THE BRAILLE MONITOR

MAY 1966

INKPRINT EDITION

VOICE OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves

Monitor Headquarters 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

Published monthly in braille and distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind, President: Russell Kletzing, 4604 Briarwood Drive, Sacramento, California, 95821

Inkprint edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

Acting Editor: Jacobus tenBroek
Assistant Editor: Floyd W. Matson
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

News items and changes of address should be sent to the Editor.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

BLIND DEMONSTRATE IN SAN FRANCISCO

A NEW CHAPTER HAS BEEN FORMED

MARYLAND BLIND PASS NEW MILESTONE

NFB CONVENTION BULLETIN
By Harold Reagan

SIN, SLOTH, AND SHELTERED EMPLOYMENT
By Terrence E. Carroll

INDIAN BLIND DECLARE RIGHTS

BEST CRITICS ARE BLIND, SAYS MITCHUM

HERE'S TO OUR PRESIDENT!
By Alice Johnson

FITTING STRESSED IN CONTACT LENS
By Jane E. Brody

GUIDE DOGS IN LOW-RENT HOUSING

WHY A COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND
By Don Capps

CONGRESS OF SPANISH BRAILLE PRESSES

BLIND ACCIDENT SUIT ON APPEAL

JEWISH BRAILLE GROUP TO MARK 35th YEAR

STILL 'HEW '-ING TO THE LINE!

BRIEF BLINDNESS OPENS EYES TO NEED FOR MORE RESEARCH
By Peter Fairley

VIRGINIA FIRST TO GET REHAB PLANNING GRANT

THE TRAGEDY OF MODERN DAY EDUCATION FOR THE BLIND AS PRACTICED IN THE INTEGRATED PUBLIC DAY SCHOOL CLASSES
By Dr. Merle E. Frampton

THE CHALLENGE OF MODERN DAY EDUCATION OF BLIND CHILDREN AND YOUTH
By Isabelle L. D. Grant, Ph.D.

THE BLIND AS COMPUTER PROGRAMERS
By Theodor D. Sterling, Ph.D.

OUT OF THE HOSPITAL AND ON THEIR OWN

ALL - INDIA BLIND TEACHERS MEETING

VIRGINIA BLIND MEET IN EIGHTH ANNUAL CONVENTION

CAMPAIGN TO CURB GERMAN MEASLES

BRAILLE TEXT LIBRARY COMPUTERIZED

ANOTHER BILL FOR PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED LIBRARY

FIRST AFRICAN CONFERENCE ON WORK FOR THE BLIND

SUCCESS WITHOUT SIGHT
By Les Gapay

ROMERO BUILDS ALARM CLOCKS FOR THE DEAF

HOUSE AUTHORIZES UNIT FOR HANDICAPPED

READING MACHINES FOR THE BLIND
By Martin J. Weil

BOY LEARNS TO SEE
By Natalie Jaffee

EYE ARMOR NEXT?

REP. MURPHY ASKS U.S. EYE INSTITUTE

MONITOR MINIATURES

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Now pending before Congress is an issue which demands the prompt attention and active support of all Federationists and their friends!

S. 561 is concerned with improving the cooperation and coordination of federally aided state programs. This includes vocational rehabilitation services to the blind and aid to the blind.

The important provision to us is Section 206 which would allow states some latitude in deciding where to locate an administering agency in state governmental structure of a federally aided program. Under this provision, a state would be permitted to divide the administration of federal-state programs among several state agencies. Section 206 thus provides flexibility in a state administration which is not currently available under federal laws and regulations.

Section 206 of S. 561 would make it possible for our state afilliates to work to have programs for the blind administered separate and independent of generalize state programs.

S. 561 has already passed the United States Senate by unanimous voice vote. It is currently before the Subcommittee on Executive and Legislative Reorganization, Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives. Public hearings by the House subcommittee on S. 561 have been held, and further hearings are planned.

I urge you to send letters and telegrams in support of Section 206 of S. 561.

Please act quickly.

In the event further Subcommittee hearings are held on this measure, John Nagle will give the views of the NFB, but a flood of letters and wires would greatly strengthen our position with the Subcommittee. Letters and telegrams should be sent to the members of the Subcommittee listed below. They should be addressed to the House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

Russell Kletzing President

Member s of the Executive and Legislative Reorganization Subcommittee

L. H. Fountain (N.C.). Chairman William L. Dawson (111.) Chet Holifield (Calif.) Edward A. Garmatz (Md.) Henry S. Reuss (Wise.) Cornelius E. Gallagher (N.J.) Benjamin S. Rosenthal (N. Y.) Clarence J. Brown (Ohio) John N. Erlenborn (111.) Edward J. Gurney (Fla.)

Back to Contents

BLIND DEMONSTRATE IN SAN FRANCISCO

The meeting in San Francisco's Sheraton-Palace Hotel April 2 began as any one of the California Council's regular semi-annual seminars called to study the social situation of the blind, including recent and prospective legislation.

A similar seminar had been held in Los Angeles the weekend before. It proceeded in the traditional way. In the San Francisco meeting. Dr.tenBroek was in the chair. Perry Sundquist presented a well-thought-out picture of the new Medicare laws, state and national.

George Gazarian of the San Francisco Welfare Department participated. The afternoon session was scheduled to deal with rehab. After all, aren't those 1965 amendments important and isn't there much to be done in California? But then, this was the Sheraton-Palace Hotel, scene of the 1964 sit-ins which held the national spotlight for days.

During the morning session, Russ Kletzing had been noticeably absent. He was out rounding up posters and a bull horn. Immediately upon reconvening after luncheon, the fireworks began. Jim McGinnis, Russell Kletzing, and Dr. tenBroek took turns at the mike. Some said they were whipping up the crowd. They said they were merely explaining the plan. Either way, Russ Kletzing 's behavior seemed slightly unusual for a seminar. He was reading provisions of the 1965 rehab amendments from a braille copy. After each, sundry disparaging expletives would rend the air. The page was then loudly torn from its binding and cast on the floor. Now I ask you: is that any way to act in a seminar?

A one-hundred-strong line was formed in the corridor. At its head was Ysidro Urena, stout-hearted Federationist and sheltered shop worker. In the lobby, while the hotel manager frantically sought for some responsible official of the organization, the line paused for KCBS to make a tape with Jim McGinnis. After completing that task, Gordon Roth, KCBS newsman, helped shape up the line.

Forward; left out of the hotel slowly along Market Street for two blocks; right on Geary Street, thence into Union Square. Pedestrians scattered for cover in doorways, paused to watch. Traffic came to a stop, held in check by efficient police and by the spectacle. A permit had been secured in advance. The line was held together by white canes. Many of them were folding and proved a flexible and uncertain connection.

In San Francisco's famous Union Square, the line drew up in a sunny spot. Sid Urena, James Hardamon, Jim McGinnis, Russ Kletzing, Dr. tenBroek, and others took turns standing on a coping and speaking through the bull horn. A thoughtful, growing, and responsive crowd watched from the benches and the edges of the gathering. TV cameras could be heard whirring.

A young soldier in San Francisco on a 52-hour pass from Ft. Ord (100 miles down the coast) saw policemen and some excitment at Union Square. He entered. A man with a beard was speaking to the crowd. 'That could be only one man," he said aloud.

The young soldier was Cliff Jensen, son of the late leader of the Colorado Federation of the Blind, whose death last Fall was a loss to the whole movement. Young Cliff was introduced from the coping. He gave a sensitive and understanding speech about his father and about the cause of the organized blind. He was last seen going home with the tenBroeks. Whether he got back to Ft. Ord isn't reported. In the car, too, was Kay Gruber, who had been invited to the morning session and who stayed to join in the demonstration with enthusiasm.

No one in the crowd could say for sure, but some suspected that this demonstration was a trial run to gather experience and to test the effectiveness of the method for future use.

For the more staid types who go to seminars to study, here are the grievances of the California Council as passed out to the press:

SHOPWORKERS

minimum wage

Hundreds of blind Californians work in state workshops at wages below the Federal minimum. We believe that every blind person is entited to receive at least the Federal minimum wage of $1.25 per hour. The state should not flout its own laws and those of our nation by paying below the legal minimum.

EMPLOYMENT CENTERS

State workshops for the blind should be employment centers for those who cannot obtain jobs in ordinary industry, and as such they should be administered by the Department of Employment. Training efforts at the state workshops have proven a total failure. State officials propose to increase these unsuccessful training efforts at the expense of employment in the workshops. We believe that training should be carried out at Orientation Centers or in regular trade schools and that the state workshops should be made a place of worthwhile remunerative employment.

REHABILITATION

The State Rehabilitation Department is finding employment for less than 150 blind people each year, while 5,000 need training for jobs. The Department of Rehabilitation has shown itself incapable of bettering this sorry record. We believe that drastic legislative reorganization is needed. Bureaucracy and red tape should be eliminated. Functions not related to finding jobs for blind persons should be transferred to the Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Rehabiliation should develop a program that will triple the number of blind persons being placed in jobs each year.

Back to Contents

A NEW CHAPTER HAS BEEN FORMED

(From Free State Newsletter)

In August 1965 another group of blind people gathered together to form a new chapter of the blind. In October 1965 they organized under the leadership of their new President, Mr. Ned Graham, Jr. The other officers elected were, Vice President -- John McCraw; Recording Secretary -- Nancina Thompson; Corresponding Secretary -- Muriel Spriggs, and Treasurer -- Willie Thompson.

The Greater Baltimore Chapter, as the new chapter will be known, meets once a month, on the third Saturday of each month. Their first meetings were held at the "Anna Mae Hunter Home for the Blind" on Eutaw Street, but due to the increased membership, will start meeting on April 16, 1966, at the Douglas Memorial Church on Lafayette and Madison Streets. The membership at the present time of the Greater Baltimore Chapter reaches approximately 25 persons. With the forming of this new chapter, the blind in Maryland hope to promote more legislation and welfare for all the blind of the State. Radio and television appeals have been made to increase the membership of the new chapter. The one quality needed to be a member is that the person be interested in the welfare of the blind.

Back to Contents

MARYLAND BLIND PASS NEW MILESTONE

(From Free State Newsletter)

Under the guidance of Mr. John Nagle , N. F. B. representative in Washington, the Blind in Maryland have come to the place where it was felt necessary to set up a state organization. At a dinner meeting at the Francis Scott Key Restaurant on March 5, 1966, representatives from the Maryland Council of the Blind, Inc. and representatives from the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the Blind, met with Mr. Nagle and formed a state organization. The following Officers were appointed at this meeting:

President Mr. Albert Balducci, President of the Md. Council Vice-President Mr. Ned Graham, Jr., President of the Greater Baltimore Chapter Secretary Mrs. Louise Snyder Treasurer Mrs. Marjorie Flack

Prior to this time the blind have only had one chapter, the Maryland Council of the Blind, Inc. so there was no need of a State Office. However, with the application to the Maryland Council for a Chapter Charter came the need for a State Office. The functions of the State will be to set up the Constitution to govern the two chapters and to issue charters to the two chapters now in operation, to work securing more chapters throughout the State as well as promote much needed legislation. The new charter to the State will be issued by the National Federation of the Blind at the N.F.B. Convention in Louisville, Kentucky to be held in July. The new State Office and Board will be known as "The Free State Federation of the Blind" and the Board will consist of two members from each chapter as officers with two more members from each chapter as board members. The Free State Federation will in turn issue the charters to each chapter.

Back to Contents

NFB CONVENTION BULLETIN

By Harold Reagan

Members of the National Federation of the Blind are cordially invited and urged to attend the 1966 Louisville Convention of the NFB. It promises to be one of the best ever, with all of the old time atmosphere of friendliness, harmony and purpose. Because of the central location of Louisville in the nation, the convention will no doubt be one of the biggest thus far. If you have not sent in your reservation, do so today.

The first business session will open at 10:00 o'clock on the morning of Tuesday, July 5 and the final session will adjourn at 5:00 o'clock on Friday afternoon, July 8. Business will be held on Tuesday morning, Tuesday afternoon , Wednesday morning, Thursday morning, Thursday afternoon, Friday morning and Friday afternoon. Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday evening will be devoted to tours. The banquet will be held on Thursday evening.

The 1966 NFB Convention will headquarter at one of the finest hotels--the Kentucky, 430 West Walnut, Louisville, Kentucky, 40202, telephone 587-1181 (area code 502). Those who attended the 1954 convention in Louisville will remember the excellence of the Kentucky Hotel. We are going to the same place in 1966. It has undergone a complete remodeling and is even better now than in 1954. The rates are: single rooms, $5.50; doubles, $7.50; room with twin beds, $10.00.

The air conditioned Kentucky Hotel offers accommodations of 600 rooms and all convention facilities and services, including the largest Exhibition and Convention Hall in-Building in the Louisville area.

All the meeting rooms are air conditioned, including the Flag Room on the mezzanine floor, which will seat 1,500.

For convenient food, drink and entertainment, hotel guests will find in the hotel a fine modern restaurant, the Cardinal Room, as well as the Cocktail Lounge and the Mural Bar. The menu in the Cardinal Room includes southern fried chicken and country ham. These are a must to those who desire delicious southern foods. The Blue Room Cocktail Lounge in the hotel provides music and entertainment. The Kentucky Hotel offers its guests all standard hotel services, including barber shop, dry cleaning service, liquor package store, physician, public stenographer, transportation desk, beauty salon, etc. Free parking is available for overnight guests and free taxi service from the airport.

The banquet will be held in the Flag Room at 7:00 o'clock on Thursday evening July 7. The beautiful Flag Room is large enough to provide food service for 1,100 persons. The price is only $3.50 and the menu will be good. Plans are shaping up for a memorable banquet program.

Within walking distance of the Kentucky Hotel, Fifth and Walnut, there are large department stores, first- run movie theaters, a first rate playhouse, many dining places featuring entertainment, as well as moderately priced restaurants, five and ten cent stores and a host of specialities of all kinds.

The drawing of prizes, initiated at the Arizona convention and expanded at the Washington convention, will be an even greater extravaganza at Louisville. Don't be late for the sessions and don't leave the meeting room. The prizes will be worth winning.

