Programs & Services
Newsletter - March 2020
In This Issue
- President's Message (Natalie Martiniello, BLC President)
- 2020 BLC Annual General Meeting to be Held Virtually (Natalie Martiniello, BLC President)
- What BLC Can Do For You During COVID-19 (Natalie Martiniello, BLC President)
- Become a Braille Zoomer: Free Monthly Virtual Get-Togethers for Adult Braille Learners, Starting April 4th!
- AIRA available free of charge for college/university students finishing their semester
- ICEB 7th General Assembly Postponed to October 2020
- From Blind Beginnings: Special Virtual Workshop for Youth on March 27, 2020
- Tribute to Braille Literacy Canada (Mary Anne Epp, CBA President (2001))
- New Orbit Devices Launched At CSUN 2020 (Jen Goulden, BLC Past President)
- From CELA: Hardcopy braille and DAISY audio CDs temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions
- Podcasts about Braille (Kim Kilpatrick, BLC Secretary)
- Now available: The HumanWare Buddy App
- Free Braille Books Looking for a New Home!
- Resources in Braille (from the Teaching and Learning Committee's January Teleconference)
- Social Media Updates
By Natalie Martiniello, BLC President
Dear friends of Braille Literacy Canada,
We know that this has been a month of change and adjustment for everyone, as we strive to collectively do our part during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each day, we are confronted with news headlines and updates that we know can feel overwhelming. However, we at BLC have also seen the ever-present, never-faltering kindness, creativity and tenacity of the Canadian braille community: People sharing resources, webinars being created to support students, books being made available to provide support for teachers and students new to online learning, kind messages from members, and the same commitment and compassion we have come to know as a true marker of who we are as a community.
If anyone knows about confronting adversity, problem-solving on the spot, and working collaboratively and creatively to make things happen -- our field, and community, sure does!
We want to thank all of you for the kind words and support we have received since sending our announcement that the 2020 Annual General Meeting will, unsurprisingly, now be held virtually. Please stay tuned for more details on how to join us via Zoom or telephone, and skim through this issue for important updates and resources, upcoming virtual events, and more information on what BLC could do for you during this time.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers, our donors, our members, and my fellow BLC board colleagues for all of their continual commitment and dedication. A very special thank you to Accessible Media Inc for offering to sponsor a wine and cheese for our 30th anniversary reception: Though this reception will no longer be taking place, we recognize their continual support of not only our organization, but to inclusion and accessibility as a whole through all that they do.
BLC is now using the hashtag #SixDotsStrong on our Facebook and Twitter pages, to share helpful braille related resources to support parents, teachers and students during this period. If you have resources you'd like us to share, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This morning, I woke up with the poem called "Hope" by Emily Dickinson running through my mind. As we walk through the days and weeks ahead -- may you all be surrounded by friendship (from a physical distance, of course!), good health, safety, kindness and hope. Here's to being #SixDotsStrong
"Hope" is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I've heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
President, Braille Literacy Canada
2020 BLC Annual General Meeting to be Held Virtually
By Natalie Martiniello, BLC President
Dear BLC members, supporters, and friends of the Canadian braille community,
Over the past few weeks, we have been closely monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. The circumstances and recommendations of health professionals have changed quickly over the past week, and it has been difficult to predict what the ultimate timelines will look like.
We want to first send a message of friendship, support and solidarity to all of you. On behalf of the entire board of Braille Literacy Canada, we want you to know that you are in our thoughts. We know that this may be a difficult and stressful time for many of you, and that it is important to adjust our routines and follow the guidelines from health professionals and the government in order to ensure the safety of everyone.
Given the importance of social distancing and the continued travel restrictions, the board of Braille Literacy Canada has decided that it will not be possible to hold the upcoming 2020 Annual General Meeting and 30th Anniversary Reception and that the in-person meeting scheduled to be held on May 8th in Toronto will be cancelled.
The AGM will instead take place, entirely via Zoom, at 11:30am Eastern time on Saturday, May 9th. In the coming weeks, we will provide the usual AGM information to our members as well as information about how to join us virtually through Zoom. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to write to us at email@example.com
Of course, we all value and look forward to seeing many of our friends each year, but our first priority is to ensure the safety of everyone. We are fortunate that we have the capability to hold the AGM through an entirely virtual platform. This year, we will gather together virtually, and look forward to in-person gatherings in future years.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our continued supporters (including AMI, which had been planning to sponsor the 30th Anniversary Reception, and whose support we greatly appreciate), donors, members, and volunteers who continue to make BLC what it is.
