Browse By Topic: Social Life and Recreation

Many recreation and leisure activities can be adapted for people who are blind or have low vision, or for seniors who are losing their sight. Learn more about a wide range of recreational, social, and craft activities, including crafting, card and board games, cultural activities, camping, and sports and exercise. You can also find helpful tips and techniques for everyday living skills, safe indoor movement and outdoor travel, and everyday living products. Register to receive alerts and news relating to vision loss, including the latest updates in low vision and technology research.

Searching for Those Elusive Magic Glasses

What Are Magic Glasses? Show of hands or better yet, clap if you like to make fundamental changes in the way you do everyday, daily living activities! Are you one of those folks who relish the idea of throwing away the computer mouse and trackpad to rely solely on keyboard shortcuts to do your work? Or suddenly read your favorite books and magazines by listening to them? Abandon your usual mode of transportation and just switch to Uber, public transportation, or a bicycle? A couple of you are clapping, but the rest of us recognize these changes will be time-consuming and inconvenient at best. Even the most adventuresome of us may find some of these fundamental changes in our lifestyle can be disorienting, have a negative impact on doing routine tasks, and be


Smart Speakers: How They Can Help People with Vision Loss

In a very short period of time, a whole new genre of devices has evolved called, smart speakers. It started with the Amazon Echo a couple of years ago, spread to the Google Home, and now, there is the Apple Home Pod, the Sonos One, and more. The major differences are in the sound quality, the smart assistant responding to the user’s verbal questions, and the price. Google Home and Amazon Echo Google Home sitting on a table next to the Google Home box Let’s keep it simple here and focus on the market leaders, the


Step Three to Regain a Creative Life After Vision Loss: Learn to Use Low Vision Devices and Equipment

Editor's note: In Lynda Lambert's first post in this series, she discussed the importance of getting immediate eye medical attention and learning about low vision services. In this post, she details the types of vision rehabilitation services she received. Step Three to Regain a Creative Life After Vision Loss: Learn to Use Low Vision Devices and Equipment By Lynda Lambert Because I was interested in continuing to work, I qualified for the


Steps I Have Taken to Regain a Creative Life After Experiencing Vision Loss with Low Vision Technologies

Editor's note: February is Low Vision Awareness Month. Peer Advisor Lynda Lambert talks about her experience with vision loss and getting her life back together by seeking immediate professional help and obtaining the necessary low vision services. In this three-part series, she outlines critical steps you should take if you are experiencing vision loss. My Experience with Vision Loss By Lynda Lambert <img src="http://www.afb.org/image.ashx?ImageID=8228" width="250px" alt="Lynda sitting at a desk with books"


American Foundation for the Blind Leadership Conference Recap: Some Critical Issues for Older Persons with Vision Loss

Guest blogger Kay McGill (pictured at left recording a Public Service Announcement) is the manager of Project Independence: Georgia Vision Program for Adults Age 55 and Over. The Georgia Vision Program is administered by the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and provides the following services to people who are at least 55 years old and have vision loss or a combined vision and hearing loss: comprehensive


Notes on Blindness: A Remarkable Film About Professor John Hull's Experience of Blindness Receives Strong Reviews

"Vision, in ordinary circumstances, is seamless and gives no indication of the underlying processes on which it depends. It has to be decomposed, experimentally or in neurological disorders, to show the elements that compose it." ~Oliver Sacks, M.D., In the River of Consciousness Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness, first published in 1990, is the


Our Readers Want to Know: Can I Continue Gardening with Vision Loss?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to hear from our readers and implement their suggestions for keeping VisionAware relevant, timely, and useful. Most recently, our reader interactions have included several inquiries about hobbies or recreational activities for adults and older adults with vision loss: I would like to help a social director in an independent living facility find activities that are appropriate for


AFB Press Releases New Edition of Making Life More Livable: Simple Adaptations for Living at Home after Vision Loss

by Mary D'Apice, VisionAware Contributing Writer An interview with Maureen A. Duffy, CVRT, Author Making Life More Livable Agencies that provide services to people who are blind or visually impaired offer vision rehabilitation to the 5.3 million Americans over 65 with


Exercising Safely With Diabetes: Part 4 in a Series

Audrey Demmitt, RN, BSN, is a nurse diabetic educator, VisionAware Peer Advisor, AFB Career Connect mentor, and author of the VisionAware multi-part blog series on diabetes and diabetes education. At age 25, Audrey was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa and continued to work as a nurse for 30 years with her visual impairment. She has worked as an Adjustment to Blindness


The New Low Vision Focus @ Hadley Program for Older Adults with Low Vision

This month, The Hadley School for the Blind is launching the innovative and highly anticipated Low Vision Focus @ Hadley program for older adults who have low vision. The mission of Hadley is to promote independent living through lifelong distance education programs for people who are blind or visually impaired, their families, and blindness and low vision service providers. A newly-revised series of 10 audio lessons is the core component of the Low Vision Focus @ Hadley program. Each lesson is approximately 30 minutes long and available on a CD (pictured below), which is


