Published Quarterly By



An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind


KABVI strives to increase the independence, opportunity, and quality of life for all blind and visually impaired Kansans, and to assist us in taking our rightful place as equals among our sighted peers.

Volume 56 fall 2015 No. 3


Corporate Office, 712 SW Kansas Ave. Suite 410

Topeka, Kansas 66603

Telephone: 785-235-8990 or,

in Kansas only, 1-800-799-1499

E-mail: kabvi@att.net

Web site: www.kabvi.com

Editor, Associate Editor

Nancy Johnson Ann Byington

714 SW Wayne Ave. 909 SW College

Topeka, KS 66606 Topeka, KS 66606

(785) 234-8449 785) 233-3839

Supermom1941@cox.net abyington@cox.net

Chairman of the Board and President

Nancy Johnson

714 SW Wayne Avenue

Topeka KS 66606

(785) 234-8449



Membership Secretary, KABVI

KABVI NEWS promotes the general welfare of blind and visually impaired persons in Kansas.  KABVI NEWS reflects the philosophy and policies of the Association, reports the activities of its members, and includes pertinent articles pertaining to blindness and low vision. 

Send your news, views, articles, and features.   Materials in braille, on tape, on computer (Microsoft Word), or typewritten (double spaced large print) are considered.   When quoting from other published materials, please include dates and sources.  Unsigned material is not considered for publication.  Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and original materials will be returned.  Articles for publication must reach the editor by January 22, April 22, July 22, and October 22 of each year.  Editorial staff reserves the right to edit submitted materials. 

Annual meeting notices and membership renewal letters are sent to all persons on KABVI’s mailing list. If notices are returned as undeliverable, those names are removed from the mailing list and their subscriptions to KABVI NEWS discontinued. Membership is open to anyone interested but is not required for receipt of KABVI NEWS.  A membership renewal form on which to indicate your media preference is included at the end of each issue of KABVI NEWS.  Thank you for helping KABVI keep current records.


Reflections, by Nancy Johnson, President – 4

Awards Nominations Due - 6

Report from the Board of Directors, by Ann Byington, Recording Secretary – 7

Who Needs KABVI? by Nancy Johnson - 15

Tantalizing Tidbits, compiled by Ann Byington – 18

Happy Faces and Rainbows, by Nancy Johnson - 20

Chapter Chatter – Compiled by Nancy Johnson - 21

In Memoriam – 21

2016 Membership and KABVI NEWS Renewal Form - 22


By Nancy Johnson, President

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed on July 26, 1990, 25 years ago. A number of celebrations were held, one in which I participated and two others I attended.

The Topeka Independent Living Resource Center invited me to be a part of their program. Their youth interns interviewed a number of individuals with disabilities and developed a video from these. They had three primary questions: What was life like for you before the ADA? What is life like for you since the ADA? What more needs to be done? Each student introduced an interviewee and stated something they learned from the interview. Then pizza and cake were served.

Next I had the opportunity to attend the celebration at the Robert Dole Institute of Politics at KU. Refreshments were available. Audio-Reader made the exhibit accessible through QR Reader, an app that can be downloaded to a cell phone and makes it possible for the user to read the information in the exhibits. Senator Dole, who has a disability, has worked for people with disabilities throughout his political career. The amount of information provided was immense and would have taken more time to read than we had to spend. QR Reader is a free app you can download to your phone. You scan a code on the exhibit, and the information is read through your phone and your guide doesn’t have to stand and read everything to you. This technology is being used now in museums.

The third celebration was sponsored by the Kansas Council on Disability Concerns and held at the Statehouse. Remarks were made by heads of state departments that work with people with disabilities. Cake and bottled water were available.

People with all types of disabilities have some common needs: At the same time, each type of disability requires different adaptive skill sets and accommodations. People who are blind and visually impaired can be a part of the disability community, working toward common goals while also working toward improving the future for individuals who are blind and visually impaired.


*** The Eleanor A. Wilson Award is presented annually to "the visually handicapped." The recipient should, in general, through personal characteristics and activities, promote public acceptance and understanding of the blind as capable and productive members of the community. Relatively more emphasis should be placed on contributions over and beyond those made in the course of regular employment. The recipient shall be selected without reference to visual acuity; shall be, or shall have been, a resident of the state of Kansas; and shall be selected without reference to affiliation with organizations of or for the blind. No member of the awards committee nor members of their immediate families shall be eligible to receive this award.

*** The Extra Step award is presented for unique courage and successful personal rehabilitation. The recipient, through personal characteristics and activities, shall have exhibited initiative and ingenuity in meeting the unique challenges in life and shall have contributed to society in an outstanding manner. The recipient shall be legally blind; need not be a resident of Kansas; and shall be selected without reference to organizations of or for the blind. No member of the awards committee nor their immediate family shall be eligible for the Extra Step award.