We will be in touch soon, and we always enjoy hearing from all of you. We send you our warmest wishes, and thank you for your understanding.
President, Braille Literacy Canada
What BLC Can Do For You During COVID-19
By Natalie Martiniello, BLC President
Dear parents, teachers, braille users, and friends,
Over the past few weeks, we have all, like you, been impacted by the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation. Staying at home and practising self-isolation will continue to be critical for overcoming this global pandemic. Many children are home as schools suspend their operations. Many people are working from home, while others may be feeling anxious if they are among those whose work has been impacted.
For some people with disabilities, this global pandemic may be presenting even more challenges. Some may have lost the social activities they once relied on, or may be experiencing the effect of temporarily suspended supports and services. For those who can't drive, accessing essential services may be posing even more challenges.
We at BLC recognize that these are unusual and stressful times for many. On behalf of the entire board, I want you to know that we have been thinking about what we can do to help.
First, if you have a friend, colleague or family member with a disability (or without!), reach out (by phone or text). Ask if they need any help ordering groceries online. Check in with the people around you with a friendly social phone call.
Here is what BLC will be doing to help:
- Braille Zoomers Group: You may have seen our announcement in January that we will be launching a virtual group for adults who are learning braille. In light of the current situation, we have decided to start these meetings sooner than planned. They will take place on the first Saturday of each month at 1 PM Eastern, beginning on April 4th. If you are an adult braille learner, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (or call 1-877-861-4576) to join our group. We will be sending the Zoom link and call in details for the first meeting in the coming days. We invite any adult braille learner regardless of where you are in your braille journey. Come join us for this social get-together through Zoom, and meet other adult braille learners just like you!
- Resources: We are compiling a list of resources that may be especially helpful to the Canadian braille community - online shopping apps and resources, distance learning and online homework assistance, methods for accessing alternative reading materials to maintain student skills, social get-togethers through telephone or online platforms, resources for learning how to use Zoom, and much more. If you have specific resources that you think would be helpful, please write to us at email@example.com and we will add it to the list. We will circulate this list in the coming days both by email and on our Facebook page, and will update it as more resources become available.
- Parent support: For parents with blind and low vision students, we want to do our part to support you while your students are not at school. Though we are not all teachers, we still can play a role in supporting you in a variety of ways. We will be circulating an announcement directed specifically to parents, inviting them to write to us with any questions they may have about the braille code, how their child's assistive technology works, and ideas for maintaining braille and braille technology-related skills during this time. If you are a parent of a braille using child with a specific question or if you are looking for a resource, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org (or call 1-877-861-4576).
- Special teleconference: We are organizing a special teleconference to take place in early April (date TBD) specifically directed to parents (though all are welcome). We will use this opportunity to share resources that support home learning and ideas for home-based braille activities. We will also answer any questions you may have about braille and braille-related technology. If you are a parent (or student) with questions, please join us. Registration will be free of charge for members and non-members alike for this special online workshop.
- Facebook page: Keep an eye on our Facebook page. Whenever we come across a resource that we feel might be helpful, we will share it there, with the hashtag #SixDotsStrong
We hope that these measures provide some added support during this time. Please let us know if you have any questions, and stay tuned for all of the above in the coming days and weeks!
With friendship and solidarity,
Natalie Martiniello and your entire Braille Literacy Canada board
Become a Braille Zoomer: Free Monthly Virtual Get-Togethers for Adult Braille Learners, Starting April 4th!
Braille Literacy Canada is launching the Braille Zoomers group - a monthly virtual get-together for adult and older adult braille learners. Whether you are in the process of learning braille now or you learned it as an adult at some time in the past, come join us!
Each virtual get-together will be an informal opportunity to share resources, support and ideas for adult braille learners. While there will be a general theme each month, members will determine the direction of the discussion so that we can best support your braille learning journey. If you have specific braille learning or braille usage questions you'd like us to address, you can write to us at email@example.com.
