[tabi] "As We See It" Summer 2012 Lighthouse Newsletter

  • From: Lighthouse of the Big Bend <lighthousebigbend@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, fcb-l <fcb-l@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2012 10:41:26 -0400

Summer 2012 Lighthouse Newsletter
As We See It, Technology Edition

In this issue:

1. I-What? I-Devices Improve Accessibility

2. Unexpectedly Awesome: Dining in the Dark

3. Five Helpful iPad Apps (Applications)

4. Mobility & Technology 101: Accessible Pedestrian Signals

5. Top Ten Ways Technology Has Increased Accessibility for the Blind

6. Upcoming Summer Events

7. Lighthouse Summer Classes 2012

8. Frequently Called Numbers

9. Helpful Websites

10. About the Lighthouse

1. I-What? I-Devices Improve Accessibility

During the past two years, technological changes have greatly expanded
possibilities for visually impaired persons with the development of devices
such as the iPad, iPod, and iPhone. These "i-devices" can fit in your pocket
or a small bag, and can be used to perform a variety of tasks. In the past
such tasks required separate gadgets. I-devices make it easier to complete
many tasks using just one gadget. One innovation is that for any "i-devices"
to be made accessible, software does not need to be separately purchased and
loaded on to the unit, making it much easier for a blind or visually
impaired person to use their new gadget immediately.

Accessibility comes in the form of print enlargement or speech output from a
screen reader called Voiceover. Often you can have these options set up at
the store where you buy the item with little effort on the part of the sales
representative. Applications for all kinds of activities or services are
being developed every day, making access to them better than ever for the
person with a visual impairment. A standard Bluetooth keyboard obtained on
line or from the Apple store makes screen navigation more efficient, as
keyboard commands can be used on this device as well. If someone wants to
purchase a Braille device to enhance the experience, many can be purchased
at less than half the cost of a standard proprietary Braille note taking

Let's examine a day in the life of an iPhone user. An iPhone alarm wakes you
up and tells you the time. You check the weather and your iPhone tells you
that there is supposed to rain. The bus breaks down on your way to work, so
you tell the phone to "call work" & let them know. While you're waiting, you
can surf the internet, access the radio, find a podcast or read an audible
book. At work, you use your reminder list to stay on task. After work, you
go grocery shopping and use the digit-eyes application to identify items you
want to purchase. You call a cab to go home using the contacts in your
phone. When you get in the cab, you use a GPS application to check your
location and the money reader to check the $20 bill to pay the cab. While
cooking dinner, you use the timer on the phone to remind you when to check
your food. The phone notifies you of some email messages, and you use an
application to pay some bills. Finally able to relax, you use the Comcast
application on the phone to look up a TV show to watch.

These are just a few of the tasks that can be completed using an iPhone or
other Apple devices. Interested? The Lighthouse will offer an i-devices
class starting July 10th, from 3-6pm on the 2nd & 4th Tuesday of each month.
Questions? Call Elizabeth Bowden at (850)942-3658 or email
ebowden@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx .

2. Unexpectedly Awesome: Dining in the Dark

By Austin Davidson

To be honest, the first time I attended Dining in the Dark, I had pretty low
expectations. I figured we'd eat dinner in a room with all the lights off,
and I'd still be able to see, of course. I didn't think it would be all that
different from any other boring fundraiser dinner, and I really wanted to
just hurry up and get it over with so I could score the brownie points from
my mom and move on.

To my surprise, the evening proved to be opposite of nearly all my
assumptions and is now an event that I look forward to each year. Simply
put, Dining in the Dark is a wonderfully executed glimpse into what it's
like to be completely blind. The real fun starts when it's time for your
party to be seated. After stepping out of the elevator, you and your friends
will be lined up single-file and guided to your table by, yes, a blind
person! It seems odd until you start to make your way into the dining room,
where you realize that they have somehow managed to block out any trace of
light, so a sighted person would be pretty useless. It is pitch-black like
you've never experienced before. You literally can't see a hand waved in
front of your face much less the table setting (or anything else for that

