Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

CVI's SightSeeing Blog

Welcome to CVI's SightSeeing Blog! Here we discuss topics of interest and importance to the community.

Some of the information posted here includes personal stories from CVI clients, perspectives from CVI's expert staff, hot topic issues in government, the latest trends in technology for the visually impaired, and much more. Our desire is that this blog is a useful tool to enlighten, educate and provide needed information in a meaningful dialogue for both the blind and sighted communities. Join us as we invite you to share and discuss the topics with us.

Please note: Blog comments are not to be interpreted as a direct endorsement by the Center for the Visually Impaired. If you have any questions or comments regarding the blog posts, please send them to Lara Tillery at

AppleVis and Advocating for Accessible Apps

Picture of an iPhoneRecently I listened to a webinar hosted by the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired titled “AppleVis and Advocating for Accessible Apps.” The focus was to equip those who have vision loss with the tools to be able to advocate for accessible apps on their iPhones. As a fairly new iPhone user, just started last year, I have not come across too many inaccessible apps but I found the webinar very informative, educational and wanted to share some of the highlights.

We all know that the perfect and ideal world would be that all things would automatically be accessible; but of course that is not the world that we all live in. So, dealing with inaccessibility can be a big part of being blind and visually impaired. Also, accessibility means different things to different people. For example, a screen reader, braille or low vision user could all access an app very differently. Also, an app could be accessible to a braille user but not to a low vision user. So, you have to keep all these things in mind when advocating for an accessible app. Here are some steps that were shared.

  1. When you discover that an app is not accessible reach out to the company. Sharing your frustrations with friends and family is not going to go very far. Contact the company that created the app and let them know about your concerns. You want them to work with you to resolve the problem.
  2. You can contact the app developer through the App Store, e-mail address, social media, AppleVis, Internet search, or etc. Once you find their contact info be diplomatic, making them aware and keeping the communication brief and non-confrontational. Let them know that you are blind and what technology you are using, i.e. Voiceover, braille or low vision enhancements.
  3. Then explain the problems and how it works with your technology. Many developers may not be aware that a person that is blind or visually impaired is using their app; or how technology for the blind works.
  4. Next, provide places they can go to get more info to fix the problem such as the AppleVis website or others that you might have found. When I have worked with inaccessible websites and contacted the company I have them talk to Freedom Scientific, who makes my screen reader, as a resource for additional assistance.
  5. Person in front of computer with iPhoneOnce you send your correspondence to the developer bear in mind that you might not get a reply back or a reply that you want. Don’t assume that if there is no reply that your concern or suggestion was not heard. This scenario happen to me when I sent an e-mail to Pixar Films when they launched the Disney Movies Anywhere App. I had downloaded it on my phone but noticed some challenges with using it. I sent an e-mail to the developer, who requested feedback, but never heard anything. Then several months passed and when I checked the app again, those changes had been implemented. Additionally, don’t assume that if the reply is not positive that what you had to share was not important. Many times when developing apps accessibility might not be on the top of the list of priorities; but that does not mean that what you are saying is not important. You can share with the developer that there are others beside yourself that are having the same challenges by encouraging others to reach out as well. This will show the developer that “you are not the only one” that is having difficulty using the app.
  6. As you share constructive criticism with the developer, a relationship may blossom. This can lead to future accessible updates and enhancements that you need. Or in a similar situation, I have worked with website developers of Publix Grocery Store and then when they launched their app they reached out to me for feedback. They wanted to be sure that the app was accessible too.

These are just some of the steps that were shared in the webinar. But to hear the full episode log on to the Hadley website or you can listen as a podcast on your smartphone.

When People Say You Don’t Look Like You Are Blind

Editor’s note: this blog post was reprinted with permission from the author.

