Editor: Ted Harper
Note: Use heading navigation or search for ** to move between articles.
- Letter from the President
- Annual Christmas Gathering
- DACB has a New Website
- Interest Story One: Coddled Puppies Make Poor Guide Dogs
- Interest Story Two: The Gift of Sight
- Technology Corner
- Reader’s Corner
- What’s Cooking
- Chapter Meeting Location
**Letter from the President
Happy Fall everyone,
This November is our last official meeting for the year. Since our last newsletter, we’ve enjoyed a State Conference, helped sponsor the White Cane ceremony at Dallas City Hall and the Region 10 Sports Extravaganza. Our chapter is already hard at work for the upcoming year. Dallas donated $200 to the 2018 Technology Olympics held in Richardson on February 23. How fortunate we are, as a chapter, to be in a position to contribute to other organizations that provide amazing services and increase equality of opportunity in the blind and visually impaired community.
Membership, membership, membership! It’s that time of the year again. We started our 2018 membership drive in October. You will see membership applications in your mailboxes soon from the Firs Vice President, Ana Russo, shortly. Please help keep your contact information and email address current. Chapter dues is still only $10. We hope you will choose DACB again this year. Please contact Ana if you have any questions regarding membership..
(Note from the web slave: email addresses are removed to protect the innocent but you can use our contact form and we will get back to you.)
Here’s a few 2018 dates to remember.. ACB – midyear meeting, February 24 through 27
ACB Conference, June 29 – July 6, in St.. Louis, MO, ACBT – Spring board meeting, April 26, in Houston, TX, and the ACBT – State conference, September 20 -23, in Houston, TX
I look forward to the honor of working with all of you in 2018.
President, Dallas Area Council of the Blind
**Annual Christmas Gathering
Attend the Dallas chapter’s holiday lunch at Eddie Napoli’s on December 2, 2017.
For more than 20 years Eddie Napoli’s Italian Restaurant has specialized in providing genuinely good Italian food to the Dallas area in a friendly, “at home”, environment.. Choose from fresh pasta dishes, veal, chicken, salmon, Stromboli and hand-tossed pizza..
What: The Dallas chapter’s annual Christmas gathering.. The room holds up to 30 people.. This year lunch is on your own. You can choose any of the wonderful options from the menu.
When: Saturday, December 2, 2017, 11:30 AM — 2:00 PM
Be aware the restaurant doors open no earlier than 11:00 AM.
Please let us know you’re planning to attend by November 27. Seating capacity of the room is limited to 30-35.
Where: Eddie Napoli’s
915 W Centerville Rd
Garland, TX 75041
972 613 0800
There will be a gift exchange for those who wish to participate.. A gift value of $15 is suggested.
For planning purposes, please let Ted know you are planning to attend up no later than November 27.. .. We need to have head count-including guests by that date.
**DACB has a New Website
The Dallas Area Council of the Blind proudly announces the soft launch of its new website.. Many thanks to Larry Thacker for bringing his personal skill set to bear in making this dream a reality. This website is, as the tagline states, “Your cyber destination for all things DACB.” The website has many key features for easy use.. Beyond the basics, one can activate the toggle options (On the home page to the left) to both increase the font size and contrast options. You can link to our Facebook page, read the quarterly Big D ACB News newsletter and more. Soon there will be an additional tab for local resources and other useful information.. Go take a look! Remember this is a work in progress so feel free to provide useful feedback.
** Interest Story One
Coddled Puppies Make Poor Guide Dogs, Study Suggests
By Rebecca Hersher.. NPR Shots, HEALTH NEWS FROM NPR.. Heard on All Things Considered.. August 7, 2017
Well-trained guide dogs are important for visually impaired people who rely on them.. But many puppies bred to be guide dogs flunk out of training programs.
A study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencessuggests the way a puppy’s mother raises it may be the key to the dog’s success, or failure.. A research team at the University of Pennsylvania found that puppies destined for guide dog training are more likely to fail if they’re coddled by their mothers.
“Surprisingly, there’s not a lot of research about mothering behavior in dogs,” says lead author Emily Bray.
Past studies on rodents and primates have found that, in general, active mothering is better than no mothering.. “So, on one hand, we’d think ‘Yes, you need your mother.. Mothering should be a good thing.’ But for guide dogs, the mothers are with their puppies in the pen 24/7.. So then the question becomes ‘What exactly is beneficial?’ ”
The answer, at least for guide dogs, appears to be what Bray describes as a hands-off style.. (Or, paws-off style?)
