Braille Monitor                                             May 2016

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News from the Federation Family

National Federation of the Blind Praises Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on Employment of People with Disabilities:
The National Federation of the Blind commented on recent remarks by Hillary Clinton in which she called for ending “the tiered minimum wages for … people with disabilities.”

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "The National Federation of the Blind applauds Secretary Clinton for stating boldly and unequivocally that she rejects the discriminatory practice of paying workers with disabilities subminimum wages. We call upon the other presidential candidates to join with us and over seventy-five other organizations of people with disabilities in supporting the repeal of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act and to reject the misconceptions and low expectations that have for too long kept people with disabilities from achieving our dreams.”

A provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act dating from the law's enactment in 1938, known as Section 14(c), allows facilities to apply for special wage certificates that permit them to pay workers with disabilities subminimum wages. About three thousand entities pay more than 250,000 workers with disabilities wages as low as pennies per hour, according to 2016 statistics from the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.

Health and Wellness Experts Wanted:
The NFB Sports and Recreation Division and WE Fit Wellness are seeking health and wellness experts for the 2016 NF-BE Healthy Fair.

On June 30, 2016, the NFB Sports and Recreation Division will help kick off the seventy-sixth National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind with the first ever NF-BE Healthy Fair. The NF-BE Healthy Fair is a health fair designed with the blind in mind. Instead of walking from table to table gathering print information, attendees will have the opportunity to receive a health assessment, nutrition information, put their hands on talking health- and wellness-related gadgets, try out accessible mechanisms for reading nutrition information, check out accessible activity trackers, and more. In order to make the NF-BE Healthy Fair a huge success, we are seeking health and wellness professionals who are willing to show off their skills, sell their products, and help convention attendees find solutions, tools, and motivation to NF-BE Healthy!

We are looking for personal trainers, fitness instructors, people who sell health- and wellness-related products, life coaches, massage therapists, chiropractors, representatives from sports- and recreation-related community-based organizations, recreational therapists, nutrition experts, exercise enthusiasts, and others who may add an exciting dimension to our 2016 NF-BE Healthy Fair. For more information on how you can become a sponsor or exhibitor, please contact Jessica Beecham at (866) 543-6808, extension 105, or email <jessica@wefitwellness.com>.

Convention Announcements from the Assistive Listening Project:
At the 2016 national convention, we will again offer special arrangements for severely hearing-impaired people attending convention sessions and the banquet. This will consist of transmission of the public address system signal over a special short-range radio transmitter for the severely hearing-impaired. Spanish-language translation of convention proceedings in general sessions and the banquet will also be provided using a similar arrangement. The special receivers required for these services will also be provided.

In cooperation with several state affiliates (notably Colorado, Utah, and Virginia), the NFB will provide special receivers for these transmissions to those needing them. The receiver-lending will be managed by the Amateur Radio Division and will be operated from a table just outside the meeting room. A deposit of $40, cash only, will be required of anyone wishing to check out one of the Federation's receivers. The deposit will be returned if the receiver is checked in at the checkout table in good condition by the end of the banquet or within thirty minutes of adjournment of the last convention session that the borrower plans to attend. Batteries for the receiver will be provided. Anyone checking out a Federation receiver will be given upon request a miniature earbud-type earphone to use with the receiver.

Along with explaining what will be available, it is important that we explain what will not be available. The miniature earbud loudspeaker-type earphone will be the only kind of earphone offered. If you would like to use your own earphone(s), silhouette, neckloop, or other device or adapter cable to get the signal from the receiver we provide to your ear, you must ensure that the cable connection between your device and our receiver is one that will fit the audio jack found on electronic devices such as talking book and MP3 players, laptops, or mobile devices like iPhones and notetakers. In technical terms, this is referred to as a 3.5 mm (formerly called 1/8-inch) earphone plug. You are advised to arrange for such things well ahead of arriving at the convention. Other than the earphone jack on the receiver, no means of connection to a hearing aid will be available from the checkout table. The receiver does not have a built-in loudspeaker. While earphones, and even neckloops, are sometimes available in the exhibit hall, you cannot be certain of getting one there.