Picture of Stephanie McCoyIt was a little over 48 years ago when I put on my first pair of eyeglasses, and the feeling of seeing clearly for the first time was indescribable. The transition was like leaving a dark movie theater and stepping outdoors on a bright sunny day. My eyes needed time to adjust to everything suddenly appearing clear and focused. For 36 years, I enjoyed perfect vision provided I wore corrective lenses. That all changed 11 years ago with two words: macular hole. It began when I removed one of my contact lenses, and I looked in the mirror to see half of my face missing. While I had never heard of a macular hole before, I learned the macula provides the sharp, central vision needed for reading, driving and seeing fine detail. A macular hole is a small break in the macula, which located in the retina, is the center of the eye’s light-sensitive tissue. Though all the statistics pointed to a favorable prognosis, it didn’t work out that way for me unfortunately. I’m reduced to counting fingers, since I can no longer see the eye chart. Developing macular holes in both eyes has destroyed my central vision.

I’ll never forget the devastating news. “Ms. McCoy,” the doctor said, “I’m so sorry to tell you there is nothing more we can do for you.” Those simple words confirmed my worst fears — I was now legally blind. The doctor told me I lived with high myopia (extreme nearsightedness) all my life. He went on to say that even though I did all the “right things,” due to the high myopia, macular holes, surgeries and glaucoma, my vision loss was irreparable. Prior to losing my sight, I used to think that when a person used a white cane, it meant they were totally blind (no light perception). I was wrong. The range of sight loss is enormous and differs greatly from one person to the next. There really is an immense gray area.

Picture that says not every disability is visableTo give you an idea of my sight loss, imagine yourself in a dense fog with visibility being only a couple of inches in front of your face. Your equilibrium is off and your steps unsure. You feel claustrophobic, as the fog is so heavy. Stumble, fall, and repeat. It’s unending, and you wish it would just go away. You wake with it, you go to sleep with it and in between waking and sleeping you have to come to terms with the fog. Once you acknowledge the fog is not going to dissipate, you find a way to navigate through it by learning new techniques. With time and patience, you gradually adapt until you become adept at working within the fog. To the outside world you “appear” as if all is well and you can see clearly. And since you use a white cane to safely navigate the world, many times people will say to you, “But you don’t look like you’re blind.

Facebook Abby on the movePeople don’t understand how I can dress stylishly or put on my makeup. The expectation that all blind people have to appear or behave a certain way is a huge misconception. Quite simply, the people we were prior to the loss of our vision, and the things that brought us joy, are still intrinsic to who we are today. What I’ve found since losing my sight is there are so many stylish women who are blind or have sight loss that I felt it was time for a fashionable icon to represent them. Abigail, the white cane icon and mascot on my blog Bold Blind Beauty, is a beautiful image that evokes power, independence, chicness, confidence and success — a woman on the move stepping forward with purpose. Once, an eye doctor told me that it would be a tragedy for me to learn how to use the white cane when, in fact, I believe the real tragedy is the shame many people feel when losing their eyesight. Having a visual image that evokes beauty, confidence and purpose is one way to change the stigma surrounding blindness.

So, how do you deal with this question about your blindness? Do you find that people often state that you don’t look blind? If so, how do you handle it? Share your thoughts and comments with us.

Grocery Shopping at Publix is Truly a Pleasure

Empish in PublixLast week I made a routine run to buy groceries at Publix. Beforehand I had already gone online and perused the accessible weekly ad and printed out my grocery list. Once at the store, I got a sales clerk to assist me with my shopping and also at the checkout line. As we were going through checkout some frozen shrimp that was supposed to be BOGO (Buy One Get One) did not ring up correctly. I knew this was the case because whenever I go grocery shopping I have the cashier call out the name of the item and the price since I am blind and can’t see the electronic board that displays this information. She informed me that the shrimp was not on sale so I told her to remove the item from my purchases. The gentleman that had been helping me shop said he would go and check since I had mentioned that it was BOGO. When he came back he told me that there was no shrimp on sale at all. I thought this was strange because I had read the ad on the Publix website the day before and the sale was not over. But since I had no proof in front of me I didn’t protest.