Send your letters of nomination for these awards to Kathy Dawson, c/o KABVI, 712 S. Kansas Ave. Suite 410, Topeka, KS 66603 before September 1.


By Ann Byington, Recording Secretary

The Board of Directors meeting of the Kansas Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired (KABVI) was called to order shortly after 10:30 AM July 18, 2015 at the KABVI office.

Officers and directors attending: Nancy Johnson, President; Paul Berscheidt, vice-President via Skype; Ann Byington, Recording Secretary; Mikel McCary, membership secretary; Michael Byington, corresponding secretary; and Bob Chaffin, Treasurer both via Skype. Board members: Kathy Dawson, Bill Moore, Phyllis Schmidt, Henry Staub and Judy (Davis) Hysten. Marilyn Lind was in the hospital having experienced another stroke.

Ann Byington was unable to provide minutes from the April meeting because of technology issues. A motion by Michael and seconded by Kathy to table approval of April minutes until the next board meeting passed. A motion by Kathy, seconded by Judy, to approve the Treasurer’s report as submitted passed.

The sale of large-sized coloring books as a fund-raiser was discussed. KABVI may need to get a Kansas tax ID number. Kathy further noted the need for a sales tax ID number as it relates to re-selling items. A further need results from Kansas Department of Revenue’s tightening of these regulations. A discussion of various state, city and county sales tax requirements/complications ensued. Bob agreed to check with the Kansas Department of Revenue regarding sales tax provisions as well as how they are impacted when applied to nonprofit organizations. Kathy moved with a second by Michael to table decisions on fundraising activities until Bob can get answers to questions posed from the Kansas Department of Revenue; motion passed.

Phyllis noted that her bank has an investment return program for donating to customers’ preferred organization. Michael commented on the gift card re-selling project done at our church; Bob reminded members that they can sign up online to have a portion of money spent at Dillon’s returned to KABVI. Bob will endeavor to get KABVI signed up on the Dillon’s list, and a list of similar fundraising options will be developed by the fundraising committee and shared in KABVI NEWS.

Judy thanked Michael for his help reporting on the ACB legislative seminar. She continues to monitor Kansas legislative activities.

Ann indicated the plan is to get pre-registration materials out by August 1. She reviewed convention arrangements to date. A contract has been signed with the Ramada Inn Downtown; rooms are blocked for Friday and Saturday, October 16 and 17. RESERVATION DEADLINE IS SEPTEMBER 16! Rooms are double queen beds at a rate of $89 per night; rates include a full breakfast buffet. We have contracted a hospitality room for both nights. Exhibits will run from 11:30 AM—4:30 PM on Friday; we have the meeting space reserved from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Saturday at a cost not to exceed $300. Meals: Friday lunch will be ordered in or is on your own. Friday evening is an hors oeuvres option at $7 provided by Jerry Medley. Saturday lunch is sponsored by Joyce Richie with a charge of $5 to cover drinks, paper plates and dinnerware. Saturday evening’s banquet is catered by Jim Longstaff and is smoked ham or turkey, potato casserole, vegetable, salad, dessert and drinks at $15.

Ann will ask about parking in the parking garage next door to the bank building and whether we can advertise our vendors/craft sales in the building. Nancy suggested Uber be invited either as an exhibitor or presenter. Other exhibitors were suggested and Ann requested contacts from the Board about vendors who sell products designed specifically for the blind or those particularly useful to blind/visually-impaired persons. Tours of KABVI’s office will be scheduled Friday at 1:00 and 3:00 PM. Other activities may take place at the office. Convention presenters are being negotiated. It was suggested that we advertise crafts for sale on the Facebook page.

We will hold next year’s convention at Envision in Wichita; dates are still to be determined with recommendations from the board made by September 1.

Nancy continues to request articles from members and feedback regarding what we are currently doing. Ann noted that in the past regular contributors to the newsletter included the Talking Books director, someone from Services for the Blind, etc. We should probably be requesting items from Envision as well. Nancy wants more personal articles from members.

Phyllis reported the scholarship committee awarded an Esther V. Taylor Scholarship to Lisa Wondra, Olmitz, Kansas. Lisa is completing her certification in special education. She has a degree in library science, has worked in school libraries and other teaching-related activities. It is hoped that she will be able to attend the convention. As part of the scholarship, winners receive one night’s lodging, two banquet tickets, a free KABVI membership and mileage to and from the convention at $.50 per mile. Phyllis thinks Lisa may be able to offer suggestions for organizing the library in the KABVI office. Board members may need to attend TVI education workshops to remind teachers of our scholarships.

