blind_html [Fwd: Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind]

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 01 Jan 2009 12:23:13 -0700

There are many good tips in here this time. I hope you guys enjoy them.

Nimer J

"Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very 
wise cannot see all
ends." LOTR

Nimer M. Jaber

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-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind
Date:   Thu, 1 Jan 2009 09:02:33 -0600 (CST)
From:   Fred's Head Companion <fredshead@xxxxxxx>
Reply-To:       Fred's Head Companion <fredshead@xxxxxxx>
To:     nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx

 Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind

        Link to Fred's Head Companion <>

Ten Moving Tips <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 11:17 AM CST

These moving tips may include a few things you hadn't thought of, or things you just need to be reminded of.

  1. Get rid of things. Consider carefully what you need to keep.
     People spend hundreds of dollars to move things that will
     undoubtedly be thrown away some day. It's not just a matter of the
     expense, but the hassle too. Moving time is the best time to get
     rid of the things you really don't need.

  2. Have a yard sale. It's a good way to get rid of things, and you
     might even raise enough money to pay for the move.

  3. Use lists. You will forget things, especially if you don't have a
     list or two. Start with a list of things to do before the move. It
     may include getting school documents transferred, filling out
     change of address forms, returning borrowed books and movies,
     transferring prescriptions, getting maps, and arranging utility
     shut offs and start ups.

  4. Make the moving company reservation a month ahead. You wouldn't
     want to find that they are booked up on the date you need their

  5. Pack early. It's hard to say how long it will take until you are
     doing it. Start early to avoid running around looking for boxes at
     the last minute.

  6. Have an "essentials" box. This will have things to make your
     arrival easier, like toilet paper, paper plates, soap and
     something to help remove the tape from your boxes. Pack the box
     where it is easily accessible.

  7. Check weather reports. It's no fun arriving in a snowstorm with
     your coat packed away. Allow for extra moving time if the weather
     is going to slow down traffic.

  8. Notify family and friends of your new address and phone number. Do
     this before you have the old number shut off.

  9. Save your receipts. Save receipts for moving expenses, like gas,
     hotel rooms, and anything else related to the move. Then ask your
     accountant or tax preparer if you are eligible for a tax deduction
     for moving expenses.

 10. Try to re-establish your routines quickly. It helps to quickly
     re-establish routines in your new home, so if Friday night is
     movie night, don't break with tradition. Moving is less traumatic
     if you have some consistency in daily life. If you are moving with
     children, this may be one of the more important moving tips.

If you ever need to find an affordable moving company to help you carry your stuff from one place to another, go to Here you can request free quotes from several local moving companies without any obligation. It takes three simple steps to get prices from movers:

  1. Select the state you're moving from and enter the first 3 digits
     of your zipcode.
  2. Choose the type of move and get the list of related movers.
  3. Fill out the form to get free quotes from selected companies.

You can also download and print free moving checklists, read tips and relevant information for the type of moves, and browse moving services by move type, location, and moving distance.

Click this link to start moving with <>.

Tips for Organizing a Kitchen <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 11:16 AM CST

Whether you are just moving in or your current arrangement does not flow quite as smoothly as it could, organizing your kitchen can streamline your activities as well as keeping your kitchen neat and tidy.

  1. Toss anything you don't use. Pass it along to a friend or
     relative, add it to a neighborhood garage sale, or donate it to
     charity. Be honest! When did you last use that melon baller,
     meatball scoop, or cookie press? Do you even know what the gadgets
     you have really do? Do you really need two? Could a more general
     tool do the job? If you get rid of it, you will not have to hunt
     past it for things you do use or find a space to store it.

  2. Replace things that don't work. If the handle on a pot rattles,
     the spout always gets clogged up, or the pan always scorches the
     food, fix or replace it! If you can't afford a replacement now,
     put it on a list and save your pennies, or request one for a
     birthday or holiday gift.

  3. Store frequently-used objects in easy-to-reach locations. Notice
     what you use most often. Figure out where you will use them most.
     Infrequently used items, like the roasting pan that you only haul
     out during the holidays, can go on high shelves or in the back of
     cabinets. They can even be stored outside the kitchen in the
     garage, attic, basement, guest room closet, or a box under a bed.

     Make sure every item in your kitchen has earned its right to take
     up your valuable space! Remember: if you use it infrequently
     enough, it should go out altogether. Just because it is large or
     expensive, does not mean you must keep it. If you made pasta twice
     ten years ago, please pitch the pasta machine.

  4. Create centers of activity and store related utensils near where
     they will be used. Here are some common centers of activity, in
     the order that food will travel through the kitchen:

         * Storage or pantry: Consider your freezer an extension of
           this area. Whether you store foods in a true pantry, a
           cabinet, a closet, or someplace else entirely, don't forget
           to go through periodically and clear out items that are
           hopelessly old or will never be used.

         * Preparation: Cutting board, knives, measuring cups and
           spoons, and mixing bowls all go here. ^DBL Cooking. The
           stove and oven plus the utensils that go with them. This
           area should include pots and pans, pot holders, spoons and
           spatulas (a utensil jar works well for these).

         * Baking: If you love to bake, you might find it handy to
           store your flour, sugar, baking powder, a set of measuring
           cups and spoons, your favorite mixing bowl, etc. together in
           one convenient spot.

         * Serving: The table, plus tableware, serving dishes, napkins,
           trivets, and anything else you need to sit down and eat. Soy
           sauce? Salt and pepper shakers? Sugar bowl? Ask yourself
           whether it would be more convenient to store your dishes and
           silverware near the table or the dishwasher.

         * Cleaning: The sink, dishwasher and surroundings. Soap,
           gloves, dish pan, drying rack, cleansers, towels, etc. ^DBL
           Waste disposal. Keep trash cans, recycling and compost bins
           centrally located but not in the way. They should go near
           the cleaning and food preparation areas.

  5. Clear the counter: Pay particular attention to reducing the number
     of objects stored permanently on the counter. The counter needs
     frequent cleaning and it is your primary workspace. Find another
     place for knickknacks and anything else that doesn't absolutely
     need to live there.

  6. Make a list: Tattered dishcloths? Out of soap? As you go, write
     down supplies you find lacking or worn out. Also write down side
     projects that you find as you go (such as fixing a wobbly table
     leg). Writing them down allows you to tackle distractions later
     without missing things.

  7. Tackle the paper: Do mail, homework, newspapers, phone calls, or
     bill paying generate paper in the kitchen? Decide between these

         * Give paper another home: Create a paper-sorting center,
           ideally between the mailbox and the kitchen, with bins for
           sorting paper, a recycling bin and trash can, space to
           write, and other necessary supplies.

         * Make a proper space for paper in the kitchen: Admit that
           it's going to land there and have a tidy place to put it and
           a system for clearing it out regularly.

  8. Clean as you go: When you clear one drawer or shelf, wipe out the
     crumbs before replacing the contents. Cleaning a little at a time
     makes it less of a chore.

