Resources for the Blind

Studies show that 27-50% of Stevens Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis patients have lifelong severe ocular problems. Kaitlyn Langstaff has lost her eyesight and is now legally blind in both eyes as a result of her bout with TENS.  We hold out hope that with medical advances in the areas of limbal stem cell and corneal transplants that some day after many surgical procedures Kaitlyn may be able to regain some vision. But, for now Kaitlyn is learning to read and write using Braille. She studies with a teacher for the Visually Impaired one hour each day at school.

Described TV Shows, Videos, Feature Films and Performances


We discovered a wonderful service that provides descriptive narration of key visual elements on TV shows, in home videos and in feature films. The descriptions are inserted within the natural pauses in dialogue to help low-vision viewers to better understand the story.  Key visual elements are those which viewers with vision loss would ordinarily miss and include actions, costumes, gestures, facial expressions, scene changes, and on-screen text.  DVS descriptions are currently available on:

  • 169 PBS stations nationwide (reaching more than 80 percent of the nation's households)
  • Turner Classic Movies cable network
  • Selected series on the CBS, Fox, and Nickelodeon networks
  • Feature films
  • Large-format and IMAX films
  • More than 200 major home video releases available for purchase through the DVS Home Video® Catalogue or on loan at 1,300 public libraries nationwide

Feature Films
DVS Theatrical®, developed by The Media Access Group at WGBH, delivers descriptive narration via infrared or FM listening systems, enabling blind and visually impaired moviegoers to hear the descriptive narration on headsets without disturbing other audience members. We are lucky to have this service available locally at the AMC Mercado 20 in Santa Clara. We have seen DareDevil and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with Kaitlyn listening to the described version through a special headset. For a list of movie theaters with this service go to

Home Videos
More than 200 described movie titles are now available from DVS® Home Video®. No special equipment is required, only a standard TV and VCR. Described movies are also available on loan from more than 1,000 public libraries. Kaitlyn has a number of her favorite Disney videos in DVS, as well as we borrow movies from our local library. For more information or to view the DVS Home Video Catalog go to

TV Shows
Kaitlyn enjoyed listening to described versions of Malcolm in the Middle, Arthur and movies on TV.  Descriptions are accessed on TV programs via the Second Audio Program (SAP) option, which is standard on most contemporary TVs and VCRs. Look for the DVS logo at the beginning of a television program.

Live Performances
Kaitlyn and the Youth Group from the Peninsula Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired attended a described performance of The Sound of Music performed by the American Theatrical Company in San Jose.

Braille Games
Despite not being able to see, Kaitlyn still enjoyed playing games with her friends.  Kaitlyn has Braille versions of Uno, Monopoly, Scrabble, and Skip Bo, as well as Braille playing cards and raised dot dominos.

Talking Books
Kaitlyn enjoyed Talking Books and we frequently borrowed books on tapes from our local library.  We also subscribed to a service through the Library of Congress that mailed special cassettes of books each month.

Braille Links
Kids if you would like to learn more about Braille a fun web site is

American Printing House for the Blind Links