Table of Contents


DBS Newsletter

Congratulations on a very good job! I would like to personally thank everyone for their hard work toward this year's Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Goal. We had a total of 729 successful case closures this year exceeding 720 last year. I would also like to recognize Districts 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 10 for meeting or exceeding their goal. We are continuing to move in the right direction by overcoming economic challenges. This year's success also marks the 3rd year in a row the Division has increased successful employment outcomes. Every person in the Division can be proud of the results. The true beneficiaries of this year's employment outcomes are our clients who will enjoy a new sense of economic independence.

Joyce Hildreth, Director
Division of Blind Services

Personnel Actions

We would like to welcome our newest employees to the DBS Family:

Sailing the Winds of Change: Challenges and Opportunities in Rehabilitation

By Madeline Davidson

District Administrators, Ivy Romero, Ft. Lauderdale and Bobbie Howard-Davis, West Palm Beach.On May 6-9, 2012, the Florida Rehabilitation Association hosted the 64th Annual Southeast Region National Rehabilitation Association (SERNRA) Training Conference in Safety Harbor, FL. DBS employees attended this training. Up to nineteen CEU's for Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification, (CRC) and/or CVE were available towards CRC Certification. The training offered a wide range of choices. There were some general sessions for all attendees and then eighteen different breakout sessions. The training opened with a pre-conference ethics training entitled "Ethics: A Musical Comedy". It addressed a variety of ethical dilemmas.

We heard from the National Rehab Association (NRA) President and the NRA Executive Director regarding the "View from Washington". Ivy Romero, Ft. Lauderdale District Administrator and Bobbie Howard-Davis, West Palm Beach District Administrator presented at the President's Dinner the evening before and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) Director Aleisa McKinlay also spoke.

The evening ended with a dialogue given by a DVR client, Meaghan Gallagher. Her story was entitled "The New Normal: How I went from Ability to Disability Without Losing My Mind" and it was about her experience of becoming disabled while in college. With the help of family, DVR, and others, along with her resilience, sense of humor, and spirit of adventure she is now back in college.

In the Exhibit Hall various vendors demonstrated their products and services. DBS was represented with an information booth.

A high point of the week was our opportunity for networking with other professionals from seven of our southeastern states. We left the training inspired and refreshed with new knowledge. I appreciate the support DBS gives for our attending this wonderful training opportunity.

Success Story

By Linda Clark

This year Dan Huot, a former client, will celebrate his 15th anniversary of employment with Home Depot as a Certified Horticulture Consultant. At age twenty Dan enrolled in the independent living course at the Daytona Rehabilitation Center and then continued in the horticulture vocational program.

The Independent Living and horticulture courses prepared him for an adult life of pride and dignity. While growing up and being interested in plants and gardening, he found the horticulture subject matter to be harder than he thought it would be but felt the instructor Harold Caldwell made it easy and fun.

The biggest challenge in the one year course was learning the Latin names. After a three month On-the-Job Training at Kraft Nursery he went to work at K-Mart for seven and one half years until that store closed. He then went on to Home Depot where he has repeat customers who ask for him specifically because of his friendly knowledgeable service.

He was recently awarded a commendation called the "Voice of the Customer," and receives consistently good reviews from customers. In addition to customer service, he meets with vendors about products and brings home samples to try for himself in his own garden.

Some of the ways that Dan accommodates for his visual disability is to memorize the information about the products and he knows plants by touch. One of the methods taught by his instructor was to read plants by feeling them for shape, texture, and size, and noting any scent.

Florida Residents Receive Diplomas from Hadley School for the Blind

By Kate Streit

Graduation photo of Kay Leigh Holt.On June 7, Titusville resident Kayleigh Holt received her high school diploma from The Hadley School for the Blind. The students were recognized during the semi-annual meeting of the Hadley Board of Trustees in Glencoe, Ill.

Since the 1930s, Hadley has offered a nationally-recognized, accredited High School Program to students with visual impairments age 14 and up. Students can earn their diploma directly from Hadley, or they can choose to graduate from their hometown high school.

Holt was diagnosed at age three with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), an inherited disease that damages the retina and leads to progressive vision loss. By the time she was in third grade her vision had deteriorated and she struggled in school. She enrolled in the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in sixth grade and began taking courses through Hadley in 2010.

Kayleigh was able to take courses of personal interest through Hadley and took a course on diabetes to learn strategies for helping others. Holt plans to continue her education to become a Palm Signing Interpreter for the deaf and blind.

For more information about The Hadley School for the Blind, visit www.hadley.edu or call 800-323-4238.

Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind

By Shelanda Shaw

The Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind will conduct its next quarterly meeting in Jacksonville at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront, 1201 Riverplace Boulevard, July 26, 2012, from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and July 27, 2012, from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. For a copy of the agenda, when available, contact Phyllis Dill at Phyllis.Dill@dbs.fldoe.org.

