Voice of the National Federation of the Blind
Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Published monthly in braille, and distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind. President: Kenneth Jernigan, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Inkprint edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind.
EDITOR: Perry Sundquist, 4651 Mead Avenue Sacramento, California 95822. Associate Editor: Hazel tenBroek, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
News items should be sent to the Editor.
Address changes should be sent to 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California, 94708.
If you or a friend wish to remember the National Federation of the Blind in your will, you can do so by employing the following language:
"I give, devise, and bequeath unto NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND, a District of Columbia non-profit corporation, the sum of $_____ (or, "__ percent of my net estate", or "the following stocks and bonds: ____") to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons and to be held and administered by direction of its Executive Committee."
If your wishes are more complex, you may have your attorney communicate with the Berkeley Office for other suggested forms.
"BLIND POWER"--DIALOGUE AT A DISTANCE
by Kenneth Jernigan
NFB SPONSORED BILLS PENDING BEFORE THE 91st CONGRESS
AS OF MARCH 1, 1970
by John Nagle
ARE MEDICAL CARE PROGRAMS COSTING TOO MUCH--AND WHY?
BUTTE GETS NEW MUSIC TEACHER
by Marcia Lee
COURT RULES NEEDS OF BLIND MUST BE MET
by Judy Carlos
REVOLUTIONIZING NOTIONS ABOUT BLINDNESS
by Bill Nelson
QUOTES FROM MY AFRICAN LETTERS--GHANA
by Dr. Isabelle L.D. Grant
MEET OUR STATE AFFILIATE--MASSACHUSETTS
TWIN VISION HONORED AGAIN
by Haig Keropian
A YEAR OF PROGRESS IN IDAHO
THE BLIND READ ORDINARY PRINT
by J. Campbell Bruce
A SIGNIFICANT SUPREME COURT DECISION
CANOEING BUILDS CONFIDENCE IN BLIND PERSONS
by Ralph Lightfoot
BEGINNING A TRANSCRIBING GROUP
by Florence Grannis
by Kenneth Jernigan
Recently Mike Ewart of Maryland sent me an article from "The Village Voice," an underground newspaper published in Greenwich Village, New York. Not only did I find the article interesting but I wondered whether these people were part of our movement and what they were really doing to improve the condition of the blind.
Rallying of the Blinks in a (Short-) Sighted City
by F. Joseph Spieler
A rainy day can be a drag for the blind, for the sound of tapping umbrellas is the sound of tapping canes.
"Hey, someone's coming," called Pat Logan, as a rapping sound came down the stairs of the elevated subway at 90th Street and Elmhurst Avenue in Queens. "No, it's just an umbrella."
"Darn," she said, and continued her wait with others for more blind people whom she would escort to her home for a meeting of the Blind Power Movement.
A movement of mainly high school and college students, it wants to stimulate and serve--at first--the youth of a blind population that numbers 40,000 in the city. Somewhat to the left in individual persuasion, though non-partisan in its goals, it sees itself in confrontation with the stereotype of the blind as sub-human or super-human ("Oh, look at that blind man, how sad and empty his life must be"--"I know this blind girl, it's fantastic, she plays the piano and 12-string guitar, and she's only 16!"), with an industrial society that assumes it has less use for the blind than did Homer's Greece, and with New York's state and private service organizations, which, after standing pat on their pioneering efforts years ago, have become top-heavy and self-serving bureaucracies that bind the blind to a system that rewards conformity and punishes dissent, but whose greater evil is to effectively segregate its clients from sighted society.
Walking from the subway to the apartment that 20-year-old Pat, a student at New York University, shares with her mother, seven blinks ("that's our own sub-culture word for ourselves") talked about President Nixon, the Moratorium, drugs, rock records, and various goings-on at the institutions for the blind. Jerry, a black high school student, talked with a sighted (their word for you) about being blind.
"Maybe I was kind of up tight with you before, but you have to understand that sighted people have so many preconceptions about us that it can get to be a pain in the ---." In addition to being blind, we're supposed to be emotionally disturbed, too loud, picky, helpless. It always messes them up to find that we're like them, that we're involved in the same things they are, have the same bags and hangups--except that we have no vision."
The last is important, for the lack of vision in the blind does not imply the inability to "see." Pierre Villey, a blind psychologist, once wrote: "Sight is long-distance touch, with the sensation of color added. Touch is near sight, minus the sensation of color, and with the sense of rugosity added. The two senses give us knowledge of the same order."
Soon gathered in Pat's room--any young woman's room, with the addition of two tape recorders, a television set ("I like to watch Johnny Carson"), and other sound equipment--were sixteen persons involved in pre-meeting pleasantries. After a few minutes, Lynne, a diminutive seventeen-year-old high-schooler, began axing private conversation by calling it "irrelevant," and the movement's third meeting began.
Fitfully chaired by Jerry, the gathering sifted legitimate from personal grievances, split into contentious factions, and then unified itself and put a series of goals on Braille.
The agencies for the blind received the heaviest specific criticism. These institutions, of which the largest in this city are the Jewish Guild for the Blind, The Industrial Home for the Blind, and the Lighthouse (the New York Association for the Blind), provide, in part, mobility lessons (how to travel), evaluation programs for students, Braille, typing, sensory training, manual dexterity instruction, home economics, and reader services. Some run "sheltered workshops"--where blind workers make simple handicrafts for varying rates of pay. Some receive money from state agencies--mainly the Rehabilitation and Counseling Service--for mobility lessons and evaluation testing.
The meeting was unanimous in its anger over what it felt is the arbitrariness shown by the agencies in their dealings with clients (the agencies' word), their closed mouthedness about information (Wesley D. Sprague, executive director of the Lighthouse, when asked recently how many blind workers were employed by his agency, replied with a long and windy discourse on the meaninglessness of statistics), and the narrowness of their job training programs (the Lighthouse, for example, will train people, regardless of talent, for only three jobs--piano tuning, transcription typing, and newstand vending).
The young people made a special point of telling a visitor how they felt about being talked down to, and being "tested, tested, and re-tested." They said that the agencies' subtle, invidious message was that the social and vocational freedom of the blind was severely limited and that they were not to forget how dependent they were on agency support.
"Of course," said Jerry, "they'll deny everything and call us paranoid when we say that."
In fact, a sighted executive near the top of one agency's hierarchy came close to labeling the movement's sentiments in just that fashion.--"Sure, they think they're being given a raw deal," he said, "but they're just youngsters. Why I remember I rebelled as a kid myself, and in a way it's good for them."
Yet a recent study of the blind, "The Making of Blind Men" by Robert A, Scott, discussions with sympathetic professional workers in the agencies, and a talk with William Underwood, an educational specialist for the American Foundation for the Blind, a national consultative agency that carries Helen Keller's legacy, indicate that Jerry and others in the movement--who, like many blind clients and agency workers, are fearful that full identification will lose them their services and jobs--are neither paranoid nor juvenile.
Scott's work, published this year by the Russell Sage Foundation, says that self-conceptions of the blind contrast sharply with those held by workers for the blind, who regard blindness as "one of the most severe of all handicaps," "Socialization" of the agency's client, a process that Scott describes as learning "the disability of blindness (as a) social role," depends on "changing his views about his problem. In order to do this, the client's views about the problem of blindness must be discredited." The client "is listened to attentively and sympathetically. However, when concrete plans are formulated, the client learns that his personal views are largely ignored." A blind person who simply asks for help with reading can wind up facing a battery of psychological tests. If he asks for medical aid, he may be asked to involve himself in a long, complex series of tests, training classes, and re-tests.
Blind persons acceptable to the agency, Scott says, "will often find that the intake worker listens attentively to their views but then dismisses them as superficial or inaccurate." The result of such treatment, Scott says, is that the client's ability to act and think independently is severely diminished. Because "the workers have a virtual monopoly on the rewards and punishments in the system," he continues, the client ends up by conforming to the worker's conception of what a blind person should be.
Underwood agrees. "To get the services of the blind agencies, the blind individual must conform to the system, and let's face it, blind kids entering high school and college need their services."
One woman who holds a responsible position at the Lighthouse, afraid that the use of even her first name would lead to her detection and firing, confirmed Scott's description in detail. "The thing I absolutely can't stand is the way they pretend to like blind people--the hypocrisy is sad, it's sickening." She recalled an incident in which some blinks, after meeting at the Lighthouse with a psychologist, asked the doctor out for a drink at a nearby bar. Some staff people heard about it and, horrified at the possibilities, rounded up the imbibers into cabs and sent them home.
But beyond the textbook understanding and occasional good intentions of agency staff lies the fact that a small, intelligent, energetic, and growing Blind Power Movement has entered what social scientists anesthetizingly refer to as "the revolution of rising expectations." The foremost of their goals is "the education of the public to break down stereotypes about the blind, with particular emphasis on the consideration of individual intelligence and talent by educators, employers, and blind agencies.
Second is "increased and diversified job placement, with research into new areas where blind people can find challenging and stimulating work." (Perhaps nothing gives the young blind the sense of paternalistic manipulation as much as the agencies' vocational training classes, such as those run by the Lighthouse.)
The Blind Power Movement makes several other demands:
--A large increase in the number of blind staff workers in the agencies. (The movement members and their staff sympathizers speak of agencies' systematic placing in middle-management jobs of blind Uncle Tom workers who dead-end any innovative and experimental impulses among the clients. One revealing figure is that only one blind person sits on the Lighthouse's thirty-eight-man board of directors. Imagine all but one of the board of directors of the NAACP in 1969 being white.)
--"Expansion of self-help programs tied to public schooling to eliminate the need for special schools for the blind, which tend to reinforce the segregation of the blind."
--The creation of "instruction groups in which blind instructors would teach parents how to provide their blind offspring with more mobility--and hence independence--at an earlier age."
--Tutoring in such special areas as science and math so they may achieve competitive status with sighted students.