The situation still bothered me, though. So when I got home I decided to do something that I had been procrastinating about for a while. I downloaded their accessible app to my iPhone. I thought this would be a good idea because if any discrepancies came up I would have my phone right there in the store to show the sales ad. A couple of years ago, Publix launched their app. When it came out I didn’t have an iPhone and so was not using it but was aware because I have worked with their technology department on accessibility in their headquarters office in Lakeland, Florida. I had assisted them in finding blind and visually impaired iPhone users who could test the app for accessibility.

Empish in checkout lineOnce I downloaded it, I found it quite easy to use. Then I logged in with my Publix user name and password, and things moved very smoothly. The app asked permission to access my current location and immediately pulled up my store. There were tabs and one of them was the weekly ad. Once I did a double tap on that I was in. I was able to scroll down to the BOGO section and found the frozen shrimp that I had also seen on the website.

I was still a little confused about what happen because obviously the shrimp was on sale. So, I talked to a sighted friend and had her look at my receipt and the app. She said the problem was that the wrong size bag was put in my cart. So the next day I decided to go back to Publix and talk to the manager about it.

I called up an Uber ride and went back to Publix. I spoke to the store manager and explained the situation in a very calm and kind way. Sharing how the incorrect shrimp had been put in my cart; but there wasn’t enough effort put into finding the shrimp that was on sale. I showed her my receipt and the ad on my iPhone as proof. She understood what I was saying and sold me the shrimp at a discount and gave me a $10 Publix gift card too.

Now, you might be thinking, why am I sharing this story? Well, for a couple of reasons. First, Publix is a store that has very good overall customer service. In a world of little to no customer service anymore that is an excellent thing. Second, Publix strives to make their technology accessible. Their website and app are both accessible to people with vision loss. Third, as a blind person I believe in advocating for myself. When something is not correct I feel it is okay to speak up and speak out about it to get the situation resolved. Fourth, when Publix sees a mistake they make, they correct it. Publix wants to keep you as a customer. So, when you hear the words “Publix, where shopping is a pleasure”, you can know, in my opinion, that slogan is actually true.

How do you feel about Publix? Share with me your thoughts. Do you currently shop at Publix? Has your experience been a good one? What things do you like or dislike about shopping at Publix? I want to hear from you. Please make your comments in the section below.

Comcast Continues to Make Strides in Accessibility for the Visually Impaired

Last month I got a request to sit on a customer panel hosted by Comcast Cable Company. They wanted me to share about my experiences with their voice guide and other accessibility products they offer to blind and visually impaired customers. About 87 corporate executives from the “Big South Leadership Team” and from their main headquarters office were coming to the Atlanta-Metro area for a meeting. This panel was a part of that. So my sighted boyfriend and I went out to the Ritz - Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconeein in Greensboro, Georgia, to share the good, the bad and the ugly. But to be honest there actually wasn’t too much ugly!

Comcast Voice RemoteComcast has done a good job when it comes to providing accessibility with their television programming. Recently, The American Foundation for the Blind recognized Comcast for breakthroughs in making its technology and programming accessible to people with vision loss by honoring it with a Helen Keller Achievement Award. According to AFB’s website “the company made history in 2015 when it launched the industry’s first voice-guided TV interface—the X1 talking guide—which allows customers with a visual disability to operate settings and explore programming independently. Comcast made headlines again later that year with its video-described broadcast of NBC’s “The Wiz Live!” The first live entertainment program to be aired with video description.” I ended up watching it twice and thoroughly enjoyed it.

“In addition, Comcast Cable serves customers with vision loss by making available braille or large-print billing statements, large-button remotes, and an Accessibility Support Center that can be contacted seven days a week (7 a.m. to midnight) by phone, chat, or email. Comcast’s closed captioning is adjustable by color and font size, and the company also offers online support videos with American Sign Language for customers with hearing loss.”

