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  1. 10 Things You Can Do Today to Support Blind and Visually Impaired Colleagues Working Remotely During COVID-19

    During a recent Zoom meeting with our team, a colleague joked that her biggest concern in the current crisis was that she was having a hard time getting wine delivered. While we all laughed at her comical cry for help, the underlying message was a wake up call for me. That colleague, like many of our colleagues here at Perkins, is blind. If anyone should have been clued into what she, and others in our community, may be needing help with during this crisis, it should have been me. Yet…

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  2. Planes, Trains, Canes – and Me.

    I am a blind traveler and scientist and I am just trying to do my own thing. I stand in a crowd, surrounded by the noise of luggage rolling past, different languages being spoken, and the feel of a slight breeze on my face as people pass me by. I have just landed in London and have chosen to decline the assistance that is offered to blind individuals, like myself, although I do not know the way. I stop for a moment and focus on the sounds around me, identifying…

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  3. What It Means to be Blind During a Pandemic

    People with visual impairments are navigating the Covid 19 pandemic right alongside their sighted friends and family members. At the same time, they’re also faced with some unique challenges of their own. To raise awareness of some of these issues, and to learn how communities can support their blind neighbors and loved ones during this uncertain time, we caught up with Perkins School for the Blind’s Jerry Berrier and Kate Katulak.  Answers have been lightly edited for clarity.  What are some of the challenges you’re facing in day-to-day life as…

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  4. An Ally – and Innovator – for Accessibility

    This past April, I started my 50th year of working with and for persons with disabilities. With a goal of becoming a teacher out of undergrad, I started out as an O&M instructor at a state rehab center Kentucky, and then went to graduate school to become an O&M Specialist. From there, I moved on to private rehab services in Charlotte, the Veteran’s Administration in Texas, state rehab in NC, then to UNC Chapel Hill. I retired from UNC in 2013 and now consult for the Association on Higher Education…

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  5. Necessity is the Mother of Invention: The Story of Ramble Tag

    The Ramble Tag is a guidance aid, designed specifically to improve the experience of guided walking and sport for visually impaired people. It was invented April 2018 by Laura Maclean and Tom Forsyth. Here’s their story. Laura: Tom is my neighbour, and because he is visually impaired, I’ll help him walk his dog when his partner is away. During these walks we have built a fun, creative friendship – always sharing a love for problem solving. We are “chalk ‘n’ cheese,” but we inspire each other and make each other…

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  6. Dream Job: Working with Guide Dogs

    I work at a non-profit organization that trains guide dogs for the visually impaired. As a “puppy Kindergarten manager,” I coordinate with dedicated volunteers and staff members to create a good foundation for our puppies who will grow up to be companions and guides. We expose them to body handling, different surfaces, and different noises in order to prepare them for the world outside the kennel environment. Then, at about 12 weeks old, our puppies go home with volunteer puppy-raisers for just over a year to be exposed to a…

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  7. Breakthrough Tech for the Blind and Visually Impaired

    According to the National Federation of the Blind, there are an estimated 7 million Americans with a visual disability. And according to the World Health Organization, there are 285 million visually impaired people worldwide. That means there are many people out there who are searching for solutions to help them live more independently. We’re lucky to live in a world where the advancements in technology are outstanding. There is a lot of work and research being done to find ways to improve life for partially sighted and blind people. Reading and recognition devices are…

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  8. Building the World’s First Multiple-line Braille E-Reader

    There is a perception, especially amongst sighted people, that Braille is yesterday’s format. Printed Braille books are cumbersome and expensive, and after all, more and more books are being released in audio format. For many sighted people, the only contact with Braille is on elevator signs or the keys of an ATM. That perception, however, would be incorrect – and here’s what we’re doing about it. Research tells us that blind people who can read Braille are significantly more likely to be employed. Indeed, in the UK, many blind people…

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  9. It’s Just a Cane

    My name is Ashley Broussard and I am an Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialist. I was first introduced to this field near the end of my undergraduate studies at California State University, Los Angeles when I was given an opportunity to observe an O&M lesson. That day at the Braille Institute changed my life forever. Most of the people I saw there were walking around using a long cane and I immediately felt like I was in a new world. It was so unfamiliar to me, and yet, so routine…

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  10. Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Vision Loss

    According to a recent study by the American Foundation for the Blind, over 20 million adults in the United States live with significant vision loss. Between medical tests, hospital visits, and daily accommodations, it can be difficult for those with vision loss to work and support themselves financially. If you experience severe vision loss, Social Security may be able to help. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides monthly financial assistance to those in need. Medically Qualifying for Disability Benefits To qualify for Social Security benefits, the SSA must confirm that…

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