Barbara Pierce, Editor
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ISSN 0006-8829


April 1997
Stacking the Deck Against Blind Travel Instructors

     by Marc Maurer
Teaching Cane Travel Blind?

     by Arlene Hill
A Letter from the Trenches: Straight Talk About Cane Travel

     by Georginia Kleege
Helping the Sighted to See
The 1997 Washington Seminar

     by Barbara Pierce
Legislative Agenda
Winning the Chance to Earn and Pay Taxes: How the Blind

Person's Earnings Limit in the Social Security Act Must be Changed
Braille Literacy and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Blindness, Rehabilitation, and the Need for Specialized Programs
Telling Our Story

     by Michael Baillif
Disability Simulation That Works

     by John W. Smith
New Orleans--Something for Everyone

     by Jerry Whittle
1997 Convention Attractions
Monitor Miniatures
      Copyright  1997 National Federation of the Blind
[LEAD PHOTOS: #1 The picture is of a large church. In the

foreground can be seen iron gates, part of the cathedral

lawns, a statue of a man on horseback, a large clock high on

the facade of the church, and the bell tower. CAPTION:

Visitors to New Orleans flock by the thousands to the French

Quarter. One of the first sights to be seen is the St. Louis

Cathedral with its distinctive architecture. #2: In this

picture a horse-drawn carriage with driver and passengers is

visible. The horse is wearing tall flowers on a headpiece. A

child is in the foreground. CAPTION: One way to enjoy the

New Orleans French Quarter is to take a carriage ride with a

driver/guide to point out the sights. Federationists will

have a chance to enjoy this picturesque form of transport

during the 1997 convention. Make your reservations now.]

[PHOTO/CAPTION: President Maurer and Tanya Stewart walk

together using white canes.]
     Stacking the Deck Against Blind Travel Instructors

                       by Marc Maurer
     Can blind people teach cane travel? The answer to this

question is so thoroughly documented that there can be no

doubt. Blind people can and do teach travel to other blind

people every day. Blindness does not necessarily guarantee

that the teacher will be a good one. However, some of the

most effective cane travel instructors are blind.

     In the February, 1996, issue of The AER Report, the

newsletter of the Association for Education and

Rehabilitation of the Blind & Visually Impaired (AER), an

item appears entitled "VA Rules on Hiring Blind Mobility

Specialists." The article reports that a decision has been

issued by the Office of the General Counsel of the United

States Department of Veterans Affairs regarding the capacity

of blind travel instructors to teach orientation and

mobility, sometimes known as O&M. The General Counsel's

opinion declares that the blind are unfit to do this


     The decision says that using blind mobility teachers is

dangerous and that refusing to employ them is justified.

Despite the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation

(according to the article), blind people may be excluded

from employment as travel teachers at the Department of

Veterans Affairs.

     But not everybody believes it. Federation members and

leaders throughout the United States know the conclusion is

untrue. But we are not alone. Not even everybody within AER

believes it. Dr. Sharon Sacks, who serves as president of

AER, appeared on the platform of the convention of the

National Federation of the Blind of California in November

of 1996. When she was asked about the opinion of the General

Counsel with respect to blind mobility instructors, she

stated without equivocation that the conclusion reached by

the General Counsel was wrong. Her willingness to stand and

be counted in the effort of blind people to receive fair

treatment is refreshing and welcome. It is fair to say that

there are still those who will oppose the opportunity for

blind instructors to teach cane travel--notably officials in

the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, Dr. Sacks is

clearly, unambiguously, and strongly on record. She believes

the prohibition to be wrong, and she believes that it should

be changed.

     The report, which appears in the AER publication, says

in part:
     "In October 1995, the General Counsel of the U.S.

Department of Veterans Affairs issued an opinion in response

to the question of whether Federal civil rights laws which

prohibit discrimination against the disabled require the

VA's Blind Rehabilitation Centers to train and/or hire blind

orientation and mobility instructors. The federal civil

rights laws in question are sections 501 and 504 of the

Rehabilitation Act of 1973. (These provisions impose on

federal entities and recipients of federal financial

assistance the same obligations which the Americans with

Disabilities Act imposes on the private sector.) The opinion

begins with a thorough analysis of the role of the O&M

instructor in the Blind Rehabilitation Center (BRC) setting.

A team of O&M specialists from three VA BRC's visited a

facility in Louisiana which uses blind instructors to teach

     I interrupt the AER article to say that the facility

mentioned is the Louisiana Center for the Blind, ably

directed by Joanne Wilson, president of the National

Federation of the Blind of Louisiana and a member of the

Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind.

The quality of training at the Louisiana Center for the

Blind and the innovative programs conducted there are widely

recognized throughout the United States and in a number of

other nations. Leaders from the Louisiana Center and other

National Federation of the Blind training centers have,

during the past two years, conducted extensive programs of

instruction for teachers of the blind in Poland. Joanne

Wilson was invited to make the keynote address at the World

Blind Union's Women's Forum in Toronto, Canada, last August.

In addition, joint travel training instruction classes are

currently being taught by the Louisiana Center for the Blind

and university instructors in Louisiana. Although the AER

document fails to mention any of this, these facts help to

give background to the discussion. Here is further text from

the AER article:
     "The focus of the training seemed to be on locating a

destination and returning to a starting point. Falling,

bumping into objects, stumbling, and falling off curbs were

commonplace. Based on their observations at the Louisiana

facility, the review team concluded that the facility's

program of instruction was vastly different from that of the

BRC's (Blind Rehabilitation Centers), as was the end result.

Students were not as skilled in the ability to avoid

unnecessary contact with objects and were more prone to

stumbles and falls to a degree that would be deemed an

unacceptable safety risk for the BRC patient population. In

addition, many advanced students were observed spending too

much time in potentially dangerous situations due to a lack

of training in basic skills, such as efficient recovery

techniques normally taught at the BRC's."
     I interrupt once again to say that I disagree with most

of the statements in this article so far, but one

observation seems to me to be entirely true. This is that

the results from training at the Louisiana Center are

different from those achieved at the Department of Veterans

Affairs. My own observations make me believe it. Students

who graduate from training centers operated by the National

Federation of the Blind know how to travel with a cane with

confidence and skill. Quite often the individuals who pass

through the centers operated by the Department of Veterans

Affairs complete their training without the same degree of

proficiency in cane travel. Of course, the language of the

document demonstrates the attitude of the Department of

Veterans Affairs toward the blind. At the VA, trainees are

known as patients, not students. But back to the article.
     "The General Counsel's office also did a review of what

little research exists in the area and noted, 'Although

there has been little investigation into whether vision is

needed to teach O&M, the one scientific study to address the

issue suggests that vision plays a significant role with

respect to the ability of the instructor to react quickly

enough to events such as starting, stopping, turning,

negotiating stairs, veering at street crossings, and

colliding with obstacles.' Based on the research review and

the findings of the team which visited Louisiana the General

Counsel's office concluded that '...the use of totally blind

O&M instructors poses a significant safety risk.' [The VA

then] looked at the next question, whether a reasonable

accommodation could be found which would eliminate the risk

or reduce it to 'acceptable levels.' The main accommodation

suggested by the General Counsel's opinion memo was the use

of 'a sighted assistant.'"
     One might interrupt to ask why that is the only way

they thought of doing it. Could it be that the people who

asked for the opinion offered the suggestion that a sighted

assistant was the only alternative? Why do the orientation

and mobility teachers who are closely associated with the

Department of Veterans Affairs always think that sighted

assistance is a necessity for teaching travel? Are they

worried that the competition from blind instructors will be

too fierce? But back to the article.
     "The memo notes: 'The problem with this approach

[having blind instructors use the technique of employing

sighted assistance] is that the assistant would have to

possess the same knowledge and abilities as the sighted

[sic] instructor. Hence, such an accommodation would

essentially require two instructors (one blind, one sighted)

to do the job of one sighted instructor.' ...Reasonable

accommodation does not require an employer to reallocate

essential functions of a job to an assistant."

     "Other accommodations such as using blind instructors

only in indoor environments, were also deemed unacceptable

because they 'would result in a substantial modification of

the VA's program in which the same instructor teaches and

instills confidence in the patient throughout the program of

instruction.' Such a fundamental alteration would result in

an undue hardship and thus not be required by law."

     "The memo concludes: 'Because of significant safety

risks, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 does not require the

VA to hire O&M instructors who are totally blind. In

addition, notwithstanding any affiliation agreements, the VA

would not be required under the Act to provide clinical

training to totally blind students enrolled in affiliated

colleges and universities.'"
     This is what was reported by AER, and it is a

commentary on the bias and prejudice of those who compiled

the evidence and wrote the document. AER has asked to be

recognized as the official body to determine who will and

who will not receive certification as orientation & mobility

specialists. However, the AER official position has (until

recently) been that blind people are incompetent to teach

cane travel, even though many of us are doing so. It is

ironic that the so-called professionals in education and

rehabilitation could adopt a policy which is so obviously


     However, times are changing. As noted earlier, the

president of AER has publicly rejected this discriminatory

position. I am told that blind people will now be considered

as candidates for certification by AER. But this

certification is different (according to some) from that of

the sighted, I am told. Although the official standard

(according to the president of AER) is that blind candidates

for certification will be treated no differently from the

sighted, blind candidates, according to certain officials in

the rehabilitation field (the letter in the June, 1996,

Braille Monitor article titled, "Who Is Qualified To Be A

Mobility Instructor?" comes to mind), must demonstrate their

ability to teach cane travel using a sighted assistant. No

other mechanism would be plausible, according to some.

     With all of this as background, one might suspect that

certain people who are part of AER were afraid that the

current discriminatory policy might not stand up.

Consequently, they set about bolstering a weak case.

     Approximately three years ago, instructors in the

Department of Veterans Affairs' program to teach cane travel

to blind veterans requested the opportunity to visit the

National Federation of the Blind Orientation Center in

Ruston, Louisiana. The purpose of the visit (according to

these VA officials) was to study the methods used by blind

cane travel instructors. The Louisiana Center for the Blind

has extensive experience with the use of blind cane travel


     Arlene Hill, the cane travel instructor, and Joanne

Wilson, the founder and director of the Center, believed

that this would be an opportunity to demonstrate the ability

of blind teachers and to expand communication and

understanding in programs dealing with blindness. They

welcomed the visitors to the Louisiana Center for the Blind.

     In the fall of 1995 the real purpose of the visit was

revealed. These officials from the Department of Veterans

Affairs (who, it is reported, are also members of AER)

compiled a report of their visit to the Louisiana Center for

the Blind. The report included excerpts of video tapes of

blind students being taught travel by blind instructors. The

evidence gathered by these officials was submitted to the

office of the General Counsel of the Department of Veterans

Affairs with a request that the General Counsel issue an

opinion stating whether the law requires the Department of

Veterans Affairs to consider blind travel instructors for


     In selecting the evidence to be presented to the office

of the General Counsel, the so-called impartial observers

chose to portray not the reality of the training but a

distortion of the facts. This was accomplished by depicting

travel training as much more dangerous than it is and blind

people as much less competent than we are. For example, when

a student is walking on the street where there is a drain

into which he or she might step, keen attention is called to

the possibility of this mishap even though it never happens.

A blind traveler at the Louisiana Center for the Blind

learns to manage in virtually any circumstances during the

course of travel training. At the Department of Veterans

Affairs, blind travelers are apparently kept out of any

place which contains the slightest potential for injury. The

contrast in teaching technique was apparently emphasized to

the Office of the General Counsel with the implication that

travel training at the Louisiana Center for the Blind is

conducted irresponsibly. The blind, according to this

formulation, should be content to travel only in places

which are entirely safe--safe as defined by the officials

who have selected for themselves the task of caring for the

blind--the officials from the Department of Veterans


     With this distorted information in hand, the office of

the General Counsel issued its opinion. It is ironic that a

program designed to serve the blind has reached the

conclusion that the blind are inferior to the sighted and

cannot be trusted to teach travel.

     Arlene Hill, travel training teacher at the Louisiana

Center for the Blind, observed the approach of the Veterans

Administration in gathering its evidence. This is her

     These are my observations on the July 1993 visit from

the three Veterans Administration employees.
     When these visitors arrived, we held a brief meeting in

which they explained that they would be observing travel

students and their instructors and making videos of travel

routes. They explained that they had come to learn how we,

as blind instructors, taught our blind students. I felt that

this would be an opportunity to share our work and show how

our students learn and progress. I was asked very few

questions as a blind instructor about how I teach students.

     At the time of the initial meeting, I requested a

microphone for both the instructor they were observing and

the student. We explained that a good bit of our training

depends on communication. They agreed that was a good idea

and said they would work on providing mikes, but they never


     Only once during their visit was I aware that they were

taping. As far as I remember, they never sat in on the

sessions in which directions were given to the student

before leaving on a route. At no time were they aware of the

communication between me and any student. Because our

training is based on students' both building self-confidence

and learning how to problem solve, we do not rush in to move

students away from stairs, curbs, cars, poles, or other

obstacles. With beginning students, problem-solving begins

with instruction about how to use a cane and lots of

practice to develop a proficient technique. Communication is

necessary between a new student and the instructor, who

explains what to listen for, what to look for with the cane,

and how to handle various situations.

     Continuing to develop and build on problem-solving

skills depends on allowing the student to work through

problems faced while traveling on the streets. I try to ask

students leading questions to help them think and learn to

listen and look for the necessary and useful cues while


     When the memo printed in The AER Report states that the

students of a blind instructor come into contact with

objects too close for safety, the writer can be referring

only to the cane's touching objects. In fact, a blind person

cannot travel safely without having the cane touch the many

objects on the streets.

     We watched some of the taping the team did one morning.

They focused the camera on a student's feet. Then the lens

crossed the street to record the presence of a drainage hole

at the curb. The camera returned to the walking feet

crossing the street. When the student located the drain with

her cane and did not fall, the camera immediately left her


     When all is said and done, it is easy to draw any

conclusions you choose as long as you don't bother to look

at the entire picture. The video they made has no voice

track. For all any one can tell, the students never received

a single correction or instruction during all of the taping.

Even so, the videographer recorded blind people traveling

independently in many different situations. It is always

easy to make judgments, but when they are based on half-

truths, they have little validity. During the visit the team

asked very few questions about how blind travel instructors

do their job--again, half a story.
     This is what Arlene Hill observed, and her comments are

corroborated by Ruby Ryles, who has recently served as the

Assistant Director of the International Braille Research

Center for the Blind. She has observed and understands the

methods and techniques used by blind instructors. After

reviewing the legal opinion of the Department of Veterans

Affairs, Mrs. Ryles offered her own comments. Here is her

sworn statement.
I, Ruby N. Ryles, being first duly sworn depose and state:
     The AER Report is a newsletter published by the

Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind

and Visually Impaired. After reading a narrative in the

February, 1996, issue of this newsletter, I felt compelled

to come forward to express my deep concern about the

information in this report and the manner in which it was

compiled. I am also disturbed about the technique used for

selecting the information published. A description of the

methodology used failed to appear in the report.

     I am a Research Associate with the International

Braille Research Center. I have a bachelor's degree and a

master's degree. Within the next few months I will complete

a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. My training in

work with the blind was done at the University of Arkansas

at Little Rock. My teaching career spans thirty years with

both sighted and blind children and sighted and blind

prospective teachers at the university level. I have worked

as an administrator at the state level, as a classroom

teacher, as an itinerant teacher, and as a consultant. I

have taught teacher education courses at the University of

Washington and Louisiana Tech University. During the summers

of 1994 and 1995 I held an adjunct faculty position at

Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana. During that

time I taught four courses designed to satisfy Louisiana

State Department of Education requirements for certification

of teachers of blind children.

     Because the Louisiana Center for the Blind (LCB) is

nationally recognized for its excellence in the field of

rehabilitation and because the center continuously provides

training for both consumers and professionals, the teacher

education courses at Louisiana Tech are taught in

cooperation with the staff at LCB. Most of the classes are

held at the center, and many sessions are taught by or with

the LCB staff members. This unique arrangement provides

prospective teachers with experiences unavailable in a more

passive environment, such as a lecture/test format.

     During the summer of 1994, I designed and taught a

course entitled "Orientation and Mobility for Persons Who

Are Visually Impaired," which was designed to provide

teachers of blind children with a basic understanding of

mobility techniques used by skilled blind adults and

children. One half of the course was comprised of lectures,

films, panel discussions, readings, and guest lectures. The

other half of the course consisted of individual instruction

in the skill of traveling under sleepshades using a cane.

All but one of the students was fully sighted.

     Each of my students was assigned an experienced cane

travel instructor from LCB who taught him or her the basic

cane travel techniques which should be taught to young blind

children. Although the director of LCB employs both sighted

and blind cane travel instructors, I specifically requested

that only blind instructors be used with my students. After

many years as an educator in this field, I have found that

blind instructors who are themselves skilled cane travelers

impart not only a higher level of problem-solving skills,

but a realistic understanding of problems encountered in

travel without sight. Moreover, the daily positive example

of a competent blind traveler provides a powerful tool to

allay my sighted teachers' all-too-common deep-seated

misconceptions and fears of independent travel without


     Using sleepshades (sometimes called blindfolds) and a

cane, my students received training in safely crossing

streets, orienting themselves to traffic, detecting and

avoiding obstacles, and navigating curbs and stairs. Each

class period I walked or drove the streets of Ruston

observing and measuring the progress of each student. I

often observed the lessons from a distance of six to eight

feet. Because I did not wish to interrupt the lesson, the

student and instructor were unaware of my presence. Never

once did I have occasion to question the safety of my

students while they were under the instruction of their

blind mobility instructors.

     An incident occurred with the students I was teaching

in late July and early August of 1994. During several of the

first mobility sessions, I noticed an individual with a home

camcorder video taping parts of one of my students' lessons.

I noticed that the cameraman was selectively taping. I

watched as he sporadically taped very short segments, then

lowered his camera and casually studied other pedestrians

and items in nearby shop windows. He did not record the

entire lesson. As I observed him, the mobility instructor,

and my student, it was obvious that he was recording neither

the important oral nor the hands-on corrections being made

by the blind mobility instructor. The problem-solving

process techniques valued and taught by the blind mobility

instructor were never taped in their entirety.

     I wondered if the individual was familiar with

techniques of teaching mobility since he was not taping the

instructor's oral corrections. I was tempted to approach him

to point this out but did not. Inevitably, the partial and

spotty tape recording of sessions made the record of the

classes incomplete and inadequate for forming valid

conclusions. It appeared to me that this was an effort to

capture on film the missteps, the miscues, and the stumbles

of the trainee and to eliminate from the film the episodes

in which corrections were made and counseling was provided.

     When I later inquired in more depth why this individual

was taping my student, I was told by the director of the

center that the individual and his two colleagues had been

sent by the Department of Veterans Affairs to learn how

blind mobility instructors teach. However, the three

individuals avoided indicating that they were part of the

Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind

and Visually Impaired, which for years has had a policy

either to inhibit or to prevent blind instructors from

teaching mobility to the blind.

     These people gained the cooperation of LCB and me by

saying that they wished to learn more about the techniques

used by blind mobility instructors. They had persuaded the

LCB director to allow them to come by telling her that the

VA was considering permitting blind mobility instructors to

do internships with the VA and that the VA was considering

hiring blind mobility instructors. They said that they were

at LCB to learn the techniques of blind mobility instructors

and any adaptations that might be needed. They presented

themselves to the director of the center as objective and

willing to learn. Given this, she informed me that she was

pleased that LCB would be a part of the process.

     The cameraman and his colleagues and I were taken to

dinner that evening by the director and other staff at LCB.

