May, 2020 Issue 2
This newsletter is meant to provide updates on technologies, resources and strategies to support students with Visual Impairments.
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision” 
Helen Keller
Superintendent Ernest E. Garrett III
Upcoming Events
Director's Message
I hope this finds you all well and in good spirits. My thoughts and prayers go out to you, your families, and loved ones. To say these are unsettling times is such an understatement. We have been busy processing your orders and providing accessible material support to our students at home. Even though this has been a challenging time, I am proud of my staff and their commitment to you and your students.
Please be safe and take care of yourselves. You can always reach out to me at (225)757-3478 | [email protected]
Remember that we are processing orders for next year. Place your orders to ensure you have materials for 2020-21 school year.
Book Orders
National Federation of the Blind
NFB BELL Academy In-Home Edition
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) advocates for high quality services and opportunities in education, rehabilitation, employment, and legislation for blind and visually impaired persons. It also provides a network of support, training, and opportunity to students who are blind and visually impaired. While we are living in unprecedented times, we know that the NFB has and will continue to meet the challenge of the times with hope, love, and determination.
This year, BELL Academy is going to move online and offering three summer virtual programs to prepare blind and low-vision children to grow into confident and independent blind people by enhancing their education. BELL Academy will take place at 10 a.m. CST or 5:00 p.m. CST virtually. Take advantage of this opportunity for your child to connect with blind role models and more by registering for one of the following sessions:
June 1, 2020 through June 12, 2020
June 22, 2020 through July 3, 2020
July 27, 2020 through August 7, 2020
Contact Krystal Guillory at [email protected]
National Convention 2020
The National Federation of the Blind National Convention is the largest gathering of blind people in the world. It is the premier event for training, support, and information for the blind community. It also serves as a governing body, democratically electing our  leadership  and establishing each year's organizational priorities.
2020 Dates - Tuesday, July 14 through Saturday, July 18, 2020
2020 Location- Considering the ongoing impact and wide-ranging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 National Convention will be held virtually for the first time.

Summer Programs
ExCEL Camp
APH is hosting the Virtual ExCEL Camp from mid-June through mid-August. The Virtual ExCEL Camp will include a live hour at 2:00 ET, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and is free to all registrants. Virtual ExCEL Camp will be separated by age/grade groups. Students will receive a camp shirt and other APH goodies. Click here for more information!
Now, teachers! APH is actively recruiting for Virtual ExCEL Camp instructors. If you are an instructor interested in leading one of these weeks, please fill out this   form .
Louisiana State Library's Summer Reading Program
From Crib to Crayons
Early Literacy Program From Crib to Crayons will start its third year on July 1, 2020. Designed for children ages 0-6, six literacy packets will be sent throughout the year to children and their parents. There will also be props, craft instructions, and a carefully selected child’s book with tactile graphics or twin vision braille targeting the specific early literacy skill for the child to keep.

Imagine Your Story
The theme for 2020 is "Imagine Your Story" and the theme is a celebration of all things in the realm of fairy tales, mythology, and fantasy. The Talking Books & Braille Library (TBBL) will offer three children's programs: Children's, Teen's, and Read-To-Me. The programs run through August 31, 2020. Summer Reading Program prizes provided by W Carruth Jones Foundation!

All Summer Reading Programs through the State Library are open to students with visually impairments. To register contact Charlene Moore at 225-342-9563 or
How is O&M Making Distance Learning Accessible?
The O&M and Outreach department has been very busy during the quarantine. The teachers have been teaching their students virtually. This is all very new to everyone and teaching students proper use of the cane, using only electronic means, has been tricky. Teachers are hosting a weekly online O&M class for both LSVI and Outreach students statewide to discuss paying attention to surroundings while using the technology available to O&M. The ECC (Expanded Core Curriculum) was a fun topic to cover during one of the first lessons. Students talked about the social aspect of being in quarantine and the new life skills they have been learning at home. Cooking, grocery shopping and walking around the neighborhood are things students are trying to do in order to learn new skills. Assignments include downloading apps and walking routes through navigation apps. Instructors setup a Google classroom to share resources and fun activities with their students which included Braille exercise cards, making popsicles with 3 ingredients and making rock garden objects. More exciting assignments included scavenger hunts and learning to using the educational app, ObjectiveED , which allows students to work on concepts, cardinal directions and mental mapping skills. Please make sure to check out the LSVI YouTube channel for videos about using the clock face for meal time, sorting money and listening to intersections. Virtual lessons include I, L and U routes around the house and outdoors, using 3 point touch to find the mailbox, finding the door along with locating drop offs and step downs. One of our younger outreach students learned how to jump on his trampoline and go down the slide with instructor and parent teaching together virtually.
Books for the Summer
National Emergency Library
Millions of books have been opened so that students working from home will have access to content in digital formats till June 30, 2020.
BookShare makes reading easier. Students can customize their experience to suit their learning styles.
National Library Service is a free braille and talking book library.
FREE Software
JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion FREE of charge for personal computers at home, until June 30, 2020.
A braille transcription program developed by APH to help provide blind students with braille materials. This is a free tool for VI Teachers.
Audio Described Movies and Television from Home
What is audio description? It is the process of adding another audio track to a television program or movie that provides a voice that narrates and tells the viewer what the key visual elements are happening on the screen. The describer’s voice is inserted in between the program’s dialog. It allows someone who is blind or visually impaired to follow along with the program knowing what is happening.
The best source of up-to-date information on television coverage, programs with description, and new offerings for TV or streaming services with description is the  Audio Description Project of the American Council of the Blind .
    Technology Spotlight
Chameleon 20
The Chameleon’s 20-cell refreshable braille display and Perkins-style keyboard provide a comfortable reading and writing experience. Superior internal intelligence and multiple modes of connectivity allow students to use the Chameleon as a stand-alone notetaker, or as a braille display to edit assignments on the computer.
Who is the first person LA-AEM or LSVI turns to when there is a technological issue? Whether it is running around and helping students and proctors with Book Ports during Braille Challenge, fixing an Australian embosser, or an issue with braillenet, David Eller is always up for the challenge. David has served as the Technology Specialist for Special School District for 15 year supporting LSVI and LA-AEM. He is an expert and provides valuable resources regarding accessible technologies for the Blind. In addition, David provides tremendous technical support to both teachers and students.
Louisiana Resources
LA-Accessible Educational Materials
225-757-3478| [email protected]