Updated on Friday, April 24th, this is the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) Information Network. This information can be accessed on the MCB Voice Information System by calling 617-626-7660. You may also call 800-392-6450 and say either “tape” or “telephone tape” into the speech recognition menu. Lastly, this weekly update 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 Jillian DiBenedetto.

The Carroll Center for the Blind is hosting a presentation and discussion on non-24 hour sleep disorder. The discussion will be held on Thursday, April 30th at 5:00 PM in the Carroll Center Technology Auditorium at 770 Centre Street in Newton. Dr. Ahmad N. Ali, who serves as a senior medical liaison at Vanda Pharmaceuticals will present on the disorder. Non-24 hour is a sleep disorder that is common in individuals dealing with blindness and most common in those that are totally blind. It is a circadian rhythm disorder affecting the majority of people with no light perception. It is characterized by the inability to synchronize the circadian clock, leading to disruption of the regular sleep-wake cycle. The drive for sleep in someone with Non-24 is no longer synchronized with the typical 24 hour day, often resulting in cycles of difficulty sleeping at night, and a strong desire for sleep during the day. To RSVP, please contact Janet Pecorari at janet.pecorari@carroll.org or 617-969-6200, extension 215. You can also learn more at www.carroll.org.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) wants to hear from you about how they can improve services to families, women, children, and youth, including children and youth with special health needs. As a result, DPH will be hosting two Maternal and Child Health Town Hall Meetings. The first one will be held on Friday, May 1st at the Moakley Center Auditorium at Bridgewater State University, 100 Burill Avenue in Bridgewater from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. The second meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 5th at the Kittredge Center at Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Avenue in Holyoke, from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. DPH is looking to hear from families, community partners, health care providers, educators, students and anyone interested in the health of women, children, adolescents and families in Massachusetts. Please contact Katie Stetler at katie.stetler@state.ma.us or 617-624-5992 if you require an accommodation.

Netflix, the popular internet television network, recently announced that they are adding audio description to its platform as a setting. This is huge news for those individuals with vision loss. Previously, individuals who are blind had to have someone read what was happening on the screen. This would allow viewers to miss facial expressions, changes in settings and just about everything that’s not captured in the dialogue. Today, viewers who are blind can enjoy a complete picture of what’s happening on the screen. This historic Netflix announcement about the addition of video description to many of its hit shows is a major step forward for TV viewers with vision loss. All major networks and some cable channels are required to provide approximately four hours of video described programming each week. You can learn more about this requirement at www.afb.org/tv.

The Worcester Public Library recently announced their spring 2015 series of free adaptive technology training workshops. There are three workshops scheduled for Saturday mornings from 9:45 AM to 11:45 AM in the computer lab at the Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Square in Worcester: On Saturday, May 9th, the first workshop will be on “Using JAWS in the Windows Environment”. This session will cover the main elements on the Windows entry screen, including differences between Windows 7 and 8.1. Desktop shortcut creation, file and folder management, backing up your files to external drives, and different folder views will also be discussed. On Saturday, June 6th, the second workshop will be on “Microsoft Word Basics”. This session will cover navigating ribbon menus, the most important commands for reading existing Word documents, creating new ones, and saving them to your hard drive. On Saturday, June 13th, the topic will be decided by consensus of participants. To register or learn more about any of the workshops, please contact Jim Izatt at 508-799-1621 or call the Worcester Talking Book Library at 800-762-0085. You can also visit www.worcpublib.org/talkingbook.

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) is soliciting your assistance. Many of you have purchased Tupperware for use in your homes for many years. You might have purchased it when a friend hosted a Tupperware party in their home or you might have hosted a party of your own. Did you know that Tupperware now offers a way for nonprofits to earn money to support their good work? ACB, through member Brian Charlson and his Tupperware lady, Maureen Foley, is conducting an online Tupperware party and you can attend! From now until the end of June, you can go online and order from a select list of Tupperware items and 40% of your purchase price will go to the ACB. Your order will be sent directly to your home address and ACB will receive a generous donation to underwrite the many programs and services we provide our members. Please visit http://acb.org/acb-tupperware to learn how you can get a great product and support ACB. If you have any questions, you may also contact Brian Charlson at brian.charlson@carroll.org.