The convention will be held in Louisville in the "Heart of the Bluegrass Country", where mint julips and old fashioned southern hospitality abound. Located on the falls of the Ohio, this largest Kentucky city is rich in tradition.

The day for tours is Wednesday, July 6 and we are truly going to have a real double feature. On Wednesday afternoon we are going to the American Printing House for the Blind, where we can see how Braille books are made and how the talking books are recorded. We will see the entire printing house plant. The printing house will provide refreshments. This trip is a real "must", educational as well as interesting. The evening tour is equally a "must". Shortly after 7 P.M., we will go for a moonlight cruise on the beautiful Ohio River on a real, old fashioned paddle-wheeled river steamboard, "The Belle of Louisville". With her 19th century crimson, gilt and glittering chandeliers, this is one of the last of the old stern wheelers, offering convention visitors an unusual setting for gala events. This is a large luxury river boat in the old tradition. We will have it all to ourselves for a charter cruise.

Kentucky is truly a wonderful state. If you like, you can combine the convention with a vacation trip, short or long. Abraham Lincoln's birthplace. National Historic Site, is near Hodgenville, Mighty Mammoth Cave, near Honse Cave, is one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World. My Old Kentucky Home, Bardstown, Kentucky is a beautiful mansion and plantation. It was the inspiration for Stephen Foster's moving and nostalgic song. Within a radius of twenty-five miles of Lexington, Kentucky's bluegrass farms, are the homes of the world's finest horses. Kentucky Village Dam State Park, a resort village at the broad northern tip of Kentucky Lake, offers almost every kind of amusement. Kentucky Lake is 184 miles long and has a scenic shoreline of 2,380 miles. The Mountain Parkway to the east, the Kentucky Turnpike from Louisville, south and the Western Kentucky Parkway to the west are three of the many new four-lane highways, which provide easy transportation through a state steeped in history and blessed by nature with unbelievable charm and beauty, enabling the tourist to realize what the preacher meant when he told his congregation, "Heaven is a Kentucky of a place".

In the country of the mountaineer, a typical greeting is, "Welcome, stranger, light and hitch". Why not "light and hitch" at the Kentucky on July 3 or 4 and attend a great NFB convention in the land of the bluegrass? It will be a convention to remember and cherish. Send requests for reservations to Reservations Manager, Kentucky Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky.

Back to Contents

SIN, SLOTH, AND SHELTERED EMPLOYMENT

By Terrence E. Carroll

(From The New Outlook, March, 1966)

Much of the ideology of rehabilitation is permeated with a summum bonum idea of work, inspired by religious conviction born of statute, and nurtured by necessity. This religious conviction is embodied not only in Protestantism, which primarily furnished the moral ethic which justified capitalism, but a lesser extent is also found in both Judaism and post-sixteenth century Catholicism.

While capitalist enterprise antedated the preachings of Wycliffe, Huss, Zwingli, Luther, and Calvin, and many of the jeremiads they hurled at the abuses of feudalism, were equally applicable to the practices of capitalism, it is nonetheless true that essential elements of capitalism required a new view of economic morality based on new interpretations of Scripture, and Protestantism in particular furnished that new morality.

The operation of a free labor market, the concept of division of labor, the lending of money at interest, the selling of goods at market rather than customary prices, required a new view of economic ethics .

Calvin's doctrines of the "Calling," of predestination, of the sinfulness of sloth, and the moral virture of labor--and especially "honest toil" -- were extremely convenient in assuaging the conscience of the new economic man.

The duke, the democrat, and the deacon joined with the dealer in merchandise in a more or less Holy Alliance to propagate the belief that salvation could be obtained only by faith, and dennonstrated by worldly success of a willingness to work long hours at low wages.

Listen to the words of two seventeenth century divines, as they comment on the role of work in society and its moral value: "God doth call every man and woman. . . to serve him in some peculiar employment in this world, both for their own and the common good. . .The Great Governour of the world hath appointed to every man his proper post and province, and let him never be so active out of his sphere, he will be at a great loss, if he do not keep his own vineyard and mind his own business ."

"The law of God sayeth 'He that will not work, let him not eat.' This would be a sore scourge and smart whip for idle persons if . . . none should be suffered to eat till they had wrought for it."

Arthur Young summed up the essence of this attitude when he observed that, "Everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, else they will never be industrious."

Work is, of course, a necessary activity and must be performed by many people in this world. Much of this work is, or can be, enjoyable. Most people enjoy at least some of the work they do and occasionally even feel virtuous about it. Most people also do some work that they thoroughly dislike -- regardless of its social utility -- and are justifiably skeptical as to whether anyone else would feel any differently about it.

It should be recognized, however, that there is no intrinsic virtue in "work" in and of itself; virtue is imputed to it by individual attitudes that have been learned. The fact that a great many individuals in our society share the attitude that work is virtuous does not mean either that all people should share it, or that it is even a healthy attitude for all those who do.

This concept of work either as a worthy end in itself or as a means to salvation takes on added relevance in view of the conclusions reached by demographic, epidemologic , and economic studies of the past two decades. Nearly all of these studies seem to show that the problems of chronic disease, disability, and dependency are growing larger and will continue to do so, under reasonably expected conditions, for another two decades. Those age groups which are most susceptible to chronic conditions of illness will become a greater percentage of the population. At least some of the factors which produced these conditions will remain unchecked, and finally, the effective demand for the goods and services which can be produced by our society will be met by a progressively diminishing percentage of the available work force.

This paradox, the confrontation of what can be termed the "ideology of work," and the increasing numbers of individuals for whom it lacks relevance, has particular importance for sheltered workshops, for this ideology reaches its zenith in the sheltered workshop movement, and particularly in the rationale for the terminal (or to use the current euphemism, "extended employment") workshop whose principal justification would seem to be that, "Idle hands are the Devil's work shop."

Sheltered workshops are defined (by the author) as special nonprofit facilities which provide remunerative employment to handicapped people who are either unready or unacceptable for competitive employment, within a work environment especially adapted to the limitations imposed by each employee's disability.

This definition is a functional one, stressing what a workshop is, rather than what its purposes may be. In addition to its classical role as merely a place of employment for the handicapped, there are, of course, two more recent views of the purposes of workshops. One is that it is a type of "vocational training" institution, a facility wherein work evaluations are provided, abilities determined, work tolerances measured or developed, and occupational skills learned or reacquired. The third view is that it is a "healthy facility," a source of occupational therapy directed both toward physical restoration and psychological and social adjustment.

All three of these purposes are, of course, valid for some handicapped individuals, depending on their specific abilities and disabilities, attitudes, needs, and goals. But problems arise when we try to apply them without discrimination to all handicapped persons, since all handicapped persons are just not interested in returning to or obtaining a job, nor should they be.

Since it seems inevitable in the immediate future that we will have a persistent pool of unemployed, there is little logic in insisting on individuals entering the labor market when they are physically or emotionally unable to compete on relatively equal terms with most other workers if socially and personally acceptable alternatives are available to them. Such alternatives do not now exist for many and, for the remainder, are largely inadequate. Greatly increased cash disability benefits in such programs as Social Security and workmen's compensation, and a concomitant liberalizing of their definitions of disability would do much to relieve the pressure on these individuals to seek employment. Coupled with this should be a vastly increased program of recreational opportunities for those with handicapping conditions. Free from the fear of penury, they might then enjoy themselves at those activities they choose rather than those to which they are forced by economic necessity.

Certainly the need for expansion in terminal workshops might not be either as urgent or as necessary as we frequently hear if we changed some of our attitudes toward the intrinsic honorific value and virtue of work and stopped looking for a twentieth century model of the seventeenth century workhouse.

The attitude that work is virtuous is pervasive, however, and there are many who will continue to feel sinful in not regularly punching a time clock. Since guilt-feelings are not the best base from which to promote mental health, sheltered employment opportunities must be provided for substantial numbers of people. Here again there is a problem. How should their wages be computed? Should they be based on a minimum wage adequate to maintain a modest standard of living, or on some type of relative value schedule matched against the productivity of some hypothetical "healthy" worker?

To a few workshop managers, it is obvious that if workshop employees are being given a key to the Pearly Gates, a leg-up on the ladder to salvation, they are ingrates if they want an adequate wage in addition.

I suspect, however, that there are many such employees who will echo Omar Khayyam's words, "Ah, take the cash and let the credit go."

Whether or not work possesses moral virtue, those who perform it are surely entitled to an adequate wage regardless of their "economic worth" in the free market. "Workshops should be in the forefront of the effort to provide a fair minimum wage to their employees. At the same time, it must be recognized that sheltered workshops encounter real problems in paying adequate wages. Unfortunately, the leadership of the sheltered workshop movement seems to be placing too little emphasis on obtaining the funds to pay adequate wages -- since the easy way to obtain these funds is from the work of their employees and, in many cases, not only from those who might be termed clients but also from their "professional employees." Subsidies from other sources are required. Certainly one such source could be public grants, making up the difference between the worker's relative worth in the competitive market and the minimum wage to which he is entitled.

The objective of rehabilitation is the enlargement of the individual human personality and the realization of individual human potential. It is a concept which transcends economic systems and the mores of any given historical epoch.

It is the paradox of our time that while we have pushed this concept further than in any previous era, we have at the same time imposed a straitjacket resulting from the values of an acquisitive society. We must be careful, lest we do violence to our own concepts of the value of the human personality by viewing human beings as merely tools of production, drones capable only of performing repetitive assembly operations. The human personality is capable of and was meant to enjoy, not merely to consume; to create, not merely to produce.

Back to Contents

INDIAN BLIND DECLARE RIGHTS

We stand for equality, opportunity and security for all the blind people at home and abroad. This means equality in getting an equal treatment by the Government and the public. It means opportunity for a regular job and opportunity to take part in all walks of life. It means security against humiliation and discrimination and the right to the necessities of life. It means the chance to contribute and share in the good things in life for all blind people. We will struggle through peaceful means through our Federation meetings at all levels, our democratic State and conventions. We will represent our needs to the State and formulate programmes to solve them. We will work together to improve the lot of all the blind.

We have the right to be consulted on matters touching our lives and we have the right to be consulted and heard. Membership is open to the interested blind people in India. There is no membership fee.

I invite you to join this peace movement for National Security and Solidarity.

A. N. Venkatasubramanian, M. A. Convenor

Back to Contents

BEST CRITICS ARE BLIND, SAYS MITCHUM

The actors have been calling the critics "blind" for years. Now comes Robert Mitchum with the suggestion that it can be taken as an unintentional compliment.

"Some of the best critics are blind literally," declared the husky star teamed with John Wayne in "Eldorado. "

"I've been getting letters from blind people for years. Whether they single me out or write to all the actors, I can't say, and don't ask me whether they go to theaters or 'see' movies on television--all I know is they 'see' them. And they 'see' things the rest of the audience misses.

"If the actor hasn't got that first thing, he may 'con' the rest of the audience with the razzmatazz. But not the blind people. They know in a minute, from his voice. He rings like a phony nickel.

"Man, the critiques they've written me on certain performances that were up for the Oscar have been devastating -- and so right -- and they've caught me when I KNEW I didn't have it.

"So when I get criticism from a blind person, I pay attention. As a matter of fact," he finished, "those letters are the only reviews I read."

Back to Contents

HERE'S TO OUR PRESIDENT!

By Alice Johnson

Mr. Ray McGeorge is president of the Denver Area Association of the blind as well as of the State Affiliate. He is also president of the Coordinating Council, which consists of all the organizations and agencies of and for the blind of Colorado. Ray takes an active part in the Highlanders Boys Club of which his two sons are members. Ray is an accomplished turret-lathe operator which takes up a mere nine hours a day and six days a week of his time. In his spare time Ray has taken on another project. Some few years ago he learned through Dr. Isabel Grant of the need for braille material for educational purposes abroad.

Through Ray's efforts he obtained from one to two tons of braille books from the state School for the Blind, which for them were outmoded and to be discarded. He is involved in his endless job of sorting, mending and packaging these in fifteen pound packages for shipping. All religious and political material must be screened out. Ray says he feels fairly safe on mathematics.

We received a very grateful letter of thanks from Mr. Sharma of India anticipating adding these books to his traveling library which serves several schools for the blind.

The organization plays a small part in Ray's project. After a little coaxing he lets us buy the paper and string.

We think our Ray is doing a bang-up job.

Back to Contents

FITTING STRESSED IN CONTACT LENS

By Jane E. Brody

(From New York Times, March 15, 1966)

Contact lenses, if improperly fitted or improperly worn, can be permanently damaging to the eye and sometimes blinding, according to a nationwide survey.

The survey, which covered nearly 50,000 wearers of contact lenses, showed that among them 14 eyes had been lost or blinded, 157 eyes permanently damaged and 7,606 other eyes adversely affected but not permanently.

The survey was conducted by the Committee on Contact Lenses of the American Association of Ophthalmology. . . .

The committee concluded, on the basis of its findings, that "the popularity of contact lenses has exceeded the public knowledge of potential hazards associated with their use."

Dr. Joseph M. Dixon, Birmingham, Ala. ophthalmologist who is the committee chairman, pointed out. . . .[m]ore than 7 million pairs of contact lenses have been sold in this country, mostly for social of cosmetic reasons. . . .The ratio of male to female wearers has been estimated as one to three.

The committee reported that "complications are associated with prolonged wearing time or with sleeping with the lenses on the cornea," the thin, transparent window that covers the iris and pupil of the eye.

Back to Contents

GUIDE DOGS IN LOW-RENT HOUSING

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Representative Paul J. Krebs (D., 12th Dist., N.J.) announced today he had introduced a bill in Congress to make it illegal to deny tenancy to blind persons and their guide dogs in any structure financed in whole or in part with assistance from the federal government.

Representative Krebs said he was prompted to introduce the legislation because of the difficulty "one of my constitutents had in gaining admission to an apartment building within that category.

"The problem since has been settled through contact with the various persons and organizations involved, but in my investigation of the situation, wherein blind persons and their guide dogs are denied tenancy, I discovered it was not uncommon. The situation will be corrected by the enactment of my bill."

The Krebs bill provides:

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no department or agency of the United States shall make any loan or grant to provide mortgage insurance or any other financial assistance to any person or to any state, municipality or local government agency, to finance or assist in financing the purchase, construction, or rehabilitation of (or the maintenance of low rentals in) any housing accommodation with respect to which blind individuals are refused or could be refused admission or continued occupancy by reason of their possession of seeing-eye or other guide dogs which are trained and educated for aiding the blind.

"Each contract or agreement entered into by a department or agency of the United States for the making of a loan or grant or the provision of mortgage insurance or other financial assistance to finance or assist in financing the purchase, construction, or rehabiliation of (or the maintenance of low rentals in) housing accommodations shall contain:

"One, adequate assurances that there is not and will not be any refusal to admit blind individuals to or allow the continued occupancy of blind individuals in such accommodations by reason of their possession of seeing-eye dogs or other guide dogs which are trained and educated for aiding the blind;

"Two, effective procedures for the termination or suspension of such assistance and the recapture of any funds theretofore made available pursuant to such contract or agreement in the event that any such refusal is found at any time to exist with respect to such accommodations."

Back to Contents

WHY A COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND

By Don Capps

[Editor's Note: The efforts of the organized blind of South Carolina to establish a commission for the blind thus separating rehabilitation and other services from the welfare department have been reported on in a number of issues of the BRAILLE MONITOR. These efforts seem well on the way to success. A special study committee of the South Carolina legislature has approved them and is sponsoring a bill. At one stage in the proceedings Don Capps as President of the Aurora Club appeared before the committee to explain the need for the bill. Because of its insights, forth rightness and effectiveness, we are here reprinting Don's testimony on that occasion.]

Mr. Chairman and other distinguished members, first let me express my sincere gratitude for the privilege of again appearing before you. Please be assured that I accept this responsibility very keenly. I realize that two against one are pretty good odds in any league, but this does not deter me in my willingness and desire to participate in this discussion in the hope that it will provide beneficial information to your committee. The General Assembly has been very good to me, as I have had the privilege of testifying before numerous legislative committees during the past several years, and I take considerable pride in the fact that on each occasion the General Assembly has responded to our appeals. I firmly believe this is due to the fact that we have never requested the General Assembly to support any legislation
which was not absolutely sound and in the best interest of all the blind of South Carolina. Let me assure you this morning that we feel equally strong about the soundness of the current legislation you are considering.

Some of you know me personally and are familiar with my background, but a few of you do not. While I ask that you please pardon a personal reference, I believe it might be beneficial to the committee for me to give you some personal information. While I was born with a serious visual impairment, I did not become blind until 1953. I am married, and this is my good and faithful wife, Betty, and we have two lovely children, Beth 7 and Craig 10. After completing my education in Business Administration, I secured a position with Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company as a Claims Examiner Trainee. I have been with Colonial Life for almost 19 years, and have worked my way up to Department Manager. I have some 15 men and women under my supervision, and needless to say, they are all sighted. During the past 19 years I have had to compete with the sighted in my work. While I am the only blind Claims Administrator in South Carolina, there is no reason why other blind persons could not do the same work with proper education, training and opportunity. Because of 19 years seniority, and because of my income level, I am not interested in any other employment and at age 37 it is too soon to think about retirement.

I want to talk to you a little bit about the history and character of organizations of the blind in South Carolina. Until 1956, at which time the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind was chartered under the laws of South Carolina, there actually was no statewide organization of the blind, which was officered and directed by the blind themselves. The closest thing that resembled a statewide organization of the blind until 1956 was the Association of the Blind of South Carolina. However, this organization which exists almost exclusively for the purpose of operating a sheltered broom shop, which provides limited and terminal type employment for a handful of blind persons, has never been officered and directed by the blind, as it has a board dominated by sighted persons; therefore, we feel the name under which this organization is known represents a misnomer. Rather than being a true and representative organization of the blind, for. all practical purposes, it is a state institution, as it receives state subsidies and its buildings are erected on state-owned land, and state money went into the erection of the buildings. A large portion of its membership is comprised of broom shop employees, and their spouses, in some cases. While it is constituted as an organization of the blind with its constitution stating that all white blind persons are eligible for full membership, last summer its board of directors turned away some 40 blind persons representing some of the most prominent blind people in the State. The Aurora Club was incorporated as a state-wide organization of the blind, so that the blind people themselves could guide and direct their own affairs. Blind persons are not denied membership. It is strictly a voluntary organization with all members feeling free to express themselves as they choose. The Aurora Club has an enviable record of service to the blind of South Carolina, despite its limited resources. You realize that we receive no state subsidies and have no paid staff. It has aided a number of blind persons in securing employment, including Lois Boltin, the only blind switchboard operator in the State. We have a Speaker's Bureau, which has done much to bring about a better public understanding of blindness, which is of prime importance. We have worked very closely with the General Assembly, which needs the blind themselves to report on their problems.

When the Aurora Club became a state-wide organization in 1956, many of its leaders, including Dr. Samuel Lawton, Catherine and Jack Morrison, Lois Boltin, Marshall Tucker and myself, to mention a few, felt the need to confer with Dr. Rivers over our concern for the many inadequacies of our programs. For the next several years, until 1962, several conferences were held with Dr. Rivers in which we reviewed with him the various inadequacies, including blind aid, vending stand operations and vocational rehabilitation. I can report to you this morning that despite these many conferences, we made absolutely no progress. As a claims administrator, and as a supervisor over people, I fully appreciate the importance of good human relations. However, after six years of futile negotiations with Dr. Rivers, our leaders felt that we had absolutely no choice but to seek legal assistance. It was at this point that Mr. Eugene F. Rogers, senior member of the law firm, Rogers, McDonald and Ross, commenced his negotiations with Dr. Rivers. Shortly I shall present statements by Mr. Rogers covering these negotiations.

After negotiating with Dr. Rivers for some two years, Mr. Rogers finally concluded that it was hopeless to try to improve programs for the blind so long as they remain in the Welfare Department. Consequently, Mr. Rogers recommended to the Aurora Club that we seek legislation to divorce blind programs from the Welfare Department, and to put them in a separate agency where they belong. When Mr. Rogers advised Dr. Rivers that he planned to make this recommendation to the Aurora Club, Dr. Rivers simply replied that the Association of the Blind had tried this several years earlier, but had failed. This proposal received the support of our State Convention.

In August and November 1964, Mr. Anderson C. Bishop, blind member of Rev. Croft's board, together with my wife and myself, held conferences with Rev. Croft seeking his support of the Commission Bill. Mr. Bishop, Mrs. Capps and myself gained the impression from these conferences that Mr. Croft favored the legislation, as he stated, among other things, that there was nothing in the Commission Bill that he could not support. Mr. Croft assailed the vocational rehabilitation program for the blind, as well as the vending stand program, and also stated that he did not favor the appointment of Mr. Cherry in 1954, as chief of the Division, as he was not qualified for the position. However, Mr. Croft apparently had a change of heart after subsequent conferences with Dr. Rivers and Mr. Cherry, as well as conferences with some of the sighted members of his board, choosing instead to accept an appointment by Dr. Rivers on his Advisory Council, this becoming an integral and official part of the opposition to the Bill.

Some of you have expressed concern that the blind have not been completely united. Granted that a united front is always the most ideal situation, I must remind you that insofar as the blind are concerned, this is an utter impossibility. May I preface my remarks on this subject by saying that only a handful of Americans burn the flag and their draft cards, but they do not speak for the American people. In further explanation, imagine for a moment that you are blind and receive a pension from the Welfare Department. Would you publicly support the blind commission bill, which is vigorously opposed by the Welfare Director? Imagine for a moment that you are blind and happen to be fortunate enough to work for the Welfare Department. Would you publicly support the Commission Bill? Imagine for a moment that you are blind and work for the broom shop, whose executive director is on the Welfare Department's Advisory Council. Would you publicly support the Commission Bill? Imagine for a moment that you are blind and that you are the Executive Director of the broom shop, which annually results in your receiving more than $6,000.00 of Administrative expenses and gratuities. Would you favor the Commission Bill, which might disturb this set up?

We believe you will not agree that because of economic interests and because of economic dependency, there is absolutely no way for the blind to show a united front on this legislation. However, as intelligent people, you will be able, based upon all the testimony you have received, to determine for your selves whether or not the Commission Bill is in the best interest of all the blind of South Carolina.

This concludes my remarks, except for a number of questions I have for Dr. Rivers and Rev. Croft.

Thank you very much.

Back to Contents

CONGRESS OF SPANISH BRAILLE PRESSES

The themes, regulations, and program of the First International Congress of Braille Presses for Spanish Speech have now been completed. The Congress will be held in Buenos Aires in May, 1966. Representative of Spanish Braille presses from Spain? Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Argentina will be in attendance. Also invited are advisors of the Pan American Council of the Blind from Latin American countries and representatives of all the educational institutions for the blind in countries of Spanish speech. Invitations have also been extended to UNESCO, the World Council on Braille, the WCWB, the AFB, and the Hadley School for the Blind.

The purpose of the Congress, according to a letter to the editors from David Lopez, chairman of the organizing committee, "is not only to deal with the unification of criteria for the adoption of the braille system in its various expressions but also to establish basic criteria for the production and distribution in the various presses as much for printing as for making records or tapes (Talking Books for the Blind).

"The congress will deal also among other important things with consultation with institutions dedicated to teaching of the blind, the most effective way in which presses for printing and preparing tapes and records can really bring successful accomplishment of their work for the cultural development of blind Hispanic Americans."

Back to Contents

BLIND ACCIDENT SUIT ON APPEAL

The case of Argo v. Good et al., in which a blind Pennsylvania brush salesman was awarded a total of more than $50,000 in damages for injuries suffered while entering a store, is now on appeal before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. An amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief--prepared by William Taylor, a blind attorney of Media, Pennsylvania--has been filed in support of the blind appellee by the National Federation of the Blind,

The case grew out of an accident suffered by James Argo, blind from birth, a 38-year-old peddler of brooms, brushes and dusters, who was making the rounds of stores on Market Street in Upper Darby, Delaware County, on July 11, 1960. Argo had been visiting these stores for sales purposes for more than 10 years. Using a cane, and heavily laden with brooms and brushes, he approached and opened the door of a store owned by the defendant. Argo felt with his cane what he believed to be flooring immediately inside the door; in reality, however, it was only a 12-inch ledge behind which was empty space extending 15 feet downward to the cellar foundations beneath. In his subsequent fall, Argo sustained serious physical injuries.

Suit was filed against the owner of the store and a contractor who was doing the construction work. Arguments in the case, heard before a jury in the county court of pleas, centered upon the issues of negligence on the part of the defendant and contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff. In Pennsylvania, it has been held that it is contributory negligence per se on the part of a blind person to travel without guide dog, cane or companion. The defendant argued in the present case that a sighted pedestrian could readily have looked through the glass swinging doors and have seen that there was no flooring. In finding for plaintiff, the jury in effect held that Argo was exercising due care in the circumstances and that the defendant was not.

The National Federation's brief, as written by Taylor, veteran Federationist and chairman of the NFB's white cane law committee, included the text of an article by Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, "The Physically Disabled in the Law of Torts. " The brief also set forth the text of the landmark Haley case in which the English House of Lords laid down standards of responsibility for those who tamper with the streets on the basis of the foreseeability of the presence of blind persons.

The Federation's brief presented appropriate and effective arguments on the following questions:

1. Is it reasonably foreseeable that a blind pedestrian will pass along a given pavement on a given day, in view of the common. knowledge and governmental statistics reflecting their number going daily to and from their places of employment?

2. Is it the public policy of the governments of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and of the United States to encourage the blind to support themselves by employment and to play a normal role in society, to the fullest extent practicable, and to this end train them to go to and from their homes upon pavements?

3. Where the occupier of land, before putting the floor in his place of business, installs swinging doors, which he leaves unlocked and unattended and in every respect gives to his building the superficial appearance of being complete and ready to receive business visitors, does such conduct constitute active and affirmative acts?

4. Where a salesman enters a place apparently open for business, for the purpose of selling brooms, etc., is the fact of his blindness legally operative in determining whether he is a business invitee or a trespasser?

Back to Contents

JEWISH BRAILLE GROUP TO MARK 35th YEAR

(From New York Times, April 4, 1966)

A dinner to mark the 35th anniversary of the Jewish Braille Institute of America has been arranged for April 18 at the Pierre.

Emil N. Baar, former State Supreme Court justice, is chairman of the event. Mrs. Isidor Freedman is co-chairman. Committee members include Mrs. Harry J. Finke, the institute's president; Mrs. Allen I. Edles, Mrs. Joseph Pulvermacher, Mrs. Arthur Rosenberg and Mrs. Abraham Stein.

The institute serves the cultural and religious needs of the blind. It has a free circulating library of more than 15,000 braille volumes and a collection of "talking books" at its headquarters at 48 East 74th Street. Tickets for the dinner are available at the institute.

Back to Contents

STILL 'HEW'-ING TO THE LINE!

For the past several years the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) has vigorously pursued its objective of attempting to secure uniformity among the provisions governing public assistance for all categories -- the aged, the blind, the disabled, and dependent children. This objective is defended on the grounds that it simplifies administration and brings "equity" of treatment as between the various programs of public welfare. Ease of administration thus becomes the over-riding goal rather than that of meeting the specific needs of each group of disadvantaged human beings for which the statutes were enacted.

In the 1962 Amendments to the Social Security Act, HEW succeeded in creating a common adult category of aid for the aged, blind, and disabled under Title XVI. Although failing to make the adoption of a single category mandatory upon the States, the provisions of the new Title XVI offered powerful financial inducements to the states by providing federal matching money in medical care costs for the blind and disabled and also by permitting the states to claim federal reimbursement on their average adult caseloads rather than for each separate category. Even so, only some sixteen states adopted the combined adult category under Title XVI wherein HEW interpreted comparable standards to mean identical standards for granting assistance. The financial inducement to the states to adopt a Title XVI plan have largely been wiped out with the enactment in 1965 of Title XIX providing for a separate medical care plan for all categories, and the provision permitting states to claim under the federal medical percentage for all public assistance grants.

