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:

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

#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

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:

How to Listen to the Upcoming Eclipse

Visit the web site 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:

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:

Perkins Store and Other Adaptive Technology Sources

The Perkins online store ( 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:
IRTI (Innovative Rehabilitation Technology):


New Transportation Service in Collin County

Collin County Transit is a new taxi voucher service available for people who are elderly or have disabilities and live in the McKinney area. The service operates on weekdays only from 6 am to 6 pm.

For more information, including a service overview, eligibility, and questions regarding fares and payment, please visit: or call 940-243-0077. Registration is required before individuals are able to use the service.

ZoomText Training July 26-27, 2017 in Dallas

VFO and the American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss in Dallas are partnering to provide a two day training on ZoomText. This training is available for both visually impaired and sighted individuals, but space is limited. Here are the details:

What: ZoomText training
Where: American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss, 11030 Ables Lane, Dallas, TX 75229
When: July 26 – 27, 2017, 9 am – 4 pm
Cost: $550

Registration is available online at this link:

Contact information for VFO:
800-444-4443 extension 3

For directions to the American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss please contact:
Neva Fairchild