Future Reflections Fall 1989, Vol. 8 No. 3
California Parents Meet
This information comes from Mary Willows of California. On March 17, 1989, the "Concerned Parents and Educators Chapter" of the National Federation of the Blind of California held its annual meeting. I have several items to report.
First of all, we have changed our name. We are now the Parents of Blind Children Division of the National Federation of the Blind of California, or the POBC in the NFB/CA.
Second, we held our elections. Our new officers are: Mary Willows, President; Shirley Baillif, Vice-president; Carol Kier, Secretary/Treasurer; Norm Peters, Board Member one; Donna Sexton, Board Member two.
Our photo display, "Blind Kids Do It All," was a tremendous success. I set it up in the back of the meeting room with free literature laid out in front of it. Everyone was sorry to hear that I had to dismantle it at the end of the convention. We even had shots of Sharon [Sharon Gold, president of the NFB of California] in her tap dancing costumes when she was a child. Sharon's father had a marvelous idea for illustrating for Sharon what a picture was. He mounted them on a heavy cardboard, or plywood. Then cut out the exact shape of the focal point of the picture with a jigsaw cutter. This way Sharon could feel the image and learn what a picture was all about.
[PICTURE] NFB of California Parents Division officers from left to right: Mary Willows, President; Shirley Baillif, Vice-president; Carol Keir, Secretary-Treasurer; Norm Peters, Board member; and Donna Sexton, Board member.
Blind Wrestler Becomes NCAA All American
Mrs. Ann Kopecky of Waukesha, Wisconsin, sent us this letter:
Randy Meyer, a wrestler from University of Wisconsin, Whitewater placed eighth at the 1989 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III wrestling tournament at John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio. He became an NCAA All-American by placing in the top eight finishers in the tournament.
This would be an honor and a great accomplishment for any any college wrestler. However, Randy Meyer is a heavy weight wrestler who happens to be blind.
Because I work in a visually impaired class in an elementary school, I am aware of the great capabilities of our blind and visually impaired students. It is also evident that many obstacles have to be conquered by these students.
Therefore, for Randy Meyer to become a NCAA Division III All-American in the sport of wrestling is an inspiration and a thrill for all of us who know him and have worked with him.
Accept our congratulations, Randy, for a job well done!
Damaged Cassettes, Discs
This announcement comes from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
The Ad Hoc Audio Equipment Advisory Committee, meeting at NLS October 12-14,1988, recommended the following:
That patrons no longer tie string to the container straps to identify damaged talking books; instead, that patrons identify a damaged cassette by placing a rubber band around the cassette inside the cassette container, and a damaged disc by leaving it outside the record envelope or sleeve (but still inside the plastic or cardboard container).
NLS agrees with this recommendation and will advise our producers to alter the announcement on the last side of each recording about the new way to identify damaged cassettes and discs. This will avoid the problems of strings on NLS books being caught in U.S. Postal Service equipment.
Sunglasses for Infants
This is reprinted from the March 1, 1989, Des Moines Register.
An Oregon mother is selling sunglasses for infants. Her company, Baby Optics Inc., sells a variety of frame colors and lenses in two sizes for $9.95 a pair.
The sunglasses have shatter-resistant lenses with rounded edges, non-toxic materials, and lightweight frames, says the company literature. For more information, contact Laurie North, president Baby Optics, 8441 Ashdown Court S.E., Salem, Oregon 97301, or call (503) 364-7873.
This news comes come the Braille Institute.
Braille Institute's 41st edition of Expectations, an anthology of the latest children's literature in Braille, will soon be available free of charge to English-speaking blind children in grades three through six.
This grade II Braille book stimulates the imagination of blind children around the world. This year's science-fiction and fantasy theme offers exciting stories, featuring a dinosaur who plays baseball, flying cats, a helpful robot, unicorns, and several varieties of aliens. Children can receive the book at home or at school. Libraries can also receive copies.
Several well-known authors have contributed to this edition: Ray Bradbury, the renowned science-fiction writer, presents an original poem; another popular science-fiction author, Ursula K. Le Guin, is featured with Catwings; and British writer John Christopher offers When the Tripods Came, a thrilling tale of an invasion from space.
Additional titles this year include Stinker from Space by Pamela F. Service, Alexander and the Dragon by Katharine Holabird, Guys from Space by Daniel Pinkwater, Aliens for Breakfast by Jonathan Etra and Stephanie Spinner and The Three Astronauts by Umberto Eco, author of the adult bestseller, The Name of the Rose.
Expectations also includes the popular "scratch-and sniff' microfragrance label section and four embossed color illustrations, designed by artist Keith McConnell. The full color cover was created by artist Rosalie Copeland.
Expectations, currently edited by Douglas Menville, was first published in 1948 as Christmas in Story and Verse. Distribution expanded rapidly, reaching English-speaking blind children in 40 foreign countries by 1968.
Expectations is supported entirely by donations. Those who would like to receive the 41st edition or make a donation should write to Douglas Menville, Braille Institute, 741 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90029.