Having failed substantially to achieve its goal of uniformity among the several categories, HEW has now initiated a move to require common standards of need in the separate welfare programs under the Social Security Act -- Title I, Old Age Assistance; Title IV, Aid to Dependent Children; Title X, Aid to the Blind and Title XIV, Aid to the Disabled. HEW now has issued Handbook transmittal No. 76, dated February 23, 1966. This directive sets forth a new requirement for continued approval of state plans under the various Titles of the Social Security Act providing federal financial participation in the aid programs. Effective July 1, 1966 a state plan under each category must provide for one of the three methods described in HEW's publication, "Simplified Methods for Determining Needs, " or a comparable method approved by HEW.

The publication, "Simplified Methods for Determining Needs, " was written by the Home Economics Consultant of the Division of Welfare Services of HEW in 1964. Methods I and III include cost figures for all of the basic items of requirements. Method II differs from Methods I and III by permitting the worker to enter the amount of the standard for shelter and for any special needs in addition to the amount for other requirements. It is not clear whether each of the categories in a statemust use the same method, nor is it clear whether the total dollar amount covering requirements must be the same for all categories in each state.

It does seem clear, however, that what Handbook Transmittal No. 76 is attempting to do is to force upon all of the states a common standard of assistance for all categories. This effort is being made notwithstanding the fact that each of the separate Titles of the Social Security Act specifically provides that a needy individual is one who deos not have income and resources sufficient to assure economic security, the standard of which must be defined by each state, depending upon the conditions existing in each state.

The National Federation of the Blind has repeatedly pointed out to all who would listen that the purpose of the various public welfare programs is not to achieve ease of administration through 'simplification' but rather to meet the needs of the groups served. The nature of blindness is such that the needs of persons without sight, their difficulties and problems, are different from the needs of aged persons, and from the needs of those permanently and totally disabled, as well as from the needs of dependent children.

Not only are the needs of various groups of disadvantaged persons different, requiring different standards of assistance, but also only by encouraging separate approaches can development of welfare programs across the board be fostered. A classic example of this is the provision for exempt income, pioneered in 1950 by the NFB for the blind and now, fifteen years later, the accepted doctrine of the Congress for recipients of every category of public assistance.

If HEW persists in pursuing its goal of uniformity, it will compel the organized blind in state after state to seek legislative action to place programs enacted to advance their welfare in a separate agency or commission for the blind -- including the administration and supervision of aid to the blind. For the blind of the nation are learning through long and frustrating experience that, too often, when services to them are provided along with similar services to other disadvantaged persons, the special needs and problems of the blind are disregarded. The NFB is vigorously opposing the implementation by the states of HEW's Handbook Transmittal No. 76 and believes that state legislatures will join it, as well as the Congress.

Back to Contents

BRIEF BLINDNESS OPENS EYES TO NEED FOR MORE RESEARCH

By Peter Fairley

(From New York World-Telegram and Sun, April 11, 1966)

London -- Three months ago I woke to find the world a dark and dingy place. Objects were mere blurs. All color had vanished.

There had been no recognizable warning -- just a few pains around around the eyes, which seemed attributable to a spell of insomnia in the United States. Suddenly, overnight, I had gone virtually blind.

During the next seven days -- while they pressed and prodded, pricked and punctured me in hospital--I came to terms with the future.

I silently offered three promises--to get the spectacles I should have had a year ago, to visit the dentist regularly and to charge through life a little more slowly.

I can see well enough again to read, to rattle the keys of a typewriter, and to resume normal work.

In return, I have bought the spectacles (so far they have not prompted the expected giggles)--visited the dentist eight times (all painless) -- and am now walking everywhere. I used to run.

I count myself extraordinarily lucky. Maybe there is something in my experience which can now help others.

The only disturbing thing about it, in retrospect, is that nobody has explained the cause.

Medical men know the condition as retrobulbar neuritis, which means sudden inflammation of the optic nerve.

It is this nerve which links the backs of the eyes with the brain, and since it is also the part that distinguishes light from darkness--and all shades of color--you end up with a vista of deep, deep, gray.

But why does the nerve become inflamed? Sometimes the cause is all too plain--a tumor on the brain, for example, or multiple sclerosis. But in the majority of cases the cause is a complete mystery.

And it is very rare for it to affect both eyes simultaneously, as it did in my case.

As the hospital neurologist put it: "Despite the fact that quite a lot of research has been done, we can still only see what, not why. It is rather like looking at an orchestra. We can watch the individual member players, but we haven't found the conductor who is pulling them together."

As a science writer I have written many stories about "mystery illnesses" in the past, little dreaming that one day I would be victim to one. But the story of retrobulbar neuritis is the same as that of many other obscure conditions -- every specialist has seen a few cases, but nobody has seen enough to be able to pin-point a common culprit.

I return to normal living, therefore, more firmly convinced than ever that it is time Britain built herself a National Medical Data Center, fully equipped with computers, into which every scrap of information about disease could be poured. Maybe electronic "brains" would then be able to detect some patterns or clues that humans have missed.

Such a center would not only benefit the victims of rare (but apparently harmless) conditions like mine; it would almost certainly help doctors to get to the roots of the big killing and crippling diseases -- cancer, heart disease, rheumatism and bronchitis.

Another much needed improvement in British medicine --of which I became aware almost from the first day of the blackout--is for doctors to recognize that patients have a right to full information about what is happening to them.

A casual "Oh, we always keep people in three or four days for a neurological investigation," sounds pretty unconvincing when you have been told categorically 24 hours previously that you will only be in hospital one day for a lumbar puncture.

I was left to my imagination for three days. Finally, I collared one of the doctors and asked "What did my tests show?" He replied:

"What is it you're afraid of?"

I reeled off the fruits of imagination.

"Oh," he said coolly, "I could have told you you didn't have any of those on the first night."

"Then why the hell didn't you?" I snapped back.

Back to Contents

VIRGINIA FIRST TO GET REHAB PLANNING GRANT

The first of a series of Federal grants which will enable States to develop plans for vocational rehabilitation services for all eligible disabled persons within the State was announced by Miss Mary E. Switzer, Commissioner of Vocational Rehabilitation, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

The $82,023 grant was made to the Virginia State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation under authority of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1965. All States will eventually receive such grants .

Specific objectives of the Statewide studies will be:

To identify the handicapped persons within a State who need rehabilitation services.

To evaluate program goals, staff, and financial support necessary to achieve these goals.

To identify the barriers that prevent or delay services for the handicapped.

To identify rehabilitation resources required to meet future needs .

To determine ways in which governmental and voluntary programs may be coordinated and reorganized, if necessary, in developing services to meet demonstrated needs more effectively.

"The provision of Federal funds in our new legislation for State-wide planning of rehabilitation services to disabled men and women offers the States -- and particularly the State vocational rehabilitation agencies--an unprecedented opportunity to plan and develop the services necessary to meet our goal of serving all such individuals who are eligible for services under the Federal-State program," Miss Switzer said.

Back to Contents

THE TRAGEDY OF MODERN DAY EDUCATION FOR THE BLIND AS PRACTICED IN THE INTEGRATED PUBLIC DAY SCHOOL CLASSES

By Dr. Merle E. Frampton

(Principal, The New York Institute for the Education of the Blind)

A study of enrollments in Residential schools and Day school classes from 1880 to 1966 reveals an interesting development. On the basis of numbers alone, it would seem that the integrated day school education has become the majority selection of parents and educators of blind students. Trends and numbers are not adequate standards for measurement of high quality programs. One must study the evidence further to get at the true facts. It was not until 1950 that all registrants in both types of schools were limited to pupils whose vision falls within the accepted definition of blindness. Many partially sighted children reading large ink print are included in these figures and many children enrolled as "partially seeing children" are to be found in the integrated day school classes. This is where they belong if they are properly serviced by the day school.

Recent data (1965) from the Federal Government based on American Printing House records show that for 1965 of the 18,416 blind children recorded as enrolled in Residential and Day classes 48% read Braille and 48% Ink Print, whereas 4% read both. When we examine the data further we discover the following: of the 8,035 blind children enrolled in Residential schools, 69% read Braille, 26% Ink Print, 5% both. The day classes reveal almost the opposite. Of the 10,381 children enrolled, only 31% read Braille while 65% read Ink Print and 4% both. It is evident that the residential and segregated schools are really carrying the load of teaching blind children while the integrated day school classes are more than 50% concerned with dealing with the partially sighted child.

The position taken by some professions that "the old argument that residential or segregated day schools versus the integrated public school class has been constructively resolved by the fact that more people choose the latter" cannot be accepted because it begs the issue of what is the best, the fullest, the most complete educational program for the blind child in our present generation. Such a position completely ignores the real educational needs of blind children. It substitutes statistics, cliche, wishful thinking, and an inadequate educational philosophy for the very real requirements of a sound educational program as presented by knowledgeable, experienced professionals.

The test again is what is best for the blind child. If some segregation at a period in his educational span gives more time for careful preparation of the child for successful living in a seeing world, with a better opportunity to develop a well rounded individual, then the implied evils of segregation as a criticism of the segregated school bear little weight. These arguments are greatly overshadowed by the immensity of the contribution made by the segregated school to the blind individual. In any event socialization and integration are not substitutes for a sound educational program. Children and youth must still learn to read and write.

The critics of the residential or segregated school stressed institutionalization, segregation, lack of social reality, failure to provide training for life in a seeing world, static curricula, poor equipment, vested interests, and a host of similar charges. Most of these criticisms stand todays as the basic pattern followed by this decade's professional critics of the residential or segregated school for the blind.

Out of this welter of so called new ideas was born the public integrated day-school class for the blind. Since the growth of these classes, with their stress on non-segregation, more home contacts, and similar emphasis, several residental schools for the blind have developed cooperative programs with day schools on the junior and senior high-school levels designed, at least in part, to meet these criticisms. Whether any of these modified plans will satisfy the critics of the residential school for the blind or will provide a continuous high-quality program for the education of the blind child can only be deter- mined after sufficient time has elapsed to analyze the products of such systems operating a combined residential and day-school program.

It is a tragedy of the highest order that parents of blind children, some professionals and some blind individuals themselves, do not foresee the future of a blind child if his educational program is not maintained on the highest possible level. It is later than we think. The tragedy ahead for the blind child and adult is very real. He is on the verge of being integrated out of his educational birthright with an incomplete, spoonfed, really "common" educational program wholly inadequate to meet the pressing demands and requirements of our present society. The hour is late and only a sound educational approach to this subject will correct the conditions.

It is only equitable to list the major deficiencies of the integrated day school and itinerant programs apparent from observations of the best of the integrated and itinerant day-school classes. The main criticisms have been aimed at their inability to provide a complete, well rounded program for the blind child, and this inability is evidenced by:

1) A critically inadequate supply of books and technical equipment for blind children at every level.

2) A conspicuous lack of any effective physical and recreational programs for blind children.

3) A complete lack of effective manual training, prevocational and vocational programs, courses in the performing Arts, mobility training and placement services or after school follow up.

4) Few, if any, standard musical-training facilities on a standard elementary or High School level.

5) Almost no high quality services available for the multiple-handicapped blind child, the cerebral-palsy blind, the deaf blind and the mentally-retarded blind. In some day school systems these children are wholly neglected.

6) Far too short a day in the public school to allow for normal classroom progress. Many classes are too large and cover too wide an age and content area. There is almost a total lack of tutorial services within any of the day school groups.

7) An inadequate curriculum. There are few consistent, standard programs paralleling the sighted requirements. There is little or no gradation of classes. The present groupings are in wide variance with the best private and public school practices.

8) Provision by the integrated day school of very limited social contacts and social programs in spite of the claims of the integrationist. Provision for the full integration and self-development of the visually handicapped pupil requires keeping him as an individual on an equal footing with his fellow-pupils and not lost in a larger group or pigeon-holed because of a handicap. There is much emphasis today on training in democracy, and children in an integrated day class for the blind do not have a chance to undergo this training. Differences in abilities are recognized in every democratic group, and each takes his place according to his best contribution to the group, as leader or follower, as thinker or doer.

9) Little or no continuity of course-offerings; no certainty of completing a course. There is an apparent failure in many public school day classes to expect blind children to do quite as well as their sighted companions, the result: lower standards and permissive passing for them. Besides being a poor psychological attitude, this means in many cases pupils do not receive the extra drill and special remedial work that will bring a blind child up to regular grade-accomplishments.

10) Transportation facilitites are inadequate, erratic, costly and destructive of an optimum educational program. How can a child be ready for study in any school after 1 to 2 hours of travel in the early morning? They leave home from 6:45 to 8:00 a.m., usually arriving late and leave school by three. The climate for good work has been destroyed by physical exhaustion through long travel. The blind child on school arrival is ready for bed, not a rigorous program of education.

11) The integrated day school program is still largely experimental after 60 years of trial. Instruction in the itinerant program is limited and often quite inadequate especially for such tool subjects as Braille.

12) No usable records of information about graduates of the integrated plan are available for comparative study with those of other methods of education as to the end-product. A program of education must be tested by its product, the public and parents are forced to rely solely on the opinions of professionals who are committed to the philosophy of integration and not on the concrete results of their efforts in terms of successful blind individuals. Many parents of blind children have never visited a residential or segregated school for the blind. What a risk parents take in accepting such inadequate evidence.

13) Per-capita costs are not lower when properly compared item by item of service performed. The high costs of the integrated day school including transportation have produced minimum educational results.

14) A lack of aggressive school professional leadership in research and adjustment problems for the blind on the part of the leaders of the integrated school movement. Few new or creative publications have come from integrated day-school sources. There is plenty of propagandizing, but there are few real professional contributions.

15) In the integrated classes too many partially sighted are being educated with the blind for optimum results to both groups of students.

16) In the integrated class for the blind, there is little objective basis for the treatment of basic problems of students. Guidance is poorly organized with the needs and capacities of the students inadequately understood and dealt with. There is more segregation in real experiences in day-to-day contacts with human beings in the integrated day school than in any other system, notwithstanding the loud and long arguments to the contrary. There is more sympathy and coddling, more emphasis on their blindess in the integrated class, thus making far more difficult normal adjustments of the blind child.