So in reading this news, it is clear to see that Comcast is doing a really great job. But while on the panel I shared some of the areas that need improvement. My boyfriend and I talked to the corporate executives about the large volume of movies available to watch but how little are actually available in audio description. We also pointed out that of those movies labeled “audio described” that are free to watch they don’t actually work. This means that the audio description feature is not available or working properly. Additionally, the process to even get to the audio description movie category is a bit cumbersome and complicated. We also shared that the price point for service can be a bit steep for a community that might lack financial resources and has a large unemployment rate. We noted that companies like Netflix offer a large volume of audio describe movies at a much cheaper price. I explained that blind and visually impaired people are loyal customers to companies that “speak our language” and offer services that our community needs and wants. The fact that Comcast offers these services and a customer service line devoted to the disability community is a great plus. As a sighted person, my boyfriend shared that when he went to pick up the cable box the store representative was very helpful. She explained how to install the box and how to use the voice guide remote. But we rounded out the conversation by saying that working on the audio described movies would be an excellent improvement and would enhance Comcast customer base and loyalty.

The overall experience of sitting on the panel was a rewarding one for me as I got an opportunity that is rare. To be able to speak openly and honestly to corporate executives about their company is not something that comes around very often. They were very appreciative and made a commitment to expand their audio description services to the blind and visually impaired community. I believe with the progress that Comcast has already made that this is no empty promise. I look forward to seeing these enhancements in the near future.

GLASS Offers Free Membership to Bookshare

Glass LogoThe first of this month, the Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS) network has made more than 425,000 accessible e-books available for free to patrons who cannot read traditional print books due to blindness, low vision, dyslexia and other print disabilities. The online library is made possible by Bookshare, a Benetech global literacy initiative. Every Georgian with an eligible print disability will now have free access to Bookshare’s vast online library including best-sellers, literature, nonfiction, picture books, educational texts, career guides and much more as GLASS patrons.

Currently, all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities can access Bookshare’s library for free under an award from the Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. This new partnership serves eligible Georgia patrons of all ages, whether they are students or not. “Georgia is only the second state to offer this program to its eligible readers,” explained GLASS Director Pat Herndon, noting that the first such program was begun by the New York Public Library in November 2015. “Bookshare will be a wonderful complement to our materials from the free national library program administered by the Library of Congress and the National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped,” she said. “We are thrilled to make this valuable new resource available to Georgians with certified print impairments.”

Person reading bookWith Bookshare e-books, GLASS patrons can customize their reading experience in ways that work best for their individual needs. They can choose to listen to words read aloud with high-quality text-to-speech voices; read with enlarged fonts; see and hear as words are highlighted; read in braille; and more. They can also read Bookshare e-books on a wide variety of devices, including tablets, smart phones, computers, assistive technology devices and on MP3 players using a variety of free and purchased apps. Bookshare offers free apps, including Bookshare Web Reader — which can be used on any computer and laptop — and Go Read for Android.

“We are proud to partner with GLASS to open up new horizons for Georgians with print disabilities,” said Brad Turner, vice president of global literacy for Bookshare developer Benetech, a nonprofit Palo Alto, California-based organization that develops technology for social good. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with GLASS and are working to set up similar agreements with other public library systems across the U.S. so that all persons with print disabilities have full access to the world of books.”

Georgians with qualifying disabilities who wish to sign up for free access to

Bookshare can visit For more information email or call 1-800-248-6701.

SightSeeing Celebrates Five Year Anniversary

5 year anniversary signThe CVI’s SightSeeing Blog is celebrating its five year anniversary this month! Since its inception in 2012, SightSeeing has been providing news, information and resources to our subscribers. We have posted stories on different aspects of travel, how to participate in sports and recreational activities, and best ways to manage home and work life. We have had guest posts on accessible prescription labels and restaurant websites; smartphone technology and the importance of audio described programs for visually impaired children. We have also shared information about what goes on here at CVI; from Bringing Our Children to Work, to new services in our low vision clinic, to various activities in our STARS and BEGIN programs.