The movement is not heady. As well as taking on the agencies--which in the public image have halos around their offices--there is the problem of what Richard Adcock, a seventeen-year-old who attends Grover Cleveland High, calls the "unorganized blind"--those frightened of losing their agency's services if they join the movement, those who are unaware of the movement (publicity and meetings pose special problems for the blind), and those who feel they can do it on their own.
Joseph Ciccone is one who would like to do it alone. Though he earned a B.A. degree in economics from City College in 1967, he has, at twenty-five, been trained as a piano tuner. He has also taught himself electronics, holds a general-class ham license, and is attempting to start a business as a free-lance recording technician, using his own impressive equipment. "It's not easy, you always have to fight against the same thing--'a blind recording technician?'" Though his own experience with blind agencies would have enabled him to write much of Scott's criticism, Ciccone feels that energy on behalf of the blind should be directed at prying open the job market. Unable to get a job in his academic field, he qualified himself for work as a radio announcer and studio technician--but not one station in this city's progressive media consented to offer him even a tryout. "It was always 'we can't hire blind people' or 'we'll put you on our list and get back to you before not too long,' but they never did."
He wishes the movement well but is pessimistic. "Numbers," he says, "that's the whole thing about organizing the blind--the numbers aren't there."
But the movement doesn't think so. Its activists say the meetings--which are open to sighted people--are drawing a growing membership, and that they are earning sympathy and tacit support from progressive agency workers. "What we need now," said Pat Logan, "is publicity, publicity, publicity."
After reading this article I wrote to Bill Dwyer, President of our New York affiliate, The Empire State Association of the Blind, and to Sam Wolff, President of the Triboro Chapter of the Empire State Association of the Blind:
April 3, 1970
Mr. William Dwyer
94 Third Avenue
Rensselaer, New York 12144
I am sending the enclosed article to you and Sam Wolff to ask whether you know anything about this "Blind Power" group. If they are any good, we ought to get hold of them and bring them into the movement. Maybe they are in the movement. If so, I have never heard of them.
Sam, do you know these people? Can you get in touch with them and see what they are like?
Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind
Almost immediately I received a response from Sam Wolff, who said in part:
"This is in response to yours of April 3rd regarding the blind power movement; I have just gotten off the telephone with the party I believe is their leader. She is intelligent, young, and one of the people who I have placed two years ago; she called to tell me of a job opening for another blind person in the hospital where she works. The young lady and her group have little liking for "talk" or organizations. It is unfortunate that their opinion of the Triboro Chapter is one of "all talk and no action," and this group feels similarly to the ESAB Inc. and the New York State Commission for the Blind as well. The blind power movement is a revolt against apathy and inactivity.
"I happen to have good dialogue with some of the people in the blind power movement, but they want no part of the ... much talk and no accomplishment."
I replied as follows:
April 13, 1970
Mr. Sam Wolff, President
Triboro Chapter of the ESAB
11 Park Place
New York, New York 10007
If the members of the blind power movement, as they call themselves, are really interested in action, then they should join the Triboro Chapter and, thereby, the Empire State Association and the NFB. Otherwise, regardless of their protestations, they will do more talking than acting, or they will waste their effort in an isolated, fragmentary demonstration, which will end up by doing more harm than good.
One of the most tiresome aspects of the so called "power" movements (whether black, blind, student, or something else) is their seeming arrogance, apparently based on lack of historical knowledge. As Roy Wilkins of the NAACP put it, there were people working to achieve civil rights (and with some effectiveness) before 1954. Otherwise, the first desegregation decisions of the Supreme Court would not have occurred in that year. These things did not happen by accident.
Likewise, the difference between the condition of the blind now and in 1940 when the National Federation of the Blind came into being is profound. Such rehabilitation as now exists (and it is considerable); Aid payments and exempt earnings; and the whole range of improved public attitudes, can all in substantial measure, be traced to the "action" of the organized blind movement, including the "action" of the Empire State Association of the Blind. Even so, many of the agencies for the blind have made real contributions, and some of them are working as constructively and progressively as could be hoped. While we are on the subject, Robert Scott is not a complete paragon of virtue but has some of the grossest misconceptions I have ever met. Things are just not as simple as the "blind power" group would apparently like to have them. However that may be, the real hope for the future of the blind lies in the organized blind movement--the National Federation of the Blind.
It is true that organizations often flounder, that we very often bicker, that local chapters some times do not even have enough talent among their membership to carry on a meaningful or worthwhile meeting. It is true that, despite all of our efforts, more blind people are unrehabilitated than employed and that more of the unemployed are living on starvation welfare checks than adequate grants. It is true that most of the comparatively few blind persons who have been successful still think they are superior to the rest of the blind and feel that they made it on their own and that they want to identify and associate with the sighted--except, of course, when they deign to do something "to be of help to other blind persons since I don't really need anything myself and there is nothing the organization can do for me." In fact, if all of these things were not true, we would not have the pressing need which we have to build and strengthen our organization. The very fact that so many blind persons are inactive and apparently more interested in recreation and talking than in political action, that they submit to custodialism with seeming gratitude, that they want the emphasis to be on coffee and cake (very often provided by somebody else) at their local meetings—-this fact illustrates and emphasizes the need.
All of the idealism, brains, courage, objection to hypocrisy, and just plain guts do not reside in that segment of the population under thirty. No age group has a corner on these virtues, and it constitutes arrogance and hypocrisy to delude oneself into believing that such is the case. The so called "power" movements often emphasize "rights" to the exclusion of responsibility and, in childlike innocence, blandly ignore long-range consequences, thus doing more to damage than help the cause they profess to support.
Yes, we need action and not just talk, and the NFB is where the action is. If the disability bill passes (with 180 million dollars in the pockets of blind persons the first year) it will be the organized blind who bring it about--the sheltered shopworkers, the welfare recipients, the unemployed, the uneducated--the people who, despite all odds, had the courage and the sense to stick together and work for a goal. If (and it will come) the climate of public opinion changes so that the average blind person can be judged on his individual merit, can be accepted for what he is instead of being victimized by prejudice and discrimination, it will be the organized blind (with all their shortcomings) who bring it about. It will not be the individual "successful" blind person, who thinks he is too good to associate with the rest of us; it will not be the agency for the blind; and it will not be the small, snobbish, elite groups, who think they are too good to associate with their intellectual inferiors, who think they are above going to a routine chapter meeting and helping to plan a Christmas party or talk about the humdrum details of here and now.
We need the members of this "blind power" group in New York City, as we need all blind persons in our movement--the old and the young, the stupid and the wise, the employed and the unemployed, the rich and the poor; but we need them with some humility. They should realize that they (all of them) have benefited tremendously by the efforts of the organized blind movement, even if they have never heard of it. The job opportunites and the social climate are better today than they were a generation ago because of what has already been done, and the blind of our day have some responsibility and obligation to make it still better for themselves and the coming generation. However, they also have the obligation to be grateful for what they have already received from those who have been on the firing line before them.
I hope you will contact your friend who is in the blind power movement and read her this letter. She may not like it, but perhaps it will cause her to do some thinking. The NFB is on the move, and we need all active blind persons of good will to join in the battle. Tell her that if the organization (whether at local, state, or national level) is not what she would have it be, she should join and make it better, not simply gripe about it from the outside.
Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind
Back to Contents
by John Nagle
As of March 1, 1970, NFB sponsored legislation stood as follows:
H.R. 3782, introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman James A. Burke, Massachusetts, and S. 2518, introduced in the United States Senate by Senator Vance Hartke, Indiana, are identical bills that would allow any person who meets the legal definition of blindness and who has worked for a year and one-half in Social Security-covered work, to draw disability insurance payments so long as he remains blind and regardless of the amount of his earnings. Of the 435 members of the House of Representatives, 185 have introduced measures identical to the Burke Disability Insurance to the Blind Bill. Of the twenty-five members of the Ways and Means Committee, the committee in the House of Representatives which has jurisdiction over Social Security amending bills, eleven members (seven Democrats and four Republicans) have introduced bills companion to H.R. 3782, and four other Democrats on the committee have agreed to support H.R. 3782 in committee. On October 27, 1969, John Nagle, NFB spokesman in Washington, presented strong arguments in support of the disability insurance for the blind bill in public hearings conducted by the House Ways and Means Committee on Social Security matters.
The Ways and Means Committee reported out of committee a Social Security-Welfare Bill early in March and is expected shortly to consider other possible changes in Social Security-based programs, at which time, Congressman Burke will endeavor to secure committee approval of H.R. 3782.
When Senator Hartke introduced S. 2518, the disability insurance for the blind bill in the United States Senate, of the other ninety-nine members, sixty-seven joined as co-sponsors of the bill. Of the seventeen members of the Finance Committee, the Senate Committee with jurisdiction over Social Security-amending proposals, ten are listed as S. 2518 co-sponsors, six of the ten Democratic members, four of the seven Republican members.
S. 1475, introduced in the United States Senate by Senator Vance Hartke, would make several much-needed and long-striven for alterations in the Federal-State programs of aid to the needy blind. It would make public assistance a stimulant to independence not only in the economic sense, but in the areas of daily living as well. Social services needed to achieve this independence would be at the request of the recipient and not forced upon him as a present. It would require that the needs of the individual due to his
blindness or other disabling causes, be recognized and met in both the Aid Grant and Medical Care.
S. 1475 would write into the statute that increases in the Federal share of payments must be "passed-on" to recipients, and it would abolish the means test. This Hartke-Federation Measure would also remove the time limitation on the retention of income and resources in considering the grant of a blind person who has an approved plan for rehabilitation. Federal financial participation in money payments would be increased by a new matching formula: raise the present basic grant of $31.00 of the first $37.00 to $42.80 of the first $50.00; raise the present matching ceiling from $75.00 to $100.00 with the variable grant formula determining an additional Federal share of 50% to 66% of the difference between $50 and $100.
