Sunday, October 12, 2003

Alive and well

Services, products focus on needs

Debra Kendrick

Whether disability is brand-new in your personal universe or you have been a member of that largest minority for decades, new products, publications and special events abound to broaden your horizons, sharpen skills or deepen understanding. Here are a few examples to get you started.


Newsline for the Blind offers 95 newspapers from around the country, read aloud through a speech synthesizer on the telephone. Provided by the National Federation for the Blind, the service can be accessed from any telephone anywhere, 24 hours a day, with one toll-free telephone number - and there is no charge to eligible subscribers. Call (800) 396-6326 for more information.

No matter what your special interest, there's usually a publication somewhere to nurture it. Wheelin' Sportsmen, sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Federation, is a quarterly magazine focusing on tips and techniques for people with physical disabilities interested in hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities. Call (800) 843-6983 or visit .

New Mobility magazine is written by and for wheelchair users and provides information on events, products, programs and politics relevant to people with physical disabilities. Visit to subscribe.


Disability Mentoring Day 2003, will give high school and adult job seekers with disabilities information needed in finding employment. Sessions on interviewing techniques, overcoming barriers in the workplace and a "fashion show" by Goodwill Industries will be included. The workshop will be held 9:30-noon Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency, downtown and is hosted by Independent living Options. Call 241-2600 to register.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Issues and Strategies is a day-long workshop presenting information on community integration, recreational opportunities, employment strategies, housing, transportation and other resources relevant to people with traumatic brain injuries. The event will be held 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Professional Center South, Akron, Ohio. Contact Mary Mendoza (330) 634-8791 phone, (330) 634-8871 fax, or for information.

Deaf Expo West, a national consumer trade show for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, is an immersion in products and services as well as deaf culture for deaf and hearing participants alike. Workshops and seminars on technology, education, communication, as well as sessions focusing on deaf teenagers and deaf people with racial minority status will run concurrently with the exhibit hours, and child care will be available. All sessions will be delivered both through voice interpretation and sign language. The event will be held Nov. 7-8, in Long Beach, Calif. See for registration information.


NetEcho, a product of InternetSpeech, offers an easy solution to computer access without learning to use a computer. By using your own voice and the numbers on your telephone keypad, you can search the Web, send and receive e-mail, and hear highlights from popular Web sites for news, stock quotes, or whatever else a Web surfer might seek. Customers to date, says founder Emdad Kahn, are a mix of people who are elderly, have visual impairments, or physical disabilities - from throughout the U.S. and Canada. Cost is $9.95 per month with your own long distance access or $19.95 per month for five hours to use the toll-free number. For information call (877) 312-4638 or visit

Half-Qerty keyboard makes typing on a computer keyboard possible for amputees, people with carpal tunnel syndrome, hand injuries, or other difficulties using two hands simultaneously. By using the space bar in conjunction with keys on a standard keyboard, the user can perform both left- and right-handed typing with just one hand. Speeds approach 61 percent to 91 percent of speeds reached by two-handed typists on a conventional keyboard. Cost is $395 for PC or Macintosh versions. Send e-mail to info$ or visit

Contact Deborah Kendrick by phone: 673-4474; fax: 321-6430; e-mail:

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