Friday, November 14, 2014

News Update

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) is pleased to make available The UEB Reader, a resource designed to introduce braille readers to Unified English Braille (UEB). This introductory hardcopy braille booklet incorporates into one document several key resources found on the BANA website. 

The UEB Reader includes content from BANA’s publication, Overview of Changes from Current Literary Braille to UEB, plus several example documents transcribed in UEB for readers to use as practice. This resource was compiled to help current braille readers become more familiar with UEB and to assist braille readers, transcribers, teachers, and families as they make the transition to UEB.

To receive a free braille copy of The UEB Reader, contact Kim Charlson at with your name and address for mailing purposes. Requests for the UEB Reader including your name, address, and phone number can also be left on the UEB Information Line at 617-972-7248.
NOTE: This press release is available in HTML on the BANA website at LINKFor additional resource information, visit

Comcast Introduces Talking TV Guide For Visually Impaired. More Information at

From: U.S. Department of Justice []
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 10:12 AM
Subject: Joint guidance on effective communication for students with disabilities in public schools issued by Justice Department and Department of Education

Today the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division together with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued joint guidance about the rights of public elementary and secondary students with hearing, vision or speech disabilities to effective communication.  The guidance includes a letter to educators, a Frequently Asked Questions document, and a summary Fact Sheet, and is intended to help schools, parents, and others understand schools’ obligations under Federal law to meet the communications needs of students with disabilities. The guidance documents are available in HTML and PDF versions on  The Dear Colleague Letter and Fact Sheet are also available in Spanish in PDF versions. 
To find out more about the guidance documents or the ADA, call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its website.

Financial Wellness Webinar: Credit: Accessing it, Understanding it, Using it Wisely
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
3:00 - 4:00 P.M. EDT

Credit affects many aspects of our lives that we may not even realize. Join NDI and hear from experts on the interplay of credit and finances from National Disability Institute and on protecting your money from the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an independent agency of the United States government responsible for consumer protection in the financial sector. Establishing and maintaining good credit will help in reaching goals (short-term, intermediate, and long-term). Maintaining credit involves many aspects of our financial lives including, but not limited to, setting up a bill paying system to ensure that obligations are met on time, as well as prioritizing debts with a plan of reduction or outright elimination. We will also explore the safest ways to access your credit report, check the accuracy of information, and understand your credit score and standing.

Register for this webinar by clicking on or copy and pasting the following link:

For more information on NDI's Financial Webinar Series, read the press release or webinar information page
*Please note this webinar will be captioned. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Air Canada improves access for the vision impaired

Air Canada has become the first airline in the world to introduce ‘text-to-speech’ functionality on its in-flight entertainment system, making it easier
for blind and vision impaired passengers to navigate.

The feature is available on Boeing 787s, which have recently been introduced to Air Canada’s fleet. An Air Canada spokesman, Peter Fitzpatrick, said, “We use a female voice in English and male voice in French. Voices are fed from the text-to-speech software that Air Canada licenses to operate its content management system.”

Air Canada has also been looking at the possibility of adding audio description to its in-flight movies. In August 2014, Emirates became the 
first airline to provide audio description, with the service made available on 17 Disney movies.

These developments come in the wake of a US Department of Transportation notice of proposed rulemaking about accessible in-flight entertainment systems, which it intends to implement in 2015.