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Calendar of Upcoming Events

A brief listing of upcoming events and activities at the Xavier Society for the Blind

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Latest Additions in Braille for Clients

Latest Additions in Braille for Clients

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Latest Audio for Clients

Latest Audio additions for Clients

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Catholic New York Reports on our St Lucy Mass

Catholic New York’s news article on our St Lucy Mass celebration December 13th, 2016

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Website for Braille Music

A new website has recently started called Catholic Braille Music. The purpose of the list is to assemble and share braille sacred music. There is very little available, which makes it nearly impossible for someone who needs braille music to participate in serving the Mass through music.

The webpage to sign up is at http://www.freelists.org/list/cathbraillemusic.

Also, here is a link to an interview that might be of interest to patrons.

This will give you a little more information.

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Southborough artist Arthur Ellis refuses to let blindness hold him back

Southborough artist Arthur Ellis refuses to let blindness hold him back

By TimWyatt
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

There was a moment when, lying in a hospital bed after a devastating bout of meningitis had robbed him of his sight, Arthur Ellis considered giving up art.

“It just flashed through my mind for a little while that maybe life would be easier without this constant drive to keep creating things,” he said. “But I thought ‘That’s not right, I really must carry on with it’. Nothing stopped (after becoming blind), it was just like starting all over again.”

The 67-year-old Southborough resident had been painting, sculpting and drawing in his spare time for decades when he suddenly contracted meningitis in 2006. He said: “I went to the doctors with an earache and before I got out of the surgery the doctor got me an ambulance. From there on I was in a coma. It was touch and go. They told my brother and my boys to constantly expect the worse - brain damage and life support. It was all pretty hairy stuff I think.”

After more than nine months in hospital Mr Ellis returned to his home on Bedford Road and began to teach himself to draw without being able to see what he is doing.

“I started trying to crosshatch because that used to be a favorite technique,” he said. “I suddenly realized that it wasn’t easy to do that anymore so I invented different kinds of techniques and began using different media.”

His sense of touch became vital as he used small blobs of Blu-Tak to mark out on the paper where he was drawing. Gadgets that can tell what color a surface is and then say it audibly are also helpful in the creative process.

“I have got used to all sorts of crazy techniques but the actual drawing has got to come straight from me,” Mr. Ellis said.

With the outside world now closed off, imagination had to become Mr Ellis’ inspiration. Before losing his sight he focused on creating portraits of people but since becoming blind his artwork has become more abstract.

“I think my brain still doesn’t accept it (the blindness) and keeps inventing things,” he said. “I still hallucinate quite a bit as well.”

Mr. Ellis suffers from Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a condition where blind people have vivid, recurring, visual hallucinations.

He said: “I can cope with it now but it had reached a pitch where it was quite frightening. I used to imagine I was on the edge of a precipice with rocks and the sea beneath. And there was the feeling you could just tip off. I got my sons to take me from room to room to get away from it but you just got images of the same thing from different angles. For me it was pretty terrifying. The brain keeps throwing up these images and sometimes they are very interesting. It’s still really good for subject matter.”

While it does still frustrate Mr. Ellis at time that he cannot see his finished work, he insisted he was not angry about his predicament.

“I’m not really into this whole business of saying ‘Why me?’ If it wasn’t me it would be someone else,” he said. “It’s got it’s downsides but my brother’s built this great studio, I’ve been involved in exhibitions and through the South East Open Studios project people have come to view my art work, and I’ve made contacts with people who are interested in art.”

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Pope Records Message for Blind

Pope Records Message for Blind

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When It Comes to Hiring, Blind Workers Face Bias

When it comes to hiring blind employees, many employers remain skeptical. Bosses often assume blind workers cost more and produce less, according to a new study. They also believe blind workers are more prone to workplace accidents and less reliable than other workers

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Calendars - Braille and Large Print

It’s the time of year when people are looking for calendars. Here is a list of some resources, places that provide calendars, some for free, some that you have to pay for. If you know of any we have missed, please let us know and we will add it.

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UEB will eventually replace the current English Braille American Edition and that the U.S. will retain the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation.

BANA Adopts Unified English Braille (UEB) for United States

On November 2, 2012, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) set a new course for the future of braille in the United States (U.S.) when it adopted Unified English Braille (UEB). The motion, which passed decisively, specifies that UEB will eventually replace the current English Braille American Edition and that the U.S. will retain the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation.

The transition to UEB will not be immediate and will follow a carefully crafted timeline. Implementation plans will be formulated with the input and participation of stakeholders from the consumer, education, rehabilitation, transcription, and production communities. Plans will take into consideration the various aspects of creating, teaching, learning, and using braille in a wide variety of settings. The plans will be designed to provide workable transitions for all involved in braille use and production and to minimize disruption for current braille readers.

UEB is based on the current literary braille code and was developed with input from many people, primarily braille readers, who worked to achieve an optimal balance among many key factors. Those factors include keeping the general-purpose literary code as its base, allowing the addition of new symbols, providing flexibility for change as print changes, reducing the complexity of rules, and allowing greater accuracy in back translation.

Letters and numbers will stay the same as they are in the current literary code. There will be some changes to punctuation, but most will remain the same. Some rules for the use of contractions will change. Nine contractions will be eliminated, and some contractions will be used more often. A FAQ providing more detail about changes is available on the BANA website.

After implementation, the official braille codes for the United States will be Unified English Braille; Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, 1972 Revision and published updates; Music Braille Code, 1997; and The IPA Braille Code, 2008.

More detailed information about UEB and the motion that BANA passed can be found on the BANA website at http://www.brailleauthority.org.

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