Blind staff members with knowledge of techniques used to

teach mobility were present at dinner, but the three

individuals made no effort to start or take part in

conversations on this subject. The failure to provide

complete information about the background of these

individuals and the fact that they created a videotape

record which emphasized errors and excluded problem-solving

techniques, together with their behavior in both

professional and social situations, leads me to the

reluctant conclusion that they intended deliberately to

mislead the director and other staff members about their

purposes and intentions.

     The cameraman did not stay long enough to tape the

final lesson of any of my students. After ten two-hour

lessons, my sighted students, under sleepshades, crossed

four-lane streets and intersections with and without

stoplights and handled a variety of independent travel

obstacles. They learned the safe techniques to accomplish

independent travel under sleepshades because of their blind

mobility instructors. I never once felt concern for the

safety of my students during their lessons.

     During the final class period (an evaluation session

with me) students unanimously agreed that the training under

sleepshades provided at LCB was invaluable to their future

teaching. When they were asked how I could improve the

course, the majority responded with requests for additional

training under sleepshades from LCB. The fact that their

instructors were blind was simply never an issue.
                                                  Ruby Ryles
[PHOTO: This picture shows Arlene Hill walking down the

street using her cane. CAPTION: Arlene Hill]
                 Teaching Cane Travel Blind?

                       by Arlene Hill
     From the Editor: Some months ago Arlene Hill wrote the

following article about teaching cane travel as a blind

instructor. Here it is:
     When I was invited to write this article, I wondered

what I could possibly say. I was asked to write about any

special problems blind people have teaching orientation and

mobility. In my view this notion is one of the greatest

misunderstandings in the blindness field. The differences,

philosophical and practical, seem to arise from the

different techniques employed by sighted and blind


     I grew up in Iowa. I attended both the Iowa Braille and

Sight Saving School in Vinton and Knoxville High School, the

local public high school in my hometown. I never had a cane

in my hand while I was growing up. I believed that canes

were for blind people less capable than I. My attitudes were

no better than those of most sighted people. The common

belief is that blind people are really not very capable when

it comes to independent mobility. Though well-trained blind

people overcome this myth, it persists among most sighted

people because they have not undergone extensive sleep-shade


     After graduating from high school, I became a student

at the Iowa Commission for the Blind in Des Moines, where I

was introduced to the long white cane--long enough to reach

my chin. I was taught how to use this cane by a sighted

instructor who had undergone extensive sleep-shade training.

It was immediately obvious to me that this cane was not just

a symbol of blindness but a tool that could be used to

achieve true freedom. I have been a user of the long white

cane for more than thirty years; and, as time has passed,

the length of my cane has increased until it is now as tall

as I am. Some may find this fact curious; however, as one

increases in both skill and confidence, one's walking pace

naturally increases. Thus one needs more stopping distance

in which to react to potential obstacles, and the increased

length affords that distance.

     My education after attending the Iowa Commission for

the Blind was in the field of special education, with

emphasis on teaching the mentally disabled. I taught blind,

mentally handicapped individuals in a state hospital school

for some years. I then taught for three years at Blind

Industries and Services of Maryland in Baltimore and nine at

the Louisiana Center for the Blind in Ruston, Louisiana,

where I am currently employed.

     As I see it, the major differences between blind and

sighted instructors are philosophical. Different techniques

follow naturally from the different philosophies. It seems

to me that the variation in techniques causes some of the

so-called problems we blind instructors face.

     Let's begin with what we call ourselves: orientation

and mobility (O&M) specialists versus cane-travel

instructors. As a blind person I teach other blind people

how to use the cane properly. The technique is

straightforward and simple and is one of the easiest tasks

for most students to learn. However, what follows mastery of

this technique is what seems to make the difference between

those taught by blind and those taught by sighted

instructors because this later instruction enables the

student to develop self-confidence and the problem-solving

skills necessary to achieve true independence. O and M

specialists, on the other hand, seem to spend much time with

pre-cane techniques, sighted-guide training, and protective

methods. For example, like me, most blind instructors I know

use route travel in teaching our students. We send them on

assigned routes which have been carefully planned to teach

students how to deal with various types of travel problems,

using problem-solving skills.

     As a blind traveler and a blind instructor, I believe

there are two keys to being a good independent cane

traveler. They are the same things that make good drivers:

self-confidence and problem-solving skills. Building self-

confidence is as important in learning to drive as it is for

blind persons learning to travel independently. As children

grow, they cannot wait to drive, but when they sit behind

the wheel for the first time, they find it pretty

frightening. The same is true for a blind traveler: the

first time he or she goes out on the street with a cane is

very frightening, because this, too, is unfamiliar

territory, requiring the use of undeveloped skills. The

sound of traffic and the thought of potential harm may be

overwhelming to many blind travelers, just as being behind

the wheel of a fast-moving vehicle is to many young drivers.

In both cases they return from their first trip and all is

well--or at least it was not quite as bad as they thought it

would be. Each future trip becomes less frightening. As time

passes, the drivers, as well as the blind travelers, build

confidence until they truly believe in themselves.

     Most people, blind and sighted alike, tend to do and

become what others expect them to. If their instructor has

high expectations for them and they have high expectations

for themselves, they learn that they can travel everywhere,

mostly unassisted.

     A good blind traveler believes in his or her ability to

negotiate obstacles and expects to take on travel challenges

throughout each day. Most sighted persons, unless

extensively trained under sleep shades, do not believe that

a blind person can successfully traverse the many unfamiliar

hazards they might come across daily. Yet since a blind

instructor is used to facing these challenges, he or she

will expect and encourage students to do likewise.

     The next key is problem-solving skills, important for

both drivers and blind cane travelers. Can the person learn

to use the entire environment to remain oriented or, when

confused, to reorient? We teach drivers always to keep

watching, their eyes constantly moving. The good driver

looks continuously for landmarks, signs, traffic patterns,

and traffic cues. As a travel teacher I also teach blind

persons to use everything around them for the same purpose:

the sun and breeze as directional tools, traffic cues,

traffic patterns, sense of smell, familiar and unfamiliar

sounds, and landmarks found with the cane. All of these

skills--listening, feeling sun, locating objects with a

cane, and quickly assessing the situation--must be taught.

Who knows these skills better than a person who depends on

them daily for normal, safe, and efficient travel? This is

not to say that every independent blind person can teach

cane travel. It is, however, true that a capable teacher who

has become a good independent cane traveler through daily

practice can impart this skill and knowledge to another

blind person naturally and easily.

     It is very important that the blind instructor go on

travel routes with any new student for the first several

trips, then observe the student closely, especially at key

trouble spots. Some would say that having to do so much

walking is a problem for a blind instructor. A sighted

instructor can hop in a car and observe the student from

comfortable heat or air conditioning, while the blind

instructor is out in all types of weather. However, since

the blind instructor is right there, he or she can much more

easily and quickly communicate with the student when

necessary. Initially, constant communication is essential to

remind the student to look for landmarks, listen to traffic,

cross parking lots efficiently, and so forth. Therefore,

what most sighted specialists would consider a problem, I

consider an advantage. Many of these skills must be

reinforced more than once, sometimes more than just orally.

Often a hands-on method works best. The blind instructor is

right there to give immediate help and advice.

     The biggest problem blind instructors have, according

to most sighted ones, is that we cannot see the environment

in front of the student in order to protect him or her from

tree limbs, construction, or other barriers. I do not agree.

In my view this is a legitimate difference in professional

philosophy. Sighted orientation and mobility specialists

generally have a protective attitude toward their blind

students, whereas blind instructors use a realistic approach

in their teaching.

     Sighted specialists seem to believe that blind people

need protection and are not able to travel with genuine

independence anyway. Blind instructors are independent cane

travelers themselves, so they have no doubt that blind

students can learn to travel as well or better than the

instructor, if they can acquire the self-confidence. The

reality is that occasionally a branch will be in the way,

and the blind traveler may strike it. There is sometimes

construction on a travel route. The student must learn how

to identify these things and how to deal with them. It is an

advantage to travel in real-life situations during training

in order to learn to use problem-solving skills. If a blind

student is protected from real-life experiences, of course,

he or she will not travel much independently when the

training ends. Because the protective sighted instructor

does not teach the student to handle such things, the

student naturally concludes that it is not possible for a

blind person to cope with them. If, on the other hand,

students face these things during training, they will learn

that they can face and master any travel situation that

comes their way.

     At first blind students are frightened and need much

encouragement. Seeing other blind people using canes to move

about capably and efficiently can make a big difference to a

frightened student. All of us, blind and sighted alike, look

for role models in new situations. The blind instructor can

be that role model to the new travel student.

     Having said all this, I believe that the biggest

problem facing a blind cane-travel instructor is the almost

constant discrimination from his or her sighted peers. Blind

cane-travel instructors are told they cannot do the job, in

spite of the many successful independent cane travelers they

have taught. In my experience, most blind people prefer

being taught by a blind instructor, because they have

confidence in the instructor's ability and because they know

their instructor's skills are tried and true and are used

daily by thousands of other blind people. Being constantly

criticized and told that you are limited in what you can do

because of blindness can become a real problem. However, the

success of the many blind independent travelers taught by

blind instructors provides the most convincing proof.

Compare these results with the travel skills of the more

protected and sheltered blind people taught by sighted O&M

specialists. I am not arguing that the profession of cane-

travel instruction should be limited to blind persons. I am

saying that we, as blind instructors, have valid methods

that should be considered on their own merit. The

alternative methods used by blind instructors are just as

sound as the usual prescribed certified methods of cane-

travel instruction advocated by sighted O&M specialists.

     Finally, an ongoing problem for blind instructors is

that they are not fully certifiable by the Association for

Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually

Impaired (AER). Because our methods are different, blind

instructors are barred from the high financial benefits paid

by many of the state and private agencies to sighted O&M

specialists. I look at some of the advertisements for O&M

specialists, and the money looks wonderful. We blind

instructors cannot obtain these jobs simply because we do

not meet the requirements established by sighted O&M

specialists, although we have helped hundreds reach true


     I realize that this article does not talk much about

the problems blind instructors face on the job. This is

because, after searching my mind and heart, I honestly do

not believe that there are many problems that blind

instructors have that they do not share with sighted

instructors. I have been as honest as I know how to be,

after twelve years of teaching in both a metropolitan city

with buses and subways and a small town with cabs and

walking. The most prevalent problem facing blind cane-travel

instructors is caused by the dichotomy between the

philosophy of blind, non-certifiable instructors and that of

most sighted, certified instructors. If this discrepancy

could be eliminated, there would be more candidates to fill

vacancies in cane-travel instruction; therefore, more

opportunities would be available for blind people to learn

independent cane travel.

                 A Letter from the Trenches:

               Straight Talk About Cane Travel

                     by Georginia Kleege
     From the Editor: Listening to erudite discussions among

orientation and mobility instructors about cross-body

technique, shorelines, hand position, and arc-width, its

easy to forget that the fundamental principle of successful

cane travel is to use a long white cane efficiently to find

out as much as possible about the terrain immediately in

front of one. As the writer of the following letter says,

"It isn't rocket science." It is mostly common sense and

enough practice to gain confidence in the tool and the

technique. As the preceding two articles demonstrate, these

ideas are heresy in some circles, but to Georginia Kleege

they just make sense. Here is the letter she wrote to the

National Federation of the Blind:
                                              Columbus, Ohio

                                               July 29, 1996

National Federation of the Blind

Baltimore, Maryland
Dear NFB:

     This is a letter of thanks to the NFB in general and to

the staff of the materials center in particular.

     I recently ordered a white cane from the materials

center and want to express my appreciation to the employee

who answered the phone (sadly I didn't get her name) for all

the help and advice. I was prompted to call the NFB when my

local rehabilitation agency refused to sell me a cane

because I have not received mobility instruction from their

specialists. I am, to use the experts' phrase, "legally

blind with some usable sight." I have been blind for almost

thirty years but never received mobility instruction because

the experts felt I didn't need it.

     I made clear that I was willing to pay for my cane

myself and that I would even pay for mobility instruction if

they insisted, but I was unwilling to have my case reopened

and my needs re-evaluated. By their standards my needs have

not changed because my vision has not changed. It's true

that I can see most obstacles in my path, and I seldom bump

into pedestrians or fire hydrants. But I cannot, for

instance, always see traffic signals. I have learned to

interpret traffic sounds to know when to cross the street.

When I ask strangers for directions, they usually assume I

can see where they're pointing. When I explain that I

cannot, they often become confused, distressed, or so overly

solicitous that it turns my simple request into a major

ordeal. Do I need a white cane to get where I want to go?

Perhaps not, but it seems to me that a white cane will help

me get there with greater safety and less embarrassment for

all concerned.

     I am so grateful that the NFB was there to call. The

staff member at the materials center answered my questions

without making me feel foolish, recalcitrant, or self-

pitying. I am also grateful that I have friends, NFB members

and others, who have offered to help me get started. And I

have read Care and Feeding of the Long White Cane, which I

found extremely useful. The instructions are so clear and

down-to-earth, I feel I can learn cane travel from the book

alone. Cane travel is not rocket science. I feel confident

that with practice I can learn it.

     I am sure the experts would not like to hear this. If

everyone learned cane travel from a book and their friends,

someone might be out of a job. Fortunately, the NFB gives

blind people an alternative to such experts and their


     Thank you.

                                            Georginia Kleege

                                         Member, NFB of Ohio
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Melody Lindsey]

                 Helping the Sighted to See
     From the Editor: Week in and week out one of the most

important jobs Federationists are called upon to undertake

is educating the public. Not only do uninformed people need

help recognizing the very real and substantial problems

facing blind people, but often they require instruction to

comprehend what they are actually looking at. When the

instruction is of this latter kind, it requires great tact

not to embarrass ignorant but well-meaning citizens

unnecessarily. This challenge faced members of the National

Federation of the Blind of Alaska on July 14, 1996. On that

day the editorial page of the Anchorage Daily News included

the following letter:
                 Obstacles Menace the Blind
     Recently I was looking out my office window at the

corner of Fourth Avenue and H Street and noticed there were

several blind people walking down the street. My attention

was drawn to one man in particular because he was having an

extremely difficult time maneuvering around the planter area

at the new courthouse, and on two occasions he actually

stumbled over the planter.

     I became even more concerned as I continued to watch

this gentleman. He managed to get across H Street without

incident, but when he got back on Fourth Avenue, he became

disoriented when he got to the Pioneer Bar because he got

caught between the wooden Indian's arm and the sidewalk

advertisement. He had a very difficult time getting his

bearings because of all the obstacles that are sitting out

on Fourth Avenue. It broke my heart as I watched him try to

make his way down Fourth Avenue.

     I realize that businesses are entitled to advertise,

but shouldn't they be required to do so in such a way that

people won't be injured? These sidewalk advertisements are

certainly harmless enough to sighted people, but they are a

definite menace to the blind.

     I hope the businesses on Fourth Avenue and elsewhere

will take note and move their sidewalk signs out of the way

of the blind.
                                     Faye Stevens, Anchorage
     That's what Ms. Stevens said, and Melody Lindsey,

President of the National Federation of the Blind of Alaska

responded in a letter published July 21:
               Problem for Blind Not on Street
     I am responding to Faye Stevens's letter of July 14,

from the perspective of one of the other blind persons who

was with the individual she described. When I first read her

letter, I was perplexed, but I have decided that she has

provided an opportunity to educate the public about


     Ms. Stevens wrote that she saw "several blind people"

walking down Fourth and H. However, her attention was

focused on one individual who appeared to have trouble

negotiating the sidewalk displays. What about the other

blind people? Did she wonder what the difference was between

the way they traveled and the apparent difficulty the one

individual was having? I submit that the difference lies in

the experience, confidence, and skill that blind people

choose to acquire.

     I encountered the same obstacles as the person Ms.

Stevens observed, yet I had the skills and confidence to

conclude that I needed to go around them just as everyone

else does. I may not be able to ascertain information

visually, but by using the cane, I can find objects on the

sidewalk and deduce that they are not going to get up and

move solely for my convenience.

     The only way that blind people can obtain good problem-

solving skills is by working through difficulties that arise

and moving on. If someone is always there to correct

problems for them, they will never gain accuracy and

confidence in their own capabilities. The real obstacles to

the blind include misconceptions about blindness, lack of

opportunity, unemployment, lack of quality training, and

lack of high expectations by society in general.

     If the physical barriers on Fourth and H were the only

ones we had to deal with, we would be in pretty good shape

economically and socially. To the businesses along these

streets I say: please do not move your displays solely to

help the blind.

     I would like to invite Ms. Stevens and anyone else who

would like to learn more about the blind to call the

National Federation of the Blind of Alaska office at 566-

2620. I believe that together we can change what it means to

be blind.
                                   Melody Lindsey, President

                  National Federation of the Blind of Alaska
     In the same spirit and also on July 21, Tracy Kuzara, a

travel teacher who had been with the group Ms. Stevens

observed, added her perspective to the discussion. This is

what she said:
                 Blind Students Are Learning
     I am writing in response to Faye Stevens's letter of

July 14. I was also there that day on Fourth Avenue when she

saw that blind man "having difficulty." She didn't mention

the several other blind people who were having no difficulty

whatsoever. They were getting around with much ease.

     I work at the school where these individuals are

learning the alternative techniques for everyday living. On

that particular day there were two instructors with the

students out on Fourth Avenue.

     Yes, walking around on the streets and around wooden

Indians happens to be one of the things they learn. Although

mistakes may happen from time to time, I don't feel that the

signs should be moved. The students are learning how to

maneuver around these types of obstacles. While they are out

walking and find an obstacle with the cane such as a wooden

Indian or a planter, they can figure their own way around it

without someone yelling, grabbing, or pulling on them.

     Blind people should be treated with the same respect

you would like to receive as a sighted person. I know that

Ms. Stevens was writing out of concern. But please realize

that if the signs were a menace to the blind, we would take

measures to have them moved, but they are not.

     The blind should be able to go where they want when

they want just as the sighted do. They don't want special

treatment; treat them as you would any other person. If they

have questions, they will ask you for assistance.

                                     Tracy Kuzara, Anchorage

     Have you considered leaving a gift to the National

Federation of the Blind in your will? By preparing a will

now, you can assure that those administering your estate

will avoid unnecessary delays, legal complications, and

substantial tax costs. A will is a common device used to

leave a substantial gift to charity. A gift in your will to

the NFB can be of any size and will be used to help blind

people. Here are some useful hints in preparing your will:

      Make a list of everything you want to leave (your


      Decide how and to whom you want to leave these


      Consult an attorney (one you know or one we can help

you find).

      Make certain you thoroughly understand your will

before you sign it.
     For more information contact the National Federation of

the Blind, Special Gifts, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore,

Maryland 21230-4998, (410) 659-9314, fax (410) 685-5653.

[PHOTO: This picture is taken from the back of a meeting

room which is filled with people. CAPTION: The Columbia Room

at the Holiday Inn, Capital was filled to capacity well

before the Sunday afternoon briefing began.]
                 The 1997 Washington Seminar

                      by Barbara Pierce
     By now everyone in the National Federation of the Blind

knows that the first week of February means one thing in our

organizational calendar: the Washington Seminar. Activities

actually began Friday evening, January 31, with the student

division party at the Capitol Holiday Inn.

     But the daylong Mid-Winter Conference of the National

Association of Blind Students that took place the following

day was only one of the preliminary programs that weekend.