17) The integrated day school program has been a complete failure in solving the problem of educating the blind in rural areas.

18) Failure of the integrated day school program to provide a sense of real security to the blind child as is done in a well run segregated school program. The integrated class does not remove the "helps" that keep blind children immature. They have no large physical environment where children are free to explore. Inspiration from similar group-activities are far less than in any other system. The integrated day class does not really supplement the training of each blind boy and girl toward the goal of independence. The product of the integrated day school is woefully lacking in all categories of maturity and self-determination.

19) Little or no provision made by the integrated class for an accelerated educational program for talented blind students.

20) The integrated class relies on outside agencies for such vital school services as orientation, medical services, transportation, reader services, guide services, travel education and placement. These services are usually inadequate and unreliable. An optimum educational program for blind children should have at least --

(a) A graded program of instruction at the elementary and secondary school levels at least equivalent to, better, if possible, than the best private or Public School program. The blind child must be able to compete with the sighted if he is to be independent. Let the leaders of the group who have sold an integrated program to parents of a blind child apply these standards to their programs in honest candor admit they fall far short of meeting even minimum requirements.

(b) Small graded classes with well prepared teachers in areas of specialty.

(c) A full curriculum for music and vocational subjects including business economics with opportunities for trial periods of employment and mobility training courses.

(d) Adequate library facilities -- Braille, Ink Print, records tapes, models and other visual and auditory aids where practical.

(e) Complete recreational facilities for standard physical education programs and competitive sports between the sighted and the blind.

(f) Adequate medical services general and special and high quality nutrition.

(g) A wide variety of extra-curricular activities, clubs, scouting, dramatics, field trips, etc.

(h) Continuity of relationship between school, individual, home, social agency and general community to provide experience in leadership.

We would find it a thankless and perhaps useless task to attempt to compare these major services to the blind child item by item and weigh each as against corresponding values to be found in the residential segregated school. Such close measurement is not necessary when we ask the important question -- which system is the best, most complete, most productive of individuals who are prepared to face life realistically and prove "by their fruits" that their educational training has accomplished its goal? Such judgment will of necessity be open to severe criticism from the opponents of the residential or segregated school for the blind. The only reply to be made in those cases is: "Produce evidence to the contrary", evidence which will undergo as rigid tests of social utility as have been administered to our residential and segregated schools for the blind. In this case, when we see, we will believe. Considering the strong propaganda programs put forth against the residential school, it has remained what it was intended to be , a school providing ever new and growing opportunities for the blind child to enjoy the fruits of a democracy and share in these returns which have been enjoyed by free, independent, self-sustaining and productive citizens of all walks of life, handicapped or non-handicapped. No temporary, fancy theories of non-segregation, integration, institutionalization, no highly publicized frills from the jargon of education or social "Don Quixotes" who tyrannize our present generation with baskets of words should be allowed to confuse the public and particularly parents of blind children as to what the "sine qua non" for any blind person should be -- namely, an optimum not a minimum program of education.

Back to Contents

THE CHALLENGE OF MODERN DAY EDUCATION OF BLIND CHILDREN AND YOUTH

By Isabelle L. D. Grant, Ph.D.

As a teacher of some thirty years' standing, fifteen of which were served as a resource teacher in the public schools of a metropolitan city, I was genuinely intrigued by a recent pamphlet, undated, and without publisher identification, entitled The Tragedy of Modern Day Education for the Blind as Practiced in the Integrated Public Day School Classes, by Merle E. Frampton, Ph.D., LL.D., Litt.D., Principal, the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind.

I had thought that we educators had settled that problem long ago, that we decided it was not an "EITHER--OR" question, but something that could be expressed by two more appropriate and meaningful correlatives, ''BOTH--AND." To put it succinctly, the needs of the child are the criteria for the decision as to whether the child should leave his home and be placed in an institution, or whether he should attend a public school alongside his sighted peers, with a qualified resource teacher for the assistance necessitated by his blindness. A few of my students would have been better served in a blind school, had their parents allowed them to go. Many blind students at present in the residential school could well be challenged in the regular school, in open competition with their sighted friends. I often wonder if the problem that we blind persons face in present day society, particularly in the field of vocational placement, could have been ameliorated had some of the blind leaders of today, graduates of the blind institutions, resource classes not having come into their own, attended public schools, Suspicion of the capabilities of blind persons can only be overcome by knowledge, knowledge on the part of society that blind persons can take and are taking their rightful place in the community not only as contributing members but as leaders. Such participation and leadership do not start at the post-adolescent and adult periods. A former student of mine was the student body president of a high school of some two thousand sighted persons. His blindness was only incidental to his success as a college prep student, and chairman of the multiple organizations connected with that high office. In all fairness I add that another blind student in a resovirce class in a high school of similar size was refused permission to run for president of the student body on the ground that he was blind. No, we have not solved all of the problems of integrated education yet, and I guess as in the broader fields of education, never will in a changing, dynamic society. Social acceptance of blind persons is far from accomplished, but these young students in the public school, surrounded by their own age-group-community are to a large extent responsible for the diminution of the traditional, anachronistic attitude of the public towards blind persons.

I assume that in his repeated use of the term socialization, the author of the pamphlet equates socialization with social acceptance and not with something akin to fraternization.

The statement that forty-eight percent of pupils in integrated classes read inkprint, use the inkprint instead of the braille medium for reading, is just not true. In my fifteen years of resource class experience, I have had only one pupil who used inkprint, and was partially seeing. Partially seeing pupils as a rule are enrolled in partially seeing classes. Tests of visual acuity are by and large necessary for enrollment both in partially seeing (fallaciously called sight-saving) classes and in blind classes. Children with 20/200 visual acuity, the measure of legal blindness, are, other things being equal, admitted, after medical tests, to resource classes. In my experience and observation, blind schools accepted the partially seeing, judging from the number of my older blind friends, graduates of blind schools, who use their magnifiers for reading, and have no facility with touch reading. Be that as it may, as a teacher it matters little to me what medium the child would use, provided he READS, and thereby LEARNS. I do not object to the trend of placing partially seeing children in resource classes, a trend which seems to be gaining ground, provided the teacher-pupil ratio is not increased under the generalization of visually handicapped children.

Having taught sighted children over many years, I was interested not in the manner of getting the information, but in the learning process. Did the child understand what he was reading?

Facility in braille reading and writing is a sine qua non in the education of blind children, and no one realizes this more than does the resource teacher who, previous to accepting this position in our public schools, must hold a special credential for such teaching, one of the requirements for which is braille reading and writing. Unless a recent requirement has been enacted, the teacher in the blind school, because of the nature of the special school, has not been required to hold a general teaching credential plus the additional year's training for the special credential. States vary in certification of teachers, therefore there may be much variation in accreditation of teachers for this specialized work. But it must be pointed out that the teacher of blind children in the public schools must offer State accreditation for this particular work over and above the general teaching credential. I concede the fact that the holding of a special credential does not spell out the difference between a good teacher and an indifferent one. I am sure that the residential school has its share of indifferent teachers as do the public schools. I know they have, having had something to do with the observation and training of teachers.

I still find fault with the overly zealous resource teacher who, at the slightest provocation, consults with the chemistry or language teacher instead of letting the pupil attempt to solve his problem on his own, consulting with his chemistry or language teacher! By the same token, I believe that the constant availability of assistance such as is inevitable in the small classes of the residential school, deprives the pupil of the thought-provoking, problem solving challenge of equating himself with the members of his sighted group under the scrutiny of the teacher. The pupil does not know it, not at this early age, but society will demand of him when he is on the job, that he "deliver the goods" on a par with his sighted coworker.

In his enumeration of the deficiencies in the integrated program (the author mentions twenty of them), he evidences his own inadequate knowledge. To accuse the administration and teachers of the integrated program in our public schools of failure to provide "a complete, well-rounded" program for blind children is begging the question of what constitutes a "complete, well-rounded program." At the high school level blind students are enrolled in chemistry, physics, multiple foreign languages , journalism, dramatics, radio, electricity, with their fellow sighted students, to mention just a few of the program offerings. At the junior high school, exploratory industrial arts courses are open to blind students according to their choices. Cosmetology, home-making, foods, sewing are electives open to blind girls. At the elementary level, basic skills are the core of the program in the resource room. To enumerate even a synopsis of the variety of subjects participated in by blind pupils as by sighted pupils is not within the scope of this brief article. The program is contained in the course of study of every public school; blind children are programmed
like sighted children according to their interests, choices and abilities. The school campus of any school, elementary through high school, offers ample room for independent mobility, variety of terrain and building. Individual counseling and guidance with plans for post-graduate training and placement, self-inventories, aptitude tests are all part of the guidance and counseling program for the graduate, with assistance when necessary from the local Vocational Rehabilitation office. Glee clubs, orchestra, and music appreciation classes are included in every public school program for blind children, according to the desires of the pupil. Should the resource teacher not be familiar with braille music, arrangements are made with, usually, an outside blind teacher of music. Tutorial services, reader services, remedial work where and when necessary, are for the resource teacher to provide. With a statutory enrollment of eight to ten children, these services are adequate. Standards are not lowered for blind pupils, nor are courtesy grades granted, as the author of the pamphlet claims.

My observations, after my fifteen years, belie the claim of physical exhaustion on the part of children after morning and evening bus rides. The claim that the integrated program, after being in existence sixty years, is still experimental, is to be absurd, except to the extent that all education is experimental. Guidance is definitely not based on "sympathy and coddling" of the pupil. To see blind pupils run for school office against their sighted companions is certainly to disprove the claim of "lack of maturity and self-dependence." According to state law, reader service, transportation services and guidance services are available to all students, blind students not excepted, making the claim of dependence on outside agencies entirely false.

I hope that this article will in no way be construed as an apology for the integrated class, nor at the same time a eulogy. I strongly feel that the two programs, that of the integrated program and that of the blind school, should be complementary not competitive. I do not feel that "the blind child, in order to compete successfully in a sighted world, needs a wholly different educational pattern than can be made available to him in an integrated day school program or any substitute presently in vogue or he will fall far short of meeting competition in our fast moving society". I feel that the sheltered, narrow, protected, segregated, away-from-home-and the community artificial atmosphere of the blind school is no "substitute" for living in the normal environment of home, school and community, and learning to meet and overcome the problems of every-day living as a blind member of society.

Our society is indeed fast moving, and a traditional and static program of conservatism is not going to help our blind children take their rightful place in it. In order to keep abreast of this fast moving world, we as teachers of blind children in this age of new educational ideas, like the Headstart, the AYOB, the NDEA, must see that blind children are challenged as never before. Blind children must have the modern advancements in research in programming, in an equivalent to the new speed reading and writing, in the new arithmetic, in multiple foreign languages, in fact, in all areas of research. All of this is in addition to the extra mile blind pupils have to go for mastery of their basic tools.

Retarded and disturbed blind children must be given the opportunity of clinical study and therapy as their right. Resource teachers and residential school teachers must free themselves from the fetters of traditionalism and exert that imagination, that creativeness, that knowhow, and that energy necessary for all education in this new age.

Our blind children at the fitting time must be made cognizant of prevailing social attitudes, and of the movement of the blind towards self-expression, towards seeking opportunity, equality and recognition. Unfortunately, equality will still not be completely attained when they are ready to enter the labor market of today. They must be appraised of past and present legislation towards emancipation and self-determination as well as economic and vocational opportunities. Blindness is no alibi in the market-place or in the hiring hall. As piano tuner, chemist, physicist, teacher, farm or factory worker, switchboard operator, as, in short, a job-holder, the young blind person has to "produce" on the level of his competitors, against whose output he has to measure himself, not against their visual acuity. He must know about the successes and failures of others in his chosen field, and why.

The challenge to the education of our blind children and youth, therefore, is not inside the ivy-clad halls of the segregated institution, but in the rough and tumble, success and failure, hard labor and thrilling independence of the public school. For the pupil who is not ready for the public school, the residential school must offer a program equivalent in all respects to that of the public school, with only the adaptations necessitated by the mental, physical or emotional inadequacy of the pupil. There is a vital place for the residental school, with teachers even more highly specialized than those in the public school, in view of the therapeutic work necessary for the habilitation and development of these special pupils.

I would therefore call for concerted effort in both programs to re-evaluate our present education of blind children, raising our sights as is being done in all areas of modern education, with federal, state and local participation. I demand for our blind children their full share in the progressive development of our revitalized, modern American education. Nothing less is good enough for our young blind Americans. The hour is not yet too late!

Back to Contents

THE BLIND AS COMPUTER PROGRAMERS

By Theodor D. Sterling, Ph.D.

(From Rehabilitation Record, January - February, 1966)

An intelligent and well adjusted blind person may very well have traits and skills that qualify him particularly well for computer work.

We are becoming increasingly convinced of this as we proceed with a project undertaken in 1964 at the Medical Computing Center of the University of Cincinnati to investigate the selection, training, and placement problems facing blind candidates in computer work. The project is supported by VRA and the Ohio State Services for the Blind.

This is a brief account of the project's operation, of our success in training and placing blind computer programers, and of some of our research findings to date, including the finding that the blind demonstrate special aptitudes in working with computers.

By way of introduction, I should I say that a number of technical, mechanical, and electronic aids were developed during 1963 at this center which permitted blind programers to work independently with computers. The precise nature of these techniques has been reported elsewhere. While most of these aids were rather pedestrian, the one that opened the doors to the computer profession for the blind was a method by which an ordinary high speed printer could be made to emboss readable braille translated by a computer at the rate of 6,000 character translations and printings per minute. Thus, able blind individuals could read printed output without intermediaries and so could become usefully employed in computer related work.

The program of training we consider most desirable at this time consists of an 8- to 9-month set of courses. Only a third of these concern themselves with programing techniques and machine languages (MACHINE, SPS, FORTRAN, COBOL, AUTO-CODER). The rest of the time is taken up with the study of peripheral equipment and its performance characteristics, different types of computing machines, some background in automation in general, knowledge of overall systems design--including structure of assemblers and compilers--a review of computer arithmetic, mathematics, statistics, and logic (depending on the student's background), and also with disucssion of some of the professional problems found in the computer industry.

