731 episodes

Blind Abilities: The most comprehensive resource for Assistive Technology, Accessible Devices, Blind and Low Vision Technology, iPhone demonstrations, success Stories, Job Insights, College and Career Pathways and all with a Blindness Perspective.

Blind Abilitie‪s‬ Blind Abilities Team

    • Tech News

Blind Abilities: The most comprehensive resource for Assistive Technology, Accessible Devices, Blind and Low Vision Technology, iPhone demonstrations, success Stories, Job Insights, College and Career Pathways and all with a Blindness Perspective.

    Transitioning Through Change and Mental Health with Beth Gustin, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and Nationally Certified Mental Health Counselor

    Transitioning Through Change and Mental Health with Beth Gustin, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and Nationally Certified Mental Health Counselor

    Blind Abilities welcomes back to the podcast, Beth Gustin, licensed professional counselor, a nationally certified mental health counselor, to speak about the impact that the prolonged pandemic is having on our mental health.
    Beth was a guest on the Job Insights podcast show back in October 2018 where she spoke about mental health and job searching with Jeff and Serina.
    Beth addresses the stress imposed by restricted access to our favorite places, such as coffee shops and other activities, and more importantly, the isolation we experience by not enjoying the availability of our social connections, friends and family. This can easily cause anxiety, anger and even depression. Be sure to listen as Beth offers multiple ways to relieve these symptoms and to find a much needed respite from the pressure caused by these stressors.
    Beth also suggests that one can seek out professional help if one feels down during the pandemic, offering a resource where one can find a therapist or other mental health professional, at typing in a zip code and querying for whatever kind of issue they wish to address, such as anxiety, depression or loss.
    If one is outside the US, they can use Google to search for “"need a therapist” and type in their country, etc.
     Beth is also embarking on a new business venture in the not too distant future, called, “Breaking Down Barriers with Beth", a two-fold concern to include training and consulting for businesses to familiarize them with proper disability etiquette such as how to relate to customers with disabilities and to increase awareness of “implicit bias”, a concept which holds that we all have preconceived notions about people, or groups which we need to better understand. She also hopes to start a podcast in which she speaks with folks in an effort to educate and familiarize non-disabled people with what it is like to live with a disability.
    We wish Beth the best in this endeavor and encourage all of you to do whatever is necessary to not only persevere through this pandemic, but to thrive.
    You can find out more about Beth and her professional activities on her web site, Transitioning Through Change.
    Send her an email at Beth@TransitioningThroughChange.com.
    Check out her Facebook Page, TransitioningThroughChange.
    Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361.
    Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities
    On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com
    Send us an email
    Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store.
    Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    • 18 min
    Author Feather Chell Has So Many Interesting Chapters in Her Life, I just wanted to keep turning the Pages. And Her New Book, Stranded, is a Page Turner as Well!

    Author Feather Chell Has So Many Interesting Chapters in Her Life, I just wanted to keep turning the Pages. And Her New Book, Stranded, is a Page Turner as Well!

    Feather Chelle has just published her first book, Stranded, in December and soon her second book, a picture book, will be available as well. Feather Chelle, aka Heather, is a young mother of five and home schools her kids and leads a Girl Scout Troop as well. Heather lost her sight by age 3 due to cancer and adopted her late friends daughter while having 4 kids of her own. She is from a large family and kids have been a part of her life since she was a child herself.
    Heather started writing her book 4 years ago and on December 31, 2020, her book, Stranded”, became available on Kindle and on Amazon.
    From the web:
    Whales and dolphins are falling ill all throughout the Atlantic Ocean! Cherish and her family of Pilot Whales have been fleeing as far from other animals as possible, but some of them have begun to show symptoms. When danger closes in from all around them, will the Dolphin Riders make it in time to save the day?
    This is an educational and adventurous book for young readers as well as adults like me.  I learned a lot about the dolphins and marine life right from the start.
    Feather Chelle, a nick-name given to her from her mother and Grandfather, keeps you turning the pages and you can tell she knows kids.
    Heather shares her journey from childhood to present day motherhood and all from a blindness perspective.
    You can follow Heather on Twitter @Feather_Chelle and FeatherChellAuthor on Facebook.
    And click on the follow the author button on Amazon when you check out her book, Stranded.
    Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361.
    Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities
    On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com
    Send us an email
    Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store.
    Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    • 31 min
    Our Space Our Place: A Creative Program Helping Students Connect Socially Through Arts, Sports and Community Service and Mentoring