So many groups had scheduled meetings at the National Center

for the Blind in Baltimore that virtually every one of the

fifty-two beds at the Center was occupied. The Comprehensive

Braille Training Advisory Committee, the NFB Research and

Development Committee, the International Braille Research

Center Board of Trustees, and its Research Fellows were all

working in Baltimore. Meanwhile at the Capitol Holiday Inn

in Washington, the student conference was capped by a

banquet for nearly 200 who enjoyed an address by Dr.


     Sunday morning the loaders had to turn people away from

the busses taking Federationists to tour the National

Center. Well over a hundred found seats, and some at least

of the two dozen others were able to make the trip and tour

later in the week.

     During the afternoon a number of seminars and meetings

took place at the hotel. These included parents, Associate

recruiters, merchants, lawyers, and those interested in the

American Communications Network business opportunity.

     By 5:00 p.m. the Columbia Room on the hotel's lower

level didn't even have standing room left for those

gathering for the briefing. Luckily the public address

system speakers used the day before to allow the

registration team to hear the student seminar were still

available to broadcast the briefing to the large group who

could not get into the room at all. Estimates put the size

of the crowd at over 500. Forty-eight states and Puerto Rico

were represented, and all but three members of the NFB Board

of Directors were on hand. President Maurer and Dr. Jernigan

updated the group on recent activities at the National

Center and on issues of importance to all of us. Then Jim

Gashel, Director of Governmental Affairs, briefed the crowd

on what we would be discussing with members of the 105th

Congress during the next several days.

     We had three issues this year. The first was to urge

both houses of Congress to introduce legislation that would

reestablish linkage between the stipends paid to blind

Social Security Disability Insurance recipients and those of

working retirees under the age of seventy. Though we didn't

know it at the time, Barbara Kennelly would soon introduce

H.R. 612 in the House of Representatives, and Senator John

McCain would introduce a similar bill as S. 375 in the

Senate. At this writing (in early March) H.R. 612 had sixty-

two cosponsors, and S. 375 had eleven. We still have a good

bit of work to do in the months ahead.

     The second issue was the reauthorization of the

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which has

already been introduced in the House with very strong

Braille literacy provisions. Our message was that these

provisions as they now stand must be part of the final

legislation passed this year.

     The third concern we took to the Hill was the need for

continued efforts to strengthen the Rehabilitation Act when

it comes up for reauthorization later this year. We must do

everything we can to insure that the specialized

rehabilitation services that are an integral part of getting

disabled citizens back into the workforce must not be turned

over to one-stop-shopping job centers serving everyone

needing employment services.

     As usual Sandy Halverson and her staff of volunteers

did wonderful work in the Mercury Room managing the schedule

of meetings and taking reports on them after they took

place. The job is huge and is carried out entirely in

Braille. The importance of having the records completely

accessible to Braille readers was demonstrated this year

when the computer system went down, leaving the crew to

prepare reports for Mr. Gashel by hand. The team was equal

to the challenge, but it was amazing to see just how far the

Mercury operation has evolved in recent years as the

computer has become more and more central in producing

Braille reports.

     By late in the week, the appointments had been kept,

the reports made, and the peanut butter pie in the hotel

dining room eaten; and Federationists headed home to do the

all-important follow-up work with Congressional staff

members. We left knowing that we had made a good start on

this year's legislative agenda, but only a start. Now the

real work begins. There is certainly enough to go around.

Here are the texts of the legislative agenda and the three

fact sheets we took to Congress:
[PHOTO/CAPTION: James Gashel addresses the crowd at the

opening briefing of the 1997 Washington Seminar.]

                  Legislative Agenda, 1997
FROM:     Members of the National Federation of the Blind

TO:       Members of the 105th Congress

RE:       Legislative Priorities of Blind Americans
     Public policies and laws affecting blind people have a

profound impact on our entire society. Most people know

someone who is blind. It may be a friend, a family member,

or a co-worker on the job. The blind population in the U. S.

is estimated to exceed 700,000. Fifty thousand Americans

become blind each year. By themselves these numbers may not

seem large, but the social and economic consequences of

blindness directly touch the lives of millions. In the form

of its social consequences and to some extent its economic

consequences, blindness affects virtually everyone.

     Public policies and laws that result from

misconceptions about blindness or lack of information are

often more limiting than the loss of eyesight itself. This

is why we have formed the National Federation of the Blind.

The Federation's leaders and the vast majority of the

members are blind, but membership is open to anyone who

wants to join in the effort we are making to win

understanding and equality in society.

     Our priorities for the first session of the 105th

Congress reflect an urgent need for action in three specific

areas of vital importance to the blind this year.
     (1) Congress should restore work incentive equity for

blind individuals by re-enacting the identical earnings

exemption threshold for blind and senior citizen

beneficiaries under Title II of the Social Security Act.

This proposal seeks to reduce (or eliminate altogether) the

work disincentive of the Social Security earnings limit as

it now affects blind beneficiaries. In spite of a law passed

in 1977 creating a logical and identical earnings exemption

threshold for blind people and retirees, beneficiaries who

are blind were singled out for exclusion from a series of

seven specified annual increases in the exempt amount

mandated under a new law solely for seniors. This means that

a lower earnings limit for the blind--$12,000 as compared to

$13,500--is now in effect. By 2002, when the exemption for

seniors becomes $30,000, the lower limit created by Congress

for the blind in 1996 will be less than half the amount

allowed for seniors unless the law is changed.

     People of working age who are blind must not be

forgotten now that the earnings exemption for retirees has

been raised. Just as with hundreds of thousands of seniors,

their positive response to the higher amounts of earnings

allowed will bring additional revenues into the Social

Security trust funds. The chance to work, earn, and pay

taxes is a constructive and valid goal for senior citizens

and blind Americans alike. This is why the statutory linkage

of the exempt earnings amounts which existed under the law

for almost twenty years should be restored. For more details

and an explanation of the need for this legislation, see the



     (2) Congress should amend the Individuals with

Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to include provisions for

strengthening programs of Braille literacy instruction. This

can be done by enacting Braille literacy for blind persons

provisions as part of the Individuals with Disabilities

Education Act (IDEA). Goal Five of the National Education

Goals declares that by the year 2000, "Every adult American

will be literate. . . ." For blind people this means having

the ability to read and write in Braille at a level of

proficiency which makes performance on equal terms possible.

Without legislative change, today's blind children will not

be able to meet this national goal.

     As many as 34 percent of the blind students enrolled in

elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. during the last

school year were classified as "non-readers." Fewer than 10

percent read Braille. Current federal and state laws require

that an appropriate educational opportunity must be provided

to children with disabilities. Each such child is to have an

individually planned program of instruction to meet

identified needs, but growing illiteracy for blind children

has been the result. Remedial federal legislation, similar

to laws now enacted in twenty-eight states, can help to

reverse this trend. For more details and an explanation of

the need for this legislation, see the fact sheet entitled


     (3) Congress should enact legislation this year to

reauthorize the existing federal/state program of vocational

rehabilitation. This program, as currently authorized under

Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is now in its

final year before action must be taken to continue grants to

states for serving persons with disabilities, including

people who are blind. During the 104th Congress vocational

rehabilitation was among the programs first included but

later removed from a proposed job training, education, and

employment system consolidation bill. Nonetheless, with the

program's reauthorization due for consideration this year,

the possibility of consolidation with other programs has

been discussed and could be proposed again.

     Vocational rehabilitation has been recognized as a

specific responsibility to be shared by the federal

government and the states for seventy-seven years. The

mixture of this program (intended to address essential and

complex disability-related needs) with generic job training,

education, and employment programs for the general

population is a fundamentally flawed concept. For someone

who becomes blind in mid-career, unemployment is only one of

many consequences. By comparison, however, the need for

special help to deal with blindness is by far the most

profound initial problem. This is why vocational

rehabilitation services should continue to receive dedicated

federal funding to support a targeted and identifiable

service delivery system. For more details and an explanation

of the need for reauthorization see the fact sheet entitled

"Blindness, Rehabilitation, and the Need for Specialized

     People who are blind are asking for your help in

securing positive action by Congress in the areas outlined

here. Legislative proposals will be offered to achieve each

of our specific objectives. Many priorities confront this

session of Congress, and the needs of the nation's blind are

among them. By acting on these priorities in partnership

with the National Federation of the Blind, each member of

Congress can help build better lives for the blind both

today and in the years ahead.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: James Gashel (left) shakes hands with

Senator Pete V. Domenici [R-NM].

                         Fact Sheet
          Winning the Chance to Earn and Pay Taxes:

           How the Blind Person's Earnings Limit 

         in the Social Security Act Must be Changed
     BACKGROUND: The Social Security earnings limit, also

known as the "retirement test," was recently changed by

Congress. The new law, which first took effect in 1996,

provides a 1997 earnings exemption threshold of $13,500 and

specifies five more annual increases to reach an earnings

exemption of $30,000 in the year 2002. In making the case

for this change, advocates in Congress explained that senior

citizens in greater numbers would now have the opportunity

to work, earn, and pay taxes.

     In spite of a law passed in 1977 creating a logical and

identical earnings exemption threshold for blind people and

retirees under Social Security, beneficiaries who are blind

were singled out for exclusion from the new, mandatory

raises in the earnings exemption. This means that a lower

earnings limit for the blind--$12,000 as compared to

$13,500--is now in effect. By 2002, when the exemption for

seniors becomes $30,000, the lower limit created by Congress

for the blind in 1996 will be less than half the amount

allowed for seniors unless the law is changed. At that point

a blind individual, age sixty-four, with earnings of

approximately $14,400 will lose entitlement to any payment

whatsoever from Social Security. But the same individual,

upon becoming age 65, will be permitted to earn up to

$30,000 before there is any effect upon eligibility for

Social Security. This is clearly a counterproductive federal

policy which speaks of work incentives for the blind but for

seniors provides actual continuation of monthly cash

benefits as a tangible incentive to work.

     EXISTING LAW: Section 216(i) of the Social Security Act

specifies what "blindness" means. The definition of

blindness is clearly stated in medical terms. Therefore,

blindness can be determined quite reliably on the basis of

objective medical evidence. This unique feature of the

Social Security Act makes blindness the only defined

disability. All other disabilities are determined on the

basis of an individual's "inability to engage in substantial

gainful activity." This inability is actually hard to

determine reliably in many cases.

     Although blindness is precisely defined, monthly

disability insurance benefits are not paid to all persons

who are blind. Under the law benefits are only paid to those

people who are blind and who do not have substantial

earnings. Personal wealth not resulting from current work

activity does not count as earnings and has no effect on

eligibility. Only work is penalized. The amount of earnings

considered to be "substantial" for working people who are

blind is $1,000 per month ($12,000, annually). The procedure

for adjusting this exempt amount for each year remains in

effect under the law passed in 1977 but applies at present

to the blind only, since increases in the exempt amount for

seniors were mandated in 1996.

     PROPOSED AMENDMENTS: Congress should restore work

incentive equity for blind individuals by re-enacting the

identical earnings exemption threshold for blind and senior

citizen beneficiaries under Title II of the Social Security

Act. Legislation to achieve this objective is being offered

in the 105th Congress by Representative Barbara Kennelly.

Mrs. Kennelly is the ranking minority member on the

Subcommittee on Social Security in the House of

Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means. Amendments to

retain the identical exemption for blind people and seniors

enjoyed broad bipartisan support during the last session of

Congress but were blocked from consideration when the

provision which raised the exemption limit for seniors was

attached to the unamendable debt ceiling bill.

     The National Federation of the Blind (along with every

other organization having interests in the blindness field)

strongly supports legislation to restore the identical

exemption threshold for the blind and seniors. By creating

an earnings limit that is lower for blind people than for

seniors, the bill passed last year applies a harsh work

disincentive policy to blind Americans.


adjustments in the earnings limit for blind people along

with the adjustments for age sixty-five retirees will assure

that an estimated 104,300 blind beneficiaries will receive a

powerful work incentive. Most blind people could then not

lose financially by working. The mandated earnings limit

changes if made applicable to blind people would be cost-

beneficial, since among those of working age 70 percent are

currently unemployed or underemployed. Most of them are

already beneficiaries. At present their earnings must not

exceed a strict limit of $1,000 per month. When earnings

exceed this exempt amount, the entire sum paid to a primary

beneficiary and dependents is abruptly withdrawn after a

trial work period.

     When a blind person finds work, there is absolutely no

assurance that earnings will replace the amount of lost

disability benefits after taxes and work expenses are paid.

Usually they do not. Therefore, few of the 104,300

beneficiaries can actually afford to attempt substantial

work. Those who do will often sacrifice income and will

certainly sacrifice the security they have from the

automatic receipt of a monthly check. This group of

beneficiaries--people of working age who are blind--must not

be forgotten now that the earnings exemption has been raised

for seniors. Just as with hundreds of thousands of seniors,

their positive response to the higher amounts of earnings

allowed will bring additional revenues into the Social

Security trust funds. The chance to work, earn, and pay

taxes is a constructive and valid goal for senior citizens

and blind Americans alike.
                         Fact Sheet
                      Braille Literacy

     and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

    BACKGROUND: The National Literacy Act of 1991 defines

"literacy" as "an individual's ability to read, write, and

speak in English, and compute and solve problems at levels

of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in

society to achieve one's goals and develop one's knowledge

and potential." This definition points up the critical

importance of emphasizing high-quality literacy training

programs for all Americans. For blind Americans, especially

school-age youth, the need is no less critical. Yet

surprisingly few students who are blind or visually impaired

receive instruction in Braille as a part of their elementary

and secondary education programs.

     Blind students are generally defined as those who see

less than 10 percent of what is seen by someone with normal

eyesight. During the 1995-1996 school year there were

approximately 53,654 such individuals enrolled at the

elementary and secondary levels in the U. S. Only 4,657 of

these students read Braille. The vast majority use print

materials, even in situations in which reading with sight is

an unrewarding, never-ending daily struggle. Educators often

resist teaching Braille until students are unable to see

printed matter with the most intense magnification. As a

result, Braille has become not the method of choice but the

method of last resort.

     EXISTING LAW: The Individuals With Disabilities

Education Act (IDEA) contains federal standards for special

education and related services to be provided to children

with disabilities throughout the U.S. The most important

standard is that each such child is entitled to a "free,

appropriate public education." Education agencies, both

state and local, receive federal funding to assist in

meeting this mandate. When special education services are

provided to a child, there must be an Individualized

Education Program (IEP) to describe the needs of the child

for special instruction, the services to be provided, and

the goals to be achieved.

     The components of an "appropriate education" are not

strictly defined in IDEA. As a result it is easy and

tempting for school personnel to determine a child's needs

largely on the basis of the school's capacity (or lack of

capacity) to provide special instruction or services. This

being the case, blind students who may have even a limited

ability to read print are guided toward receiving

instruction in that form instead of using Braille.

Procedural safeguards, including the right to challenge

decisions through administrative and court appeals, exist

under IDEA, but such proceedings are time-consuming and

costly in financial and educational resources.

     PROPOSED LEGISLATION: Congress should amend the

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to include

provisions for strengthening programs of Braille literacy

instruction. A proposal to achieve this objective has been

included in H.R. 5, the "I.D.E.A. Improvement Act of 1997."

The provision on Braille literacy, which was also passed by

the House of Representatives during the last session of

Congress, is a straightforward requirement to have Braille

instruction and services included in the IEP of any child

who is blind unless all of the IEP team members agree that

Braille is not necessary for the child.

     The proposal for federal legislation on Braille

literacy is necessary to support laws with a similar purpose

which twenty-eight states have now enacted. These laws

require individualized assessment of a blind student's need

for Braille. The federal legislation has been designed to

promote Braille services for blind students in order to have

a consistent state/federal policy in this area.

     NEED FOR LEGISLATION: It is the policy of our nation,

as stated in the National Education Goals, that by the year

2000 "Every adult American will be literate and will possess

the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global

economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of

citizenship." In order for blind adults to achieve this

goal, literacy instruction must be strengthened for

children. The direction of current trends and educational

programming shows that this goal will not be achieved

without deliberate corrective action. According to official

child count figures supplied annually by state and local

education agencies, 34 percent of the blind students at the

elementary and secondary levels are "non-readers," and the

percentage of non-readers increases every year. The number

who read Braille is correspondingly declining.

     The experience gathered in many states over several

years shows that a legislative response is needed to reverse

this trend of growing illiteracy among blind school-age

youth. By enacting a strong Braille literacy provision when

programs under IDEA are reauthorized this year, Congress can

provide the leadership to ensure that blind students

graduate from our nation's schools literate and armed with

the necessary skills to be first-class citizens of our

                         Fact Sheet

   Blindness, Rehabilitation, and the Need for Specialized

     BACKGROUND: Under title I of the Rehabilitation Act of

1973, federal grants assist every state to provide

comprehensive vocational rehabilitation services to eligible

persons with disabilities, including persons who are blind.

The program's cost for fiscal year 1997 (the final year of

the current authorized funding) is approximately $2.3


     STATEMENT OF POSITION: Congress should enact

legislation this year to reauthorize the existing vocational

rehabilitation program. Vocational rehabilitation has been

recognized as a shared federal and state responsibility for

seventy-seven years. The program has received consistent and

broad bipartisan support in Congress during each major

review, leading to its periodic reauthorization. The last

reauthorization occurred in 1992.

     During the 104th Congress vocational rehabilitation was

among the programs first included but later removed from a

proposed job training, education, and employment system

consolidation bill. The most decisive action occurred in the

House of Representatives, where an amendment was passed on

the floor to exclude vocational rehabilitation from the

consolidated service delivery system. Nonetheless, with the

program's reauthorization due for consideration this year,

the possibility of consolidation with other programs has

been discussed and could be proposed again.


SERVICES: The consolidation approach is based on the theory

that the administration and delivery of services to assist

the blind are essentially the same as services to dislocated

workers or unemployed welfare recipients. However, the

mixture of vocational rehabilitation with job training,

education, and employment programs for the general

population is a fundamentally flawed concept. For example,

the following essential rehabilitation services needed by

blind individuals are not available from--and are completely

unrelated to--generic job training and employment programs:
     1.   Comprehensive adjustment to blindness services.

          This training involves a sustained period of

          concentrated study to acquire the necessary tools

          for dealing with blindness and moving on to lead a

          normal life. Success in adjusting to blindness

          particularly includes integration of skills

          development with an understanding of relevant

          personal and social attitudes.

     2.   Travel training in using the white cane or the

          guide dog. This service must include all skills

          necessary to assess and move safely through the

          environment without seeing one's surroundings.

     3.   Adaptive methods of reading and writing. This

          training includes Braille instruction sufficient

          to perform at the level of literacy required for

          success in vocational preparation or on the job.

          Competent use of Braille requires the tactile

          identification of raised dots presented in

          prescribed patterns to form letters, numbers, and

          approximately 200 shorthand contractions commonly

          used. The extent of training needed will vary in

          complexity from learning the basic Braille code to

          specialized notations for computers, foreign

          languages, music, math, and other disciplines.

     4.   Assistive technology. This service includes

          individualized assessment of technology needs,

          procurement of appropriate devices, and

          personalized often one-on-one training in the use

          of the technology. High- or low-technology

          adaptations include use of specially adapted

          synthetic speech devices for computers, screen

          enlargement programs, Braille computer terminals,

          closed-circuit television or other magnification

          devices, and reading machines or scanners.
     For someone who becomes blind in mid-career,

unemployment is only one of many consequences. By

comparison, however, the need for special help to deal with

blindness is by far the most profound initial problem.

Failure to provide services which respond to the blind

person's fears, lack of confidence, and skills will almost

certainly result in lifelong dependence. Under existing law

all states are provided with a dedicated block of federal

funding for the sole purpose of assisting people with

disabilities to achieve individualized rehabilitation goals.