Time for a Tale
Carol Barker-Keir, who is Secretary/Treasurer of our Parents Division in California, recently sent me a brochure about a commercially available cassette series for children called: Time for a Tale Storytelling for Children Series. There are four sets in the series: Tailybone and Hairyman, narrated by David Holt; The Boy Who Loved Frogs and Little Heroes, narrated by Jay O'Callahan. Check your local bookstore for them. If you cannot find them, you can ask your store to order them from: High Windy Audio, P.O. Box 553, Fairview, NC 28730. (704) 628-1728.
This is what Mrs. Barker-Keir says about the series: "...We are hesitant to have too many taped stories--to the detriment of regular reading and use of one's imagination in reading. However, the series enclosed are great, and I would highly recommend them for children (ages 4 to 89) with or without vision."
Extended Wear Lenses Relabeled
The Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, sent us this letter July 13, 1989:
Dear Editor: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requested manufacturers of cosmetic extended wear soft contact lenses and disposable lenses to relabel them to indicate a recommended wearing time of one to seven days and to strengthen warnings about the risk of ulcerative keratitis. We are asking your help in disseminating this important information to your readers.
More than five million Americans have purchased extended wear lenses. Concern about the safety of wearing these lenses beyond seven days is based on a recent study showing that the risk of ulcerative keratitis, lesions on the cornea of the eye which can be painful and destroy vision, is about five times greater for extended wear lens users than for people with daily wear lenses.
FDA has notified eye-care practitioners of the new labeling change and intends to work with eye-care professional associations to help instruct patients on the importance of proper contact lens care in preventing infections, warnings about wearing daily lenses overnight, and the recommended wearing time of one to seven days for extended wear lenses.
Warning to Contact Lens Wearers
This information also comes from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration.
February 15,1989: The Food and Drug Administration today asked eye doctors nationally to warn their contact lens patients that improper use of homemade, non-sterile salt solutions care can lead to damaged vision or even blindness. In a letter to 50,000 eye care professionals, the agency asked that they caution their patients about using these solutions.
The solutions arc prepared by dissolving salt tablets or capsules in water. Some contact lens wearers may believe that salt itself kills any germs present. However, salt solutions made with ordinary or distilled water can become contaminated with harmful microorganisms that can cause serious and painful eye infections.
FDA said homemade salt solutions can be safely used in the heat disinfection of contact lenses or just before heat disinfection, so that the high temperature treatment kills any germs that may be in the salt solution. But if a contaminated solution is used after disinfection (as a rinse or wetting agent or eye drop) microorganisms can enter the eye and cause serious infections. Homemade solutions should also not be used with chemical disinfection of the lenses. Although chemical disinfection is effective in destroying the various types of microorganisms that cause most eye infections, it may not be completely effective in eliminating a type of organism called Acanthamoeba, which can contaminate the home-made salt solutions and cause infection.
The Acanthamoeba infection can cause particularly severe eye damage. Most cases require surgery, and some result in blindness. Although Acanthamoeba infections have been rare, they appear to be on the increase. Since 1984, there have been about 200 Acanthamoeba eye infections reported. Approximately 90 percent of these have been in contact lens wearers.
FDA said contact lens users who want to use a rinse or wetting agent after disinfecting their lenses should purchase a preserved or non-preserved saline solution that is sterile. If used, home-made solutions should be prepared fresh daily and discarded after use. The solutions bottle should be sterilized with rapidly boiling water for 10 minutes at least once a week.
Does Social Security Have Your Number?
I get all kinds of mail. Most of it concerns blindness, but some does not. This letter came from the Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, and although it isn 't blindness related, it seemed a good idea to pass the information on to you.
May 17,1989: Dear Colleague: The Family Support Act of 1988 requires that 1989 tax returns show the Social Security numbers (SSNs) of claimed dependents who are age two or older. This law amended The Tax Reform Act of 1986, which required that tax returns show the SSN of any claimed dependent age five or older.
We are seeking your assistance and cooperation in advising parents whose children do not yet have SSNs that they should apply for the numbers as early as possible, and well before the end of the year, to avoid any worry about this matter when they file their tax returns next year. Parents will be pleased to know they can utilize the telephone and the mail to obtain an SSN for their child. The phone number is listed in your telephone book under Social Security Administration. There is no need to visit an office to obtain an SSN for anyone under eighteen.
HAL Speaks For Itself
The following comes from Advanced Video Dynamics Inc., 705 General Washington Ave., Norristown, PA 19403.
Advanced Video Dynamics' HAL was developed so that the basic operation of any VCR's function can easily be performed by anyone. HAL actually speaks to the user, confirming every entry, and helps them through the necessary steps to program their VCR to record. HAL is easily activated by the push of one button on its embossed key pad. Away from home, the user can call home and this remarkable programmer not only answers the phone, but provides talking directions for remotely programming the VCR via the telephone pad.
Individuals desiring to purchase HAL or receive additional information may call Advanced Video Dynamics at 1-800-654-1160.