PUBLISHED BY THE AMERICAN BROTHERHOOD FOR THE BLIND
A CHARITABLE AND EDUCATIONAL FOUNDAIION
2652 SHASTA ROAD BERKELEY 8. CALIF.
APRIL ISSUE - 1962
Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Published monthly in Braille and inkprint and
distributed free to the blind by the American
Brotherhood for the Blind, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek,
President. National headquarters and editorial
offices at 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif.
Editor: Floyd W. Matson
Executive Secretary: Anthony Mannino, 205 South Western Avenue, Room 206, Los Angeles 4, Calif.
VOLUME II APRIL, 1962 NO. 4
Sharp Differences Aired at Rehabilitation Hearings
The Helpless Blind? A Physical Therapist's Story
By Lawrence Marcelino
The Right to be Heard: Consumers Get a 'Kennedy Bill"
By Dr. Jacobus tenBroek
Blind Orientation Center Cites Record
Arizona's Blind Win Welfare Struggle
Senator Hartke Renews Battle For Blind Aid
Another Legislative Victory in California
Brothers . . . & Others
The fur flew freely in Washington last month during the course of hearings on rehabilitation and special education legislation conducted by the Special Education Subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and Labor. The hearings were held for a total of four days, March 13-15 and March 29, and embraced such subjects as independent living, sheltered workshops, and the education of exceptional (mainly handicapped) children.
Sharply expressed differences of opinion developed between committee members and spokesmen for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as the agency administrators refused to endorse an omnibus bill favored by the committee to expand both rehabilitation and special education services (H. R. 10123, introduced by Representative Robert N. Giaimo of Connecticut, a committee member).
Instead the HEW officials -- particularly Assistant Secretary Wilbur J. Cohen and Vocational Rehabilitation Director Mary Switzer -- offered alternative proposals of their own which promptly drew bitter comment from various committee members as a "patchwork" program expressed in "gobbledegook" language, assertedly representing a faltering "half-step" instead of the full step that the committee felt should be taken toward rehabilitation and independent living for the severely handicapped.
Defending the Department's reluctance to support the independent living bill (H.R. 10123), Cohen maintained that "there are vast differences in the states and among state agencies as to how this whole matter of independent living ought to be developed. There are strong differences of feeling between the state health people, the state welfare people, and the state vocational rehabilitation people, as to what the moderate and most effective organization of this is."
More specifically, the HEW assistant secretary noted that "There is some feeling that before accelerating and giving additional federal money for independent living to the vocational rehabilitation agencies, the vocational rehabilitation agencies ought to rehabilitate people vocationally. They are only rehabilitating about half at the present time, about 100,000 as against the 200,000 or 250,000 that ought to be rehabilitated. " He emphasized the view of the Department that "the vocational area should be given first and major priority .... And one of the things we are trying to do is accelerate the area in the program vocationally."
On the relationship of vocational rehabilitation to public assistance, Cohen expressed a viewpoint similar to that of the National Federation of the Blind. He cited as "the next priority" that "something ought to be done in the rehabilitation of the people that are on the welfare rolls. " In addition to proposals in the present welfare bill, he said, "We have been trying to work with the public health people, with the welfare people and with the rehabilitation people on a whole series of proposals that would strengthen the program, but we have not completed that, and it was my hope that . . . we could find an area of agreement between these different professional people before we came back to you with what would be a recommendation for further improvements in this area."
At one point during Cohen's testimony a committee member, Rep. Charles E. Goodell of New York, broke in with the comment: "I may be rather stupid about this, but it sounds to me like a lot of gobbledegook. " While Dr. Switzer seemed to be saying that she was in favor of H. R. 10123, he said, "It seems to me you are saying, Mr. Cohen, that the Administration is not in favor of 10123, because you do not have enough information now to be sure, and you want to coordinate with state people and a whole bunch of other people, which, frankly, has not made much sense to me."
Representatives Edith Green of Oregon (chairman), Albert H. Quie of Minnesota, and Giaimo voiced similar rebukes of what they obviously regarded as a heel-dragging performance by the Department of HEW with respect to the rehabilitation and special education legislation. Thus Congresswoman Green tartly inquired of Cohen: "Are you suggesting to the committee that we proceed on an amendment basis, another patchwork basis, and then this fall we give our attention to what really would be the best and the most desirable thing to do?"
At another point Congressman Quie interjected: "I see how you and the Department have to go step by step and make sure of your ground, but it seems to me as far as Congress is concerned, we ought to give you the direction and the policy in legislation as to where you ought to go, and that is our task this year, and not to falter along step by step with you in trying to bring agreement between the various groups."
The unreliability of rehabilitation evaluations of the potential of clients was pointed up by Congressman Quie in the following comment: "Just talking about evaluation, the people I talked to in the Scandinavian countries who have gone into independent living training, as we call it here, have found that evaluation just cannot tell who is employable or not. When they took that out, they found out when they were training people who under evaluation were not employable, that they turned out to be employable after all. In Sweden they told me that 20 per cent of the people turned out to be employable, fully employable, and an additional large per cent partially employable."
Among the proposals of the Department which drew hostile questioning from the committee was an amendment which, in Cohen's words, "would retain the employment focus of the rehabilitation program, but would liberalize the present requirement that employment potential must be reasonably clear before a program of services can be made available to a handicapped person." The proposed liberalization would assertedly permit the state agency to "initiate services for handicapped persons for whom employment potential is difficult to predict. These services could be furnished for a period up to six months in order to make the determination of employment potential and eligibility for further services." The HEW official pointed out that among other things "this amendment would permit services to be extended to a great many public assistance cases that are not even referred today because of the restriction."
The old-fashioned psychology of sheltered workshops received an apparent slap from OVR Director Switzer in a comment on the urgent problems of vocational rehabilitation: "I think that the great need today is for community facilities that combine vocational evaluation and testing and work experience and that is very closely related to the job opportunities in a given location," she said. "We would like to get away from some of the traditional sheltered workshop psychology and do this on a project basis."
