How to make social media posts accessible to blind and visually impaired

By Chelsey Zumpano

Social medias like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are all very popular, but posts aren’t very accessible to us blind and visually impaired. I’m going to give you some tips on how to make your post more accessible to us.

1. Image and audio descriptions

This in my opinion is one of the most important things you can do for us because when you add image and audio description we are able to know what’s going on in the picture or a video that you shared. Without an image or audio descriptions we are lost and have no idea what you shared and sometimes all we hear is pretty music in the background.

You can either be very vague or very detailed.

Drawing

(Drawing credit goes to Chelsey Zumpano).

Vague description: A boy sits in a tree, while a girl sits on the swing hanging from the tree.

Detailed description: A boy with blond hair and wearing a black T-shirt sits in a tree facing away from us. A girl with short purple hair, wearing a pink T-shirt, and teal leggings sits on the swing hanging from the tree’s branches. The tree is big at the bottom and curves to the right getting smaller as it goes, the branches are bear of any leaves. The sky is dark blue making the green grass seem too bright.

Both let us know what is going on in the picture, but one Leaves it up to interpretation and imagination and the other lets us know how the artist or photographer intended for the piece to look.

2. hashtags

This is a very popular way to get people to find what your sharing, but when you’re using a screen reader we often have no idea what the hashtag is. You might wonder why that is it’s because when using hashtag such as #peanutbuttercookies or #retinopathyofprematurity it all ends up sounding like one jumbled word to us. What you can do to make it more accessible is to capitalize each word than it looks like this…

#PeanutButterCookies #RetinopathyOfPrematurity

When you’re using abbreviations or an acronym, you would capitalize each letter or when I use #VIBlind, I capitalize the V for visually, the I for impaired, and the B for blind.

3. Links

We all want to share the latest article or video, but in order to make this accessible to us you must post the link either by itself or if you’re going to post text above it go down two lines and then post the link. (I know for sure you have to do this on Facebook or else voiceover won’t recognize it as a link, but I do this on any social media site to be safe).

Remember to enter in our giveaway video:

https://youtu.be/3-iBmvw4wro

If you have any questions, comment down below and if you would like to contribute to our website or YouTube channel please email:

Viblindresources@gmail.com

VIBlind Good List

Chelsey Zumpano: greetings everyone I have decided to write a VIBlind Version of “The Good List

because yes there are many good things about being visually impaired.

1. Braille- I can read in the dark

2. Being able to do my make up without having to look in the mirror therefore I can do my make up anywhere I want!

3. Not judging people for how they look, but for their personality and how they treat others!

4. Guide dog- someday I will be able to walk confidently with a guide dog by my side, it will be amazing to have a constant companion who keeps me safe!

5. Helping people- if I wasn’t visually impaired I would not have created this website and I wouldn’t be able to help people like I hope I am.

Now here’s my friend Amanda Gene’s good list!

Hi Everyone, Chelsey, asked me to join in with her “The Good List” project. Here are my top five good reasons of being visually impaired.

1. Educate- I believe strongly in educating the general public on being visually impaired and to help burst many of the misconceptions there are surrounding our disability.

2. Determination- I believe that having a disability really gives you a lot of motivation and determination to meet your goals despite what other people may think.

3. Being Supportive- I believe that because you have a disability this makes you more supportive to the people around you no matter if they have a disability or not.

4. Technology- Let’s face it, some of our technology is pretty cool to use.

5. Guide Dogs- I don’t have a guide dog, but I have friends who have one. I think its amazing to have an animal that helps you stay safe every day.

 

Where you can follow me:

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

Blog

Pinterest

Email

Instagram

YouTube

If you would like to add to this list or to contribute a blog post of your own email us:

viblindresources@gmail.com

 

 

The good list

By Chelsey Zumpano

People make lists about lots of things, shopping lists, to do lists, what not to do lists, so how about the good list.

1. My family

2. YouTube and i’ve said many times before how YouTube is like Therapy for me and it’s help me to come out of my shell.

3. Writing

4. Cuddling with all my animals

5. Being able to pet my cat Audrey because she is very skittish and doesn’t like a lot of people She also sits with me on days when I’m feeling overwhelmed with people and it’s nice to take comfort in the fact that I have a cat who understands me.