Under the consolidation plan, however, both the dedicated

funding and the resulting specialized services would

essentially be sacrificed to meet other perceived needs.

     It is a matter of historical fact that state agency

organization and service delivery patterns tend to mirror

the pattern of federal financial assistance. Moreover, the

combination of programs would inevitably favor the largest

and best-understood needs to be met. Unique services for

blind individuals would be sacrificed in the merger since

the needs of a person who is newly blinded are dramatically

different from those of the typical unemployed worker.

     ACTION REQUESTED: Each member of Congress is urged to

assist with efforts to assure that programs which provide

blindness-specific rehabilitation services are able to

continue by:
1.   Announcing support for reauthorization legislation to

     maintain dedicated federal funding and existing

     requirements for identifiable programs which specialize

     in providing vocational rehabilitation services; and

2.   Opposing efforts to combine the funding and service

     delivery system of the vocational rehabilitation

     program with a consolidated job training, education,

     and employment system for the general population.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Michael Baillif]

                      Telling Our Story

                     by Michael Baillif
     From the Editor: Michael Baillif is President of the

Capital City Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind

of the District of Columbia. He is also a past president of

the National Association of Blind Students (NABS). He was

invited to address NABS's Mid-Winter Conference on Saturday,

February 1, in Washington, D.C. President Maurer made the

following remarks about Michael in connection with that

speech. Here are both President Maurer's comments and

Michael Baillif's recollections of and reflections on the

student division:
     Michael Baillif is a member of perhaps the stodgiest

profession in the history of the world. He is a lawyer--you

know about lawyers--but even worse, he is a tax lawyer! He

knows about the Internal Revenue Service and the Internal

Revenue Code, the distribution deduction and the Tax Equity

and Financial Responsibility Act of 1986--he knows all about

it. If you want something dull, read about that. It is as

dull as you can get! If you have trouble sleeping, I can

recommend a book, written by Michael Baillif. He's a tax

lawyer, and he's good at it, very good. He works for one of

the top tax law firms in the United States.

     Using this stodgiest of all knowledge, Michael Baillif

helps to represent companies whose worth is in the billions.

In other words, Michael helps to make tax policy in the

courts of the United States of America.

     You may think that the tax law is dull, and you are

right unless you have to pay the tax man and with Michael's

help you can find a way out of it. But I'll tell you

something; Michael Baillif is not dull. You have seen that

today. He has committed a very fine mind to what we have

been talking about all day: our belief in ourselves and each

other and our effort to create a mechanism to bring enough

pressure to bear to compel others to recognize and value our

abilities. He has made something impressive of all this, but

all of us have also had a hand in shaping him. Did Michael

do it? Sure he did. Could he have done what he has without

us? No, he could not. Could we have shaped him without his

ability and drive? Not at all. His success is our success;

his enthusiasm is shared with us. For my part, I am proud of

Michael Baillif and glad that he is my colleague in the

     "You are an evil generation; you wait for a sign." "You

are a perverse generation; you wait for an answer." "You are

a lost generation; you seek both reason and purpose." These

are all statements that have been made about earlier

generations. But they are equally applicable to us here

today. We each come seeking something that we have not yet

found: a sign, a reason, an answer, a purpose.

     Today we are beginning, just beginning, to build some

bridges and establish an identity. A few weeks ago I stayed

late at a party. Those of us who remained were sitting

around drinking very good Scotch and talking about

philosophy. A friend posed an interesting question. He

asked, "What do you think has been the most important career

in the history of the world?"

     I responded flippantly, "An attorney, of course."

     He said, "No, the storyteller because people's beliefs

and actions and identities are in large part determined by

where they fit into a story." Whether that story revolves

around a religion or an ethnicity or a family or an

individual dream, it has tremendous power to shape and mold,

to motivate and to energize.

     If I told you there is a story of hidden pain and

fearful loneliness, a story of awesome determination and

quiet courage, a story of constant struggle and ultimate

achievement, would you want to hear it? Would you wonder

whom it was about and how it ended? Well, it is my story,

and it's your story, and it's the shared story of all blind

people in this room and outside it. It's a story that's gone

on for a long time, that took on new focus when this

organization was formed more than fifty years ago, and that

will be concluded by those of us with the strength and

courage and passion to write it.

     Let me tell you just a small part of this story as it

relates to what brings us here today, the National

Association of Blind Students. For a time I had a chance to

serve as president in this organization that Carlos now

guides so ably and so conscientiously. I can tell you that

it was one of the best experiences of my life. Those of us

who formed the leadership in the National Association of

Blind Students, which in my heart will always be just the

Student Division [applause], did two things: we worked hard

and we had fun. We established this national conference of

blind students some seven years ago. We initiated the Monte

Carlo Night. We regularly published the Student Slate, and

we went out and organized student chapters in New York,

Texas, Oregon, and Minnesota.

     We worked hard and achieved much, but we also had fun.

We used to stay so late in bars that they had to throw us

out. We talked of blindness and life and nothing at all.

Today I really don't remember the content of those

conversations, but they were very important at the time. We

put on student division parties that were so good they

rarely lasted for more than two hours before being closed

down by hotel security. And we laughed a great deal, most of

the time with one another, occasionally at each other. For

as Jane Austen says, "For what do we live, but to be made

sport of by our neighbors and to laugh at them in our turn?"

And the people: they mattered more than anything else. There

were Scott LaBarre and Melody Lindsey, Maria Morais and Tom

Ley, Dan Fry and Melissa Williamson, Jennifer Dunham and Pam

Dubel, all of whom are involved today and doing very upright

and respectable things. But I'm sorry to say that we had so

much fun during those days that the very best stories can

never be told.

     While I was president, I saw many things. Some things

made me furious: the self-satisfied disability offices that

because of their own pride and power and petty gratification

strove to dominate the lives of blind students and push them

into dependency, the apartment owner who refused to rent a

room on a second floor to a blind student because he didn't

think she could climb the stairs, the mobility instructor

who threatened to break the long white cane of a blind

student if he ever caught her bringing it to school.

     I saw some things that made me want to cry, such as the

blind students who themselves bought into the notions of

infirmity and incapacity that the disability offices were

selling, or the students who came to this event or to a

national convention knowing in their hearts that we had what

they needed desperately, but were so overwhelmed and afraid

that they went away and never came back. There were students

who went to get residential training and for the first time

found out what it was like to live, but then went home,

where they were viewed as having little more capacity than a

rocking chair and sat in that rocking chair and are still

sitting there today.

     But I also saw many things that made me laugh: Joanne

Wilson all dressed up and ready to go to Mardi Gras in a

tiger costume complete with flaming orange wig and a tail

made from one of Jerry Whittle's old dress socks, or the

time at a National Convention when I got out of bed one

morning and bumped into my roommate, who was standing on his

head doing Yoga meditation. Then there was the Student

Division party that had been going on for only half an hour

when security came to close it down, and Melody Lindsey

refused to let them in until they paid a cover charge.

     And I saw many things that made me incredibly proud,

such as looking out over the Student Division meeting

audience at the 1989 convention in Denver and realizing that

the room was full. The speaker was saying something

important, and people were listening, really listening.

There were wonderful moments when I heard that an event we

had sponsored had been important to someone, had meant

something, had helped that person deal with an issue,

surmount a hurdle, or simply feel good, even though none of

us had known it at the time. And there were times like today

when I would meet blind students much further along than I

was at their age--at your age. I can see unlimited

potential, all that they and you can be and do and give.

     So what is the Student Division to me now? Well, it is

everything about which I have just spoken. It's the story

that I have just told about days gone by. But it is much,

much more than that. It's new ideas and energy and hope. In

your hands lies the continuation of our story, and not just

at some vague point in the future, but right now. Today you

can go out and organize and fight for that which is good and

right, and you can have an awful lot of fun doing it. You

can become a part of a much larger story, the story that

took on new texture fifty years ago when Dr. tenBroek

established this organization and that has been evolving

through the leadership of Dr. Jernigan and President Maurer.

This is a great and powerful story. Yet it is a story the

final lines of which have yet to be written. It is you who

will write them. You who are seniors in high school and

sophomores in college and you who have not yet been exposed

to all that this organization is and has to offer: you will

tell our story.

     Where do you begin? You begin by becoming involved in

whatever way you can and by accepting the involvement of

others on whatever terms they can offer. This is crucial

because, if you don't, if you opt out of our story, you will

be alone and isolated, and not only that, you will deprive

the rest of us of that special something that only you can

contribute to the story.

     This organization provides the only way for us to tell

our own story. Unless we are all involved and pull together

in whatever way we can, we will allow someone else to tell

it for us. We have much too much to say and too much to do

and there is too much fun to be had to allow anyone else to

do it for us.

     I've been a part of this story for a very short time,

but I intend to be involved in it for a long while to come.

I truly hope that you will share it with me and with

everyone else in this organization here today.

     But as Ayn Rand said in The Fountainhead, "Don't work

for my happiness, my sisters and brothers, show me yours.

Show me your achievement. Show me that it is possible, and

the knowledge will give me courage for mine."

[PHOTO: A man is seated in front of filled bookcases.

CAPTION: Dr. John Smith]
              Disability Simulation That Works

                      by John W. Smith
     From the Editor: Dr. John Smith teaches communication

studies at the Ohio University in Athens. He is also a

leader in the NFB of Ohio. In the following article he

offers proof that not all disability simulations are

damaging. This is what he says:
     For the past three years I've had the pleasure of

teaching a very special class at Ohio University entitled,

"Communicating with the Physically Disabled." To my

knowledge it is the only course of its kind at the

university level. That was one of the reasons I decided to

develop it. Another reason was that the field of

communication has, I believe, been quite reluctant to

discuss communication and interaction between those with

physical disabilities and those without. In addition I

developed the class because I thought it could serve as an

opportunity for me to dispel myths about blindness

specifically and physical disabilities in general.

     The class has received a lot of media coverage. There

have been articles in the Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain

Dealer, and Chicago Tribune, as well as an NBC television

story, which was aired in Dallas, Cleveland, Columbus, and

Chicago. In addition to these national and regional stories,

the course has been covered by a number of small newspapers

(The Athens Messenger, The Athens News, and several radio


     I taught the class over a five-week period during the

summer quarter. The first week was devoted to laying out a

theoretical framework. The next three weeks focused on

specific disabilities: week two, blindness and visual

impairments; week three, deafness and hearing impairments;

and week four, mobility impairments. The final week was

devoted to class presentations of student-devised workshops.

     As you might expect, I used the blindness and visual

impairment week to unfold the philosophy of the National

Federation of the Blind--blindness can be reduced to the

level of a nuisance, and we are changing what it means to be

blind. One of the reasons the class received so much media

attention was the simulated exercises we used during the

course. The media like the bells and whistles and

melodramatics of people rolling around in wheelchairs and

using sleep shades or ear plugs. I recognized that, when I

implemented these simulated exercises, people would tend to

focus more on them than on the content of our message, but

after much discussion and thought, I decided I could devise

a plan to make these simulated exercises useful for both the

students and the general public.

     Like many other thoughtful blind people, I have had

mixed emotions about simulated exercises because they are so

often implemented by temporarily able-bodied individuals

(TABs) and are designed to be dramatic and entertaining and

to convey the wretchedness of a particular disability and

the gratitude TABs should feel because they don't have that

disability. Factor in the pity that inevitably results, and

it's no wonder these exercises leave a bad taste in our

mouths. Even given all this, I figured that, in the

blindness component at least, I could show my students what

an actual blind person's life was like. Through carefully

planned course discussions, rigorous journaling, and an exit

interview at the end of the course, I thought I could create

an atmosphere in which simulation exercises could do some


     I asked the students to participate in one simulated

exercise lasting for one twenty-four-hour period. They chose

to be blind for twenty-four hours by wearing sleep shades or

hearing-impaired by wearing ear plugs and remaining mute or

mobility-impaired by using one of our wheelchairs. For the

purpose of our discussion here, I've focused on the visual

impairment. No matter which exercise they chose to simulate,

they had to submit a journal of their experience as well as

participate in an exit interview with me concerning the

contents of that journal.

     It's easy to distinguish between falsified or dishonest

journals and the authentic ones. One in particular struck me

as powerful and instructive. I thought it would be

interesting to share with our NFB family. Sarah McConnell

was a very quiet, reserved student in my 1996 course. She

decided to choose blindness as her simulated exercise. I

might add here that, in addition to the individual simulated

exercises, during the appropriate week I implement

collective simulated exercises as well. For example, during

the blindness week I pair a student using a sleep shade and

cane with a sighted guide and teach the use of proper

techniques. Then we go shopping. I send them on errands and

we meet back in the classroom to talk about the experience.

The first day the discussion focuses on the negative: how

tough it was, how much they hated steps, how time-consuming

everything was. I leave it at that the first day. The next

day I bring in one or two blind friends from the NFB

chapter, and we then go buy things and perform the same

errands I had asked the students to perform. The idea is to

demonstrate what a trained blind person can do using

alternative skills.

     Back to Sarah: She submitted her journal and I read it.

I was impressed by her honesty and creativity and by her

willingness to take chances. In my follow-up interview with

her I found her genuinely interested in what it would be

like to be blind. In short, I left the interview feeling

that, if Sarah ever lost her sight, she would be all right.

     This class gives every indication of continuing to be a

success. We are now franchising it to other universities and

other organizations, and, though I still have some mixed

emotions about simulated exercises, I hope that, when you

read Sarah's journal, like me you will begin to see that in

the proper context and with the proper implementation and

facilitator, these exercises can be useful. Here is Sarah's

         Disability Days: Visual Impairment Journal

                     by Sarah McConnell
     I decided to be visually impaired for my second

disability day. I have always wondered what it would be like

to experience a day without using sight. I think this

disability was more authentic than the hearing impairment.

Once I put the blindfold on, I could not see anything. I

went to bed with the sleepshade on so that I would wake up

not able to see. When I woke up, I realized that I had

somehow taken it off while I was sleeping, so I quickly shut

my eyes before I could really see anything and searched for

the blindfold. When I finally found it, I put it back on and

went back to sleep.

     When I finally woke up, I had no idea what time it was.

It seemed as if it was still dark out. I had waked up a

couple of times and then fallen back asleep because I didn't

know the time, and I didn't hear any noises in the living

room. I decided I would get up and see if anyone was in the

living room since I heard the TV. I walked out of my room,

which goes directly into the living room, and paused. I

could hear the TV, but there were no other noises in the

room. I finally asked if anyone was there, and two people

answered me. One was my housemate Chad, and I still have no

idea who the other person was. I asked Chad what time it

was. Not knowing what time it was really bothered me. It

ended up that I hadn't waked up until 2:00 p.m.

     I made my way through the living room, which is hard

because it is so narrow that there is very little space

between the couch on one side of the room and the chair on

the other. I bumped into the chair, and it was no big deal,

but I could hear Chad laughing at me. I went into the

bathroom and took my shower. I didn't have any problems to

speak of. My shampoo and conditioner are in a hanging shower

rack in specific places separated by my shower gel, so I

knew which was which. I even shaved my legs without any

major flesh wounds, at least not that I know about. Brushing

my teeth was no problem at all.

     I made my way out of the bathroom and back into my

room, where I got dressed. I had laid my clothes out before

I went to bed, but when I was dressing, I decided I wanted

to wear something different, so I searched in my dresser and

found what I was looking for. After I got dressed, I went

back to the kitchen to get something to eat. I made a salami

sandwich, which was quite simple, especially since all of

the stuff I needed was in one drawer of the refrigerator.

     Chad was watching Miracle on 34th Street, so I sat down

and watched the end of it while I ate. I had never seen the

movie before, so I didn't really know what it was about.

There were quite a few scenes in this movie that were solely

visual and really confusing to me. I asked Chad what was

going on in one of the confusing parts but just let the

others go by. What was interesting was that a few days later

I saw the movie when I could see and realized that all the

visual cues I noticed changed the meaning of the things the

characters said. I had a totally different picture of what

was meant when I couldn't see the characters.

     My roommate and another friend were supposed to spend

the day with me, but one had dance team practice all day,

and the other one's parents came into town. So after Chad

left, I was all alone in the house. I called my friend, and

she was amazed that I could use the phone. That kind of

surprised me, because you can easily feel the separations of

the numbers on the phone, so it was simple. I had planned on

going to Bob Evans's for dinner, but my roommate ended up

having extra practice, so yet again I was left alone. I got

really depressed when I realized that I was going to be

alone until about 9:30 p.m. I was tired of sitting in the

house. I was tired of watching TV. I couldn't read, so I was

very bored.

     There was a knock at my door, and the living room is on

the second floor, so I had to work my way down the stairs to

answer the door. It wasn't hard at all, but it was kind of

scary to open the door and not be able to see who was there.was just my neighbor, who needed me to move my car

because it was blocking him in. Needless to say, he had to

do it for me. My driveway is impossible to back out of when

you can see; I didn't think it would be too good an idea

when I couldn't.

     When my roommate came home during one of her breaks in

practice, I went down to her room, which is on the first

floor, to talk to her. She had gotten a huge duffel bag, her

pom poms, a warmup jacket, and a couple of new shirts for

dance camp; and she tried to explain all these things to me.

She did an excellent job of describing. She had me feel the

pom poms and bag, and with the jacket and shirts she drew on

me how the designs were on them. For example, there was a

circle with Ohio University on the front, so she drew a

circle on me where it would have been if I had been wearing

the shirt.

     When she left, I decided to make something to eat. I

had opened a can of nacho cheese the night before for nachos

and decided that I wanted to finish it. The trick was that I

had to figure out where I had put it in the refrigerator. I

knew it was in a bowl close to the front with aluminum foil

on it. I had to taste it in order to find it. It took me two

tries; the first thing I tasted was refried beans. I was

just glad that I didn't stumble on the three-week-old tuna

fish that I knew was in there somewhere. The hardest part

was using the microwave. Unlike the phone, the microwave's

buttons were not sectioned off. It was just a flat surface,

and I couldn't feel where the numbers were. Moreover, with

our microwave you have to press the time set button, the

amount of time, and then the start button. I could find

everything but the time set button. I ended up getting it to

heat long enough to make it lukewarm, so I ate nachos and

watched TV.

     When my roommate finally came home, she brought two of

the girls that were on the dance team with her so that they

could use our shower. I had never met them before, so I had

no idea what they looked like. I only got to know them by

their voices. They wanted me to go to practice the next day

to see if I could tell what they looked like just by having

heard their voices. I didn't go to practice the next day,

but they did come back over, and I got to see what they

looked like. It was an interesting experience to meet people

and judge them by their voices and what they said instead of

by their looks. They did look different than I had pictured,

but it wasn't too much different than I thought.

     My other friend had come over; and, when the dance team

girls left, we decided to go uptown. My roommate Sheila was

my sighted guide. We walked uptown from Mill Street. I

really wish I could have seen the reactions we got, but

according to Sheila and Andrea (my other friend), we got a

lot of stares. They decided to take me down Court Street

before we went into any bars. One drunk boy reached out and

touched my blindfold as we passed him on the street. Quite a

few people made dumb comments as they passed us. I realize

just how awful the sidewalks in Athens are; they were pretty

scary in some places.

     After we went for a stroll, we went into Tony's. It was

a little difficult because there are three steps to go up,

but I did fine. According to my friends, we got lots of

strange looks at Tony's. We stayed for a little while and

decided to go to the bakery for some pizza. When we rounded

the corner from Tony's back to Court Street, this very

strange boy came right up to me and started talking to me

and asking me questions about what I was doing. He got way

too close to me; his face was less than an inch from my

face. I even think his nose touched me. I did not like that.