A great deal of time was spent trying to determine whether we should re-hire Julia Davis to update the KABVI database or whether we should transfer to the ACB system. Nancy mentioned one member’s complaint that dues were paid in October but no ACB newsletter was received until March when the membership was submitted. Strategies for storing non-ACB membership information in the ACB database were discussed. Michael reminded the Board that one of our 501©3 requirements is that the newsletter must be made available to non-paying members. Nancy indicated that the only names removed from the newsletter list are those which come back from the post office as undeliverable and/or emails that come back more than once.

Mikel moved with a second by Ann that KABVI Board investigate the ACB database to determine what it looks like, how it operates, particularly regarding our newsletter list folks who are not paying KABVI members with a report to be made at the post-Convention board meeting. Motion passed with one abstention.

Henry, Phyllis, Carolyn Thomason and Nancy met to discuss creating a YouTube video about KABVI. Phyllis recorded students involved in "braille camp", a summer school opportunity in which Nancy and Marilyn spoke to the children. Phyllis also video-taped a former student discussing his experiences living and working at the Kansas State School for the Blind. Nancy wants our videos to reflect what KABVI does, what we want to present and how it should be presented. Ann suggested videos on rehabilitation teaching activities; Nancy refers people to the AFB VisionAware site which has many "how-to" videos.

As well as the "Braille Camp", Phyllis and Ann participated in the Kansas Youth Leadership resource fair as an exhibitor. Phyllis is also going to work with a volunteer with a specific interest in children. She requested that the affiliates canvas their organizations/communities to determine whether there are youth, who and where they are, and how KABVI can provide service.

Paul reported the number of hits on the website remains a constant of about 180 per day. Mikel suggested bringing in some Scouts or other helpers to strip the numerous cables/power supplies in the office in order to recycle copper. Mikel also suggested selling items we are no longer using on Shawnee County buy, sell trade. Mikel volunteered to facilitate these activities. Ann mentioned receiving a BrailleNote Apex from Sandra Andrews who said it had come from TAP. After some discussion, the technology committee will help determine to whom this device is provided.

Kathy repeated her request for training on downloading books and other apps to IDevices.

Michael reported briefly on the Andrew Crane event to which he had invited Nancy as KABVI representative. He was going to assist in providing mobility aids. Envision has not been pleased with Mr. Crane’s inability to work through assigned channels and have told Michael to have a low presence at the event. Mr. Crane uses this event as a fund-raiser for Guiding Eyes. Mr. Crane apparently has difficulty with follow-up information so Michael was forewarning Nancy that it might not happen as previously advertised.

Nancy developed a list of questions designed to help members determine what KABVI could be doing during the next hundred years. She urges the Board and other interested persons to respond.

KABVI will be celebrating our hundredth anniversary in 2020. Nancy invited members to give thoughtful consideration and feedback to these questions as a means of defining our mission, goals and accomplishments. The questions are:

1.  Is KABVI’s mission statement accurate?

2.  How do we define "independence (self-sufficiency), opportunity, and quality of life?  What do these things look like?

3. What does a person need to be able to achieve those goals?

4.  How do KABVI’s current activities help people accomplish these goals?

5.  How can we involve more people in KABVI’s work and activities?

KABVI’s post-convention meeting will be in the corporate office Sunday, October 18th at 8:45 AM.


By Nancy Johnson

When I was a child, I was called "blind." Today the term used to describe me may be "visually impaired," "partially sighted," "legally blind," "low vision," "near-blind," and I may have forgotten some. Over time, language changed and I’m no longer blind – though my vision hasn’t changed. Trying to learn to help people understand the answer to "How much can you see?" I asked my ophthalmologist to give me a percent. When he completed the math he laughingly said, "Well, according to the charts, you’re blind. But you and I both know there’s vision there."

Think of vision as a glass of water. It can be completely full, completely empty, or hold any number of liquid levels between. People have tried to find labels to fit the various levels of vision loss. As the level of water in the glass can decrease gradually, so vision can decrease gradually. Or the glass can suddenly become empty or vision may be lost suddenly and completely. The more one’s vision decreases, the more the need to adapt increases. Some folks are highly adaptive; others not. Numerous factors are involved in adjustment and adaptation to vision loss.

