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The NFB Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access (CENA) to Education, Public Information, and Commerce, with support from the Maryland Department of Disabilities through a Non-Visual Access Initiative Grant, is pleased to offer the following Accessibility Boutiques (introductions to accessibility) free of charge and open to the public. The boutiques are held in person at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute.


Tactile Graphics

Monday, February 14, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Images are often replaced by text for those who can’t see them, but there is a whole world out there of techniques and technologies that can convey that information in much higher impact, effective ways that can benefit a variety of users. From the simplest techniques to the most sophisticated, this boutique will help you find your best tool for communicating maps, graphs, and other information that is typically visual.

If you are interested in attending any of these boutiques, please RSVP to cvangerven@nfb.org. Space is limited.

200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place Baltimore, MD 21230 United States

This week, it’s the products that take front seat. Smart eyeglasses, exosuits, cloud-based software and more. Assistive technology is in the fabric of who we are and what we do! AT in the news for the week of January 30 thru February 3.

New Exosuit Fabric Could Boost Mobility in People with Disabilities

Personal Cargo Robot Could be Major Help for Disabled

Smart Eyeglasses Help You See Clearly Without the Need to Change Proscriptions

SpeechStream – cloud based, language and literacy support toolbar for publishers and platform providers

Blind People Get Improved Photo Description from Facebook

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access to Education, Public Information, and Commerce (CENA) will be hosting an eBooks and EPUB accessibility event on Thursday, March 23, 2017.  With the rapid adoption of EPUB 3, this event will look at creating and implementing accessible EPUB 3 in a variety of different settings.

Join us for sessions on the following topics and many more:

  • Upcoming release of the EPUB accessibility conformance specification
  • Latest updates to EPUB to be released in version 3.1
  • Accessibility certification
  • The importance of choosing your platform and distribution channel
  • Accessible graphics and what is and is not possible in EPUB
  • What to look for when outsourcing production

Don’t miss this opportunity to interface with experts in the industry and ensure that your print-disabled users can join the rest of the world in enjoying the convenience and power of the EPUB revolution.

This event will be hosted under the auspices of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access to Education, Public Information, and Commerce (CENA), with financial support through the Non-Visual Accessibility Initiative grant from the State of Maryland. The CENA serves to share the considerable knowledge that the NFB and its partners have of web accessibility and access technology in order to bring about greater accessibility in government, education, and business; to promote best practices nationally; and to build Maryland’s status as leader in the field.

The registration fee is $100 (Regular registration) and $25 (Student registration with valid student ID)

Register now!

This event will be held at the NFB Jernigan Institute at:

200 East Wells Street

Baltimore, MD 21230

For more information, please visit  Accessible eBooks 

CARING TEENS WANTED! Do you have a friend, neighbor or colleague who has a teenager that would like to learn how to care for children with disabilities and provide respite care?

Caring Communities can train up to 10 students at a location of your choosing. This could be at your home, library, church or appropriate setting.

CARING TEENS is a day-long program that prepares teens to offer first-rate care for children who have mild to moderate disabilities and/or to enter the field of special education some day.

Caring for a child with special needs can be a 24-hour-a-day job, with limited downtime to take care of family matters, catch a movie or just relax on the sofa. Parents of children with disabilities desperately need a break to rest, relieve stress and get re-energized. Respite care for a child with disabilities is something that every parent asks for, but few ever get.

Unlike families of typical children, who can hire a neighborhood teenager to baby-sit when they need a night out, respite care requires someone with training and confidence to tend to the child’s needs. CARING TEENS is an interactive hands-on training especially designed for students aged 13 -19 (some exceptions made).

Training Topics include:
• Role and responsibility of the Respite Care Provider (specialized babysitter)
• Disability information and awareness
• Communication issue
• Behavior management
• Safety
• Seizures
• Assistive/adaptive equipment
• and much much more!

Students must attend entire session to receive Certificate of Attendance.

Check http://caringcommunities.org/CaringTeens.html for more info


Bellman & Symfon Visit Alert System, Contributed by Erin Swann, MDTAP

For those with difficulty hearing sounds around the home, assistive technology can be used to convert audio information into other forms that are more easily detected. For example, the Bellman & Symfon Visit Alert System can be used to alert someone who is hard of hearing using flashing lights or vibrations.  This system provides alerts in the following four areas:

  • Doorbell detection
  • Telephone detection
  • Baby monitoring
  • Fire protection

The audio sounds produced by a doorbell, telephone, baby, or fire alarm are detected by a transmitter near the audio source and sent to a receiver near the user. Receivers are available in the following four forms:

  • Flash receiver
  • Pager receiver
  • Alarm clock
  • Wrist receiver

The type of receiver used depends on the needs and preferences of the user. The Maryland Technology Assistance Program has the pager receiver in our loan library for people with disabilities in Maryland to borrow along with a transmitter.  If you would like to borrow it, you can contact the Maryland Technology Assistance Program by calling 1-800-832-4827 or emailing mdtap@mdtap.org to set up an appointment.  Items in our loan library can be borrowed for up to four weeks at a time, so you can determine which assistive technology is right for you before purchasing it.

Alaska and Rhode Island Launch ABLE Program

On December 22, the National Able Resource Center announced that Alaska and Rhode Island launched ABLE programs.  Both the “Alaska ABLE Plan” and the RI’s ABLE Plan” are members of the National ABLE Alliance, a group of 13 states that have pooled resources in order to offer their respective ABLE programs.   Both of these plans are open to eligible individuals nationwide and allow qualified individuals with disabilities to save up to $14,000 a year in an ABLE account.  For more information, visit: http://www.ablenrc.org/.

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MDTAP | 2301 Argonne Drive, Room T17 Baltimore, Maryland 21218| Voice: 410-554-9230 Toll Free ⁄ Voice 1-800-832-4827|Email: mdtap@mdtap.org