Our first virtual gathering will take place on Saturday, April 4th at 1 PM Eastern (10am Pacific, 11am Mountain/Saskatchewan, 12pm Central, 2pm Atlantic).
To participate, write to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, April 1st and we will add you to the list. The details on how to join will be sent to you after you register.
We hope to have you there - let's get the virtual braille fun started!
AIRA available free of charge for college/university students finishing their semester
Note from BLC: Though not specifically about braille, AIRA can increase accessibility for students with visual impairments who are working from home, and can compliment other tools and techniques.
We know that many universities and colleges are rapidly shifting to distance learning.
We've heard that some materials and software being used are inaccessible so we will be offering free Aira for any college student for the remainder of the spring semester ending in May 2020.
If you know of a student who could benefit from Aira for their distance learning, please email email@example.com for more information on the program.
ICEB 7th General Assembly Postponed to October 2020
The ICEB 7th General Assembly has been postponed and is now planned for the week of 19 to 23 October 2020 at the Academy London, Google's dedicated learning space. This decision was made due to public health concerns with the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus and in response to international guest restrictions in place until the end of May.
The General Assembly serves as a time to get together and celebrate the importance of braille, as well as a formal setting for organisational operations. All business planned for the General Assembly will be delayed until October, including the appointment of a new Executive Committee for the next four year term. In the event that continued travel restrictions prevent the General Assembly from being held face-to-face in London in October, a virtual conference will instead be held at the same time.
Updated details will be made available at the General Assembly web page at www.ukaaf.org/iceb-7th-general-assembly-2020/. All existing registrations will be refunded and registrations for the new postponed event will need to be made. The Assembly will be live streamed for those unable to attend in person.
Thank you for your understanding and continued support. We very much hope that you can join us in October. Thanks also to UKAAF (UK Association for Accessible Formats) and RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) for hosting the event and to Google for the use of the Academy London.
From Blind Beginnings: Special Virtual Workshop for Youth on March 27, 2020
Editor's Note: The deadline to register for this event is today (March 26).
Youth aged 13 - 19 from across BC are invited to this month's Online Creating Confidence Youth Workshop, where we will be talking about strategies for surviving social distancing!
With schools being closed indefinitely, and all of us being told to stay home, the days are feeling long. What can we do to stay connected with our friends and family? How do we have fun at home? What are we really missing? How can we support each other through this difficult time?
Youth are invited to join the conversation this Friday as we make a plan for surviving this together!
When: Friday March 27, 2020
Time: 7:00-8:30pm (Pacific)
Where: Join us from your home using Zoom Conferencing. How this works for youth joining from smartphones or computers: The group will meet in a private online meeting room. When you RSVP to say that you plan to attend online, you will be sent instructions to join the Zoom meeting. You can use Zoom with your computer, or smart phone, and once connected you will be able to communicate with all the other youth participants.
Why: Because being the only youth who is blind or partially sighted in your family, school, and community can feel isolating, and Blind Beginnings is a place where you can connect with others who understand.
To register: If you would like to participate in this Creating Confidence Workshop, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Thursday March 26.
- Youth's name, age, email address, or phone number
- If youth don't have their own email address, please include parent's email address so we can send reminders of the meeting and the link to join the meetings online.
Tribute to Braille Literacy Canada
By Mary Anne Epp, CBA President (2001)
You might think it odd that I would begin my tribute to Braille Literacy Canada with a baseball story. I'll never forget two Toronto Blue Jays games that I watched with Betty Nobel surrounding our annual CBA meeting in Toronto around two decades ago. We attended one of the games at the stadium and watched the other on TV. Betty and I, both avid baseball fans, enjoyed the games together. At the stadium, we watched one of the longest MLB games ever played, and still got up early the next morning to participate (I hope actively) in our CBA meeting. Betty continues to exemplify the best of BLC by being a special, energetic promoter of braille. Betty Nobel, Darleen Bogart, Fred Poon, Edie Mourre, Pierre Ferland and so many others introduced me to the wonders of braille and inspired me to advocate for braille throughout my professional life and beyond into retirement.
