Braille Monitor                                    June 2018

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News from the Federation Family

Resolutions for Convention:
Here is a message from Sharon Maneki, who chairs the NFB Resolutions Committee:

Do you think we should change a government policy, take a stand concerning an agency for the blind, or create new regulations? If you do, consider writing a resolution. At the 2018 National Convention the resolutions committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 4. The committee will debate and discuss resolutions on a wide variety of subjects. If passed by the convention, these resolutions will become the policy statements of the organization.

To ensure that your resolution will be considered by the committee, please send it to President Riccobono or to me by June 19, two weeks before the committee meeting. If you send a resolution to me by email and do not receive a response acknowledging your email in two or three days, please call or send it again. If you miss the deadline, you must get three members of the committee to sponsor your resolution and then get it to the chairman before the meeting begins. I will be pleased to accept resolutions by email, [email protected]; or snail mail, 9013 Nelson Way, Columbia, MD 21045.

Braille Book Fair Needs Volunteers:
The Braille Book Fair has become one of the highlights of the convention for many teachers, parents, blind kids, blind parents, and adult beginning Braille readers. But the event could not take place without the help of many dedicated, talented volunteers. And that's where you come in. As a past worker, or simply interested supporter of the Braille Book Fair, I hope you can either volunteer or give me the contact information for someone that you recommend. You do not need to work the entire afternoon or evening, but I do ask that you try to work an entire shift. 

We especially need for people who help customers to come BEFORE we open the doors at 5:00 p.m. and to commit to staying until at least 6:30 p.m. Book lovers are great for this shift, as you will assist visitors in book decisions/selections. Thanks so much for taking time to consider this request, and I look forward to hearing from you soon! 

In your email to volunteer, please provide the following information:
YES...I can work the following shift(s): 8:00-10:00; 10:00-12:00; 1:00-3:00; 3:00-5:00; 5:00-7:00; 7:00-9:00 _________________________________________.
My cell phone number that I will have at convention is _______________.  
I live in (state) __________.
Braille skills (including if you read by touch or by sight as a sighted person) _____________.

Note: If you are a parent of a blind child under the age 18 (or still in high school or below), we know that you will want to attend the NOPBC Annual Meeting which takes place just before the BBF, but we would welcome you to work either during the event or on the clean-up shift after the event. 

If you can help, please contact Sandra Oliver, NOPBC Board Member at 713-825-4573 or [email protected] 

Braille Book Fair 2018:
Calling all Braille readers, teachers, and parents! It’s that time again: Time to sort through all those boxes of Braille books and donate those gently used but no longer needed Braille books to the 2018 Braille Book Fair sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. Our primary goal is to get more Braille books into the hands of children, youth, and beginning adult readers.

Needed items: print/Braille story books (aka Twin Vision), books in good condition, and leisure reading (fiction or nonfiction) books

Children are so hungry for their very own books that every year, despite generous donations of books, most of our books for young children are gone in less than an hour. So, begin your search through the boxes in your basement and spare room and get those books shipped to: 2018 Braille Book Fair, National Federation of the Blind, 200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, MD 21230.

Please note that you are shipping the books FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND; you do not need to pay shipping cost for Braille items. Hand write, stamp, or affix a label to the upper right-hand corner of the box stating: FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND. Take your package(s) to your local post office.

Happy Birthday NFB Krafters Division:
Join the Krafters Division and enjoy unlimited access to classes and chats throughout the year. Membership is $20 and runs now through July 2019. One full year of fun crafts to learn. See our website at for information on signing up.

We are ten years strong. We are looking forward to meeting everyone at national convention this year. We are still trying to finalize our Craft Sale. Stay tuned for the date(s) and times.

New at Convention—NFB Krafters Division Marketplace:
Are you a crafter, artist, or designer? We are looking for you! The NFB Krafters Division is proud to announce the opening of the NFB Krafters Division Marketplace. The Krafters Division Marketplace will offer you a great opportunity to showcase and sell your one-of-a-kind, handmade items to your Federation family. We anticipate this year’s marketplace to be especially exciting. The marketplace will take place July 3 between noon and 6:00 p.m. Table space is limited, so please contact Joyce Kane for availability and reservations either by phone at 203-378-8928 or by email at [email protected]. For more information about our division, please visit our website at

Join the Community Service Division Annual Community Service Project:
Recipe for Love
2 Hearts Full of Love
2 Heaping Cups of Kindness
2 Armfuls of Gentleness
2 Cups of Friendship
2 Cups of Joy
2 Big Hearts Full of Forgiveness
1 Lifetime of Togetherness
2 Minds Full of Tenderness
Stir daily with Happiness, Humor, and Patience.
Serve with Warmth and Compassion, Respect and Loyalty.

