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So there is this guy named Justin who has an entire Website full of guitar lessons
and you can check out the lessons free. He is also a fantastic explainer and gives specific instructions on which finger should go on which string at which fret (he also typically provides instructions for alternate fingerings), and instructions are given both in video and text notes. He even does a bit of troubleshooting at the end of each video so you can figure out why your chord sounds wrong. I've checked out a number of online lessons and audio courses, and this is the one I have found to be, by far, the most blind-friendly. Obviously, however, you don't have to be blind to appreciate his great teaching method, because his site has over 50,000 likes.
And, just to provide the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae, he has a British accent.

Here is the link to the D chord I am working on today
kestrell: (Default)
From a Perkins School Action Alert, but I expect this holds just as true for all Mass. students with disabilities:

block quote start
Earlier this week the Massachusetts Legislature imposed a Tuition Freeze for Perkins School for the Blind and other Chapter 766 special education schools. This was not anticipated, since both the Governor and the House had approved a 2.13% cost of living tuition rate increase for Fiscal Year 2013.

This means that Perkins School for the Blind will receive approximately $450,000 fewer dollars than had been expected. As a great friend and supporter of Perkins, you know that these are critical funds used to support services to some of the most vulnerable students in Massachusetts.

The freezing of tuition dollars impacts Perkins and all other Chapter 766 special education schools, their students, families and staff. Statewide, $15 million fewer dollars will go to students with special needs! We need to make our voices heard. We need your immediate help with this critical issue.

PLEASE Call or write today!

Simply make a call to the Governor’s office at: 617-725-4005. Give your name and ask Governor Patrick to Veto Outside Section 169 - The Rate Freeze for Chapter 766 Schools. You could also email or fax a letter to the Governor.

block quote end
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The Guardian has a weekly colum which features reading- and writing-related apps
and many of these are designed for children.
I thought this one was especially nifty:

Using My Words to Ask For What I Want Social Story

The latest iOS app for children with autism is Using My Words to Ask For What I Want, whose title is self-explanatory. It's a 13-page "social story" about how to ask for different objects or activities, explaining why it's important to ask. It's the work of developer Touch Autism.
iPhone / iPad
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Book signing & celebration with Dr. Bill Henderson

Thursday November 10, 2011
7-11 PM
Florian Hall
55 Hallet Street, Dorchester

The evening will feature a short book talk from Bill after which he will be available to sign books. The Blind Advantage will be available for purchase at the event. There will also be entertainment, hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar, a silent auction and raffle items.

Donation: $20 per person in advance or at the door
Please make checks payable to the Henderson Inclusion School.

Please contact the school for additional information 617-635-8725. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Dr. William Henderson Inclusion Elementary School in Dorchester

More about the book:
The Blind Advantage How Going Blind Made Me a Stronger Principal and How Including Children with Disabilities Made Our School Better for Everyone
by Bill Henderson
This book can also be purchased through
The Harvard Education Publishing Group Web site
which also offers an audio book, MP3 download
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-246-5
Price: $24.95
kestrell: (Default)
Posted to the Art Beyond Sight mailinglist

NASA Unveils a New Lunar Book for the Visually Impaired

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. - NASA will unveil a new book for blind and visually impaired readers at a media event and reception hosted by the
NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) at 6 p.m. PDT on July 18 at NASA's
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

The book "Getting a Feel for Lunar Craters" was created with the NLSI and features tactile diagrams of the lunar surface designed to educate the blind and visually impaired about the wonders of Earth's moon. David
Hurd, a space science professor at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, Pa., is the book's author. He and tactile engineer John Matelock began creating tactile astronomy tools after a student with a visual impairment signed up for Hurd's introductory astronomy course.
Cassandra Runyon, a professor at College of Charleston, Charleston, S.C. and Hurd previously produced "A Tactile Guide to the Solar System with Digital Talking Book" for NASA.