6. Books and like I’ve said before books are one of my coping skills, but I also just happened to be a bookworm.

7. The smell after it rains, all fresh and new smelling, like a little nose rainbow.

8. Our new boat

9. Swimming

10. Dancing in my living room with my mom and sister

11. Spinning in circles

12. Chocolate

13. Tiny houses because it would be extremely amazing for me to have one someday

14. Little puppy breath

15. Little kitten meows

16. Making lasagna with my dad and you can find that video on our YouTube channel

17. Horseback riding

18. Ice cream

19. Drawing

20. I’ll admit that I was staring. Suddenly my whole perspective had flipped inside out, like when you look at an inkblot picture and see just the black part. Then your brain inverts the image and you realize the white part makes an entirely different picture, even though nothing has changed. That was Alex Fierro, except in pink and green. A second ago, he had been very obviously a boy to me. Now she was very obviously a girl.”

— Magnus Chase, The hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

If you’d like to add your own things to this list email:

viblindresources@gmail.com

3 embarrassing things that have happened to me!

By Chelsey Zumpano

1. I ran into a pole, twice! The first time I was in seventh or eighth grade and I was running back to the classroom to where I did braille and slammed into a pole, but this was before I used my cane all the time. The second time was when I was a senior in high school and I was following some friends back to class after getting off the bus that we took to our preschool class, (which we got credit for because it was an early childhood education class), and i ran into a pole. That time I did have my cane, but there are somethings your cane can’t stop you from running into.

2. I went to the wrong English classroom senior year. (Now I’m sure this one everyone can relate to)! I was walking to class and it was later on in the year, so I should know my route to my class, but it was really sunny that day and I miss counted the doors.

3. I lost my bathing suit bottoms at the lake! Now this happened recently and it was the second time we took our boat out. If you want to see the first time we took our boat watch, (Vlog 49 taking our new boat out for the first time!). Me and my sister were being pulled behind a boat on a tube and the water was really rough that day, so we’re being bounced around a lot. All of a sudden I feel like my bottoms are falling off, I tried to pull myself up further on the tube, but it wasn’t working, then I decided to just fall because I thought I would be able to save them, but sadly no!

What Word Should I Use?

By Chelsey Zumpano

I’m not the biggest fan of labels because I feel it puts a certain pressure on us to be a certain way, but we all all have labels and words that people use to describe us.

There are many words that I can use to describe myself blonde,(or whatever hair color my hair is at the time), average height, pale, long piano fingers, and words beyond the physical aspects of myself such as, artist, bookworm, writer, YouTuber, fan girl, and visually impaired.

You might be wondering, (but why do you use the word Visually impaired instead of blind)? Well dear reader, I shall explain after these definitions…

Blind– unable to see because of injury, disease, or a congenital condition.

I don’t describe myself as blind very often because most people assume this means I can not see anything because I do have some vision I only use this word when I don’t have time to explain or want to just get my point across quicker.

Legal blindness is a level of vision loss that has been legally defined to determine eligibility for benefits. In the United States, this refers to a medically diagnosed central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, and/or a visual field of 20 degrees or less.

I usually only use legally blind on paperwork because I think when people hear the word blind it does, (like I said earlier), get your point across quicker and when you use legal along with it, it sounds more official.

Visual impairment/visual disability is “a term that encompasses both those who are blind and those with low vision” (Corn & Lusk, 2010, p. 13). Additional factors influencing visual impairment might be contrast sensitivity, light sensitivity, glare sensitivity, and light/dark adaptation.

I use visually impaired because I like how it sounds, simple, and less like a diagnosis.

For me personally, I believe the words are interchangeable,

Remember you are never alone, you are more than just a diagnosis or label, and to choose the label that feels right for you!

Let me know down in the comments what word or words you choose to describe yourself with?

If you would like to contribute something to our website or YouTube channel please email:

viblindresources@gmail.com

Sources

Definitions for blind and visually impaired come from American Foundation Of The Blind.

The definition of blind comes from Google.

Blind girl makes lasagna for the first time!

By Chelsey Zumpano

This is the recipe for the lasagna me and my dad made.

Ingredients

1. Lasagna noodles

2. Sauce

3. Ground beef

4. Italian sausage

4. Spinach

5. Ricotta cheese

6. Grated Mozzarella cheese

7. Grated Cheddar cheese

Directions: preheat oven to 450, heat up spinach in the microwave for 30 seconds, and cook lasagna for 9:00 minutes in a 9×12 pan. Watch the video below to see step by step directions.