My most cherished moments included serving as Director and President of CBA and also hosting the CBA website, co-editing the newsletter, and assisting with the writing of financial proposals. When I reviewed the old newsletters online, I was once again in awe of the diversity of braille users, their expertise and their personal stories. Organizations are only as strong as the partnerships they build. Partners such as CNIB, APSEA, W Ross Macdonald School, BC Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired, BC College and Institute Library Services at Langara College (serving BC) and other educational resource centres were vital to the promotion of braille.
Reviewing the ongoing progress of Braille Literacy Canada, I was so proud to see how much this organization has meant to so many people through its advocacy, research, development of standards and promotion of new braille systems and technology.
Yes, "equal access to information for those who want or need braille" is still the north star for all of us who understand the value of braille access to many people in Canada.
I smiled to remember the animated debates that were generated by the international initiatives of the Unified English Braille. To see the implementation and education surrounding the UEB is truly wonderful.
I want to acknowledge the value of the BLC website to help me and many others follow the progress BLC is making. The communications from BLC even in our retirement years help us to continue to contribute to the crucial work of BLC.
I wish the very best for the future of Braille Literacy Canada, the dedicated directors and executive and its progressive initiatives.
Mary Anne Epp
President CBA, 2001
New Orbit Devices Launched At CSUN 2020
By Jen Goulden, BLC Past President
The initial plan was for this article to be a write-up on braille at CSUN. I know this is becoming a familiar tale, but three days before my flight took off I had to cancel it because of travel concerns related to COVID-19. Nonetheless, there were a number of exciting product launches at the conference. The content below was taken from a message sent to an Orbit Research user list.
Orbit Reader 40 - Braille Display, Book Reader and Note-taker
Accessories include an SD Card, Charger and a USB cable. The cost to pre-Order is $1399.00. The following list outlines the features of this new device.
- Unique signage-quality braille
- Book-reader mode - read your favorite books and files from SD Card or USB Flash Drive
- Notetaker mode - take notes and edit files
- Braille display mode connects to 5 computers and mobile devices over USB and Bluetooth
- Works with all popular screen readers on Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Fire OS, Chrome OS and Linux
- Control your smartphone or computer
- Onboard forward and backward translation with support for 40+ languages
- Clock, alarm, Calendar and Calculator
- Cursor Routing buttons
- Audio and Haptic output
- Switch easily and instantly between modes
- Full featured, high-quality Perkins-style 8-key Braille keyboard
- Cursor pad with 4-way arrows and select keys for easy navigation
- Panning control rocker keys at each end of display
- USB C port for charging and connectivity
- Fast-charging long-life battery
- Compact, lightweight and portable
- Solid, durable construction, resistant to fluids and dust
- 40 eight-dot refreshable braille cells
- 1 LB 10 OZ., 11.6 x 3.8 x 1.3 inch
- 750 grams, 29.5 x 9.6 x 3.3 cm
Orbit Reader 20 Plus
This device has all of the apps and features of the Orbit Reader 40, but rather than a USB C port it has a micro-USB port for charging and connectivity. The cost to pre-order is $699.00.
- 20 eight-dot refreshable Braille cells
- 15.36 OZ., 6.6 x 4.3 x 1.25 inch
- 435 grams, 16.8 x 10.9 x 3.2 cm
Orbit Writer - The Perfect Companion for your Smartphone
This compact, Perkins-style keyboard works with all Smartphones and computers out of the box. It offers simultaneous connection to 5 devices over Bluetooth and one over USB. The cost to pre-order is $99.00.
For more information on these and other Orbit Research products go to https://www.orbitresearch.com/products/.
To learn more about other displays that were launched at CSUN 2020 you can check out the following article: https://www.perkinselearning.org/technology/posts/new-braille-displays-csun.
From CELA: Hardcopy braille and DAISY audio CDs temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions
CELA has advised that in light of COVID-19 and increasing restrictions across the country, the production of physical materials, including audio CDs and physical braille, has been suspended until further notice.
Patrons who receive materials on CD or embossed braille will stop receiving these physical materials until CELA is able to begin production again. Patrons can continue to place holds for physical materials and those holds will be fulfilled when CELA is able to return to full production.
For more information and for the latest updates from CELA regarding this situation, please refer to the COVID-19 information page: https://celalibrary.ca/covid-19
As always, if you need assistance, you may also call the CELA Contact Centre at 1-855-655-2273, Monday to Friday, 7:30 am to 7:30 pm Eastern time.