“Basically the puppies are kept in a kiddie pool lined with towels.. So the hands-off mothers are the ones that are spending less time [in the pool] with their puppies and not interacting with them as much,” explains Bray.. “Whereas a hands-on mother is going to be constantly in the pool, licking them, grooming them, interacting with them.”
They found that among the 98 puppies they studied, the actively-mothered ones were more likely to fail a guide dog training program later.
How mothers nurse their puppies also affected how puppies performed.. The mothers will either lie down to nurse, or sit or stand up.. If the mother dog is sitting or standing, “she’s further from the puppy.. The puppy has to work for it,” explains Bray.. “Those puppies are more successful [later] as guide dogs.”
The training for guide dogs teaches and selects for a very specific set of skills.. “You’re looking for dogs that are very compliant, very, very relaxed, not at all thrown off by any kind of strange occurrences,” says Clive Wynne, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University and a dog cognition specialist.. “These dogs need to remain calm under all circumstances.”
The dogs also need to be “sufficiently driven to learn and tackle tasks,” says Bray, and capable of limited disobedience in order to, for example, disobey a command that would put their handler in danger.
Bray thinks that one reason hands-off mothering is associated with more of these traits could be that the little challenges in puppyhood prepare them for the bigger challenges of being a guide dog.. “It’s good for the puppies to have these small challenges to overcome, like not having the mother around, rather than having the mom there, around, all the time, not letting them experience things on their own,” she hypothesizes.
Another possibility is that maternal stress could affect puppy development.. Previous research has found higher levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol in dogs with more active parenting behaviors.
Still another possibility is that specific mothering behaviors may not be the primary cause of the observations.. It may be more about genetics.. The author’s points out that high-performing guide dogs are chosen to breed.. Puppies raised by rock star guide dogs may go on to perform well in guide dog training because they are genetically predisposed to success, not because their mothers were hands-off.. In order to test that possibility, they would have needed to swap out litters, so one mother was taking care of another’s puppies.
Wynne, who was not involved with the research, thinks the findings shouldn’t be applied broadly, even to other working dogs.. “I think what we have here is a special effect of working with guide dog populations, and not necessarily true of all dogs or all animals,” he says..Two previous studies on military working dogs and other dogs have found the opposite effect: that more anxious mothers produce more successful offspring in those contexts.
But, Wynne says, the potential specificity of the results does not undercut the usefulness of the research.. “At a completely practical level, there’s always a problem finding enough guide dogs for people who need guide dogs,” he says, and “it’s always difficult getting dogs through those kinds of programs.”
He thinks research like this might help increase the effectiveness and efficiency of training.. “So, it’s very powerful and useful,” he says.
**Interest Story Two
The Gift of Sight: Montreal Surgeon Implants Bionic Eye in Blind Woman
By Aaron Derfel, Montreal Gazette August 27, 2017.
Sandra Cassell embraced her 2-year-old son, Evan, as he climbed into her lap at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Thursday morning.. He peered into her eyes and she stared back at him, smiling with the boundless love of a proud mother.
That simple exchange of glances would have been impossible almost a year ago.. For the past 16 years, a rare eye disease — retinitis pigmentosa — slowly robbed the Lachine resident of her eyesight to the point where she needed a white cane to cross the street.
But on Feb.. 8, a medical team at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital succeeded in partially restoring Cassell’s vision by implanting a prosthesis in her left retina, turning it into a bionic eye.. The four-hour operation, led by eye surgeon Flavio Rezende, represents a medical first in Quebec.. “I never thought I’d be able to see again,” the 42-year-old social worker said.. “But now I can see.. I see light, I see contrasts of different things, in black, in white and grey.. It’s like an ultrasound picture.”
Where once Cassell needed to slide her cane in front of her when crossing the street, she can now make out the white stripes of the crosswalk.. Where once she was unable to see her son running toward her, she can now hold out her arms to pick him up.
“My hope for the future — because Dr.. Rezende has spoken about future innovation — is that the next generation (of technology) will be in color, in high definition and will have facial recognition, which I don’t have.”
