020, Wagner had lost sight in both eyes and moved back to the Mahoning Valley to be with family. He lost his sight due to diabetes, and he has had six surgeries on his eyes, but now can see only light every so often. This story comes to us from: The Vindicator.

Don't 'Wait Until Dark': India's visually impaired cricketers long for love and respect

He covered his eyes with a handkerchief, tried to field a few balls, but failed miserably. Having given up, Virat Kohli removed the piece of cloth after a few minutes, opened his eyes, and told a fellow India captain in 2017, “This is incredible. I can’t do it, what you guys do is unimaginable.” India’s visually impaired cricket team skipper Ajay Reddy fondly remembers the interaction with the then captain of the country’s able-bodied national team. “Able-bodied” has been the most operative word in the 32-year-old Ajay’s life since the fateful night when an anxious four-year old, unable to find his mother by the bedside, ran towards the door and the iron door hook hit his eye to change his life forever. It started getting blurrier and from normal school, he had to get transferred to a ‘school for the visually impaired’ after sixth standard. Then, love for cricket gave his life a new meaning and direction. This story comes to us from: ThePrint.

Blind cricket | Proteas ready for World Cup Glory

Another global cricket event is about to begin, with the T20 World Cup for the blind starting on Monday. This story comes to us from: YouTube.

New hockey club in NC aims to help the blind

A New York-based group is bringing a new hockey club to the area aiming to get visually-impaired people involved. This story comes to us from: CBS 17.

International Day of Disabled Persons 2022: Norbert's story

What is it like to be disabled and work in football? To find out, we asked Norbert Foris, a staff member of the Football and Social Responsibility unit at the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ). This story comes to us from: UEFA.com.

Blind kid celebrates Lionel Messi's goal as Argentina beat Mexico by following his father's hands

A viral video has shown how football moves those who cannot see their idols light up the World Cup stage. This story comes to us from: Daily Mail.

Friend chronicles match for deaf, blind Brazil fan

A blind and deaf Brazilian football fan experienced his country's World Cup win in their group match against Switzerland on Monday. This story comes to us from: – YouTube.

Ohio Blind Soccer Team

Columbus Recreation and Parks Department has one of six soccer teams in the country for the blind and visually impaired. This story comes to us from: – Spectrum News.

Dad told he would go blind at routine check up

Dave Kelly has gone on to be the first blind person to gain a powerboat license. This story comes to us from: Liverpool Echo.


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