The student is also evaluated for his ability to move independently in his environment. If additional mobility training is needed, it is made available to him through the Cincinnati Association for the Blind.

In 1964, we accepted 17 people in this project. One dropped out after the first 2 weeks; the remaining 16 finished the training successfully and were graduated as programers and computer workers at various levels of skill.

Thirteen of the 16 were completely blind, 1 had some travel vision but had to rely on braille for reading, 2 had enough peripheral vision to read computer output with high-powered lenses.

Three of these people had completed high school, 3 had had some college work, and 10 had bachelor's degrees. Only four of them had the mathematics, science, and economics background that would ordinarily make a student suitable for programing work with computers. The other twelve had a variety of educational experiences which are not usually associated with computer work.

The trainees ranged in ages from 16 to 46. One was under 20, eight were between 20 and 30, five were between 30 and 40, and two were over 40 . (It is unusual for persons of 30 or over to enter computation fields.) One of the sixteen trainees was a woman and one was both totally blind and totally deaf.

Eleven of the trainees are now fully employed in computer work, one is a part-time employee, two returned to college for further training, and two are unemployed as of this writing. The two who are not employed are not seeking employment actively.

Of the twelve persons who are employed, eight found their own job leads and pursued them either alone or with the help of their counselors. Four were placed through leads developed by the personnel of the computing center. Nine got jobs within the communities from which they came (the students came from seven States). Only three students had to relocate. With more patience, even these three could probably have found jobs near their homes.

The association and purposes of the computing centers in which the twelve graduates are working differ widely. Two are connected with insurance companies, three with manufacturing concerns, one with a food chain, one with the government, four with universities, and one with a service bureau. The fact that only one graduate ended up working for the government is noteworthy because one would think that the security of a government position would attract the blind job seeker. It speaks perhaps for our trainees' confidence in their professional qualifications that most have chosen the riskier, if more remunerative, industrial work. In fact, three of the individuals who are working for industry were offered positions with the government but turned them down. Equally interesting is the association of four individuals with university computing centers. This may be due to the fact that, having come from a university, the students sought a similar working environment.

One of the students who had only a high school preparation is working, the other two are back in school. Of the three who had some college training, two are now working and one is not.

Starting salaries are known for ten trainees. Two started work at less than $5,000 a year (one of these, of course, was the part-time employee. The other started at a salary of $4,800.) Two of the trainees started at $5,000 to $6,000, four at $6,000 to $7,000, and two at more than $7,000.

One of our conclusions concerning this project is that objective tests used as selection criteria turned out to be mostly disappointing. The trainees ranged in their performance on presently used programer qualification tests from superior to inferior. IQ scores as tested for blind individuals seemed to be unrelated to success in training. One objective approach that appears to promise some predictive validity involves the following series of tests: (1) The Haptic Intelligence Scale (HIS), (2) Vocational Interest Scale for Adult Blind (VISAB), and (3) Tactual Reproduction Pegboard (TRP).

Since sixteen of the seventeen individuals finished the course, it is difficult to relate failure with test results. However, the HIS series of tests did show extremely low scores for the one individual who dropped out almost immediately. For the rest of the individuals there appears to be slight but definite relationship between their performance on the HIS and their subsequent ability to program as judged by our staff. It is clear that much is yet to be done if objective tests for blind programers are to be developed. . . .

One of the most interesting results of our training effort appears to have been that eight of the twelve individuals who are employed managed to find their own jobs. The methods they used were much the same as those of a sighted individual.

In all cases there were one or more interviews with supervisory personnel on technical problems facing the programer. Questions were devoted more to programing than to blindness. Great interest was shown as to how this blind individual would solve particular problems both as a programer and as a blind person. It is quite obvious that for successful placement the trainee must be prepared to satisfy the immediate supervisor that he can indeed do the many complex jobs involved in programing without being an undue burden to the rest of the staff.

Another interesting development was that, despite the willingness of high administration executives to accept the blind individuals as employees, no successful placement could be reported where the supervisor immediately concerned with the blind was in any way hostile to the idea. However, once a meeting could be arranged between the supervisor and the blind applicant, successful placement usually resulted.

Our very first preliminary results appear to indicate very strongly that the able and qualified blind person can be trained and find employment in the computer industry. Indeed we can go beyond that and specualte on special predilections the blind may have for this work. Methods developed by our center at Cincinnati have been used widely during the last year in this country and in Canada, Europe, and Israel. The story has been much the same everywhere. Individuals selected would almost invariably succeed in their training program and find employment that was both interesting and fruitful. Yet there are a number of conditions here which would speak strongly against the expectation of such favorable results.

In the first place, few of the blind individuals who enter this field have the qualifications which are usually associated with successful employment in computer work. Their background in mathematics is almost nonexistent. They usually know little if anything about science. They have very little experience in rigorous business and accounting methods. Their other backgrounds in terms of special qualifications, attitudes, performance on programer's tests and others would not appear to make them, as a group, especially suited for computer work.

It has been this writer's experience that the dropout rates among college students (or college faculty for that matter) who undertake a serious study of programing languages and systems is extremely high. For instance, in our regular courses in machine language it is not unusual to see only 20 to 30 percent of the class successfully complete training. Skills in computation are not easily obtained by college students in general. It is most remarkable that our blind trainees at Cincinnati and at other places almost invariably completed the course successfully and became computer workers.

An explanation for this phenomenon has been suggested by us before. The blind individual who can move independently through his physical and social world may have acquired dispositions, habits, skills, and attitudes which are peculiarly suitable for programing work with computers.

There need not be anything especially mysterious about this match in acquired abilities and job requirements and I imply none here. The fact is, simply, that the blind individual discovers this challenging work for which he is especially suited, and which can be learned relatively easily, and he readily takes it on both as vocation and as recreation.

Back to Contents

OUT OF THE HOSPITAL AND ON THEIR OWN

(From Rehabilitation Record, January-February, 1966)

In 1962, the John J. Kane Hospital in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. had among its 2,000 chronically ill, elderly, indigent patients, more than 140 whose major disability was blindness. They were occupying hospital beds badly needed for patients with other serious health problems.

The situation was made worse by the fact that nothing specific was being done to rehabilitate the blind patients and make them fit for independent lives in their home communities.

Kane's superintendent. Dr. Gerard P. Hammill, was concerned by this situation. Determined that something must be done to improve it, he visited the Pennsylvania Office for the Blind to discover ways in which he might help his blind patients. The State agency put one its staff members to work with the hospital.

The Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind organized a conference with the hospital staff to determine what kind of program could meet the needs of these elderly, blind people.

Dr. L. Leon Reid, director of the Guild, says of the resulting program: "It is a model example of professional cooperation in rehabilitation. . .to provide the blind patient with a daily high level program of rehabilitation in a large hospital whose main concern is other disability groups."

A program coordinator with a background in rehabilitation was selected from the hospital nursing staff. A "home teacher" was supplied by the Office for the Blind.

The Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind set up training institutes for all hospital personnel, furnished mobility specialists to train the blind patients, and provided counselors. In April 1964, the program went into effect.

The home teacher set up classes in which previously inactive blind patients started learning games, crafts, and communications skills to help them break down their isolation. They were called upon to take part in exercises to increase endurance. Regular entertainment was scheduled, and blind patients were set to rolling bandages for hospital use.

Mobility instruction ran up against several problems. Chief among them was the advanced age of the patients. Some were unable to stay with cane instruction for long periods of time. Many were victims of arthritis, rheumatism, and various circulatory diseases. Hearing is important in cane travel, and many had imperfect hearing. The classes were held 2 days a week, but in the interim, lessons learned were quickly forgotten. Daily classes overcame this latter problem. Sessions were kept short.

A more subtle problem was well expressed by one oldster who answered his own question: "Why don't I use the cane? The cane never talks to me." In the days before cane travel, there were sighted patients willing to guide the blind ones around the hospital. This offered aid and companionship.

Despite these difficulties, cane travel wrought improvement. Patients could at least tour their hospital unaided. Their instructor also taught them to travel about the grounds.

Meantime, the entire hospital staff was taking the course in how to deal with blind patients. Even the janitors had to be made aware of the dangers inherent in buckets left in hallways and in wet floors. Lectures were given on attitudes toward the blind, the uses of the long cane, and human guide techniques. All employees took part.

The social service department of the hospital sent workers to visit the families of many of the elderly blind patients. The workers spread the word that these old people were no longer wholly dependent, that they could care for themselves, were mobile, and many might fit back into the family.

On behalf of patients who had no homes to go to, workers set out to convince would-be landlords that older blind people could maintain themselves without becoming dependent. The ground was well prepared for the release of people from a hospital to which they had been sent in the full expectation that they would live out their days there.

Facilities for working with the blind patients are still somewhat limited. Of the 140 patients eligible, 40 were selected to begin the new program.

The 40 who were chosen enrolled in the classes teaching games, crafts, and communications techniques, and took part in calisthenics to condition their bodies. Twenty-two advanced beyond these initial stages into mobility training. All but six have made considerable progress. One has been discharged, five are ready for discharge as soon as they can be placed in outside jobs, and ten more have attained total independence within the institution.

Others, of course, as in any aged hospital population, have so many ailments as to make it doubtful that they will ever leave. But they too have been helped. They are better oriented to their surroundings; there are things to do -- exercise, entertainment, and useful work-- and there are concerned professionals to help them with their problems.

Back to Contents

ALL-INDIA BLIND TEACHERS MEETING

The First All-India Convention of Instructors of the Blind, attended by an anticipated 250 delegates from throughout the country, will be held in New Delhi May 28-31, 1966, according to information from G. P. Sharma, General Secretary of the National Association of Instructors of the Blind.

The central theme of the convention, which is the first to be held in the history of blind education in India, will be "The Blind Child and his Education." It is hoped that the government's Minister of Social Welfare will preside over the convention and that India's Vice President will inaugurate the proceedings.

Among those invited to submit a statement of greetings to the convention was Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, founder and president emeritus of the U.S. National Federation of the Blind and now president of the International Federation of the Blind.

In his statement, Dr. tenBroek wrote that "As a teacher I know there is no profession which plays a more significant role in the lives of people. Our task as teachers is not only to crowd the heads of our charges with information, to fill them full of knowledge ancient or modern, and to give them training in primary skills. This much we surely must do, but beyond that we must give our charges a sense of themselves, of the enduring values of life and of their role in society.

"That role cannot be merely a passive acceptance of the world as it is and of their lives as the world has ordained the conditions for them. We must bring up our youth to know that the future can be influenced by them, that they must be prepared to assert that influence and that that can only be done effectively by organized collective activity of the blind people themselves."

Back to Contents

VIRGINIA BLIND MEET IN EIGHTH ANNUAL CONVENTION

A new spirit of enthusiasm highlighted the eighth annual convention of the Virginia Federation of the Blind, held April 22-24, at the Holiday Inn, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Sixty-one banquet attendants listened to John Taylor, Assistant Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind and former president of the NFB, as he described the growth and career of the Virginia Federation of the Blind.

Reports were given on state and federal legislation, the social security amendments of 1965, home teacher services in Virginia, travel training instruction at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. There was a panel, "Employment Opportunities for the Blind", participated in by a homemaker, a masseuse, and a poultry processer. William T. Coppage, Director, Virginia Commission for the visually Handicapped, gave an address entitled "The Needs and Responsibilities of Blind Individuals", and responded to questions.

The convention closed with a business meeting, during which the following officers were elected for a two-year term of office: Robert McDonald, President; James Nelson, First Vice President; Retha Brown, Second Vice President; Marion McDonald, Recording Secretary; Lydia Staples, Corresponding Secretary; James Copeland, Treasurer; two-year Board Member, Amy Barnes, Robert McDonald was selected to represent the Virginia Federation of the Blind at the NFB Louisville convention, and A.J. Pettit was chosen as alternate delegate.

The 1967 VFB convention will be held in a Virginia city where there is presently no local chapter of the organized blind of the Dominion State, with the Executive Committee designated by the convention to select the location and make all arrangements.

Back to Contents

CAMPAIGN TO CURB GERMAN MEASLES

A new and concerted campaign to develop a vaccine against the virus disease rubella is underway on the part of government, industry and university scientists, according to Dr. Richard L. Masland, director of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness.

Current research on the origins of birth defects directed by the Institute was said to suggest that one baby of every 2,000 born in the nation may be afflicted with brain damage, blindness or other effects of the virus .

Dr. Masland was quoted in a New York Times report as anticipating that the new combined attack on the rubella germ will produce a live virus vaccine to be given to children and a killed virus vaccine for women who reach childbearing age still lacking immunization and in danger of infection with the virus.

Rubella, often called German measles, is a mild disease in children and most adults, but becomes a major cause of birth defects including blindness when it infects pregnant women.

Back to Contents

BRAILLE TEXT LIBRARY COMPUTERIZED

The University of Southern California has unveiled a number of computer-based programs "expected to open a new era of employment for the blind and harness the power of the computer to prepare reading material for those who cannot see."

At a news conference here, William Mitchel, director of USC's Computer Sciences Laboratory, said the university has been working on two major projects, and some smaller ones, aimed at improving the basic education and advanced professional training of the nation's blind persons and handicapped children.

use also detailed initial results of a joint program with the electronic data processing division of Honeywell, Inc. with the first public demonstration of a new Braille printer said to be 100 times as fast as any other standard device in existence.

USC's major "blind" projects, Mitchel said, are the Federally-funded Instructional Materials Center and CITAB (Computer Instruction and Training Assistance for the Blind). Project directors for CITAB are Mitchel and Dr. William Reid, associate professor at USC's School of Education. Reid is also director of the Instructional Material Center.

The Instructional Materials Center, dubbed the "Library" project, will provide educational information and materials as rapidly and efficiently as possible to teachers of the handicapped throughout the nation, Mitchel said.