It seemed like a few people got closer to me than they would

have if I could have seen them. When we got to the bakery,

the OU cheerleaders were there. Sheila is friends with all

of them, and I know a couple of them. They had a great time

with the fact that I couldn't see them. There was some sort

of picture of me taken, and from what I've heard, I don't

think I want to see what they were doing around me.

     I got my pizza, and we got a table and ate. Sheila and

Andrea were amazed at how well I had adapted to not being

able to see, but really it wasn't that bad. The only things

that really bothered me were things that could be adapted if

I really couldn't see: like getting a talking clock, making

the microwave so I could feel the numbers, and getting used

to walking around by myself. I think driving would be the

hardest thing not to be able to do.

     After we ate we decided to take one more trip down

Court Street and then go home. Sheila had been my sighted

guide the whole time, so they switched, and Andrea did it

for a while. Andrea was a good guide too, but after we

switched, I could feel Sheila on my other side guiding me

too. She was so protective of me it was funny.

     I swear, we knew everyone that was uptown that night. I

didn't feel self-conscious about the blindfold, which

surprised me. Quite a few people stopped and asked what I

was doing and why. They wanted to know if I really couldn't

see anything, so waving their hands in front of my face was

common practice for most of them. One thing I found very

humorous was that at least five people asked me if my

hearing was better because I couldn't see. I thought about

saying, "Why, yes of course, now I hear like Superman." But

I guess that would have been inappropriate.

     On our way back down Mill Street, there was an odd boy

in front of us. He didn't see my blindfold at first and just

thought that I was really drunk and couldn't walk, but then

he realized that I couldn't see. He walked us home and

followed behind me with his arms out in case I fell. It was

strange that so many people I didn't know came up to me and

were extremely protective of me. I guess they thought I

would break.

     The truth is that I suffered no injuries and no falls

when I was blind, and I get hurt at least three times a day

when I can see where I'm going. The thing I noticed the most

was that I had to pay more attention to my other senses, and

I had to pay more attention to where I put things. You can

figure out where people are in the room by listening just as

well as looking, but you don't give your hearing the chance

because seeing is quicker. It surprised me that people were

so shocked that I could make phone calls, use the microwave,

go down the stairs, eat without seeing my food, and walk

quickly. All these things were easy, and I won't ever think

of a blind person as helpless. This ended up being a good

experience, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to do it.
[PHOTO: A number of blind people are seated at tables under

a canopy at a sidewalk cafe. CAPTION: Louisiana Center

students enjoy coffee and beignets at the Cafe du Monde in

the New Orleans French Quarter.]
             New Orleans--Something for Everyone

                      by Jerry Whittle
     From the Editor: In about two months the largest

gathering of blind people to take place in 1997 will be

about to begin. You still have time to arrange to be a part

of the fifty-seventh convention of the National Federation

of the Blind, but you had better hurry. Call Mr. Cobb at the

National Center for the Blind today to make your room

reservation. The telephone number is (410) 659-9314.

Meantime, to whet your appetite for what you will find in

New Orleans, here is Jerry Whittle's latest evocation of the

Crescent City:
     As most Federationists already know, New Orleans is one

of the most popular convention cities in the world. Noted

for its myriad of so-called adult attractions, New Orleans

also affords ample wholesome entertainment for the entire


     This year's National Convention also offers one of the

most spacious and elegant hotels in the Crescent City as our

headquarters--the Hyatt Regency--just a few blocks from the

French Quarter. Connected to the Superdome and a massive

shopping complex, the Hyatt-Regency usually serves as the

main hotel for major sports events, such as the Super Bowl.

Here is a brief description of the Hyatt Regency--just one

more reason why this year's Convention of the National

Federation of the Blind, June 29 through July 5, is the

place to be.
Hyatt Regency New Orleans:

     Discover a city known the world over for its soulful

jazz and its Creole cuisine. Located in the heart of

downtown just minutes from the historic French Quarter and

the scenic riverfront, Hyatt Regency New Orleans captures

the flavor of the Crescent City with rich mahogany,

beautifully appointed guest rooms, and wrought iron

grillwork crafted by talented artisans.

     Savor famous New Orleans cuisine in its three

restaurants and lounges, serving such regional dishes as

muffalettas, Crawfish Etoufee, and other tantalizing Cajun

creations. Relax in the whirlpool spa, take a dip in the

heated pool, or work out in the fully equipped health club.

     Experience the magic of the Big Easy as only the people

of Hyatt can deliver.

      Thirty-two-story atrium hotel, including 1,084 guest

     rooms, 100 suites, and exclusive Regency Club


      Twenty minutes from New Orleans International Airport

      Complimentary Hyatt Express shuttle to the French

     Quarter, Mississippi Riverfront

      Heated rooftop pool, whirlpool and fully equipped

     health club

      Business center on site

      Connected to the Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans

     Centre Shopping Mall, featuring Macy's, Lord & Taylor,

     and more

     The Courtyard Restaurant: located on the third floor,

     is open seven days a week serving breakfast, lunch, and


     Top of the Dome Steakhouse: Enjoy a fantastic view from

     New Orleans's only revolving rooftop restaurant,

     located on the thirty-second floor. Menu suggestions

     include filet mignon, New York Strip, and T-Bone,

     Smokehouse Ribs and much more. Chocoholic bar and

     cocktail specials are featured nightly.

     Hyttops: Located on the third floor, Hyttops Sports Bar

     offers casual fare and friendly competition with

     tables, video games, pool, and more.

     Fitness Room/Swimming Pool: The fitness room,

     accessible from the fifth floor of the main tower or

     seventh floor of the Lanai tower, is adjacent to the

     pool and jacuzzi.
     A magnificent hotel is only the beginning. New Orleans

is dotted with hundreds of interesting shops of every

description, and men, women, and children should have few

problems finding that special shop of their dreams. In

addition to a variety of quaint shops, New Orleans also

offers plenty of family entertainment. Enumerated below is a

partial list of the places that help to make the Crescent

City one of the most popular convention sites in the world.
Southern Fossil & Mineral Exchanges

     A Natural History Gallery, 2045 Magazine Street

     The South's first gallery to showcase artifacts of

     nature. In addition to spectacular displays of fossils

     and minerals, insects, butterflies, meteorites, shells,

     and skulls are featured.
Children's Hour Book Emporium

     3308 Magazine Street

     "One of the best new bookstores of '94," according to

     the Times-Picayune. New and classic titles, audio and

     video cassettes, software, compact discs, and artwork

     by young artists.
All That Jazz

     829 Decatur Street

     An impressive selection of CD's, records, and tapes.
Art to Wear

     910 Decatur Street

     Hand-painted and appliqued women's and children's wear

     and accessories are sold at this family-run shop.

     600 Royal Street and Riverwalk at Poydras

     Women's contemporary clothing and the store's signature

     line of wearable art.
Payless Souvenirs

     New Orleans Centre

     Shopping for Super Bowl souvenirs? Payless is one place

     not to be missed.
Jackson Brewery

     600-621 Decatur Street

     It's jewelry and fashions. It's spicy shrimp and Creole

     cuisine. It's fireworks and festivals--a unique

     collection of shops, restaurants, stores, and

Louisiana Music Factory

     210 Decatur Street

     Offers both new and used music products, giving

     shoppers a larger selection of rare tunes on both

     vinyls and CD's.
Audubon Zoo

     6500 Magazine Street

     See more than 1,800 endangered or rare animals,

     including the exotic white alligators.
City Park:

     City Park Ave.

     City Park has something for the whole family. It

     features a world class botanical garden, storyland (a

     children's wonderland of rides), the Carousel Gardens,

     paddle-boat rentals for two, horseback riding, and the

     New Orleans Museum of Art.
Louisiana Children's Museum:

     420 Julia Street

     Features two floors of colorful, educational, and

     imaginative hands-on exhibits.
Louisiana State Museum:

     701 Chartres Street

     Five important historic properties make up this

     expansive complex in New Orleans: The Cabildo,

     Presbytere, Arsenal, and 1850 House on Jackson Square

     plus the old U.S. Mint on Esplanade Avenue.
Louisiana Superdome:

     Connected to the Hyatt Regency

     Tour one of America's largest and finest domed

Nottoway Plantation:

     White Castle, Louisiana (a one-hour drive from New


     Experience and savor the aristocratic splendor that was

     the Old South. Nottoway is the ultimate in Southern

     grandeur, Southern hospitality at its finest.
Aquarium of the Americas:

     1 Canal Street

     Explore underwater worlds teeming with exotic marine

Entergy Imax Theatre Film Special Effects:

     1 Canal Street

     A behind-the-scenes-look at Hollywood magic. Come

     experience the magic of illusion on a screen ten times

     bigger than a traditional movie screen.

     On the Mississippi River at Poydras Street

     This unique center features 140 stores and restaurants

     stretching a half mile along the Mississippi

     The Big Easy truly aims to please everyone, but the

real entertainment will be the opportunity to attend the

largest gathering of blind people in the world. Despite all

the distractions of the Crescent City, the major focus will

still be the wonderful general sessions, the informative

speakers, the division meetings, and the banquet. New

Orleans truly teems with life, but above all this is our

chance to work together for a brighter future for all blind

people. Take advantage of this opportunity to make new

friendships and renew old acquaintances in a wonderful

spirit of camaraderie. Laissez le bon temps roulet!
[PHOTO: Two little girls sit holding a toy together.

CAPTION: Macy and Madison McLean from Ohio. PHOTO: A small

blind boy is sitting on the floor fitting a shape into a

shape-sorter toy. CAPTION: Bryan Hergert of Washington state

plays in NFB camp.

PHOTO: A woman standing with a guide dog talks to her

interpreter by signing into her hand. A man looks on.

CAPTION: Kathleen Spear (right) talks through her

interpreter (center) to Bob Eschbach (left).]
                 1997 Convention Attractions
     From the Editor: Every year's National Convention is an

absolutely unique event. The agenda items, the exhibits, the

new friends and business acquaintances: all these give each

convention its own character and significance. Some

activities lend a luster to the convention in part because

they do take place every year and provide helpful fixed

points in the whirl of events. In this category are the

meetings of the Resolutions Committee and the Board of

Directors, the annual banquet, and the many seminars and

workshops of the various divisions and committees. Here is a

partial list of activities being planned by a number of

Federation groups during the 1997 Convention, June 29

through July 5. Presidents of divisions, committee

chairpeople, and event presenters have provided the

information. The pre-convention agenda will list the

locations of all events taking place before convention

registration on Monday, June 30. The convention agenda will

contain listings of all events taking place after that time.
             Blind Industrial Workers of America
     BIWA President Primo Foianini announces that the

division will conduct a split cash drawing at this year's

convention. The group will gather on Tuesday afternoon, July

1, for its annual meeting.
            Blind Professional Journalists Group
     If you are studying journalism, are working in this

exciting field, or are interested in doing either, the NFB

Blind Professional Journalists meeting is the place for you

to be Sunday, June 29, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Please see the

pre-convention agenda for the meeting location. The Blind

Professional Journalists group, which organized last summer

during the convention in Anaheim, is here to help everyone

exchange ideas and answer questions about working for

newspapers and magazines and in broadcasting.

     If you have questions about BPJ, contact Elizabeth

Campbell evenings at (817) 738-0350 or e-mail,

or Bryan Bashin at (916)441-4096 or e-mail,
                   Child Care Information
     Throughout our National Convention NFB Camp provides

activities and programs for children under twelve years of

age. Although it is generally referred to as "child care,"

the participants in NFB Camp will tell you otherwise. It is

a tremendous opportunity to instill Federation philosophy in

the camp counselors, the parents, and the children (blind

and sighted alike). Advanced registration is required to

ensure that the number of camp counselors is sufficient for

the safety and happiness of the children. Blind and sighted

children will enjoy the action-packed schedule awaiting them

in New Orleans this summer. Call or write to register today.

     NFB Camp is under the direction of Carla McQuillan, the

owner and operator of Children's Choice Montessori School

and Child Care Center in Springfield, Oregon. With seventeen

years of teaching experience in early childhood education,

Mrs. McQuillan received the Blind Educator of the Year Award

presented by the National Federation of the Blind at our

1996 convention in Anaheim. Carla is also the mother of two

children and the President of the National Federation of the

Blind of Oregon.

     The team supervisor and activities director are

employees of Children's Choice Montessori School. Both have

extensive experience planning and expediting programs for

children. Once again we are recruiting Head Start teachers

from the local area to serve as our camp counselors. All of

these individuals have CPR and First Aid certification,

criminal record checks, and the education and experience to

handle large groups of children with ease. In addition to

the contracted staff, the Federation youth who participate

in our CPR/First Aid baby-sitting class on Sunday, June 29,

will be paired up with NFB camp counselors throughout the

week for hands-on child care experience.

     This year's convention setting offers a wide range of

opportunities to explore areas outside the hotel. The

children will be practicing their independence skills as

they take various walking tours of the city, engage in

scavenger hunts in the mall beneath the Hyatt, and challenge

each other to water-pistol fights. There will be guest

appearances by storytellers, musicians, magicians, and

artists. We will be conducting philosophy discussions to

complement the skills training that will be taking place

daily. Each day, during general sessions, children will be

encouraged to participate in a variety of activities both

inside the hotel and out in the community. A schedule of NFB

Camp activities will be available at the information table

at convention.

     NFB Camp will be open one half hour before the

beginning of sessions and one half hour after sessions

recess. Children must be picked up during lunch breaks. The

schedule follows:

     Sunday, June 29, during the seminar for Parents of

Blind Children

     Tuesday, July 1, during the Board meeting and afternoon

committee meetings

     Wednesday, July 2, during both general sessions

     Thursday, July 3, during the morning general session,

not tours

     Friday, July 4, during both general sessions and the


     Saturday, July 5, during both general sessions

     We will not serve dinner during the banquet. A late fee

of $10 per child will be strongly enforced if children are

not picked up from camp on time.

     Registration fee schedule: full time (all hours of

operation except banquet) first child in the family, $60,

each additional child, $40; banquet, $10 per child; daily

rates, $15 per child.

     Registration for NFB Camp will be handled through the

state office of the National Federation of the Blind of

Oregon. If you are registering by telephone and you would

like to speak to a live human instead of an answering

machine, call between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Pacific Daylight Time. If you mail your registration or

leave a message on the answering machine, please be sure to

include the following registration information: child's

name; age; special needs, if any, such as blind or in

wheelchair; parent's name, home address, and phone. Please

list the days you will need child care and whether you need

services during the banquet. Please call or mail the

information to NFB of Oregon, Attention NFB Camp, P.O. Box

320, Thurston, Oregon 97482, (541) 726-2654. Complete

information packets and medical releases will be mailed

approximately two to three weeks after Mrs. McQuillan

receives initial registration information.
  Field Trips and Special Activities for Children and Youth

     New Orleans Children's Museum, ages four to twelve;

cost, $10 per child (includes lunch); check-in, 8:30-9:00


     This June 29 trip begins with a brief orientation to

the hotel and adjacent mall, featuring a stop in the food

court for lunch. Children will divide into small groups for

this activity. They will be paired with capable travelers

selected from the membership and from National Federation of

the Blind training centers. The children will have the

experience of selecting and purchasing their own lunches.

After lunch we will board a bus to the Children's Museum,

which invites children and their adult friends to discover

and learn in a hands-on environment. All exhibits are

designed to encourage children to touch, explore, and get

involved while having fun together. Children may be picked

up at 3 p.m. when they return from the museum or stay in the

NFB Camp room until the parents seminar adjourns.

     Red Cross Baby-sitting Course, ages twelve and up,

cost, $20 including lunch. Check-in, 8:00 to 8:30 a.m.

     This is an opportunity for our youth to acquire

valuable skills that will lead to year-round employment.

Upon completion of the June 29 course, participants will

receive Red Cross First Aid and Infant/Child CPR

certification. The course will also include important tips

and guidelines for the young baby-sitter, including songs,

games, crafts, and other fun activities for children of

various ages. Course graduates will be encouraged to

participate in our Mentoring Program, where they will

develop child care skills under the guidance of NFB Camp

Counselors. Certification of child care course completion

and internship will be awarded, and the list of graduates

will be made available to convention attendees as a resource

list for evening baby-sitters. Don't miss this unique

opportunity! Space will be limited, so be sure to register

early. The course will last approximately seven hours.

     You may call or mail in registration for either

activity. Please include the following information: child's

name, age, home address, home phone, and special needs.

Please designate whether each registrant will be attending

the children's museum ($10) or the baby-sitting course

($20). Please send registration and payment no later than

June 1, 1997, to reserve your spot. Mail to National

Federation of the Blind of Oregon, P.O. Box 320, Thurston,

Oregon 97482, or call (541) 726-6924, between 8:00 a.m. and

5:00 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time), Monday through Friday.

     We are planning a number of additional activities to

take place throughout the week, such as a dance instruction

session, a pre-banquet pizza party, tours of the hotel

kitchen and the Superdome, tournament games, and an ice

cream party. A schedule of activities for the week will be

available at the information table at convention.
                   Committee on Associates
     The Committee on Associates will meet in New Orleans on

Tuesday evening. In addition, final standings will be

announced at the National Board Meeting that morning. We

look forward to a brisk final segment of the 1997 enrollment

year and to some surprises in the top finishers. At the

meeting we will discuss several items and plan to have the

national treasurer as our guest. We will also hand out

contest results and standings by state and enjoy other


     The enrolling of Associate members is a highly

productive activity. It educates people to the positive

aspects of blindness and should help them come to understand

blindness as a characteristic. This program is severely

under-used, and we need to think of ways to help our members

understand how much of an impact they can have on family,

friends, and community with Associates. As chairman of the

Committee on Associates I extend my sincere appreciation to

all Associate recruiters. You can contact me, Tom Stevens,

at (573) 445-6091.
                     Deaf-Blind Division
     The Deaf-Blind Division will host three seminars at the

National Convention in New Orleans, each to begin at 7:00

p.m. Sunday, June 29, location to be announced. We will try

to have guest speakers from deaf-blind agencies in


     Tuesday, July 1: Speakers from Louisiana's Helen Keller

Regional Office and NFB representatives. Also Dean Blazie

from Blazie Engineering will update us on its various

portable note taker/data managers.

     Thursday, July 3, Board Meeting: Members of the Deaf-

Blind Division Board will give reports. We will have

literature available from various groups and organizations

who work within the deaf-blind community.

     By the time you read this, Joe and Arlene Naulty will

have moved fifty miles north. Their new address is 11943

Suellen Circle, Wellington, Florida 33414, (561) 753-4700.

Please remember that we are now a division. Dues are $5 per

person for the 1997 year and should be remitted to Treasurer

Arlene Naulty at her new address. The Deaf-Blind Division

Board officers are Joseph B. Naulty, President; Richard J.

Edlund, (913) 296-7648, First Vice President, Topeka,

Kansas; Burnell E. Brown, (202) 396-7370, Second Vice

President, Washington, D.C.; John J. Salka, (914) 496-7186,

Secretary, Monroe, New York; Arlene Naulty, Treasurer; and

Board members Robert S. Jaquiss, (503) 626-7174, Beaverton,

Oregon, and Dawn Salka, (914) 496-7186, Monroe, New York.

We'll be needing volunteers and interpreters, so, if any of

you can help out, please contact Joe Naulty or any other

Board member.

     I'm looking forward to seeing you in New Orleans.

Please come; we need your support. We're going to have a

great convention.
                 The Diabetes Action Network
     The Diabetes Action Network of the National Federation

of the Blind has been busy making plans for several months

for the 1997 annual convention in New Orleans. Each year

thousands of diabetics lose vision or become blind from

complications of the disease. The Diabetes Action Network

has the knowledge and experience to guide diabetics with

vision loss back to a state of independent self-management

of the disease.