The Council will also conduct a Public Forum at the same location on July 26, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. to receive consumer input on the effectiveness of services provided by the Florida Division of Blind Services in assisting individuals with visual impairments achieving Employment and independence under Title I of the Rehab Act. This is an open meeting with no agenda.

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, persons needing a special accommodation to participate in these meetings should contact the local DBS office, no later than ten working days prior to the meeting, (904) 348-2730 or toll free (800) 226-6356, or through the Florida Telephone Relay system 711.

iPad 2 Training Program

By Alicia Wolfe, Transition Program Consultant for the Lighthouse of Pinellas

iPad 2, a wireless keyboard, headphones, a VGA (Visual Graphic Array) adapter.In the fall of 2011, the Lighthouse of Pinellas received funding from the Florida Division of Blind Services to launch an innovative technology training program for this year's Transition Program at the Lighthouse of Pinellas. An iPad 2 was purchased for each program participant. In addition to the iPad 2, a wireless keyboard, headphones, a VGA (Visual Graphic Array) adapter and $125 worth of Apps were provided to each student. The two students who use Braille also received a 40 cell Bluetooth Braille display. The training program began in November and concluded in May. Students were required to demonstrate competency skills prior to taking their iPads home in May.

The significance of this training program is that the iPad 2 is extremely accessible to students who have a visual impairment. The iPad 2 has several universal accessibility features built in such as VoiceOver, Zoom- a feature that magnifies the entire screen, Large Text, which increases the text size in mail and notes and White on Black, which inverts the colors on the iPad display to make it easier to read the screen. Students with low vision that cannot read due to the small print are able to take a picture of a worksheet with the built-in camera and use the Zoom feature to read it.

A variety of note taking, scanning, dictation, and organizational apps were taught. One of the college bound participants, Alex, stated, "I appreciate the purchase of the iPad and Braille display. As college steadily approaches, both of these tools are going to become essential to my success." She indicated, "The iPad will give me easier access to books, my grades and e-mails from teachers. It will make organizing and keeping track of things easier for me."

Overall, the program was very successful.

More Hadley Courses Approved for CEUs for CRCC's

By Randy Morgan

Hadley School for the Blind has added eight more courses that are pre-approved by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. The list of all approved courses is below.

Hadley Courses Approved for CEUs
Course Title Date Credit Hours
Braille Music Basics Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012 6.00 clock hours
Braille Teaching Methods for Children Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012 10.00 clock hours
Developing Your Technology Tool Kit Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012 8.00 clock hours
Glaucoma Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012 8.00 clock hours
Guide Dogs Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012 6.00 clock hours
Human Eye I Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012 10.00 clock hours
Low Vision and School Age Children Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012 14.00 clock hours
Macular Degeneration Jan. 1 - Dec.31, 2012 4.00 clock hours
Contracted Braille Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012 10.00 clock hours
Introduction to Braille Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012 4.00 clock hours
Finding Employment Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012 8.00 clock hours
Self-Employment w/ Minimal Investment Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012 12.00 clock hours
Self-Esteem and Adjusting with Blindness Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012 18.00 clock hours

I can provide more information if you contact me at morgan@hadley.edu. Courses and seminars can be enrolled in at www.Hadley.edu.

NOTE: These courses and seminars are offered tuition free to Floridians at this time due to a contractual arrangement with the Florida Division of Blind Services. It is anticipated that as of October 1, 2012, tuition will be charged for most Professional Development Courses and Seminars taken for CEU credit, so take advantage of this opportunity while it is free!

NFB-NEWSLINE® Announces Availability of iPhone Application

NFB-NEWSLINE® announced the launch of an exciting new access method, a free audible newspaper service for blind and print-disabled people. NFB-NEWSLINE® Mobile, a free iOS application available in the Apple App Store, features the text of over three hundred newspapers, forty magazines, and wire feeds, plus personalized television listings. This breakthrough access method will allow NFB-NEWSLINE® subscribers to easily view online and download their favorite publications with their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

The app is easy to learn, simple to use, powerful, and practical for today's mobile computing environment. Now blind and print-disabled people have a wealth of information, available to them at their fingertips, which can be quickly and easily accessed throughout the day.

"We are proud to offer our subscribers this new exciting mobile iOS application that allows them access to their favorite publications at home, while traveling to work, in the classroom, or in the office. If you're looking for news from around the corner or from around the globe, NFB-NEWSLINE® Mobile can help you quickly find it," said Scott White, director of the NFB-NEWSLINE® program for the National Federation of the Blind.

David DeNotaris, a blind professional, said: "Access equals success, and we have access to more newspapers, magazines and TV listings than ever before! So far I've used NFB-NEWSLINE® Mobile at the pool, on the treadmill, on the train, while waiting for breakfast at the diner, and I am sure lots of other places to come! I really enjoy my iPhone, and now that NFB-NEWSLINE® is on it, I can't put it down!"

NFB-NEWSLINE® allows those who cannot read conventional newsprint to access publications as well as television and job listings over the telephone, on the Web, or by download to digital talking book players or MP3-playing devices.

