Last Minute Gifts

No doubt there are a couple people who haven’t finished their gift-getting with less than a week left before Christmas 2014!  So here it is from one procrastinator to another, a couple random last minute gift ideas.

Starbucks apparently made a commitment to offering the Braille gift card permamnently. This shopper had to ask in a couple Starbucks before finding one locally. If you’re not lucky enough to find one locally, just go the Starbucks website at to order one.

Just a reminder that January 4 is the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of the Braille code nearly 200 years ago. To honor his birthday, January is designated National Braille Awareness Month so this last minute purchase of a Braille Starbucks card may, in fact, be a proactive purchase to celebrate Braille’s birthday, and National Braille Awareness Month. That sounds better doesn’t it? Not a late holiday shopper, an early celebrator of Braille Awareness Month!

Do you know someone who is blind or visually impaired? Do they have NFB Newsline—their local newspaper delivered by phone, iPad or the Web? Sounds like an expensive gift doesn’t it? It’s not. For someone with a vision impairment, the service is free in states where it is available and the online application for NFB Newsline is at Give yourself the gift of a donation to NFB Newsline before the end of the tax year! Help sponsor NFB Newsline in your state by going to the NFB Online General Donation form at In the Donation Comment text field request your donation, go to fund NFB Newsline in your state.

Another great gift idea you might assume costs a great deal, is the National Library Service Talking Book Program at NLS Talking Books is a federal program that provides audio books and magazines to individuals who are blind or unable to read standard print as a result of vision or physical impairment. A vision rehabilitation therapist, eye doctor, or other medical professional may certify your vision loss. The books are sent by postal mail, or may be downloaded through the computer, and an easy-to-use player is provided on loan, at no charge to the consumer. For more information about signing up, just call their toll free number at 1-800-424-8567.

For folks a bit more comfortable with technology, makes a great gift idea as well. If standard print is difficult to access, you will likely qualify for a membership at With an annual membership of $50, members may download books at no cost. Student membership is free and student status includes adult education. One of my suggestions to consumers on a tight budget is to sign up for a class at Hadley School for the Blind at Hadley offers a wide variety of adult education, GED and tech training for individuals with vision loss, at no cost! It is all done by mail, email, or phone, so there is no travel. Once you become a student at Hadley, you are eligible for the free student rate at—Voila!! For more information about Bookshare by phone call 650-352-0198. Hadley’s toll free number is 800-323-4238.

Last, and by no means, not least a real gift for anyone using an Apple product with one of the accessibility features like Zoom or VoiceOver—the Apple Accessibility Support toll free number 877-204-3930. The bugs associated with the recent iOS 8 upgrade have made this number invaluable in the last couple months. The service provided by Apple Accessibility is the type of real customer service we used to take for granted but is so very rare today. Kudos to Apple for providing stellar support for consumers using accessibility features.

Best wishes to all for the holiday season upon us and the coming New Year!






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