S. 1476, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Vance Hartke, would mandatorily exempt increases in Social Security payments from consideration as income in determining the amount of an aid grant, and thus, would eliminate the present practice of reducing an aid grant by the amount of the raise in the Social Security payment.
H.R. 2378, introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Carl Perkins, Kentucky, and S. 1477, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Vance Hartke, identical bills, would extend Medicare, presently available only to Social Security-retired persons over the age of sixty-five, so as to provide hospital and medical care coverage for disability insurance beneficiaries within the existing Medicare system.
H.R. 9453, introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman James M. O'Hara, Michigan, would amend the National Labor Relations Act to recognize and protect the rights of handicapped persons employed in Sheltered Workshops to organize and bargain collectively through their chosen representatives with shop management.
S. 2461, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Jennings Randolph, West Virginia, joined by fifty-one co-sponsoring senators, was developed by representatives of all national organizations and agencies in the blind field, and it would:
Assign income from vending machines exclusively to blind operators of vending stands;
Broaden types of articles and services that can be sold in vending stands;
Remove one-year residence requirements from vending stand programs;
Require that there be suitable sites for the location of vending stands on all property occupied by Federal departments and agencies;
Include an arbitration-type fair hearing procedure to assure blind operators of vending stands of impartial adjudication of their complaints and grievances;
Include an arbitration-type appeals procedure for use when state-licensing agencies are disatisfied with the results of their dealings with Federal departments and agencies;
Expand a definition of vending stand to include vending machines, cafeterias, snack-bars and cart service;
Provide for a judicial review of decisions affecting the vending stand program.
Back to Contents
As of the first of this year seven new Medicaid programs--in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and North Carolina--began operating. Medicaid programs are now in operation in forty-eight of the fifty States. Only Alaska and Arizona do not participate. Last year over ten million needy and low-income persons received medical assistance under Medicaid.
Federal law requires that all State Medicaid programs include persons receiving public assistance money payments under federally supported programs for the aged, the blind, the disabled, and members of families with dependent children. States may extend eligibility to the "medically needy"--persons otherwise qualified for aid under one of the four categories who, although they are self-supporting, are unable to pay for necessary medical care. Of the seven new Medicaid States, only North Carolina includes the medically needy.
All Medicaid programs include the following: inpatient hospital care; outpatient hospital services; other laboratory and x-ray services; skilled nursing home services for individuals twenty-one and older; early and periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment of eligible individuals under twenty-one; and physicians' services. Federal contributions to States for medical assistance range from fifty per cent (to the richest States) to eighty-three per cent (to the State with the lowest per capita income) of medical care costs. The Medicaid program is authorized by title XIX of the Social Security Act.
Medicare, authorized by title XVIII of the Social Security Act, consists of two parts, and is available to all persons aged sixty-five or older, and who are covered by Social Security. Part A is hospital insurance protection and no monthly premium is paid by the insured. Part B covers medical insurance providing for the part payment of physicians' services, home health visits, and a number of other medical and health services prescribed by the physician. The insured pays a monthly premium for this coverage, which is matched by the Federal Government.
These medical care programs continue to be in deep trouble because of the skyrocketing costs. The staff of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee recently completed an eighteen-month investigation of the programs. The report found the present formula for reimbursing hospitals and nursing homes for "reasonable" costs of treating patients had, in practice, proved to be too generous. As for doctors, the report said their incomes have been "inflated" by the programs.
The study made several recommendations, all tending to limit the size of payments to doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes. Under Medicaid the patient pays nothing. Under Medicare, he now pays $4 a month and the Federal Government pays an additional $4. The administration has, however, ordered the fee paid by the insured under Medicare to be increased to $5.30 effective July 1, 1970. The fact that costs under both programs continue to soar has led Senator Russell Long, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to predict that "some of the staff suggestions undoubtedly will become law."
As a result of the staff study, the Nixon administration has proposed ceilings on hospital and physician charges under the Medicare and Medicaid programs. John G. Veneman, Under-Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare disclosed administration plans to ask the Congress to replace the present criteria of "reasonable cost" and "reasonable charge" for government reimbursement with either negotiated or imposed ceilings.
"Neither the reasonable cost nor the reasonable charge criteria established in the law have provided opportunity for major cost-control efforts," Veneman said. The Under-Secretary outlined the cost-cutting proposals in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee. Veneman said the administration wants the new cost limits for the hospital portion of both Medicare and Medicaid and for physician charges under Medicare but not Medicaid.
Veneman outlined three possible methods for determining hospital cost ceilings that would provide incentives for efficiency. "With rates set in advance, a provider would be challenged to stay within the limits of the known reimbursement to be received and the provider would share in the savings that come from economies that are achieved through effective management," he said. "I believe also that the law should be changed so as to limit further the rate at which increases in physicans' fees would be recognized by Medicare," Veneman continued. He said the administration supports a fee schedule that would increase only in proportion to a general index of cost of medical care.
Back to Contents
by Marcia Lee
[Reprinted from the Butte, Montana Standard.]
"My problems will be no different than those of any other new teacher." The speaker was Dorothy Dunn, new music teacher at the Emerson School.
Miss Dunn has been blind since birth but has overcome her handicap to excel in her field. She was graduated in music with a high grade average from Montana State University last March. Miss Dunn, who prefers to be called Dede, said, "I chose to come to Butte because the people here are so friendly. If people are friendly you can do anything and I figured I would rather be somewhere I know people will like me.”
A native of Bozeman, Dede attended the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind in Great Falls. She also took courses at the College of Great Falls for two years and then went to MSU. Scholarships and grants were numerous for Dede. The Rehabilitation Services for the Visually Handicapped paid for part of her education and helped her get braille music books. She is listed in "Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities," and received many advanced honor scholarships for tuition. The Treble Cleff Club in Livingston gave her two scholarships. In addition to studying at MSU, she joined a sorority, "So I could do some social things." She was also choir director at the MSU Newman Center.
Her love for music is apparent. She said, "Voice is my main instrument and I have given five vocal recitals. I love to sing opera and German songs and good popular things but they have to be worth singing. I don't like trite music." As a music teacher at Emerson School, she will have about eighteen classes from grades three to six. She noted, "I'm going to teach my kids good music. That's one of my goals. They have to know music of all kinds so they can decide what they like."
Dede said she got her start in music from her grandmother who used to sing when she was small. "I've been singing from the time I was two and that's how I really got interested in it. I've always had a great love for music." The decision to teach music came like this, "I feel I can do things in it and I wanted to be a teacher because I admired my own. I want to affect lives of other students like my teachers affected mine."
Understandably some things for a blind teacher will be a little different. Dede said "I don't want things to be distorted because I'm blind. One problem I worry about is getting all the students' names and voices sorted out." She added, "This is a problem all teachers encounter though." Miss Dunn's students will identify themselves out loud instead of raising their hands. She mentioned an experience when she was student teaching when the students raised their hands and couldn't figure out why Dede didn't call on them. She laughed, "Actually I'm flattered when someone forgets I'm blind."
Her teaching books are braille and Dede said, "I'm going to memorize them as much as I can because I can sing better when I don't have to look at the music." A braille writer, something like a typewriter, is used by Miss Dunn for classwork.
Dede was one of forty-two members of the MSU Chorale who toured Europe under the Institute of European Studies last summer. They gave nine concerts. Her memories of Europe are many and she said, "We all had a great time and I think I saw more of Europe than the other kids." She explained, "One of my teachers described everything to me in detail so I really saw everything." Dede's friends and teachers would ask museum officials if she could touch art objects because she couldn't see them, and they usually let her. She said, "I felt a foot of a sculpture by Michaelangelo."
The Chorale toured Germany, Austria, Italy and Belgium. They sang with European choirs and Dede said, "There are no barriers when we are all singing together. Music does that for people."
Dede said, "Here in Butte the attitude of the people is so good. In some other places, people are uncomfortable about the blind. Here we both feel very comfortable." This girl of strong convictions is quick to mention one thing. "A blind person is just as capable as another person and people should know this."
Back to Contents
by Judy Carlos
[Reprinted from the Las Vegas, Nevada Sun.]
"Must the blind beg in the streets to live?"
A. William Villa, a Las Vegas blind man, shouted that question from the welfare offices to the state capitol for the past two years.
Yesterday the Nevada Supreme Court said, "No."
The result could cost the State Welfare Division thousands if the decision were applied across the board to blind welfare recipients. The Court ruled that the State Welfare Division must pay the "actual need" of blind persons receiving state aid. Their unanimous decision came as a result not of Villa's begging but his persistent and angry fight in the courts and news media. Villa had been receiving $198 a month. He claimed his actual need was $219. State welfare officials had countered for two and a half long years with the argument that the law which read "actual need," also implied that the state was not obliged to pay if the money was not available in the budget.
Yesterday Chief Justice Jon Collins, writing the majority opinion for the Court, said, "We hold that the Welfare Division's definition of actual need is not reasonable and the application of that principle in denying Villa's request for an increase in his allowance is arbitrary and capricious." However, some confusion was left behind--at least in the mind of State Welfare Chief George Miller and Welfare Board Chairman Keith MacDonald. Miller said the ruling may mean they have to make retroactive payments to Villa, but it doesn't mean anything in connection with current cases.
Villa's suit in District Court was filed before the last Legislature erased the words "actual need" from the statute. MacDonald, however, said, "It probably means a lot of trouble" for the Welfare Division. "We don't have the money to pay for actual needs as determined by the Supreme Court," MacDonald said. "It's against the law also to pay more than the Legislature appropriated." Villa declared the ruling a victory for all blind people in the state. The Court said it did not feel there was any question before it relative to the loss of federal funds.
Some blind citizens are claiming outside the courts that the state contracts with the federal government for specified monies per recipient and may have violated its agreement when Miller's division cut the allowances of some recipients two years ago.
