Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June Is...

Clouds and Blue Sky | Photo Credit
Essceejulies/Sharina Julien | If you would like to use
this picture please contact me or give proper attribution 
Its the beginning of the month and  that means I'm spreading awareness. So what's in store for this month installment? Something about 3D baby audiobooks, research, vision, smiles and Pina Coladas. That doesn't sound right... read more to find out what I'm exactly discussing this month. 

Audiobook Month - The Audio Publishers Association wants you to 'Get Caught Listening and Reading' this month by listening to an audiobook. I've always loved audiobooks as a child they were a great way to help me learn how to read and really enjoy a story. One of my childhood favorites was listening to Frog and Toad on the car ride home from school with my mom. I got back into audiobooks when I received my first Apple iPod. This definitely came in handy doing the daily 45-minute commute from college and back. Then a few years ago I wanted to start reading more books and felt like audiobooks were a good option. So I went to the library when they still had audiobooks on cassette tape. The first book I read was To Kill A Mockingbird. I had read the book in high school... let me be honest I skimmed the book. I liked the overall concept of the story but really didn't get into it back then. When I got reacquainted with the book in audio form I absolutely loved it. The audio version of the book I heard was narrated by one voice over actress who did an outstanding job in my opinion, so much that I didn't want the story to end. Finding the right narrator for a story makes a bid difference. I can recall countless times falling asleep with my iPod because I found the narrator's (the author's) voice too boring. My familiarity with audiobooks has been a great asset to me since being diagnosed with Stargardt's Disease. I know that even though I'm visually impaired I can still enjoy books via the wonderful medium of audio.

Child Vision Awareness Month - Vision health is extremely important especially in children. Many vison disorders in children if found early enough can be corrected and early intervention can ensure that children get the proper health necessary to succeed in life. Some common eye problems in children are as follows:

  • Amblyopia (lazy eye) 
  • Astigmatism (misshapen cornea)
  • Blepharitis (swollen eyelids)
  • Conjunctivitis (pinkeye)
  • Ptosis (droopy eyelids)
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
For more info on common eye problems in children continue reading the rest of the article at

Also there are some signs to look out for in children that might indicate a more serious problem.

  • Avoiding coloring activities, puzzles and other detailed activities
  • Difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination when playing ball or bike riding
  • Frequently rubbing their eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Short attention span for the child’s age
  • Sitting close to the TV or holding a book too close
  • Squinting
  • Tilting their head
  • Turning of an eye in or out
Read more from Helen Keller Services for the Blind

National Smile Month - National smile month was initially started by the British Dental Health Foundation and now has been expanded worldwide. The month generally starts towards the end of May but has been increasingly celebrated in June. Dental health is a very important part of one's overall wellness. This year I've taken more of an active role in my dental health; I just went to the dentist for routine surgery. A plus to the surgery is that I got a Pina Colada  flavored anesthetic (tasty) and I was surprised how well I handled the surgery. I know that getting dental surgery is one of the main reasons people put off going to the dentist but health should be your number one priority not fear. My doctor and hygienist clearly communicated to me every step of the process so that I could be informed.
Some ways you can maintain a beautiful smile are:
  • Change your toothbrush every three to four months.
  • If you store your toothbrushes in the bathroom close the lid of your toilet when flushing. This will diminish the spread of germs around the bathroom.
  • Incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet such as apples or celery to help clean teeth in between brushes.
  • Enjoy doing more things that make you smile. The more you smile the more you'll want to take care of your teeth.
Now switching gears slightly from dental health to the actual behavior that is smiling. Smiling has been scientifically proven to be a inherited or an evolutionary behavior. Using 3D imaging it has been shown that babies smile in the womb so smiling is not learned. In the video below blind vlogger Tommy Edison discusses smiling (and other social gestures) in the context that he doesn't have a visual reference for smiling but instead non-visual ones. One interesting part of the video was he said you can hear a smile. I thought that was cool because as visually oriented beings you don't think of trying to experience it through your other senses.

Vision Research Awareness Month - The only way that there can be advancements and improvements in Vision health is through research. There are several organizations who are at the forefront of developing treatments to maintain vision and even restoration. The following brief list are just some organizations leading research in vision health:

That's all for this month's awareness campaigns. Do you know of anymore events going on this month? If so leave a comment below.

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