Organize according to how traffic and activities do flow, not necessarily according to how they should flow. No organizational system is set in stone. Experiment with different arrangements. Notice what works and what doesn't. If you use something differently than you anticipated, or if your habits change, move it.

If you choose to put spices near the stove, make sure they will stay cool and dry. Heat and moisture will spoil the flavor, and you will have to replace them more often.

Do you have a "junk drawer" or other catch-all area in your kitchen? If so, why? Take a good, critical look at its contents. Consider giving it a specific purpose and definitely throw out any junk that's not needed!

If you have thoroughly decluttered an area and established an organization system, and still think that a shelf, rack, tray, or bin will help you make better use of space, then go get just the item you need. Otherwise those "handy" items are just more clutter.

Try sorting small hand utensils according to size/length. Keeping the small and the large separated will speed your search for the correct utensil. Knives need a special place all their own. Typically knives don't get dull from being used. Instead they get dull from being banged around in a drawer with other knives, utensils or dishes.

Pace yourself. Unless you're just moving in, don't try to organize an entire kitchen all at once. You'll just scatter stuff all over and get frustrated. Instead, go one drawer, shelf, or cabinet at a time.

If you have children, don't forget to install or adjust child-proofing, especially on lower cabinets. Be especially sure that knives and cleaning fluids are stored safely.

How to Tie a Necktie and Keep It Out of Your Food <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 11:15 AM CST

There comes a day in every man's life when he has to step out of his jeans and t-shirt and into a suit and tie. Whatever the occasion that's brought you to this historic moment, you may feel a little tied up in knots over the mechanics of tying a necktie. It's really quite easy. All you're lacking is experience and the only way to gain experience is to take the matter in hand.

So let's start by learning the four classic knots. They are the Four-in-Hand, Windsor, Half-Windsor and Bow-Tie knot. If you're pressed for time as you're reading this article and need to know one knot in a hurry, choose the Four-in-Hand. It's the simplest of the bunch.

*The Four in Hand:* It's simple. It's stylish. And it can be tied in seven simple motions.

  1. Flip up your shirt collar, button the collar button, and drape the
     tie around your neck. Let the wide end of the tie hang down your
     right side (on the left if you are left-handed) with the tie's
     back -- the part with the seam and stitching--against your chest.
     Pull down on the wide end of the tie until the tip of the narrow
     end falls level with fourth shirt button counting down from your
     collar (it's the button just above your navel). This will help you
     achieve a pleasing length when the knot is tied.
  2. Cross the wide end (from here onward called "A") over the narrow
     end ("B").
  3. Fold A over and under B. The seam of A should now be pointing away
     from your body.
  4. Bring A over B again.
  5. Pull A up and through the loop around your neck.
  6. With a free finger, feel for the knot that the cross-overs have
     created. Loosen the front of the knot with your index finger and
     bring A down through this secondary loop.
  7. Remove your finger and tighten the knot by holding B and sliding
     the knot up to your collar.

  8. Flip your shirt collar down and check the hang of the tie: Does it
     feel like it is falling straight down your chest and abdomen or
     does it curl in a little? If it curls or twists, turn the knot
     until the tie lays flat. Finally, check the length. The tip should
     rest at the top-edge of your waistband. If it falls far short or
     long of this mark, untie the knot and try again.

The Four-in-Hand knot will suffice for most any need. Yet there are a few other knots you may want to try depending on your mood and the occasion. The Windsor and Half-Windsor knots are considered the mark of high-style, though both have fallen out of fashion (the finished knot is quite large in comparison to the Four-in-Hand). Due to the size of the finished knots, you'll want to save the Windsors for use with your silk neckties (use the Four-in-Hand knot with silk, woolen and knit ties).

*The Windsor:* For supreme sophistication. This is the knot made famous by the Duke of Windsor. Looks best when worn with a shirt with a spread collar.

  1. Flip up your shirt collar, button the collar button, and drape the
     tie around your neck.The tie's back -- the side with the seam and
     stitching--should face your chest.
  2. Moving from left to right, cross the wide end of the tie (A) over
     the narrow end (B).
  3. Bring A up through the loop between the collar and tie and let it
     fall down and over this loop.
  4. Moving from right to left, fold A over B and continue (from
     outside in) up and over the loop. The tie's back will be facing
     away from you.
  5. Bring A across the front from left to right.
  6. Bring A up through the loop and let it fall over the loop. The
     tie's back is facing you.
  7. Loosen the front of the knot with your index finger and bring A
     down through the knot in front.
  8. Using both hands--one to slide the knot upward, the other to
     gently pull down on B--tighten and adjust the knot until it's snug
     in the collar and the tie falls flat against your chest.

*The Half-Windsor:* Though minus one twist and turn, this modified Windsor is still a handful.

  1. Flip up your shirt collar, button the collar button, and drape the
     tie around your neck.The tie's back -- the side with the seam and
     stitching--should face your chest.
  2. Cross the wide end of the tie ("A") over the narrow end ("B").
  3. Bring A around and behind B so that the tie's back is facing away
     from you.
  4. Bring A up and down over the loop--the tie back is again facing
     away from you.
  5. Cross A over B from left to right.
  6. Bring A up through the loop.
  7. Bring A down through the knot in front.
  8. Use both hands to tighten and adjust the knot until it's snug in
     the collar and the tie falls flat.

*Bow-tie:* Bow-ties are most often associated with pleated shirts, tuxedo and tails. But a well-tied bow-tie can offer a playful break from the norm. The most noticeable difference between a bow-tie and standard necktie is the former's shape. The bow-tie has a thin band of material with two identical tips. Moving out from the middle of the tie, the material widens to a bulb-like shape for about two inches and then narrows again for the last inch.

Want to make a statement? Here are the steps for tying a bow-tie. It gets tricky at Step 4. But after you've mastered this knot, you'll have earned a well-deserved bow.

  1. Drape the bow-tie around your neck so that the left end (A) is
     longer than the right (B).
  2. Cross A, left to right, over B.
  3. Bring A up and through the loop.
  4. Double B over itself. Do this by folding B in half at the
     mid-point of wide "bulb." The cut-end of B is pointing to your right.
  5. Let A fall over the loop and folded end of B you're holding.
  6. Holding everything in place, fold A over itself. Its tailored end
     should be pointing left. Slide folded A through the smaller loop
     behind the folded B. You'll have to be persistent at finding that
     inner loop.
  7. Adjust the tie by gentle tugging at the tailored ends of A and B
     and by straightening the center knot.

*Is Wider Better?* Is the tie you're thinking of buying going to be in style years or even months from now? It's a fair question. To play it safe, purchase ties that are around 3 ¼ inches wide. As far as length, most standard neckties are from 52 to 58 inches long. The length of the tie you'll need depends on your height and whether you'll be using a Windsor knot which requires more material to tie than, say, a Four-in-Hand. Now comes the question of style, color and pattern.

