Friday, September 28, 2012

Technology Ideas from Brian Charlson

Brian Charlson is a wealth of information, and he didn't disappoint the attendees of the OCB Convention on Friday, September 28, 2012.

Photo of iPhone with
Omoby app installed
Here are some of his favorite iPhone, iPod and/or iPad apps:

  • VizWiz - allows blind users to receive quick answers to questions about their surroundings
  • Omoby - snap a photo of a product or scan a barcode to access shopping information
  • Digit-Eyes - reads barcode labels, enabling people without vision to scan UPC/EAN codes and hear the names of over 25 million products. Users can also make their own barcode labels on the Digit-Eyes website and print them on inexpensive address labels.

Other technology resources from Charlson:

What's happening at the OCB Convention?

Friday was jam packed with helpful information for the attendees of the Oklahoma Council of the Blind Convention in Tulsa, OK. After a brief welcome, OCB President Jay Doudna introduced Brian Charlson, the Director of Computer Training Services at the Carroll Center for the Blind. Charlson spoke about accessible distance learning as well as gave demonstrations on the latest and greatest in assistive technology. 
Photo of Brian Charlson shares
 his knowledge of assistive technology.
Next, Melissa Sublett, attorney with the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, discussed how work affects SSI and SSDI. After lunch of pizza, Brian Charlson discussed Assistive technology in the workplace and best practices by rehabilitation professionals.

Photo of Brian Carlson speaking to a room full of
convention attendees.
Kim Charlson, Director of the Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library and first Vice-President of the American Council of the Blind, spoke on the services of the American Council of the Blind and the Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library. The evening ended with a light dinner, a welcome by Convention Chairman Jesse Martinez and OCB President Jay Doudna, and a fun night of Bingo and Word Trivia.

Photo of
Convention Chairman Jesse Martinez
Everyone seems to be enjoying the convention, including Ruthie's dog Ivanna! 

Photo of Charlie, Ruthie, and Ivanna
at the OCB Convention. Ivanna is peeking
out from under the table.

Oklahoma Council of the Blind Convention is in Progress!

The theme is Building a Strong Foundation for Tomorrow. Held at the Wyndham Garden Hotel, 10918 E. 41st Street, Tulsa, OK

Although the Oklahoma Council of the Blind Convention has already started, you still have time to attend! Saturday's agenda is as follows:

7:30 am - 5:30 pm, Visit Exhibitors

8:00 am - 10:00 am, Registration

9:10 am - 9:50 am, Tricks and Tips: Rehabilitation Teacher Activity presented by Marilyn Sanders

9:50 am - 10:20 am, What is the job of the DRS Rehabilitation Commission and Who Can Help? presented by Commissioner Ray Kirk

10:40 am - 11:10 am, Meditation Speaker presented by Keeley Mancuso

11:10 am - 12:10 pm, choice of seminars: Rehabilitation Updates, Blind Veterans, Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, or Oklahoma School for the Blind

12:10 pm - 1:00 pm, Lunch

1:00 pm - 1:30 pm, Descriptive Video and the 21st Century Telecommunications Act presented by Brian and Kim Charlson

1:30 pm - 2:00 pm, Braille Authority of North America: An Overview by Kim Charlson

2:20 pm - 2:50 pm, Introduction to the World Blind Union by Kim Charlson

2:50 pm - 3:30 pm, Self defense by Blake Hayes (instructor at Broken Arrow Karate Club)

3:30 pm - 4:10 pm, IOS devices for iMacs and end users, by Amy Salmon (Hadley School for the Blind)

7:00 pm, Banquet, speaker Kim Charlson

Seminar for Blinded Vets

Older Blinded Veterans and the Future
Date: Thursday, October 4Time: 10:00 AM CDT, 15:00 GMT

Are you a blinded veteran and worried about your financial future and that of your loved ones? Are you fully prepared financially for the years ahead? 

Join Seminars@Hadley as Urban Miyares, a blinded veteran and member of the “Baby Boom” generation, shares his thoughts on preparing for a more financially secure future. For more information or to register, go to the Hadley School for the Blind website

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blind Chef Christine Ha Crowned MasterChef

Congratulations to Christine Ha, who is the winner on season three of MasterChef, a cooking competition series on FOX. What's different about this cook? She's blind. 

Christine Ha, MasterChef Winner
Christine was diagnosed in 2003 with a rare autoimmune disease called Neuromyelitis Optica and lost her vision over the next eight years. Although she can see shadows, she describes it as "eternally walking through a cloud." 