However, the proposal referred to would presumably strengthen workshops along with other rehabilitation facilities -- through establishment of (in Cohen's words) "a flexible five-year program of grants, on a project basis to help states and other public and nonprofit groups to plan for and build, renovate, equip and initially staff rehabilitation facilities and workshops."
Other organizations offering testimony at the hearings were: The National Federation of the Blind, the Council for Exceptional Children, the American Association of Workers for the Blind, the National Rehabilitation Association, the National Association of Sheltered Workshops, the Council of Local Administrators of Special Education, the National Association for Retarded Children, the American Speech and Hearing Association, and the President's Panel on Mental Retardation.
Discussion centered principally on the two committee-favored bills introduced by Congressman Giaimo: H.R. 10123, the omnibus measure previously referred to, and H.R. 10125, designed to provide across-the-board federal assistance to state programs for special education for exceptional children. Apart from the Administration's representatives, witnesses generally supported the substance of the Giaimo proposals, including those for independent living rehabilitation services, a new rehabilitation facility program, improved evaluation services, a grant-in-aid program for special education, federal support of training of teachers of handicapped children, and research and demonstration in special education.
The recommendations formally advanced before the committee by the spokesmen for HEW and the Administration may be summarized in the following six proposals: (1) Amendment of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act to permit acceptance by state agencies of severely disabled persons not now eligible, to be served for six months before determination of their rehabilitation potential; (2) amendment of the act to include a new section of rehabilitation facilities on a project-grant basis used to develop sheltered workshops and other rehabilitation facilities; (3) amendment of the act to permit the states, particularly those now lagging in rehabilitation activity, to improve their programs; (4) amendment of the act to allow administration of vocational rehabilitation in the state departments of welfare, health or labor, providing that rehabilitation be retained as a complete agency with its own director and staff; (5) amendment of the act to allow the use of private funds to match federal funds for development of rehabilitation facilities; and (6) that legislation providing grants for training of teachers of mentally retarded children be amended to make funds available for training teachers of all classes of handicapped children, and that the present million-dollar appropriation ceiling be removed.
H.R. 10125, the special education bill, deals specifically with educational facilities for exceptional children. The measure provides for federal financial help to states to expand their special education programs and thereby improve the educational opportunities of physically and mentally impaired children. It also provides federal grants to colleges to encourage establishment of teacher training programs for special education.
Among other things, H.R. 10125 would make funds available for scholarships and fellowships in order to induce qualified recruits to enter the special educational field and to augment the training of those already in it. Finally, the Giaimo bill seeks to stimulate and encourage the development of new skills for teaching the disabled and assisting in their adjustment, by providing federal funds for use in research and demonstration within the special field.
John Nagle, the NFB's Washington representative, submitted a separate written statement setting forth the Federation's position toward both areas of legislation covered by the hearings. Nagle pointed out that while the NFB favors the provision of independent living services by public authority, those services must not detract from the effectiveness of the employment objective of vocational rehabilitation programs. He offered specific amendments designed to protect this spirit and objective.
With reference to other proposals before the committee which sould provide federal financial assistance to sheltered workshops, Nagle asserted that, if such provisions are enacted, Congress should also adopt measures to improve wages and working conditions of the disabled employees of workshops.
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By Lawrence Marcelino
(Editor's note: Mr. Marcelino is editor of the COUNCIL BULLETIN, monthly publication of the California Council of the Blind, in which the following article originally appeared.)
Anne Whittenbury, 27 years of age, is demonstrating to the medical profession that physical therapy can be performed well and efficiently by a totally blind person. She is conducting this demonstration at the California Rehabilitation Center which is attached to the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Vallejo. On February 20, 1962, I had the pleasure of meeting this scintillating and captivating lady from London at a Lions Club dinner which she addressed and completely charmed. Anne explained that at the outset some of her colleagues had misgivings over her ability to handle such problems as avoiding excessive radiation, ascertaining the patient's ability to walk smoothly and many other matters.
Anne has won the full confidence of everyone on the staff. This was substantiated by the testimony of one of the physicians present at the dinner.
Anne was trained in England under a program arranged by the Royal National Institute for the Blind and the national group representing the physical therapy profession. She is regularly employed at a hospital in London to which she will return later this year.
Ida May Ambler and John O'Hara of the Sonoma Chapter who have known Anne for some time were also present. Previously Anne had visited the Capitol Chapter in Sacramento and the Sonoma County Chapter.
Anne states that there are about 100 blind physical therapists in England and they are completely accepted without discrimination or reservation in the practice. None of the equipment which she uses is designed especially for the blind, it is all standard equipment. She has affixed markings with scotch tape which she utilizes and which do not interfere with operation by sighted persons. She stated that one of the points of concern by hospital people was that the patient's confidence in her as a professional would be reduced upon discovering that she is blind. She explained that none of her patients realized that she is blind at the outset of their treatment and she never tells her patients that she is blind. "I let them discover it for themselves and by the time they do, it is too late for already I have secured their confidence." Of course, she takes measures to obtain this confidence. When patients are brought to her, she takes off their shoes, places them under a table so that she will not stumble upon them, removes the patient's glasses and places them where she will know where to find them. She is especially careful to avoid falls by the patient and conducts all phases of her practice so as to avoid accidents and other difficulties.
It is imperative that Council people take advantage of this demonstration by taking appropriate measures while Anne is still here that will lead to the admission of blind persons to training programs for physical therapy.
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By Dr. Jacobus tenBroek
The right of consumers to be heard -- as well as their right to organize -- was given important emphasis by President Kennedy in mid-March by means of a special message to Congress on the subject of consumer rights.
The President's stress on these civil rights of self-expression and consultation was strikingly reminiscent of the famous bill which he himself Introduced as a senator in 1957 to guarantee to the blind the right to organize without interference and the right to be consulted in the administration of programs for their welfare. The "Kennedy bill," as the earlier measure was promptly designated, has since been enacted in its essential form by the state legislatures of California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, although it has yet to gain the approval of Contress.
Co-sponsored by Congressman Walter S. Baring of Nevada, the blind right-to organize bill was the subject of intensive hearings in 1959 by a subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee. It has been re-introduced in every subsequent session of Congress.
In his March message. President Kennedy declared that consumers "are the only important group in the economy who are not effectively organized, whose views are often not heard." Calling for both legislative and administrative action to protect consumers in the exercise of their rights, the President specified those rights in a fourfold definition:
"(1) The right to safety: To be protected against the marketing of goods which are hazardous to health or life.
"(2) The right to be informed: To be protected against fraudulent, deceitful, or grossly misleading information, advertising, labeling, or other practices, and to be given the facts he needs to make an informed choice.
"(3) The right to choose: To be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of products and services at competitive prices; and in those industries in which competition is not workable and Government regulation is substituted, an assurance of satisfactory quality and service at fair prices.
"(4) The right to be heard: To be assured that consumer interests will receive full and sympathetic consideration in the formulation of Government policy, and fair and expeditious treatment in its administrative tribunals."
The Presidential statement asserted that in order "to promote the fuller realization of these consumer rights, " existing Government programs should be strengthened. Government organization improved, and in certain areas new legislation enacted.
In tone as well as content, the President's consumer message bears a close resemblance to the statement which he made as a senator five years ago in support of his right-to-organize bill for the blind. At that time he said in part:
"Organizations of blind persons exist today in many cities and communities throughout the country .... In most of our States today, organizations of the blind within the state have formed one or more statewide organizations. Forty-three of these state-wide organizations of the blind are now federated into a single nationwide organization, the National Federation of the Blind.
"Organizations of this kind have been formed by the blind to advance their own welfare and common interests. These organizations provide to our blind citizens the opportunity for collective self-expression. Through these organizations, these citizens are able to formulate democratically and voice effectively their views on the programs that our National Government and our State governments are financing for their aid and rehabilitation. It is important that these views be expressed freely and without interference. It is important that these views be heard and considered by persons charged with responsibility for determining and carrying out our programs for the blind.
"In some communities this freedom that each of our blind citizens should have to join, or not to join, organizations of the blind has been prejudiced by a few professional workers in programs for the blind who have allowed their personal views to be expressed in official action for or against particular organizations of the blind. Administrators and workers in welfare programs for the blind possess unusual power to control the lives and influence the conduct of their clients. It is important that our blind citizens be protected against any exercise of this kind of influence or authority to interfere with their freedom of self-expression through organizations of the blind."
Consumers Also Lack Rights
In his recent message to Congress, President Kennedy pointed out that the voice of consumers "is not always as loudly heard in Washington as the voices of smaller and better-organized groups--nor is their point of view always defined and presented." Underlying his emphatic endorsement of the right of consumers to be heard and consulted in the formulation of measures affecting their health and welfare was a clear recognition of their right to organize for purposes of self-expression and self-protection.
Beyond its echoing of concepts and phrases applied earlier to the struggle of blind Americans for acceptance of their own rights, the new Kennedy statement on consumer rights provides additional instructive parallels. For one thing, the rights which blind people possess with respect to welfare services and programs are in a genuine sense "consumer rights." As consumers or clients, blind persons who are recipients of these services have also a right to choose: i.e., a right to accept or reject services, and still more significantly to decide how to spend or make use of the grants and other aids available to them.
As a corollary to the right to choose, blind consumers of welfare have undeniably a right to be informed: both to be consulted and to be given access to pertinent information regarding their programs and services. And, finally, the blind share the last of those rights ascribed to all consumers by the President: the right to safety , which might without change of meaning be rephrased as the right to security.
The need of the American consumer for protection of his rights arises -- as it did and still does in the case of the blind person -- from the fact that he is both under- represented and outnumbered in the contest with entrenched interests which have a stake in preserving his traditional state of innocence, ignorance and virtual disfranchisement. President Kennedy is surely to be commended in his bold recognition and endorsement of the long-submerged rights of consumers to assemble and organize, to petition and be heard, to choose and to be informed in their choice.
It is to be hoped that the President, and his administrative subordinates, will now recognize and endorse those same rights for the blind consumers of welfare -- just as did Senator John F. Kennedy on a memorable occasion five short years ago.
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(Editor's note: Following is an excerpt from the Tenth Anniversary Issue of the NEWSLETTER published by the Alumni Association of the Oakland, California, Orientation Center for the Blind in March, 1962. Editor of the Periodical is Mrs. Dorothy Datter of Santa Maria, California.)
"The activities of our alumni in the fields of employment demonstrate forcefully the effectiveness of the psychological climate which surrounds all students who attend the Center. Each is encouraged to develop self-determination, self-discipline and self- responsibility. The more mature individual soon grasps the idea and dares to plan and explore the possibility of returning to the same job he had before he lost his sight, regardless of the seeming impossibility of such action. For example: (All listed here are totally blind)
"1. The journeyman electrician who suddenly lost his sight, returned, after orientation, to his former home, contacted the local union to which he belonged, convinced them that he could do the work, was assigned to a job, completed it successfully and he has been working as a journeyman electrician for the past four and one-half years.
"2. The elementary school teacher who returned to her 4th grade class or 40 sighted children, proved to be such a good teacher in spite of the handicap of blindness that she was chosen twice as a master teacher of blind student teachers, both of whom are now employed. She is completing her 7th year as a blind teacher.
"3. The fifty year old newly blinded individual who now at fifty-nine is a full time outboard motor repairman. (He had worked for many years as an automobile mechanic.)
"4. The foreman in a steel fabrication plant who returned to the same plant, not as foreman but as an estimator--a field in which he had much knowledge.
"5. The construction superintendent who returned to his former employer, took up his new duties as an office manager for the firm.
"6, A young business man who worked on a contract basis for the park department topping trees, still has a business of his own; now he operates a service center for the overhaul and repair of small gasoline motors.
"Many Orientation Center students, blind since birth, are inspired by the success stories of employed blind people they hear about while attending the Center and decide that they too will prepare themselves for responsible positions. At the present time there are at least thirty alumni attending college, working toward law degree s, teaching credentials, degrees in social welfare, or taking stenographic courses.
"Eight of the thirty-six blind teachers in the public schools of California have attended the Orientation Center, three alumni have full time jobs in social welfare, two are Home Teacher-Counselors, one is a teacher in a orientation center for the blind in another state. All are self-supporting, contributing members of their communities.
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The long and hard-fought campaign of the blind people of Arizona for liberalization of their state public assistance program was victoriously climaxed recently as Governor Fannin signed into law a bill exempting the first $85 a month and half of all added income of a blind aid recipient in computing his grant. The new measure finally brings the Arizona program into conformity with federal amendments providing for the increased exemption and setting a deadline for state compliance of June, 1962.
The uphill struggle of the Arizona blind, assisted by the National Federation of the Blind, to bring the new federal benefits to their state has been vigorously opposed by Arizona Welfare Commissioner Fen Hildreth and by such influential local newspapers as the Arizona REPUBLICAN. (See the running reports of the controversy in the BLIND AMERICAN, August, September and November, 1961.)
Ironically, Commissioner Hildreth himself has reportedly hailed the new state act -- which also at long last gives Arizona a federally supported program of Aid to the Totally and Permanently Disabled. The state is one of the last in the nation to accept this program.
The state legislation appropriates about one million dollars to the welfare department, besides the general appropriation, to finance the new reforms. An added complement of 30 to 35 case workers will be hired by the department under the measure, along with additional welfare staff.
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Senator Vance Hartke, of Indiana, recently emphasized that he is continuing his battle to make the federally- supported state programs of aid to the blind a real force for rehabilitation in the lives of more than 100,000 needy blind Americans.
At a Washington press conference, the Senator said: "Many of these people are needlessly needy} they are able and very willing to earn their own living and are trained and qualified to do so, but are denied the opportunity -- not only to work in jobs that they can do -- but too often even the chances to demonstrate their capacities and capabilities are denied. Thus, "tie Hoosier lawmaker continued, "many of them have to apply for public assistance to survive -- and the way that Federal and State public assistance laws for the blind are today, this is about all they can do -- survive!"
Senator Hartke also pointed out that "John F. Nagle, representative of the National Federation of the Blind, has assured me of his complete cooperation and the complete cooperation of the many thousands of blind members of his organization. The nation's 400,000 blind citizens deserve -- and I intend to continue to give them -- all of the help I possibly can as a person and as a United States Senator."
Senator Hartke has sponsored legislative proposals in this Congress as he did in the last, to make changes in Title X of the Social Security Act which, if adopted, would serve to stimulate and encourage blind-aid recipients to work their way from a lifetime of dependence upon public charity, to a life of fruitfulness and productivity, of self-sufficiency and independence.
Two of these proposals will have his concentrated attention and efforts in the coming weeks of the Second Session of the 87th Congress. The first (S. 908) would give complete effectiveness to a provision of Title X which the Senator was successful in having included in the 1960 amendments to the Social Security Act. This provision (Section 710 of Public Law 86-778) exempts the first $85 of the monthly earned income of blind-aid recipients in the determination of their need for assistance; it also exempts 50% of the monthly earned income in excess of $85 per month.
In other words, the Senator pointed out, a man receiving aid to the blind is able to earn up to $85.00 without losing any aid. But if he earns more than $85.00, 50% or half of the excess is deducted from his aid. Thus, if a man receiving aid earned $100.00 a month, or $15.00 over the $85.00 limit, half of that, or $7.50, would be deducted from his benefits.
The new Hartke proposal would exempt all additional income and resources of a blind-aid recipient which are necessary to assist him in carrying out an approved plan for achieving self-support. If such a person had an approved plan to start a business or learn a trade to make him self-sufficient, he could keep all he earned to carry out this plan.
"I believe that if a blind person is to be helped in his efforts to liberate himself from the relief rolls, he should be given all possible help in his courageous and against-odds struggle, and this help should include above all else allowing him to use his own earnings to establish himself in a small business or a profession, in a trade or one of the common callings," the Senator said. "With this help such a person, in time, may be able to support himself and his family; without it he may remain a public charge all his life."
The other proposal which Senator Hartke will advocate when he and his fellow members of the Senate Finance Committee consider H. R. 10606, the Public Welfare bill approved by the House of Representatives on March 15, will be his bill (S. 905) which would abolish the legally enforceable obligation of a family member to contribute to the support of a needy blind person.
"This provision in the law," said the Senator, "makes the blind
person a burden to his family, a drain upon its meager resources,
and, when the blind person is required to sue his parents, or parents
are forced to sue their child or lose their aid grant -- the atmosphere
which results in the home, the family ties which are strained or severed can hardly be described as the kind of atmosphere or influence
conducive to inspire the blind person to extreme personal efforts so
necessary if rehabilitation and restoration to normal life and regular livelihood are to be achieved by him."
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The California Council of the Blind chalked up another significant achievement in April during a special budget session of the state legislature. The Council obtained inclusion in the budget of the State Personnel Board of money to finance a position to be devoted to promoting the employment of blind and other handicapped workers in State Civil Service.
According to Russell Kletzing, executive secretary and general counsel of the C. C. B. , major credit for this new victory goes to Assemblyman Phillip Burton and his Legislative Intern, Tom Jo. Mr. Jo, the first blind legislative intern to be appointed, was assigned to Assemblyman Burton and worked tirelessly on the proposal until it had passed its last hurdle.
"We have great hopes that the new position will significantly in crease the number of blind people who can be employed in State Civil Service, " Kletzing declared. "It is now extremely important to get an able man for the new position who can analyze job opportunities in state agencies and convince them that blind people can be an asset to their programs. "
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Blind Persons Less Accident Prone. The blind are less "accident-prone" than those with sight, according to results of an accident insurance plan summarize recently in the HOOSIER STARLIGHT. The policy, said to be the first accident insurance offered to a blind group at regular premiums, was issued two years ago to members of the American Federation of Catholic Workers for the Blind.
Accident claims since paid out to blind individuals insured under the plan have amounted to only 23 per cent of the premium "as opposed to the 50 to 55 per cent ratio usually anticipated by the insurance industry for similar policies issued to sighted persons," the journal reported.
Montana Blind Hold Summer School . The annual five-week session of the Summer School for the Adult Blind conducted by the Montana Association for the Blind will begin June 10 and extend to July 15 on the campus of Montana State College at Bozeman, according to the OBSERVER (monthly newsletter of the Montana Association.) The school will offer courses in braille, typing, home economics, daily-living, travel mobility and other instruction for visually handicapped adults.
Any legally blind adult who is a resident of Montana may attend the Summer School without charge for tuition or board and room, with transportation to and from the area also provided, the periodical reports. Non-residents of the state will be accepted on the basis of a modest charge for tuition, meals and lodging. Blind adults are cordially invited by the Association to make further inquiries to Mr. Keith Denton, Chairman of the Summer School Committee, Box 22, Lakeside, Montana.
The popular national magazine THE LADIES HOME JOURNAL is now available in braille at a subscription rate of $5.00 per year. This special edition, which became available with the April 1962 issue, is sponsored by Volunteers Services for the Blind, which also issues a braille edition of the children's magazine, JACK AND JILL. Inquiries and orders for either periodical should be addressed to Mrs. J. M. Beck, Volunteers Services for the Blind, 332 South 13th Street, Philadelphia 7, Pennsylvania.
Israeli Official Scores Blind Americans. The head of the Jewish Institute for the Blind in Jerusalem declared recently that too many blind Americans are sitting at home collecting money from the government when they should be out working and earning their own livelihood, according to a news report in the Los Angeles HERALD-EXAMINER.
Jacob Igra, who is in the U.S. to discover new vocations for the blind of his own country and to obtain financial aid for blind schools, referred to the alleged idleness of the American blind as "a great waste of manpower," the newspaper reported. "Industrial leaders in America do not seem to appreciate the potential of blind people," he said. "In many instances and in certain jobs they are much more able than a sighted person.
"In working with the blind in my own country, " Igra added, "I find they often concentrate much more on their jobs and take fewer chances, therefore causing fewer accidents than do sighted people." He pointed out that there are more than 5,000 blind persons in Israel, cared for by five institutions which receive only 20 per cent of their financing from the Israeli government. "We give our blind people the same training given to sighted people, " he said. "They learn to work in plastics, metal, wood, and we have placed thousands of people to work at spinning wheels. We also find they make wonderful typists and switchboard operators."
Senator Randolph Praises BVA. The hope that "in the foreseeable future all rehabilitated blind people will be judged on the merits of their abilities and will find employment in keeping with their talents and training" was expressed recently by Senator Jennings Randolph of West Virginia. In a speech published in the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, the co-author of the Randolph-Sheppard Act praised the Blinded Veterans Association on the 17th anniversary of its founding and noted that 4,000 veterans suffering from various disabilities will lose their sight in coming years -- "at the rate of more than 100 a year."
Senator Randolph declared that while many employers fairly judge blind jobseekers according to their demonstrated ability, "there are others who think a blind person must do repetitive work or be placed in sheltered types of employment." He pointed out that this stereotype has been disproved in case after case: "There are now blinded veterans who are machinists, electricians, and cabinetmakers. There are others who own their own businesses, teach school and do social work. There are also doctors, lawyers, -- and one Indian chief."
Raymond Maddox, longtime leader of the organized blind in California, died in Sacramento on March 2, 1962. Mr. Maddox had served for more than two years as first vice president of the Capitol Chapter of the California Council of the Blind.
New Chief for New York Library. Charlotte Harrison, Of New Jersey, has been named librarian-in-charge of the New York Public Library for the Blind, according to a report in LISTEN. A graduate of the Columbia University School of Library Science and former head of the Bronx Library, Miss Harrison will take charge of the circulation of more than 155,000 braille volumes and Talking Books to blind readers in Connecticut, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as well as in New York City and Long Island, it was stated. The Library for the Blind, established in 1895, is a pioneer in providing reading material for blind youth and now has a growing number of braille and recorded books available to readers as young as five years of age.
Glasses for the Far East. (The following item is reprinted from the April, 1962, issue of the California Council of the Blind BULLETIN.)
"All of you will recall our Glasses for Pakistan program under which more than 15,000 pairs of used eye glasses were shipped to Karachi that had been collected by the Council. These glasses are now being used to provide better sight for those in that country who cannot afford glasses. The Karachi Lions Club and optometrists are donating their services to provide these glasses without cost.
"A little over a year ago the Lions Club in the Northern Sacramento Valley heard about our Glasses for Pakistan program and asked for details. We encouraged them to start their own program for the collection of used eye glasses, in this case for shipment to Bombay, India. The following excerpt from a letter dated March 15, 1962, from Dave J. Jensen, Project Chairman for this activity for the Lions Club, climaxes this success story:
"'Your letter of December 17 indicated that you were in the process of shipping glasses to Pakistan. Since receiving your letter, we have collected 9,000 pairs of glasses for shipment to the East Bombay Lions Club.
'"A most sincere thanks for your kindness to us throughout our project.'"
Blind Children of India Aided . Educational assistance for the large numbers of sightless children in India is the objective of a joint program sponsored by the American Foundation for Overseas Blind, the United Nations Children's Fund and the Indian government, according to a report in the New York Sunday TIMES. The project seeks to produce special materials, expand existing facilities and train new teachers to aid the blind children of that nation, of whom only two percent are reportedly attending schools at present.
The proposed program is said to be the result of India's request to the United Nations for educational help for its blind youth. In the past, according to an A. F. O. B. expert quoted by the TIMES, Indian teachers for the blind were mainly trained in the U. S. and found themselves frustrated by inadequate facilities upon return to their native land. As part of the new program, teachers from each of India's eight language regions will be selected for special training as "master teachers." Upon completion of their training, they will return to their states and in turn train local teachers to take over classes for blind children, the article stated.
Another Helping Hand for India Blind. A New York doctor famed in India as the "miracle eye surgeon," Dr. William Caccamise, has returned to India to treat as many as possible of India's estimated million blind population at his own expense, according to a recent article in LISTEN. The Rochester, New York, physician has journeyed to Patna, India, to spend three months performing surgery on treatable eye patients at the Holy Family Hospital in that city. His first trip to Patna reportedly was in 1952, followed by a return visit eight years later at which he successfully performed the first corneal transplant operation to be attempted in that part of Asia.
Questioned as to his motive for a journey estimated to cost him $10,000 in fees he would otherwise have earned. Dr. Caccamise was quoted as saying: "Study and observation of difficult cases is reward enough. But a greater reward is the satisfaction you derive from having done your own little bit to help the suffering."
The nomination of Robert M. Ball, of Maryland, to be Commissioner of Social Security was confirmed by the U. S. Senate on April 3. Ball was formerly Deputy Director of the Bureau of Old Age and Survivors Insurance.
Vote of Confidence in Blind Teachers. Children taking part in a special study have voiced confidence in the ability of blind student teachers to instruct and discipline sighted children. The experiment, conducted last summer by Dr. Marguerite O'Connor of Northern Illinois University, was recently published under the title "A Pilot Study for the Blind Students in Education Who Plan to Teach Sighted Children." The six-week survey was based on practice teaching by five blind apprentice teachers with 16 sighted children chosen from schools in the area. Its objective was reportedly to evaluate blind student teachers according to standards employed for sighted teachers. The initial premise, borne out by the study's results, was that blind persons with proper experience and training "can compensate for visual limitations present in a normal teaching setting," Dr. O'Connor's report stated.
Besides the standard tests used for the sighted, blind participants in the Illinois project were given other tests to discover whether they "could acquire or already possessed skills necessary for teaching. The specially designed tests included one which was given to the 16 children before they had seen the sightless teachers in order to measure their attitudes toward blind persons generally. Changes in many of these attitudes were apparent from the results of the same test repeated at the conclusion of the study, according to the report.
OASDI Assets Mount. Assets of the two trust funds out of which old-age, survivors, and disability insurance benefits are financed, increased by $409 million during the year ending June 30, 1961, according to the Board of Trustees' annual report to Congress released recently.
The report shows that income to the funds into the long-range future will be sufficient to cover all expenditures, according to Commissioner of Social Security William L. Mitchell, who is also Secretary of the Board of Trustees.
Income to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund during the past fiscal year totalled $11. 8 billion and exceeded disbursements by $72 million. On June 30, 1961, the fund stood at $20.9 billion. For the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund the net income during the year exceeded disbursements by $337 million. Income during the fiscal year totalled $1.1 billion. On June 30, 1961, the assets amounted to $2.5 billion.
"Whenever I think I've found an occupation that blind people cannot compete in," said a noted blind leader recently, "I learn of some sightless man or woman making a respectable living at it." Latest on the list of "impossible" trades practiced by blind people is that of bartending -- as illustrated in the career of Ed Heimrich, who owns his own tavern in Kearny, New Jersey, and assertedly does a regular stint behind the bar. As reported by the New York DAILY NEWS, Ed has no difficulty concocting the full range of cocktails and mixed drinks, nor does his blindness "bar" him from the traditional avocation of the barkeep -- that of bending a sympathetic ear to customers bending an elbow.
Tape Recorded Materials. In addition to tape-recorded materials available to the blind from the Library of Congress, according to the BVA BULLETIN, other recorded literature may be obtained from the Library for the Blind of the Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, Ohio; as well as from the Free Library of Philadelphia, Library for the Blind, 17th and Spring Garden Streets, Philadelphia 30, Pennsylvania. In its regular column entitled "Useful Services, Tools and Aids," conducted by Arthur S. Keller of the American Foundation for the Blind, the blinded veterans' magazine also noted that a group of paraplegic patients at the West Roxbury Veterans Hospital, West Roxbury, Massachusetts, have been recording books at the college level in such fields as psychology, sociology, history, geography, music, religion, English and American literature. The recorded books are available to blind students on a loan basis.
Michigan Council Convenes. The spring convention of the Michigan Council of the Blind (an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind) was held in Kalamazoo April 28-29 under the general chairmanship of Larry Welch, president of the Kalamazoo chapter. Included among convention speakers were John Briggs, Michigan rehabilitation specialist, and F. Joseph Buckley, an official of the Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce. Discussions centered on the present status of the federal and state legislation for the blind, as well as on the coming NFB convention to be held this summer in Detroit.
Ribicoff to Leave HEW Post. HEW Secretary Abraham Ribicoff brought an end to speculation recently by announcing that he will be a candidate for the U.S. Senate nomination from Connecticut and thus will leave his present position. Among those who have been mentioned as possible successors to the departmental post are Housing Administrator Robert C. Weaver, Assistant Secretary of State G. Mennen Williams, and Representative Richard Boiling of Missouri.
Eye Research Center Planned . Plans for construction of a million-dollar eye research center at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution were recently announced by the institution's president. Dr. Milton Eisenhower, according to the POB NEWS (publication of the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness.) The projected facility, to cost $1.2 million, is expected to be the largest center of its kind in the world, housing separate divisions of microbiology, biochemistry, physiology and pharmacology.
Practice Teaching Makes Perfect. The following item is reprinted, in abridged form, from the Des Moines REGISTER NEWS:
"Kathleen Kinney, 21, was understandably nervous when she looked forward to her first day of practice teaching last fall. A senior at Clarke College, she was assigned an eighth grade class at St., Anthony's School.
"Kathleen is almost totally blind. She wondered, as did the faculty at Clarke, how youngsters would respond to such a teacher.
"The answer: Very well.
"'I believe they acted quite normally, ' said Kathleen. 'I don't think anyone ever took advantage of my handicap."
"Now Kathleen is teaching a class at Dubuque Senior High School.. In this class, American Problems, Kathleen has 25 pupils. She has the class text book on a tape recording. Her lesson plan is written in Braille.
"She opens a typical class by discussing some part of a reading assignment. Then, using a seat chart written in Braille, she may call at random the names of class members to answer questions about the lesson. Or, helped by a student monitor, she may call on class members who raise their hands in response to questions.
"At St. Anthony's School, she taught Iowa and U.S. History. One of her teaching tools was a county map of Iowa. As part of the course she frequently called on students to come to the map and identify a particular county and tell its important points. When the student pointed to the map, Kathleen was able to check the answers by touching the county with her fingers. The county names were in Braille.