The choice, of course, is all your own. Many men choose ties based on the type of environment in which they work. For conservative office environments (such as a bank, law firm or insurance agency) you'll probably want a tie with more muted colors and a less flashy design. You may also want to choose a tie with more conservative colors and patterns to wear to more formal occassions, such as weddings and funerals.

If you're looking for a tie to wear for an occasional night out on the town, or in a more relaxed office environment, choose a tie that matches your unique personality and style.

*Ready to Buy a Tie?* You'll find ties at any shopping mall, men's store and even on some online retailers. If you have concerns about the pattern, colors or style of a specific tie, ask a sighted friend to accompany you on your tie-shopping excursion. Or ask the store clerk for advice--most will be more than happy to help.

A top-quality silk tie can cost hundreds of dollars. Lesser quality but functional ties can be had for as little as $10.

Here are some tips from <> , an on-line retailer, to help you determine whether the tie you're about to buy is a good deal or not.

   * *Is there a Bar Tack?* On the seam-side of the tie, feel around
     the area where the two sides join together to form an inverted V.
     Most quality ties have a stitch joining the back flaps. This is
     called the bar tack, and it helps the tie maintain its shape.
   * *Is there a Slip Stitch?* If you can, open up the tie as far as
     possible and feel for a single, long thread. This thread is called
     the slip stitch and gives added resilience to the tie. The fact
     that the tie can move along this thread means that it won't rip
     when it's being wrapped tightly around your neck, and that it
     will, when removed, return to its original shape. Pull the slip
     stitch, and the tie should gather. In all likelihood, if you find
     a a slip stitch, you've found a quality tie.
   * *Are there three pieces of fabric?* Take the tie in your hand and
     run your finger down its length. You should find three separate
     pieces of fabric stitched together, not two, as with most
     commercial ties. This construction is used to help the tie conform
     easily to the neck.

*The Care and Feeding of your Cravat:* A quality tie is an investment. Follow these simple suggestions for keeping your ties in mint condition.

First, when removing your tie, don't just yank the tie from its knot. Loosen the knot and remove the tie by reversing the steps you followed when tying it. This creates opposite tension and can help ease out any creases you may have created in the fabric when you tied the knot. If your tie is heavily creased, line up the two tips and roll the tie around your finger. Slip it off your finger and let it sit rolled up over night. Hang the tie up in the morning and the creases should disappear.

Send your ties to the dry-cleaners only if you're in a pinch to have a difficult stain removed. The chemicals and pressing used in dry cleaning can damage the tie's fibers and luster. Most water spots can be removed simply by daubing the tie with a napkin or soft cloth.

Here are some sites that show you how to tie a necktie with style. Knots such as the Windsor, Half Windsor, Pratt, Four in Hand and Bow tie. You can also learn the history of ties and how to keep your ties clean!


*Are you a master knot-maker or were we out of the loop?* Fill out the Fred's Head comment form <> and let us know whether these instructions helped guide you through the process of tying a tie.

 Keep Your Tie Out of Your Food

Now that you've tied your tie, let me share another tip with you. Are you tired of your neck tie falling into your food or blowing up into your face during windy weather? Look no further! These100% Silk Neckties are known for their "Patent Pending" modified designer label in which they have incorporated button-holes into the weaving process during the manufacturing of their 100% Silk Custom Neckties (Printed and Woven). This allows the wearer an easy way to attach a quality silk tie to a button on their shirt.

Ingenious. I have been known to solve this problem with a piece of Scotch tape formed into a loop. Click this link to visit the ConformaTies web site: <>.

Babies and Toddlers: Tips for the Early Years <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 11:14 AM CST


Parents and workers with vision impaired people have a great opportunity to help a young vision impaired child towards good mobility and orientation. The following are a few basic suggestions of areas in which a child could be helped. As a result of this basic work, mobility training is easier and more meaningful, as many mannerisms and postural faults do not arise in later life.


  1. When a sight disorder is first diagnosed in a young child, parents
     often can only think of all the things that their vision impaired
     child will be able to do. It is important to encourage positive
     thinking. Begin by assessing the situation. Long delays in
     diagnosis, difficulties in understanding medical terms and long
     separation due to hospitalisation can make this hard. However,
     having constructive tasks to do helps to overcome some of these
  2. Try to assess how much the baby can see. Is there any residual
     vision? Can the small baby follow it's mother or father's face or
     movements at all or is it relying entirely on a sound stimulus?
     For the vision impaired baby, the overall shape of the face will
     be more important than the detail. For example, a mother with a
     bushy hairstyle approached the baby's crib with wet hair after a
     shower. The baby cried because he thought it was a stranger. The
     overall shape was what the baby was recognising.
  3. As the father carries the baby over his shoulder, does the baby
     react to the light coming in from the window? If the baby seems to
     show some response, then tell the baby each time the window is
     passed and interpret other sources of light within the house.
  4. "Normal" sight in babies is not at all precise at the beginning.
     Like everything else, it needs practise. Babies in the early
     stages make a crude performance at focussing and co-ordination.
     Objects cannot be seen clearly. Vision too can fluctuate in the
     vision impaired baby. A child with Albinism can be blind at birth,
     have the appearance of normal vision at two years but by school
     age the vision may be subnormal. Some eye disorders present at
     birth may show some improvement and others not.
  5. A baby who is vision impaired can and must feel and hear the love
     of others for it. Premature babies who start their days in an
     incubator experience very little touch from others. They may have
     to be taught to like to be held. Such babies may first show
     displeasure when handled but this gradually turns to joy. Early
     mother/child relationships can be at risk, as eye contact is lost
     and there may be no smiling response to the mother's presence.

Parents should try to design a programme of a few tasks that they can do together with their baby to help it learn about its environment and become physically fit.