There is no cure for retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disorder affecting about 1.2 million people around the world.. Until her operation, Cassell had to rely totally on the skills she acquired at the former Montreal Association for the Blind, now part of the MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre.
Even after the operation, Cassell had to learn to see again with the help of therapists at the Institut Nazareth Louis-Braille.
“It’s very challenging, in terms of the surgical technique and the rehabilitation of the patient,” Rezende explained in an interview after Thursday’s news conference.. “A patient who has been in the dark for years, for them to understand and relearn how to see in a different way — in a digital environment, if you will — is nothing but challenging.”
Still, it has all been worth it, for both the patient and the medical team, Rezende insisted.. “This innovative technology gives hope to people with vision loss caused by degenerative diseases of the retina,” he added.. “We are proud to be part of this revolution.”
The bionic eye was developed by Second Sight of California.. The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis Systemrequires a person with severe retinitis pigmentosa to wear special glasses with a camera on the bridge.. The video images taken by the camera are processed by a smartphone-sized computer worn around the waist.. The images are then transmitted wirelessly to the eye implant, which is a tiny electrode array that looks like a computer chip that is embedded in the retina.
The electrode array bypasses the dead cells of the retina for ones that are still active, and those cells convert the pulses into signals for the brain.. At a cost of $150,000, the prosthesis will not be made available for everyone with vision problems.. Only those patients with profound retinal dystrophy (which includes retinitis pigmentosa) will be eligible for the implant.
Blind-Assistance App “Be My Eyes” Is Now on Android
By Nick Douglas, Lifehacker.com, October 5th, 2017.
Be My Eyes – the free app that brings sight to thousands of blind and visually impaired people globally, is launching for Android..
Be My Eyes is a FREE mobile app designed to bring sight to the blind and visually impaired.. With the press of a button, the app establishes a live video connection between blind and visually impaired users and sighted volunteers.. Every day, volunteers are lending their eyes to solve challenges both big and small in the lives of the blind and visually impaired.. With over half a million users across 150 countries, Be My Eyes has grown to become the largest online community for the blind and visually impaired..
The app harnesses the power of generosity, technology and human connection to help blind and visually impaired individuals lead more independent lives.
Since launching the iOS version of the app in 2015, more than 550,000 sighted volunteers have signed up to assist our over 38,000 blind or visually impaired users.. The launch of the Android version is a milestone that will bring free and unlimited visual assistance to even more people around the world, further enabling the blind and visually impaired to lead more independent lives.
With such a high volume of volunteers, we have the capacity to assist many more blind and visually impaired users than we do now.. It would be greatly appreciated if you could spread the word about our exciting announcement to your networks (through social media, email, etc.), and help us reach even more low vision individuals who might be interested in joining the Be My Eyes community.
The release of the Android app is a major step forward for accessibility and brings us closer to our goal of bringing sight to all people with low vision – even in the most remote corners of the world.
Submitted by chapter members.. All selections are courtesy of National Library Service for the Blind’s BARD link.
[Editor’s note: The links in the book title will take you directly to the BARD home page.. Once you sign into BARD you will be taken directly to the title.]
Wilson, Bee.. Reading time: 12 hours, 56 minutes.
Read by Nicola Daval.
Cooking and Home Management
Historian examines culinary arts from across the world through the lens of the everyday objects used in the preparation and consumption of food.. Discusses various classes of objects with a focus on a particular example, such as pots and pans with the rice cooker.. 2012
Cole, Brent; Dale Carnegie & Associates.. Reading time: 7 hours, 24 minutes.. Read by Jeff Allin..
Psychology and Self-Help
This update to How to Win Friends and Influence People (DB 53469), offered seventy-five years after the original was published, incorporates successful use of social media.. Details easy-to-employ strategies for productive conversations and collaborations in business and personal life.. Discusses ways to communicate, lead, and work well with others.. 2011.
Kaplan, Justin L; Porter, Robert S.. Reading time: 28 hours, 54 minutes..
Read by Lou Harpenau..
Health and Medicine
Home version of the professional medical manual describes more than one hundred common symptoms and their possible causes, when to see a doctor or go to the emergency room, and common medical tests.. 2013.
Tougias, Mike; Campbell, Douglas A.. Reading time: 8 hours, 59 minutes..
Read by Patrick Downer..
