How Can the National Federation of the Blind Help?

A while ago I wrote about Be My Eyes and how they were affiliating with several other organizations to hopefully make the lives of the visually impaired easier. I actually connected with the Microsoft disabilities department through the Be My Eyes app.

Resources for people with low vision

Be My Eyes is now affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind. The National Federation of the Blind is best known to me for the Kurzweil - National Federation of the Blind Reader. The KNFB Reader is a text-to-speech app that I have on my devices. I have also referred people to the NFB for their free white cane program.

The National Federation of the Blind

According to the official site for the NFB, the birthplace of the organization is pretty close to me. Would you believe that it's in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania? That was a surprise to me. From this humble birthplace (people in Wilkes-Barre are probably ready to kill me right now), in 1940, the NFB has arguably become the face (and voice) of the blind and visually impaired.

So, why would we want to contact the NFB to begin with? I don’t know about you, but I already own the KNFB app and a white cane. What else can they do for us?

Providing hope

To begin with, they offer us hope. Their slogan is this: "You can live the life you want." Blindness is not what is holding you back. I like that. I like that! They also offer assistance across a wide range of services and life situations.

Services for seniors

Because age-related macular degeneration generally hits us in our later years, I decided to scan their list of services for seniors. While the senior division per se does not look too active, they do offer an annual retreat. They also offer group conversations and support on topics related to vision loss in the elderly.

Newsline

In another forum I did a page on the NFB - Newsline. Newsline is a bit beyond the scope of this page, probably deserving a page of its own. Suffice it to say, you can access newspapers from all over the country using this app on your device.

When I was playing around with it several years ago, it was a call-in service and I had some problems with the navigation instructions. However, I get emails regularly telling me about upgrades to the system. I would assume the user-friendly factor has increased significantly. If you miss your newspaper with your morning cup of joe, this may be a NFB service you want to subscribe to.

Blind and low vision news

If you want strictly news about issues related to blindness and the blind, you might want to subscribe to the Braille Monitor. Given the name, it is obvious this monthly (or so) publication was started before technology became available to assuage some of our communication concerns. The Braille Monitor was, indeed, started in 1957. And, in spite of its name, you don’t have to read Braille to read the Monitor. Electronic versions are available... and a whole lot lighter to carry into the “reading room."

An overview

That is a quick overview of the National Federation of the Blind. With educational, legal, and social as well as many other categories of resources, the NFB could be recommended as your first stop for answers on all aspects of living with vision loss. Now available on your Be My Eyes app. Cool!

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