Experiencing The Magic of Eye Makeup While Practicing Eye Safety

The Magic of Eye Makeup Oh, the wonders of makeup. It's one of those things that from the time we are young girls we cannot wait to get glammed up with cosmetics. The use of lipstick, blush, mascara, and eye shadow is not only transformative; it's almost magical. But did you know there are dangers lurking in your cosmetics arsenal, especially when it comes to your eyes? The Past and Present of Eye Makeup "Eyes are captivatingly beautiful. Not because of the color but because of the words they hold within them." This quote from an unknown author speaks


91-year-old Inventor with Visual Impairment Designs for Her Generation

91-year-old Barbara Beskind is the toast of Silicon Valley as well the toast of the media, with interviews on National Public Radio and the Today Show. In the high tech industry where youth reigns, Beskind has a coveted job as a designer at IDEO, a world-renowned consulting firm perhaps most famous for designing the first Apple mouse. Beskind is living her dream, though it was a dream deferred. As a resourceful 8-year-old during the Depression, Beskind built a


Can "Audio Film" Provide a Richer Film Experience than an Audio Description Soundtrack?

Researchers at Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom are attempting to develop an alternative to the traditional – and widely used – audio description techniques for blind and visually impaired filmgoers. The research team's long-term goal is to provide a more immersive, inclusive, and entertaining film experience as they explore ways to tell a story on film without the need for visual elements or an audio description track. The proposed format, called "audio film," focuses on innovative sound design techniques and the creative use of surround sound instead of a conventional audio description soundtrack. The foundation for this


Guest Blogger Jeremiah Taylor Reviews Descriptive Audio Narration for "Unbroken"

Guest blogger Jeremiah Taylor is a dynamic sales professional, motivational speaker, and serious movie buff. Life has not always been easy for Jeremiah, however. In 1999, he became suddenly and totally blind as a result of complications during routine back surgery. You can read more about Jeremiah's (and his wife Jo-Ann's) long, steady journey – from sudden blindness through rehabilitation to full employment – at the VisionAware website. "Going to the movies," Jeremiah says, "is not just the movie! It's a night out with friends and family,


The Imago Maris Foundation: Sailing the Seas with an Integrated Blind and Sighted Crew

The Imago Maris Foundation, headquartered in Warsaw, Poland, recently launched an international program to promote sailing on the high seas, integrate crews of blind, visually impaired, and sighted sailors, and provide meaningful sailing and travel experiences. About the Imago Maris Foundation The primary goal of the Imago Maris Foundation is to promote the rehabilitation and integration of men and women who are blind or visually impaired through active participation in sea voyages; in addition, the Foundation seeks to demystify blindness by utilizing fully integrated (50% blind, 50% sighted) crews. Every person, regardless of visual status, performs all tasks related to the operation of the ship. According to


Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Is It Cognition or Is It Vision Loss? by Guest Blogger DeAnn Elliott

DeAnn Elliott is a blogger for The Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts, where she graduated in 2007 after losing her eyesight to retinitis pigmentosa. Via her posts to The Carroll Center blog and other sites, DeAnn explores the adventures and challenges of vision loss as it relates to family life, employment, rehabilitation training, disability advocacy, and sometimes dogs. Learn more about DeAnn at The


My Top Book-Reading Apps for Braille Users by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Most recently, Scott compiled his top picks for news apps that are user-friendly and accessible to braille users. This week, Scott reviews his personal picks for the top book-reading apps for braille users.


Meet a Bold Blind Beauty and a Deafblind Mother: VisionAware's Blogroll Spotlight

It's time for some VisionAware blogroll love once again. As I explained in my introductory "blogroll love" post, ... the VisionAware "blind bloggers" collective is a marvelous way to position my favorite bloggers front-and-center. You'll discover outstanding writing – and not only about blindness issues. My favorite bloggers are people who happen to be blind – and have much to say about the simple act of being deeply human. This week, I'd like you to meet two talented and thought-provoking bloggers whose subject matter ranges from fashion and beauty to living well with deafblindness. Bold Blind Beauty Stephanae (Steph) McCoy is the spirited fashionista who


Guest Blogger Jeremiah Taylor Reviews Descriptive Audio Narration for "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Guest blogger Jeremiah Taylor (pictured at left with his wife Jo-Ann) is the founder and CEO of ProActive Sales, Inc., a full-service sales management company. In 1999, Jeremiah became suddenly and totally blind as a result of complications during routine back surgery. You can read more about Jeremiah's (and Jo-Ann's) long, steady, and inspirational journey – from sudden blindness through rehabilitation to full employment – at the VisionAware website. In addition to his talents as a dynamic sales professional and motivational speaker,


