An Intern Reacts to the President’s Proposed Budget

June 11, 2021
Even though I've lived through 10 presidents before my first day as an intern, I never once looked at a presidential budget request. As a Policy Intern with the American Foundation for the Blind, I am new to policy, but I have been teaching in American classrooms for 25 years as a special education teacher. I am also currently enrolled full-time in a special education and disability policy doctoral program through a fully funded Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Grant. So even…

Reflections on the Education of Students with Visual Impairments

June 10, 2021
I remember as a high school student in Freehold, New Jersey, anxiously waiting for the last bell to ring on the last day of the school year. That bell signaled a summer of freedom from homework and tests. At the same time it signaled that for a couple of months, there would be some friends I would not see or only see rarely. A few days later I’d find myself reflecting on what had gone well for me during the school year and what had not gone so well. Taking the time to reflect on experiences…

A Listening Tour of the AFB Talking Book Archives

May 28, 2021
In 2015, AFB won the first of two major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities to begin digitizing Helen Keller’s massive collection of correspondence, photographs, and other papers under the guidance of archivist Helen Selsdon. Five years later, the digital Helen Keller Archive is the most accessible online archive around, made publicly available in time for the centennial celebration this autumn of the founding of AFB. As a disability historian working down the road at New…

Nine Months In: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted Education of Children with Visual Impairments

May 21, 2021
As last winter’s holiday season approached, I think we all realized that the COVID-19 pandemic was not going away anytime soon. All facets of our lives were being impacted, including the education of our children. As a family member of two young children shared in the introduction to the just-released Access and Engagement II report, “Everybody has had to adapt to crazy things that are not very normal. People are getting tired of this [COVID-19] stuff but we have to move forward with the…

Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)!

May 20, 2021
Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#GAAD)! The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion. From podcasts and blog posts, to inclusive accessibility solutions, public policy, and resources, AFB has you covered. Global accessibility is more than a day for us, it's 100 years of commitment. Inform & Connect, Season 2: AFB Trustees Sarah Herrlinger and Christopher Patnoe We are excited to welcome Sarah Herrlinger of Apple and…

Why Automated Scanners Aren’t the Solution

May 11, 2021
Tech Notes An automated scanner is a special piece of software which is mainly designed to scan and test a single web page or an entire website to determine whether or not a web application is compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) or Section 508 accessibility regulations. Often companies use these tools to quickly gauge compliance with the accessibility guidelines to make their website accessible. This is clearly a mistake. Automated scanners do have some uses.…

Introducing ‘Our History’: AFB’s New Historical Timeline

May 6, 2021
As part of the American Foundation for the Blind’s (AFB) year-long centennial celebration, we recently published Our History, a robust new timeline outlining AFB’s past. Lesser-known milestones in advocacy, education, and technological innovation are all chronicled, from the creation of Talking Books in the 1930s, to the first international conference on AIDS-related vision loss in the 1990s, to our most recent work to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adults and students who are…
Author John Mackin
Blog Topics Helen Keller, Reading

Sharing Our Story: 100 Years of Creating a World with No Limits

April 29, 2021
Hi there, As a man who is completely blind, I have personally benefited from the progress that AFB has made possible. I have also experienced a world of limits. When I was five years old, my retinas detached and I lost my eyesight. I was sent to a state residential school where I learned how to read and write braille, travel with a white cane, and type on a typewriter. I was taught to love myself, my body, and what it could do. Everything was possible: hiking, horseback riding, and even…
Author Kirk Adams
Blog Topics Personal Reflections

Is Your Website Accessible? Here's Something to Try.

April 26, 2021
Tech Notes Is your website accessible? It's a complicated question. There is certainly no shortage of automated scanners, tests, and overlays that purport to tell you what to fix, or supposedly "fix" it for you. But even if there was a perfect automated solution that would find and fix technical compliance issues (which there isn't, by the way, not even close), wouldn’t that be missing the point? If "accessible" is what we're aiming for, anything less is technically illegal, making it the…

Animal Friends: Helen Keller’s and Yours

April 26, 2021
Helen Keller and Polly Thomson, seated outside on the grass with German Shepherd dog nearby, circa 1955
Helen Keller loved animals! April 2021 is #NationalPetMonth, and as we post images from the Helen Keller Archive of some of the 16 pet dogs that Helen treasured during her long life, we invite you to submit images of your pets! Tell us how your animal friends have enriched your lives! In November of 1967, fifth grader Robin Gates wrote to Helen Keller to ask of Helen's dog Lioness and shares how she enjoys reading of Helen's life: 3126 Cold Springs Rd. Baldwinsville, N.Y. Nov. 19, 1967…
Author AFB Staff
Blog Topics Helen Keller