Today is #WorldBrailleDay where we celebrate Braille Literacy and Learning!
We all know what Braille is....
We've seen it on just about every signage on doors, walls, and a multitude of other places.
While I was surfing Twitter I came across this tweet:
This made me sad, these teachers and counselors forget a major group that's usually dependent on Braille - the Deafblind.
Sure, there are some Deafblind individuals who can rely on their limited hearing for auditory input from audiobooks and screenreaders. Then there are some Deafblind who can read enlarged print (like myself). But that doesn't help those who don't have this capability.
Did you know that many Blind and Deafblind are lagging behind in school and colleges because their textbooks and materials aren't readily available in a Braille format? Thanks to technology like the refreshable braille display this problem is being remedied to a point.
These refreshable braille displays are not cheap - they range from $3,500 to $15,000, depending on the number of characters displayed. Some are complete "notetakers" with computing capabilities, while others plug into a USB port on your computer and acts as a keyboard/screenreader.
Thanks to an organization called iCanConnect - the National Deafblind Equipment Distribution Program - Deafblind individuals can obtain equipment and software to help "connect" with their family, friends and the world around them.
Deborah Kendrick summed up why we need Braille in her article in the Braille Monitor and I agree!
Can y'all help me out and support braille literacy through the Braille Institute?
No matter if you are living alone or raising an army of kids (that includes your husband), everyday life, and family life in particular, can be extremely taxing on your emotional and psychological well-being. That’s why your bedroom, and your kids’ bedroom, needs to be a kind of peaceful oasis, a place where you can unwind and shed off the stress of the day. However, for most people the bedroom is just a place where they go to bed after a long, hard day.
But what if you could optimize its layout, equip it with elements that support health and vibrancy, and ensure it is safe, healthy, and pleasant to be in? Here are the five essential changes you want to make in your bedroom today to elevate your quality of life.
Clear the clutter
Clutter around the bedroom can accumulate rather quickly, and it is not just that it’s unsightly to look at, but it can be downright dangerous in terms of health and safety. The mess around the room poses a great threat to people living with disabilities, as one can easily trip over clothes or toys.
Even if no one in your family is living with a disability, you still want to regularly and thoroughly declutter the bedroom, throwing or giving away the things you don’t need in order to support safety and health by not letting dust and various pests to make the mess their new home.
Label and organize
Both parents and children can greatly benefit from keeping their bedrooms organized, and their stuff neatly packed in labelled boxes and drawers. This will not only support healthy and positive habits, but it can be extremely time saving for those with vision loss.
Labelling the things around the bedroom in bright colors will help anyone with eyesight problems to find their way around the room more easily, and it just helps keep stuff in its place.
Maintain healthy airflow
Air quality is one of the most important elements in a healthy bedroom environment, and not many people devote their time and attention to elevating the quality of air in their homes in general. Without constant airflow and purification, you are allowing mold, allergens, dust, and harmful bacteria to settle in around the bedroom.
Allowing this to happen can severely impact your long-term health and quality of life, so installing a HEPA air purifier to eliminate air pollutants, gases, allergens, and all other hazardous elements is one of the most important steps in creating a healthy sleeping environment.
Avoid sharp edges
Contrary to popular belief, knives, scissors, and other sharp objects have no business residing in the bedroom. There are plenty of other suitable places around the house where you can keep sharp things, such as the kitchen or a drawer in the living room, but keeping them in the bedroom can put your kids and yourself in unnecessary danger.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and they happen more often than you think. You want to exercise safety at all times, and keep sharp objects away from children, only allowing them to use them under guidance and constant supervision.
Bedroom Hygiene 101
Finally, bedroom hygiene is as important as air quality, and maintaining a clean sleeping environment by changing the sheets and pillowcases regularly, approximately every week, is the first step. This way you will eliminate harmful dust mites, mold spores, and bacteria that could otherwise damage your health.
Secondly, be sure to vacuum thoroughly every week to eliminate dust and dirt that might have settled down on the floors, and don’t forget to clean the room with homemade cleaning products. Making your own cleaning products is not only healthier because of the absence of harmful chemicals, but it is also infinitely lighter on the budget.
