Updated on Friday, September 12th, this is the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) Information Network. This information can be accessed on the MCB Voice Information System at 617-626-7660 and 800-392-6450. You can say “tape” or “telephone tape” into the phone. This message is also available on "Newsline," the accessible newspaper service by pressing number 2, the local Channel, and in the "Massachusetts Commission for the Blind" section of “Newsline”. This update is produced by Wayne Levy.

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) recently announced the start of a new affiliate. Due to the gaps between ACB students and state affiliates, which cause young adults to struggle to find a place in ACB, a new charter is being created. ACB Next Generation, a national special interest affiliate for young adults, will primarily focus on targeting: individuals between the ages of 20-40 (but ACB is not exclusive); students making transitions into adulthood; individuals struggling with vision loss or changes in lifestyle; and social life, family, and relationships of young adults with visual disabilities. To learn more about ACB Next Generation, you may call 617-923-4518.

The ACB Board of Publications is also conducting a comprehensive membership survey to get feedback from readers on a range of topics connected with their two primary national publications, “The ACB Braille Forum”, and “The ACB E-Forum.” You may take the survey online at https://forms.acb.org/bopsurvey, or email your responses to bopchair@acb.org. If you don't have access to a computer, or feel more comfortable filling out the survey by phone, please leave a message in the BSCB mailbox at 617-923-4519 with times when someone can assist you.

Drumlin Farms, located in Lincoln, MA, is announcing their final two Family Farms Days, scheduled for Sunday, September 14th and Monday, September 15th. Family Farm Days offer a fun and engaging way to build community within a setting that welcomes and encourages people of all abilities to participate in a variety of farm and nature activities. You will have the opportunity to discover life on a farm through accessible nature trails, garden and barn chores, and hands-on activities with teacher-naturalists. The September 14th date will offer ASL Interpreters, and the September 15th date will be a Quiet Day, where the farm will be closed to the general public. Pre-registration is required by contacting Erin Pitkin at 781-259-2247 or epitkin@massaudubon.org. Additional information about Family Farm Days can also be obtained by visiting www.massaudubon.org.

The Worcester Talking Book Library recently announced their fall series of free adaptive technology training workshops. The first workshop, Accessing PDF Files, will be held on Saturday, September 27th from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM in the computer lab at the Worcester Talking Book Library, located at 3 Salem Square in Worcester. This session will cover key settings in Adobe Acrobat Reader to render the PDF reading experience easier, navigating “friendly” PDF files with HTML commands, and use of JAWS Convenient OCR function for more problematic PDF files. To register for this workshop, please contact Jim Izatt at jizatt@worcpublib.org or 508-799-1621. Additional information about this, and other upcoming workshops, can be obtained at www.worcpublib.org/talkingbook.

The Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are looking for 10-15 individuals with a disability to participate in a “Principles and Practice of Assistive Technology” design class. If interested, you will have the opportunity to work with MIT engineering students as project clients, to create a piece of assistive technology that could potentially improve your quality of life. Some project examples can be found on the class website at http://courses.csail.mit.edu/PPAT/fall2014/index.html.

Interested parties should be willing to educate students about their life and challenges related to living with a disability, adventurous and willing to try new things, available to meet with students, and live within an hour from Cambridge by public transportation. A series of client-student meetings will start during the week of September 22, 2014 and run until the week of November 24, 2014. To learn more you can email a staff member from the course at ppat@csail.mit.edu, or call Grace Teo at 617-682-6936.

Confidentiality of student information is a concern not to be taken lightly. What can be discussed and with whom? Join the Hadley School for the Blind on Thursday, September 18th at 11:00 AM PM as they work with paraprofessionals and professionals to understand the confidentiality law as and their responsibilities as they present “Empowering Paraprofessionals in the Classroom: Confidentiality for Students with Disabilities”. The presenter for this seminar will be Kim Walker, Hadley instructor, who has worked for many years in public schools and residential settings. Kim has worked with students, staff, and parents to ensure that confidentiality for students with disabilities was protected. Dawn Turco, senior vice president and member of Hadley’s Seminars team, will moderate this 60-minute seminar. Space in this seminar is limited. Please only register if you know you are available to attend so others are not closed out. A question and answer session will be included as part of the seminar, which is an audio presentation. To register, please go to: http://www.hadley.edu/Seminar_register.asp?sid=246. You can learn more about this and other seminars at www.Hadley.edu.

September 16-17, 2014

The Massachusetts Statewide Independent Living Council (MASILC) would like to invite you to attend their annual MASILC Independent Living Conference, titled “Going Back to Basics”. This year’s conference will be held on September 16-17, 2014 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Tower, 181 Boston Post Road, West Marlborough. This conference is free, however space is limited and priority will be given to MASILC members and nominees, Independent Living Center Staff and Board Members. Additional information can be found at www.masilc.org or you may also contact Sadie Simone at 508-620-7452.

September 27, 2014

The Carroll Center for the Blind will be hosting their Annual Yard Sale on Saturday, September 27th, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Some of the items that will be featured this year are hand-held magnifiers, video magnifiers, sunglasses, watches, lamps, daily living aids, and furniture. While you are there, you may also visit the Carroll Store, which will be open for new sales. You can learn more at www.carroll.org.

Thanks for reading this message and it will be updated again on Friday, September 19th.


This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.