But now I want to take a little time during this celebration to reflect on some of the wonderful blog entries that we have posted and share with you the highlights. For those of you who have been with us since the very beginning you will probably remember many of these. But those of you who came on later take this time to read about the great things that have been happening in the past five years at SightSeeing.

Picture of an iPhoneThe first year we launch Sightseeing was July 2012. We were celebrating 50 years of service to the blind and visually impaired community and did a blog post featuring our anniversary. Additionally, we featured two informative guest posts on the iPhone being the “divisive choice” and “best iPhone apps.” But with an election year looming I would be remits to not mention the post we did on the accessible voting machine, which is still, in my opinion, a valuable post to read.

In 2013 we focused on travel. We had guest posts on providing traveling tips and traveling on Amtrak. We also spotlighted sports and fitness with posts on Ski for Light, Goalball and yoga. But a nice feature of our year was in January, when Christine Ha, Fox Five’s Master Chef Winner, payed us a visit and talked to our donors and clients. She also was gracious and took the time from her busy schedule to guest blog in May for us.

The SightSeeing Blog started off the year with a 3-part series on Social Security disability benefits in 2014. A guest blogger provided useful information on the application process and eligibility for both SSDI and SSI. In addition, how to posts were very popular with our readers. We had a guest post on “Glamming It Up” which discussed makeup tips for visually impaired women. Then we shared how to organize your wardrobe/closet and dining out tips. During the summer, SightSeeing skyrocketed with a post on the free bill readers. For many years blind and visually impaired people have struggled with identifying paper currency and this post discussed new governmental measures to help remedy this problem.

Money was still on the minds of our readers in 2015. So another post came out about the Efforts Made to Make Money accessible which shared the history of what has been done to make US currency accessible. Technology is always an interesting topic as we posted a guest post on a review of the Be My Eyes App. But even with the advance of technology braille will never go out of style so we also had a post on the Beginning and continuing Usage of Braille. We never want to leave out our sighted readers so we also provided a how-to post on giving sighted guide assistance to a visually impaired person that people found very helpful.

Student testing legosNow we are coming around to the current year. Although 2016 is not over, we have already posted some great things on SightSeeing I want to share with you. One post that grabbed people’s attention was What Would You Do If Someone Grabs Your Arm. STARS Students Participate in the Robotics Lego League was also another good post that our readers enjoyed hearing about earlier this year. Even though some blind and visually impaired people can’t drive, there are some that can and the post on Rules of the Road with Byoptic Driving was informative and educational. Since CVI is a vision rehabilitation center, we always want to show our gratitude for our teachers and the work they do to assist our clients. So we wrote a post to honor them and their profession called Appreciating Those that Teach People with Visual Impairments. Now you have the highlights of numerous blog posts over the past five years. It has been an incredible and remarkable journey so far. Here’s to more years of providing news, resources, information and a positive platform to the blind and visually impaired community!

Now that you have reflected and read some of the wonderful blog post from the past I am soliciting a request. In order for SightSeeing to continue to be the best blog ever, we need your help. We are gearing up for the new fiscal year and looking forward to even more interesting and informative post. I am asking for you to share your thoughts and ideas with us. What type of posts would you like to see on SightSeeing this year? Is there a topic you are interested in that we have not explored? Do you have a pressing issue you want to share and discuss with others? Are you interested in writing a post yourself? Please let us know. We want to hear your thoughts and ideas so that we can make SightSeeing the best blog ever!

If you have questions or need our blogger guidelines, please contact me at 404-602-4277 or by email at

Exploring the World of Podcasts

Editor’s Note: This post was reprinted by permission of

You’ve heard the term before, "podcast," but do you know what it means? Of course… a little pod being cast about, right? Well, almost! What is a Podcast? A podcast is usually some type of an audio presentation that is distributed or broadcast on the Internet. Strictly speaking, it is a serial audio presentation that you subscribe to with a podcatcher. Audio presentations are made up of digital files that are sent over the Internet. Once a podcast is subscribed to using the podcatcher (a software application or app), new audio presentations are then delivered automatically after publication whenever the podcatcher is connected to the Internet.

