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

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 05 Mar 2009 10:06:20 -0700

Look at the last article, although they are all good.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind
Date:   Thu, 05 Mar 2009 13:12:51 +0000
From:   Fred's Head <fredshead@xxxxxxx>
To:     nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx

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

        Link to Fred's Head <>

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) <>

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 01:43 PM PST

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the United States. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

IDEA was formerly known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act but has grown considerably since. IDEA became a federal standard by an act of Congressional adoption in 1975 but has been amended many times since. The IDEA was most recently amended in 2004, which was a significant update.

Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth-2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth (ages 3-21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.

IDEA is considered to be a civil rights law. However, states are not required to participate. As an incentive and to assist states in complying with its requirements, IDEA makes funds available to states that adopt at least the minimum policies and procedures specified in the IDEA regarding the education of children with disabilities. Since its inception, all states have chosen to participate.

As of 2006, more than 6 million children in the US receive special education services through IDEA. Many U.S. states are still resistant to educating special needs children appropriately even though they continue to accept federal funding. The federal and state enforcement agencies do not use strong enforcement methods or penalties.

The definition of related services in IDEA include, but are not limited to: transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education, and includes speech-language pathology and audiology services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, early identification and assessment of disabilities in children, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. The term also includes school health services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training.

The US Department of Education, 2005 regulations that implemented IDEA states: " the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities including children in public or private institutions or care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily."

For more information, visit the IDEA website: <>.

Article Source:
Disabled World <>

I Want My Stuffback <>

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 01:05 PM PST

Every day, thousands of valuable portable items are inadvertently left behind in airports, taxicabs, coffee shops, and other public venues. Dealing with the loss of sensitive data is often more agonizing than the time and money required to purchase and reprogram a replacement device. The smaller the device, the easier it is to leave behind.

Lost and found departments are bursting with smart/cell phones, PDAs, laptops, jump drives, digital cameras, eyewear and countless other items. Most finders would prefer to return the item to its rightful owner, but without proper identification and a convenient return service, the vast majority of items never make it home safely.

StuffBak is a loss protection and recovery service. Confidential ID labels combined with StuffBak's return service make it easy (and compelling!) for Good Samaritans, lost & found personnel and police departments to return lost or stolen items. Proven 75% recovery rate.

Simply purchase labels from the Stuffback website. Place the label on your portible device. If the device ever gets lost, the finder can contact Stuffback with the information provided on the label and can return your portible device to you. There's no service charge until your item is recovered.

For more information, contact:

6800 79th Street, H-207
Niwot, Colorado 80503
Toll Free: 800-800-8257
Fax: 303-652-0855
Email: Info@xxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:Info@xxxxxxxxxxxx>

A similar service is This is a straightforward, no-nonsense, 24/7 lost & found service that makes it easy for people who find lost items bearing security tags, to return them. Users simply buy a security tag, adhere it to their valuable, and activate it online. If the item is lost, a finder can easily call the 800 number and connect with the owner. YouGetItBack reports a 75% retrieval rate. At this time, the service is only available in the UK.

Click this link to learn more about <>.

       A More Aggressive Approach

Personally, I like this option better than anything I've seen so far for stolen laptops. Front Door Software Corp.'s Retriever program displays your contact information as your computer boots up. There's even space for a plea to a Good Samaritan. A message like "$50 for my safe return" might be enough to help an honest person return the machine.

But here's where the program gets cool. Retriever lets you log on to a Website and check a box indicating the computer is missing. Now during start-up, a big yellow and red banner appears on the screen, boldly declaring the laptop lost or stolen. This message is set to reappear every thirty seconds, no matter how many times the thief closes the window.

You can remotely switch on a second password prompt if you fear the thief has also stolen your regular Windows, Macintosh or Linux login information.

Behind the scenes, Retriever uses built-in Wi-Fi to sniff out nearby networks, then figures out what Internet service providers power them. With that information in hand, you can file a police report and get help locating the criminal.

While waiting for law enforcement to come through, you can even let off steam by sending new messages to the nagging "Stolen Computer!" screen. The latest version is even more aggressive. Now, when the "stolen" screen pops up, the laptop cries for help. Use a canned message ("Help, this laptop is reported lost or stolen. If you are not my owner, please report me now.") or create one of your own.

You can learn more about Laptop Retriever by visiting <>.

Play An Audio Version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire At Your Next Party or Convention <>

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 01:04 PM PST

It won't be long before the Kentucky School for the Blind's <> Alumni Association meets for another year of fun and memories. We have a reunion on campus every year, usually close to graduation. This gives us a chance to reconnect with old friends, and to make some new ones.