The shocking truth about community service, you’ll love it! Please come join the Community Service Division in our annual Community Service Project on July 3, 2018. We will provide meals for approximately 150 homeless individuals at the Coalition for the Homeless in Orlando, Florida, 639 W. Central Blvd. We will leave the hotel at 9:00 a.m. and return at 2:00 p.m. The Coalition gives people hope, just as we do in the Federation.

It’s a family affair, so gather your chapters, divisions, and/or friends to step up to the plate. We are the home team of the Federation. and we will knock this service project out of the park! Teamwork makes the dream work, and we as members of the Federation transform dreams into reality.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me.

Much love,
Jeanetta Price
Email: [email protected]
Cell: 409-344-1005

The National Association of Guide Dog Users Meets at the 2018 National Convention:
The National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU), a strong and proud division of the National Federation of the Blind, is excited to offer the most dynamic, informative events in the nation for guide dog users at our national convention in Orlando. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors: Accessible360, On the Go by Julie Johnson, Ruffwear, Texas Association of Guide Dog Users, and Veterinarian Emergency Clinics of Central Florida, NAGDU is offering some incredible programs for our members.

Tuesday, July 3, 1:00 to 10:00 p.m.: Seminar

1:00 to 1:45 p.m. - Registration. Registration is free and required to be eligible for door prizes!

2:00 to 3:30 p.m. - Is My Dog in Crisis? Lori Tilley, DVM, Veterinary Emergency Clinic of Central Florida, a board certified emergency veterinarian, will share how to assess if your dog’s health issue is an emergency needing immediate attention. She will also give us tips on how to avoid a trip to the emergency clinic, as well as maintaining wellness, preventive care, grooming tips, and first aid.

3:45 to 5:00 p.m. - Advocacy and Access: Everyone has a Part to Play Calling Out Counterfeit Service Animals: The myth, the image, and the law Facilitator: Marion Gwizdala, president, National Association of Guide Dog Users. With the growing challenge of untrained dogs in public and the problems they create for legitimate guide and service dogs, we must be the voice of reason. Join us as we mobilize our division to solve the problem. This interactive program is a must for all guide dog users, those wishing to become better advocates for guide dog users and other disabled individuals, and public and private entities wanting to know their rights.

5:00 to 6:00 p.m. – Dinner break

6:00 to 6:45 p.m. – Registration. Registration is free and required to be eligible for door prizes!

7:00 to 10:00 p.m. – Living the Guide Dog User Life you want!

Part 1: Is It Time? The struggle of letting go. Facilitator: Merry C. Schoch, LCSW. The retirement or passing of our guide dogs is a very challenging time and one we will all eventually experience. A licensed clinical social worker and guide dog user helps us through the process of retirement and loss.

Part 2: Harness Up: The process of getting a guide dog and beyond: Various guide dog training programs and consumers. If you are interested in getting a guide dog, want to find out how they really work, get to know what is involved in the application and training process, and learn about the Guide Dog User Lifestyle, this session is for you! Guide dog training programs will share information about their programs, and guide dog users will help you understand what is required when you come home.

Part 3: Guide Dog Show and Tail: Guide dog users share their favorite gear, grooming tools, and toys. If you have a favorite item to share, bring it with you for others to learn about! Some of them will be yours to take home for you and your dog to enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.: Annual Meeting
6:00 to 6:45 p.m. – Registration. Registration is free and required to be eligible for door prizes.
Membership dues of $5.00 are required for those who are not members of an affiliate division to be eligible to speak on the floor, make and vote on motions, and hold office.

7:00 p.m. – Call to Order. Join NAGDU for the most exciting and important meeting of guide dog users in the United States. Here are some of the highlights you will experience: “Supporting the NFB’s national ridesharing testing initiative” presented by Valerie Yingling; “Learn about our advocacy with Delta Airlines” presented by Christine Bouchard, Delta Airlines; “Learn how to comment on new regulations for the Air Carrier Access Act” presented by John Paré, executive director for advocacy & policy; “Download and tour the newest version of the NAGDU Mobile App for iOS & Android” presented by Raul Gallegos; Elect our 2018 to 2020 leadership; and energizing reports from our affiliate divisions.