As the dining room fills up, boisterous laughter and conversation fills the
room, as first-time guests realize the evening is more than they signed up
for. It is impossible to describe, but I will toss out a few highlights that
I think are fun and unexpected. First, your wait staff is none other than
the Leon County Sheriff's Office SWAT team, equipped with night-vision
goggles. Second, I challenge you to accurately guess what you eat over the
course of the evening. You'd think that your tongue would do a pretty good
job of identify what's on your plate, but not knowing what you're eating
really throws things off. At my table, we were pretty embarrassed at some of
our guesses after the lights were turned on and we could see again. Third,
don't expect your eyes to "adjust." At no point during the evening will you
regain vision; you're in a world of pitch black until the lights are

There's also a more serious side to the evening. It can be difficult to put
yourself in another person's shoes, especially when it comes to things like
"what it's like to be blind." Sure, you may think that you can imagine what
a blind person goes through, but I promise, it will impress upon you a
mountain of respect and wonder for those who navigate the world in darkness,
adapting so well that we forget how hard it must be for them. For me, it
helped me to understand something I've been exposed to all my life (my
grandmother is blind), but had never felt connected to in a meaningful way.
It showed me the challenges of being blind first-hand, and it made me
sincerely appreciate organizations like the Lighthouse that help people
adapt to life without vision. I can't recommend the evening enough; you will
be entertained and educated in ways that are sure to surprise you, and if
you're like me, you'll leave the event saying to yourself, "What an awesome
experience that was! I can't wait to bring some friends to try it out next
year..." Join us November 4, 2012 for this year's event!

3. Five Helpful iPad Apps (Applications)

By Lynn Evans

Since Apple has increased accessibility, if you have an iPad or an iPhone,
what can you do with it? Here are just a few examples:

I Blink Radio: I chose this one to keep folks updated on the latest
technology. It is from Serotek and it's free.

I Say: This is a scanner that will read text such as a restaurant menu once
you take its picture. And hey - this one is free.

Look Tell Money Identifier: This app will recognize any denomination of
bills provided you have any bills left over after buying all these apps-this
one costs $1.99.

The Big Clock: Turn your iPhone or iPad into a huge digital clock with day
and date display for 99 cents.

Navigon Mobile Navigator: At $44 this should do everything you expect a GPS
app to do. It will get you there and get you back home.

For more information about the above apps go to the link below:

4. Mobility & Technology 101: Accessible Pedestrian Signals

From buzzers and bells to cuckoos and chirps, accessible pedestrian signals
have come a long way over the years. You may still find some of all these
types in Florida. However, the standard for newly installed accessible
pedestrian signals (APS) includes several valuable features that help solve
old problems, listed below.

Pushbutton Locator Tone

The exact location of pedestrian signal poles is inconsistent from
intersection to intersection throughout the city. So, locating the pole and
pushbutton with little or no vision can be a challenge. Under the new
standard, the button has a locator tone which sounds repeatedly every second
during the non-walk phase of the signal. This can help one find the pole and
pushbutton when approaching the intersection.

Tactile Arrows

Determining which button to push to get the signal for the desired street
can also be difficult. Until now, this information was often not provided
for sighted pedestrians, and even less often in an accessible format for
those with vision impairments. The new standard is that each signal has a
raised arrow pointing in the direction of the crossing. This will either be
located on the pushbutton itself or on a sign near the button.

Audible Walk Indicators

For the past several years, the cuckoo and chirp sounds have been used to
indicate the walk phase of the signal. Research has shown that people have
difficulty remembering which sound is associated with which direction or
street (ex: cuckoo for north/south crossings). These sounds may also be
confused with the calls of real birds in the area. The sound of the new
standard is an unmistakable, rapid ticking sound (think machine gun!). The
ticking sound continues throughout the walk phase. The sound may alternate
with a verbal message of "walk." If you are touching the button at the
beginning of the walk phase, you may also feel a vibration. (This
vibrotactile feature can be helpful for someone with a hearing impairment.)