My college experience with a visual impairment

By Amanda Gene

Amanda wearing a cap and gown and holding her diploma.

I was just like any freshmen going into college; I had feelings of apprehension, but adding the fact that my college journey was going to be even more stressful do to my disabilities, make my journey even more of a mystery, here’s how my journey unfolded.

Once I got registered for classes at Pensacola State College, I had to get signed up with The Disability Resource Center. I was not happy that day. Actually, I cried as I sat in the lobby waiting for my turn. I was partly angry that I had to go to this state college first instead of my top choice. The second reason I was crying was because I was not sure what services could be provided, and what proof was needed for my eligibility. One thing that made me smile that was being able to pet a dog belonged to the director. The head of the department was very nice, and she explained the services I could receive, and how I was eligible. I was able to sign up for classes that day. I ended up taking two college-prep , and two college credit classes that semester.

My grandfather and I ended up going back to the Disability Resource Center , and this time I saw a Goldador, (Golden Retriever Labrador Retriever cross), little did I know that the dog’s handler would become my best friend.

My first semester was rough because I was getting used to how college worked, what resources were available to me, and then there was math. I struggled, and even though I tried, I failed my math class. My other classes I passed, but this was the first time I really failed academically.  Even though my self-esteem was shot, my grandpa and The Disability Resource Center’s director encouraged me to continue my studies and to re-take the course.

The next semester was more enriching because I was able to take more classes that were more interesting to me.  I was able to get help with my math, and this time I was able to pass the course. However, one thing that hit me hard was that this semester I was told I had Night Blindness, and that I needed a cane. I felt alone, however I noticed a woman who was blind walking around campus with a guide dog. I wanted to go up and say hello and explain my situation, however I was hesitant. With the help of two, teachers Jessica and I exchanged emails and we started talking. I felt so happy I asked to be introduced to her because she is now my best friend.

The semester past quickly and I continued to struggle with math, but one class that really made me struggle because of my vision was computers. I feel that I am good with computers, however, the main issue was not being able to see my textbook. I was able to squeak by and pass the course.  After making a request and then fighting for a print to text software program, I was able to obtain a copy. I was able to receive training for the software.

In the summer of 2011, I graduated with my Associates of Arts degree in journalism. That summer I started learning Orientation and Mobility (O and M) training.  That fall I transferred to the University of West Florida as a Junior.

It was another adjustment for me but having Jessica across the hall in my dorm building helped make the transition easier. I learned to love living in the dorm, and I made a group of friends from the college bible study group. I continued learning my O and M lessons, and I was doing pretty well academically.

The hardest personal challenges were accepting who I am, the fact that I had night blindness, and I had to use my white cane so I could travel at night.

Soon it was my senior year and it was a struggle for me academically once again because I had problems accessing some printed material. The disability resource center did what they could to help, and my instructor realized that I was trying so hard to access the material and do well in his feature writing class. My instructor tried to help me with his class, and I passed. On December 13, 2013, I stood in my cap and gown as a college graduate.

If you would like to be part of this series contact Chelsey Zumpano by email: viblindresources@gmail.com

Follow Amanda!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaGeneN/

Website: https://amandagene.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandanelson88/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amandagenenelso/

Google Plus: https://aboutme.google.com/u/0/?referer=gplus

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaGeneN

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7ecLXRimvYFUZJ9WYYXXw?view_as=subscriber

Email: amanda@amandagene.com

My True Story Growing Up Being Visionally Impaired

By Chelsey Zumpano

This post is in response to an article that was supposedly talking about 15 amazing facts about blind people, but it was very negative and generalized us! I hate when people generalize a group of people! Just because we are blind or visually impaired doesn’t mean we are all the same! Instead of going off on a rant on how bad this article was, I’m going to tell you about my experience being visually impaired

Chelsey and Clint in the hospital hooked up to IVs and breathing tubes.

My eye condition is called retinopathy of prematurity, (ROP). Me and my twin brother, (Clint), were born at 25 weeks, so we were micro preemies. I was 1 lb. 6 oz. and my brother was 1 lb. 12 oz. ROP has to do with your Retina and I have a fully detached retina in my right eye and a partially detached retina in my left eye. This means I have low vision in my left eye and zero vision in my right. To learn more about my vision watch my video ‘WHAT CAN I SEE/WHY DO I WEAR GLASSES?‘ I also have a fake eye that is on top of my right eye because it is tiny and didn’t develop, so the eye is there that way my eye stays open, it’s also there to keep my face from drooping and so I can still use my facial muscles on that side.