Podcasts about Braille
By Kim Kilpatrick, BLC Secretary
I am a podcast addict. I subscribe to way too many of them, but some of my favourites are about braille. In these difficult times when we are inside more than we might otherwise be, I thought I would share some of these with you:
- BrailleCast comes from the UK and is hosted by Dave Williams. This is a very entertaining podcast talking about all things braille from a UK angle.
- Blind Bargains Audio is not exclusively about Braille, but they do feature Braille products and interview people from the access technology conferences about new braille technologies. Their company is called "AT guys."
- Because Braille was produced by CNIB last fall and leading up to World Braille Day 2020 with several interviews featuring Canadians who love Braille and culminating in interviews and readings by the Braille writing contest winners.
- David Woodbridge from Australia has a very interesting podcast called Isee, using various technologies from a blind person's perspective and has reviewed several braille devices.
- The Tech Doctor Blog and Podcast is hosted by Robert Carter from the US. They always have episodes about the latest Apple products, but he hosted several episodes in the spring of 2019 about various low-cost braille displays.
If others have podcasts you love that relate to braille, I would love to hear about them.
Now available: The HumanWare Buddy App
HumanWare has announced the release of the HumanWare Buddy App on the iOS "App Store", a new app to help you find your way around HumanWare's products.
Designed to assist teachers, students and professionals, the HumanWare Buddy App includes comprehensive training and resource materials that can often be difficult to locate in one simple portal, including "how-to" and video guides.
This may be particularly helpful for students and parents who are now isolated at home and may not have access to assistance using their braille and other assistive technology!
To find the app, search for "HW Buddy" in the App Store or visit this link: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/hw-buddy/id1503313942?ls=1
Free Braille Books Looking for a New Home!
In the summer of 2019, BLC received requests to find new homes for a wide variety of braille books. We now have several books that are free for the asking. Some were donated because their owners no longer needed or wanted them and others have been donated by provincial resource centres updating their materials to UEB. Unless otherwise specified, all of the books in the list below are in contracted pre-UEB braille.
If you would like to adopt any of these books please send an email to email@example.com.
From RNIB in the UK
- Peter James Dead like You
- Peter James Dead Man's Footsteps
- Peter James Not Dead Yet
- Peter James Dead Man's Time
- Peter James Dead Simple
- Peter James Looking Good Dead
- Peter James Not Dead Enough
- Peter James Dead Tomorrow
- Peter James Dead Man's Grip
Carolyn Keene -- Nancy Drew
- Mystery At Moorsea Manor 150
- Whispers in the Fog 153
- Mystery By Moonlight 167
- Music Festival Mystery 157
- Mystery on Maui 143
- Mystery in Tornado Alley 155
- The mystery of the Mother Wolf 164
- The Wild Cat Crime 141
- The Missing Horse Mystery 145
- The Mistletoe Mystery 169
- The Secret of Candlelight Inn 139
- The Bike Tour Mystery 168
- The Secret of the Fiery Chamber 159
- The Secret in the Stars 166
- The Family Under The Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
- Earwitness: A Jessica March Mystery by Mary Ann Scott
- Horrible Harry and the Christmas Surprise by Suzy Kline
- The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter by Allan Zola Kronzek
Resources in Braille (from the Teaching and Learning Committee's January Teleconference)
- DOTS: adhesive backed tactiles - pre-cut assortment from Braille SuperStore or CNIB shop. Homemade solution - dollar store foam squares can be hole punched, hardware stores cupboard door bumpers. Pre-cut paper reinforcers, circles, with cut-out inner circle
- PUFFY PAINT: available at dollar stores or Michael's Craft, and CNIB shop has a liquid called High Marks. When using puffy paint or High Marks be sure to let the liquid dry completely; to secure a higher dot apply subsequent layers and let dry between layers. You can use this type of paint to label many things including:
- Wall growth chart,
- TV remote, thermostat
- Stove dials, micro wave
- Washing machine dial
- Braille labeller: Braille SuperStore, CNIB shop - don't forget to add adhesive Dymo tape. Another option is using a one line slate. Another device is called the 6 dot brailler, expensive, but works well
- Braille Label - clear, adhesive back sheets - braille your books - available at some dollar stores, but for high quality packages - http://www.americanthermoform.com.