From the first cut Villa had declared that the State Welfare Board was "substituting its book of self-serving regulations for the law." Taking his guide dog, Kyle, the pugnacious Villa carried his fight to the halls of the Legislature and then claimed he was dealt a doublecross by Senate Finance Committeemen who told him they were preparing a bill to his liking when they were not. "I didn't know until I got home and a friend could read it to me," he complained. "Then it was too late," He came home to berate State Welfare officials in person and on the air, and to demand that he be allowed to accompany other blind persons to local hearings where their eligibility and allowances were to be adjudged.
Finally, represented by a friend, Harry Claiborne, he filed suit. The District Court turned him down. Claiborne took the dispute to the Supreme Court but not until after months of delay on the part of the Attorney General's office. During that intervening period the state statute was cleansed of the words "actual need."
The Supreme Court said yesterday that the Welfare Division is obligated to fix uniform state standards "according to the reasonable actual needs of blind recipients and pay them such sums insofar as there are available funds." The Court added, however, "We do not decide what rights, if any, Villa may have against the state should there be insufficient money appropriated by the Legislature to meet his actual needs for the entire fiscal year." Welfare officials explained that after the Legislature appropriates a certain amount to the blind the division sets standards and figures to regulate how the money shall be apportioned
Back to Contents
by Bill Nelson
[Editor's Note: Reprinted by permission from the Christian Science Monitor. Copyright 1970 The Christian Science Publishing Society. All rights reserved.]
Kenneth Jernigan has always been determined that lack of sight would not ruin his life. As a young man, he opened a furniture shop. He designed and assembled tables, smokestands, lamps.
"I sawed and planed, drilled and measured, fitted and sanded," he said. "I did every single operation except the final finish work--the staining and varnishing."
Later, as a psychological counselor and instructor at the California Orientation Center for the Adult Blind, he discovered that the blind were varnishing as a matter of routine. Soon he, too, had learned.
The experience jarred him.
"I did a lot of soul searching after that," says Mr. Jernigan. "I considered myself a progressive, but I had sold myself short."
Ever since, Mr. Jernigan--now a national figure in the rehabilitation of the blind--often ponders the question of what the blind still exclude from their lives that is actually within grasp.
He reminds his students, "It's not 'what can I do?' but 'how can I do it?'"
Mr. Jernigan leads a life full of activity. He water skis. He plays a rousing game of hearts. He reads voraciously. He writes articles. He barbecues. As a public speaker, he charms audiences. He hikes, swims, and travels across the country without assistance. And he cuts wood ("you'll never feel self-pity at the end of a cross-cut saw,” he tells trainees).
Blind since birth, Mr. Jernigan is a dynamo around whom controversy has long swirled. Who is this outspoken activist who has made such a splash in the training of the blind?
His early years were spent on a farm in Tennessee's boondocks in the days before TVA. The twentieth century had not yet penetrated his homeland. There was no running water; no indoor plumbing; no electricity; no radio; no auto. He rode to town in a buggy.
But the humble origin couldn't dim this blind boy's brilliance. He climbed to the top of his class in training school. Then came a big test--college--Tennessee Polytechnical Institute. A blind student in a sighted school seldom finds the going easy.
An irascible biology professor shook his head when Mr. Jernigan tapped his way into the classroom.
"It's ridiculous for a blind person to take the course, but the dean made me let you do it," he barked. "But I think you'll fail."
"Just treat me like anyone else," Mr. Jernigan answered quietly. "Give me a chance and don't prejudge me--that's all I ask."
Four years later, he had an almost unblemished string of A's. And he had been a campus leader. In 1949 he earned his master's degree at Peabody College in Nashville and the American Foundation for the Blind named him the nation's outstanding blind student.
Nine years as an educator of the blind in Tennessee and California shaped a philosophy that would speed past what other states or agencies dared or dreamed of attempting. Negative thinking, Mr. Jernigan noted, had held the blind in bondage too long.
It was time for the pendulum to swing the other way.
Iowa in 1959 took a gamble and hired this energetic blind man to lead the blind. For Mr. Jernigan, the job called for both a pay cut to $5,500 and the toughest challenge of his life. What he found in Iowa would have turned away a lesser man.
The state placed last in vocational rehabilitation of the blind. Only a handful of its 6,000 blind could be classified as rehabilitated (able to obtain and hold a job).
Iowa's blind had no library service of their own. The Iowa Commission for the Blind was housed in three dingy rooms. Materials were stacked haphazardly. Lighting was poor, paint peeling, plaster cracking. Staff morale was at rock bottom. An atmosphere of defeat and hopelessness permeated the program.
Mr. Jernigan wasn't daunted. "The situation is really in my favor," he confided to friends. "There's no bric-a-brac to clear away. We can build afresh."
When Kenneth Jernigan took over the Iowa Commission for the Blind in 1959 he was faced with an enormous task. Facilities were lacking and morale was low. He began by asking for more funds, and offered to resign if he didn't produce impressive results quickly.
The former YMCA--a seven-story building in downtown Des Moines--was bought. It was transformed into the Iowa Orientation and Rehabilitation Center, the heartbeat of the Commission's program. The sightless director designed the project himself, using Braille blueprints.
Mr. Jernigan assembled a staff that grew to more than sixty.
"This is a crusade," he told his aides. They would be blazing trails through the thick underbrush of misconceptions.
A revolution was necessary, he said. A revolution in society's beliefs about blindness. Stereotypes would have to be shattered--the image of helplessness, incompetency, dependency; the image of abnormality, equating lack of sight with lack of sense; the image of the blind being broken men and women, impaired, imbalanced, imperfect.
Blindness, Mr. Jernigan declared, is a nuisance, not a handicap. Certainly the blind can't drive trucks or run for touchdowns. But, with proper training, the average blind man can perform as well as the average sighted man in most jobs.
By using alternative techniques. Elementary schoolteacher Judy Young, for instance, uses Braille teaching guides; her class materials are translated by a Jewish sisterhood, and she hires an assistant to read schoolwork aloud so she can make corrections.
By approaching situations with an "I can figure out a way to do it" philosophy, the blind can rise to the mainstream of life, Mr. Jernigan says.
"They can become first-class citizens. They can live in dignity. They can be contributing members of society."
Such a credo has no place for custodialism, isolation, and sheltered employment.
Colliding head-on with traditions, Mr. Jernigan's bold philosophy met vigorous criticism.
"You are misleading the blind as to the severity and consequences of blindness," critics declared.
Associations for the blind, some educators, and even federal officals voiced grave misgivings.
Theories can be challenged, Mr. Jernigan conceded, but results speak for themselves.
The rehabilitation program lasts six to ten months and its cornerstone is mobility.
Using a long, fiber-glass cane as an antenna, trainees tap their way along streets and through buildings. Arching the four-and-a-half-foot cane a step and a half ahead, they learn to move around comfortably. Their ears and nose serve as their eyes. The sounds and feel of the cane provide mental pictures. So do the noises of traffic and pedestrians, the smells of stores, bakeries, and service stations, the air currents coming around a corner.
It takes a lot of practice to develop this ability--two hours daily and at least a half-year training. But the results are responses that make independent mobility a reality.
"The white cane is a symbol of strength, not a sign of infirmity," one foreign visitor observed.
The blind stroll around Iowa's capital so easily that Mr. Jernigan's program has come to be known as "The Miracle of Des Moines." Walking skills, of course, can be adapted to any community in which the blind live.
One graduate of the center, vivacious Jan Omvig, for example, travels alone to New York City. She browses through shops, takes in plays, goes on tours--everything the average tourist would do.
Trainees swim in the pool, hold cookouts, ride horses and tandem bicycles, lift weights, water ski, drive nails, fix leaky faucets, sharpen their skills with Braille. Women cut out patterns, sew clothes, and bake cakes. Techniques of grooming, dressing, and eating are practiced at length. In shop courses, men learn to use bandsaws, jointers, shapers, and milling machines. None has special guards.
The center graduates fifty to seventy adults a year. Directly into the competitive world they go. The careers they've forged impress even the skeptics.
Curtis Willoughby and Lloyd Rasmussen are successful electrical engineers. Jim Gashel teaches speech in Pipestone, Minnesota. Richard Bevington, Ted Hart, and Ray Benson work as machinists. Kenneth Hopkins directs the Idaho program for the blind, which is modeled after Iowa's. Jim Omvig is an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board. Elwyn Hemken operates a farm.
The list goes on and on. Computer programmers, tool and die makers, secretaries, vending-stand operators, masseurs, social workers, telephone operators.
They're showing that the blind are capable of independent, self-sustaining lives. And the rehabilitations save the state from $75,000 to $100,000 per individual in relief costs over a lifetime.
Now in his second decade in Iowa, Mr. Jernigan has risen to the presidency of the National Federation of the Blind. His ideas have had a profound effect nationally. And Iowa's library for the blind has grown to be the largest in the world.
In awarding Mr. Jernigan a presidential citation in 1968, Harold Russell, chairman of the President's Committee of Employment of the Handicapped, said:
"If a person must be blind, it is better to be blind in Iowa than anywhere else in the world. Iowa's rehabilitation programs are unsurpassed anywhere--a mark for the rest of the world to shoot at."
Back to Contents
by Dr. Isabelle L.D. Grant
It was a long way to Ghana from Morocco. Summer flights were off in October so you went where the plane took you. We came down at Agadir on the shores of the Atlantic in the southwest comer of Morocco, but not long enough for a trip into town. Then, of all things, we were on our way to the Canary Islands! Las Palmas was hot and heavy as we climbed innumerable steps to the top deck of the airport to get a good look at the Atlantic Ocean, the moon, and the deep, deep blue sky. It was about midnight, the hour when people's spirits wax romantic, particularly in such a honeymoon-like environment. To me, who had not bargained nor paid for this 'extra', this was gravy or groovie or both.
