Updates from State Services for the Blind

State Services for the Blind Celebrates Global Accessibility Awareness Day

At State Services for the Blind (SSB) we know that accessibility makes the digital world a better place for everyone. Good accessibility often means better usability and that improves life for all of us. What’s more, digital accessibility strengthens the vibrancy and vitality of our communities by ensuring that no one with a disability is left behind in the digital world.

That’s why we’re celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The creators of GAAD remind us that “The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities/impairments.”

Find a comprehensive list of events, trainings, presentations, and more at https://accessibility.day/

And read practical and actionable advice from employees of the State of Minnesota who are working to make digital accessibility a part of One Minnesota in the blog series “Accessibility Advocacy: Simple and Systemic Changes for High Impact”.

Calling All Young Adults:

Do You Have Your Summer Plans?

These summer programs offer training in independent living and job readiness skills. They are of varying lengths during the summer. Contact your SSB counselor to connect with these programs.  You can hear directly from many program representatives at the Blind Abilities Podcast.

Free Webinar: DeafBlind Panel Discussion – Communicating Our Way

Date: May 24, 2022

Time: 6-8 pm Central Time

Description: “Come and attend this discussion where panelists will each share information about daily living as a DeafBlind individual (no two stories are alike). There are challenges and barriers when it comes to communicating. The panelists will share how they communicate with people out in the community as well as what others can do when they meet a DeafBlind individual, often for the first time ever. If you work for a government agency on the state, county, and city level, our panelists have ideas on how to improve quality of life for your residents with dual hearing and vision loss.”


  • Jon L., a DeafBlind young adult with Usher syndrome.
  • Hannah Furney, a DeafBlind recent college graduate who is searching for employment opportunities. Hannah’s degree is in advocacy, accessibility, and minority studies (individualized studies).
  • Erin Bradford, a DeafBlind librarian who grew up hard of hearing before becoming legally blind as an adult.
  • Lolly Lijewski, a human services professional who was born with a congenital eye disease, and has recently acquired moderate hearing loss.
  • Kaitlyn Mielke, a DeafBlind writer, performing arts and theater accessibility consultant, and MNCDHH communications specialist. (moderator and panelist
  • Patrick Vellia, a DeafBlind catering cook, web developer, nonprofit cofounder, and MNCDHH outreach & civic engagement specialist. (moderator and panelist)

To register, visit the DeafBlind Panel Discussion page on the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing website.

Somali Language Children’s Book Available Through the National Library Service

What Color is My Hijab (DBC24692), by Hudda Ibrahim, for grades 4-7, portrays a diversity of Muslim women as they pursue careers and go about their busy lives. SSB is proud to have produced  this title, in Somali and English, which was recorded by the author in our Saint Paul studios. We believe that this is the first book in the Somali language in an accessible edition and available through the national library service.

We are also pleased to have recorded a second book by the same author, this one for adults, and of interest to any Minnesotan seeking to learn more about the Somali community in the St. Cloud area:

“At a time when United States citizens are being told to fear their Muslim neighbors, where does the truth lie? In From Somalia to Snow: How Central Minnesota Became Home to Somalis, Hudda Ibrahim unpacks the immigration narrative of Somali Americans and explains why nearly 20 percent have chosen to settle in Minnesota. From Somalia to Snow gives readers an invaluable insider’s look into the lives and culture of our Somali neighbors and the important challenges they face. Designed with a diverse audience in mind, this book is a must-read for students, health-care professionals, business owners, social service agencies, and anyone who wants to better understand Somali people in Minnesota.” See NLS book number DBC24749.


Stay In Touch With SSB

You can always give us a call at 651-539-2300

Or email: ssb.info@state.mn.us

Thanks for reading, and for promoting digital accessibility on Global Accessibility Awareness Day!

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