Empish showing iPhone home screenYou might think of podcasts as radio programming on-demand. Podcasts may provide news, entertainment, newspaper reading services, training presentations, lectures, and so much more! Often, the settings on the podcatcher software will allow users to download the audio program file at the time of publication automatically, or at the time a user wishes to listen to it. Often the podcasts may be streamed, meaning that the file is played over the Internet, as opposed to being first downloaded to the podcatcher, and then played later. You might think of this as an Internet Radio.

Downloading audio files from the Internet is nothing new, and certainly predates the term podcast. In 2001, Apple released the first iPods, which were small digital audio players on which users could download audio files from their computer to take with them on the go. The convenience and portability of the Apple iPod fueled the creation and broadcasting of serial audio productions that could be downloaded and played on the iPod. By 2005 or so, these digital presentations were being called podcasts.

Podcasts and the digital audio files, from which they are created, are dramatically changing the way information is delivered. For example, if you missed your favorite NPR radio broadcast, the Ted Radio Hour, for example, you can download the episode’s archived file, as a podcast, or subscribe to the show’s podcast feed. The feed is just the website address used by a podcatcher or Web browser to find the latest digital audio files as they are broadcast. So, in this example, the link used to subscribe is "feed://" This link is meaningless to us, but a Web browser or podcatcher will recognize this as a RSS feed (Real Simple Syndication). This is just the protocol used to make the automatic distribution of a podcast happen.

Empish displaying iPhoneThe technology behind podcasts is very flexible so it may prove a powerful tool for both computer users, and technophobes alike! For example, podcasts may be downloaded to the National Library Service (NLS) digital cartridge and played on a Talking Book player. These are free, easy –to-use players distributed at no cost by the NLS.

Blank cartridges are available from a number of sources, including Perkins Solutions (be sure to order the USB cable at the same time, because this is not a standard USB cable). A family member or other person more comfortable with computers can easily download these podcasts and make them available to someone less comfortable with computers, or the process of downloading files. The NLS Talking Book player is just one example. The same could also be done with other accessible players, such as the Victor Reader Stream, the iPod Touch, or even a PenFriend in MP3 Mode!

If you are already a computer user or own a smart phone or tablet, here are some useful software podcatchers:

For the PC

Webbie is a suite of applications that is completely accessible and simple to use. It includes an accessible podcather in the suite. If you are new to podcasts or screen readers this is a good place to start, and it’s free.

Juice was considered the standard for accessible podcatchers for many years, and it too is a free download. If you look at the Juice website, all references to downloads and support refer to older versions of the Windows and Mac operating systems. There are many references reporting that it continues to work well with newer versions of Windows, and this writer installed the software on Windows 7 with no difficulty.

For iOS (iPod, iPad, or iPhone)

Downcast is available as an app for both the Apple iOS devices and the Mac. It is $2.99 and $7.99 respectively and completely accessible with the voiceover screen reader.

Overcast has recently changed from a pay model to free, is simple to use and accessible using voiceover.


DoggCatcher is $2.99 and accessible with TalkBack screen reader.

Podkicker is free and accessible. It is easy to use and has a powerful search function for finding podcasts.

Keep in mind, if you are an Internet user, you can always use a Web browser like Safari or Internet Explorer to go to the website of the podcast you are interested in, and either download the file, or listen to it streaming live. For example, one of my favorite weekly podcasts, Accessible World Tek Talk is in Podkicker on my Android phone and updates automatically with each new episode.

Empish working on computerAlternatively, if I’m on my desktop computer, the Tek Talk Archives webpage has a list of all the podcasts to date as MP3 audio files. Clicking on one of the archived files opens it and begins playing it. Very simple!

To get started, here are several podcasts related to accessible technology and vision loss.