Nature and the Environment
Coauthor of King Philip’s War (DB 50412) and journalist analyze decisions that led to the catastrophic voyage of the replica HMS Bounty–built for the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty–from Connecticut into the face of superstorm Sandy in 2012.. Details efforts to rescue the crew from the sinking vessel.. 2014.
Rosenberg, Joel C.. Reading time: 13 hours, 36 minutes..
Read by Gregory Gorton..
Religious Fiction and Historical Fiction
Poland, 1943.. Two unlikely young men thrown together by fate, Jacob Weisz–a German-born Jew fighting in the resistance in Belgium–and Jean-Luc Leclerc–a French pastor–hit upon an audacious plan to warn the world of the horrors of the Nazi death camps.. Violence..2014.
Johnson, Larry P.. Reading time: 3 hours, 23 minutes..
Read by Brit Herring..
Journalism and the Media
Two collections of columns published in the San Antonio (TX) Express-News by the author of Mexico by Touch (DBC04882) and Inside My World (DB 72707).. A persuasive advocate for disability rights and an incurable optimist, Johnson’s often humorous personal views range from driverless cars and talking ATMs to self-reliance, gratitude, and overcoming adversity.. 2016
[Editor’s note: A small deviation from the usual recipe.. I’ll go back to the usual format next time.]
Beaverton Vegan Baker is Legally Blind, but has a clear vision of the future
By Stuart Tomlinson, KATU News, October 2017
BEAVERTON, Ore.. — There’s a new vegan bakery in downtown Beaverton, and there’s something special there that has a little to do with a wide variety of treats, and a lot more to do with spunk, grit and a vision — or lack thereof.
If you had to pick one thing that stands out inside Carina’s Bakery, it would probably be the luscious baked goods inspired by baker and CEO Carina Comer’s Scandinavian heritage.. But you might also notice the dogs peering out from beneath the counter.
“I didn’t really want to shut them in all day while I was working.. So I knew that the counter was going to be three feet wide, and I just decided to put a crate in there,” Carina said.. “They can look out both at the customers and at me and they can be together.”
Sutter and Ribbon are not only pets; they’re guide dogs for Carina — who’s legally blind — and her visually-impaired employee, Lora Ward.
Carina’s other employees are also visually impaired.
“I’m legally blind and because of my love for baking and my struggle to find a place in the workplace, I wanted to open a bakery that employed people with disabilities,” she said.. “Signs alert customers that the workers at Carina’s are all visually impaired and to be patient.”
Carina has installed adaptive devices to assist them.. The scales speak.. So does the cash register.. “It takes us a little longer,” Carina said.. “We’re still getting used to our adaptive system that has its own quirks.” Carina relied on Scandinavian recipes for her menu and created new ones that are both savory and sweet.
The Scandinavian almond cake is a bestseller.. None of Carina’s baked goods contain any animal products.. “It fits in well with what I am trying to do with this bakery because I want people to feel like they belong and are being treated right, and I should do the same with the animals and the baked goods.” For Lora Ward (Ribbon is her guide dog) being able to bake with Carina is an honor, she said.. “To maintain a lifestyle and to live, this is an awesome opportunity,” Lora said.
Carina caught the baking habit when she was a child.
Brain tumors as a child may have robbed her of most of her sight, but not her vision for the future.
“I’ve been in the kitchen since I was 5,” she said.. “And people didn’t believe when I told them I was going to have a bakery.. I think my parents would have loved to have me go in a different direction.” Her grandfather, however, would understand.
Standing beneath a Swedish flag that used to fly from his sailboat in Connecticut, Carina credited him for a lot of her success.“ He started with nothing and then built his own store and built it up from there,” she said.. “He inspires me a lot with the drive that he taught me and the entrepreneurship.”
Carina’s Bakery is on the ground floor of the new La-Scala apartment building on Southwest Lombard Street just south of Farmington Road.
The grand opening is tentatively set for mid-November, but the bakery is up and running right now.
**Chapter Meeting Location
Our chapter meets the third Saturday of every month.. Currently we meet at the California Pizza Kitchen located on 8411 Preston Road, Suite 124, Dallas, 75225 from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm.. come as early as 11:30 a.m.. to catch up with friends and eat a little.. We’ve moved into the main dining room on the second floor.. There is an elevator for your convenience..
We are always looking for new restaurants that have meeting space.. Forward your suggestions to any officer.