Your bedroom should be a place of peace, positivity, and serenity, a true oasis and sanctuary amidst the troubles of everyday life. Be sure to implement these essential tips and you will have created your very own oasis the entire family will love.
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Have you or someone you know lost some vision?
Had some loss for some time and want to gain more independence?
Whatever your circumstances, you can shop for groceries on your own independently with very little help. Wouldn't that be awesome?
There are many ways to shop for groceries when you have vision loss, all with varying degrees of monetary costs and help involved:
Local Delivery Service
Many cities and even small towns have a delivery service / taxi service that can make small deliveries. I would only recommend this for the occasional item that you need "now" - such as a missing recipe item.
Another similar service that you may want to know about is UberEats for food delivery from restaurants that don't offer delivery.
Walk or take Public Transit
If you live close to a grocery store, consider walking there, you'll get good exercise, orientation and mobility (O&M) practice, and get familiar with your neighborhood.
The same goes for public transit, take a bus tour of your area and find a grocery store that's convenient on your route. Some advice, the best grocery store on your route may not even be the closest one to your home - pick a store that's easy to stop at and has a return route without many "exchanges" or long wait times.
Grocery Store Fulfillment Service
Some grocery stores have shopping fulfillment services - you call or fill out an online form with your shopping list and can just pick it up at the customer service department. Wal-Mart offers this service in some places and will even put the groceries in your car for you. So use a ride-share service like Uber or Lyft, or your taxi and just have them wait while you go in and claim your order. No long hassle of searching for items on rows and rows of shelves.
If your local grocery store doesn't offer a fulfillment service, you can call ahead and request a personal assistant - an employee that will walk with you and either read you prices and items, or fetch them for you. This also saves time hunting around for items when you can't see things well.
Shop in Bulk
Shop in bulk when you have a ride with a friend or relative. Grab all the big bulk items like toilet paper, paper towels, canned food, pantry items like flour, sugar, coffee, etc. This way you won't have to struggle with getting these heavy or awkward-sized groceries home on your own - whether you're walking, taking the bus, or ride-share.
This way you have -
Use Amazon Fresh
Another new service you may want to check out is Amazon Fresh. A produce and grocery service offered by Amazon.com. They offer an unlimited service for only $14.99 a month and the food is delivered right to your door!
BONUS - Grab some Promotional Codes!
For some extra savings, use these promotional codes when you shop on Amazon:
15% off Peet's Coffee k-cup packs - 15BRAZIL32CT
20% off Gillette Venus Women Razors with Olay - 20VENUS
20% off Gillette Fusion Gel - 20GILLETTE
$30 off Tiger JAX rice cooker - 30TIGEROCT
20% off Global Pet Nutrition soft chews - 20GPN
So, there's many ways to shop when you have vision loss and without losing your sense of independence as well.
What other ways do you do for shopping? Share your experiences!
There are millions of people in the world who live with some degree of sight loss either from birth, or caused by an injury or old age. All of those people want both their indoor and outdoor spaces to be completely safe and secure so that they can be independent in them.
When it comes to outdoor spaces, visually impaired individuals need a space that’s free of clutter, well-lit and well-marked. Designing such a space doesn’t have to be difficult and expensive. It only needs some careful planning and a few useful tips that will allow their inhabitants to live and move more comfortably outside. Here’s how you can do it for your outdoor space.
Use Color as a Guide
Many legally blind people can see up to a certain point, and they can see bright colors and changes in lighting. These can help them as guides through their outdoor space.
The use of bright contrasting colors is especially helpful to partially-sighted people to differentiate between different areas and spaces. For instance, garden paths can be made out of red or orange pavers to provide a good contrast with green lawns.
You can also opt for outdoor furniture in different colors and textures to prevent bumping into it. If you have a green thumb, make sure all of your gardening tools are painted in bright colors that will make locating and identifying them much easier
Good organization and tidiness is the key safety element for people with complete blindness or visual impairments. If everything is nicely organized it’s easier to remember where everything is located.