But it didn't stop her. She overcame her challenges and went on to become a writer and MasterChef.  If she can do it, so can you! 

You can read more about Christine and her cooking adventures on her blog, The Blind Cook.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

TCB is now on Facebook!

Tulsa Council of the Blind is now on Facebook. If you're on Facebook, be sure to "Like" our page and share it with your friends.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Low Vision/Blind Support Group Meeting in Tulsa, OK

Hello Everyone,

It's that time again. Time to socialize, have a yummy meal, and do some planning for the future for TCB. 

Dinner Meeting - sketch
of plate, fork, knife and spoon
We'll meet on September 14, from 6 to 7:30. If you would like to enjoy the meal, please do your best to be at the meeting by 5:30. The meal this month will be chicken salad sandwiches, chips, beverage, and dessert. The cost is $5.00 each.

We'll meet at the West Tulsa Freewill Baptist Church, 930 W. 23rd Pl. Tulsa, OK.

We'll be planning for upcoming events, especially for White Cane Awareness Day, which is fast approaching on October 15th. We need your input, so please try to attend. 

Allison Fallin

Tulsa Council of the Blind provides education and support for those who are blind or have low vision, as well as for their family and friends.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Distance Education Classes for the Blind and their Families

Hadley School for the Blind Logo
Hadley School for the Blind offers more than 100 free and tuition-based distance education classes for the blind and their families. The Hadley School for the Blind has been around since 1920 with its mission to promote independent living through lifelong, distance education programs for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, their families and blindness service providers. 

Students, age 14 and older, who are blind or meet vision eligibility requirements may enroll in Adult Continuing Education courses, where they can learn basic communication and technology skills, business skills, independent living skills, parenting skills, as well as enroll in academic classes such as English, math, science and social studies. In addition, students can earn a high school diploma using the Hadley School curriculum.

Family members of a blind or visually impaired person can enroll in the Family Education Program, where they can learn to read and write braille, foster the development of a child with a visual impairment, and/or support your member's adjustment to vision loss.

Those who currently work with the visually impaired as a professional, volunteer or service provider can also enroll in tuition-based professional studies courses that will help you work more effectively with your clients or students. Courses are offered in Braille, audio format, digital talking books, pdf format, print and online. 

Check out the website for more information.

I, personally, took a class on how to support my husband through his vision loss. I found it easy to fit into my schedule and very helpful. I highly recommend this resource.

Blog post by: Cindy Downes

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Blindspot - Is this the future of the White Cane?

Selena Chew, a student at the National University of Singapore, developed a futuristic white cane called BlindSpot. The cane has sonar and phone capabilities that make it perfect for the visually impaired. The device can detect objects that would normally be out of the reach of a traditional white cane - objects such as overhead tree limbs. In addition, it can be used to locate friends and family members via the built-in smart phone.

         Video describing the BlindSpot white cane.

Read more about this fascinating device on Smart Planet. It's not available yet in stores, but keep watching!  Ms. Chew is working on marketing BlindSpot in European countries and the United States.

Ways to Assist a Person With Vision Loss

When my husband began losing his vision, I spent some time trying to figure out how best to help him. I had been told that I needed to encourage him to be independent; but, at the same time, I was to be available to help whenever he needed. How was I supposed to know the difference? It was a confusing time for me, too!

Young girl assisting
a blind man.
Fortunately, I was able to learn the difference when I attended a session for spouses at the VA vision center in Tucson, Arizona. If you ever have a chance to attend something like this, be sure to go. It was very worthwhile and helpful. For those of you who don't have that opportunity, check out some of the website links below. There is lot of helpful information on the Internet.
Contact Tulsa Council of the Blind for more information. 

Post Author: Cindy Downes

Monday, September 3, 2012

Directions for Me

Photo of Directions for Me Logo

Horizons for the Blind is proud to announce Directions For Me; a website featuring preparation directions, nutrition facts, warnings, ingredients and other important information in an easy to use and accessible format.

The database contains over 300,000 products in three categories - Food, Health & Beauty, and Other. Each of these categories has sub-listings that organize products like aisles in a grocery store.

You can also go to the search bar and type in the name of the product you are looking for.

Directions For Me was designed to be completely accessible with screen readers and magnifiers as well as web-enabled note takers and cell phones. Unlike manufacturer's websites, we present this information in a simple and consistent format and eliminate features that hinder accessibility.

With Directions for Me, there's no more guessing on what you are putting into your body, no more gambling on cooking times and best of all, no more waiting for sighted assistance!

Open a web browser and go to: