by Raul Gallegos
From the Editor: Raul is the president of the National Association of Guide Dog Users, a division of the National Federation of the Blind. Here is his report after convention:
1. NAGDU continues to promote informed choice when it comes to guide dog users choosing a guide dog training program. What may be a deal-breaker for one might be the best thing ever for someone else.
2. NAGDU submitted three resolutions for this year's convention. The first one was concerning asking the guide dog training programs to make all materials accessible and available prior to a handler committing to their program, to establish transparent due process when executing the contract, and to allow for third-party arbitration in case of appeals. The second one was concerning asking the International Guide Dog Federation to include blind people in its accreditation process, to make the accreditation rules public, and to allow the blind guide dog handler to have a say in how a training program gets its accreditation. The third one is concerning the Department of Transportation and the new ruling of the Air Carrier Access Act where we want it to retract the filling out of travel forms. We want it to change the law so that a guide dog user isn't faced with the choice of rescheduling their flight if someone, not qualified to make the decision regarding the size of the dog, says the dog will not fit. We want to ensure that other businesses don't start asking guide dog handlers to fill out forms just to enter into their businesses.
3. NAGDU is promoting the use of its public events calendar. This is a subscription calendar of events that will give you updates about all NAGDU and guide dog user state affiliate division events taking place across the country. The calendar subscription has gotten enough notice that several other affiliates, not all of them related to guide dog users, have reached out to NAGDU to find out how to setup their own calendar for their own chapter or division.