Many severely hearing-impaired people already use radio systems that employ FM radio signals to carry the voice from a transmitter held by the person speaking to a receiver in the hearing aid. Some of these hearing aid systems can be tuned to receive the Federation's special transmitters. In this case the hearing-impaired person may simply tune his or her own receiver to receive the Federation's transmitter and will not need to check out a Federation receiver.

Some audiologists and rehabilitation agencies are now buying digital and other FM hearing aids that cannot be tuned to the Federation's frequency. If you have one of these or if you have any other type of hearing aid, you should obtain from your audiologist an adapter cable to connect from your hearing aid to a monaural 3.5 mm earphone jack. This will allow you to plug the cable from your hearing aid directly into a receiver you check out from our table. This will allow you to hear as well as anyone else using one of our receivers.

The transmitter for the hearing impaired will be connected to the public address system so that the signals from the head table and the aisle microphones will be transmitted on channel thirty-six (74.775 MHz narrow band FM). People must not operate their personal transmitters on channel thirty-six or on channel thirty-eight because that would interfere with the reception for others. This means that folks wishing to use their own receivers (rather than checking out one of the Federation's receivers) need to have their personal receivers arranged so that they can switch between their personal channels and channel thirty-six. Some people may need to purchase replacement or additional receivers. Caution your audiologist that there is more than one channel thirty-six, and he or she must also verify that your frequency matches our frequency.

This announcement is published now to allow as much time as possible for those interested to make the necessary arrangements before convention. It contains this amount of detail so that any audiologist who works with this type of equipment should be able to know by reading this article exactly what capabilities a person's hearing system must have to work with the Federation's system at convention.

Even if your hearing aid is not of the FM type, you may be able to purchase a silhouette, a neckloop, or an adapter cable to couple the signal from a Federation receiver directly to your hearing aid. Your audiologist should also be able to help you with this. The NFB Deaf-Blind Division has offered to provide feedback on their members' experiences with these types of devices to interested convention attendees. Contact Joe Naulty, 3924 South Wind Drive, West Melbourne, Florida 32904, (321) 768-9500 or <jnaulty@cfl.rr.com> for inquiries. Please always remember to consult your audiologist when considering any additions to your hearing aid setup.

The service for Spanish speakers will be similar, except that a live Spanish translator will speak over a separate transmitter on channel thirty-eight (75.275 MHz narrow band FM). We do not expect that people will bring their own receivers for the Spanish-translation service, unless they are also hearing impaired and use an FM hearing aid system. Spanish speakers may, however, wish to bring their own earphones. See above for a description of the type of plug needed.

Conchita Hernandez from Washington, DC, will be coordinating the Spanish language interpreters, and she would appreciate hearing from anyone willing to volunteer to interpret. Please call her before convention at (530) 908-3547, or send her email at <hernandezlegorreta@gmail.com>.

If other state affiliates or chapters are interested in purchasing this type of equipment for use in state and local meetings, they are encouraged to purchase equipment that is compatible with that which we are using and to allow it to be used in the pool of equipment that the Amateur Radio Division administers at national convention. I (Rachel Olivero) would like to help you choose equipment that is compatible with that which the NFB is using. You may contact me at (765) 977-1683 or at <rachel@olivero.us>. The Federation is pleased to offer these services to our severely hearing-impaired and Spanish-speaking colleagues, and we hope and believe that it will again significantly improve their convention experience.

New Opportunities for Careers in Rehabilitation of the Blind, Scholarships are Now Available:
Structured Discovery Cane Travel (SDCT) and Structured Discovery Rehabilitation have been demonstrated to be among the most innovative and effective forms of rehabilitation training for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Louisiana Tech University has operated its Orientation and Mobility program on this model successfully for eighteen years, with upwards of 90 percent successful employment and employer satisfaction rates.

Louisiana Tech is excited to announce that, along with its O&M program, it has expanded its training and is launching a brand new concentration in rehabilitation teaching for the blind.