You must always know where all your sharp gardening tools are, and you can even consider creating a database of your garden inventory. If you love to take care of your plants, you can create neat little labels for them in Braille or use vivid colors to make signs.
This way, each individual plant will get exactly the right care. Also, always know exactly where your fire extinguishers and telephones are when you’re outside.
In order to eliminate as many hazards as possible, make sure that your front yard and your garden are well maintained to avoid any inconvenience. Your outdoor paths should be wide and perfectly flat. As soon as you notice some bumps or broken pavers or bricks, have them removed and replaced. Additionally, try to keep your greenery well maintained, and avoid letting your plants overgrow and cause obstructions in the path or on the stairs. It’s way easier to move around without all these obstacles blocking your way.
Another thing you should consider is removing all cables and watering hoses from pathways. They can be hard to spot if you leave them on the ground, and you can easily trip or slip on them.
Lastly, you can secure the slippery surfaces with non-slip rubber matting and be sure that no matter the weather, the outdoor living space will be hazard-free.
Get Smart with Lighting
Visually impaired people greatly benefit from good lighting, so make sure to incorporate it in your outdoor spaces. If nothing else, at least illuminate your pathway and the entrance.
Also, pay extra attention to your stairs. Make sure to install LED lighted handrails and lights on each step. The best solution for your stairs are linear lights that are easy to install and offer great illumination.
Also, use better lighting near your outdoor furniture to make it easier to spot and avoid it.
The Importance of Handrails
Every set of stairs in your outdoor space should have sturdy handrails. You can even use linear lights and gently illuminate the handrail so you can spot it more easily.
Another great way to ensure outdoor safety is to put up rope handrails along your garden paths or use them to make barriers. Ropes look amazing in any garden, plus they can give you an additional sense of security.
If you implement these safety tips into your outdoor space, you or your visually impaired family members can enjoy it without any worries.
About the Author
Catherine is a passionate home design consultant from Melbourne. She loves making homes beautiful and buildings sustainable, but she also like sharing her advice and knowledge with people. That is why she is also a regular contributor to the Smoothdecorator blog. Besides all this, she loves reading and enjoys a superhero movie from time to time.
The OrCam device is a smart camera that sits on the user’s glasses and reads text aloud to people who are visually impaired or blind.
While the OrCam device is not exactly “glasses for blind person”, it definitely looks that way. The device is so small and discreet, it is barely noticeable. Besides its compact size, there are many amazing OrCam features that make the device unique and accessible.
Easy to Use
OrCam MyEye is an intuitive wearable device with a smart camera that clips onto a regular pair of glasses and is able to 'read' text and convert it into speech relaying the message to the user. The device is activated by a simple intuitive gesture – pointing your finger or pressing a single button. Using OCR - optical character reading - technology, the device can read printed materials on almost any surface such as newspapers, books, computer screens, menus and more.
Many people who are visually impaired or blind have to carry around a heavy magnifying glass to read text. The OrCam MyEye is small and light and simply attaches to the right side of the user’s glasses frame. The camera weighs ¾ of an ounce and has a thin wire, easily hidden behind the ear, which connects to the base unit or “brain” of the device. The base unit is about the size of a cellphone and can easily sit in one’s pocket or on a belt strap.
“You are what you wear.” Wearable technologies have grown tremendously in the past few years. Smart electronic devices that can be worn on the body are practical and discreet. The OrCam is no exception. Although they are not exactly glasses for the blind person, the device sits on the individual’s glasses frame and is so discreet that it can barely be seen by others allowing the user to fit in with the crowd.
Unlike other OCR technologies, the OrCam does not require a scanner connected to a computer or internet connection. All the information stored in the device is private and only accessible to the user.
For people who are visually impaired or blind and have conditions that cannot be corrected by glasses or surgery, the OrCam MyEye can be life-changing.
Who would have thought that this little camera situated on a pair of glasses could help people who are blind or visually impaired regain their independence?