ABLE Accounts Now Available

Individuals with developmental disabilities in Texas can now set up ABLE financial accounts. These accounts allow people with disabilities to save money for disability-related financial expenses without fear of losing state or federal benefits such as Medicaid and SSDI. In order to be eligible for an ABLE account you have to have a developmental disability that was diagnosed before the age of 26.

For more information about ABLE accounts:
• read the FAQ: https://www.texasable.org/faqs/
• visit the website: TexasABLE.org
• call for information at 844-489-2253; or
• send an email to: customerservice@TexasABLE.org

Campaign for Disability Employment Social Media Effort

The Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) has started a social media effort to show people with disabilities at work. Post a picture of yourself at work on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) with the hashtag #ICanCDE.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the CDE is a collaborative effort among several disability and business organizations that is working to change attitudes about disability and employment.

Show the world what you can do!

For more information, visit https://www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org/news/.

Austin’s Capital Metro Needs Blind Testers

Capital Metro is currently testing new smart beacon technology, which will help fixed route passengers who are blind or visually impaired locate bus stops.

If you are interested in being a tester, please click on this link to complete a survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/THH7CHM

Testers will need a smart phone that can download and install the BlindSquare app. The app is available on iOS devices including Apple phones and iPads.

Seniors Without Walls

Seniors Without Walls is a free telephone and web-based service that offers a wealth of programs for persons aged 60 and older. More than 70 programs are available, in categories such as fun and games, conversation, languages, philosophy and religion, meditation, arts, reading, writing, special interest, supportive groups, health and wellness, etc. A few groups are available in Spanish. Sessions run from thirty minutes to an hour. Seniors Without Walls is a California-based program that now has more than 1000 participants in 35 states. The service is a great resource for seniors wanting phone and online interaction, continuing education, and entertainment.

For more information, please call 877-797-7299 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time) or visit www.seniorswithoutwalls.org

#SidebySideTX–Celebrate Developmental Disabilities Month

There’s only a few days left in the month of March, but still time to participate in the #SidebySideTX social media to celebrate Developmental Disabilities month. Here’s what you do:
1. Use your phone or camera to take a photo or short video of you and another person or a group of people participating in activities in your community, side-by-side.
2. Add the photo or video to your favorite social media site (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).
3. Include the hashtag #SideBySideTX and post your photo or video.
For more information about the campaign, visit http://www.tcdd.texas.gov/resources/side-by-side-texas/

Transportation Survey Available for A Limited Time

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute has an online survey available for the next few weeks. This survey is intended for persons with visual impairments to learn more about their transportation needs, and what types of transportation they currently use. The survey takes about fifteen minutes to complete.

This mobility needs survey is available at: https://goo.gl/JSBbtE

How to Listen to the Upcoming Eclipse

Visit the web site http://eclipsesoundscapes.org/ to learn how people who are blind or visually impaired can experience the upcoming solar eclipse.

Eclipse Soundscapes has an iOS and will soon have an Android app that will allow people with vision impairments to hear about the eclipse as it happens on Monday, August 21st. For those individuals without access to a smart phone, the web site will have mp3 and mp4 audio files available for download or streaming.

After the eclipse, the site will feature a database of the recordings.

Upcoming Webinar About Transportation August 15th, 2017

The Texas State Independent Living Council is hosting a virtual conversation about TNC’s – Transportation Network Companies – also know as ride sharing companies. Ride sharing is becoming very popular and increasingly necessary in large cities like Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.

This webinar is free, and will take place on Tuesday, August 15th, from 2 – 3 pm Central Time. To register, please visit: https://events-na1.adobeconnect.com/content/connect/c1/2336834197/en/events/event/shared/default_template/event_registration.html?sco-id=2339069869&_charset_=utf-8

People with disabilities, their families, caregivers, and professionals in the field of disability are invited to attend.

Ride Austin Providing Free Medical Transportation

Beginning in August of this year, Ride Austin, a local ride sharing service, will partner with the Community Care Collaborative to provide free transportation to medical appointments or pharmacies. The doctors or pharmacies must be part of the Community Care Collaborative. Funding for this service is being provided by a grant from the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas.

Ride Austin is a non-profit transportation network company that serves Travis and portions of surrounding counties. The medical transportation service will initially be available only to residents of Travis county.

For more information about Ride Austin, please visit their web site: http://www.rideaustin.com/

Perkins Store and Other Adaptive Technology Sources

The Perkins online store (www.perkinsproducts.org/store/en/) is now only selling braillers and related equipment, although the organization will continue to offer blank NLS digital cartridges when the new shipment arrives in July.

Here are a few other distributors for assistive technology such as video magnifiers, digital book players, and Braille notetakers:
Independent Living Aids: www.independentliving.com
LS&S: www.lssproducts.com
Maxi-Aids: www.maxiaids.com
Enablemart: www.enablemart.com/
IRTI (Innovative Rehabilitation Technology): www.irti.net/