Handid Braille Services

A 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation providing services to organizations in support of people who are blind and low vision.

Supporting People Who Are Blind and Low Vision, and The People Who Support Them!

Handid is a non-profit with a mission to provide braille and other forms of accessible media to those who are blind and low-vision.

At Handid, our vision is a world where accessible media is always available. Donations reduce or remove costs to clients so we can offer our services at the lowest price possible.

Contact Handid at info@handid.org to fulfill your and your patron's needs for braille and other tactile media.

An adult White male wearing dark glasses is attempting to read from a braille book. An adult White female is guiding his right hand to show how to track from line to line while reading.

What is Handid up to?

  • We have delivered six volumes of braille (comprising parts of one book) for Arabic language students at a major U.S. University. Two of those volumes are shown to the right, ready for packing. All of these volumes will be in students' hands on the first day of class!

    • Without your donations to reduce the cost, these six volumes would have cost over $35K! Donations allowed us to reduce the cost to a fraction of that, saving the school resources that will be used to support other students with disabilities!

    • Because Handid is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, 100% of the proceeds from this project are channeled to reduce the cost of braille transcription for other clients! Your donations help us to make sure braille is ready for students when they need it!

  • Handid meets HIPAA-level standards for privacy, security, and access in all of its processes. We have just learned that this was a principal decision-factor for a current client in selecting to use Handid Braille Services. We were told that other braille producers contacted by the client were unable to meet their requirements. In addition, because Handid uses donations to reduce the cost of producing braille, the client's costs were actually lower than proposed by other vendors, even though they could not meet our very high security standards!

  • The call for accessibility remediation of office-type documents in DOCX, XLSX, PPTX, and PDF formats is increasing to the point where Handid is adding this to its list of services. Remediation allows these documents to be used by persons using screen-reading software such as JAWS (Job Access With Speech), NVDA (Non-Visual Desktop Access), VoiceOver (iOS), and TalkBack (Android). Adding document remediation to our list of services increases the ability of Handid Braille Services to ensure your customers, clients, patients, and personnel have full access to materials they need!

  • Just started work on #braille #transcription of another set of #learning materials and books in #English and #Arabic. These are for #students in a #university with a very recognizable name. Excited to be one of very (VERY!) few braille transcribers in the USA who produce in Arabic.
    Thanks to personnel at the National Library Service for the
    #Blind and Print #Disabled in the USA Library of Congress for pointing to the need for braille transcribing in Arabic!

  • Handid has recently completed the accessibility remediation of several thousand documents for a municipality that has a mission to make its documents available to everyone. Accessibility isn't just braille!

  • Handid Braille Services has received a donation of a ViewPlus SpotDot braille embosser that can both print on the page and overlay braille & tactile graphics. This improves our ability to provide documents that work for braille & print readers at the same time!
    Now, print readers and braille readers can work off the same documents collaboratively. Teachers and students, medical professionals and patients, clinicians and clients, government officials and residents, and anyone else will now be able to use documents produced by Handid in a way that includes more people in ways not easily possible before!

  • Handid's Don Winiecki attended meetings of the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) in early June, 2022, to begin work on updating and refining rules for encoding mathematics and other scientific content into braille. Handid participates from beginning to end when it comes to providing braille!

  • We have begun a project to provide literature in both English and Hebrew braille for an international educational institution.

  • Handid has produced braille transcriptions of three books for the Tayseer Seminary in Knoxville, TN (USA). These books are about 60% in English and 40% in Arabic. We produced the braille using both Unified English Braille (UEB) and Unified Arabic Braille (UAB).

  • Handid has also produced braille for health care institutions, educational institutions, cultural institutions, including braille supporting a current exhibition at the Boise Art Museum (BAM) in Boise, ID (USA).

  • Other clients work with us confidentially in order to ensure that their clients have access to legal, medical, financial, and diplomatic documentation needed to complete their work.

  • Handid Braille Services uses state of the art disk encryption, firewall, and VPN technologies, and employs policies and technical standards that meet HIPAA requirements for confidentiality, integrity, and availability to protect and secure your materials.

Two of six volumes of braille, transcribed from a print book on Arabic language instruction.

Two of six volumes of braille, ready for shipment to Arabic language students at a major university in the U.S.A.!

Why Is Braille Transcription Important?

According to the journal "Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science," in 2020, 49.1 million individuals globally are blind and 33.6 million experience severe visual difficulties [1]. The National Federation of the Blind reports that almost 7.7 million people in the U.S. population experience blindness or low-vision [2].

In the U.S.A., the unemployment rate for non-institutionalized individuals between 21 and 64 years of age who are blind is over 70%. However, braille readers experience a much lower unemployment rate of 44% and report more active participation in their communities [3]. Thus, there is substantial evidence that braille provides a person who is blind or low-vision with skills and opportunities that help them live lives more similar to sighted counterparts than possible for those who do not read braille. This is in part because braille enables an individual to actively study content in detail. This is absolutely essential in mathematics, science, and technology subjects, as it is in even reading the news! It also allows an individual to read at their own pace and to go back and review passages more easily -- all of these are things that print readers do without even thinking, but that can't be done easily using text-to-speech systems.

At Handid, we know rocket scientists, chemists, mathematicians, engineers, and successful and everyday people who are blind and want to be engaged individuals across society, and all of them are very clear that braille is an absolute necessity for their success.

In addition, the "Americans with Disabilities Act" (ADA) provides a legal requirement for certain materials to be produced in braille. These materials include way-finding signage in certain types of buildings, elevator control panels, essential documents, and more. Schools are required to provide braille when it is the "least restrictive" medium for learning.

But more than all of that, braille provides independence and privacy when reading everyday documentation like financial information from your bank, health care information, information from local and national government officials, and more.

Altogether, braille is an essential medium that allows an individual to read all manner of things, including everyday documents like bank statements, insurance forms, medical prescription information, as well as content in guides to State and National Parks (did you know that the U.S. Government provides brochures in braille for all National Parks?), books, magazines, and more!

The National Federation of the Blind also promotes that braille helps individuals to live the lives they want!

[1] Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science

[2] National Federation of the Blind

[3] Journal of Blindness Innovation & Research

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