A Festive Thanksgiving Cocktail with Low Vision and Blindness Adaptations

As the holiday season approaches, creative drinks and cocktails are in demand! We especially like this non-alcoholic, easy-to-assemble drink – along with adaptations for our favorite blind and visually impaired "mixologists." Apple Cider Milkshake From MaryBeth at Dunkin Cooking the Semi-Homemade Way (used with permission), who says this about the Apple Cider Milkshake: "I highly recommend giving this a try. It's a great-tasting shake and an excellent way to enjoy the taste of apples." Ingredients: 6 scoops vanilla ice cream 1¼ cups


Movie Fan with Low Vision Gives Audio Description Positive Review

What is Audio Description Audio Description, a narration service that helps people with visual impairments enjoy movies, has been around for decades. But recently, the availability of audio description has increased exponentially thanks to the advocacy efforts of many disability organizations. An initiative of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), the Audio Description Project is defined as follows on their website: "Audio Description is commentary and narration which guides the listener through the presentation with concise, objective descriptions of new scenes, settings, costumes, body language, and 'sight


The International Disability Film Festival Wants to Hear from Blind Film Lovers

The San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visualy Impaired and the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University are the new co-hosts of Superfest, the world's longest-running disability film festival. This year's Superfest, to be held on October 12, 2013, at 3543 18th Street, San Francisco, California, will "…take a powerful look backward to explore the worst of the worst in the film representation of disability. We'll feature many telling examples of how far we've come, and we'll highlight the worst of the


A New "Meditative Gardening" Course from the Hadley School for the Blind

As our readers know, I have great admiration for the ongoing – and important – educational commitment of The Hadley School for the Blind. The mission of Hadley is to promote independent living through lifelong distance education programs for people who are blind or visually impaired, their families, and blindness service providers. A New Meditative Gardening Course from Hadley This week, I received information from Hadley about a new course offering that is timely, innovative, and dear to my heart: sensory gardening. Here is more information about the course, via a Hadley


On CBS News: Blind "Birding-by-Ear" with Donna Posant

My Twitter friend Fred Wurtzel, an avid blind birder from Michigan, alerted me to a new "blind birding" video on CBS News, entitled Birding by ear: The birdwatchers who see by listening, featuring expert birder Donna Posant. Donna is the field services director for Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB) and a widely recognized "birding-by-ear" teacher and naturalist. You can learn more about Donna and the birding-by-ear experience by watching and/or listening to the video (with closed-captioning) on the CBS News


Memorial Day 2013: British Blind Veterans Host Their American Blind Comrades in London

From May 19-26, 2013, six blind veterans of the United States Armed Forces, who have become role models for others living with vision loss, are visiting their counterparts in the United Kingdom, via an innovative exchange program for blind and visually impaired American and British veterans. The event is taking place under the auspices of Project Gemini, a joint exchange program initiated by Blind Veterans UK of London, England and the Blinded Veterans Association of Washington, DC. The project is named after "Gemini," a transatlantic communications cable that links the United Kingdom and the United States. About


My Adventures in Wall Climbing by Empish Thomas, Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta

Guest blogger Empish J. Thomas is the public educator for the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) in Atlanta, Georgia, where she organizes tours, exhibits, presentations and speaking engagements. She also posts on CVI's SightSeeing Blog and the CVI community bulletin board. In addition, she talks with potential clients, medical professionals, social service representatives, family members and others about the services that CVI can offer. In her spare time, Empish is a career columnist for


My Amazing Amazon Adventure by VisionAware Peer Advisor Michelle Miller, LCSW

Guest blogger Michelle Miller, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist and professional grant writer who also serves as Director of Client Services for Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind in Washington, D.C. Michelle has advocated on behalf of clients with disabilities as an expert witness for legal matters and serves as a consultant to "vision awareness" events and documentaries. She is a board member with Guide Dogs for the Blind and the New Hope Development Corporation, a non-profit organization for underserved children and families she


In Memoriam: Professor Whitestick

I have always been an avid follower of blind bloggers – and of arts bloggers who are blind, in particular. My favorite has always been Professor Whitestick, whom I featured in a VisionAware Blogroll Love post last year: Professor Whitestick's Blog Professor Whitestick is the voice (and considerable intellect) that informs the deeply felt cultural and artistic observations on Professor Whitestick's Blog. The Professor describes himself and his reasons for


A Contest for Blind (and Sighted) Photographers from OIC Books

OIC ("Oh, I see") Books, based in Carmel, California, is sponsoring Blind Sight, an online photography competition that is open to blind, visually impaired, and sighted photographers. The competition will close on March 15, 2013. OIC Books "seeks to redefine the book from a primarily visual experience accessed through print on a page to a hand-crafted, multi-sensory experience that builds a wider view of the world." OIC books are published as enhanced ebooks, standard ebooks, and in print. How the Contest Began: Inspiration from Blind