     The Diabetes Action Network will first host an open

forum on diabetes and the associated complications of the

disease. A panel of experts will assemble to answer

questions on all aspects of diabetes and techniques for

managing the disease after vision loss or other

complications. In addition, a discussion of the new

generation of fast-acting humalog insulins will be held. The

forum will occur on Monday afternoon, June 30, from 2:00 to

4:00, room to be announced. Get your questions ready because

this forum is not to be missed.

     Then, on Tuesday evening, July 1, from 6:30 until 9:00,

the Diabetes Action Network will host the annual diabetes

seminar and division business meeting, room to be announced.

The subject for the keynote address will be the new system

of counting carbohydrates and doing meal planning. For those

unfamiliar with this new system, it introduces many

simplifying techniques for planning meals. Come join the

membership of the division and help plan the events of the

upcoming year; review the accomplishments of the past year;

discuss diabetes with experts; and enjoy the lively,

spirited crowd. Remember, brush up on all of those diabetes

facts to see how much money you can make the president pay.

See you in New Orleans!
               Entrepreneurial Interest Group
     Tuesday evening, July 1, 1997, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., we

will conduct a meeting for blind individuals interested in

being part of a division whose focus will be

entrepeneurialism. Assuming sufficient interest, we plan to

adopt a constitution, elect officers, and establish

widespread communication of ideas. If you are a business

owner or if you wish to know more about owning your own

business, this group could be a vital link. From the

development of a business plan to the networking

achievements of others, this formation meeting has plans for

tomorrow, and it will be enhanced by your participation.

     If you plan to be in Louisiana for the 1997 convention

and intend to join us, please call Connie Leblond at (207)

772-7305. We know there is tremendous interest in this

meeting, and we would like to get an approximate count of

attendees. See you in New Orleans.

            Bringing NEWSLINE to Your Community:

   How Foundations and Corporate Giving Programs Can Help
           Sunday June 29, 1997, 1:00 to 4:30 P.M.
     Securing funding from foundations and corporate giving

programs is challenging, but certainly all of us can learn

how to write clear, targeted proposals and master the

research techniques that can find the right grantor for our

projects. Many local chapters and state affiliates are eager

to pursue local foundations and corporate-giving programs to

establish and continue funding to bring NEWSLINEț to their

communities permanently. Although only 12 percent of the

charitable contributions made in this country come from

foundations and corporations, many of us can be successful

funding NEWSLINEț and other projects once we learn the


     Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, NFB Director of Special Programs,

and several NFB members who themselves have been successful

at raising funds will share their strategies for identifying

appropriate foundations and corporate giving programs,

writing proposals, and selling a project once an interview

has been arranged. Workshop participants will learn the ten

basic steps for good proposal writing, print and on-line

resources for researching funding sources, and communication

techniques to use once you get to promote your project in

person. Participants will be given some helpful materials

and time to discuss problems they have had in the fund-

raising arena. All are welcome; however, this workshop is

recommended for those who will be actively working on

funding projects such as NEWSLINEț.
                   Human Services Division
     The keynote speaker this year at the meeting of the

Human Services Division of the National Federation of the

Blind will be NFB Treasurer and Michigan affiliate President

Allen Harris, who will kick off a dynamic program by talking

about skills needed to complete your education, get a job,

and keep it. The Division will meet from 1:15 to 5:00 p.m.

on the afternoon of the NFB Board meeting (Tuesday, July 1,

1997) at the NFB National Convention in New Orleans. Ask

yourself: did or will your rehab program give you the skills

needed by blind people? This question will be answered by a

panel of our experts. Here are some other questions: How do

I get a job? How do I keep it? Who else is working in my

professional field? How can I network with these people on

the Internet? All these questions and more will be answered

at this year's divisional meeting. Don't miss it. Come early

and stay late to network with fellow professionals. We'll

see you in New Orleans. And laissez les bon temps rouler at

the Human Services Division this year.
               An Introduction to the Internet
     Are you tired of hearing about the Internet without

knowing how to take advantage of its many features? What do

they mean when they say "surf the Web"? What is "Real

Audio"? What is e-mail?

     The Internet is one of the most exciting and

informative ways to use the power of your computer. With a

knowledge of the Internet you can send and receive messages

from people throughout the world and have access to

libraries and online books from colleges and universities as

well as newspapers from cities all over the U.S. You can

even listen to radio broadcasts, music, and sporting events.

     Want to know how? Make plans to attend "An Introduction

to the Internet" on Sunday, June 29, at the NFB convention.

We'll give you the information you need to get started on a

journey that never has to end.
            Job Opportunities for the Blind (JOB)
     Someone out there knows the answers to your questions

about employment. Your best chance to find that person will

be among the thousands of people attending the largest

convention of blind Americans to take place in 1997. JOB

helps people locate each other at convention. Ask us.
     The 1997 National JOB Seminar

     June 29, (Sunday) 1 to 4 p.m.

     For three hours competent blind Americans tell you

about their jobs and answer your questions. They got the

jobs they wanted; why not grab their good ideas for

yourself? This annual, lively, fact-filled, practical

national job seminar has the most interesting mix of

speakers! Here are just three of the agenda items for 1997:

"How to Find, Train, and Fire Readers and Drivers"; "How to

Start Hearing Windows"; and a panel presentation with a

blind teacher sharing recommended blind techniques; Dr.

Ralph Bartley, Superintendent of the Kentucky School for the

Blind, who will tell us what he looks for when hiring

teachers and other staff members; and William Gibson,

Director of the Utah Division of Services for the Visually

     Have you refused to consider jobs outside your home

territory because you wondered how to find a new apartment,

make travel arrangements, and such? In addition to a seminar

presentation titled "New Job in a New Place: Self-taught

Orientation, Part 1," a sign-up sheet will be available at

the JOB seminar for "New Job in a New Place, Part 2: A JOB

Walking Workshop." The day after the seminar (Monday),

Russell Anderson and Ron Bergese, professional cane travel

instructors at BLIND, Inc., will lead a walking tour which

supposes that you live in Minneapolis and have been hired by

the Hotel Hyatt Regency in New Orleans. They will literally

walk participants through some excellent methods for

figuring out a new workplace and a new community. This JOB

workshop is limited to the first twenty people to sign up at

the Seminar, and you must be independently mobile in your

home community.
                  JOB Networking Breakfasts
     All week long you are invited to attend the daily (7:00

a.m.- 8:00 a.m.) JOB Networking Breakfasts, either those

with a particular job topic or the generic breakfasts that

cover whatever the individuals at the table have found of

concern. BYOB (Buy Your Own Breakfast) is the rule. People

are seated family style with a coordinator who is an expert

in the topic.

     So far twenty-one breakfasts are planned. The full list

of breakfast topics will be posted during convention on the

NFB Information Table in both Braille and print. You will

notice that some of the breakfasts have a specific topic and

some are generic. These latter are an open forum and

networking opportunity for solving any problem related to

employment and blindness. For the breakfasts with a

specified topic, both those currently in the field and those

who would like to be are invited to network. Please help

spread the word to everyone you know with a special interest

in one of these topics.

     We are attracting such numbers to the JOB Networking

Breakfasts that this year we have to begin something new--

excluding folks. If you are not personally involved in the

topic for the specific breakfast, please eat at some other

table with some other friends. These are working breakfasts.

     Yes, you may decide at the last minute to show up. JOB

Net-working Breakfasts start promptly at seven each morning.

We will be seating attendees between 6:45 and 7:00 a.m.;

after that we'll be networking too. Reservations are helpful

but not required. Here is the 1997 list of topics along with

the table coordinators:
SUNDAY, JUNE 29: (convention set-up day)

1    The Sunday first-timers breakfast

     Never been to a full NFB National Convention before?

     We'll help you get the most out of this full week of

     activities--the seminars, introductions to specific

     people, and the one-of-a-kind events that will help you

     reach your employment goals. Wayne and Carmen Davis,

MONDAY, JUNE 30: (registration day)

2    The Monday First-timers Breakfast

     (A second chance for first-timers) Marianne and Buck

     Saunders, West Virginia; Connie and Seth Leblond,

     Maine; and David and Mariann De Notaris, New Jersey

3    Monday's Generic Breakfast for Job Seekers

     What problem are you running into in your job

     search? Brain-storming is our specialty at each

     generic breakfast. Loraine and David Stayer, New


4    JOB's Third Networking Breakfast for Travel Instructors

     Blind teachers share NFB-teaching techniques for long

     canes. Louisiana Center for the Blind instructors

5    Emergency Dispatchers Networking Breakfast

     New! Brad Greenspan, New York
TUESDAY, JULY 1 (Board meeting day)

6    Tuesday's Generic Breakfast for Job Seekers

     Greg Trapp, JOB's ADA consultant, and Tonia Balletta,

     New Mexico

7    The Annual Breakfast for Blind Scientists and Engineers

     Ask John Miller, California, President of this NFB

     division for details. Home phone, (619) 587-3975, e-

     mail, <>

8    JOB's Fourth Annual Breakfast for Blind People in

     Medical Fields

     David Stayer, New York (MSW), JOB consultant in medical


9    JOB's Fifth Annual Breakfast for Braille Proofreaders

     and Transcribers

     Mary Donahue, Texas

10   JOB's Eighth Annual Networking Breakfast for Blind


     Coordinated by Povinelli and Kay (DC law firm), and the


11   I Do Windows: The Second Annual JOB Networking


     Steve Shelton, Oklahoma; Michael and Fatos Floyd,

     Nebraska; (3 Windows users) and Jim Watson of Henter-

     Joyce, Inc.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 2: (first general session)

12   Wednesday's Generic Breakfast for Job Seekers

     William Ritchhart, Indiana

13   The Sixth Annual Blind Artists Breakfast

     Money-making ideas and resources, Janet Caron, Florida

     (artist and JOB consultant on art)

14   A Networking Breakfast for Customer Service


     Chris Flory, Colorado Center for the Blind CTR Program;

     Mary Donahue, US Long Distance employee
THURSDAY, JULY 3 (tour afternoon and evening)

15   Thursday's Generic Breakfast for Job Seekers

     Peggy and Curtis Chong, Minnesota

16   Writing for Money, a New Job Networking Breakfast

     Loraine Stayer, New York; Sharon Maneki, Maryland

17   The Job Coordinators Brainstorming Breakfast

     New! for JOB Field Service Network Volunteers, Diane

     Domingue, California

18   The Green Thumb Careers Breakfast, Pete Donahue, Texas
FRIDAY, JULY 4: (banquet day)

19   JOB's Last-Chance Generic Breakfast for Job Seekers

     Whom do you need to find? What do you need to know to

     help you get a job? Bring the problem up at this

     breakfast before convention ends this year and you go

     home leaving its rich resources behind you. Lorraine

     Rovig, JOB Director

20   JOB'S Networking Breakfast for Computer-Access Teachers

     Are you teaching the use of computers adapted for blind

     students or adults; would you like to? Come on over and

     have a byte with us. Colorado Center for the Blind

SATURDAY, JULY 5: (closing general session of convention)

21   JOB's Breakfast for Employment Professionals by

     Invitation Only

     Sharing the best ideas of the past year. Lorraine

     Rovig, Director, JOB
     What is holding you back? Is it lack of opportunity

where you live or lack of training in competitive-level

blind techniques or in a job skill? At the NFB annual

convention you can do research in all these areas with

people who speak from experience.

     It's not in any store; it's priceless; and it's free--

but you have to go that extra mile to make it happen. You

have to be ready to speak up, ready to seize the

opportunity. Helping people locate good contacts at

convention is one of my jobs. If you'd like some

introductions to get you started, call me, Lorraine Rovig,

now or talk to me at convention.

     Job Opportunities for the Blind is a free, nationwide

program, sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind

in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor. Call (800)

638-7518 (12:30 to 5:00 p.m. EST), or write JOB/NFB, 1800

Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.
                   The Merchants Division
     The NFB Merchants Division will offer a variety of

items of interest to Federationists. Do you need to get up

and get out? Don Bell, long a familiar face at our

conventions, will present a seminar entitled "A Positive

View for a Positive You" at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 29, at

the Hyatt Regency. When Don, President of Management

Management, Des Moines, Iowa, spoke at a past convention,

there was standing room only. Tickets are $20 and will go on

sale at 8:30 a.m. Let's get energized and have some fun.

     The Merchants Division will again sell snack packs for

$5. If you want to win $1,000 for an investment of only $1,

buy one of our raffle tickets. The drawing will take place

at the convention banquet. We plan to sell corsages (new and

improved) for the banquet and give away free soft drinks.

See you at our booth.
                       Music Division
     The Music Division will meet Monday, June 30, 1997.

Registration for membership and for the Showcase of Talent

will begin at 6:30 p.m. outside our meeting room. The

meeting itself begins at 7:00 p.m.

     If you have agenda requests, please contact Linda

Mentink, 1737 Tamarack Lane, Janesville, Wisconsin 53545,

(608) 752-8749. Division membership dues are $5. If you'd

like to join or renew your membership before the convention,

please send a check, payable to the Music Division, to Ben

Snow, 358 Orange Street, Apt. 4091, New Haven, Connecticut


     Again this year the Showcase of Talent will not be a

contest with prizes, so there will be no fee for

participants. However, since it is our only fund raiser, we

will pass the hat so that those who wish to can make a free-

will offering. We will need accompanists for performers who

do not have tapes. If you are willing and available to

accompany, please contact Linda Mentink.

     If you would like to participate in the Showcase, here

are the guidelines: 1) Sign up no later than noon,

Wednesday, July 2. 2) Perform only one number, taking no

more than four minutes to perform. 3) If you are using a

taped accompaniment, be sure that the tape is cued up

properly. Do not sing along with a vocal artist; you will be

stopped immediately. 4) If you need live accompaniment, make

your arrangements before the Showcase begins.

     Children who plan to participate will be invited to

perform first. The Showcase will be limited to two hours,

about twenty-four performers. Come help us enjoy music.

     We are also planning to have a lunch for musicians,

open to anyone who would like more information about the

Music Division or would just like to talk about music.

Listen for the announcement of time and place during the

general session.
           National Association of Blind Educators
     From 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1, the National

Association of Blind Educators will hold its annual meeting

as a part of the National Federation of the Blind

Convention. Attending this meeting gives prospective job

seekers valuable information about the variety of job

opportunities and the knowledge to procure jobs by listening

to and talking with working blind educators. Those who are

already employed learn new and refined teaching techniques

unique to blind educators. In these shaky economic times, we

discuss how to use our talents to the best of our abilities,

how to remain sane in an unstable environment, and generally

how to enter and retire from the profession the way we had


     We commence our meeting with group discussions. These

groups are chaired by successful blind educators. Some of

the topics are preschool, elementary, secondary, and

university teaching; student teaching; teacher's aides;

special education; and school administration. We will then

have speakers on learning the necessary skills of blindness

at NFB training centers, finding and keeping jobs, and

getting along with principals and others with whom we must


     We will conclude the seminar with our annual business

meeting. While this annual gathering is our chance to meet

in person, we have a mentoring program through which blind

educators are matched with other blind educators. We are the

experts, so we know best what our needs and problems are.

Our work is never- ending, and the National Association of

Blind Educators has been very successful, judging by the

number of happy, successful blind educators we have, so come

and join us in New Orleans for the entire Convention.

     For further information about the Division or details

about the meeting or the field of education, please call Pat

Munson at (510) 526-1668. If you would like to join the

Division or continue membership, send a check for $20 for

employed educators or $10 for others to the Treasurer, Patti

Harmon, 1315 Desert Eye Drive, Alamogordo, New Mexico 88310.

Make the check payable to the National Association of Blind

Educators. Come join us in New Orleans. It's great to be a

part of the Educators Division and the Federation and to be

            National Association of Blind Lawyers
     Come and join the largest organization of blind lawyers

in the country. The National Association of Blind Lawyers

(NABL) will meet on Tuesday, July 1, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00

p.m. as part of the fifty-seventh annual convention of the

National Federation of the Blind.

     We will be discussing many exciting topics on that

afternoon. Speaking from their areas of expertise, lawyers

will give us updates on the current status of laws affecting

the blind. We will hear about various advocacy matters in

which the Federation has been involved in the last year.

Officials of the American Bar Association and the Louisiana

Bar Association will address the group. Experienced

practitioners will offer strategies on how best to conduct

various types of cases. Hear about the publication of our

law journal.

     This and much more will all take place at the NABL

meeting. Everyone in the legal profession, law students, and

others interested in the law are welcome. Remember that you

may be able to receive up to four continuing legal-education

credits for this meeting. Come and help us continue to build

the Federation through the Lawyers' Division.
 National Association of Blind Secretaries and Transcribers
     The National Association of Blind Secretaries and

Transcribers is proud to announce its annual meeting to be

held on Sunday, June 29, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New

Orleans, Louisiana.

     Who will want to attend this meeting? Secretaries and

transcribers at all levels, including medical and paralegal,

office workers, customer-service personnel, and many other

fields. Those providing training programs to prepare blind

people for this kind of office work are also welcome.

     Registration for the Division meeting will begin at

6:30 p.m. The meeting will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. Dues

are $3 per year.

     Plenty of topics will be discussed and maybe a few

surprises. Anyone who wishes to become a member of this

Division can send name, address, telephone number, e-mail

address if any, and preferred newsletter format (print,

Braille, audio tape, 3.5 or 5.25 computer diskette).

     Those wishing to pay dues in advance should make checks

payable to N.A.B.S.T. and send them to Lisa Hall, President,

National Association of Blind Secretaries and Transcribers,

9110 Broadway, Apartment J103, San Antonio, Texas 78217; e-

mail:, phone, (210) 829-4571.

     NABST officers are Lisa Hall, President, San Antonio,

Texas; Janet Triplett, Vice President, Tulsa, Oklahoma; Mary

Donahue, Secretary, San Antonio, Texas; and Carol Clark,

Treasurer, Kansas City, Kansas. See you in New Orleans.
           National Association of Blind Students
     This year's student seminar promises to be the best

ever. The Student Division will celebrate its thirtieth

anniversary. We will conduct our traditional student seminar

on Monday, June 30, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Several national

leaders will talk to us about blindness issues important to

college students. On Thursday night we will again sponsor

our Monte Carlo Night with games, refreshments, and fun.
           National Association of Guide Dog Users
     The annual meeting of the National Association of Guide

Dog Users will be held on Sunday, June 29, from 1:00 to 5:00

p.m. Registration will begin at 1:00 p.m., and the meeting

will start at 1:45 p.m. The seminar, "A Guide Dog in Your

Life," will be held on Monday, June 30, from 7:00 to 10:00


     The Division meeting will open with a panel

presentation entitled, "Why I am a Federationist Who Uses a

Guide Dog." Given factors such as maintenance costs in time

and money associated with feeding, relieving, veterinary

care, grooming, and flea and tick control; eventual

retirement, the need for retraining, access and travel

restrictions abroad, and the necessity of relief

accommodations when large numbers of guide dog users gather

in large downtown hotels, this is a topic which needs

discussion. The panel presenters will be the board members

of the National Association of Guide Dog Users. These are

Paul Gabias, President; Rick Fox, Vice President; Mark

Noble, Secretary; and Priscilla Ferris, Treasurer. There

will be plenty of time for comments from the audience.

