Future Reflections Convention 1999, Vol. 18 No. 4

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The Blind Children’s Resource Center

by Carol Castellano

Editor’s Note: The following information is from Carol Castellano, President of the New Jersey Parents of Blind Children. The Center is operated by the NFB of New Jersey and is an exciting example of NFB philosophy applied to the practical problems of raising and educating a blind child. For more information call (973) 377-0976 or e-mail <center@webspan.net>.

The Blind Children’s Resource Center, established in 1998 and located in Denville, New Jersey, is dedicated to the idea that blind/visually impaired children can grow up to become productive, fully functioning independent members of society. To do this, they need normal expectations for their development, high quality training in the skills of blindness, and exposure to healthy, positive attitudes about blindness and the abilities of blind/visually impaired (VI) people. We are also dedicated to providing ideas, assistance, and information that will help developmentally delayed and multiply handicapped blind/VI children reach their potential.

At the Blind Children’s Resource Center, parents and teachers can learn how blind/VI people accomplish tasks without or with limited eyesight and how blind/VI children can use simple adaptations to become full participants at home, at school, and in the community. The Blind Children’s Resource Center will help parents and teachers get this information as soon as possible so that their children can get off to a good start. Center staff—Director Carol Castellano and Administrative Assistant Amy Kaiser—are available for Center visits, telephone assistance, workshops and programs, and outreach to the public.

Parents and teachers can call or drop in at the Center for information, assistance, and ideas. At the Center, they can view our Model Classroom, which displays the equipment and materials a blind/VI child can use in school, along with simple, logical systems for organizing materials and maximizing independence. In the Model Classroom, visitors will also find ideas for adapting worksheets and other school materials.

Also at the Center is our Technology Demonstration and Training Site, fully equipped with a talking computer, refreshable Braille display, electronic note taker, Braille printer, and high-tech system for producing Braille from print that can be put in place at home or in school. We also have a closed circuit television and computer screen enlarging software. Introductory level training on the equipment is available, along with information on how to obtain the various pieces of equipment.

Visitors to the Center can also examine items from our "What’s Available?" display, an extensive collection of developmental, educational, and recreational materials that blind/VI children can use.

At this point, we are packing a lot into a little space! Other components of our program will be put in place as soon as additional space and funding become available.

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