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Making ense: June 2020

Making Sense is made possible in part from donations by our readers. Second Sense thanks Horizons for the Blind for the braille transcriptions of Making Sense.

These articles are not an endorsement by Second Sense. Editor: Kathy Austin

Please note: Screen reader users can use the quick key letter “H” to navigate article by article. You can also use your screen readers’ headings list keystroke for a list of article topics.

CONTENTS

The New Normal
Leadership Opportunity
Take BlindSquare for a Test Run
Audio Description Synched to Your iPhone
New Update to Microsoft’s Soundscape Navigation App
Making the Most of Your Telemedicine Doctor Visit
Avoiding Coronavirus Scams

The New Normal

It has been a long time since we have seen everyone in person because of the coronavirus.  We are working hard to get back to helping you live productively with vision loss while protecting everyone’s health.  We are monitoring the information from our local health departments and Mayor Lightfoot’s office for guidance on reopening.  At this time, you can call the office at 312-236-8569 to talk with an instructor or to purchase products.  When we do reopen for in-person appointments, changes will be in place for proper social distancing, sanitation  practices and other precautions relevant to our community.  Going forward, we will be providing group workshops via teleconference call and Zoom.  Our Second Sense calendar on our website will have information on upcoming events as soon as they are scheduled.  We are anxious to get back to some semblance of normal, but we are moving slowly and deliberately   because of the close contact nature of the services we provide.  Your health and safety, and those of your family, are at the heart of our planning.  Please bear with us as we navigate these uncertain times.

Leadership Opportunity

Are you a leader in the visually impaired community?  Want to make a difference for people with all disabilities and to ensure we have a seat at the table?  The ADA 25 Advancing Leadership team is looking for you!  This is an opportunity for you to network with over 140 other leaders in the disability community who are working  to expand participation in civic engagement in the nonprofit and public sectors.  Mentors help you develop your leadership skills and guide you on disability rights advocacy.  Speaking opportunities on panel discussions and media interviews give you a platform to shape a more inclusive, just and equitable society.  Deadline to apply is June 5.  To learn more and for the online application, visit ADA Advancing Leadership Members Benefits page.

Take BlindSquare for a Test Run

Here’s a great opportunity for you to test out Blind Square, the popular navigation app.  From now until mid-November, you can download the Blind Square Event app from the Apple App Store for free.  The Event version of this app is usually only available for conferences and for a limited time.  However, the Event version will work just like the paid version for use all over the country for this limited time.  Take it for a test run to see if you want to pay for it later.  Download BlindSquare Event app here.

Audio Description Synched to Your iPhone

Some of you may remember an app, Actiview that provided audio description that synced up with the audio from a movie to your iPhone.  Actiview has been reincarnated by Charter Communications’ Spectrum Access.  The app provides audio description and closed captioning for 300 titles, so many more than the original Actiview!  It’s free and you can enjoy at home on your own iOS device without disturbing your family and friends watching with you.  Check out the titles on ACB’s Audio Description Project webpage and download the app here.

New Update to Microsoft’s Soundscape Navigation App

A new update to Soundscape provides some new enhancements to enable you to travel more confidently and go beyond your comfort level.  The “marker” feature now gives you the ability to put your own annotation or description on a marker.  This description will be called out to you as you travel.  This is handy if you need to know what direction to travel when you get to the marker or if you need some description on your route of what you are passing along the way.  You can now also share your marker and its associated description with others.  Try this feature out with a friend for a fun game of meet up!  This blog post from Microsoft has more ideas and information on how to use Soundscape to enhance your mobility.

Making the Most of Your Telemedicine Doctor Visit

At least for the time being, telemedicine visits with your doctor may become the norm for routine appointments and checkups.  While your doctor may not be able to examine you in person, an electronic visit can still be productive if you are prepared.  The Bright Focus Foundation has provided some excellent suggestions for preparing and what to expect for these visits so you can get the care you need.  While this article focuses on glaucoma patients, the tips here can be applied to many telemedicine visits with your doctors.  First, test out the technology a day before your appointment.  If technology is not your thing, ask a family member or friend for assistance.  If barriers still exist, a telephone visit can accomplish many of your goals.  Next, make sure to prepare questions ahead of time.  Include any trouble obtaining medications, changes in medications or any symptoms you may be having.  Lastly, ask your doctor about   how their practice will move forward in the coming months for in-person visits such as policies about face coverings, waiting room procedures and screening questions prior to an appointment.  For more tips and information, visit this recent blog post: Tips for Improving Your Telemedicine Visit for Glaucoma from the Bright Focus Foundation.

Avoiding Coronavirus Scams

It seems whenever there is some sort of a crisis, scammers swarm down on us.  With the coronavirus affecting the entire world, these scammers have increased exponentially.  Scammers are becoming very sophisticated and it is becoming more and more difficult to determine what is legitimate and what is not. It is imperative you be aware so you can protect your personal information, finances and more.  Scammers are using rotocalls, social media posts and emails to entice you with their fake offers.  Some common scams circulating recently include telephone calls to get you to purchase respiratory masks, test kits, immunity pills and other protective equipment that is either fake or you will not receive.  Social media posts are soliciting for donations to charities that do not exist.  Emails claim that you will receive stimulus funds if you provide your bank account information.  Remember, the vast majority of legitimate businesses will not contact you and ask for personal information.  The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information webpage has 10 things you can do to avoid being the victim of one of these scams.  Be safe out there!