How Many Braille Readers Are There?

March 23, 2022
Why We Should Question What We Have Been Led to Believe “To know that one knows what one knows, and to know that one doesn't know what one doesn't know, there lies true wisdom.” —Confucius When we read a statistic about blindness or low vision in the news media, how often do we think about the source of that data? Does it come from a census? A survey? An estimate? How recent are the data behind the statistics? For Rebecca Sheffield, Frances Mary (F.M.) D’Andrea, and Valerie Morash, a…

Justice Department Issues Web Accessibility Guidance

March 18, 2022
Today, the Department of Justice released guidance on the obligations of public entities (such as state and local governments) and businesses open to the public with regard to website accessibility. This guidance comes less than a month after 181 organizations signed a letter to the Department of Justice calling for regulations on the accessibility of websites and applications. This guidance covers why website accessibility matters, examples of barriers, and when the ADA requires websites to…
Author AFB Staff

International Women's Day: Helen Keller Archive Lesson Plans

March 8, 2022
Photograph taken indoors of Helen Keller and Polly Thomson with leading female members of the "Welfare for the Blind," "Alexandria School for the Blind Girls," Alexandria, Egypt. April 24, 1952. International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. Helen Keller never ceased to demand that all women, especially and including those who were poor…
Author AFB Staff
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AFB Honors the Legacy of the Late Donald H. Wedewer

February 25, 2022
The American Foundation for the Blind mourns the passing of Donald H. Wedewer, 96, of Charleston, South Carolina, a former AFB trustee and beloved colleague who committed his life to service. Born in Dyersville, Iowa, Wedewer was badly wounded in combat during World War II while serving as an infantryman, resulting in his losing both legs as well as his vision. While recovering from surgery, he met Helen Keller, who was visiting the veterans’ hospital and was particularly interested to speak…

Virtual Learning and Accessibility

February 23, 2022
Study shows majority of blind and visually impaired schoolchildren have been significantly disadvantaged during pandemic remote learning; inadequate digital tools are leaving these children behind. Many parents and family members were thrust into the role of teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have struggled to get our students squared away with their Zoom classes and help them manage Google Classroom and other online learning management systems (LMSs) and applications before…

Should WCAG Compliance Be Your Goal?

February 14, 2022
Tech Notes Since its founding in 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has worked to address the most pressing needs of individuals with vision loss and their families, and over the past 20 years, it is obvious that there has been an increasing digital divide created by rapidly developing technology. For those of us with disabilities, accessible and usable websites and apps are crucial for us to independently work, learn, and play in the digital universe. They allow us to fully…

Mentorship: The Key to Success and Personal Empowerment for Students Who Are Visually Impaired

February 1, 2022
When asked, "Were you nervous the first time you had to use a Bunsen burner with an open flame during microbiology lab?" Maureen J. Hayden, a blind woman who is pursuing a doctoral degree in marine biology at Texas A&M University, replied, "Of course!" This exchange begins a commentary featured in the recent Special Issue on Transition to a Meaningful Adult Life for Individuals With Visual Impairments of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB), in which Ms. Hayden…
Author AFB Staff
Blog Topics Personal Reflections

Website and Application Accessibility: Job Searching, Interviewing, and Onboarding—Oh My!

January 6, 2022
The AFB Research team has worked for over a year on the Workplace Technology Study to explore the influence of technology on the employment experience of people who are blind or visually impaired. This study, which consisted of focus groups, 323 survey respondents, and 25 personal interviews, also investigated the effects of inaccessible technology on the job search, interviewing, and onboarding processes. It turns out that the impact is significant. Imagine you are a new college graduate. You…
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Celebrating One of the Original Coders on World Braille Day

January 4, 2022
Every year on January 4 we celebrate braille and the birthday of Louis Braille, the French teenager who invented it. (Learn more about Louis Braille’s life and the impact of his famous code in our online Louis Braille Museum, featuring photographs, engravings, and illustrations from books preserved in the American Foundation for the Blind's Archives and Rare Book Collection.) In 2019, the UN General Assembly first officially designated January 4 as World Braille Day—noting that “braille is…
Author AFB Staff
Blog Topics Braille

World Braille Day: Braille, Books, and Beyond

January 4, 2022
I learned to read braille later in life than most. I was in my mid-30s when I became a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the state of Texas. I had over 100 people on my caseload and their case files filled a 4-drawer filing cabinet that sat next to my desk. If I stood up, I could get my face close enough to read the large-print label on the front of each file in the top drawer. I could stay seated and read the labels on the files in the second and third drawer, but that bottom drawer was…
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