As you see, the NAGDU events are filled with substance—the place to be if you are an active guide dog user and advocate. Plan to join us and enhance your knowledge and understanding. The NAGDU seminar and annual meeting are held in conjunction with the convention of the National Federation of the Blind.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by email to [email protected]. We will see you in Orlando!

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

Register Now for Contemporary Issues in Rehabilitation and Education for the Blind Seventeenth Annual Rehabilitation and Orientation and Mobility Conference:
Come and join us! Once again, this year's conference will be action-packed with a variety of new speakers, topics, and hands-on events. It will be held on Tuesday, July 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

7:30 - 8:30 AM—Registration
8:30 AM—Conference Begins
2:00 - 5:00 PM—Interactive Breakout Sessions
5:00 - 7:00 PM—NBPCB Awards Reception

To register go to: The registration fee includes the NBPCB Awards Reception. Before June 15 the registration fee is $85 for professionals, $75 for students. After June 15 the fee is $100 for both students and professionals. Those certified through the NBPCB may register using their username and password. All other participants should register as a guest.

For questions or special arrangements, contact Edward Bell at (318) 257-4554, or [email protected].

Sponsors: National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB), Professional Development & Research Institute on Blindness (PDRIB), Louisiana Tech University, and the National Organization of Professionals in Blindness Education.

Medicare Information to Become Accessible to Blind Beneficiaries:
In a release dated April 25, 2018, a settlement between the National Federation of the Blind and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was announced. The Monitor is reprinting that release here:

The National Federation of the Blind and three blind individuals have reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The settlement resolves the allegation brought forth in a 2016 lawsuit that CMS discriminated against blind and low-vision beneficiaries by failing to provide meaningful and equal access to Medicare information.

The agreement requires that CMS set up processes so that beneficiaries can make a single request to receive all communications and notices from Medicare in an accessible format, such as large print, Braille, audio, or electronic data. Additional terms include that CMS will:

CMS has already begun implementing critical procedural changes that include training employees on compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, implementing testing requirements to ensure that information posted on is accessible, providing CMS’s most popular publications in accessible e-book formats at, and establishing a Customer Accessibility Resource Staff to coordinate and support CMS’s accessible Medicare communications. The agreement prohibits CMS from changing any of these new practices in ways that would result in less effective access to Medicare information for blind individuals.

“Thousands of blind and low-vision people depend on Medicare benefits and must be able to apply for, understand, and manage those benefits independently,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “This agreement will ensure that blind Medicare beneficiaries have equal access to critical and often time-sensitive information about their individual benefits and this vital program.”

"The Medicare benefits a person receives are only as good as the access they have to them,” said Silvia Yee, senior staff attorney for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund. “Without equal access to vital Medicare information, blind people not only face greater difficulty getting their health care needs met, they also run a higher risk of losing services and supports altogether when they can't properly access details about Medicare plan benefits, review services provided, or confirm how much those services will cost. DREDF applauds this necessary step forward by CMS in providing Americans who are blind--including thousands of aging low-vision Medicare beneficiaries--access to necessary information that non-disabled people get to take for granted.”

The plaintiffs were represented by Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF).

Unified English Braille Pocket Reference Books Now Available:
Now available for sale: pocket reference books of the Unified English Braille literary code. This book is three inches by five inches and easily fits in a pocket, purse, or backpack. We have an interpoint Braille version for those who read Braille tactually. The small size makes it manageable for both adults and little ones. We also have an ink version that consists of print and simulated Braille, perfect for parents, friends, and teachers. These books are great for those just learning the Braille code for the first time or for those refreshing their Braille knowledge. Each copy is $10, with all profits benefiting blind children’s literacy programs. To order either version of our Whittle books, please visit

Seedlings offers 100 titles in UEB for older kids:
Seedlings Braille Books for Children, which offers one of the largest selections available of books in Unified English Braille, now offers 100 titles in contracted UEB for older kids.
Thirteen titles were added in February and March, bringing the total to 100. They are:

See all 100 titles at Seedlings continues to add new titles regularly, so check back often.

Seedlings' nearly 300 print-and-Braille board books for babies and toddlers and beginning readers are already in UEB. Order at

NFB Pledge

I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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