"The Iowa Commission for the Blind is pleased with her progress so far and would like her to continue her career as a teacher of sighted children. Kathleen feels her career may lead instead to teaching blind children, although she has not made up her mind.
"She explains it this way; 'Having the same experience, I feel I can be of more help to blind children. Being able to help others is why I want to be a teacher.'"
The National Church Conference of the Blind will hold its annual meeting at the Aladdin Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, from July 23 to 26. The theme of the conference will be "The Light of the World is Jesus, ".
Research to Prevent Blindness. More money is spent annually on eye wash than is spent on eye research, according to a report in the Skagit Valley, Washington, HERALD. The journal noted that while more than 30,000 Americans go blind every year, only six million dollars was spent in 1960 research into all the causes of blindness.
For this reason, "Research to Prevent Blindness," a two-year-old health foundation, has begun a campaign to augment and expand eye research in such locations as Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore. Observing that such emphasis on vision research is long overdue, the HERALD concluded: "We rush to wear glasses from youth up, without too much thought to prevention."
Governor Norman Erbe visited the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School recently to officiate in the presentation of service certificates to six members of its staff who have served at the school for 25 years or more.
Dr. Goar Wins Dana Medal. Dr. Everett L. Goar of Houston, noted opthalmologist and founder of the Texas Society for the Prevention of Blindness, has won the Leslie Dana Gold Medal for his contributions in the field of sight conservation and blindness prevention, according to the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness. The Society noted in its periodical, the P. O. B. NEWS, that Dr. Goar was cited "for distinguished service in developing and promoting the lay and professional movement for the prevention of blindness and sight conservation and for distinguished service in practice, teaching and research." The medal was established in 1925 by Leslie Dana, a prominent St. Louis businessman, to foster the conquering of blindness through scientific knowledge and its application.
Summer Courses for Partially Seeing . Colleges across the country will offer courses in education of the partially seeing this summer, according to the P. O. B. NEWS. General vision workshops are also scheduled to be held at two New England schools.
Basic courses in educating partially seeing children are scheduled at the following: Illinois State Normal University, Normal, ILL, June 18-August 10; George Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, Term., June 11-July 13; San Francisco State College, June 25-August 4; Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y., July 2-August 10; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, June 11-July 13; University of Pittsburgh, June 26-August 8; and Wayne State University; Detroit, June 25-August 4.
Advanced workshops on education of the partially seeing will be held at Syracuse from July 30 to August 10, and at San Francisco State July 16-27. The general vision workshops are to be given at Boston University, Boston, Mass., June 25 - July 7, and at Southern Connecticut State College, New Haven, from June 27 through July 14.
"Seeing Eye Wife." Virginia Blanck Moore, wife of Robert Moore, rehabilitation counselor for the Iowa Commission for the Blind, is the author of a book, SEEING EYE WIFE, published by the Chilton Company of Philadelphia and New York. The subject of the volume is succinctly described by its author in the introduction; "Fifteen years ago I, a sighted woman, married a blind man. This is the story of that marriage."
Mrs. Moore's popular volume was recently reviewed in THE WHITE CANE, Journal of the Washington State Association of the Blind, which reported that the work is now available in Talking Book form as well as in regular type. Following are excerpts from the review:
"It is a story of human relationships wherein sensitivity and understanding are developed on both sides of a partnership in which the two persons need and supplement each other.
"'There are problems, yes, since the world is made for the sighted and some adjustments are necessary in order that those without sight may live comfortably and safely in it, but they are not the fundamental difficulties which most persons would expect,' she says.
"Her purpose in writing the book is 'an effort ... to bring into true focus a picture of a blind man in the modern world. Times have changed for the blind as well as for the sighted during the last few centuries.'
"The blind man she pictures is one who recognizes the problems of the sighted as well as the blind, as individuals, and who seeks to bring about an awareness and understanding between people as people."
Mrs. Moore, who holds a B, A. degree in journalism from the State University of Iowa, was herself employed for eight years by the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Her most recent appearance in print is an article, "The White Cane and I," published in the current April issue of the NEW OUTLOOK FOR THE BLIND.
The attitude of this "Seeing Eye Wife" to the white cane as a travel aid is summed up in these words from Mrs. Moore's article:
"I saw the two of them as white cane ambassadors, representing their blind fellow men to the sighted world, helping to erase in some small way the age-old conviction of the sighted that to be blind is to be physically, mentally, emotionally and financially inferior. And I thanked God that the ranks of the white cane ambassadors are growing with every day that passes, with every blind person who is taught to travel independently, and who works for a living.
"So that is how I feel about the white cane and its use .... My education in the field of blindness has come from being married for eighteen years to a man who is not ashamed to be blind and who feels that every visually handicapped person should strive to be a first-rate blind person rather than a second-rate sighted person. I feel with him that if so many visually handicapped persons didn't waste so much time and energy bluffing in an effort to seem like sighted persons, this could be more universally accomplished.
"That is why I am proud of every blind person who carries a white cane openly and without self-consciousness, for he has overcome the greatest obstacle to his success and happiness -- rejection of his blindness -- and I salute him as a member of the white cane ambassadorial corps."
Technology and Blindness Congress . The International Congress on Technology and Blindness, a project of the American Foundation for the Blind, will be held June 18 through June 22 at the Barbizon- Plaza Hotel in New York City. Attendance at the Congress will be limited to participants, most of whom have been invited, and to qualified observers who can benefit from the information presented and contribute in discussion periods, according to an announcement from the Foundation.
Iowa Association Sets June Convention . The Iowa Association of the Blind will hold its annual convention at the School for the Blind in Vinton, Iowa, June 1 to 3. Activities are planned to begin with an Executive Committee meeting Friday morning, followed by a general session featuring a talk by School Superintendent Iverson. The Friday afternoon meeting will include presentation by Kenneth Jernigan, director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, and members of his staff. Among the speakers on Saturday will be Dr. Isabelle L,. D. Grant, Internationally known California teacher and blind leader, who will talk on opportunities for blind teachers in the public schools.