Are you new to social media? Maybe you are just new to Twitter? If so, the Hadley School for the Blind is inviting you to participate in a seminar, titled “Twitter for Low Vision Users”. This seminar is intended for individuals with low vision, who are beginning Twitter users, or those interested in joining Twitter and who utilize a screen magnifier. The discussion will focus on the basics of creating an account and basics of tweeting. What about those hashtags? Participants will learn the basics for doing all of these tasks with a screen reader. Join Seminars@Hadley on Wednesday, April 29th, at 2:00 PM, as Hadley instructor Ian Shadrick, M.A., CVRT, CRC, vision rehabilitation counselor and access technology specialist, as he shares his insights of using Twitter effectively as a person with low vision. Doug Anzlovar, dean of educational programs and instruction will moderate this 60-minute seminar and a question and answer session will be included as a part of the seminar, which is an audio presentation. Space is limited, so please register only if you know you will attend. To register, please go to http://hadley.edu/SeminarDetails.asp?sid=272. You can learn more about this and other seminars at www.Hadley.edu.

The Carroll Center for the Blind Technology Department will be offering a series of free adaptive technology training demonstrations, to be held on Saturdays and taught by David Kingsbury, the Carroll Center’s assistive technology trainer. These face to face workshops will take place from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM in the first floor meeting room at the Carroll Center’s Rachel Rosenbaum Technology Center at 770 Centre Street in Newton. Participants should already possess beginner or intermediate JAWS skills. These are demonstration sessions, not hands-on use of technology. You may attend one or more of the sessions. The first session is scheduled for Saturday May 2nd and will focus on “Using Jaws with Internet Explorer”. This session will cover the most important keystrokes for navigating web pages, filling out forms, and navigating tables. Strategies and techniques for understanding unfamiliar web sites will be discussed. Jaws customization tools for enhancing the reading experience will also be examined. To register for the first workshop, please send an email to david.kingsbury@carroll.org. These first 3 workshops will be free-of-charge. Future workshops will be offered for a nominal fee. If you have any questions, you can call David at 781-974-2001 or visit www.carroll.org. Space is limited.

The Discovery Museum in Acton would like to extend an invitation to “Especially for Me”, an event for kids with visual impairments and their families, scheduled for Saturday, May 16th, from 5:00 to 8:30 PM. Come join in all the fun and explore both museums during this special free admission evening for families with children with a visual impairment. Visitors of all ages may also drop in for a special workshop from the Luminarium Dance Company from 6:00 to7:30 PM. Hear what happens when you twirl, jump, or simply lift an arm as Artistic Directors Merli V. Guerra and Kimberleigh A. Holman guide participants through a series of movement exercises through a light sensor installation that triggers an array of musical chords and melodies created by Ed Bokhour. Dinner will be provided and pre-registration is required. Please visit http://bit.ly/E4MeVMay2015 to register. You may also visit www.discoverymuseums.org or call 978-264-4200 for additional information.

The Perkins School for the Blind will be hosting a daylong event for students who are planning to attend college on Saturday, May 16th in the Northeast Building on the Perkins campus in Watertown. College life will be explored and tips for organization, transportation, money management, and advocacy will be presented. Students will meet at Perkins and then use public transportation to travel with Orientation and Mobility students to UMASS Boston. While at UMASS, students will have an opportunity to tour the campus and meet with various faculty and students to gain a better understanding of college admissions, disability services, and campus life. By the end of this program, students should have a realistic idea of the type of school they may want to attend through discussions on location, services, programs of study, etc. They will also know how to present themselves at a college interview, including proper hygiene & attire and social etiquette. Additionally, they will feel more confident and comfortable explaining their needs and know how to request adaptations in an academic environment. Lastly, they will have made new social connections through activities with peers with vision loss. For more information contact Outreach Short Courses Coordinator Patrick Ryan at patrick.ryan@perkins.org or 617-972-7812.

The snow has melted and spring has finally arrived. As you start your spring cleaning, the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) is asking you to consider donating your lightly used clothing and household items to assist in their fundraising efforts. NFB has partnered with GreenDrop, a paid professional solicitor, to raise funds through the collection of donated clothing and household items. These items are converted into critical dollars needed to assist the NFB in their mission to support the nation’s visually impaired. To schedule a pickup, please call 800-610-4632. You can also find out more information at www.nfbpickup.org.

Thanks for reading this message and it will be updated again on Friday, May 1st.

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

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