Chelsey is on the left and Clint is on the right. They are both bald.(Picture when we first came home from the hospital).

Clint came home at three months, while I came home at six months because I had more health problems.

Chelsey and Clint wearing birthday hats and sitting in high chairs.

(pictures from our first birthday).

I grew up and went to school like everyone else because that’s the thing I am like everyone else, but I just happen to have a disability. I never felt like I stood out or was invisible because of my visual impairment and I was never bullied. I learned how to ride a bike, a dirt bike, how to drive a go cart, and skateboard just like my twin brother Clint. I made friends, although I was never the most social person around.

Clint and Chelsey wearing tiny graduation hats.

(Picture from preschool graduation).

I went to mainstream school through my entire schooling: I had aids to help me out in class where I needed it. I started to learned braille when I was in first grade, so when the other students were learning grammar and writing I got taken out to learn Braille. I took regular classes like everyone else, I just had extra time on tests, shortened math assignments because I read that in large print and that straines my eyes, I took tests in another room that way could be read aloud to me because I learned better this way. I was able to do all this because I had an IEP, (individualized education plan), which helps kids with disabilities get accommodations for school.

I started learning how to use a cane when I was in fourth or fifth grade and first I only used it when I went on orientation and mobility, (which is when I went out into the community to learn how to find my way around, learn walking routes, learn how to ask for shopping asistants), It wasn’t until six grade when I started at a new school that I started using my cane at school, then it wasn’t until I was in high school that I started using my cane all the time.

I was embarrassed because I felt like everybody was staring at me, but my aid helped me realize that the cane was there to help me and that most people recognized a cane for what it is.

I was able to navigate school by practicing the route to my classes on the brakes before the semester’s begin again. I knew of certain landmarks, I counted the doors, and I always went the same way to my class.

In fifth grade I ran for student council, I made a speech and presented it in front of our school. I was pretty good at memorizing it, (still am). Talking in front of people was nerve-racking. But I did it and became Vice President.

In seventh grade my lens ahered to my iris, it actually happend twice… The first time it happen: we had just gone to the eye doctor before and the next day, I woke up with extreamly fuzzy vision and we went to the eye doctor and she dilated my eye and it was back to my normal. We thought it was because we use different drops to dilate my eye.

Fast forward to a month later and it happend again! This time my vision was fuzzy, blurry, and dim. It was sort of how my vision is now at twilight, (the time following sunset), where I can see silhouettes, but more defined because that day it was more like shadows. I was able to see more laying down and less when I sat up. We went to the eye doctor and again she dilated my eye back to my normal. Then she told us my lens ahered to my iris and I’d have to have surgery to correct it.

In the weeks leading up to the surgery, I had my eye dilated all the time and had to have the pressure in my eye checked. I didn’t go to school during this time, so me and my mom started reading ‘Twilight’ by Stephanie Meyer because books are a great way to get out of your head and into someone else’s for a while. I’ve mentioned in my video ‘Tips to Help Manage Anxiety‘ that reading is one my coping skills for my anxiety and this probly when it became a thing.

I had the surgery and everything went great. Afterwords I had to get use to a new normal: like my eye have trouble adjusting to light when I go inside and this is when twilight became my worst time a day.

In eighth grade I went to my eighth grade dance and danced with some friends, even though the lighting was dim.

In high school I took art classes all four years and was able to take the art AP test. At first I had my aid help me out in the class and then as the years went on I was able to work in that class independently and this was because I had one amazing art teacher!

In 11th grade we went to the ‘Crocker Art Museum’ and I was able to touch some of the statues and get up closer to look at the artwork. This was all thanks to my amazing art teacher!

Back then my favorite medium was acrylic paint, but now it’s a tie between oil pastels or graphite.

A collage of three pictures: on the left Chelsey and Clint are together and then there a picture of each of them by themselves. They are wearing a cap and gown.

I graduated high school in 2014 and since then I have created this website, YouTube channel and various social media’s for VIBlindResources. I want to one day become a guide dog trainer, but for the moment I’m going to take creative writing classes and take classes to become an occupational therapist.