Residence Law Debated. A legislative research sub-committee of the Maine legislature recently heard conflicting views as to whether elimination of the one-year state residence requirement under public assistance would result in a wholesale migration of "undesirable persons" to Maine, according to a report in FROM THE STATE CAPITALS.
Portland City Welfare Director Matthew I. Barron was said to have contended that Maine would be flooded with "tramps, transients, alcoholics, free-loaders of all kinds" if the proposal were adopted. Such a move would "make Maine the receiving station and dumping ground of every person and family denied public assistance in their own state."
An opposite view was reportedly taken by State Welfare Commissioner Dean Fisher, who noted that residence requirements have been lowered by past legislatures without such unfortunate effects. "I'm altogether certain the predictions of doom I've heard here today are ill-founded," Dr. Fisher asserted.
New York Welfare Action. Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York recently vetoed a state bill designed to strip the New York commissioner of social welfare of his rulemaking powers. The governor said that the measure would have required the State Board of Social Welfare to assume exclusive and direct responsibility for the administration of public welfare, according to FROM THE STATE CAPITALS.
The New York board now sets policies, but they are implemented and administered under regulations determined by the commissioner. "To shift these day-to-day administrative responsibilities to a multi-member policy-making body, " Rockefeller maintained, "is unsound and contrary to accepted management principles. "
The 1962 annual convention of the Montana Association for the Blind has been officially set for June 29, 30 and July 1, with the convention theme to be "Widening Your Horizon," according to THE OBSERVER, monthly newsletter of the Association.
"The World of Needless Darkness. " An unusually significant and informative article on world-wide customs and problems related to blindness was published recently by the P. O. B. (Prevention of Blindness) NEWS. Following are excerpts from the unsigned report.
"Out of the billions of people on the earth today at least ten million live in perpetual night. Some researchers, indeed, believe that this is a gross under-estimate and put the number of the world's blind at more than fifteen millions.
"This empire of darkness has its subjects in every country. More than seven million of them, it has been estimated, live in the rural areas of the world. No country escapes, however well guarded its health defenses may be ... .
"The United States Health Information Foundation attributes the increased prevalence of blindness largely to the aging of the population and longer survival of many people having diseases which may eventually lead to blindness. This is the general picture in the more developed parts of the world. Medical and surgical advances, improved public health measures, have so far defeated the enemy at one point, only to see him spring up at another.
"The forces arrayed against the scourge of blindness are not yet strong enough, even in countries with great wealth and knowledge.
"And what of the less developed countries where live four-fifths of all the world's blind people? There the picture is dark indeed.
"In most technically and socially advanced countries In Western Europe, in Australia and North America, the blindness rate is about two per thousand of the population.
"Elsewhere in Europe and in most of Asia the blindness rate is at least twice this figure. And in the Eastern Mediterranean countries, and in much of Africa, the blindness rate is from six to ten times as high. The term "the Dark Continent" is indeed based upon a terrible truth ....
"In some villages of Northern Ghana the blindness rate is not the Western European figure of one in 500 but one in 10. Similar figures have been recorded in parts of Kenya and in the Southern Sudan. Among the Suk Tribesmen in East Africa it was found that nine out of ten often were suffering from eye diseases: among the warrior Masai one out of eight had seriously defective sight.
"In some of the blindness-stricken villages of Ghana a hemp rope guides the women to the well they cannot see. In the fields the sightless farmers plant their seeds in straight rows by feeling along a length of bamboo.
"Outside a mission hall which flanks a road leading down to Lake Mweru in Northern Rhodesia stands a sign which warns motorists: "Drive carefully -- blind people." It is a very necessary sign, for in 85 of the lakeside villages, where a survey was made, one adult in every 40 and one child in every 30 is totally blind.
"In the city of Kano, in Northern Nigeria, there is a 'blind quarter' where 700 blind men live, together with their families. They are members of an old guild set up for the purpose of collecting alms--the giving of which is considered a religious duty in Islam, They have a 'king' who regulates the affairs of the guild with the help of blind elders.
"All day long the members of the guild tap their way along the twisted cobbled streets of the old city to the mosques, the markets and the houses of wealthy traders. In the evening they return and their takings are shared out, in accordance with a complicated formula, by their official treasurer.
"In China, too, there is a Guild of the Blind. It is the oldest guild in Peking, with records said to date back to the beginning of the Han dynasty in 206 B.C. Its members claim that their organization was in being more than 2000 years ago.
"How many among the blind are children?
"A survey made in South Africa showed that more than 16 in every 100 blind people had lost their sight before they reached their twentieth year. And in Kenya, where there are estimated to be from 65,000 to 70,000 blind, at least 22,000 are children and young people of working age.
"A survey in one area of Northern Rhodesia showed that for the under-eighteens, 3235 children per 100,000 were blind, while of every 100 blind people examined 83 had gone blind before they reached the age of 10 and 90 out of every 100 by the age of twenty.
"India has at least two million blind citizens. Of these, almost one-third lost their sight before reaching the age of twenty-one .... and most of these 600, 000 became blind in the first five years of life. . . .
"It is often difficult to appreciate the human significance of figures. But to get some understanding of the problem of blindness in our world today, try to imagine that in Tokyo, the largest city in the world, every member of the population, every man, woman, and child, is blind. And that is not enough. Imagine yourself next in Rome, where the same catastophe has befallen that city as well. The combined populations of these two cities is about equivalent to the number of blind people on this globe.
"Or look at this way: the blind people in India alone number more than the entire population of the city of Los Angeles in the United States. And there are more blind people in the city of Calcutta than in the whole of Canada."
Right to Organize in New Jersey. This heartening communication has just been received from Robert Owens, President of the Trenton Association of the Blind.
"Late last night, the New Jersey State Assembly passed legislation giving the blind statuatory recognition of their right to self-expression through voluntary organizations.
"The bill (S-93) passed by a vote of 53-0 at 10:25 P.M. It passed the Senate last February by a vote of 20-0.
"New Jersey's blind are now only a governor's signature away from being among the first few states to win 'the right to organize.'"
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