Then off to Dakar! One night there and that was more than enough. Then down at Gambia, down at Monrovia, down at Ibajan on the Ivory Coast, and around the bulge with Ghana our next stop. It was exhausting and I was exhausted.
But Ghana came at last, and when the plane dropped at Accra, I was where I wanted to be. Nkruma and his political shananigans had interested me when I read that Mr. Nkruma had done something for Ghana; he had made Ghanaians out of a motley group of tribal factions. I found this to be true. Ghanaians were proud of their new nation, proud of their independence, and if there were super-elaborate facades to buildings on the main thoroughfares and in front of the too-many palaces, there was a national pride that was infectious, sustaining, and elevating. The new road along the coast, the Volta River bridges, and the cocoa beans, enormous ten inch long cocoa beans, Cocoa House, and all that--were what the Ghanaians saw as their work, their property, their future. Tribalism was giving way to nationalism, and the people were actually conscious of this change and were working for it. Such was the spirit of Accra. I was with blind people in the poorer quarters, with blind people in the cities, in centers of so-called "rehabilitation", with fine blind women doing their best to run simple homes, make baskets, look after their children, clean the fish, or make coconut cakes, in huts that could not possibly keep out the rains, situated on alleys for streets, cut-up by ruts from the deluges. In the cities it was different, but the people were the same; kindly, happy to talk with you through the interpreter, interested in the education of their children, and asking how they too could learn to read and write so that they could be of help to their sighted as well as their blind offspring. How did I put it in my letter?
Ghana's Social Welfare Department is genuinely interested in blind welfare, but here again, the voice of the blind is not heard. Granted that there are several young blind workers in the Department, there is still room for a revision of a point of view.
The concept of a glorified custodial care with sheltered centers needs to be broken down and replaced with a genuine attempt to integrate blind people, with adequate training, into the mainstream of their own society. Blind persons in such agencies are fine gestures, but to save their own skins and their jobs, they can not speak out. Occasionally one comes across the independent thinker and speaker, but he is in the minority, and one would even advise him to think of his job, of his wife and children, lie low--in other words. Organization of blind persons will come when these young blind either through legislation or other concerted action, combine to enunciate their needs, demand their rights as citizens, and speak with one voice. The seeds of this concept are already sown.
The education of blind children is trailing behind the education of sighted children. I feel that the existence of a physically, geographically, and socially segregated blind school at Acropong is conducive to the social segregation of the blind in Ghana. A few, very few, students are in sighted schools at the upper grade levels, but they were for the most part discouraged, struggling to maintain attendance, and drawing my attention to the significant fact that there were no blind students in the University at Accra. I asked if there was one student qualified to enter the university with the requirements set up for sighted students. There was not one such, I learned. This was not the fault of the university for I learned while there, that there was a blind professor on the faculty, from Columbia University in New York.
Sheltered workshops which are set up to include ALL types of handicapped usually don't fill the bill of fare for blind applicants. I found this the case in Ghana. The percentage of blind persons in the center, was miserably small in comparison with the number of deaf and other physically handicapped trainees. Basket-making actually does not pay. A man can not make a living, in basketry, without government subsidy, otherwise baskets would have to be priced at an astronomical figure.
Likewise the Society for the Blind, another agency, active, well-meaning, interested, needs to involve in its leadership, the leadership inherent in its own blind people. There ARE intelligent, thinking, capable, blind persons in the country, but they are not at the helm. Yet there were blind girls working in the Lever Brothers' Cosmetic Factory, and some blind men in industry--a good beginning, but sporadic. The country could use many more workers in the cocoa bean culture, in packing factories, in farming, in poultry raising, and in food production if just a modicum of training in the specific field were available.
Back to Contents
[Editor's Note: Usually installments in this series contain material regarding the President of the affiliate being presented. However, in the case of Massachusetts, Miss Anita M. O'Shea who is the President has been featured in previous issues of the Monitor. Suffice it to say that Anita is a successful medical secretary and a dynamic leader of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts.]
The Associated Blind of Massachusetts was organized in 1940, the same year as the Federation itself. For eight years its membership was primarily centered about the Boston area; but, in 1948, two more chapters were founded in Worcester and Springfield. Two satellite groups, from the Springfield area, were started in Holyoke and Westfield, about 1950-51; however, after ten years of affiliation, and after raising enough money to buy their Home for the Blind, the Westfield chapter gave up its affiliation with the ABM. The 1950's witnessed the organizing of two other affiliates in Brockton and Lawrence; and, in the last decade from 1960 to the present time, three more chapters were established in Fall River, Watertown, and the Greenfield-Athol area, bringing us to the current total of nine affiliated chapters, with one individual total membership of about 500.
Past presidents of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts include our venerable patriarch, Charles W. Little of Boston, who also served a term as secretary of the National Federation of the Blind; Newton E. Ottone, founder of the Springfield chapter and organizer of four others, who became well-known in WCW circles for his eminent success as a fund-raiser in his home chapter district; John F. Nagle, charter member of the Springfield chapter, who has won the respect, affection and gratitude of all members of the Federation for his monumental efforts on behalf of the NFB's legislative program in Washington; Raoul Goguen of Worcester, the third member of the Little-Ottone-Goguen Triumvirate, who effectuated the change from the Old Council structure of the ABM to its present form in 1955 and who still gives generously of his time and devoted service to our Association; Manuel J. Rubin of Brockton, who was appointed by Governor Volpe to the Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind two years ago; Eugene E. Sibley of Greenfield, the quiet-spoken and judicious man who was our official delegate to the NFB convention in South Carolina last summer, and whose term expired only last October; and Anita M. O'Shea, of Springfield, former member of the Federation's Executive Committee.
For the thirty years of its existence, the Associated Blind of Massachusetts has been compiling an impressive record of achievement to the benefit of the blind of our Commonwealth. In the early days, the basic needs of our people were guaranteed--increased grants, passage of a White Cane Law, and the right of a blind voter's free choice, in determining the person to assist him in casting his ballot was established in law. Partial property tax exemptions were obtained later for home owners, and excise tax abatements for blind car owners. One of our more spectacular legislative victories was scored when the ABM spearheaded the battle to have the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind legally established as the State governmental agency, administering all services to the blind; and it was through our efforts that, on three separate occasions, John F. Mungovan, former winner of the Federation's Newel Perry Award, received gubernatorial appointments, first as Director of the Division of the Blind and now Commissioner for the Blind.
To the best of my knowledge, our organization was the first NFB affiliate to negotiate and arrange regularly scheduled liaison meetings with a state agency, administering programs for the blind. This was accomplished in 1960; and they have been carried on continually since that time. The results of these meetings have been truly impressive. They have produced a rapport between the Commission and the organized blind which allows complete candor from both sides and inspires confidence in each other's integrity and reliability. The Commissioner and his staff have answered our questions frankly, sought our opinions on matters of policy, and informed us about future plans. We do not discuss specific cases; but we can and do take up problems of individuals which we then explore in general terms. A remarkable feeling of cooperation has evolved in the past decade, as the following examples illustrate: Whenever the ABM wishes to contact blind people in the Bay state who are unknown to us, we send our letters and a check to cover the cost of mailing to the Commission and it sends them out for us. In this way, the inflexible confidentiality code which the Commissioner enforces is not violated. When the Commission anticipates a problem with the legislature or an executive authority in getting part of its program approved, they solicit and receive our help in convincing the powers-that-be that the proposal should be accepted. This type of collaboration has proven to be mutually gratifying and advantageous.
At the present time, the ABM has seven bills before the Massachusetts General Court. They include the Model White Cane Law, as well as measures to increase the salaries of home teachers, provide the same priority to blind vending stand operators in state and county buildings as is contained in the Randolph-Sheppard Act, include the blind in the existing anti-discrimination statute now on the books, exempt blind trailer owners from paying a $6 monthly fee to the Health Department, increase property tax exemption for blind home owners, and tie in automatic increases in AB grants, commensurate with the cost of living rises reported by the Consumer Price Index, while providing a floor at the December 1969 level. The property tax exemption bill is ready for the governor's signature at the time of this writing; and the trailer owner, vending stand and anti-discrimination proposals have received approval of the House Ways and Means Committee. This constitutes a promising start for our 1970 legislative program, which we hope will culminate in total success.
With respect to fund-raising, our methods are diverse and almost as numerous as our affiliated chapters. Six out of nine groups conduct WCW drives, using various approaches--mailing of appeal letters, tag and candy sales; and the others substitute concerts, cake sales and raffle ticket sales and such to obtain their incomes. One chapter conducted a flower sale around Memorial Day to supplement WCW receipts; and the sale of pens, telephone pads and an antique car show have proven to be lucrative projects in some areas. But, no matter how each group raises its money, it contributes $150 over and above its dues of $50 annually to support our State organization. By tradition, the ABM has not gone in for fund-raising on a regular basis in the past; but last year, a committee was appointed to devise ways and means of doing this to relieve our chapters of at least part of their financial obligations toward the parent organization. A benefit concert by George Shearing was held last fall, which was an artistic success, but a financial dud, in spite of the diligent efforts of the committee and its chairman, Mr. Domenic J. Marinello of Dorchester. At the present time, an augmented committee has been handling a state-wide sale of raffle tickets, with $700 in prize money, with the intent of wiping out the concert deficit. After that, we shall try something else to put the Association on its financial feet.
The members of the ABM are proud of our organization and we derive great satisfaction from our accomplishments; however, we are keenly aware that there is still much to be done before we attain our goal of full security, equality and opportunity for all the blind of Massachusetts.
Back to Contents
by Haig Keropian
[Reprinted from the Van Nuys (California) News.]
Selfless service for the well being of those who are facing life's problems and frustrations in a world of darkness, as well as those deprived of both sight and hearing, has earned San Fernando Valley's Twin Vision group high tributes and sincere words of gratitude.