- Magnetic Tape: good option for labeling tin cans. Cut to size and affix braille label on tape.
- Can Do labels: several sizes that will fit cans, small spice jars, wine bottles. These are commercially made and reuseable: https://candoable.co/ also distributed through National Braille Press.
- Liquid Level indicator - various distributers: Braille SuperStore, CNIB shop, MaxiAids
- Measuring Spoons and Cups / cutting boards / dishes : 2 sets of contrasting - CNIB shop - puffy paint works well on handle There are also measuring cups and spoons with braille on them available from FutureAids (also known as the Braille SuperStore or Braille BookStore).
- Measuring tapes both flexible and rigid - meter length - CNIB, MaxiAids, APH
- Clothing labels - tags for sorting socks, colours etc, CNIB shop and Blind Mice Mega Mall https://www.blindmicemegamall.com/bmm/shop/Item_Detail?itemid=2662453
- Clothing orientation - for children small button on back of neck for finding where to hang coat
- Lunch kit idea: avoid double zippers.
- Name labels - regular address stickers, braille on name for single use - Staples or stationary store
- Purchase coin envelopes from Staples (you can braille on each envelope the name of a card in your wallet EG gift cards, credit cards, bank cards, health cards,) to help keep your cards organized.
- Talking scales (kitchen and bathroom) - CNIB shop, Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond, BestBuy and Braille SuperStore.
- Greeting Cards, and calendars - special occasions - www.nbp.org and Tactile Vision Graphics. Or make your own, card stock (cheaper than braille paper) is available through Staples, comes in a variety of colour
- Calendars - Tactile Vision Graphics, National Braille Press,
- Braille jewelry - http://www.nbp.org, Braille SuperStore,
- Braille watch - Braille SuperStore, CNIB, Independent Living: https://www.independentliving.com/, Blind Mice mega mall - https://www.blindmicemegamall.com/bmm/shop/Home, MaxiAids.
- Braille shampoo and conditioners (every bottle in this store's products are brailled. If the bottles are not brailled, there is braille on the boxes) https://www.loccitane.com/en-ca/. As well, Herbal Essence has tactile markings (lines or dots) on some of their containers for hair products
- Audible balls - CNIB shop, BrailleBook Store, or Flaghouse Canada. Flaghouse has a lot of sports equipment, high contrast and adapted
- Frisbee - Braille SuperStore
- Chess Set / checkers Classic / Othello / Connect Four / Tic-tac-toe: Pieces Fit Snugly into Board: other games include Backgammon, Monopoly and Scrabble (commercial produced and adapted) all available at Braille SuperStore
- Uno, Dominoes, Skip Bo, Bingo Cards: Braille SuperStore, CNIB Shop
- Tactile dominoes: homemade use different textures to do matching. Commercially made from https://specialneedstoys.com/can/texture-dominoes.html, also, Exceptionalteaching.com
- Braille Blocks: Uncle goose braille blocks: alphabet and math - https://exceptionalteaching.com/
- Playing cards and Dice: purchase at CNIB shop, Braille SuperStore
- Homemade braille on regular cards, directions for braille cards are found here https://www.pathstoliteracy.org/strategies/how-braille-playing-cards),
- Homemade dice - use Dollar Store dice, jumbo ones or regular, add puffy paint to divets
- Card Shuffler and Card holders - Braille Superstore and CNIB shop for card holders, card shufflers and holders are also available from Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond
- Candyland - puffy paint on board, raised foam stickers for special squares and cards. Braille on cards https://www.pathstoliteracy.org/strategies/adapting-candy-land-players-who-are-blind-or-deafblind
- Braille Sudoku - https://exceptionalteaching.com
- Rummikub Game - available through Independent Living and Enable Mart
- Colouring Books - Tactile Vision Graphic: braille / print books a variety of colouring books including Disney.
- 3d Feel and Find - Exceptional Teaching
- Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles - sound puzzles, dye cut that fit into separate spaces
- Rubiks Cube - tactile - MaxiAids
- Braille SuperStore, a variety of puzzles with braille included.
Games on iphone or computer: BlindFold Games App has many auditory based games. Read a review of this app: https://www.perkinselearning.org/technology/posts/want-more-educational-apps-are-accessible-blindfold-games
- Also search for word finder if like to play word scramble games.