  1. Begin by putting the baby on its stomach on a mat on the floor.
      From about 4 months the baby may be able to raise its head clear
     of the ground. Parents should get down on the floor too and talk
     to reassure the baby very near to its face. Put the baby on its
     stomach for a little while at least twice a day. This strengthens
     the back and develops the hands to be useful feelers. Objects of
     interest - a bell, toy, brick, and teaspoon - can be placed in
     front of the baby who will soon learn to reach out and find what
     is there. When a new physical activity is introduced the baby will
     usually cry against the activity, but do persevere. It is just the
     strangeness of the activity that the child doesn't like in the
  2. Parents should try and sing and talk to the baby as much as
     possible. If a parent is very pressed for time, one suggestion
     could be to use the nappy changing time for a useful purpose.
     Language development depends on clear speech. The parent's face is
     near to the baby's during this activity, which means that a child
     with limited vision will be able to see their parent's lips as
     well as hearing very clearly. Make all the sounds of the alphabet,
     sing little rhymes, speak loudly and softly, in a high and low
     voice. The parent can take the baby's hand and put onto their
     mouth. Turn the baby's head towards the sound. Let the baby know
     its own name and commands like "Yes" and "No". Games with the
     child on the parent's lap and songs with repetitive actions are
     good also. The child will need to be shown the movements, as they
     cannot learn by imitation.
  3. When dressing, changing or washing the baby, take a little extra
     time to run hands over the different parts of the baby's body,
     talking about all the different areas - e.g. "this is your foot,
     here is your other foot". Smooth the baby with talc, cream or oil
     - all different experiences of touch and smell. Relate different
     parts of the baby's body to the parent's body - e.g. "this is your
     hand; this is Daddy's hand".
  4. When feeding the baby with a bottle, place the baby's hands on the
     bottle too. The baby will learn where the milk is coming from and
     will gradually be able to hold the bottle itself. The baby should
     be held in the mother or father's arms when feeding so that a warm
     relationship develops. When drinking from a cup, show the baby the
     cup empty first, then fill with liquid so that the baby can hear
     it filling and then drink it. Let the child experiment with
     feeding itself. Don't worry is the child is getting messy. A child
     must be able to find out and experiment with touching and feeling.
  5. Do little physical exercises with the baby from very early on - of
     course, supporting the baby as much as possible. Totally blind
     babies often do not crawl, as the baby soon learns that this
     activity brings its head into contact with too many solid objects.
     As this part of development is missed, the baby may not flex its
     ankle and foot correctly when it begins to walk. Perhaps some part
     of the house and garden could be made safe, with no obstacle and
     piles of cushions for the baby to have some rough and tumble play.

Vision impaired children often have a diminished drive and lack opportunities to take risks and be daring. Children's reasons for moving around are to see friends and play games. Blind children may only move when they feel it is really necessary.


  1. A parent and baby swimming class can greatly help. Begin by taking
     the baby into the water in your arms. Don't worry if the child
     cries for the first few visits to the pool; it is a new experience
     and very noisy. Progress the child to holding your shoulders,
     faces in contact, talking all the time to reassure.
  2. Some toys can be great help to mobility. A slightly weighted
     wooden truck to push means that the toy reaches obstacles first.
     Other toys in this group might include - a baby walker, a
     hula-hoop, a sweeping brush.
  3. Try not to develop a preoccupation with the physical safety of the
     child. Provide circumstances in which movement can be encouraged
     safely. All children get bumps and have little accidents - try not
     to be over-protective. Fear is natural for the child and parents,
     but this has to be overcome by repetition and practice.
  4. Take a little time with the child to learn the dangers around the
     house. What sounds and smells mean danger and which sounds and
     smells are harmless, eg. the sounds of frying and of water
     boiling, the odours of cooking and the significance of smoke and
     fire. It is important for parents to help a blind child to monitor
     its behaviour.

Babies and toddlers constantly adjust their behaviour by the effect that it has on others. Does mother notice when we do something? What happens as a result of that behaviour? Approval or disapproval?

Here is an illustration: An integrated blind toddler in a pre-school group had a habit of pinching any child that came near during play activity time. As a result all the other children would avoid the vision impaired child leave him alone. As the aim of the parents was for integration, this situation could not continue. The adults explained that pinching hurt, even a little demonstration was needed. In this particular case, the teacher was very reluctant to scold the blind child, and the support worker had to provide support, advice and reassurance for the teacher.

Small children love helping around the house and doing tasks, which they know other members of the family, are managing themselves. Many early mobility skills can be incorporated in this type of play experience. Strengthening fingers and thumbs, for example, can be achieved when dressing oneself. Begin by taking clothes off, as this is easier then putting clothes on. Buttoning and zipping take practise and take time to learn. Always arrange clothes in an orderly fashion. The blind child needs a place of its own, with its own coat and hat peg, a place in the cupboard for its clothes, a box for its toys and its own bed. Get the child to put away his things and to make decisions about what to wear. When choosing clothes try to pick articles that are distinctive to feel and talk to the child about the features, design and colour combinations of his clothes.

Let the child help with the clearing and setting of the table, getting the mail, bringing in packages, washing a small quantity of dishes and washing its own body. Begin by first washing face and hands and build up in easy stages. In play, the child can wash dolly's clothes, or give dolly a bath - lego, plasticine, play-dough, putting on bottle tops, all help to strengthen hands and fingers.

Practise listening to sounds around the house, locating and identifying them. For example, listen to the bathroom sounds, tap dripping or running, toilet flushing, shower and wash basin. Lounge sounds - clock ticking, T.V., radio, fan heater, telephone ringing. Identify the sound, and talk about and discover the exact position of the source of the sound. Listen to sounds outside as well as inside. Can the child begin to recognise voices and footsteps of regular visitors to the house, different car engines that come up the front drive, milk bottles rattling, traffic sounds in the street. The child can practise following mother around the house by sound alone - audible hide and see! Play 'hide and seek' with other sound sources also.

Take a little time to think about the baby's feet. If possible have the feet bare. The feet give another tactile, information gathering surface. Loose socks are better than tights or baby-grows because they do not pull on the toes altering the natural position of the soft toe bones. Try and do little exercises to strengthen and mobilise the feet - moving the toes independently, picking up objects with the toes.

Hopping, skipping, bouncing and jumping should be encouraged and activities that include these skills are of great benefit e.g. Jumping from the last stair to the ground, firstly into parents' arms, then onto a soft large cushion and then on the ground, all of these activities accompanied by plenty of verbal encouragement.

Stairs will have to be shown to a vision impaired child. Begin by going up stairs on all fours and coming down sitting on its bottom, taking one step at a time. Progress to both feet on one stair at the same time using the rail as a guide to indicate the beginning and end of the stairs.

If a child has no guiding sight, there will be occasions when a small child will need to be guided by a parent or friend. It is best to let the child take the elbow of the guide and for the child to remain slightly behind the guide. This position is preferable to holding hands. The steady point of reference of the elbow held against the body of the guide provides warning in advance. Baby reins are useful for an active young toddler together with the elbow hold. Normally, the child should be led rather than push from behind.

Parents have the opportunity to cover many of the basic mobility skills that are needed by a young vision impaired child.

Copyright (c) NCBI 2006

       About NCBI

The National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) is a not for profit charitable organisation which offers support and services nationwide to those experiencing difficulties with their eye-sight.

NCBI provides a range of services to almost 10,000 vision impaired people living in Ireland. These services include the provision of information, advice and support via a nationwide network of over 70 rehabilitation, mobility and community resource workers and training in the use of adaptive technology. They also provide an employment support unit and job seeking skills programme.

NCBI is committed to offering people the choice of services in their own homes or in a centre based setting. To facilitate this they have 10 regional resource centres and run low vision services throughout the country.

As well as services administered by their community based staff, NCBI's Libraries in Dublin and Cork provide a national talking book service, as well as a wide range of newspapers, popular Irish magazines and journals on tape to over 4,000 subscribers.

As well as providing services to vision impaired people and their families, NCBI also provides a range of services to public and private organisations in relation to technology, access and awareness and media conversion services.

Click this link to visit the National Council for the Blind of Ireland website: <>.