CITAB deals with the problem of how best to use computers to benefit the visually handicapped, he said. Its goals include identifying those computer skills a blind person should be taught for data processing employment and the types of data processing jobs they should aim for.

Other phases of CITAB include development and evaluation of training devices and special equipment and formulation of psychological tests that can be used to select blind students for computer training, use, and other groups across the nation, have already trained a number of blind persons to handle the complexities of computer programming and operations, and have "proved that the visually handicapped can master the new disciplines as well as their sighted contemporaries."

The Library project has been funded since August, 1964, by the Division of Handicapped Children and Youth of the U.S. Office of Education. Reid said one of its goals is to make available to any school in the country a rapid and efficient means of obtaining Braille texts, magazine articles, speeches or any other "written" material needed by blind students. Other objectives cover material requirements of other types of handicapped children.

"This is part of a new emphasis throughout the country to have handicapped children go to school with 'normal' children," he said. "It has been extremely difficult until now to obtain a sufficient quantity of Braille material to do this for blind children on a timely basis."

Key to the project is a Honeywell 200 computer, donated to USC by the firm, which has as part of its equipment a new Braille printer able to produce 300 Braille cells a second. The next fastest standard device is a typewriter-like Brailler that produces three Braille cells a second, Reid said.

Initial emphasis of the Library project was development of instructional guides for multiple handicapped children. Result of the first phase of the project was a teacher guidebook entitled "Language Development Experiences for Young Multiple Handicapped Children," which is being field tested in seven foreign countries and 20 U.S. school districts .

Project direction has now changed from development to distribution of instructional materials. The center will expand to include:

* Collection, through purchase or donation, of all types of materials dealing with instruction of exceptional children;

* Cataloging each item and storing the information on magnetic computer tape for later retrieval and use;

* Making specific textual materials quickly available to teachers.

Reid said the project, when it becomes fully operational, will make it possible for a grammar school, for example, to request six copies of a fourth-grade reader entitled "See John Run!" When the Library receives the request, one of two things would happen:

If there had been a previous request for the same text, the Braille translation would have been permanently recorded on the H-200's magnetic tape and indexed for easy retrieval. In this case, the Library would simply put the right tape on the computer and it would immediately print in Braille.

"Turn-around" time in this situation, Reid said, could be as little as 24 hours -- compared with periods of many months, in some cases, to do the same job by hand.

If the text had not previously been translated into Braille, and recorded on magnetic tape, the printed version would be converted into the coded holes of punched paper tape or punched cards. The card deck or paper tape would then be fed into the computer, which would translate the "ink print" text into its Braille equivalent and produce the Braille version on the new printer.

"And, once the text has been translated," Reid said, "it would go into the magnetic tape library and be indexed for further requests."

"This we believe to be a very major step in making Braille material available as required by blind persons," Mitchel said. "Until now, every time one or a few copies of a previously-untranslated text has been required -- whether by a fourth grader or doctoral candidate -- it has been necessary for a sighted volunteer to sit down with the 'ink' print' and manually translate it into Braille with a Brailler.

"If more than one copy is requested, each additional copy takes just as long to produce as the first. The Braille Library, on computer tape, with the Braille printer, completely eliminates these problems."

Blind persons today are operating a newly developed computer capable of turning out 330 words a minute in Braille printing at USC's Computer Sciences Laboratory, 1010 W. Jefferson Blvd.

Dick Sakamoto, 26, a USC graduate, and Don Bishop, 27, a graduate of San Francisco State College, both blind, demonstrated how they "read" the information from the computerized Braille printer.

The primary applications for the new printer will be to turn out educational materials for the blind and text book material that can be produced in "short-order" for blind persons.

The "input" material for the printer may be prepared by blind persons who can touch type.

The blind men have also been taught to program the computers and to use them for both scientific and business data problems.

(From Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 18, 1966)

Back to Contents

ANOTHER BILL FOR PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED LIBRARY

Libraries for the physically handicapped, including the blind and visually impaired, could be established under provisions of H. R. 14050, introduced by Congressman Roman Pucinski, Illinois, and other bills. These were considered in public hearings April 19-21, by the Select Subcommittee on Education of the House of Representatives.

The physically handicapped library provisions are a small part of larger measures designed to extend and improve an existing federal-state library program under authority of the Library Services and Construction Act.

Limited to persons unable to read regular printed matter as defined and determined "by competent medical authorities", libraries for the physically handicapped would be established under state plans developed by state libraries and the federal Office of Education in consultation with the Librarian of Congress.

Should the proposal for the physically handicapped libraries become law, books and reading materials would come from the proposed expansion of the Library of Congress Books for the Blind Program--a proposal which was considered by the House Library Subcommittee on March 29, was approved by the Subcommittee on the same date, and is now pending before the full House Committee on House Administration.

Testifying in the present Library Services and Construction Act hearings on April 19, Secretary of HEW, John Gardner, opposed the libraries for the physically handicapped proposal. Calling for the expenditure of several millions of dollars, the proposal is considered by the Johnson Administration to be contrary to the present economy drive of the Administration to cut down on all non-war spending.

John Nagle, presenting the views of the NFB , testified in the current House library hearings, and gave the full support of the organized blind to the federal-state Library Services and Construction Act Program, but recommended several changes in H. R. 14050 in the physically handicapped library provisions, in order to assure that the reading needs for handicapped people are actually satisfied and fully met by the physically handicapped library proposal.

In addition to the NFB, the libraries for the physically handicapped measures were supported by the Librarian of Congress, the American Library Association, the AFB, the AFL-CIO, and other national organizations.

On April 25, the House Select Labor Subcommittee gave its endorsement and approval to H. R. 14050, and on April 27, the full Committee on Education and Labor voted the bill out of committee with only minor changes. This unusually rapid congressional action results from the fact that the current Library Services and Construction Act Program will automatically terminate this June 30, unless congressionally extended.

Back to Contents

FIRST AFRICAN CONFERENCE ON WORK FOR THE BLIND

(From The New Beacon, February, 1966)

This Conference, which was held in Lagos, Nigeria, from 17-22 January 1966,urder the sponsorship of the Nigerian National Advisory Council for the Blind on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, together with the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind and the Royal National Institute for the Blind, took place under somewhat unusual circumstances . The weekend of its opening coincided with a military uprising throughout the country resulting in the assumption of power on the morning of the opening of the Conference by a Federal Military Government. Despite these circumstances a very large number of delegates managed to get through to Lagos, though some of them were considerably delayed in their arrival. A number of visits and social functions necessarily had to be cancelled owing to the general State of Emergency and the Conference, as a consequence, covered only six days instead of the ten originally planned. Nevertheless, the whole business agenda was satisfactorily concluded. Altogether some fifteen African countries were represented together with seven international agencies. The following are the Conference resolutions:

RESOLUTION I

The Facts in Africa

The First African Conference on Work for the Blind meeting in Lagos from the 17th to the 22nd of January 1966, requests all newspapers, radio stations and information agencies throughout Africa to give the widest possible publicity to the following statement:

In the thirty-two countries of tropical and equatorial Africa, there are at least 1,400,000 blind people, including 100,000 children. Two-thirds of this blindness is preventable. Unless decisive action is taken now, this problem will increase with the growth of the general population so that by the end of this century there will be more than three million blind people in Africa.

At present, only one blind child in fifty is at school, and many African countries have no educational facilities for the blind. Only one blind adult in a thousand receives rehabilitation, training and employment; most of the remainder live in destitution, either as town beggars or family dependents in rural areas. For economic, no less than humanitarian, reasons this situation must be remedied. The first requirement is to bring the facts and possibilites forcibly to the attention of the people and governments of Africa.

Every major cause of blindness in Africa can be controlled. A blind child not only has the same right to education as a sighted child, he also has the same ability to profit from it. A fit blind adult of working age can be trained to support himself as a farmer or to earn his own living in a town workshop, factory or office.

These results have already been achieved in some parts of Africa. The facts are incontrovertible. The need now is for action on a continental scale to save the sight of future generations and to bring new hope to blind people so that they may enjoy the independence which is their right as citizens of modern Africa.

RESOLUTION 2
An African Plan for the Blind

(a) We believe that, given a national and international effort, commensurate with the need, the following objectives can be achieved in five years:

(i) to treble the number of blind children at school; (ii) to increase to at least 3,000 the number of blind people being trained and resettled annually in rural occupations;

(iii) to establish, in each country, at least one centre where blind people can be rehabilitated, trained and placed in urban occupations.

(b) Action by Governments: In achieving these objectives, an essential first step is that each government, in consultation with the appropriate voluntary agencies, should formulate -- either specifically or within the context of its general development programme--a national plan, based on a review of the number and needs of the blind in its area.

This plan should allocate ministerial and departmental responsibilities, and should indicate the technical and financial resources required, and the extent to which these can be provided locally. If external aid is required, governments should make the necessary request for it to the international agencies and organisations concerned.

(c) Regional Organisations: As a prelude to the formation of representative regional organisations for the blind, and ultimately in the establishment of a Pan-African organisation for the blind, action committees should immediately be formed in East, Central and West Africa (and in such other regions as might wish to participate in the plan), consisting of one representative of each of the national organisations for the blind in the region.

The functions of these action committees would be to review all existing work for the blind and for prevention of blindness throughout their region; to stimulate the establishment of programmes in countries where these do not exist, to plan inter-territorial activities, to make contact with, and to offer technical assistance to, governments, to act as a link with regional agencies and organisations concerned in any way with work for the blind, and to draft the constitution of a permanent representative regional body. The Organisation for African Unity is requested immediately to give its full support and authority to the formation and work of these regional committees. Until such regional bodies are in a position to employ their own staff, any international organisation (for example, the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind and the American Foundation for Overseas Blind) which are in a position to do so are requested to give all possible help in the formation
and development of these organisations, and in the implementation of regional plans.

(d) International Action: When, as a result of such national and regional action, approved projects requiring external aid are formulated, the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, and the American Foundation for Overseas Blind, should combine in mobilising all the international and national resources which can be made available in support of such projects.

(e) The conference noted that there are many African countries who have not yet established services and organisations for the blind. The resolutions of this Conference should be brought to the attention of all the governments and through the mechanisms of the regional action committees and with the assistance of all appropriate international agencies they should be urged immediately to consider the formulation of national plans for the blind and to participate to the maximum extent in achieving the objectives of the African plan.

RESOLUTION 3
Prevention of Blindness

(a) The causes of blindness in Africa should be attacked by all possible measures available to each nation, and each country should establish a department of ophthalmology.

(b) An ophthalmic conference on the prevention of blindness in Africa should be held in 1967, sponsored by the appropriate national and international agencies.

(c) It is essential that more ophthalmic and auxiliary staff should be trained under careful supervision.

(d) It is imperative that action be taken as early as possible on practical steps to eradicate the vector of onchocerciasis.

(e) Every possible measure should be taken to combat trachoma by health education in association with public health departments. The treatment of trachonna must be vigorously pursued, especially in the form of mobile eye clinics, always under the overall supervision of an ophthalmic surgeon.

(f) The committee realises that malnutrition and lack of water are causative factors in certain eye diseases resulting in blindness, and therefore recommends that relief organisations should be approached to help in combating these problems.

RESOLUTION 4
Education

(a) Every effort must be made to increase substantially and rapidly the number of blind children receiving education, either in residential schools or by the integration of blind children into ordinary schools. The primary need is to educate blind children in accordance with the general educational system and standards of the countryconcerned. Residential schools and open education are complementary. It may be necessary to adapt the open educational system to meet the special needs of certain countries but the need is so great, and the number so large, that only open education can provide a speedy answer at a reasonable cost.

(b) The Conference warmly welcomes the adoption by UNESCO of its Resolution No. 1292 of 1964 on the special education of handicapped children, and urges that organisation and its member countries to take all possible steps towards the early implementation of the provisions of that resolution.

RESOLUTION 5
Apparatus and Appliances

The Conference agrees that the attention of African countries should be drawn to the free service known as the International Research Information Service on the availability of and research into apparatus and appliances for the blind. There are offices in London and New York.

The Conference draws attention to the urgent need for the development, regionally, of braille printing presses, able to provide literature in the main languages of the region. The possibilities of Talking Books, both as a means of education and an aid to blind adults, is fully recognised, and when the basic requirements for braille have been satisfied, national and regional programmes should be undertaken wherever practicable.

RESOLUTION 6
Employment

(a) Urban: Every fit blind person of working age has the right to training and employment. This may be achieved in a variety of ways--in sheltered workshops for the blind, by undertaking sub-contract work, in agriculture, and by placement whenever possible, in industrial, commercial and professional occupations. The need for assistance in the field of industrial placement by experts, seconded through the usual channels of technical co-operation, is emphasized.

It is recommended that provision be made for the placement and employment of the handicapped within the government framework with the placement of the blind being handled by an officer specially trained for that purpose .

(b) Agriculture: It is strongly emphasized that the main need is to extend or introduce agricultural training schemes, and this should take place within the framework of the general agricultural development of the country concerned. Resettlement and after-care services are absolutely essential and must keep pace with the general development.

RESOLUTION 7
Organisation

(a) Voluntary organisations working for the blind should be accorded full recognition by the governments concerned on the basis of being appointed agents, and they should be brought into consultation by the governments in the formulation of any national development plan.

(b) In order to ensure the maintenance of constructive liaison, this Conference recommends that there should be created in each country interdepartmental committees, composed of those ministries which have a direct responsibility for the various services for the blind, such as Labour, Health, Education and Welfare.

(c) To ensure the most effective international planning for prevention and rapid extension of programmes for the blind in Africa, this conference requests the several national and international aid organisations to maintain the closest liaison towards that end.

(d) The recommendation of the United Nations ad hoc committee on rehabilitation of the handicapped that an Afrian Conference on Rehabilitation be convened by the Economic Commission for Africa in 1966 or 1967 is fully supported. The Conference urges ECA and African governments to take early steps in completing arrangements for that meeting.

RESOLUTION 8
Staff Training

Governments should ensure that adequate arrangements for the training of staff for all departments of blind welfare should be made wherever possible within the context of general training programmes. In the first instance, regional arrangements for such training would be the most effective and economical. Full use should be made of available international scholarship awards for the training of senior staff members, particularly those who in turn will be responsible for staff training programmes.

