Do You Know a Blind Person?
Do you know a blind person who needs help or information? Perhaps the person is newly blinded or is losing vision so that accomplishing things with sight has become difficult. Maybe the person does not know about all the services that are available, such as vocational rehabilitation, library services, or Social Security benefits. Maybe you or someone you know has a blind child and doesn’t know how to make sure the child gets the education and training the child needs. The National Federation of the Blind can help!
Blindness does not need to be a tragedy. The blind of this nation are working together to improve the lives of blind people everywhere, working to obtain independence and equality while enjoying active and productive lives. All you need is some basic information, a little encouragement, and a lot of supportive friends who are blind and who are making their way in the world. And you’ve come to the right place for all these things—the National Federation of the Blind.
This brochure contains information about some of the services that are available to the blind and some of the resources developed by the National Federation of the Blind. Our contact information is listed at the end of this brochure—please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Tapping into the NFB Network
The National Federation of the Blind has affiliates in all fifty states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and has organized chapters in many cities around the country. By getting involved in a local chapter or state affiliate, a blind person can draw on the collective encouragement and experience of other successful blind individuals. A variety of special interest divisions also bring members of the Federation together to work on common concerns in specific areas such as blind people in the legal or teaching professions, blinded veterans, parents of blind children, or more than twenty other special divisions. Together we can change what it means to be blind. Through the power of the Internet, programs like NFB-LINK pair individuals seeking information about blindness with experienced blind mentors. From knowing how to land a job to participating in everyday hobbies, NFB members can help blind people and their families access countless resources. For further information or to seek a mentor, visit www.nfblink.org.
Social Security Benefits
Blind persons who have paid into the Social Security system may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Furthermore, blind persons who have little or no regular income or savings may qualify for monthly payments under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Contact your local Social Security office for applications. We follow the changes in the Social Security laws and regulations closely, so don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions or problems. We can help you learn about how you can work while still maintaining your benefits until you can get on your own feet financially.
Every state has an agency that is responsible for helping the blind to find employment. These agencies are required by law to work with a blind person to train for, find, and get the kind of employment he or she wants. If the services a blind person needs are not available in the state where he or she is located, the agency must help get services from someone else. Contact us at the National Federation of the Blind, and we can tell you how to work with your state agency to develop a plan to achieve your employment goals.
The National Federation of the Blind is the voice of the nation’s blind and, as such, has some fifty thousand members who are working in all kinds of jobs. Through the use of such an expansive network of successful, employed blind people, you’re sure to find someone with whom you share common employment goals. Together you can learn about the skills and alternative techniques necessary to find fulfillment and success in the workplace.
Library & Newspaper Services
Your state, like every state, has free library services for the blind. Books and magazines are available free of charge in Braille, large print, and audio formats. Equipment to listen to the recorded books is also available on loan to library patrons. For details about where and how to apply for services in your area, you may contact your local library or visit our Web site. Also, don’t forget to ask about NFB-NEWSLINE®, our free service that enables the blind to read over three hundred newspapers and magazines as well as TV and job listings on the phone, on the Web, and on the go.
Education of Blind Children
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that blind children are entitled to a free public education in the “least restrictive environment,” and parents have the right to help plan their child’s educational program. This includes the right of the child to learn Braille if he or she needs it. One way that we reach out to parents of blind children is by providing information about how to work with their child’s school and teachers to make sure that their child gets the education he or she deserves. If you are the parent of a blind child, contact us, and we will help you make sure that your child’s needs are met.
There are federal and state laws and regulations that protect the civil rights of the blind in such areas as employment, education, housing, insurance, public transportation, and public facilities. If you know of someone who thinks he or she has been unjustly treated simply because of blindness, please contact us. We will try to help.
Blind students can and should take advantage of the same scholarship programs that are available to sighted students. However, there are also scholarships that are only available to the blind. The National Federation of the Blind awards over $120,000 a year in scholarships to blind students. These scholarships help blind students to purchase access technology, hire readers to use when Braille or audio materials aren’t available for their courses, and meet other expenses. Call or write us for an application, or visit our Web site.
Products and Aids
Technology has made many useful products available to the blind. Some products, like white canes and Braille or talking watches, make daily life easier. Other products, like Braille notetakers and software to convert computer text into audio, have opened up more employment opportunities for the blind. We sell many products that aid the blind in our NFB Independence Market, and we make a concerted effort to test every piece of computer and Braille technology on the market in our International Braille and Technology Center. The NFB now provides a free white cane to any blind person who requests one—putting greater independence in the hand of every blind person in this country. Contact us for more information about products that may help you or someone you know.
The National Federation of the Blind publishes a great deal of literature, including helpful magazines and books. Each of the following publications is available to read online at our Web site, and more recent releases of our periodicals are also available in downloadable audio format.
- The Braille Monitor is the voice of the National Federation of the Blind. It is published eleven times per year in Braille, in large print, and in audio format.
- Future Reflections is a magazine for parents and educators of blind children. It is published quarterly in print and in audio format.
- The Kernel Books series is a collection of books containing first-person accounts of the lives of the blind. Each book is a mini-anthology of articles emphasizing a positive, can-do approach to blindness. All titles are available online and most can be ordered in large print or in Braille.
Contact the National Federation of the Blind today. We’ll put you in touch with the local affiliate of the NFB in your area and provide you with any other assistance we can. You can reach us at: