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.

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.

Pediatric Support Group for Parents and Families of Children with Eye Disease and Visual Impairment


The University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center is hosting a pediatric support group for parents and families of children with eye disease and visual impairment on Saturday, November 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This support group is open to all parents and families of children with eye disease and visual impairment. The meeting is free but registration is required. Bring your questions! In addition to presentations, the program includes time for group discussion and Q&A sessions. Childcare and a continental breakfast will be provided. Parking is free. For more information please contact: Karen Norman at 734.764.4163.

WORLD SIGHT DAY - Oct. 10, 2013

World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual global event, on the second Thursday of October that brings attention to blindness and vision impairment as a major international public health issue. The World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness help coordinate events and activities for this important day of awareness, and Lions Clubs International very actively promotes WSD through their many local organizations. Other WSD goals are to influence governments to be involved and to designate funds to treat this problem. They also hope to educate target audiences about blindness prevention. Locally, the Washtenaw Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled housed at the Ann Arbor District Library, loans books, magazines, and videos in alternative formats (digital cartridge, digital download, large print, Braille, and descriptive video) to individuals of all ages who are certified as unable to read or use standard printed materials as a result of temporary or permanent visual or physical limitations. For more information about this service, call 734-327-4224.

National Federation of the Blind of Michigan 2013 Scholarship Program

The National Federation of the Blind of Michigan is pleased to offer two scholarships in the amount of $500 to outstanding blind college students in the state of Michigan. Scholarship winners will be required to attend the entire state convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan, and participate in all activities sponsored by the Michigan Association of Blind Students. This convention will take place October 18-20, 2013 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. All convention expenses including transportation, hotel accommodations, and registration will be provided as part of this scholarship. All application materials must be submitted by Sept. 6, 2013, and winners will be notified by Sept. 27. If you have questions or would like an application contact Terri Wilcox at 734-663-4050 or trising@sbcglobal.net.

The Science Behind The Magic: A Doctor And Director Discuss 3D

Saturday June 2, 2012: 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Have you ever gone to the theater and watched a movie in 3D? Ever wonder how 3D actually works in your eyes or on the screen? This fun, informative lecture reveals the science behind 3D big screen magic.

Optometrist Dr. Jon Wieringa (Bennett Optometry) and filmmaker Jacob Mendel (a recent UM graduate with a 3D technology focus) present an afternoon of 3D zaniness with the hard science to prove it. 3D glasses will be provided!

This event is co-sponsored by the Michigan Theater as part of the Cinetopia International Film Festival

Running Blind

Thursday April 19 2012, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, Downtown Library -- Multipurpose room

Learn about the value of sports for visually impaired athletes with Hal Wolfe, a Michigan Blind Athletic Association board member. Hal will discuss competitive sports for the blind such as Beep Baseball, Track and Field, and Goalball. He will also discuss how he developed specialized software to help manage track & field meets involving visually impaired athletes. Hal is a runner, race volunteer and race professional and the founder of Running Blind, a non-profit organization that will help visually impaired runners to find necessary support from guide runners.

Amy Shepherd will offer a local perspective by discussing the impact of sports on her visually impaired son Austin. She is the President of the Michigan Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (MPVI). Her volunteer efforts include the Michigan Department of Education-Low Incidence Outreach Independent Living Skills committee, the Ann Arbor Public Schools Parent Advisory Committee to Special Education, and the Ann Arbor Disability Awareness Workshops.

Healthy Vision Month: Vision Screenings & More for All Ages

Vision ScreeningsVision Screenings Come to the Downtown library on Sunday, May 22, 1 - 4 PM for vision screenings. The screenings are available at no charge for all ages: babies through adults. At 1 PM, enjoy opening remarks by Dr. John Barletta of Huron Ophthalmology. At 2 PM, co-authors Madison and Malia will read their short story, “The Blind Porcupine”. The sisters were born blind and now have sight thanks to cornea tissue donors and the efforts of the Michigan Eye-Bank. At 3 PM, meet Paws With A Cause® Assistance Dogs. The Healthy Vision Month programs above are cosponsored by the Ann Arbor Host Lions Club, Michigan Eye-Bank and University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Library.

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