     The Division will also feature another panel

presentation entitled, "What the Federation Has to Offer the

Guide Dog Schools." The panel presenters will be Rick Fox,

Priscilla Ferris, and Paul Gabias. There will also be time

for comments from the audience. Following this presentation

we will discuss the formation of a committee of volunteers

to speak to graduating classes at the guide dog schools

about the benefits of joining the National Federation of the

Blind and the National Association of Guide Dog Users. Fund

raising for the Division will also be discussed, as well as

state division concerns.

     At the seminar, "A Guide Dog in Your Life," the guide

dog schools will be invited to tell us how they believe they

can profit from a working relationship with the National

Federation of the Blind and the National Association of

Guide Dog Users. Mark Noble will discuss flea and tick

prevention and control. Rick Fox will discuss the role of

the white cane in a guide dog user's life. There will be an

update on efforts to abolish the Hawaii quarantine. Paul

Gabias will discuss the importance of global commands such

as "inside," "outside," "upstairs," "downstairs," and

"elevator," in the context of Peggy Elliott's comments about

the importance of orientation and mobility at the 1996

Division meeting of the National Association of Guide Dog


     The National Office and the NFB of Louisiana are

working hard to provide the best possible relief

accommodations for guide dogs at the convention. Of course,

the relief facilities will have to be kept clean. Instead of

relying on hotel personnel to maintain the facilities, we

will hire outside workers to do the job. This should result

in more pleasant surroundings for owners and dogs alike.

     In 1993 the Division voted to ask each guide dog

handler to pay $25 for use of the relief facilities

throughout the week. We encourage all guide dog handlers to

help cover the maintenance costs of relief areas, if at all

possible. Contributions should be made at Division

activities early in the week. Owners who miss these

opportunities for any reason and who wish to help can pay

Priscilla Ferris, Division Treasurer and President of the

NFB of Massachusetts, later in the week. She can be found at

convention sessions in the Massachusetts delegation.

     Questions about the relief arrangements or other guide

dog matters can be directed to Paul Gabias at 475 Fleming

Road, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, VIX 3Z4, (800) 714-

     National Association to Promote the Use of Braille

               Time to Sing "Ode to the Code"
     Celebrating victories and planning for the future are

elements which add excitement to any meeting of the National

Association to Promote the Use of Braille. New Orleans will

certainly be no exception to the rule. But something new is

being added to the New Orleans get-together, and you do not

want to miss any of it. Attendees at this year's NAPUB

meeting will benefit from some serious moments and will be

delighted with some fun and surprises. Take a look at this:
     It's off to the Pub we go--"NA-PUB," that is. Have the

time of your life, and at the same time give your support to

the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille

(NAPUB). Take a look at the extraordinary drink list at the

"NA-PUB" in New Orleans. Lift your spirits with such drinks

as a "tenBroek Tonic" or a "Maurer's Marc." We trust that's

just enough information to pique your interest. More details

will be forthcoming. Meet me, Betty Niceley, at this special

pub and share a "Rusty Stylus."
    National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science
     Come and talk about computers and computer-related

technology at the 1997 annual meeting of the National

Federation of the Blind in Computer Science. The meeting

will take place on Tuesday, July 1, at the National

Federation of the Blind convention in New Orleans,

Louisiana. Registration for the meeting will begin at 12:30

p.m. Membership in the NFB in Computer Science costs $5 a

year. For specific meeting room information, refer to your

convention agenda. At this early stage of planning for our

annual meeting, we can say these things:

     We will hear from Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden of the Trace

Research Center. Dr. Vanderheiden has done much pioneering

work to make public electronic information kiosks accessible

to the blind. A direct result of Dr. Vanderheiden's work can

be seen in the accessible information kiosk at the Mall of

America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

     As in the past we will devote a number of program items

to the graphical user interface. We will hear from Microsoft

about the work it is doing to increase our ability to use

its graphical applications and operating systems. We hope to

hear from IBM about its most recent efforts to increase the

ability of the blind to use its graphical

applications.Finally, we will try to put together a panel of

experienced blind computer professionals and users who can

talk knowledgeably and understandably about the tricks and

techniques they have used to survive in the GUI world. If we

get lucky, we may be able to discuss the Windows/NT access

problem. Many people are asking me if there is any screen

reader for Windows/NT. All I can say in response is that

there is one program we know about and that program costs

approximately $2,500, a price tag that is about three times

higher than that of a conventional screen reading package.

     Come to the 1997 meeting of the NFB in Computer Science

and discuss computer access issues with other blind people.

Learn how others are adjusting to the rapid pace of

technology, and maybe share a few of your own experiences.

For further information about the meeting and other

computer-related matters, contact Curtis Chong, President,

National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science, 20

Northeast 2nd Street, Apartment 908, Minneapolis, Minnesota

55413-2265, evening phone: (612) 379-3493, Internet:
     National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
     On Sunday, June 29, the National Organization of

Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) will sponsor its annual

seminar for parents and educators of blind children titled,

"An Education for a Full Life." Registration will take place

from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. Registration is $5.

     The morning session begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at

noon and includes the following agenda items:

    Blindness, Childhood Experiences, and My Life Today

     presented by a panel of blind adults

    Around the Block, to the Mall, and Beyond presented by

     a panel of blind children & youth

    Music Education--Beyond the Stereotypes

    Life Is like a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich,

     presented by representatives from NFB programs for

     blind children and youth

    Instructional Assistants (Classroom Aides): Are They a

     Help or a Hindrance?

    Creative Solutions to Impossible Educational

     Situations, presented by a panel of parents

    Access to Technology: When Computer Games Become

     Serious Business

     After lunch concurrent workshops begin at 2:00 p.m. and

end at 5:00.

2:00 to 5:00 p.m., Beginning Braille for Parents

2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Resources and Strategies for

     Blind/Multiply Handicapped Children, featuring displays

     and demonstrations of equipment and materials developed

     by Dr. Lilli Nielsen (inventor of the "Little Room")

     and marketed by Lilliput L.L.C. Special door prize: a

     "Little Room" donated by Lilliput L.L.C. (worth over


2:00 to 3:00 p.m., Social Skills and Blindisms

2:00 to 3:00 p.m., Access to Technology

3:00 to 4:00 p.m., Music Education for Blind Children

3:00 to 4:00 p.m., Social Skills and Blindisms

4:00 to 5:00 p.m., How to Organize a Braille Storybook Hour

4:00 to 5:00 p.m., Resources and Strategies for Deaf-Blind


4:00 to 5:00 p.m., Education of the Partially Sighted

     From 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., NOPBC will sponsor Family

Hospitality Night, an informal time to relax and get to know

one another. Everyone welcome, kids too.

     Also from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., Youth Only are invited to

"Get to Know Your NFB Hotel Home," convention orientation

for youth. This activity for blind and sighted teens gives

them a chance to become familiar with the hotel, meet other

teens, and learn more about the NFB and the NFB Convention

     On Monday, June 30, two one-hour Cane Walks for Blind

Children and youth will take place from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.

and 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., location to be announced at the

Parents Seminar on Sunday. This activity is an introduction

to the use of the cane for blind children and youth

(toddlers to teens) who have never used a cane or are just

beginning to use one. Instructors Joe Cutter and Arlene Hill

(and other volunteer Federation instructors under their

supervision) will give hands-on demonstration of basic cane

techniques and then take the group on a Cane Walk through

the hotel. Canes and sleepshades will be provided. There is

no fee, but participants are urged to preregister for the

Cane Walk. You may do so on Sunday, June 29, at Parents

Seminar registration, 8:00 to 9:00 a.m., or at the noon

recess. Please remember that this is not for experienced

cane travelers, and it is only for blind children, youth,

and their parents.

     From 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., youth can drop in and get to

know who's here. adults will be on hand throughout the

afternoon to orient newly arrived youth to the hotel, the

NFB, and the NFB Convention. Supervision will also be

provided for youth who want to meet other youth and hang-out

     From 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1, the National

Organization of Parents of Blind Children will conduct its

annual meeting.
     On Wednesday, July 2 from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., Ruby

Ryles and Ron Gardner will conduct an IEP Workshop.
     Thursday,July 3, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. will be "Kids

and Canes," a drop-in-anytime discussion group and

slide/video presentation, conducted by Joe Cutter.
        The National Organization of the Senior Blind
     The National Organization of the Senior Blind, a

division of the National Federation of the Blind, was formed

at the National Convention in Anaheim, California, last


     The elected officers are Christine Hall, President; Ray

McGeorge, First Vice President; Kathy Randall, Second Vice

President; Paul Dressell, Secretary; and Don Pruitt,

Treasurer. If you have ideas, suggestions, or comments

regarding the division meeting to be held in New Orleans

this summer or on networking throughout the nation, please

send them to Christine Hall, 3404 C. Indian School Road,

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106, or call (505) 268-3895.
                  NFB NET Training Seminar
     No matter where you turn today, you are likely to hear

references to the information superhighway. With all this

interest many blind people feel the need to get and use a

modem so that they aren't left out.

     In the National Federation of the Blind we have had our

own information superhighway since June 1, 1991, in the form

of NFB NET, our computer bulletin board service (BBS). That

was the date when NFB NET officially went online. In

addition, we connected our information superhighway to the

other one this year when we made the resources of NFB NET

available through the Internet.

     Once again this year we will conduct a training session

for NFB NET users. The session, which will be held on

Sunday, June 29, from 9:00 a.m. until noon, is designed for

new modem users, for people who haven't accessed NFB NET

before, for people who want to learn how to connect to NFB

NET through the Internet, and for people who want to learn

more about the capabilities of our BBS.

     Topics will include telecommunications basics, using

your modem and communications software, connecting using

Telnet and the Internet, registering for NFB NET, navigating

around, reading and entering messages, downloading the

Braille Monitor and other files, finding files, setting up

off-line reading facilities, and more. David Andrews,

Systems Operator (SysOp) of NFB NET, will also answer your


     If you don't know what that paragraph means and you

would like to, perhaps you had better attend the annual NFB

NET training session on Sunday, June 29, starting at 9:00

a.m. Check the pre-convention agenda once you are in New

Orleans for the location. See you online.
                  Public Employees Division
     The Public Employees Division of the National

Federation of the Blind will meet during this year's

National Convention. We plan to meet at 1:00 p.m., Tuesday,

July 1. The division will have a briefing from the Office of

Personnel Management on changes in federal hiring and

retention practices as well as the new electronic means of

finding federal job opportunities. We will also discuss the

increasing use of alternative dispute resolution techniques

to solve disputes. Finally, several blind public employees

will discuss their jobs.

     Times of change are times in which those who are

prepared can take advantage of changes and improve

themselves. What skills will be in demand in the next few

years in federal, state, or local government? As down-sizing

takes place, inevitably scarce job categories begin to

appear. How can we learn of these and take advantage of the

knowledge? As usual, we will have three people discuss their

public sector jobs.

     If you have questions or suggestions for additional

speakers, please contact John Halverson, President, National

Federation of the Blind, Public Employees Division, 403 West

62nd Terrace, Kansas City, Missouri 64113, telephone (816)

426-7278 work, (816) 361-7813 home, e-mail

                   Social Security Seminar
     An outreach seminar (Social Security and Supplemental

Security Income: What Applicants, Advocates, and Recipients

Should Know) will take place on Thursday afternoon, July 3.

The purpose of this seminar, which will be conducted jointly

by the National Federation of the Blind and the Social

Security Administration, is to provide information on Social

Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for the

blind. Seminar presenters will be Jim Gashel, Director of

Governmental Affairs for the National Federation of the

Blind, and Tom Gloss, Special Assistant to the Associate

Commissioner for Disability, Office of Disability, Social

Security Administration.
                      Writers' Division
     The Writers' Division of the NFB will hold its division

meeting and program on Tuesday afternoon at the National

Convention in New Orleans. We plan a highly interesting and

productive program and have several copies of our exciting

new book, Summit, available for purchase in large print,

tape, or Braille. We have a great record of outstanding

presentations, and the 1997 meeting should be no exception;

we will cover poetry, short story fiction, and other areas

of interest. Expect some time to be set aside for poetry

reading--contact Tom Stevens to get your bid in for time on

the agenda. Winners of the 1997 Poetry and Short Story

Fiction Contests will also be announced.

     The Division will also conduct a workshop on the Sunday

morning following the convention. Topics scheduled for

presentation include short story fiction, poetry, and

blindness-related issues in the media. Attendance at this

workshop will cost $5, while Division dues are $5 for new

members and $10 for renewals. Benefits include the quarterly

magazine, Slate and Style, plus notification of poetry and

fiction contests. Contact Tom Stevens, (573) 445-6091.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Roland Allen

PHOTO/CAPTION: Joanne Wilson


PHOTO/CAPTION: Neita Ghrigsby

     This month we are again departing from the alphabetical

tour of the United States to take a culinary look at

Louisiana in preparation for the convention this summer.

Members of the NFB of Louisiana have contributed some of

their favorite recipes to inspire you to come enjoy the

world-renowned cuisine of Louisiana. You will note that

several of the following recipes include Creole seasoning.

The Louisiana affiliate will be selling this irreplaceable

combination of spices at its table in the exhibit hall

during the convention this summer.
                      Creole Pork Chops

                       by Roland Allen
     Whenever a potluck dinner is planned, everyone at the

Louisiana Center for the Blind requests Roland Allen's

Creole Pork Chop casserole. Roland, who is from New Orleans,

teaches cane travel at the Center; is President of the North

Central Chapter of the NFB of Louisiana; and, when he can

find time, enjoys preparing this dish for friends and co-


8 pork chops

2 large onions

1 bell pepper

3 potatoes

3-4 carrots

1 can tomato soup

2 cans Rotel tomatoes with chilies

Creole seasoning
     Method: Season pork chops with creole seasoning and

brown lightly in a heavy skillet. Chop onions and bell

peppers; quarter potatoes and carrots. Place pork chops in a

9-by-13-inch pan and layer vegetables on top of meat. In a

large bowl mix soup and tomatoes together. Pour this mixture

over the meat and vegetables. Cover with foil and bake for

1-1/2 hours at 350 degrees.


                     by Terrence Jeffery
     There are many ways to prepare Jambalaya, but Terrence

Jeffery, who is from New Orleans and currently a student at

the Louisiana Center for the Blind, has developed his own

recipe. It is a favorite at the Center. It serves ten to


2 large onions, chopped

1 large bell pepper, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 stick butter or margarine

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced

1 pound boneless, skinless, raw chicken breast, chopped

4 cups uncooked rice

8 cups water

Creole seasoning

Cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet for coloring
     Method: In a five-quart pot, melt the butter and saut‚

onions, bell pepper, and celery until tender and slightly

browned. Add bite-size pieces of chicken breast and saute

for approximately five minutes in covered pot. Then add

sliced smoked sausage and saute another five minutes with

pan covered. Remove lid and add four cups rice and eight

cups water. Season with creole seasoning and Cayenne pepper

to taste. Add three tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet and stir

gently. Let mixture come to a vigorous boil with lid off

(approximately fifteen to twenty minutes). Lower heat and

simmer covered for ten minutes or until rice nears desired

tenderness. (Do not stir during cooking.) Turn heat off.

Leave lid on and allow mixture to simmer about five more

minutes in residual heat. Eat and enjoy!

                        Bread Pudding

                      by Joanne Wilson
     Joanne Wilson is the President of the National

Federation of the Blind of Louisiana and Executive Director

of the Louisiana Center for the Blind. She is also the queen

of desserts in the state affiliate. This is one of her


1 loaf day-old French bread (1 1/2 feet long)

1 quart milk

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup raisins

3 tablespoons butter
     Method: In a large bowl break bread into bite-sized

pieces. Cover with milk and soak one hour. Mix well. Add

eggs and sugar. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, and raisins. Melt

butter and gently stir in. Bake one hour at 350 degrees in a

lightly greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup bourbon
     Method: In the top of a double boiler melt butter and

stir in sugar. Gradually whisk in egg. Cool slightly. Gently

stir in bourbon. If serving right away, pour warm sauce over

pudding. If not, warm slightly before serving.

                       Shrimp Etouffee

                        by Pam Dubel
     Pam Dubel works with blind infants and toddlers and

their parents and also supervises the training of classroom

aides to teach Braille throughout Louisiana.

6 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

1 1/2 cup small or medium peeled raw shrimp

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup thinly sliced green shallot tops

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley

1 cup cold water

2 cups hot water (approximately)
     Method: In a heavy five- to six-quart pot, melt butter

over low heat. Gradually add flour, stirring constantly.

Cook over low heat until mixture forms a roux, medium brown

in color (about fifteen to twenty minutes). Quickly add the

onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic, and cook until

vegetables are tender (about twenty minutes). Add shrimp,

salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice, shallot tops, and

parsley, and mix well. Add one cup cold water and bring to a

boil, then lower heat and simmer about twelve minutes, or

until shrimp are tender, stirring frequently. Shortly before

serving, heat the etouffee slowly over a low flame and

gradually add one to two cups hot water to provide the

gravy. Serve over boiled rice made as follows:
                         Boiled Rice

1 cup long grain white rice

2 cups cold water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon butter or margarine
     Method: Combine all ingredients in a heavy three-quart

saucepan with a tight-fitting cover and bring to a boil over

high heat. Stir once with a fork, then cover tightly and

reduce the heat to very low. Cook covered for exactly

fifteen minutes. Do not lift the cover during cooking.

Remove the pan from heat, uncover, and fluff the rice gently

with a fork.

                      Shrimp Fettuccine

                      by Neita Ghrigsby
     Neita Ghrigsby has been the Office Manager at the

Louisiana Center for the Blind ever since its opening in

1986. This dish is much less complicated than Shrimp

Etouffee; however, your guests will be equally impressed

with the results. It serves four to six.

5 green onions, chopped

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 stick butter

2 tablespoons oil

1 pound peeled, raw shrimp

1 teaspoon salt

8 ounces fettuccine, uncooked

3/4 cup grated Romano cheese

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
     Method: In a large skillet saute onions, mushrooms, and

garlic in 1/2 stick butter and oil. Add shrimp and saute

until pink. Pour off excess liquid. Season with salt, cover,

and keep warm.

     Cook fettuccine in salted boiling water according to

package instructions. Drain. In saucepan melt remaining «

stick butter. Add noodles, cheese, and cream. Mix well and

combine with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with parsley, toss,

and serve immediately.

                  Louisiana Pecan Pralines

                      by Patti McGahan
     Patti McGahan is the Program Supervisor at the

Louisiana Center for the Blind. She has been with the LCB

for six and a half years.

1 cup light brown sugar, not packed

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup evaporated milk

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/16 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cups pecan halves
     Method: In a saucepan, using a wooden spoon, mix

sugars, milk, butter, syrup, and salt. Cook to soft ball

stage, about ten minutes. Test by dropping a small amount of

mixture into cold water. Tiny ball of candy should be soft

when picked up with fingers. Remove from heat; add vanilla

and nuts. Beat until mixture begins to thicken, about one

minute. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto buttered waxed paper.

Makes two dozen.

                     Monitor Miniatures
Getting in Touch With Literacy:

     David Andrews of Minnesota writes to pass along the

following announcement:

     Mark your calendar for the Third Biennial Conference of

Getting in Touch with Literacy, a national conference

focusing on the needs of individuals who are blind or

visually impaired. It will be held at the Radisson Plaza

Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 25, 26, and 27,

1997. It is organized by Minnesota Teachers of the Blind &

Visually Impaired; Minnesota State Services for the Blind;

National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota; Minnesota

Department of Children, Families, and Learning; Minnesota

Deaf/Blind Technical Assistance Project; Minnesota State

Academy for the Blind and Visually Impaired; AER of

Minnesota; and the Wisconsin Bureau of Exceptional Children.

     Help us make The third Biennial Conference

exceptionally exciting, a conference of innovative as well

as practical applications to literacy in all stages of life.