And for the second consecutive year, Twin Vision, through its noteworthy efforts to brighten the lives of the blind and deaf-blind, has received a second George Washington Honor Medal Award from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
The coveted award was presented at the seventh annual awards banquet of Twin Vision in the Queen's Arms Restaurant--an observance which also highlighted the presentation of Gold Book Awards to Mrs. W.F. Lombard and W. Paul Novack for "invaluable contributions to the advancement of Twin Vision programs."
The most heartwarming aspect of the banquet was the absence of gloom and commiseration. There was ample evidence that valiant battles had been fought and won via courage and determination.
There were delightful moments of levity, humor and good natured heckling throughout the evening.
Impressive were the reports of Twin Vision accomplishments--including the design and publishing of Twin Vision books which enable parents to share rich reading experiences with their blind youngsters and vice versa.
Equally significant was the disclosure of plans and projections for expanding the distribution of these and other important Twin Vision publications--including the "Hot Line" newsletter for the deaf-blind--on a broader world-wide basis.
Volunteer editor of "Hot Line" is Rockey Spicer, area public relations director of the United States Steel Corporation, and a past president of Los Angeles Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi Professional Journalistic Society.
This newsletter, which is issued twice a month, was one of the determining factors in the presentation of the George Washington Honor Medal to Twin Vision. Spicer had produced a special "Hot Line" issue "Man on the Moon."
Another major factor for Twin Vision receiving the coveted award for the second consecutive year, was the publication in Braille of Volume 1 of "Anthology of Great Documents."
These documents included Thomas Jefferson's First Inauguration, the Monroe Doctrine, Lincoln's House Divided Speech, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address.
The award was presented by Mrs. Albert C. Vieille, representative of the Women's Division, Los Angeles County Chapter of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
It was accepted by Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, blind president of the American Brotherhood for the Blind.
The Golden Book Awards were presented to Mrs. Lombard and Novack by Jean Dyon Norris, director of Twin Vision since the organization's inception in 1961.
Mrs. Norris made reference to Mrs. Lombard's pioneering efforts--including her generosity in making her home available during the early days for the work of Twin Vision.
She also commended Mrs. Lombard's continuing dedication as a volunteer worker for the organization.
Novack's contributions to Twin Vision, according to Mrs. Norris, included the use of his printing press, which she said "worked overtime" for the production of Twin Vision publications.
Mrs. Norris also called attention to countless other contributions made by Novack, whose wife is a hard working leader of the Twin Vision Volunteer Action Committee. She currently is public relations chairman for the organization.
In reviewing the progress of the past year, Mrs. Norris referred to the publishing of 10,000 copies of Twin Vision's "Hot Line" newsletter.
She also announced that larger quantities of educational material were distributed to blind students in many parts of the world.
Another feature of the program was a talk by Mrs. Jacobus tenBroek, associate editor of The Braille Monitor, and widow of the late president of the American Brotherhood for the Blind.
Mrs. tenBroek reviewed some of the humorous and serious incidents relating to the organization and growth of Twin Vision--including the efforts of Dr. tenBroek.
Other participants in the program included Anthony G. Mannino, executive secretary of the American Brotherhood for the Blind, and Donald W. Fogerson, representative of the Woodland Hills Lions Club, who served as master of ceremonies.
Among those present were Elizabeth Noble, junior past president of the Pilot Club of Van Nuys, and Mrs. Rockey Spicer, assistant director of Twin Vision and past president of the Twin Vision Action Committee.
Also Mrs. Robert K. Neel, author and illustrator and creator of Twin Vision books. Mrs. Neel is a past recipient of the Golden Book Award.
Back to Contents
[Editor's Note: The Idaho Commission for the Blind has recently released its Annual Report for the period ending last June 30. So much sound philosophy and solid progress is reflected in this Report that it is published here. While the Report naturally does not say so, it is true that most of the credit for this year of progress is due to the Commission's young and able Director, Kenneth N. Hopkins.]
Fiscal 1969 was the first full year of operation of the Idaho Commission for the Blind. This Fiscal Year has been the beginning of a new era for the blind. The 39th Legislature, recognizing the great need in Idaho for a separate agency, knowledgeable about the special needs and particular problems faced only by the blind, created the Commission to initiate and expand a comprehensive program of services to the blind in Idaho. Directly responsive to the special needs of the blind, the Commission has been able to advance a program of meaningful and effective services to more of Idaho's blind than was ever before possible.
The growth and development of the work of the Commission during this first full year of operation is beginning to show conclusively that dependence and deprivation need no longer be the lot of the blind in Idaho. Given proper training and opportunity, the blind are definitely capable of entering fully competitive society--the road of independence and self-support is now a practical and possible choice.
Rehabilitation of the blind in Idaho is the prime objective of the Commission for the Blind. However, this objective must be specifically defined for the word rehabilitation encompasses many concepts today. At the Idaho Commission for the Blind, rehabilitation means that process ending in the employment of a blind person. It is vocational rehabilitation.
The two essential components of rehabilitation are proper training and opportunity; proper training to give the blind person necessary skills and self-confidence to carry on as a competitive individual; and opportunity, created by public education, to erase erroneous ideas held by most employers. These two essential components of vocational rehabilitation are being carried out by the Commission for the Blind, making it possible to place blind persons in normal, regular, competitive employment.
Any discussion of the significance of rehabilitation of blind persons must include the savings to the taxpayer of Idaho. A brief examination of statistics will be sufficient to make the point graphically. The entire state appropriation and federal matching funds for the Commission expenditures during Fiscal 1969 was approximately $175,000--not merely for the rehabilitation function of the Commission, but for each and every program and activity.
The financial difference to society when one blind person is rehabilitated is surprisingly great. If, for instance, a blind person begins to draw public assistance at the age of 21 (and some begin sooner) and continues to draw to age 65 (some continue longer and some stop before) he will receive a grant of $75.00 (according to present averages and without consideration of state medical care expenses) each month for 12 months for 44 years or $39,600. If, on the other hand, he is rehabilitated and becomes self-supporting, he will pay at least $500 each year in taxes or $22,000 for the same 44-year period.
When this $22,000 is added to the $39,600 not drawn in public assistance, the result is a savings to the taxpayer of $61,600. This still does not tell the whole story, for it fails to take into account the value of the added productivity the person's labor gives to the community. It also fails to take into account the effect upon the children of seeing their parent supporting the family instead of vegetating at home. Finally, it fails to take into account the individual himself, maintaining his dignity and role as head of the household.
Of course each rehabilitation is unique. Some persons become blind after age 21 and some lose their jobs or die before age 65. Some, as pointed out previously, receive public assistance far longer than 44 years. Like sighted people, blind people do not have exactly the same potential. Some achieve full self-support and some only partial self-support.
It is not even necessary to use the figure of $61,600 of saved tax money per rehabilitant to make the point. If we cut this figure by more than half, which is ultra-conservative and unrealistically low, the answer is still conclusive. Even if only $30,000 is saved on the average for each blind person rehabilitated, then less than six rehabilitations per year would pay for the entire operation of the Commission for the Blind--not merely for the rehabilitation function but for each and every one of its programs and activities--every phase of its work. The Commission is now rehabilitating twice this number.
The rehabilitation program of the Idaho Commission for the Blind is definitely proving that proper training and opportunity lead to jobs. To illustrate this, a young school teacher with a family to support lost his sight in the beginning of his school year. He was capable, blind but untrained and believed that his career as a teacher was ended. However, he took a leave of absence, came to Boise and completed orientation and adjustment training at the Commission for the Blind. Weeks later he returned to his classroom, again a capable and effective teacher. From fear and dependence to self-confidence and self-support in less than a year--this is vocational rehabilitation.
Another woman lost her sight four years ago. She was forced to quit her job as well as rely on her family to handle routine household chores. With the creation of the Commission for the Blind, she began receiving orientation and adjustment training--training in everything from cane travel and braille to techniques of baking a pie. Then she returned to work--working hard in a normal, regular life caring for her home and family as well as again holding a competitive job. This, too, is vocational rehabilitation.
These are not isolated instances. There are others just like them who now work at regular offices, factories, business establishments and ranches throughout the state. Placements in Fiscal 1969 were as varied as the individuals. The types of employment being held by these rehabilitated blind persons run the range of employment in the regular life of the community. There was a masseur, a speech pathologist, piano technician, employment counselor, snack bar manager, ranch hand, school teacher, assembly line worker, small business supervisor and an office worker.
The direction of the new program is unmistakably clear. Of these twelve people rehabilitated in Fiscal 1969, none was placed in sheltered employment--all are in regular competitive jobs, working alongside their sighted fellows and with average monthly earnings of over $400. These people are self-supporting citizens, assisting in the support of their communities and state. Growing public awareness of the Commission for the Blind and services offered has been responsible for a tremendous increase in the number of persons requesting services. Program direction points to an even greater number of successfully rehabilitated blind persons during the next fiscal year--toward more jobs in competitive employment and toward what more blind Idahoans ought to achieve--full integration into society with every blind person realizing the maximum potential of his abilities and talents.
SMALL BUSINESS ENTERPRISES
Small business enterprises, or the vending stand program, is a part of the rehabilitation services of the Idaho Commission for the Blind. Under this program, assistance is given to blind persons who wish to manage independent businesses, particularly vending stands and cafeterias--selling foodstuffs, tobacco products, magazines, etc., and located on Federal, State and other property.
During Fiscal 1969 the food service in the Federal Building in St. Maries opened for business. This small but highly successful operation is managed by a young man, blind from birth, who was a graduate of the Commission's orientation and adjustment program. He also exemplifies the Commission's objectives of the total integration of Idaho's blind into the mainstream of society. Not only is he a succesful businessman, but active in community affairs--Vice President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce in St. Maries and a member of the Elks Lodge--meeting his responsibilities as a contributing member of his community. At least three other vending stands are being planned for the coming year. With the hiring of the Small Business Enterprise Supervisor, progress has really begun in this heretofore neglected area.