So - how many Kansans deal with significant vision loss? Because so many ways of defining vision loss exist, accurate numbers are difficult to obtain. The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) provides statistics on prevalence of vision loss from the American Community Surveys, updated 2015. Included in the surveys were people who reported they have serious difficulty seeing even while wearing glasses, including those who are blind. In Kansas they found 57,506. This number included 25,757 males and 31,749 females. There were 1,191 children under age 5; 4,089 from ages 5 to 17; 6,000 from 18 to 34; 22,351 from ages 35 to 64; from ages 65 to 74 were 7,830; and, 16,045 75 years and older. This gives you a snapshot of people in Kansas with significant vision loss. KABVI people are included in those numbers.

The majority of people with significant vision loss, including blindness, are in the 18 to 64 age groups (28,351.) Schools serve the younger population: The Federal Older Blind program handled by the Independent Living Centers are responsible to serve those 55 plus. Technically, if I understand, Vocational Rehabilitation is expected to serve the 18 to 54 age group. It looks as if everyone’s covered.

But are they? What about persons who lose a significant amount of sight, can’t do their job any more, and think they can’t work? Or what about persons who think that, because of vision loss, they can’t live in their homes without costly assistance? Information about vision loss and blindness abounds on the internet but, for the person who can no longer see the computer, it does no good. Another group is people who neglect routine eye examinations that could uncover diabetes, glaucoma, and other such sight-robbing conditions that can be treated and slowed with proper care. (They are not included in the surveys.) Assistive technology is truly marvelous! Technology costs "big bucks" though, and many folks can’t afford it. Yet, with a little help, they can retain or regain independence. People are "out there" who need KABVI. KABVI needs to find better ways to reach them.


Compiled by Ann Byington

*** The Lawrence school district is looking for a full time braillist right now. To apply, go to www.usd497.org and follow the ?Apply? tab at the top of the page.

*** The Department of Justice published a new 9-page ADA technical assistance document, "Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA", to further assist covered entities and people with disabilities to understand how the ADA’s service animal provisions apply to them. The document answers questions that continue to be asked since the publication of the Department’s 2011 document, "Revised ADA Requirements: Service Animals." To find out more about the ADA, visit www.ada.gov or call the Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TDD).

*** I am a PhD student at Brandeis University. I recently received a grant to start the Disabled Parent Project, which will be an online community about parenting with a disability. We are currently developing the website and want input on what content and functions would be most helpful. We want to hear from parents, prospective parents, child welfare professionals, researchers, advocates, attorneys, etc. Please take a few minutes to take our survey and share with others: https://brandeis.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9H9eiMkujGwQmWh. Thanks. Robyn Powell, JD PhD Student, Social Policy the Heller School for Social Policy & Management Brandeis University rpowell@brandeis.edu

*** "The Day the Crayons Quit", contracted UEB braille with picture descriptions: $17.99. Ages 3 and up. Voted BEST Book of the Year (K-2nd Grade). The Children’s Choice Book Awards is the only national book awards program where the kids vote for their favorite book. And they picked "The Day the Crayons Quit." Poor Duncan just wants to color, but when he opens the box of crayons he encounters a mutiny! Black crayon wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue crayon needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking — each believes he is the true color of the sun. What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best? FEATURED BOOK! To bring this book to life for blind kids, NBP has created a CRAYONS song, a CRAYONS game, a CRAYONS recipe, and much more - all adapted especially for blind kids. Buy the book and check out the free activities online at www.greatexpectations.pub. Each book includes the print/braille book, a crayon organizer (with crayons!), and two raised line drawings to color! We are also offering some tactile coloring books from Tactile Vision - in case the coloring bug bites! To order this book, visit: http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/BC1504-CRAYONS.htmlor. Call and charge it: toll-free (800) 548-7323 or (617) 266-6160 ext. 520.


By Nancy Johnson

When Don and I were married, his vision was just beyond legal blindness, and he could see quite a bit more than I can. We had just moved to Wichita and were trying to go somewhere.

We walked, and walked, and walked, and finally decided we were lost – had no clue what street we were on. We stopped at a street corner, under the sign, and looked longingly up. Over our heads was the information we needed, Don hoisted me up so I could get close enough to read the signs.

As Don got ready to lower me back to the ground, a man stepped from his house. "Are you two lost?" he asked.

"Not anymore," I told him as I slid to the ground.

Proof again - for every problem there is a yet undiscovered solution.


Summer is the time for vacations, and KABVI chapters are no exception. SKAVI (Southwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired) will celebrate its 50th birthday with a party September 12.

Editor’s Note: If I missed your information, I apologize. Please send chapter news to supermom1941@cox.net or mail newsletters to 714 SW Wayne Ave. Topeka, KS 66606-1753.


Correction: An error occurred in the summer 2015 issue of "In Memoriam." The article indicated Kay Arvin passed away June 1, 2015. It should have said 2014. The newsletter reached most readers

before June of 2015.




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