Scholarships are now available for qualified individuals seeking one of the following degree paths: master of arts in industrial/organizational psychology with concentration in orientation and mobility, master of arts in counseling and guidance with concentration in rehabilitation teaching for the blind, or orientation and mobility graduate certification.

Why me?

Who can Apply?
Individuals must already possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, have a grade point average of 2.5, and obtain a minimum of 287 (verbal and quantitative) on the Graduate Records Examination. Individuals must also be willing to attend courses on campus in Ruston, Louisiana, on a full-time basis.

What’s the Catch?

Where do I get started?
For program details, visit: <www.pdrib.com>, send an email for more information to: <dreed@latech.edu>, or call Edward Bell to discuss your application at (318) 257-4554.

Registration Open for Rehabilitation and Orientation and Mobility Conference:
Contemporary Issues in Rehabilitation and Education for the Blind Fifteenth Annual Rehabilitation and Orientation and Mobility Conference will be held at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, Thursday, June 30, 2016, 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Come and join us!  Once again, this year's conference will be action-packed with a variety of new speakers, topics, and hands-on events.

Schedule:
7:30 - 8:30 AM           Registration
8:30 AM                      Conference Begins
2:00 - 5:00 PM            Interactive Breakout Sessions
5:00 - 7:00 PM            NBPCB Awards Reception

Registration fee includes the NBPCB awards reception. The cost before June 15 is $85 for professionals, $75 for students. After June 15, the cost is $100 for both students and professionals. To register, go to <https://nbpcb.org/members/login.php?r=/members/er.php?eid=284>. Those certified through the NBPCB may register using their username and password.  All other participants should register as a guest.

For questions or special arrangements, contact Dianne Reed at (318) 257-4554, or <dreed@latech.edu>.

Conference sponsored by: National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB), Professional Development & Research Institute on Blindness (PDRIB), Louisiana Tech University, and the National Association of Professionals in Blindness Education.

Assistance Needed at Convention:
Pauline Murphy is looking for assistance in getting from her room to convention sessions, restaurants, the exhibit hall, and other convention activities. She is willing to pay some for this service. If interested in helping her, call (317) 403-7000, or write her at <paulinemm@att.net>.

A History of Blind People Available:
The Blind History Lady Presents is a growing series of articles and historical biographies of blind people who lived in the 1800s through the early 1900s. These blind men and women created their own opportunities, becoming electricians, boat builders, insurance salesmen, chemists, chiropractors, and so much more. Peggy Chong is the Blind History Lady. Her articles have appeared in the Braille Monitor and many other publications. Now she takes her almost three decades of research on blind people, compiling them into in-depth short stories and is sharing it with everyone, blind and sighted. Check out The Blind History Lady Presents at your favorite ebook store or at <www.smashwords.com>.

Conference Calls for Those with Cerebral Palsy:
Come one and all, blind and visually impaired Federationists who have cerebral palsy, to create an active and vibrant group of blind and visually impaired Americans with cerebral palsy. The purpose of this group will be to provide the following: positive role modeling techniques, leadership, networking, mentoring, information, referral to agencies, education, socialization, rehabilitation training methodology ideas, advice about self-representation, and systemic legal advocacy assistance. This group will discuss the management of social issues faced by blind and visually impaired people with cerebral palsy and the management of the rehabilitation training issues faced by this group. Our goal is to provide mutual support from those who understand.

Meetings will be held by conference call on the first Sunday of the month from 8:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. eastern time starting on Sunday, June 5, 2016. The conference phone number is (218) 339-3814; enter pin 999999#. To assist in developing this group contact Alexander Scott Kaiser by Braille snailmail, by phone, and by email. His postal address is Alexander Scott Kaiser, 52 Meadowbrook Road, Brick Township, New Jersey 08723-7850; his email address is <AKaiser999@gmx.us>, and he can be reached by phone at (848) 205-0208.

 

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

Delta Air Lines Offers a Discount to National Federation of the Blind National Convention:
Members of the National Federation of the Blind and all individuals planning their travel to attend our annual national convention are being offered discounted airfare from Delta Air Lines through their Delta Meeting Network. Those interested should go to <www.delta.com/booking> to book their flight and enter the meeting event code: NMNBW. The discount will be calculated based on your specific travel arrangements and could range from 2 percent to 10 percent. If you have any questions, call the Delta Meeting Network at (800) 328-1111 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. central time, Monday through Friday.