- Braille knitting patterns: Braille Book Stop https://www.blindmicemegamall.com/bmm/shop/Directory_Sub_Departments?storeid=1109&department=KNITTING+BOOKS-BRAILLE
Resources to have at home for homework
- Tactile Draftsman Drawing Kit with ruler - APH, uses special paper: good for mapping, or learning print letter shapes https://www.perkinselearning.org/accessible-science/products/draftsman-tactile-drawing-board-and-film
- Tactile Kit that uses regular paper from Braille SuperStore http://www.braillebookstore.com/Raised--Line-Drawing-Board.1
- Wikki Stix - Walmart Canada, Michaels Craft Stores and teaching supply stores.
- Magnetic letters - Braille SuperStore, www.nbp.org, or make your own: https://www.pathstoliteracy.org/strategies/making-braille-magnets-beginning-readers
- Braille Calipers - metric measurement - https://tactilevisiongraphics.com/shop/
- Math Window - https://mathwindow.com/product-category/math-challenged/
- Raised lined graph paper - Maxiaids.com www.aph.org, Braille SuperStore
- Raised lined paper - CNIB shop has 50 sheet pads or Hilroy Pre-school writing pads
- Signature guides - CNIB shop; metal ones are better than cardboard or make your own with an old credit card, cut out the center.
Miscellaneous resources for TVIs
- Velcro info - adhesive Velcro circles -black hook and black loop 3/4" circles from this company - http://www.hookloop.ca/catalog/
- Refillable, BIG whiteboard markers ARTLINE comes in a box of 6 - By Jiffco http://jiffco.net/
- Calendar sets, various sizes - Individual student https://www.aph.org/product/individual-calendar-kit/
- FRACTION STAX: https://homeschool-canada-shop.myshopify.com/products/fraction-stax-set-manipulative-grade-2-6
- Hundreds Board Pieces - circle, square, triangle, stars - with velco, great for games, counters, www.aph.org
- Swell paper - http://www.americanthermoform.com
- A great resource for adapted curriculum materials is found on Paths to Literacy https://www.perkinselearning.org/accessible-science/products?page=1
Braille Book Resources
- CELA (http://www.celalibrary.ca): electronic and braille paper books, newspapers, magazines, print/braille, braille on demand files.
- NNELS (https://nnels.ca/): Limited electronic braille and braille upon request. They have a distributed braille collection which sources braille books available at different libraries. This is paper braille. You can read Word files on the computer. Those are mostly bookshare files. You can read epub files in VoiceDream reader. To help you get started they have several tutorials at https://nnels.ca/help. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
- National Braille Press (NBP) (http://www.nbp.org): They have books for purchase, mainly print/braille books and books for adults such as technology information, health information, cookbooks, etc.
- Braille Bookstore (http://www.braillebookstore.com/): They have about 2000 books for K-12 readers. They probably have the broadest selection of braille resources in Canada from books to toys and household items and braille reading and writing supplies.
- Seedlings (http://www.seedlings.org): Seedlings has a great collection of print/braille books. Also offer a free children's book programme
- Tactile Vision (https://tactilevisiongraphics.com/shop/): Tactile Vision has some great children's books and stickers with excellent tactiles. They also have maps.
- If you are using an iDevice, you can download books from Book Share https://www.bookshare.org/cms/ directly into voice dream reader. You can read braille books with an electronic display in voicedream reader app. You can also easily download and read braille books from the native books app on IOS or through the kindle app on IOS as well. There are free public domain books that you can try before buying books from these apps.