To learn more about NFB-NEWSLINE®, please visit www.nfbnewsline.org. Those interested in subscribing to the service may fill out the online application form, write to nfbnewsline@nfb.org or call (866) 504-7300. In order to be eligible for NFB-NEWSLINE®, an individual must be a US resident who is legally blind or has a physical or learning disability that prevents the independent reading of newspapers.

There's Nothing Like It

By Tiffany Wilson

Tiffany Wilson at the Pan American Games.There's nothing like standing at the top of a three-tiered podium, draped in a gold medal and the American flag, while an entire stadium stands and salutes YOUR country's national anthem! It was almost surreal.

How did this happen, you ask? One day while publicly speaking at an engagement hosted by the Braille Institute in California, I was asked to participate in the event activities as a show of support for the program. The event was the Braille Institute Youth Olympics. This idea of participating in the fitness activities was NOT on my agenda. Still, I laced up a pair of borrowed tennis shoes and took my position on the starting line of the 100 meter dash among an intimidating, powerfully built group of 16 -17 year olds.

One morning as I walked to work, I received a telephone call from the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) informing me that my scores were sent to them by one of the Los Angeles officials and that they would like to invite me to be a member of the USABA Track and Field Team, and to attend the upcoming Pan American Games." The next thing I knew, I was being flown out to South Carolina for training, culminating in an international competition involving 17 countries.

After 16 years of competition, four International Gold Medals, two television appearances, bearing the torch for the California State Games, residing, and training at two Olympic Training Centers, being the first blind athlete to compete/and win Gold at the California State Games, earning an All American National Ranking, and qualifying for the US Paralympic Track and Field Trials for a slot on the USA 2012 London Paralympic Team, my most prized accomplishment is speaking to youth who are blind about the importance of setting high goals, and believing that those goals can be attained. I am so blessed to be able to show by example that with a willing spirit, determination, and a little creativity, no door is truly shut.

I am also blessed to be working as a Senior Rehabilitation Counselor for Division of Blind Services because this job gives me the opportunity to instill values such as, steadfastness, drive, and determination, along with a little tenacity, pride and creativity. These values will help my students excel in school, their community, and their chosen career.

Coming Soon to a TV Near You! July 1st Starts New Era in Described Programming: See If Your Favorite Shows are on the List!

By Mark Richard, Esq.
Director, Public Policy, American Federation for the Blind

Beginning Sunday, July 1, 2012, the landmark provisions of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) requiring the nation's leading networks to provide a combined total of at least 450 hours of described video programming per calendar quarter will come to life. Consumers are encouraged to begin asking their local broadcast stations and cable providers about accessing the described programming to be provided. In addition, given that information about which programs are to be described and the means for accessing description can sometimes be difficult to obtain, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently launched a web resource to help consumers navigate program choices, the technical means for accessing description via digital TV and/or cable set top box, and the FCC's complaint process for consumers to use to resolve network, station, or cable provider failure to put described programming in consumers' hands. Visit the FCC's web resource at


An independent but more memorable web address can also be used to be directed to the FCC's site; this more user friendly address is


Congratulations to the many advocates and organizations who have labored so long for this historic expansion of TV programming accessibility. Our community's achievement in this area is an integral part of our ongoing effort to ensure that people with vision loss of all ages can enjoy full participation in American life.

DBS Newsletter Update

In an effort to expand the DBS newsletter we have opened the newsletter up to various agencies and the general public. Subscription is offered through the subscribe button located on the left side of our DBS internet page. We encourage you to promote the newsletter to those that would benefit from DBS news.

Recently we asked for your help in naming the newsletter; please continue to send your ideas. Thank you to those who have already submitted suggestions. First prize wins an article of recognition in a future newsletter, the right to brag and a small token of our appreciation. Please send all submissions to Communications@dbs.fldoe.org by Friday, July 27, 2012, or contact Aimee Mallini at (850) 245-0320.

In addition, we are very appreciative of all the great articles submitted to us each month. In order for an article to be included it must be not be more than 300 words and submitted by the 24th of each month.

End Zone

We hope you found this month’s newsletter interesting.  Remember, we need your submissions each month.  Let us know what’s going on in your district or facility.  The publication date for the Inside DBS newsletter is the first week of each month.  The deadline for submissions is the 24th of each month.  Comments, suggestions, and submissions should be directed to:

Ashley Evans
Email:  Ashley.Evans@dbs.fldoe.org
Phone:  850-245-0310

Additional useful links and telephone numbers:

To request a Braille version of this edition of Inside DBS may contact the Braille and Talking Book Library at al.peterson@dbs.fldoe.org or call 800-226-6075.

MIS Help Desk:
Phone:  850-245-0360
Email:  DBS.HelpDesk@dbs.fldoe.org

AWARE Help Desk:
Phone:  850-245-0395 or 1-866-841-0912
Email:  Aware.support@dbs.fldoe.org

DBS Division of Blind Services (external):  http://dbs.myflorida.com.

Top of Page