For further information contact Jean Martin, Minnesota

Resource Center for the Blind/Visually Impaired, Box 308,

Faribault, Minnesota 55021-0308 (507)332-5510, e-mail
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Carol Castellano and her daughter Serena


Changing What it Means to be Blind--One School Assembly at a


     We recently received the following little piece from

Carol Castellano. It is a useful reminder to us all of the

importance of taking the time to talk with school children.

It also nicely summarizes the goals of such programs. This

is what she says:

     Last week three members of the National Federation of

the Blind of New Jersey--Joe Ruffalo, affiliate President;

Ed Lewinson, President of the Northern Chapter of the NFB of

New Jersey; and I, President of New Jersey Parents of Blind

Children--visited an elementary school to make a

presentation about blindness. We were to speak at two

assemblies, one for the older students and one for the


     The school principal introduced us to each group. In

her first introduction she said, "Boys and girls, as you

know, today is the kickoff of Helping Hands Week at

Washington School, and this assembly is the first of many

activities. Our guests today are members of the National

Federation of the Blind, and for Helping Hands Week they are

going to tell us how we can help the blind." We then went on

to give our presentation.

     After the second group of students took their places in

the school's auditorium, the principal once again introduced

us. But this time, after having heard what we had to say in

the first assembly, she said with great enthusiasm, "Boys

and girls, we are lucky to have with us today members of the

National Federation of the Blind. They are going to tell us

all about how blind people do just what everyone else does,

simply by using different tools and methods!"
     Incidentally, here are the objectives we kept in mind

as we spoke to the students:

         For students to understand that blind people live

          full, normal, productive lives, complete with

          jobs, families, friends, and fun

         For students to understand that blind people learn

          and use simple, effective methods for doing tasks

          that sighted people do with eyesight

         For students to gain familiarity with the basic

          skills of blindness

         For students to understand how a blind child gets

          an education

         For students to conclude that blind people are not

          helpless and do not need to be watched over.
Hoping to Buy:

     We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

     I would like to buy a used Kurzweil Reading Edge in

good condition and English and Spanish recognition cards,

which would allow the Kurzweil to read in either language.

Contact Gerardo Corripio in Braille or print at 9226

Wellsworth Drive, Houston, Texas 77083, or call (281) 530-

5640 weekdays after 2:30 p.m. or all day on weekends.
New Reading Service Available:

     Ben Bazo, President of the Northwest Florida Radio

Reading Service, Inc., has asked us to carry the following


     "The Voice of Print" of the Northwest Florida Radio

Reading Service, Inc., announces that we now have a toll-

free phone number at your service. It is available twenty-

four hours a day, seven days a week. An answering machine

will take your call. Tell us your reading request, leave

your name and number, and your call will be returned as soon

as possible. We will record any personal material on tape:

manuals, religious books, recipes, address books, etc. This

is a free service for the blind and physically handicapped.

We also have hurricane preparedness tapes available. Call

941-2888 (local) or (888) 941-2888 (toll free).
Recipe Tapes Available:

     We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

     Recipe collections on 90-minute cassettes, including

diabetic, microwave meals, one-dish meals, crock pot

recipes, low-fat/low-cholesterol, vegetarian, and cookies.

Tapes are $12 each. Send check, money order, or cash to

Janet Murphy, 24A Coddington St., Newport, Rhode Island

02840. All tapes will be sent out the day your order is

Technical Brailling Service Planned:

     We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

     If you are a blind engineer, mathematician, or

scientist, you may be interested in the Technical Braille

Center being established by a nonprofit organization. This

center will produce highly technical material in Braille or

in a special file format. Mathematics will be done in the

Nemeth Code. Tactile graphics will be included where

practical. Books will be available to anyone at prices that

will depend on the cost of production. To secure funding to

get the service started, information is needed on how many

people might use it and the kinds of technical materials

that are most needed. Please contact John J. Boyer at

Computers to Help People, Inc., 825 East Johnson Street,

Madison, Wisconsin 53703, (608) 257-5917, e-mail

     Norma Gonzales Baker, Secretary of the Austin Chapter

of the NFB of Texas, reports the chapter's recent election

of officers. They are Wanda Hamm, President; Mary Ward,

First Vice President; Zena Pearcy, Second Vice President;

Norma Gonzales Baker, Secretary; Margaret "Cokie" Craig,

Treasurer; and Jim Shaffer and Mike Waddles, Board Members.
Braille Atlas of the Middle East Available:

     We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

     This collection of tactile maps of the Middle East

covers seventeen countries from Egypt in the west to Iran in

the east, from Turkey in the north to Yemen in the south,

and all countries, large and small, in between. The

countries are arranged alphabetically; each country is

introduced by a page of facts in Braille, followed by key

information and a full-page map showing major cities,

physical features, and points of interest. In a few cases

two maps are needed to show this information. The scale of

the maps varies from twelve miles per inch for Lebanon, one

of the smallest countries, to 120 miles per inch for Saudi

Arabia. Both the maps and the factual information are

adapted from The World Today Series: The Middle East and

South Asia, 1996, by Malcolm B. Russell, Stryker-Post

Publications, West Virginia.

     Five introductory maps provide an overall view of the

Middle East. These maps show the location of the Middle East

in the Eastern Hemisphere, the boundaries of the seventeen

countries, the elevation, the climate, and the location of

the oil fields.

     Some experience with tactile graphics is recommended.

The complete Atlas consists of sixty-nine Brailon pages,

including twenty-five pages of maps, bound with cardboard

covers and a multi-ring binder. Cost, $20 including

shipping. Allow four to six weeks for delivery. Order from

Princeton Braillists, 28-B Portsmouth Street, Whiting, New

Jersey 08759 or call (908) 350-3708.
Technical Summer Internships Available:

     We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

     AAAS and IBM announce a program to provide outstanding

summer opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students

with disabilities who are pursuing technical fields. The

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

is committed to strengthening the role of disabled

professionals in the advancement of technology for all

industries. In that spirit we are participating in a

precedent-setting partnership with IBM. Continually seeking

the brightest minds anywhere, we hope to place qualified

students with disabilities in internships throughout the

country. We want to offer opportunities to work with people

who are transforming the world using technologies that won't

reach the classroom for years.

     Take Matt King, for example. When he's not working hard

designing database software for a mobile workstation, using

computer screen-reading equipment and a Braille printer, he

is training for paralympic gold. Backed by IBM, there's

little that stands in Matt's way.

     Think about it. An internship at IBM can get you where

you really want to be--up close with the hottest industry-

advancing projects on the planet. You'll be amazed at how

quickly we'll start applying your skills. In one summer you

can get more real-world experience than most students get in

four years.

     The 1997 summer program lasts from ten to twelve weeks.

There may be opportunities for successive summer internships

and potential placement upon graduation. To be eligible you

must be majoring in a technical field, e.g., computer

science, engineering, mathematics, or physical science.

Provide a copy of your resume, current GPA, and contact


     IBM is committed to creating a diverse environment and

proud to be an equal opportunity employer. This program is

open to U.S. citizens or nationals; permanent residents,

refugees, asylees, or those authorized to work under the

amnesty provision of U.S. immigration law. Contact Laureen

Summers, AAAS, (202) 326-6649 (phone/TDD) (202) 371-9849 or

PHOTO/CAPTION: Joe and Patricia Miller and new daughter

Alexandra Juliet]

New Baby:

     Many Federationists know Joe and Patricia Miller. Mr.

Miller is largely responsible for seeing that the National

Office computer network behaves properly and does what it's

requested to do. Mrs. Miller served as President Maurer's

Secretary for a number of years before she took over

direction of the Records Center. On Wednesday, March 12, at

1:00 a.m., the Millers' daughter Alexandra Juliet made her

first appearance in the world. She measured 18 1/2 inches in

length and weighed 6 pounds, eleven ounces. All three

members of the Miller family are doing well, and the proud

parents report that Alexandra is extraordinarily beautiful.

Congratulations to the Millers.
Extended Technical Support Hours at Blazie Engineering:

     We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

     Blazie Engineering has increased its weekly hours of

available telephone technical support by 33 percent.

Effective immediately, customers with questions about Blazie

products can call Blazie any time between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00

p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, at (410) 893-


     This extra telephone availability arrives in

conjunction with the recent release of the Braille 'n Speak

2000 personal data assistant. New, feature-laden Braille 'n

Speak 2000 is a stand-alone word processor with voice

output, a fully adjustable speech synthesizer, a Braille-to-

print translator, and much more. The 2000-Series upgrade

also comes standard on Type 'n Speak and Braille Lite 18

personal data assistants from Blazie.

     Blazie Engineering's customers with Internet access can

also find help there. Visit on the World Wide Web

to download files, link to other blindness-related sites,

catalog-browse, or access product demos and manuals. Also

available are e-mail discussion groups known as list-

servers. These are forums of dialogue between users of

Blazie products and Blazie Engineering tech support


     For more information on Blazie Engineering's extended

telephone support hours, Braille 'n Speak 2000, or Blazie's

e-mail discussion groups, contact Blazie Engineering, 105

East Jarrettsville Road, Forest Hill, Maryland 21050, or

call (410) 893-9333. On the World Wide Web visit
Laminating Service Available:

     We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

     I will laminate address cards for mailing cassettes.

The lamination process provides much longer use without the

cards' being worn out or ruined by weather. The size of the

lamination can range from a business card up to a 4-by-6-

inch card. The cost of this service varies. Business cards

and wallet-sized pictures cost fifty cents each. Anything

bigger than this costs $1 each. If the customer would like

me to type out all of the information on the card, the cost

is $1.25 per card. I must receive all of the information,

including correct spellings, for the address cards in

Braille or on cassette. I will only accept money orders and

cashier's checks as payment. If there are any questions

about this service, please contact Claudia Del Real, 2346

Birch Ave., Whiting, Indiana 46393-2135, (219) 688-0716.
Guitar-by-Ear Course Available:

     We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

     A new guitar course just for the visually impaired has

been released. The all-cassette course (nothing to see or

read) was created by Bill Brown, who has been teaching

guitar for over twenty-five years. The cost of the course is

$34.95, which includes shipping and access to a tuning hot-

line in case the student needs help tuning the guitar. After

completing the course, the student will know the basic

chords in first position, the most commonly used rhythm

patterns for these chords, several songs using these cords

and patterns, the names of the notes on the strings, and

several songs using these notes. The student will also be

able to access the entire Guitar-by-Ear library of guitar

songs. To order the course, send a check for $34.95 to Bill

Brown, 704 Habersham Road, Valdosta, Georgia 31602. If you

have further questions, you may call Bill Brown at (912)

Braille Magazines Wanted:

     We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

     I would appreciate receiving pass-along copies of the

following Braille magazines: Reader's Digest; National

Geographic; Fortune; the Isaac Asimov Science Fiction

magazine; the New York Times, Braille edition; or any other

Braille magazines with fiction features. I am deaf and

blind. Any letters must be in Braille. Contact Gordon Janz,

101-2425 Brunswick St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V5T

Omni 1000 Available:

     We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

     The vision of Ray Kurzweil is helping to enhance the

lives of blind and visually impaired people by allowing them

greater independence and improved productivity. His new PC-

based reading system, Omni 1000, converts the printed word

into speech. This leading edge technology offers the most

accurate optical character recognition (OCR) and the

clearest synthetic speech available. Omni 1000 features a

40,000-word dictionary and the ability to operate the system

using your voice, among its useful features.

     Omni 1000 is available for as low as $995 for software

only or for just under $4000 as a complete system (pentium

PC, scanner, and software). Upgrade your Arkenstone, Oscar,

Xerox, etc., reading machine and receive an Omni 1000 plus

for just $595. For more information, please contact Kurzweil

Educational Systems, Inc., 411 Waverley Oaks Road, Waltham,

Massachusetts 02154, (800) 894-5374, e-mail: or visit our website at

     At its January, 1997, meeting the North Central Chapter

of the NFB of Louisiana elected the following new officers:

Josh Boudreaux, President; Brenda Walburn, First Vice

President; Constance Connolly, Second Vice President; Pam

Dubel, Secretary; Harold Wilson, Treasurer; and Arlene Hill

and Eddie Culp, Board members.
Hoping to Buy:

     I am looking for a Sharp Talking Time One talking alarm

clock. If you have one for sale or if you know where I can

purchase one, please call Tony Lewis at (510) 865-3171 or

write 1211 Paru, Apt. E, Alameda, California 94501.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Jim and Olivia Ostergaard]
Letter from a Very Young Federationist:

     Allow me to introduce myself. My name is James Randall

Ostergaard, son of Jim and Olivia Ostergaard of the Fresno,

California, Chapter. I arrived on January 15, 1997, at 12:33

a.m. I weighed seven pounds, four ounces and was nineteen

and three-fourths inches long.

     I am looking forward to attending NFB meetings. I am

especially interested in the Parents of Blind Children

Division. Maybe they can help my mommy and daddy learn how

to take care of me. Maybe I'll have my mommy tell you about

some of the things we've been experiencing that first-time

blind parents need to know.

     I am excited about life and look forward to being a

Federationist. I know the California affiliate has been

waiting a long time for me to get here. So tell Willows and

the gang that I'm rarin' to go after I grow up a little.

     Thanks for reading my letter. Here's to a better



                                    James Randall Ostergaard
Position Available:

     We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

     Research Director. Full-time, professional position.

Qualifications: earned doctorate in rehabilitation

counseling or a closely related field from an accredited

college or university. CRC preferred. Five years experience

in conducting applied rehabilitation research and/or in

grants management activities with a minimum of two years

experience in applied rehabilitation research. Demonstrated

success in securing research grants. Expertise in

computerized statistical packages, spreadsheet packages, and

other research techniques required. Applicants must be able

to coordinate and direct research activities of the

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and

Low Vision at Mississippi State University. Salary:

negotiable, depending upon training and experience.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Send letter of application, resume, three letters of

reference, and transcripts to John Maxson, Chair, Screening

Committee, RRTC on Blindness and Low Vision, P.O. Drawer

6189, Mississippi State University, Mississippi 39762.

Questions regarding the position can also be sent to or call (601) 325-2001. MSU is an

Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Dr. C. Edwin Vaughan]
NAC Takes a Hit in the Journal of Rehabilitation:

     The January/February/March, 1997, issue of the Journal

of Rehabilitation, perhaps the most prestigious publication

in the general rehabilitation field, published an article

titled, "Why Accreditation Failed Agencies Serving the Blind

and Visually Impaired." The author was C. Edwin Vaughan,

Professor of Sociology at the University of Missouri at

Columbia. The article's abstract tells the sorry NAC tale.

The handful of agencies still clinging to NAC accreditation

would do well to read this history and consider their

actions in the light of the field's decision to move on,

leaving NAC behind. This is what the abstract says:
     Four major organizations provide national accrediting

services for rehabilitation agencies. National accreditation

becomes increasingly important when both consumers of

services and those who provide economic support for these

agencies expect increased accountability. The most

specialized of these national agencies is the National

Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and

Visually Handicapped (NAC). NAC grew out of a two-year

planning process which culminated in the establishment of

the new accrediting organization in 1967. Its founders

envisioned accrediting more than five hundred agencies that

provided education and rehabilitation services to people who

are blind. Throughout its history NAC has been opposed by

well- organized consumers of services and has not attracted

the support of most agencies. It has never reached its

envisioned goals and is now declining. This article reviews

the history of this accrediting organization and discusses

the reasons for continuous and intense consumer and

professional resistance. It analyzes why different

occupational groups within this field failed to unite in

support of NAC and provides data documenting its rapid

decline during the past decade. The article concludes by

exploring available alternatives for agencies in the

blindness field when accreditation fails.
PHOTO/CAPTION: David Stayer]
Elected to Serve:

     On December 11, 1996, David Stayer, one of the leaders

of the National Federation of the Blind of New York, was

elected to chair the Rehabilitation Advisory Council of the

New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually

Handicapped. Congratulations to David Stayer and to the

Commission's Advisory Council.
Scholarships for Part-time Students Available:

     The George Washington University is pleased to invite

applicants for the Barbara Jackman Zuckert Scholarship for

Blind Part-time Students. The scholarship fund was

established by Barbara Jackman Zuckert in 1985 to assist

visually impaired or blind students seeking higher education

at The George Washington University. It is the goal of this

scholarship to encourage enrollment of visually impaired or

blind students by extending financial assistance when other

sources of support are not available.

     The purpose of the Barbara Jackman Zuckert Scholarship

for Blind Part-Time Students is now amended to include

learning- disabled students who have a significant deficit

in the area of reading. These may be students, primarily

those with dyslexia, who qualify for and use books on tape,

such as those designed primarily for sight-impaired persons.

     Applicants for the Barbara Jackman Zuckert Scholarship

must submit a complete application (including a financial

aid statement), a letter of application, certification of

disability, and a high school or college transcript to the

selection committee. Applications must be postmarked no

later than May 30, 1997. Applications can be obtained from

the George Washington University, Disability Support

Services, Marvin Center 436, 800 21st Street, N.W.,

Washington, DC  20052. Please feel free to call Christy

Willis, Director, Disability Support Services, (202) 994-

8250, if you have any further questions.
[PHOTO: The picture is of two horse-drawn wagons with iron-

rimmed wheels. The wagons are filled with bulging canvas

mail sacks, and the two drivers are about to give their

horses the command to go. CAPTION: Horse-drawn wagons

outside the Ziegler Magazine's plant on Manhattan's West

53rd Street prepare to haul the Braille publication to the

post office. The photo was taken in 1907.]
Ninetieth Anniversary Celebration:

     We recently received this picture and press release:

     With its March issue, the Matilda Ziegler Magazine for

the Blind completed ninety years of uninterrupted

publication--a record most print publications cannot match.

The Ziegler came into existence in 1907 following the

serendipitous meeting of Mrs. William Ziegler, who had a

blind son, and a Tennessee newspaper man, Walter G. Holmes,

who had a blind brother. He knew how difficult and expensive

it was for blind people to find materials they could read

with their fingers. For example, the then-popular book, Ben

Hur, which cost one dollar in print, cost $10.50 in an

embossed form.

     After meeting Mr. Holmes in 1905, Mrs. Ziegler agreed

to pay all the costs of an embossed magazine if he would

edit it. To this arrangement he readily agreed, and the

first issue was mailed to subscribers in March, 1907. It

required two horse-drawn wagons to haul the dozens of mail

bags stuffed with the bulky raised-dot publication from the

magazine's Manhattan plant to the post office.

     At that time Braille was not the most widely-used

embossed reading system. The first run of the Ziegler

Magazine, therefore, had only 2,000 copies in Braille, but

had 5,000 in the popular New York Point.

     The Ziegler was a pioneering publication in other ways.

It was the first publication to solve the problem of

embossing both sides of a sheet of paper without crushing

the dots on the first side. What is now called "Free Matter

for the Blind or Handicapped" was also pioneered by the

magazine. As early as 1904 books lent out by libraries for

the blind could be mailed free of postage. In 1910 editor

Walter G. Holmes instigated legislation that would allow

magazines for the blind also to be mailed postage-free. This

legislation was designed specifically to spare the Ziegler

from second-class postage but has since benefited every

comparable periodical for the blind and physically


     A free subscription may be had by anyone who can read

Braille or has a four-track, half-speed cassette player. For

details contact Ziegler Magazine, 80 8th Ave., Room 1304,

New York, New York 10011, (212) 242-0263. Fax (212) 633-

1601, e-mail: Home page:

     A history of the magazine, The Ziegler Magazine Story,

is available free of charge in Braille, standard speed

cassette, or large print from the above address.