Additional features to the new signals may also include the volume adjusting
automatically to the loudness of the surroundings, a countdown of remaining
seconds for the crossing, and informational messages such as the cardinal
direction of travel or the name of the street to be crossed. (The last two
may be activated by holding the button down for several seconds.) As with
the old style signals, the new signals are tied into whatever information
the existing visual pedestrian signal provides. Examples of the new APS
standard are currently in use in Tallahassee at the following intersections:
Park Ave. and Capital Circle SE, Governor's Square Blvd. and Reece Park Rd.,
and Tennessee St. and Monroe St. More are scheduled to be installed,
especially at some busy intersections that serve as bus transfer points.

A few words of caution: The information provided by the APS is meant to
supplement, not replace, traffic cues. It is still important to familiarize
yourself with the intersection, to use standard alignment techniques, and to
pay attention to the traffic before crossing.

For more detailed information about accessible pedestrian signals go to
www.acb.org/node/617 or www.apsguide.org . As always, the Lighthouse's
Orientation and Mobility Specialists will also be happy to answer your
questions at (850)942-3658.

5. Top Ten Ways Technology Has Increased Accessibility for the Blind

10. Devices can now identify money or color. ~ Carolyn Lapp

9. Online banking and bill paying eliminate the need to write checks or
address envelopes. ~ Lois Butterfield

8. Talking glucose meters enable blood sugar level checks and determine how
much insulin to take . ~ Lynda Jones

7. You can find almost any appliance that talks... even things you'd rather
not hear, such as a talking scale! ~ Jeanine Kane

6. Portable software programs can make any computer accessible ~ Carolyn

5. Almost everything can be ordered online and delivered to your front door.
~ Wayne Warner

4. Talking GPS programs make it possible to easily find destinations-you may
never get lost again! ~Lois Butter field

3. Bar code scanners can be used to scan products, get info on the item and
comparison shop. ~ Carolyn Lapp

2. You carry more power and access to information in your pocket now than a
room-sized computer in years past. ~ Wayne Warner

1. Email and texting greatly expands communication and frees many from the
use of printed documents. ~ Elizabeth Bowden

6. Upcoming Summer Events

New Tech Class Begins July 10th: I-Devices

Recent changes in technology have made many devices produced by Apple
accessible to the blind and visually impaired without the purchase of
separate adaptive software. Such devices can be daunting, due to the nature
of the touch screen and differences between Microsoft versus Apple operating
systems. A new training will teach how to use the iPhone, iPad and iPod at
the Lighthouse on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of each month from 3:00 to 6:00
p.m. Interested? Please contact Elizabeth Bowden, AT Specialist at 942-3658
ext 214 or ebowden@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx .

Freedom Scientific Demo Day: July 11

You are invited to the Lighthouse on July 11th for a demonstration of
equipment from Freedom Scientific.. From 9am- noon, come learn more about
low vision technology. Afternoon sessions from 12:30-3pm include technology
solutions for the blind. A Door Prize Drawing for a free RUBY Handheld Video
Magnifier. The schedule is below:

9:00 AM Event begins

9:30 AM Video magnifiers including RUBY, ONYX, and TOPAZ

11:00 MAGic magnification software for the PC

11:30 SARA (Scanning And Reading Appliance) as a low vision tool

12:00 Complimentary Lunch

12:30 Scanning and reading with the PEARL camera and OpenBook

1:45 Screen Reading with JAWS and FOCU Braille Displays

3:00pm Conclusion of the event

Register for this event with Charlie Madsen by phone: 1-800-336-5658, by
e-mail: seminars@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, or online:

The event is free and a complimentary lunch is included.

Dog Guide Group Outing: July 21 Cook Out!

Do you have a dog guide or want one? Join the Quarterly Dog Guide Group!
Last quarter was a trip to the Tallahassee Museum, and on July 21, Sila and
Robert are hosting a cookout. If you are interested, please contact Evelyn
Worley, Orientation & Mobility Specialist at 942-3658 x 203 or
eworley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx .

Introduction to Independent Living Class Aug. 21, 10am-1pm

This class is an opportunity to learn all you ever wanted to know about
resources, adaptive aids, and techniques for coping with vision loss. You
even get to make your own lunch. The introduction to the class is 8/21 and
the class runs from September through December, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays,
10am-3pm. If you are interested please contact Jeanine Kane, CVRT at
942-3658 x 215 or jkane@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

7. Lighthouse Summer Classes 2012

Braille Class: Every Wednesday, 11:30am-2pm

Diabetes Group: 3rd Thursday, 10am-12pm

i-devices Technology Class: 2nd & 4th Tuesday, 3-6pm

Independent Living Class Introduction: August 21, 10am-1pm

Orientation and Mobility 101: (Tentative) Wednesdays, 10-11:30am

Quarterly O&M with Dog Guides: July 21, Cook Out

Strategies for Coping with Vision Loss Group: 1st Wednesday, 1-3pm

Transition Summer Program 2012: June 11th- August 3rd, Monday through
Thursday, 9am-3pm

Way to Work, Strategies for Employment Group: 2nd & 4th Wednesdays,

8. Frequently Called Numbers

211 Big Bend (24 hours) 211

Big Bend Transit 574-6064

DBS 245-0370; 1(800)672-7038

Dial-A-Ride 891-5199

Elder Care 921-5554

Insight Support Group 878-1923

Lighthouse of the Big Bend 942-3658

Magnifiers & More 671-3936

Medicaid 921-8474

Project Insight 24-hr Helpline 1-800-267-4448

Senior Center 891-4000

StarMetro 891-5200

Talking Book Library 1-800-226-6075

VA Low Vision Clinic 878-0191 ext. 2086

Yellow Cab 580-8080

9. Helpful Websites

American Foundation for the Blind - http://www.afb.org/

American Printing House for the Blind - http://www.aph.org

Blind Bargains - http://www.blindbargains.com/

Family Connect - http://www.familyconnect.org/parentsitehome.asp

Florida Braille and Talking Book Library -

Hadley School for the Blind - http://www.hadley.edu/

Lighthouse of the Big Bend - http://www.lighthousebigbend.org

National Federation of the Blind - http://www.nfb.org/nfb/Resources.asp

Self-help Resources for Vision Loss - http://www.visionaware.org/

10. About the Lighthouse

Lighthouse of the Big Bend provides free services to individuals who are
visually impaired or blind in Franklin, Gadsden, Hamilton, Jefferson,
Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor & Wakulla Counties.

Address: 3071 Highland Oaks Terrace, Tallahassee, FL 32301

Phone: 850-942-3658

Toll-free: 1-888-827-6063

Fax: 850-942-4518

Email: info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Website: http://www.lighthousebigbend.org

Lighthouse Board of Directors

President: Evelyn Sewell

Vice President: Fred Sanguiliano

Treasurer: Lynda Breen

Secretary: Jamie Ito


Norris Coster

Fred Flink, OD

Ted Judd

Sila Miller

Lighthouse Staff

Assistant Director: Evelyn Worley, ext 203

Assistive Technology: Liz Bowden, ext 214

Data Entry Specialist: Simone Cunningham, ext 213

Early Intervention: Jennifer Crowder, ext 202

EI / O&M Specialist: Sharon Scherbarth, ext 220

Executive Director: Barbara Ross, ext 201

Independent Living: Jeanine Kane, ext 215

Toni King, ext 211

Alex Crawford, ext 228

Specialist Assistant: Mike Worley, ext 204

Transition Specialists: Amanda Kan, ext 208

Angel Scruggs, ext 206

Transition / O&M Specialist: Amanda Bernath, ext 216

Vocational Services: Wayne Warner, ext 210

Eva McElvy, ext 205

Lynda Jones, ext 212

FREE SERVICES: Do you know someone in your life who might benefit from
services? We'd love to help. It's easy-just call 942-3658 or email
info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Thanks!

Lighthouse of the Big Bend
Guiding People Through Vision Loss
3071 Highland Oaks Terrace
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 942-3658
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