Vision Loss Online Support

The Summer 2014 newsletter, Dots and Decibels, from the Perkins Library and the Worcester Talking Book Library features someone with a very special mission. Hannah Fairbairn has “walked the walk” of vision loss and personal recovery, and now wants to share some of the ways she manages her daily life through her new website and weekly blog. In addition to her own experiences, Hannah has worked at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts for many years. She writes, “wherever you are in your journey with vision loss, you’ll find something here to make you more confident, more like your old self…or perhaps more active and productive than you were before.” Hannah’s blog can be found via her website VisionLossAndPersonalRecovery.com.

Child in a Strange Country: Exhibit and Events


The traveling exhibit from the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind, "Child in a Strange Country: Helen Keller and the History of Education for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired" officially opens this Friday, May 2, with a reception featuring library director Josie Parker, Museum Director Micheal A. Hudson, harpist Deborah Gabrion, and refreshments.

But the exhibit is already assembled enough (in the Downtown Library's lobby and 3rd floor) to see it will be fun and informative featuring a big globe with raised features, selections of writing such as Valentin Hauy’s tactile book and Louis Braille’s dot code, and insights, events, and photographs from Helen's life.

The title of the exhibit comes from Anne Sullivan's report about Helen in which she said, “For the first two years of her intellectual life she was like a child in a strange country,” and noted that no learning was possible until she could overcome the communication barrier posed by blindness and deafness. With that in mind, “Child in a Strange Country” explores four primary subjects: Reading, Science, Math, and Geography. Using Helen Keller’s educational journey as a lens, the exhibit uses tactile reproductions and authentic artifacts to uncover the roots of modern education for children with vision loss. The exhibit is designed to be fully accessible and interactive. You can touch and explore that big globe as much as you want.

If the exhibit whets your appetite, come see Child in a Strange Country or Why is Helen Keller at the Water Pump the Only Person Who Was Blind that Most Americans Know?, on Sunday, May 4 from 2 - 3:30 PM, a talk by Museum Director Micheal A. Hudson in which he explores major advances in learning and literacy since 1784 for people who are blind or visually impaired, introducing characters that most people do not know. Also join us on Wednesday, May 7 from 7 - 8:30 PM for Sensory Communication: Relaying and Receiving Information Through Touch, in which UM Performing Arts Technology Professor Sile O'Modhrain discusses touch, communication, and Helen Keller.

You may also be interested in Visions 2014 in the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College on Wednesday, May 14 from 10 AM - 3 PM, where a variety of exhibitors demonstrate the latest products and services for people with vision loss. The fair also features presentations by guest speakers from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Disabled, UM Kellogg Eye Center, WLBPD @ AADL, and the AT Guys.

Survey for Parents on their Educational Perspectives

The Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University invites you to participate in a study to evaluate the services and to understand the educational experiences of blind and/or visually impaired youth in grades K through 12. Your feedback will improve policies and practices that prepare teachers in the future. Participation in this study allows us to gain a much richer and robust understanding of factors that impact service options and academic performance of blind and/or visually impaired youth.
For a parent or guardian to participate in this study, your child must meet the following criteria.
• Be between the ages of 5-22 and be enrolled in a school in the United States in grades K through 12
• Visual impairment must be listed as his or her primary diagnosed disability on his or her Individualized Education Plan (IEP);
• English is his or her primary spoken language;
Participation in this study is voluntary and you may quit the survey at any time. We appreciate your participation in this research.

Bust Buddies Michigan Friendship Walk

Best Buddies is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan are working together in order to meet this goal by partnering to put on a one mile friendship awareness walk on Saturday, April 5, 12-3 pm at Gallup Park in Ann Arbor. Visit Best Buddies Michigan to register and support this effort.

Assistive Technology at AADL

Adults and children with visual or cognitive disabilities can have easy access to information and entertainment through several types of Assistive Technology at Ann Arbor District Library.

From hand-held magnifiers, to text-to-speech software, to Braille printing, AADL has an assortment of accessible technology available during all regular library hours. Not sure how to use this type of technology? Also available, is walk-in training with an experienced instructor! Walk-in assistive technology training is available, at no charge, Tuesdays, 1-6 pm and Wednesdays, 9:30am-2:30pm, in the Assistive Technology Lab on the 2nd floor of the Downtown Library. Call 734-327-4224 for more information, or email wlbpd@aadl.org.

Interested in new technology? Mark your calendars for: "VISIONS 2014: What’s New in Technology for the Blind & Visually Impaired.” VISIONS will take place on Wednesday, May 14, at Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Building.

WLBPD Holiday Books

Washtenaw Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled patrons can browse the Michigan Braille & Talking Book Library (BTBL) or National Library Service online catalogs to find a good selection of Christmas mysteries, romances, cookbooks, or holiday stories for young people. Titles like "The Cat Who Came for Christmas" (DB26048/BR7225) or "It's Kwanzaa Time!" (DB42923) are available, as well as books about Hanukkah.

You can do a Word in Title search for a holiday using the online catalogs or call 734-327-4224, and a reader adviser will be happy to order them for you.

Focus Groups for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

The Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy and the statewide Partners Against Violence and Injustice in Michigan are gathering information to improve services for adults with development disabilities in Washtenaw County and across Michigan. The team is seeking individuals with developmental disabilities to participate in a 90 minute focus group by sharing ideas and providing examples of what has worked well and what hasn’t during programs or while receiving services. Focus groups will be held on July 16th and 17th at the Ann Arbor Center For Independent Living at 11 am and 2 pm each day. Transportation and other assistance is available, and participants will receive a $25 Meijer gift card for their time. Light refreshments will also be available. To register for one of the discussions, please contact Beth at 734-662-1256 or bgarlock@washtenawaca.org.

Staying Healthy with a Disability

For people with disabilities or long-term health conditions the state of Michigan now offers a six-week workshop that helps you improve your health and manage your symptoms. You will learn how to deal with not feeling well, communicate better with doctors and family members, relax and overcome stress, increase your energy, improve your performance of everyday activities, and stay independent. The program is called PATH (Personal Action Toward Health), and you can get details and find out where the workshop location is in your region by calling Candace Lee at the Michigan Department of Community Health at 517-335-3188, email leec@michigan.gov. For more information at the national level visit National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability.

'Me Before You'

Our lives can change in a moment. Seemingly mundane tasks can completely alter who we are, how we perceive the world, and how we live. In JoJo Moyes latest novel, Me Before You, meeting Will Traynor will alter Louisa ‘Lou’ Clark's life immeasurably, taking her out of her meek existence as an ‘invisible’ tea shop waitress in a small English town and thrusting her into Will’s life as a caregiver. It will make Lou question everything she’s always known about herself. Once a wealthy and vivacious young businessman, Will had a run-in with a motorcycle has brought his life of world-traveling adventure to a grinding halt. Now a quadriplegic, Will is angry, feels helpless, and is hell-bent on exercising what control he has left over his life.

Both Will and Lou experience a transformation through their time together. Will loses some of his anger and sees that happiness may be possible, and Lou discovers hidden strengths and depths that have been lurking under her timid shell. Me Before You is a bittersweet tale of two people, opposite in disposition, who come together briefly and change their seemingly stagnant lives through their relationship, their interactions, and their care for one another.

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