During Fiscal 1969 the home teaching program continued to increase its activities. By the end of the fiscal year there were two Home Teachers. It is the function of the Home Teacher to visit blind persons in their homes for the purpose of providing instruction in a variety of skills and techniques. The Home Teachers serve as Field Representatives for the Commission, screening applicants and giving preliminary instruction in the home. Most often the Home Teacher works with older blind persons who are beyond the years of competitive employment or who are homebound. This is a vital part of the developing program of the Commission in serving all of the blind of Idaho.
ORIENTATION AND ADJUSTMENT
The orientation and adjustment program of the Commission for the Blind, initiated in January of 1968, has been one of the most outstanding items in the general growth and development of the Commission. The purpose of the program is twofold: during the training a blind person learns the skills necessary to compete successfully in a predominantly sighted world and the necessary attitudes to overcome public misunderstanding and discrimination. The classes taught are not academic in nature. Regular courses include travel, using the new long cane method, braille reading and writing, attitudes and techniques, personal grooming and home management. This program is still in the beginning stages, as lack of adequate facilities severely limits the number of blind persons who can take this training at one time. Although we now have two full-time teachers, more are needed to expand the courses offered. Consequently, there is still a large backlog of blind Idahoans who both need and want this training. In spite of the limitations, students in the orientation and adjustment program have become a familiar sight learning travel techniques around the Capitol grounds--rainy weather and fair, in snow or hot sun. Using the new long cane technique, the blind student is able to travel independently and go anywhere he pleases without help--on crowded sidewalks or across busy streets, to a place of employment, to a store or restaurant or to his own home. During Fiscal 1969, eight students completed orientation and adjustment training with six others receiving training at the end of the year. Some of the graduates of this program went on to college or other vocational training; some to on-the-job training, some to fully competitive employment in the business world and some returned to the home as competent housewives--but all finding the way to successful lives as blind persons in a predominantly sighted world.
Special services in the form of a braille and taping program as well as the provision of talking book machines, special tools, aids and devices continued to grow in the number of blind persons receiving this service. In Idaho, the Commission is responsible for the distribution, cataloging and repair of talking book machines. During the year 212 machines were distributed, 131 to new readers, representing a 150% increase over the last year.
At the present time library services are being purchased from the Utah State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Salt Lake City. This includes the distribution of talking books, braille books and taped books on a loan basis to over 600 blind Idaho readers. However, while such library service includes books for general pleasure and vocational interest, text books are constantly needed by blind students attending Idaho's colleges, universities and technical schools. Also, blind persons returning to or entering competitive employment require books, manuals and other materials in the reading form of their choice to enable them to perform their jobs competently. These include special graphs and forms for an audiologist, a personal copy of a Braille Dictionary for a secretary, and copies of student texts for the blind teacher or sighted students. The Commission for the Blind locates and purchases such materials if available and when not, utilizes the excellent services of sighted volunteers in producing previously unavailable materials, transcribing them onto tape, into braille or onto the newest form, tape cassette.
The Library of Congress, Division of Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, had just completed the testing of the tape cassette program by the end of Fiscal 1969 and was beginning general production. The tape cassette is lighter in weight, less expensive and easier to handle than the other forms of reading materials. They are expected to be a boon, particularly to the college student and professional. It is anticipated that the tape cassette machines will be available for limited distribution by the Commission during the next year.
Aids, tools and devices especially designed for the blind or adapted for use by the blind are provided by the Commission to assist blind persons in becoming more self-sufficient. The items are provided free of charge, if necessary, or at the Commission's cost. These special aids, tools, and devices include everything from white canes, braille watches and specially adapted insulin syringes to scientific instruments such as those used in the detection of water levels, reading of meters and differentiation of colors, some of which must be especially manufactured for a particular person. The Commission is cataloging possible sources of needed items and maintains a small inventory of those more frequently used.
The efforts of many groups and individuals throughout Idaho has helped make possible the tremendous growth and progress of the Commission since its inception in 1967. The Commission for the Blind wishes to express its sincere gratitude to all of those who have helped.
The Telephone Pioneers of America, Skyline Chapter (in Idaho) and other telephone workers conduct a program of talking book machine distribution, repair and instruction in the use of the machines to new blind borrowers. In Fiscal 1969 the Pioneers repaired 78 machines. This does not include the many converted from two-speed to three-speed.
Lions Clubs in Idaho aid the Commission for the Blind and serve in a variety of ways. During this past year the Lions formed the Idaho Lions Sight Conservation Foundation, a statewide program to aid in the prevention of blindness and restoration of sight. This program will be a valuable adjunct to the services given the permanently blind by the Lions and to the programs of the Commission. Individually and through local clubs, Lions supply much needed training equipment, make referrals from local communities and inform their own areas about the service programs and opportunities available from the Commission. In many instances the local Lions Club members have worked with Commission representatives to secure jobs for qualified blind workers.
The Gem State Blind, the statewide organization of blind people and affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, continues to work together with the Commission and has given valuable assistance and guidance in expanding and developing the program of the Commission for the Blind.
During Fiscal 1969 the Commission worked closely with the Department of Public Assistance and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in the Department of Education to bring about an overall coordinated program of services to Idaho's blind citizens.
The Commission has worked with the State School for the Deaf and Blind and with the resource programs in the public schools, counseling with high school students and doing intensive planning with the seniors in connection with their vocational futures. The Commission has also worked with many parents of blind children, informing them of programs available and assisting them in obtaining services when appropriate.
Close cooperation is maintained between the Commission and the Idaho State Library in an effort to maintain and improve library services for the blind, for all programs of the Commission and a good library for the blind go hand in hand.
Finally it must be recognized that the progress of the Idaho Commission for the Blind, since its inception, would not have been possible nor could have been accomplished without the realization of need and the cooperation received from Government officials. The Legislature and the Governor's office responded generously to the financial request of the Commission in the last legislative session and have taken leadership in the establishment and promotion of the Commission's program.
With continued interest and cooperation from so many groups and individuals, it is the belief of the Commission that it will not be long before Idaho has one of the most outstanding programs for the blind in the country--a program in which all of the citizens of Idaho can justly take pride.
Back to Contents
by J. Campbell Bruce
[Reprinted from the San Francisco (California) Chronicle. Copyright Chronicle Publishing Co., 1970.]
Optacon, a wonder of the electronic age that lets the blind read ordinary printed matter went on display recently
The reading aid was developed jointly over the past six years by the Stanford Research Institute and Stanford University's Electrical Engineering Department. The device, battery-operated and portable, is the size of a small briefcase and weighs eight pounds.
The name Optacon itself--an acronym for Optical to Tactile Converter--is a capsule description of how it operates. A reading head, or scanner, moved across a printed line by the reader, picks up the contrast between the dark letters and the lighter page. These photoelectric sensors send impulses to an array of tiny wires and causes them to vibrate selectively in the shape of the letter being scanned. The reader, whose fingers rest on the wires, feels the shape of the letter through the vibrations. Some blind persons, after several months of training, have learned to read as many as 60 words a minute.
"A good braille reader can read much faster," said Dr. James Bliss of SRI's Bioinformation Systems Laboratory. "However, the amount of reading material available in braille is very limited. Optacon opens up for the blind the entire field of printed material--books, newspapers, magazines, typewritten letters, even denominations of paper money and labels on cans."
Bob Stearns, a young computer programmer at SRI, is blind. He does his daily work with the aid of an Optacon. The idea for the device originated with Dr. John Linvil, professor of electrical engineering at Stanford. His daughter, Candy, 19, a freshman at Stanford, is blind.
Back to Contents
On March 23, 1970 the United States Supreme Court struck a mighty blow in favor of the poor when it declared that the receipt of aid was a "right" and not a "privilege." The Court went further and declared that it was a right sustained by due process--procedural and substantive. The High Court also rejected another centuries old argument--protection of the public purse against the poor.
The case was Goldberg v. Kelly and it was a five to three decision. Considered were consolidated cases brought by a number of AFDC recipients in New York City, and a companion case, Wheeler v. Montgomery, a class action by old age aid recipients, on appeal from California. These recipients were threatened with withdrawal of aid or had had aid withdrawn for a variety of reasons. One, for example, had had aid terminated because he refused to accept counseling and rehabilitation for drug addiction even though the petitioner continued to insist that he did not use drugs. All maintained that they were removed, or were threatened with removal, from the aid rolls without a prior fair hearing. In addition, they challenged the constitutionality of procedures for notice and hearing which had been adopted by the State and City of New York after some of these suits had been brought. These regulations provided a hearing only after termination based on departmental consideration of the facts and written notice to the recipients of the "reasons" for such termination of aid.
The majority, speaking through Mr. Justice Brennan held that "the Due Process Clause [of the Fourteenth Amendment, in this case] requires that the recipient be afforded an evidentiary hearing before termination of benefits."
As sometimes happens in split decisions, the debate between the majority and minority Justices begun in the conference room continues in their opinions. Here the majority, relying heavily on the opinion in the lower District Court, said: "While post-termination review is relevant, there is one overpowering fact which controls here. By hypothesis, a welfare recipient is destitute, without funds or assets. ...Suffice it to say that to cut off a welfare recipient in the face of ... 'brutal need' without a prior hearing of some sort is unconscionable, unless overwhelming considerations justify it." Speaking mostly through Mr. Justice Black, the minority thought otherwise. He said that the majority opinion was based "solely on the collective judgment of the majority as to what would be a fair and humane procedure in this case."