Back to Contents

SUCCESS WITHOUT SIGHT

By Les Gapay

(From The Missoulian, March 14, 1966)

A rural Missoula Man has been repairing television sets for others for the past 12 years, but is unable to watch any programs himself. . . .

Marshall Brondum of West Riverside near Milltown , besides repairing TVs, climbs power poles and hooks up cable for a TV cable company he owns, despite being blind for the past 40 years. . . .

Brondum graduated from an electronic engineering school at Omaha, Neb. , in 1946 and has been in the electric repair business sine... [ In 1954 when television was about to come into the area in a big way, he took the TV repair course with normally sighted repairmen in Missoula, on his own, and beat most of the salesmen into the outlying areas to sell television sets and installation work.]

"I started repairing TV sets in 1954," Brondum said. "Changes (in the anatomy of a set) come gradually and I don't notice it too much."

Back to Contents

ROMERO BUILDS ALARM CLOCKS FOR THE DEAF

(From The Machinist, February 3, 1966)

Emerson Romero, a retired member of 1AM Lodge 1987, Farmingdale, N.Y. , has found a way to turn his hobby and his retirement into a whole new career.

Romero, totally deaf from childhood, uses his hobby and his leisure hours to build special alarm clocks for the deaf. He has perfected a vibrator alarm which he claims will wake even the soundest sleeper. . . .

The alarms consist of an automatic electric clock and a vibrating buzzer. The buzzer is plugged into a built-in outlet on the clock. At a preset hour, the buzzer is automatically started and the vibration under the pillow wakes the user.

Although these unique alarms were developed by Romero for the deaf and hard of hearing, many people with normal hearing also use them. Romero has provided dozens to hard-to-waken college Students

The first vibrators presented some problems. "At the beginning," he says, "we found that many persons forgot to turn off the alarm after waking. Since they could not hear the buzzer, it vibrated practically all day. This caused the unit to burn out."

To eliminate such accidents, Romero installed a tiny thermostat inside the buzzer. This automatically shuts off the current within a few minutes. After a cooling-off period, the buzzer resumes vibrating for another two minutes.

Another type of clock has a built-in lamp as well as a buzzer. The light serves as a warning that the buzzer is vibrating. . . .

Now, with retirement time on his hands and a hobby to occupy that time, he is building wake-up alarms to help other deaf persons get to their jobs on time. For more information about Romero's clocks, write to him at 29 Cedar Ave., Farmingdale, N.Y. 11735.

Back to Contents

HOUSE AUTHORIZES UNIT FOR HANDICAPPED

The House of Representative has authorized and funded a special committee under the chairmanship of Representative Hugh L. Carey (D) of New York for the conduct of legislation affecting handicapped children.

The purposes of the Committee is to draw together and examine current approaches to the education and training of the handicapped and to examine present and new approaches in the ever-growing field of specialized education.

Representative Carey, who was the author of several bills for the handicapped successfully enacted by the Congress, such as the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and the Captioned Films for the Deaf, stated that the Committee would plan staff investigations and hearings to examine legislative proposals in the very near future.

"The handicapped American is a matter of increased interest and concern to the Federal government because of the new beginnings we have made which for the first time offer us a chance for a comprehensive program under which handicapped youngsters can look forward to a life of maximum participation in the community in education, employment and every other activity in the living process.

"I am gratified to have a number of distinguished colleagues serving with me on the Committee: Representatives Thompson,

(D - N. J.); Scheuer (D - N. Y.); Sickles (D - Md.); Bell (R - Calif.); and Andrews (R - Ala.).

It is our hope that when our deliberations and program of action are concluded we will have written not just a new chapter in opportunities for the handicapped but an entire volume, which for the first time will catalog the needs, means, resources, and potentials for the deaf, blind, emotionally disturbed, and mentally impaired.

"It is our hope that by extending the program of leadership in the Kennedy- Johnson era, we can chart an historic plan which will mean that never again will American families faced with the burden of handicapped offspring be without hope and without assistance."

Back to Contents

READING MACHINE FOR THE BLIND

By Martin J. Weil

(From The Washington Post, March 20, 1966)

Experimental machines that blind people can use to "read" printed words were described here last week at the annual meeting of the Optical Society of America.

The machines -- which scan a printed page and turn words into sound or touch signals the blind can understand -- are the products of Veterans Administration sponsored research programs.

A few portable models are now being used by specially trained blind people, according to Eugene F. Murphy of the VA. But commercial production is still several years away, he said.

Most of the machines use photo-electric cells that react to patterns of light and darkness by producing electrical impulses stamped with the qualities of the printed matter.

What is done to convert these impulses into signals that a blind man can understand depends on the complexity of the machine.

One of the simple, portable devices described at the meeting, uses the electrical impulses to produce a touch sensation.

As he guides the machine over the page, the reader feels the shapes of letters as if they were cut from sandpaper.

Another device converts printed letters into a variety of different musical tones, which the blind person must learn to recognize.

These machines read at a relatively slow rate, making them less suitable for entire books than for brief passages.

Other machines are now being developed that translate printed words into individual spoken letters of the alphabet. These provide about 80 spelled-out words per minute.

Eventually, said one of its developers, Glendon C. Smith of Mauch Laboratories in Dayton, this machine will cost about as much as an auto, and have the size and weight of an electric typewriter.

Back to Contents

BOY LEARNS TO SEE

By Natalie Jaffe (From New York Times, March 6, 1966)

There is nothing wrong with Joey Perez's eyes -- round and brown and, today, inquisitive -- except that until last year nobody had "taught" him how to see.

Both his parents are totally blind. At 6 he is the eldest of three children, and the two others are too young to show him the world. And from the waist down, Joey is stiff with cerebral palsy.

What outside observers saw when they looked at Joey, was a silent child, his head down, his fingers feeling everything while his eyes wandered -- the way he had learned to do things by watching his parents.

Weighing Joey's affliction and his apparent disinterest in the world, psychological testers at two hospitals found him mentally retarded, They predicted a future that would be little more than vegetation, according to the boy's mother.

But last week, a year after that hopeless verdict, Joey was told that he would be going to public school in September -- to a class for physically handicapped children with normal intelligence.

The intervening year was spent at a school for handicapped children, sponsored by the New York Philanthropic League. In that time, he was enticed from the shadows and taught to see the world with the eyes of a child.

"It wasn't a miracle. Joey just found a place where somebody looked at him and saw a child, not just a cripple," explains the school's director. Miss Susan Samuels.

When chance and a determined mother led Joey to the school at 150 "West 85th Street on his fifth birthday, it became quickly apparent to his teachers that Joey's I. Q. was far higher than the drastic 44 on his hospital referral form.

"I never look at those things, " Miss Samuels says. "I don't want preconceptions."

Back to Contents

EYE ARMOR NEXT?

(From Prevention of Blindness News)

The Army Department of Research and Development is trying to perfect an eye protection device for issue to soldiers who wear glasses. Military ophthalmologists estimate that this "eye armor" could prevent at least half of all battlefield eye injuries.

The researchers, aided by metallurgists seek a way to make and provide corrective and protective lenses for any pair of glasses in not more than ten minutes -- on the field if necessary.

It is estimated that at least one third of all soldiers wear prescription glasses. Approximately 40 percent of these require annual replacement. During a recent six month period at the army hospital Fort Hood, Texas, eight hundred pairs of glasses had to be repaired or replaced. Most of the men affected were from the First and Second Armored Division and were supposed to be ready for immediate combat duty. But, says an army report, "Any impairment of his ability to see, no matter what the degree or how long the time, degrades a soldier's effectiveness."

The Army is also sponsoring research to find a way of protecting the sight of American fighting men from the blinding effects of nuclear blasts .

Scientists at Honeywell, Inc., Minneapolis, are using rhesus monkeys to determine how a flash of intense light affects the ability to see dimly lit or low-intensity objects. This type of monkey has color vision much like that of man, with the greatest sensitivity in the blue green, green and red regions of the spectrum.

The researchers feel that intense light of some colors may be less blinding than others. If so, it may be possible to develop protective goggles that would screen all but the least harmful wave lengths of intense light.

Back to Contents

REP. MURPHY ASKS U.S. EYE INSTITUTE

(From New York Post, March 16, 1966)

Establishment of a National Eye Institute to conduct research on blindness and visual defects which plague over 90,000,000 Americans has been proposed in Congress by Rep. Murphy (D. - S.I., Brooklyn).

Murphy said the program, conducted by the Surgeon General, would emphasize research and training in the special health problems and requirements of the blind, and in "the basic sciences relating to the mechanism of sight and visual function."

He said the Surgeon General would be authorized to maintain traineeships and fellowships in the proposed National Eye Institute and elsewhere.

Back to Contents

MONITOR MINIATURES

At its regular quarterly meeting in Perth Amboy on Sunday. April 17, the State Council of New Jersey Organizations of the Blind was pleased to welcome the Monmouth County Association for the Blind as a new chapter. Their officers are: William A Herter, Jr., President. Louis Walters, 1st Vice President. Dorothy Maher.'

Secretary and Clifford Hawkins, Treasurer.

From Grand Rapids, Mich., UPI Reports -- A blind, nameless puppy was credited with saving seven persons here when their home was destroyed by fire yesterday. The puppy, only 2 months old, awakened Theodore Bird with his barking and Bird rushed his wife and five children to safety.

Dr. Peter J. Salmon has retired after 20 years as Executive Director of the Industrial Home for the Blind in Brooklyn, He is succeeded by Major John F. Bradey. Dr. Salmon has become Administrative Vice President.

Walter S. Stachon has taken the position as Business Enterprise Counsellor in Wyoming in the Wyoming Services for the Visually Handicapped. He will be in charge of the Vending Stand Program.

Police Commissioner Howard Leary greeted Mrs. Elizabeth Mills of Louis Braille Foundation for Blind Musicians at Police Headquarters. [The] check he gave her for $350 was part of $8,400 Leary handed out to nine organizations from department's charity fund.

The new Director of the Regional Rehabilitation Center of the Minneapolis Society for the Blind is Robert A. Kimball.

Totally blind Gunnar Eriksen is skiing from Fauske to Valdres, a distance of some 806 miles, accompanied by state sports consultants in each province en route, reports News of Norway. Covering 12-25 miles a day, he expects to arrive at Beitostolen in time for the April 13 opening of a scientific world seminar on the theme of physical activity and health.

From Labor Rehabilitation Report, March-April, 1966: A recent United States Chamber of Commerce study found the $44 minimum monthly Social Security benefit unrealistically low.

A study conducted five years ago showed the average consumption spending for all retired urban families and single persons to be $145 a month. The Chamber of Commerce study called for development of guidelines that would provide a realistic formula to reflect various changes in costs and needs of older persons.

The report also recommended amendments to the Social Security Act so that all Americans, including government employees, pay the payroll taxes and secure benefits from the Social Security program. It further suggested that the 1.5 million persons 65 years or older, who are not now eligible for Social Security benefits, be brought into the program.

In line with the study recommendations, the AFL-CIO is calling for a 50 percent increase in Social Security retirement benefits, and an increase in taxable wage base from $6,600 to ceiling of $15,000 in steps over the next few years.

At the close of the Virginia convention, two cars left for Washington, D.C. The Seward car carried Tim Seward, John Taylor. The Moore car contained Marjorie Moore, John and Ginny Nagle, Jerry Fischetti, and Bernice Brown. The Seward car broke down first, and was assisted by the Moore car; later the Moore car broke down and was assisted by the Seward car. John Taylor was obviously responsible; he was in the Seward car when it broken down, transferred to the Moore car, and then it broke down. A simple case of cause and effect!

John Nagle and Dr. tenBroek represented the NFB at the Washington convention of Citizens Crusade Against Poverty, April 13 and 14.

Sidney Roginski, 65 of Wyoming, Pa., a retired furniture dealer, was awarded $217,500 by a federal court jury on his claim that he got cataracts from using the drug Mer-2.9 for anti-cholesterol treatments.

Frederick G. Dalton, Jr., 25-year-old blind New Jerseyan, is a music intern at Essex County Overbrook Hospital. Equally adept at four different instruments, Dalton is at work at the hospital because of the belief of Dr. Henry A. Davidson, Overbrook superintendent and medical director, that music therapy plays an important role in treatment of mental illness.

"The Two Nations" was the topic of Dr. tenBroek's paper presented to a packed ballroom at the San Francisco convention of the Orthopsychiatric Convention, April 14, 1966. The theme had to do with the differential moral values in welfare law and administration.

From New York Post, March, 1966: A recent study conducted for Mobilization for Youth has revealed that Negro and Puerto Rican children have been found severely deficient in visual perception, a key skill required in the process of learning to read, it was revealed. The findings were announced by Dr. S. Alan Cohen, assistant professor of education at Yeshiva University and MFY consultant, who said: "The most distressing finding of all was that 40 per cent of the children tested
had severe -- really severe -- visual perception problems . Considering all the other problems they have, it's a wonder they learn to read at all. Actually, many of them very nearly don't."

The Utah Association for the Blind will hold its annual convention Saturday, May 21, at the Murray B. Allen Center in Salt Lake City. Sessions will be held at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. According to a notice from President Tessie N. Jones an interesting program is planned. There will be elections for president and treasurer.

Wilmar Froistad retired as Executive Director of the Clovernook (Ohio) Home and School for the Blind on April 1. His successor is Mr. Donald W. Reed, previously director of the Blind Association of Central Ohio.

His fellow teachers in the Mira Costa High School, Manhattan Beach, California, and the other blind teachers throughout the State were shocked to hear of the sudden death of Ralph Day, 33, on March 28, 1966, while he was attending the guide dog school in San Rafael, California, getting a new guide dog.

Ralph was a graduate, B.A. and M.A. of Pepperdine College, Los Angeles, and was in the midst of his first year of teaching at Mira Costa. Mr. Carl Fisher, Principal of Mira Costa, praised the positive intangible quality of the work done by Ralph with his students. Ralph lost his sight when serving in the U.S. Coastguard, during the Korean War.

Back to Contents