Background and Purpose

This institute will introduce participants to the Unified Braille Code, which has been adopted by the United States. Changes from the literary code will be studied as well as the resulting benefits. Teaching strategies will be discussed, transition plans for students will be developed, and braille technology conversion will be covered.

Background and Purpose: The new Unified English Braille (UEB) unifies literary Braille with mathematics, science, and computer Braille so one code will work, making it easier for students and teachers. Implementation of the new UEB is being addressed across the country.

The Institute seeks to provide professional development on the following topics:

  • UEB code changes
  • How the teaching and learning of Braille will be impacted
  • Braille technologies which support access to the general curriculum for students with visual impairments
  • developing an effective implementation plan for Massachusetts students .

The summer institute is free and awards 67.5 PDPs. Graduate credit (3) is available for $450.

For further information visit the link below.


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH), in partnership with Orbit Research and Texas Instruments, is developing an accessible TI-30XS MultiView Scientific Calculator. The Orion TI-30XS MultiView Calculator will feature recorded voice, accessible history, fraction mode, key describer mode, and a user replaceable battery. The calculator is ideal for General Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, Statistics, General Science, Biology, and Chemistry. The accessible scientific calculator will replace the Orbit TI-36 and will be available on Quota.

APH is seeking field evaluators for this new calculator. Students in the field evaluation must be braille readers, enrolled in a STEM class Gr. 7-12, able to use the calculator 2-3 times a week, and must be able to field test the calculator May 1-June 15. Special consideration will be given to teams comprised of a Teacher of the Visually Impaired and a Regular Education STEM Teacher.

If interested in participating, please send the following information to Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant at


School/District Name

School Mailing Address


Grade of Student

Class in which the student is enrolled

Type of instructional setting (residential, itinerant, etc.)

Your preferred reading medium

First Sight: Sonia & Anita

Close-up of a woman's blue eye : Stock Photo

By Staff at Wonderwork 11-1-13

WonderWork is a charitable organization that provides free surgeries for children in the poorest countries of the world. Blue Chalk traveled to India and documented the story of two sisters, both born blind, and followed them through the emotional process of receiving their surgeries and seeing for the first time.

The two sisters, Sonia and Anita, are among 20 million children and adults that could have their eyesight restored through a 15-minute surgery that costs just $300, according to WonderWork.

To read the complete article and view the documentary made

By Google Staff, 2014

You can use a Braille display to read and enter text in Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Drawings. To enable Braille support, follow these steps:

·         Open a document, presentation, or drawing in Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. (Firefox isn’t yet supported.)

·         If you haven’t already enabled screen reader support, press Control + Alt + Z (Windows) or Command + Option + Z (Mac).

·         Press Alt + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or Option + / (Mac) to open a menu search.

·         Type “Braille” to locate the Enable Braille support command. You’ll hear “Enable Braille support, not checked.”

·         Press Enter. You’ll hear “Braille support enabled.”


To disable Braille support, repeat steps 3 and 4 above. After you press Enter, you’ll hear “Braille support disabled.” Once you’ve enabled Braille support, you’ll notice improvements: When you’re typing or navigating character by character, the screen reader announces your changes more quickly. The screen reader’s announcements of punctuation and whitespace are better. Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Drawings now follow your screen reader’s settings for character echo and word echo while typing.


Braille support currently has the following limitations:

·         It isn’t yet possible to enter special characters from the keyboard. To enter special characters, open the Insert menu and select “Special characters.”

·         Firefox isn’t yet supported. Please use Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.

·         It isn’t yet possible to use the Braille display to navigate. Text input and output are the only supported uses at this time.

·         In JAWS, line-by-line movements are announced twice.

·         In some cases, special announcements (e.g. styles, comments, footnotes, and equations) are shifted by a character. This issue applies only to screen readers that announce the character after the cursor, rather than the character just passed over by the cursor, when the cursor moves. Affected screen readers include ChromeVox, NVDA, and JAWS, depending on your settings.

·         Verbalization of comments or styles can interfere with the screen reader’s announcements of the text when navigating through content.

To read more about braille support, go to

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs awarded Salus University a Collaborative Agreement in 2010, the National Leadership Consortium on Sensory Disabilities (NCLSD). Through collaboration with 14 universities with training programs in blind and visually impaired, 11 in deaf and hard of hearing and five in deafblindness, 30 individuals were eligible to receive a doctoral degree.  The purpose was to increase the number and quality of leadership personnel competent in the areas of higher education and research to improve education services for infants, children and youth who have sensory disabilities, including those with multiple disabilities.

A second Collaborative Agreement has been awarded. We have encouraged expanding to include school leaders as doctoral candidates and to include opportunities for distance learning. We do not yet know what the final determination will be. Details are developing. Watch this website for additional information .

Here is some information you can share…

Do you know a teacher of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, or deafblind who has interest in obtaining a doctoral degree and becoming a leader at a university or state level? The expectation is for full-time, on campus students. Stipend and tuition will be provided. 

We don’t have a lot of information yet, however, details are developing. Students must first apply to a university and then apply to the National Leadership Consortium for Sensory Disabilities (NLCSD). Check for current details.

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