I want you to know that you are never alone and that you can do anything you set your mind to! Don’t let negative people stop you from doing what you want to do in life!

If you would like to tell us your story email: viblindresourcesgmail.com

Interview with author Julie Johnson

By Chelsey Zumpano

Monty: a black lab and boxer mix standing in a blue Guide Dog harness.Jetta: a Doberman standing in a red guide dog harness.(Picture credit goes to Julie Johnson).

Julie Johnson is the author of “Courage to Dare: A Blind Woman’s Quest to Train Her Own Guide Dog”

Julie hasn’t been blind all her life, but she has had glaucoma, (which caused her to be legally blind), sense she was around 19 and she only has light perception.

She has successfully trained two guide dogs at the time of this writing. Both pictured above, (Monty is her retired dog and Jetta is her current guide).

(Why did Julie decide to write a book versus making videos)?

“I’m better about writing, then making videos. Also a book is more in depth. I could take the time to say everything I felt was important. There are no time constraint, no worrying about your pronunciation or what you look like. It’s just the words, which feels more comfortable for me.”

I for one absolutely love that she wrote a book because it’s a great way to spread awareness and educate people! It is also a great way to help prove that we as visionally impaired and blind people can do anything we set our minds to!

(what does it feel like to use a cane versus a dog)?

“I’m not sure this is going to be explainable in a meaningful way, unless you have experienced it.  What’s the difference between boots, tennis shoes or sandals?  There’s the obvious things like the dog takes you around things, while you’ll contact things as landmarks with a cane.  Moving with a dog feels smoother, more fluid.  A cane works great when you’re looking for a specific thing, like a mailbox, trash can or chair.  A dog can take you to those things, but you have to teach those skills specifically.  Otherwise the dog views them as obstacles and will take you around them.  Canes are pretty low maintenance. Toss it in the corner when not in use, but a dog is 24/7 care and supervision.  A dog is a thinking being and can make decisions from a distance, offer suggestions of places you might like to go based on previous experience and can be trained to show you all sorts of specific things in your environment.   A dog can provide a lot more information about your environment and is a smoother travel experience, but it’s also a lot more work.”

Julie is working on a second book: it’s a training book manual on all the different aspects of training your own guide or service dog. Julie says: “it’s a huge project and will likely be a couple of more years before it’s finished.” She would like to add videos and other content to make it a full course.

Julie’s writing advice: Write.  That’s really it.  Put your backside in the chair and write.  rinse and repeat.   Anyone can write a book.   It might not be a best seller, but if you want to write a book, you can write a book.  Again, it’ comes down to commitment.

Julie’s advice for owner trainers: Be really, really, really sure this is something you want to do.  Not just “I think that’s interesting” but a deep “I have to do this” feeling.  It will consume perhaps 2 years of your life.  You have to be willing to give up a lot of free time, sacrifice extra spending money for dog supplies, focus only on dog training and be willing to stick it out even when it gets tough.   The folks I see who are unsuccessful with owner training are those who don’t fully commit the time.  Perhaps they try to train a dog and start a new job or get married or some other big life event.  That’s great, I’m happy for them on the new job or relationship, but there are only so many hours in a day and so much mental energy to devote to important things. There are a lot of other factors that contribute to success: a solid dog, training experience, blindness skills, support, financial means and patience, but a deep commitment to the process is the foundation.

You can buy julie’s book on Amazon at this link: Courage to Dare: A Blind Woman’s Quest to Train Her Own Guide Dog https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QXZSMOC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_TZ-0AbB8PW4H0

Go check out her website to buy guide dog harnesses made by Julie Johnson: http://www.guide-and-service-dogs.com/

Are you interested in trading your own guide dog and want to talk to like-minded people? Join this email list: http://lists.myguide.dog/listinfo.cgi/guidedog-owner-trainers-myguide.dog

IOS APP Reviews

by Francisco
(Originaly post it on Facebook on 6-23-2017)

iDentifi- Object Recognition for Visually Impaired
Comment:

This app is very good to describe pictures
Price: free
Link:

https://appsto.re/us/vgIQdb.i
Office Lens
Comment:

good for scanning business cards.
Price: free
Link:

https://appsto.re/us/d92k6.
NantMoble Money Reader
Comment:

I use this app to read my money and the best thing is that it’s free and it works very good with voiceover.
Price: free
Link:

https://appsto.re/us/o_I4y.i