Ten Top Tips To Remember When Moving In With Roommates <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 11:14 AM CST

By Enid Steiner

You've done the hard work and found your perfect roommate but your next challenge already awaits you - moving in and setting up your new home! As you'll discover, the key to opening up the door and moving in with roommates is to focus on the "big picture" and not just on that one day when you move in.

Preparing to move in with roommates is different to moving into a place by yourself or with your partner. There are a few extra things you need to do which may not seem important now but could make a big difference in the long run. The best way to prepare and successfully move in is to create a checklist of tasks that need to be done and then checking or crossing them off as they are completed. This way you can see which tasks you have finished and which ones you still need to do. Forgetting to do some important tasks like redirecting your mail will make your move harder and create extra work.

So, how do you successfully move in with your new roommates? Just follow these tips and moving in will be a breeze.

  1. Plan Your Moving Day

     Organize with your new roommates a day and time to move in, hire a
     moving van and arrange to pick up the keys. Don't forget to finish
     packing your belongings and preparing your furniture the night
     before your move so that you can sleep easily. This is your
     biggest and busiest day and if you have forgotten to organize
     something, anything could go wrong.

  2. Tell Your Friends and Family

     Let your friends and family know when you're moving and your new
     contact details. This way they will know what you're up to and
     won't worry if they can't contact you for a few days. It's also a
     great way getting them involved and to help you on moving day.

  3. Redirect Your Mail

     Before your moving day, visit your local post office and redirect
     your mail to your new address. Remember to take your ID so that
     you can prove your identity if required. It's important to
     organise this early, depending where you live it can take up to 10
     days before your mail starts to be re-directed.

  4. Update Your Contact Details

     It's a good idea to update your contact details before you move to
     ensure your mail doesn't get lost. An easy way to remember whom to
     contact is to make a list of your mail as it arrives. This
     includes bills like your cell phone, memberships such as the gym
     as well as any magazine/newspaper subscriptions.

  5. Finalize Your Bills

     Don't forget to pay any outstanding bills connected to your old
     home like electricity, phone and rent. You should also ask for
     your name to be removed from any bills. This is often required in
     writing. You can get the necessary details including contact name
     and address by phoning the customer service department. Ideally,
     this should be done before you move.

  6. Bonds and Leases

     If you are renting or living with roommates, before moving out you
     should ask for your name to be removed from the lease and for your
     bond to be returned if required. This is also the time to discuss
     any lease arrangements with your new roommates and pay any bonds.
     If you need to sign a lease and don't understand anything in the
     lease it's important to seek legal advice before signing. You can
     seek help through your local legal aid office.

  7. Find Out About The Rent and Expenses

     When moving in with your new roommates, organize when and how the
     rent as well as any expenses will need to be paid. For example,
     the rent may need to be paid each Friday in cash while extra
     expenses may be due on the last Friday of each month. The
     advantage of knowing when and how expenses are due will make it
     easier for you to settle in, organize your money and manage your

  8. Set Up Your Journal

     It's useful to set up a journal that lets you record any major
     events that occur while living with your roommates such as changes
     to household living patterns, disagreements or fallouts, changes
     to lease agreements and any new roommates. You can also use your
     journal to record your rental payments and expenses as well as
     changes to current arrangements. If you have any difficulties you
     can refer back to your journal and see what events actually occurred.

  9. Take Pictures

     As the saying goes, "a picture tells a thousand words". It's
     important to take photos of your old and new rooms in case you
     have disputes with your roommates about bonds and leases. These
     pictures can be used to show the condition of your room when you
     moved in and/or out. The last thing you want is to have to pay for
     any damage or breakages that were not your fault.

 10. Settle Into Your New Home

     To help you settle in, find a map to get to know your new
     neighbourhood so that you find your way to work or College, go
     shopping and visit your friends. It's also a good time to set up
     any new activities you were planning to undertake.

There's a lot to think about when moving in with roommates. It's important to take a step back so you can see the "big picture" and create a plan that focuses on all aspects of your move. You can make moving into your new home a breeze by simply taking advantage of these top tips and making them work for you.

Good Luck and enjoy your new home!

Enid Steiner is a Director of <>, an Australian online roommate service. lets people find their perfect roommate and provides helpful share accommodation tips, hints and advice.

Article Source:

Making The Idea Of Using A Cane More Appealing <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 11:13 AM CST

The decision of using a white cane as a mobility tool is quite a tough decision for some blind or visually impaired individuals. It is part of the process of accepting that one is blind, and realizing that being seen using a cane is a sign of being independent rather than something to be embarrassed about.

The following are points that some mobility instructors and Brain Waves participants shared with us when we asked them for ideas on how to make the use of the cane more appealing for their students and clients.

*1. The younger, the better...*

A mobility instructor suggested trying to get the cane in people's hands as early as possible. The earlier they start using it, the more natural it will be for them, and they will learn to regard it as a part of their every day life.

*2. The more, the merrier...*

Another suggestion is to get students or clients to go out in pairs, or in a small group. This will make them feel more confident, as they won't be the only ones using a cane to travel. They will just be part of the group.

*3. Give them a reason to use it...*

A very effective way for people to want to use the cane is to try to make each class meaningful to them. During their lessons, try to take them to those places where they want, or need to go. For instance, instead of walking around the block, teach people how to get to a ballpark, a friend's house, or their favorite restaurant.

*4. Let them experience... *

Some instructors believe that people will choose to use a cane after showing them its benefits over personally meeting doors, and experiencing drop-offs or other obstacles.

*5. Give them praise and more praise...*

Give cane users positive reinforcement. Praise them a lot when they accomplish a task. Positive reinforcement raises confidence and self-esteem.

*6. Encourage a positive attitude...*

A positive attitude and letting the person realize that he or she is just using an aid to become more independent is important. Let them know that using a cane is the equivalent to wearing glasses, hearing aids or any other tool. The blind person's attitude will be reflected in the way other people respond to them.

*7. Customize the cane to be unique and really cool...*

If people get the opportunity to personalize and fix up their cane to their liking, they will be more inclined to want to use it. Here are some ideas on things that you can use to customize your cane!

For the grip:
A steering wheel cover, a golf club grip, a tennis racket grip.

For the rest of the cane:
Decals, key chains, braille name tags, neon Colors, Racing Stripes, Braille labels of fun things to do when using the cane, Bright colorful mini-stickers, reflective tape, contact tape resembling wood, camouflage or any other pattern.

A Brain Waves participant shared with us that she fixed up her cane like the American Flag after the tragedy of 9-11, and it was a hit!

Also, you may use different kinds of cane tips depending on your own travelling style.

To end this record with a fun note, below we have included the full text of an entry of one of our Brain Waves participants. She likes to "use her cane for a few amusing, and otherwise very serious reasons."


