Perkins School for the Blind

Perkins Insight Issue VI


Inside Story
Take Action
Perkins International
Important Dates
Perkins Spotlight
Featured Product
Other Resources


Vision 5K
June 7th @ 10 am, Boston

Photo by Thomas Gearty. Runners in the blindfold challenge

A unique 5K run and walk where blind and sighted participants run or walk side by side. Register online or support a Perkins runner.

Visit us online to see What's New at Perkins!


Gayle Yarnall
Adaptive Technology, a division of Perkins Products

Photo. Gayle Yarnall

Gayle Yarnall has made it her personal and professional mission to find ways technology can better the lives of people with disabilities.

“It used to be just wanting to help blind people exist but now you can help blind people compete,” says Yarnall, who is blind and is founder of Adaptive Technologies Consulting Inc., which Perkins acquired in early 2008.

The line of work came naturally to Yarnall since many of the devices she recommends to others with visual impairments are tools she uses herself in daily life.

Learn more.


VictorReader Stream®

VictorReader Stream®

Download your favorite books and MP3s on your Stream and leave home with your library in the palm of your hand.

Learn more... and check out our new products!


Information Clearinghouse on Blindness & Visual Impairment

Logo. Perkins Information Clearinghouse

Visit us online for more information on Assistive Technology (AT), including sources for technology, agencies that help set the standards for evaluation of AT, and agencies that are helping to bring AT to a wider audience.



Assistive Technology... Accessing the World

Photo. Student using a touch screenIndividuals are empowered by having access to information.

Talking computers, tactile tools, and digital devices can provide innovative methods for people with visual or other impairments to advance their education, hone skills and perform daily tasks.

“The exciting part for me is seeing technology allow kids to explore the world” says Jim Denham, Perkins Assistive Technology Coordinator.

Denham, who is blind, trains staff in applying assistive technology in the classroom. A student who is blind might learn geography by listening as a computerized voice responds to his fingers gliding over a tactile map of the United States. With technology, such a student can touch, imagine and participate in the world around him.

Learn more about ways assistive technology is used at Perkins and what other services and products are available.


Sign the Yahoo! Accessibility Improvement Petition

Example of CAPTCHA

Have you ever been asked to type distorted numbers or letters like those above into a box while you’re surfing the Internet? If so, you’ve used CAPTCHA.

CAPTCHA is defined as "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart," trademarked by Carnegie Mellon University. A CAPTCHA is a program that “protects” websites by generating and grading tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot.

The problem with this type of technology is that the way information is displayed prevents screen readers, such as JAWS, from conveying information to a blind user. On some websites, such as Yahoo!, if you cannot complete the visual verification, you cannot sign up for many functions of the site.

The good news... there ARE alternatives that ARE accessible. An online petition is being circulated worldwide asking Yahoo! to implement an audio alternative to CAPTCHA so that people who are blind or have visual impairments will be given the same level of access enjoyed by the sighted.

Sign the online petition to tell Yahoo! you want them to provide an alternative way for blind users to verify their human status!

Perkins International

Where in the World is Perkins?

Photo. Student in South Africa Arthur Blaxall SchoolIn many developing countries, inadequate education for children who are blind results in large numbers of blind adults dependent on families who are already struggling. Increasing braille literacy internationally is one way to help reverse this trend.

Patrick Babu and Eugene Petersen are managers of Perkins Brailler® manufacturing plants in India and South Africa respectively. To most people in these countries braillers remain unaffordable luxuries. This is a serious problem since 70 percent of blind people without braille skills are unemployed.

Over the past decade both plants have helped to heighten awareness of the importance of braille literacy in India and South Africa. Because both plants employ workers with visual and other impairments, the facilities have also helped to dispel negative perceptions of what people with disabilities can accomplish.

Learn more.


Rare photo of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan discovered
An 1888 photo of Perkins Alums Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan - the teacher who was sent from Perkins to educate Keller at her Alabama home - has been found. Learn more.

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Perkins School
for the Blind
175 North Beacon Street
Watertown, Massachusetts 02472
Phone 617-924-3434
Email Us