Hurd and students from the California School for the Blind, Fremont, Calif., are scheduled to attend the unveiling.

"NASA's Lunar Science Institute is committed to the development of resources to bring lunar science into the world of those who cannot see.
'Getting a Feel for Lunar Craters' is one giant step for humankind, making lunar science visible through touch and sound," said Yvonne Pendleton, director of the NLSI.

The NLSI is a virtual organization that enables collaborative, interdisciplinary research in support of NASA lunar science programs.
The institute uses technology to bring scientists together around the world and comprises competitively selected U.S. teams and several international partners. NASA's Science Mission Directorate and the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at the agency's Headquarters in Washington, funds the institute, which is managed by Ames.

For more information about the NASA Lunar Science Institute, visit:
kestrell: (Default)
Kes: EASI is one of the first places one should go to find out about accessible technologies for education.

Free Webinar Android Apps for
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
Presenter Steve Jacobs of Apps for Android
When? Tuesday July 26
11 AM Pacific, Noon Mountain, 1 PM Central, 2 PM Eastern
This is the 3rd EASI Webinar related to Android accessibility.

Smart phones are getting smarter and bringing more and more tools to their users. STEM content has been slow to become accessible, but this is changing. Now Android phones can even become useful STEM tools.
You can do more than texting your college friends. You can even get help for your homework.
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From the announcement posted to mailing lists:

block quote start
EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) has just created a short
pamphlet to help computer support staff who work, at least periodically, with students with disabilities. Frequently these staff have little
experience working with this population, and this 7-page pamphlet strives to make the interaction less stressful for the staff and more helpful for the students.

Here are the topics covered in the pamphlet:

Introduction Your attitude can make a big difference
Tips on dealing with people with disabilities
General tips
Some Helpful tips for specific disability types
Visual Impairments
Hearing Impairments
Mobility Impairments
Upper body motor impairments
Learning and cognitive Disabilities
Finding resources
Note on service dogs

It can be downloaded free from the Internet and shared with your colleagues:

block quote end
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From the EASI announcement list

Webinar Book Review Free Webinar:
Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice
Presenter: Sheryl Bergstahler, Ph.D. DO-IT, University of Washington
Tuesday June 14, 11 AM Pacific, Noon Mountain, 1 PM Central, 2 PM Eastern
This presentation will provide an overview of the history of universal design,
back to its origins in architecture and product development. The presenter
will share examples of applications of universal design in higher education - to
technology, instruction, services, and physical spaces. She will also discuss
various approaches that have been taken to apply universal design to learning
environments, with a focus on practical applications that instructors can employ to make their courses more welcoming and accessible to all students.
The Webinar is based on the book: Universal Design in Higher Education: From
Principles to Practice edited by Sheryl Burgstahler which is accessible at Bookshare.

Free Webinar: Book Review: Managing the Assistive Technology Process: The
Nontech Guide for Disability Service Providers.
Presenter James Bailey, MS, Adaptive Technology Adviser, University of Oregon.
continued below cut )
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Because Pictures Matter: A Guide to Using, Finding, and Creating Tactile Imagery for Blind Children
written by Deborah Kent, illustrated by Ann Cunningham (National Braille Press, 2008)

This book is available for free from NBP in large print format, and is also available in Spanish.
To order, go to

As a former art student, one of the things I find most frustrating about being blind is the attitude on the part of others that how things look is something of which I am uncaring, oblivious, or entirely ignorant.

As human beings, most of us have brains which automatically attempt to find out information, patterns, stories, and even a sense of aesthetics. An aesthetic is, after all, one's sense of what is good and beautiful, what affects each of us emotionally and psychologically and even sometimes physically.

Let me underscore that last bit, because sighted individuals often seem to forget this: beneath all the linguistic and conceptual abstractions of aesthetics lies the fact that we are talking about reacting to what is, after all, the physical world and it's affect upon us.
continued below cut )
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American Foundation for the Blind publishes a newsletter called Dots, and the fall issue recently came out
which includes an article about prison braille transcription programs. As it turns out, one of the major providers of braille is prison programs which train inmates to become braille transcribers.