10. If you know the specific length of your cane, you can use it as an approximate measuring stick to determine the size of other objects; 9. If you put a small piece of doublesided tape on the end of the tip, you have a tool for retrieving dropped items from tight skinny spaces, e.g. from behind bookshelves for instance (I'm not kidding, this one really works, if you are careful!); 8. When walking slowly through grass, you can provide much amusement to a young kitten while gently moving your cane back and forth to find your way, as it chases and bats at the tip (yup, this one's happened to me, too!); 7. Use your cane, instead of your toes, to find the edge of the swimming pool, and to avoid a rather unexpected dive into it; 6. Make cane tracks in the sand, to be later washed away at the beach, or in the snow, as a warmer alternative to snow angels;
5. To be covered under the White Cane pedestrian laws;
4. To find unexpected curbs, steps, or bunched up sections of carpet, and avoid tripping over them; 3. To dig through snow, in order to determine where the sidewalk is, in the middle of winter; 2. To avoid those big metal poles, ouch!, between open double doors at school; and finally, 1. To have a ready explanation, and a way to minimize your embarrassment, if you accidentally walk into the wrong, tactually unlabelled restroom, if no one's around outside of it to ask!

Thanks to all who contributed to this record!

Verify-eMail: is it Real or Not? <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 10:40 AM CST

In recent years, the techniques used by email spammers get more and more sophisticated. While it's obvious that the email from Nigerian widow seeking to transfer $10 million was sent by a spammer, sometimes things aren't that clear.

Enter Verify-eMail. This 1-click email verification tool can instantly connect to the target mail server and check if the corresponding mailbox exists. Simply type in the email address and click "Verify".

Is it always accurate? Well, not always. Some mail servers don't cooperate so it's not possible to verify whether the email address is real or not. An example of this is, but for most email messages, it will work and we all can use a little more online protection.

Click this link to try for yourself <>. Makes MP3s Sound Better <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 10:07 AM CST

Vloud is an online tool that has a very specific appeal, yet it will no doubt be a welcome addition to the bookmark collection of many of us audio nuts.

Basically, what this web-hosted tool does is to let you upload a MP3 file and have it automatically processed in order to bring up its volume. The uploaded files can amount to as much as 10 MB, and WAV files are supported alongside MP3s.

Granted, this tool won't appeal to everybody, but both casual and hardened music fans can put it to good use. I recall I once had downloaded a very rare MP3 and since it was captured by someone who had no clue what they were doing, the volume kept going up and down. A tool such as this one would have made my day and I bet there are many music lovers who can tell a similar story.

This is a very interesting free) tool, and I look forward to any future development that may occur.

Click this link to try for yourself <>.

Automatic Alerts in the Format of Your Choice <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 09:47 AM CST

I get all sorts of reminders and alerts sent to my email inbox and my cell phone. The problem? It's hard to keep them all updated and organized. The wonderful Remember the Milk <> will send you reminders that you create in a variety of formats, but what if you want notifications like weather forecasts automatically sent to you, without having to set the notification up yourself?

There's another reminder site called Alerts <>! (I'll try to contain my excitement) that may be even more helpful when it comes to remembering things. Once you set up a /free/ account, Alerts acts as your personal manager, sending things like birthday notifications, price changes on products, traffic alerts, wake-up calls, and daily horoscopes. You get to choose how you want your notification delivered, be it via email, text message, instant messaging, or even voice. . . helping you manage your mismanaged life!

The Exercise Library <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 09:31 AM CST

This site, From The American Council on Exercise, contains articles and illustrated instructions for a variety of workouts for agility and balance, and for different parts of the body. The site also provides fitness Q&As, healthy recipes, a health club finder, and more.

Click this link to check out the Exercise Library <>.

       Independent Living Aids Offers Aerobic Exercise Tape

Geared for the visually-impaired, side A of this well-prepared cassette describes each exercise from warm up, through aerobics and cool down. Practice till you've mastered them all; then listen to side B which repeats the instructions with rhythmic musical background. Item #TEX1

       In Flight Yoga

ILA has taken all of the excuses away. These instructional tapes teach yoga on your bed or while seated and are described for the visually impaired. May you be healthy and peaceful. Item #TYO2

independent living aids, inc.
P. O. Box 9022
Hicksville, NY 11802-9022
Toll Free: 800-537-2118
Fax: 516-937-3906
Email: can-do@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:can-do@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

       Yoga DVDs For the Disabled

Though images of yoga often reflect sacred space (an ashram or specialized studio), the ancient discipline that reorients bodily energy can be done almost anywhere by persons with a wide range of physical challenges.

For twelve years, Carol Dickman, and her Yoga Enterprises, has developed instructional audio, video, and DVD programs aimed at those who wish to live healthier lives despite impaired mobility. Her series includes /Bed Top Yoga/ and /Seated Yoga/ (1997), 33 and 43-minute programs that guide students through a series of breathing exercises, simple stretches, and rudimentary yoga postures, followed by relaxation exercises. /Bed Top Yoga/ is done lying down on the back and /Seated Yoga/ is done in a chair or on the edge of the bed.

In this interview, certified Kripalu and Bikram yoga instructor Carol Dickman talks about how she developed her interactive yoga series for persons with disabilities.

Click this link to read more about Carol Dickman and her DVDs on yoga <>.

Martial Arts for the Blind <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 09:30 AM CST

I'd like you to imagine you're walking down a deserted street.--It's late at night.--You hear footsteps following yours.--Has the person following you decided you are easy prey because you are blind? Are you able to defend yourself?

I invite you to learn judo. I know what judo has meant to me, and I hope to share some of those benefits with you. As most of you know, it isn't easy growing up as a blind child in the public school system. Your peers can be pretty rough. I remember being punched in the face by the school bully as a way to test my vision. I also remember attending gym classes for many years before I was given a permanent waiver because I couldn't participate in the classes.

I recall, there was field hockey, volleyball, tennis, soccer, softball and ping-pong. Come to think of it, I wish someone had told the gym teacher that there are other sports besides chasing after a ball, but I didn't understand that at the time. I just felt totally incompetent at sports.

When I was older, I decided I was going to change all this. That's what brought me to the Federation and to judo. When I first heard about judo classes, I was hesitant. Based on my past experience, I didn't think the judo instructor would consider me as a student.

Happily, I was wrong. The instructor didn't care if I couldn't see, he was more interested in what I could do--and I could do judo. I sincerely mean it when I say that my life hasn't been the same since that day.

Judo is a full contact form of self-defense that includes throwing techniques, joint locks, pins, and chokes. These techniques range from simple foot throws that trip your opponent, to dramatic techniques that involve picking your opponent up and throwing them over your shoulder.

The basic principle of judo is that you can throw someone by using the motion of that person. Let me give you an example: Imagine someone is standing in front of you with their hands pushing on your shoulders. If you defend yourself by pushing back, then you'll have to push with a greater force than that of your opponent to overcome their force. This could be impossible if the person is larger and stronger then you are. Instead, by using judo, you take hold of the person's arms and when they push you, you pull them, using their force to throw them. These techniques are done with balance and leverage. They don't require strength at all.