A New App Including Verbal Imaging Audio Tours at the Guggenheim Museum New York

The Verbal Imaging Tour App The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York has announced the launch of a new app, which includes its first-ever Verbal Imaging audio tour for visitors who are blind or have low vision. The app is free, T-coil compatible, and is available on site with museum admission or from iTunes. The new Verbal Imaging tour focuses on the Guggenheim's full-rotunda exhibition, Gutai: Splendid Playground, with 11 stops that guide visitors from the bottom to the top of the rotunda. It


"My Life in Korea" by VisionAware Peer Advisor Lenore Dillon

Guest blogger Lenore Dillon, CVRT, has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT). Her experiences include both direct service provision (itinerant and center-based) and administration of VRT programs. She served as a faculty instructor at Northern Illinois University and was an associate professor from 2002-2005 at Korea Nazarene University in Chonan City, South Korea. You can learn more about Lenore's work as a VRT on her


Dining in the Dark: Does Its Mission Succeed? Part 2

Dans le Noir? (translation: "In the Dark?") is a "dining in the dark" social franchise network that began in Paris, France in 2004. The stated mission of Dans le Noir? is to encourage and foster empathy with – and a greater understanding of – people who are blind and visually impaired. It is managed by the Ethik Investment Group, a French consulting and event-marketing corporation, which has added Dans le Noir? restaurant franchises in Paris, London, Barcelona, Saint Petersburg, and – most recently – New


Dining in the Dark: Does Its Mission Succeed? Part 1

Dans le Noir? (translation: "In the Dark?") is a "dining in the dark" social franchise network that began in Paris, France in 2004. The stated mission of Dans le Noir? is to encourage and foster empathy with – and a greater understanding of – people who are blind and visually impaired. It is managed by the Ethik Investment Group, a French consulting and event-marketing corporation. The Dans le Noir? social experiment evolved from a series of "le goût du noir" or "taste of darkness" dinners that


A "Top Eight" List of My Favorite Blog Posts by Joe Strechay: Part 2

Guest blogger Joe Strechay is the CareerConnect Program Manager at American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). Here's Joe's description of his AFB working life: "I spend most of my time writing about employment, career education, job seeking, and


Finding and Hiring a Driver If You're Blind or Visually Impaired by Stephanie Stephens Van

Guest blogger Stephanie Stephens Van has lectured nationally on adapted crafts and leisure activities; adjustment to blindness and low vision; functional vision skills; and activities of daily living. Stephanie is a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, a Low Vision Therapist, and an adjunct instructor at the Salus University College of Education and


BlogHer '12: A Whole New Way of Thinking

Last week, I had an excellent (and educational) immersion in all things social media-related at BlogHer '12, BlogHer's 8th Annual Conference, held this year in New York City, from August 2-4. (Bonus: Whenever anyone asked where I was from, I was able to point downtown while saying, "About twenty blocks from here.") About BlogHer for the Uninitiated So what is BlogHer? Here's an explanation from the BlogHer website (i.e., The Mothership):


Some VisionAware Blogroll Love!

As my always-astute readers surely have noticed, the VisionAware "blind bloggers" collective has migrated from the former VisionAware.org website to the sidebar of the new VisionAware blog. It's a marvelous way to position my favorite bloggers front-and-center for our ever-growing audience. You'll discover great writing there – and it's not only about blindness, so please abandon that notion, dear readers. My favorite bloggers are people who happen to be blind – and who have much to say about life's joys, sorrows, and everything


To the Moon with "Hear and There"

Hear and There Audio Magazine is a radio program and podcast hosted and produced by Dave Uhlman, a visually impaired accessibility consultant. Dave describes Hear and There as an adventure program that provides detailed audio descriptions of museums, nature walks, art shows, news events, and all manner of life–involving and –enhancing events. Dave "puts words to the visual" that enable his listeners (blind, sighted, and visually impaired) to


The Traveleyes Blind/Sighted Travel Experience

As many VisionAware readers know, travel is one of my great passions. Thus, I was very interested to learn more when I was contacted by Traveleyes, a United Kingdom-based tour operator specializing in providing holidays for groups of blind/visually impaired and sighted travelers, journeying together "in a spirit of mutual independence." The mission of Traveleyes is to enable blind and visually impaired men and women to


Meet Paul and Jan Rachow, Founders of the Frog Town Low Vision Support Group

Paul and Jan Rachow, founders of the Frog Town Low Vision Support Group in Holland, Ohio, are longtime and faithful supporters of VisionAware; thus, it gives me great pleasure to report that their low vision support group is thriving. About the Frog Town Low Vision Support Group Frog Town is an independent, not-for-profit support group, started in June 2005, that provides information and support to adults who are blind, visually impaired, or


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