- SENSEsational Alphabet book - braille, sign, tactile - https://exceptionalteaching.com/
- DK Braille books - Indigo-Chapters. Braille-print books series. It Can't Be True
- Cook Books - Braille Superstore or Blind Mice Mega Mall
- Oakmont Visual Aids Workshop - a large series of tactile books, on concepts, sturdy well made [www.teachersaidsforblindchildren.org]
- Free Books for children refer to the Paths To Literacy list - [https://www.pathstoliteracy.org/resources/sources-free-braille-books]
- Special Collection - [http://www.brailleinstitute.org]
Books for learning braille
- Celebrating Braille - CNIB shop
- Swing Cell - wooden frame with base, or make your own with egg carton, or use a 6 muffin with tennis balls
Computer and phone / ipad
- How to write Alt text - https://brailleworks.com/how-to-write-amazing-alt-text/
- Keyboards: high contrast keyboard - Walmart Canada. Good makes are Keys U See or EZSee or Canadian Assistive Technology distributes Zoomtext Large Print keyboard
- Tactile overlay for screen on phones and ipad - https://www.atguys.com
- Keyboard shortcuts books - National Braille Press
Website information for Resources
- Braille Super Store: Future Aids - http://www.braillebookstore.com
- CNIB shop - https://shop.cnib.ca/
- Tactile Vision Graphics - https://tactilevisiongraphics.com/shop/
- Michaels - https://canada.michaels.com/
- Jiffco - http://jiffco.net/
- Hookloop - http://www.hookloop.ca/catalog/
- Chapters Indigo - https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/dk-braille-it-cant-be/9781465444066-item.html
- Seedling Braille Books for Children - http://www.seedlings.org
- National Braille Press - http://www.nbp.org
- Braille Institute - http://www.brailleinstitute.org
- Oakmont Visual Aids Workshop - http://www.teachersaidsforblindchildren.org
- American Printing House for the Blind - http://www.aph.org
- Exceptional Teaching, Inc - http://www.exceptionalteaching.com
- MAXI AIDS - https://www.maxiaids.com
- Flaghouse - https://www.flaghouse.ca/
- American Thermoform Corporation - http://www.americanthermoform.com
- Canadian Assistive Technology - https://canasstech.com
- Independent Living - https://www.independentliving.com/
- Can Do Able - https://candoable.co/
- Home School Canada - https://homeschool-canada-shop.myshopify.com/products/fraction-stax-set-manipulative-grade-2-6
- Paths to Literacy - https://www.pathstoliteracy.org/
- Enable Mart - https://www.enablemart.com/rummikub-original-with-braille
- L'Occitane en Provence https://www.loccitane.com/en-ca/
Social Media Updates
This edition includes many resources that you may find helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, BLC will be sharing braille resources to facilitate at home braille learning and usage with the hashtag #SixDotsStrong - If you have resources you'd like us to share, email email@example.com. As always, you can follow BLC on twitter and like BLC on Facebook for more social media posts. Enjoy!
- The role of braille literacy in the digital age: https://www.perkins.org/stories/the-role-of-braille-literacy-in-the-digital-age
- Teaching braille to students who already have a print literacy foundation: https://www.pathstoliteracy.org/teaching-braille-students-who-already-have-print-literacy-foundation
- First braille marriage certificate: https://www.jacarandafm.com/news/news/home-affairs-issues-first-braille-marriage-certificate/
- Students receive braille kits: https://www.kbc.co.ke/over-60-special-needs-learners-receive-braille-kits/
- ICEB General Assembly now to be held in October: https://www.ukaaf.org/iceb-7th-general-assembly-2020/
- Accessible COVID-19 information: braille and tactile graphics available for download: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1L3Gvw4uuAoZWTv5i2iIT1f2HRYW6boMF?fbclid=IwAR15kelrP_9ixwIDirEMaSCDglfarIhUCQ8Aaj9ticzot48irJVz5ELA9dE
- Virtual expanded core learning: APH, Paths to Literacy, and CalState are teaming up to offer free web-based presentations on a variety of topics for students with visual impairments during the COVID-19 period: https://www.pathstoliteracy.org/resources/virtual-learning-academy
- CNIB now accepting submissions for their 2020 braille creative writing contest: https://www.inca.ca/en/event/2020-braille-creative-writing-contest
- COVID-19 resources from the World Blind Union: http://www.worldblindunion.org/English/resources/Pages/default.aspx
- Freedom Scientific offering temporary free access to Jaws, ZoomText and Fusion due to COVID-19: https://portal.freedomscientific.com/SponsoredSoftware
- Word Melodies now available on iOS: Emerging reader app for students with visual impairments: https://www.perkinselearning.org/technology/blog/word-melodies-emerging-reading-and-writing-app
- Robert Munsch reads many of his books aloud; great to use alongside at-home braille reading! https://robertmunsch.com/books
- Expanded virtual offerings from CNIB during COVID-19: http://cnib.ca/en/event