You don't have to be a great athlete to start judo training. If you would like to get back into shape, then judo is a great exercise program for physical fitness and weight control. One thing I like about judo is that you exercise your body and your mind at the same time. So many exercise programs can be boring and you can lose interest in them. Judo literally keeps you thinking on your feet.

Judo is like ballet and gymnastics and one of the benefits of training that you will notice is an improvement in your balance, coordination, and orientation.

Unlike other forms of martial arts, judo needs no adaptation for blind people. Blind players have been active in judo for many years, practicing with sighted players on an equal basis. Judo is part of the United States Association of Blind Athletes program and is included at the Braille Institute in Encino, California, and at Perkins School.

Although these programs show the involvement of some blind players in judo, my emphasis has been to mainstream blind players with sighted players for the benefit of all. This equality embodies the philosophy of judo and the philosophy of the NFB as well.

My students and I have attended many tournaments and clinics, both large and small, and we have never been excluded or shown any favoritism. I remember one tournament we attended at West Point. One of the club instructors wanted to present my student with the Best Player trophy based on her blindness. The tournament director's reaction was to say "It's no big deal that she's blind. I'll give her the Best Player trophy when she comes here and wins."

Well, she won a lot more than a trophy that day. On the way home from the tournament, she told me that it was the first time in her life that she felt like she was "just one of the kids." And for the first time, I began to realize that I was giving back some of what judo has given to me.

The philosophical benefits of judo are as important as the physical benefits. As you challenge yourself, you gain a feeling of accomplishment that carries over into every aspect of your life. The knowledge that you can handle a physical conflict makes a verbal confrontation much less threatening.

You develop strength of mind to stand up for what you believe in and strength of mind that will allow you to step back when it is wise. You actually become less defensive and more relaxed. In twenty years it has never been necessary for me to use judo for self-defense, but I have used this strength of judo every day in all types of situations.

Part of this strength comes from a feeling that you are in control. You carry this control with you and demonstrate it with confident body language in the way you walk and communicate with people. When you project confidence, you are less likely to be confronted.

The self-confidence that can be gained from judo is so important to children. The blind child who is frustrated by his limitations in mainstreamed gym classes--or who is segregated in classes for disabled students--can feel less capable than his classmates. Judo gives the blind child the opportunity to participate in a mainstreamed activity on an equal basis with his peers.

When the other kids are talking about their sports and club activities, the blind child can join in with their accomplishments. This equality is important to the blind child, but it is also very important to their sighted peers as well.

The focus is on what you CAN do, not on what you can't do. It becomes less important that you can't play baseball when there is something unique you CAN be proud of. "I CAN" is what becomes important.

Self-defense is important to everyone nowadays, but as blind people, we are perceived by some as being more vulnerable than others. Judo is a balance to this misconception. Each of us should learn to defend ourselves, not just for our own benefit, but as a means to change society's image of blindness.

Self-defense can be as simple as being sure of who is at your door before you open it, or as involved as defending your life. The ability to think on your feet that you learn from judo can be important in preventing a dangerous situation from taking place.

Some Tips For Staying Safe:
You should avoid short cuts through less traveled areas and stay in areas where there is safety in numbers. Also, avoid walking along buildings since doorways and alleys are places where someone might hide. Stay in the central area of the sidewalk, so you can be clear on all sides.

When I walk down the street, I try to identify the age, gender, number and location of the people around me. This is kind of a game, but it is also a way of training yourself to be more aware of everything around you, so you can anticipate a situation before it develops.

As you learn judo, your skills and attitude will develop. The school bully will be less of a threat. You can walk down that deserted street and be a lot less vulnerable than some might think. Those people who attempt to dominate you will not be successful.

The unsolicited helper who attempts to take you across the street or the airline employee who attempts to load you into the airliner will both be surprised to find that you are in control of the situation.

Judo is a way to "even the odds" and change what it means to be blind. I have made judo my ultimate alternative technique and I hope you will make it yours as well.

This article is reprinted by special permission of the author.

*Check the Web!*

The judo information site, <>, has everything you need to know about judo. A major section of the site deals with judo for blind athletes, including coaching tips and rules for judo with blind participants (which primarily remind the referee to use vocal directions in addition to the hand signals). Judo for Blind Athletes is located at the following URL:

This website was written by Neil Ohlenkamp, a Judo instructor at the Encino Judo Club and at the Braille Institute. He has been the coach of the Braille institute's judo team since 1976. He has also been the coordinator of training camps, national and local tournaments, and other training opportunities for the visually impaired. Many of his blind students have become national and international champions. He also served as the US Representative to the International Blind Sports Association Judo Technical Committee from 1988 to 1993 and was instrumental in creating the international rules for visually impaired competitors.

 Blind Zen

Stefan Verstappen is a writer and martial arts instructor with over twenty-five year's experience. He spent four years studying martial arts throughout Asia and writes and lectures about his experiences. Verstappen is also the author of, The Thirty-Six Strategies of Ancient China, The Little Warriors Street Safety Manual. He has also written for a number of publications including Black Belt, Inside Kung Fu, and Jade Dragon magazines.

Stefan is the author of "Blind Zen A case Study in Sensory Enhancement for the Blind and Vision Impaired", which tells the story of how a blind woman's efforts to learn self-defense led to a unique experiment to adapt martial arts and eastern philosophy to develop new skills and increase self-confidence.

The book is guide written for the blind, vision impaired and the people that live and work with them, but also for martial arts instructors and sports trainers to provide insights and ideas for developing athletic programs for the blind in their communities.

The book includes descriptions and scientific explanations of the unique Zen inspired exercises that anyone can learn and provides a new approach and exciting possibilities to improve the quality of life of the vision impaired.

The book also provides practical easy-to-learn exercises that teach how to:

   * Become more physically fit and active
   * Improve your sense of balance
   * Improve your sense of proprioception
   * Refine the sense of hearing
   * Train the sense of smell to gather information from your environment
   * Overcome the numerous fears associated with blindness
   * Become more aware of the unconscious sensory information known as
   * Defend against an attacker

For more info on the book and how to order see website at: <>.

Blind Zen: A case Study in Sensory Enhancement for the Blind and Vision Impaired
Size: 7.5" X 9.25" Trade Paperback high gloss soft cover
165 pages, Over 85 Illustrations
Includes Bibliography, End Notes, and References.
ISBN 1-891688-03-0
Library of Congress Control Number: 2004095543
Red Mansion Pub, SF, 2004

Blind Zen Blog for Blind Martial Artists

Are you a blind or visually impaired martial arts practitioner? Are you looking for contact information for other practitioners?

Martial arts training for the blind is still a pioneering effort and the few teachers and students there are, are scattered throughout the world.

The Blind Zen Blog is an open forum where students and teachers can exchange advice and training tips, personal stories, information on seminars, classes, and competitions.

You can post any article, up-coming events, announcements for seminars and workshops or personal writing that you feel would be of interest to this group.

Click this link to visit the Blind Zen Blog: <>.

Outdoor Discovery and Reading for Children <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 09:30 AM CST

By Michael Russell

When the weather warms up, it's time to encourage the young ones to do some outdoor investigation that can enhance their lives with new cultural and biological discoveries. In your own backyard, you can help them find new and exciting creatures, plants and colorful rocks. There are a myriad of books that can reinforce the learning that takes place in the outdoor activities.

Have a good book handy, such as /Caterpillar Spring, Butterfly Summer/ by Susan Hood, to reinforce new outdoor findings, like caterpillars and tadpoles. You will be surprised by the conversation that will begin to take place.

Visiting a neighborhood park, let your children take a trip down some slides. Ask them to feel the wind as they descend swiftly. When you return home, read the book /Slide, Already!/ by Kit Allen. Question them about their own experience.

Don't forget to teach your youngsters 'Hide and Seek'. How many times did you enjoy that exciting game? They will be surprised at the new outdoor discoveries that will appear in the midst of this activity. /Daisy's Hide and Seek/ by Jane Simmons will do the trick for you to enhance what they have learned.

The local public library would be a great place to visit at least twice a month. Search for the title, /The Story of Red Rubber Ball/ by Constance Kling Levi with its marvelous watercolor illustrations by Hiroe Nakata. Then take a red ball outdoors and practice throwing and catching to let the children experience where it might unexpectedly land.

Even on a rainy day, you can share a book that talks directly about rain, such as /Give Yourself to the Rain/ by Margaret Wise Brown. In a soft rain, you can then take the children out to FEEL the rain. Talk about why the earth and all its living things need rain.

A kite-flying experience is always fun. Help the youngsters experience how the wind can pull at the kite and lift it. The book, /Kite Flying/ by Grace Lin can help get the little ones ready for the new event. Tell them about Ben Franklin's discovery using a kite. Later, read a story about his discovery. /How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning/ by Rosalyn Schanzer will do the job for you.

Personally speaking, my own grandchildren LOVE the book, /Brown Bear, Brown Bear/ by Bill Martin, Jr. And, with a trip to the zoo, we bring the words and pictures of the book back to mind when we see a REAL brown bear.

You will soon notice that the children's vocabulary has increased and that they relate more frequently. The knowledge they have acquired and questions they still want to resolve create more reason to share with you and others. The combination of outdoor activity sessions and reading sessions serve to enhance and enrich the learning experience of children. Good exercise, discovery and reading activities create fun while nourishing growing minds.

Click this link for more parenting tips from <>.

Article Source:

An Introduction to Music for the Blind Student: A Course in Braille Music Reading, Part One <>

Posted: 31 Dec 2008 09:29 AM CST

By Richard Taesch
Email: info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Published by Dancing Dots

This is a new, flexible curriculum which equips the mainstream educator with no prior experience with braille to teach and learn music braille. The author, Richard Taesch, is a life-long music educator and guitarist who is certified by the Library of Congress as a braille music transcriber. He heads the Braille Music Division of the Southern California Conservatory of Music and chairs the guitar department.

*Description of Curriculum*

Braille music reading has traditionally been taught as a translation process from print music as the sighted musician views it. This course differs from the norm in that it is a true instructional course-curriculum in music fundamentals, music reading, sight singing, theory, and ear-training using the international Braille Music Code as the medium. Print music is considered secondary, and included for the convenience of the sighted teacher or tutor.

It is, therefore, possible for a sighted (or blind) musician to administer or to study this work without prior knowledge of the braille music code. It is also intended that a sighted teacher, parent, or tutor with little or no knowledge of braille or conventional print music, may guide a blind student through this course. Teacher training is also a natural application for the course. Much testing by correspondence has been conducted, and the course has been the official curriculum at Southern California Conservatory of Music - Braille Music Division for many years.

*Content Description*

The course is divided into two Parts. Part I (Phases One through Four) is "ground level," and covers rudiments through intermediate melodic interpretation and key signatures. Part I is written into three separate print volumes- Lessons; Lesson Exercises; Supplemental Exercises. The braille edition exists in 4 braille volumes. All three print volumes are integrated and used simultaneously, however, each may also be used separately depending upon individual application.

The course is intended to teach the essentials of music reading regardless of the student's chosen instrument. The piano is considered as a basic tool common to all instrumentalists. Separate instrumental Supplements will eventually become part of the course.

*First Volume: Lessons*

Each Phase concludes with a lesson summary as an outline. This is intended to give experienced music teachers the option of flexibility, while guiding them through critical essentials specific to the braille Music Code. There are eighty-six print pages in this volume.

"Phase One" addresses rudiments of music in five separate lessons. General content covers introductory ear training, and an introduction to solfege (sight singing) by reading braille scale step numbers only. Structural concepts of scales and intervals in the form of Musical Arithmetic is also a part of Phase One.

"Phase Two" introduces true braille music notation and the braille Music Code. Notation covering the first five notes of the C Major Scale is taught in four lessons. Lesson 4 introduces the concept of Melodic Dictation, whereby the blind student is required to write the notes on the braille writer as they are played by the teacher or tutor.

"Phase Three" introduces the braille melody line incorporating such concepts as time signatures, note duration, repeat signs, piano fingerings, notes in the third & fifth octave, accidentals, major and minor scales, and other essentials needed at this level.

"Phase Four" covers key signatures and other musical devices such as ties, phrase marks, use of the braille music hyphen, and composition and formatting techniques.

"Appendix" contains Theory Examinations pertinent to all four Phases, and concludes with a detailed Index of the text.

*Second Volume: Lesson Exercises*

This volume includes the Lesson Exercises that are assigned in the Lessons text. A "facsimile" of the braille page as the braille reader sees it is shown on the left page with equivalent print music on the right page. Each braille facsimile page includes print fonts that point out each new braille sign as it is introduced in the lessons. The sighted teacher uses these fonts to reference their place on the braille page.

*Third Volume: Supplemental Exercises*

This volume is composed of graded supplemental material intended to expand exercise opportunities, and serves to illustrate concepts presented in the course. It may be used independently of the rest of the course, however, it functions as an extension of the curriculum as it is written. There are sixty-seven print pages and one braille volume. All exercises have been composed by the author with the exception of a section called "Duets and Classic Themes".

Some exercises are used for sight singing and playing, others are for singing only or playing only. Duets are common, and right and left hand fingered versions are plentiful. The text concludes with a section of scale exercises for comprehensive note study and review. Each print music exercise is immediately followed by simulated braille print dots.

Part II will be a continuation and expansion of Part I. It completes the discussion of all keys, scales, and key signatures. It introduces students to the concept of key modulation and other music theory issues.

For more information contact:

Dancing Dots
Phone: 610-783-6692

       /Alfred's Basic Guitar Method I/

by Alfred Dauberge

Beginning guitar instruction from the popular music training series.

Enlarged Print (14 point) -- L-90001-00

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