This year I thought of doing a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire trivia game night. I really like doing these kinds of events, especially with the game show theme. I want to make the experience as real as possible, even using the music if I can find it.

The first place I went to start putting the event together was Google <>. Every search starts with Google it seems. I was looking for three things, a basic guide and instructions for the game, audio files, and some way to play those files in the same way the TV show does.

It wasn't too long before I came across Brendan Harris' website <> and discovered his "How to make your own Who Wants to be a Millionaire TV show <>" page. This is great, but a little too complicated for me. I don't need cameras and lighting and all that fancy stuff. I was able to find the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire sound effect files <> from his site. I bookmarked this page and continued my Google search.

My search soon turned up James J. Cochran's paper on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: The Classroom Edition <>. This gave me some great ideas of how to modify the original gameplay so the maximum number of people could play the game. I wasn't interested in using his Power Point presentation, but it did look cool.

Now, I have the rules and the sounds. All I need to complete this little project is some way to play the sounds. One thing that I love about the TV show is that the music is almost constant, and very coordinated with the gameplay. How could I pull this off?

I sat around for most of an evening trying to figure this out. I soon remembered some very basic games for preschool children. I specifically remember a program that allowed the keyboard to play audio files with the press of a key. That's all it did. If I could find a program like that, I'd be in business. Well, it's back to Google again.

This time, my search found something rather quickly from the Freeware World Team website <>. Scroll down the page and you'll find a program called Baseball Audio File Player <>. "This program allows you to create banks of sound effects you can play by pressing a button with your mouse or just pressing one of the keys on your keyboard. Pressing a number key (0-9) will switch the soundbank, pressing a letter key (a-z) will play a sound. The program uses a config file in which the key-to-sound mapping is specified."

I immediately downloaded this program, and loaded the audio files I had previously downloaded for the game. It worked great. Now, we will have the correct sound for whatever is going on. Now all I have to do is find some trivia questions, not a difficult job with all the websites out there that specialize in trivia. Wouldn't this be cool for playing Family Feud or Greed?

You Grow Girl and The Science of Gardening <>

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 01:03 PM PST

While surfing around for gardening sites, I found this great site called You Grow Girl. The site is speech friendly, and is packed with information.

First of all this site has great forums. Take your time there if you enjoy the forum community. Other sections include Grow, Garden, Explore, Play, Use, and Journals.

   * Grow - This is where you will learn about plants and how to care
     for them. You will find articles on plant care information, seeds
     and propagation, featured plants, bulbs, tubers, & corms, save
     your, and good bugs/bad bugs.
   * Garden - this is where you find the heart and soul of gardening,
     not to mention a ton of great Do It Yourself gardening tips. Here
     you will learn about composting, planting tips, tools, and
   * Explore - learn about new plants, hey, you may find something you
     want to add to your garden.
   * Play - This is where some fun stuff is hiding! You'll find
     wallpapers, art, e-cards and much, much more.
   * Use - Learn uses for the herbs, vegetables, and flowers that you
     plant. This section is filled with recipes.
   * Journals - read journals of other gardeners, and share in their
     triumphs and disasters.

This is a great gardening site, that will have you coming back regularly as your garden grows.
You Grow Girl <>

       The Science of Gardening

This site is cool. Not just because of the videos, but because you really do learn the science of gardening.

Feed - This section has two videos: one about how carnivorous plants work and one about a garden in California and compost tea. They are both really interesting; you won't be disappointed. This section also contains the interactive area called Garden Variety about the history of food and an article called The Dirt on Dirt.

Control - This section also has two videos: one on subzero gardening and one on competitive growing. Both were pretty interesting, especially the Subzero Gardening video about hydroponics and get to see a garden in Antarctica. There are also two photo essays: Garden Lore talks about strange remedies and A Truckload of Pumpkins is full of pictures from Half Moon Festival and information on how they grew those giant pumpkins. This section also tells you all about saving seeds and how to make hybrid plants.

Bloom - This section has my favorite video, a Little Patch of Dirt. A community in San Francisco decided to turn a median into a garden. The government is now providing this great community project with free water. There are also two interactive sections. The Secret Lives of Flowers teaches you all about flowers from their parts to what kinds of animals they attract. Hello Dahlia is a great section that tells you all about this very versatile flower.

Exploring all of this great site's goodies took up most of my morning. I can't believe that I learned so much more about gardening.

Click this link to learn The Science of Gardening: <>.

Customize Your Cane <>

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 12:05 PM PST

I am one of those low vision people who didn't really need to use a white cane. If I bent over and stared at the ground three feet in front of me, I would only occasionally trip over a miscalculated step. I would bump into people, but that was just because I wasn't paying attention.