    Our Space Our Place: A Creative Program Helping Students Connect Socially Through Arts, Sports and Community Service and Mentoring

    Blind Abilities Teen Correspondent, Simon Bonenfant, chats with Cheryl Cummings and Ruth Kahn, representing an after school and career exploration program in Boston for middle and high school students who are blind or low vision. the Our Space Our Place program takes advantage of a variety of activities to promote social interaction and networking among the students, including the arts, theatre, dance, poetry and many more.
    The founder and Director is Cheryl Cummings, who shares her story about how she came to start this meaningful program. Cheryl went Blind at age 13 as a result of encephalitis from a mosquito bite, but adapted, finished high school and went on to Princeton University in New Jersey. She explains why she went there and how she had to get out from under the loving, but very protective  hold of her family in Chicago.
    Not only did she graduate from this distinguished Ivey League school, but she went on to graduate school in Boston. What happened then?
    Just as Cheryl had her future in focus and had so much going for her, she returned to Washington, DC to begin a job search in her field of choice, International Relations, but her efforts were in vein. 
    “no one would hire me” says Cheryl, who eventually applied for, and only after persistent bugging of their employment office,  was hired by the Peace Corps, and embarked on a two year assignment in the Dominican Republic.      Impressive? Yes! The end of the story? No.
    When she returned to the states, she met her soon to be husband, moved back to Boston and began working for the Massachusetts  Commission for the Blind. And it was there that she realized she needed to start an after school and career exploration program. As Cheryl thought about how difficult it was to get a job in her chosen field, she said to herself, “What can we do to make this not happen to other blind people?” and the Our Space Our Place program concept was born.
    Following his discussion with Cheryl, Simon chats with Ruth Kahn, a professional audio describer, who speaks about her experience in the field. Ruth also informs us of an upcoming special event, in which she will describe the actions on and around the stage of a live performance of the Urban Nutcracker Ballet. The session will be dynamic and interactive, and will also involve Ruth guiding the students in describing themselves and the activities as well.
    Be sure to listen in as Simon delves into the startup of this after-school program and how Cheryl led the organization through applying for 501(c)(3) status, securing space and getting up and running. 
    Check out this fascinating event, slated for  the afternoons of April 20 -23. The ballet will be available for viewing on Zoom to any Blind or low vision individuals anywhere in the World.
    You can find out more about this event, and about the Our Space Our Place program on the web.
     or you can send an email to President@OurSpaceOurPlace.Org.
    or you can call 617-459-4084
    Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361.
    Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities
    On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com
    Send us an email
    Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store.
    Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    • 25 min
    Inclusion in Academia for Blind and visually Impaired Students, Inclusion in STEM and the Importance of Braille at Any Age, Meet Dr. Natalina Martiniello

    Inclusion in Academia for Blind and visually Impaired Students, Inclusion in STEM and the Importance of Braille at Any Age, Meet Dr. Natalina Martiniello