SENSEsational Alphabet Books Back at Seedlings:
The ever-popular SENSEsational Alphabet books are back at Seedlings! And, we are still offering them at our deeply discounted price of $20 each! The interactive ABC picture books allow blind and sighted family members to learn the alphabet and beginning words in sign language and uncontracted Braille together! The book incorporates visual stimuli, movement, touch, smell, and sound. Feel the different textures of the horse and lizard, smell the distinctive aromas of apples and roses, move the hands of the watch, pull the zipper, and much more! To order, go to <http://www.seedlings.org/browse.php?search=SENSEsational+Alphabet&field=Item_name>. You can also check out our webpage at <www.seedlings.org>, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@SeedlingsBrlBks).

DOJ Reaches Settlement with Greyhound and Disabled Passengers May Be Due Compensation:
The US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently entered into a settlement with the Greyhound bus lines company on behalf of disabled travelers.  The settlement consent decree creates a fund of $300,000 for “select individuals identified by the United States” and a separate uncapped claims filing process to compensate “individuals who assert ADA claims meeting established criteria.”  The following information is meant to help clarify some confusion about the significance and scope of this settlement among members of the National Federation of the Blind.  The information is compiled from the publicly available settlement documents, court filings, and consultations with the DOJ attorneys responsible for enforcing the settlement.

Who is generally eligible?
As for the $300,000, that fund is likely set aside for the specific individuals that the DOJ was already working with during its investigation.  If you weren’t already talking with DOJ attorneys or staff about access problems prior to February 8, 2016, then it is unlikely that this fund applies to you.  If you were talking with the DOJ about your access problems prior to February 8, 2016, then you should contact them to verify your status. 

As for the claims filing process, you must meet each of the following four requirements to even be considered for compensation:

The above qualifications are vague and could arguably include quite a few access problems that members of the National Federation of the Blind have experienced.  Based on conversations with the Department of Justice attorneys responsible for enforcing the settlement, it appears that the “criteria” that might be used to award compensable claims is not as broad as the above language might suggest.  Further, the policy fixes outlined in the settlement also seem to target a broader set of ADA violations than the monetary claims.  Because this settlement is not a class action, the DOJ and Greyhound retain discretion on the claims that will eventually receive monetary compensation.

What claims are likely covered?
According to the DOJ attorneys responsible for enforcing the settlement, blind individuals whose experiences are similar to the types of access problems illustrated in the complaint should consider filing a claim.  Eligible blind individuals who experienced the following types of problems should consider filing a claim:

Much of the settlement focuses on access for people who use wheelchairs or have mobility impairments.  Blind travelers who use wheelchairs or have mobility impairments should consider submitting claims if they experienced inoperable lifts, inadequate wheelchair securement straps, or problems related to the operation of the “kneeling” function of a bus, which lowers the height of the access point to the bus for those who would otherwise have difficulty navigating the distance between the ground and the bus’s first step.  In addition, blind individuals with wheelchairs who were unable to book wheelchair-accessible travel online or were charged extra to book wheelchair-accessible travel over the telephone should also consider submitting a claim.

How do I submit a claim?
The claim administrator website has relevant case documents, contact information, and instructions for filing a claim at <www.dojvgreyhoundsettlement.com/>. You may also call the settlement administrator at (844) 502-5953.

What about other issues not mentioned above?

The National Federation of the Blind is aware of other access issues that are not clearly addressed by this settlement. The Federation continues to raise and monitor these issues with Greyhound and the DOJ to ensure that all of the concerns of the blind community are addressed in the context of this settlement or other independent action.  Individuals with questions or concerns may contact attorney Timothy Elder at <telder@trelegal.com> or (410) 415-3493, or contact Valerie Yingling with the NFB’s legal team in Baltimore at <vyingling@nfb.org> or (410) 659-9314.

 

NFB Pledge

I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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