To quote my teenage son--"NOT!"

Now I would feel naked if I left the house without my cane. I will admit that my change of attitude was not an easy process for me. It took a few years and a lot of soul searching to reach this point. I can thank the writers who wrote the many wonderful articles on cane travel that appeared in the Braille Monitor over the years for their perspective and encouragement.

The simple fact of the matter is that, by not using a cane, the only person I was fooling was myself. It is the old story that everyone knows you are blind but you. I know the final realization for me was that I would rather walk tall as a competent blind person than walk down the street bent over trying to see where I was going--and not giving a very good impression.

How much easier travel is now! My problem wasn't my vision . . . it was my attitude.

This attitude was even conveyed to my son. When I first started using my cane, I was self-conscious, and my son said, "Mom, put that thing away, everyone is looking at you." As my attitude changed, so did his. He later said to me, "Hey, Mom, everyone is looking at you because you are doing such a good job." Out of the mouths of babes!

When I talk to kids about using a cane, they always say that people will notice them. My answer is, "Sure, people will notice, people notice everything: whether you are thin or fat, short or tall, or if you have red hair. Some people are even dying their hair green to become more noticeable! So what if they notice you use a cane. You don't have to hide your cane, it is a symbol of your independence."

A car owner will wax and wash his car. It is his symbol of freedom and independence. He feels he can't travel without it. So I take care of my canes for the same reason. I have never been known to leave well enough alone, so I have customized my canes.

I have an NFB telescoping cane. But let's face it, it is plain white, so why not spruce it up with a fancy handle. I have found a variety of grips that I add to my canes. My favorite grip is a steering wheel cover. They are available in a variety of styles and colors and can be found in most discount stores.

Other grips you might like to use are golf grips and tennis racket grips. (That's as close to a steering wheel and tennis racket I'm going to get!) They look great and they are practical as a non-slip grip when you are wearing gloves.

So you can have a sporty cane or a fancy cane or an elegant cane. You can pick the style you want to match the occasion. You can now buy reflective tape in most discount or hardware stores (similar to ScotchLite but easier to apply). You can't tape the telescoping canes, but I put some reflective tape on my rigid cane for at night. I feel more comfortable knowing I am a little more visible at night.

I also use the California Cane. This cane is the best cane I have found. It is lightweight and, when the joints slide together, it has the feel of a rigid cane. Unlike many other folding canes, this cane comes apart easily and you don't have to fight with it to get the joints separated.

When it snows I use a rigid cane. I added a red reflective tip to my "snow cane" because I have heard that it is very hard for people to see a white cane in the snow. If it is snowing hard, I will increase my visibility by wearing an orange hunter's hat.

You can add some variety to your cane collection. I have a cane with wood grain Contact Paper on it for walking in the woods. I am a radio operator in the Civil Air Patrol and I have an all black AmbuTech folding cane to meet the uniform requirements (all accessories must be black). I also have a Camouflage cane.

If you aren't using a white cane, it does not qualify under the law, but many states have a broad definition to extend to all mobility canes. Check with the white cane laws in your state.

When I first started using my cane I would carry it in an umbrella case so no one would see it. Now I have a cane for all occasions and a few spares.

It's all in your attitude, so have fun!

Customizing Your Canes by Jody W. Ianuzzi was previously printed in the TravelVision website by Kathy Zelaya and is reprinted here by special permission from the author.

       Bonus Tip

Just wanted to share a solution that we came up with to address the problem of people who have difficulty pulling the elastic loop at the end of the folding cane over the folded shaft sections, could be useful for people with arthritis, who lack fine motor (hand) coordination, lack strength in their arm/hand.

I bought a product at Staples called "Velcro One-Wrap" (a pack of 5 sold for about $6).

  1. Put the "Velcro One-Wrap" strip through the elastic loop, thread
     it through the hole at the top of the "Velcro One-Wrap", and keep
     it permanently attached to the elastic loop of the cane (it does
     not interfere with cane usage).
  2. After you fold the cane, grab the shaft sections in one hand like
     you always do, but closer toward the side that you would normally
     pull the elastic loop over.
  3. Hold the "Velcro One-Wrap" in the other hand, and bring it right
     above your hand holding the shaft.
  4. Wrap the velcro around the shaft.

This holds the cane together nicely without the need to pull the elastic loop over the top. For people who have difficulty grabbing the velcro strip, you can easily attach a plastic ring to the end of the velcro strip and just grab for the ring to pull the cord around the shaft.

Steve Greenberg

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Nimer M. Jaber

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