    Full Transcript Dr. Natalina Martiniello completed her Doctorate in the study of Aging on Braille Literacy from the University of Montreal in December of 2021 and has a vast and robust knowledge of all things diversity, accessibility and related issues facing the Blind and Visually Impaired.
    Inclusion in the classrooms, inclusion in the curriculum building in Universities and the importance of learning Braille at any age are some of the focuses Natalina brings to the conversation.
    Dr. Martiniello is the President of Braille Literacy Canada and is a strong believer in braille literacy and shares her views on braille devices, how to approach educating seniors on braille, and the importance of having a physical connection to literacy  int order to know spelling, grammar, punctuation and modern terminology to effectively communicate in today’s professional and virtual world.
    As the President of Braille Literacy Canada, she instituted a new program called Braille Zoomers, aimed at providing a monthly  virtual peer support workshop to seniors who have learned, or will soon be learning to read braille. You can find out more about the Braille Zoomers program on the Braille Literacy Canada web site.
    Embedded in Dr. Martiniello’s discussions of these important topics, we also hear some humorous stories and experiences from her which help us understand her message in a captivating and very personal way.  Be sure to listen carefully as she describes an incident with her guide dog while attending a university  event.
    Please join Jeff Thompson as he delves into these subjects with Dr. Natalina Martiniello in this brief, but informative and fascinating interview.
    Be sure to follow Dr. Martiniello on Twitter @Paws2See.
    Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361.
    Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities
    On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com
    Send us an email
    Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store.
    Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    • 35 min
    Get Out of Your Brain and Do It! 4th Fittest Standing Adaptive Athlete in the World Kym DeKeyrel on CrossFit Training and How Her Life Changing Diet Made Her Who She is Today

    Get Out of Your Brain and Do It! 4th Fittest Standing Adaptive Athlete in the World Kym DeKeyrel on CrossFit Training and How Her Life Changing Diet Made Her Who She is Today

    Full Transcript Kym DeKeyrel has faced life threatening challenges and has made the necessary changes in her life to take on more and more as she is now all-in on the CrossFit training. Kym is the 4th Fittest Standing Adaptive Athlete in the World.
    Working out twice a day and balancing her family life and work as a Massage Therapist, Kym strives on being the best she can be. 
    Listen in as Kym describes how her change in her diet saved her life and gave her back her life and she never looked back. 
    Kym is a believer that one can achieve their goals and proves it to herself every workout as she pushes herself to do more and be more.
    Kym wants you to check out a CrossFit Gym in your local area and give it a try. 
    You can follow Kym on her Facebook page at Kym DeKeyrel.
    Kym is on Instagram at KymPossiblexoxo.
    WheelWOD on Facebook
    CrossFit The CrossFit Open Adaptive Division: What We Know Now.
    Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361.
    Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities
    On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com
    Send us an email
    Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store.
    Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    • 36 min
    What’s the Big Idea, Dr. Cal? A Conversation with Dr. Calvin Roberts, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild

    What’s the Big Idea, Dr. Cal? A Conversation with Dr. Calvin Roberts, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild

    Full Transcript Our guest on this episode of the Blind Abilities podcast is Dr. Calvin W. Roberts, MD, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing and preventing vision loss. Dr. Roberts  has a unique blend of academic, clinical, business and hands-on product development experience. He is a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and  formerly Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Eye Care, at Bausch Health Companies where he coordinated global development and research efforts across their vision care, pharmaceutical and surgical business units.
    Dr. Roberts shares his ideas towards how he sees the Lighthouse Guild providing help for clients through a variety of services aimed at treating the entire patient, including: 
    Low Vision Optometrists and Opticians, Vocational Rehabilitation, an Accessible Technology Center, Behavioral Health Counseling, Teen, Young Adult, Adult and Parent Tele-support Programs, and more.
    Dr. Roberts chats openly and articulately about his experiences and how they translate into developing new and innovative technology and services.  Listen as Dr. Roberts enthusiastically describes and demonstrates NaviLens which is an advanced and enhanced form of QR bar code scanning via the use of color-coded QR codes and a smart phone app. He also discusses his ongoing podcast called: On Tech and Vision with Dr. Cal Roberts, produced by Lighthouse Guild. Some brief excerpts of this podcast can be heard here. 
    If you live in the New York City area, or even elsewhere since Zoom and other virtual means for meeting have evolved recently, be sure to check out the Lighthouse Guild and the many services they have to offer.   
    You can find out more about Lighthouse Guild on their web site:
    www.LighthouseGuild.org
    Or by calling:
    800-284-4422
    Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361.
    Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities
    On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com
    Send us an email
    Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store.
    Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    • 41 min

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