  1. Latest Seminars at Hadley--The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers regular podcasts on a wide variety of interests related to vision loss. Podcasts include daily living skills, access technology, employment, and much more. Note: Hadley categorizes its podcasts so if you wish to select specific ones, check the complete list of podcast categories.
  2. Accessible World Tek Talk--Tek Talk is a weekly live presentation on topics related to technology for users who are blind or visually impaired. Each presentation is archived as a podcast and available after the show.
  3. Cool Blind Tech--Cool Blind Tech regularly distributes podcasts that include reviews, discussions, and news about the latest in accessible technology.
  4. Braille Institute--The Braille Institute provides a wide variety of resources and service to promote access to braille, and the independence of braille users.
  5. Talking Computers Audio Magazine--This free monthly audio magazine covers topics related to screen readers and accessibility.
  6. RNIB Tech Talk--This weekly show covers a wide variety of technology topics from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) of the UK.
  7. Eyes on Success--Eyes on Success is a half hour show that discusses a great deal more than just tech. Their shows also include information on products, services, and daily living topics for individuals with a vision loss.

The wide variety and popularity of podcasts has certainly exploded since the term was first coined following the introduction of Apple’s iPod 15 years ago! Once you start exploring some of the rich diversity of podcasts available, most often at no cost, you will realize that podcasts really are seed pods of entertainment, educational lectures, training, and so much more, cast onto the Internet for your enjoyment and edification!

Have you tapped into podcasting? If so, which podcast do you enjoy the most? Share your experience with the world of podcasting in the comment section below.

Famous Quotes from Helen Keller

Picture of young Helen KellerHelen Keller is an icon in the blind, visually impaired and deafblind community. She was born on June 27, 1880 and died on June 1, 1968. She was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of how Keller's teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing her to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker. Her birthplace in West Tuscumbia, Alabama, is now a museum and sponsors an annual "Helen Keller Day". Her birthday on June 27 is commemorated as Helen Keller Day in Pennsylvania and was authorized at the federal level by presidential proclamation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, the 100th anniversary of her birth.

This incredible woman overcame and accomplished so much during the course of her life. So in celebration, I want to share some of her famous quotes from her book “to Love This Life: Quotes by Helen Keller.” To begin, I will share my favorite one. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” I realized that shortly after losing my vision that I had to take “the bull by the horns” sort of speaking and jump into life. I realized my own mortality; that life was too short and that I might only get one chance to do the things that I wanted. It is amazing that a disability brought me to this decision. Looking at Keller’s life also inspired me as well. I first read about her when I was a little girl and was amazed that a woman who was deafblind could accomplish so much. She learned how to read and write. She graduated from college. She traveled all over the world. She met famous and important people. She fought for civil and human rights. She was outspoken and a feminist. She did not allow her disability to keep her from enjoying the fullness of life or participating in it. Her life was truly an adventure! I model my life the same. Now, continue reading for additional quotes.

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."

"I think the degree of a nation's civilization may be measured by the degree of enlightenment of its women.”

"True teaching cannot be learned from text-books any more than a surgeon can acquire his skill by reading about surgery."

"I cannot but say a word and look my disapproval when I hear that my country is spending millions for war and war engines—more, I have heard, than twice as much as the entire public school system costs the nation."

"Personally I do not believe in a national agency devoted only to the Negro blind because in spirit and principle I am against all segregation, and the blind already have difficulties enough without being cramped and harassed by social barriers."

"The woman who works for a dollar a day has as much right as any other human being to say what the conditions of her work should be."

"I am younger today than I was at twenty-five. Of course the furrows of suffering have been dug deeper, but so have those of understanding sympathy and inner happiness. Whatever age may do to my earthly shell, I shall never grow cynical or indifferent—and one cannot measure the reserve power locked up in that assurance."

"The chief handicap of the blind is not blindness, but the attitude of seeing people towards them."

Picture of an older Helen KellerNow that you have read some of Helen Keller’s famous quotes are you motivated, inspired or encouraged by her life? Had you heard about Keller before now? What do you think about her and her contributions to the blind and visually impaired community? Or the general public as a whole? Share your thoughts and feelings about Keller in the comment section below.