There is also a phone number regarding National Braille Press's program to provide free braille books to young blind children and their families.
kestrell: (Default)
[From the announcement e-mail]

NASA is looking to increase the number of blind and disabled students, pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through our internship programs. We have a two-percent hiring goal. Students can
>apply between November 1 and February 1. They can register for an account and look for internships anytime at .
Internships run for ten weeks from May 31, 2011, through August 5, 2011.
more information below cut )
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People often don't understand when I try to explain that just because something is labeled "accessible" does not mean that it is, in actuality, accessible. A somewhat amusing example of this appeared in a post made to one of the disability student services mailing lists to which I subscribe regarding the accessibility of a very popular math learning tool produced by one of the top educational textbook/software companies.

When the company speaks to math departments, it claims that their product is accessible, yet some interesting statements on the part of the company come to light when those specializing in accessibility talk with the company's representatives.

1. We [the company] are committed to accessibility. Any accessibility issues are Adobe Flash‘s fault.
(Obviously, no one told their developers that

can be made totally accessible ).

2. We can definitively state that our product is accessible with a screen reader even though our developers don't have a screen reader with which to test the product.

3. Our legal counsel talked to the National Federation of the Blind and when we explained that accessibility issues aren't our fault, they are the fault of the technology, the NFB was okay with that, so your school should accept that too and buy our software product.
(Obviously no one told these guys how many blind programmers belong to the NFB.)
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Kes: Short but information-rich, if you are going to read one article on the subject of ebooks and accessibility for blind readers, read this one.

E-Texts for All (Even Lucy)
By Char Booth, E-Learning Librarian, University of California, Berkeley Aug 5, 2010

block quote start
Lucy is partial to a few sayings that have helped me understand the e-text accessibility paradox. The first is that "ebooks were created by the blind, then made inaccessible by the sighted."

Online text formats like DAISY and EPUB were pioneered in part by the accessibility movement as an alternative to expensive and cumbersome Braille texts.
As ebooks have gained popularity, however, digital text became inexorably less accessible as for-profit readers like the Kindle and Sony Reader muscled onto the scene. A patina of
digital rights management (DRM) has been added in order to protect the intellectual property of vendors, contrary to the open and accessible orientation libraries have long held toward literacy and learning.
block quote end
kestrell: (Default)
From the
Art_beyond_sight_theory_and_research mailing list

Kes: I think I am going to get one of those drawing boards and some of the special drawing paper and try drawing again; who knows? maybe I'll enter something in next year's Arisia art show.
products listed below cut )
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The American Printing House for the Blind is making this free guide available in multiple formats, including html and PDF.
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Posted to the NCAM announcement list

The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH (NCAM) has written guidelines for content providers who would like to create accessible iTunes U media via captions, subtitles and audio descriptions. This guidelines document provides step-by-step documentation on creating fully accessible media, including:

- Closed captions and audio descriptions that the user can turn on or off as needed.
- Open subtitles and descriptions that are available to everyone watching or listening.
- Closed subtitles for adding multiple language tracks to video files.
- Accessible PDFs.

Also included with the guidelines are links to eight video and audio clips that illustrate the various forms of accessible media discussed in the document. Using these guidelines, iTunes U content providers can create content that all people can learn from including people with vision and
hearing loss.

To access the Creating Accessible iTunes U Content guidelines document and related media, see Creating Accessible iTunes U Content on Apple's iTunes site,

About NCAM and WGBH
The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH is a research, development and advocacy entity that works to make existing and emerging technologies accessible to all audiences. NCAM is part of the Media Access Group at WGBH, which also includes The Caption Center (est. 1972), and Descriptive Video Service® (est. 1990). For more
information, visit

WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup, along with some of public television's best-known lifestyle shows and children's programs and many public radio favorites. For more information, visit


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