Mr. Justice Brennan argued, again quoting the lower court, "'Against the justified desire to protect public funds must be weighed the individual's overpowering need in this unique situation not to be wrongfully deprived of assistance.'" However, the dissenters felt that the opinion would lead to "time-consuming [and costly] delays of a full adversary process of administrative and judicial review. In the next case the welfare recipients are bound to argue that cutting off benefits before judicial review of the agency's decision is also a denial of due process." Somehow the Justices think this argument has no merit! Mr. Justice Black continued in the same sarcastic vein; "I would be surprised if the weighing process did not compel the conclusion that termination without full judicial review would be unconscionable. After all, at each step, as the majority seems to feel, the issue is only one of weighing the Government's pocketbook against the actual survival of the recipient, and surely that balance must always tip in favor of the individual. Similarly today's decision requires only the opportunity to have the benefit of counsel at the administrative hearing, but it is difficult to believe that the same reasoning process would not require the appointment of counsel, for otherwise the right to counsel is a meaningless one since these people are too poor to hire their own advocates." Where has the good Justice been these last few years?
The majority answers these arguments thus: "That termination of aid pending resolution of a controversy over eligibility may deprive an eligible recipient of the very means by which to live while he waits." "The State is not without weapons to minimize these increased costs. Much of the drain on fiscal and administrative resources can be reduced by developing procedures for prompt pre-termination hearings and by skillful use of personnel and facilities. ... The pre-termination hearing need not take the form of a judicial or quasi-judicial trial." It has only one function: "to produce an initial determination of the validity of the welfare departments' grounds for discontinuance of payments in order to protect a recipient against an erroneous termination of his benefits. ...We recognize, too, that both welfare authorities and recipients have an interest in relatively speedy resolution of questions of eligibility, that they are used to dealing with one another informally, and that some welfare departments have very burdensome caseloads. These considerations justify the limitation of the pre-termination hearing to minimum procedural safeguards, adapted to the particular characteristics of welfare recipients, and to the limited nature of the controversies to be resolved."
The present New York provisions for "fair" hearing do not permit the recipient to appear personally or present evidence in his own behalf or to confront or cross-examine adverse witnesses. The majority thought personal presentation vital. "The second-hand presentation to the decision maker by the caseworker has its own deficiencies; since the caseworker usually gathers the facts upon which the charge of ineligibility rests, the presentation of the recipient's side of the controversy cannot safely be left to him. Therefore a recipient must be allowed to state his position orally."
A good deal of attention is given here to the minority opinion because it probably points in the direction it is hoped by some the High Court will go. Mr. Justice Black evidently hopes to lead the way to "strict construction." He takes this to mean that judges must not legislate and must only "interpret" the words in the written Constitution. One must not give more than is in the word. Hence, to him the conclusion is clear in this case that since there is not one word in the Fourteenth Amendment about "fair hearings" or the right to counsel, or the right to aid, it cannot be. So to ignore a hundred years of political and judicial history would be like reading the first three words of each section of a statute--one might get some notion as to the subject but not much insight as to its purpose.
Mr. Justice Black has always seen "red" when the Fourteenth Amendment is mentioned. It arouses his state's rights-anti-federalist ire. One of the bills that held up passage of the Social Security Act in 1935 was the anti-lynching proposal. Speaking against that measure, the then Senator Hugo Black said: "I assert that if the bill should become law, it would have an accentuating effect like unto that of the fourteenth amendment." In the current case he says: "Particularly do I not think that the Fourteenth Amendment should be given such an unnecessarily broad construction." In 1935 Senator Black said: "Did any Member of the Senate hear me read the word 'corporation' as I read the Fourteenth Amendment? He did not. The word 'corporation' does not appear in the Fourteenth Amendment." In the present case he says: "[S]ome members of this Court [believe] that the Due Process Clause [of the Fourteenth Amendment] forbids any conduct that a majority believes 'unfair,' 'indecent,' or 'shocking'.... Neither these words nor any like them appear anywhere in the Due Process Clause." He was on the floor of the Senate when title X of the Social Security proposal was introduced. It included the clause of the earlier-introduced titles which provide "for granting to any individual whose claim for aid is denied, an opportunity for a fair hearing before such State agency; ..." But Senator Black voiced no objection, although it should have been patent that the use of the word "fair" was for the protection of the individual involved. Those of our readers who have bumped into administrative hearings know that the use of that word was necessary. Certainly the Legislators were not worried about protecting the administrators but were concerned about protecting the rights and interests of the individual who had to deal with them. In other words, a fair hearing is granted to insure due process. Since the procedure was built into the Social Security Act thirty-five years ago why should the minority now declare that "The procedure required today as a matter of constitutional law finds no precedent in our legal system." In reality, then, the minority is complaining about the use of the due process clause to uphold the right and not about the fact that the decision directs pre-termination rather than post-termination hearing.
Back to Contents
by Ralph Lightfoot
[Reprinted from the ICRH Newsletter, publication of the Outdoor Laboratory, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois. Mr. Lightfoot is with the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind.]
Canoeing can give confidence to newly blinded people by improving balance and the sense of achievement.
The Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind Training Centre commenced in 1963 and from its inception embraced the idea that outside activities are beneficial to the newly blind for the re-establishment of confidence, and among those who have been blind for a longer period these activities give confidence through achieving the novel and the unusual. Our institute put all its know-how, gathered since 1866, into this project
The training centre with the cooperation of the National Fitness Council of Victoria arranged camping, bushwalking, rock climbing, abseiling, snow skiing and canoeing. The most recent of these ventures was a trip by canoe down the Goulburn River from Alexandra to Seymour, a distance of 50 miles.
The week before the trip, a practice session was held on the Yarra River a few miles from the training centre. This was necessary as three of the group had never been in a canoe before.
On November 10, a party of seven set out for Alexandra for the five day trip on the river. This included camping on the bank, pitching tents and cooking all meals. From the beginning to the end of the trip the party had to be self-contained, carrying all their food, clothing and camping equipment in the canoes.
Those who were on this expedition were: Doug, age 19, totally blind as the result of a car accident in May; Owen, age 20, also totally blind as the result of a car accident in June; Robert, age 32, a diabetes sufferer, totally blind; Sue, Leslie and Ray, members of the staff of the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind; and Bryan Scott, field officer with the National Fitness Council of Victoria. The method used was to have one visually handicapped person and one staff member in a 16-foot Canadian canoe, and the director of the enterprise in an 11-foot canoe alone, so that he is more maneuverable and can be on the site of a capsize as quickly as possible.
On this trip each pair capsized once. When a capsize occurs, one of the upright canoes goes to help Bryan right the unfortunate craft and get the canoeist out of the water as quickly as possible, for although life-jackets are worn all the time, immersion for more than a few minutes in cold water can be very serious. The others make for the bank to get a fire going to dry off the wet ones.
Camp is usually pitched about 4 p.m. Everybody shares all the duties, such as pitching tents, cooking, clearing up, collecting fuel for the fires and, in the mornings, packing up the camp and loading the canoes. There is no division of the work done between the staff or the clients in these duties.
The value of this particular journey is already apparent in the friendships that have been strengthened under these conditions and in the obvious gain in confidence that has occurred with the three young blind men who were participants. This sort of activity is made practicable through the cooperation of the National Fitness Council of Victoria by allowing its staff to organize and direct such events and by allowing us to use its equipment.
It is intended to make this a yearly event.
(The author, Ralph Lightfoot, 49, has been totally blind since he was 5 years old. He is the Senior Supervisor of the Training and Rehabilitation Centre conducted by the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind in Melbourne, Australia. He has taken part in all the outdoor activities referred to in the article and has inspired other blind people to achieve greater independence and confidence.)
Back to Contents
by Florence Grannis
[Editor's Note: Mrs. Grannis is Assistant Director in Charge of Library and Social Services for the Blind, Iowa Commission for the Blind, Des Moines, Iowa.]
I am frequently asked by blind people and by volunteer oriented groups how to go about organizing transcribing groups. Over the years I have given much advice concerning this. If any of this has actually resulted in the formation of a transcribing group which is now in operation, I am not aware of it, but it occurred to me that some of the readers of The Braille Monitor might like to listen to my notions on this subject and perhaps start one or motivate someone else to start one.
Volunteer transcribing can be divided into three aspects--taping, large typing, and Brailling--and I shall deal with each one separately. Of course, a volunteer group may undertake all three forms of transcription and may have some additional activities, such as binding. Also, besides purely volunteer groups, a volunteer group may be attached to an organization so that some of the individuals concerned with it are paid; and these paid people may be either professional people or clerical, or some of each. Some examples of this latter group are libraries such as ours, and school systems. Another excellent example of this form of transcription group is the prison, either state or federal (county and municipal jails generally have inmates with terms too brief for them to effectively work in such a program). After I have explored some of the aspects I believe most essential in the formation of transcription groups for the three media, I shall comment briefly on what I consider to be the basic essentials for a successful prison transcription program.
Tape Volunteer Transcribing
Perhaps more than one would imagine, taping demands a great deal of time, effort and human and material resources The need for this last element will require the group to find a financial backer unless it has sufficient resources of its own to carry out the project. Actually a volunteer taping program requires a considerable expenditure of money, especially in the initial investments. Without this money, no matter what good will there is involved in the group and how enthusiastically the people begin their endeavor, it is my experience that the program cannot function. If outside financial support is needed, in general the first place to look is the local Lions Club, since the Lions are involved in work with the blind. Another possible source is a sorority and Delta Gamma is one which may well be of help, or, possibly Zeta Phi Eta, the national speech honorary. Perhaps the local chapter of the American Association of University Women, or the Telephone Pioneers, or a Temple Sisterhood might be of assistance.
The volunteer taping program must have a chairman who has enough time to over-view, coordinate and above all, see that each volunteer is meeting his deadlines. This is of great significance to a successful taping program--also one of its greatest pitfalls. The necessity of meeting deadlines arises from the primary aim of a program which is (almost invariably) to transcribe materials for students. Obviously students need their material when they need it--usually in time for the start of an academic year or semester. There is almost invariably a definite deadline involved. It is also best for a chairman to serve on a long term basis so that she can have a continuing and increasing knowledge of the group's past and present work.
It is very important that the group have good equipment--the better the equipment, the more effective the program will be. The people in the group should determine whether the group itself will furnish tape recorders or whether each individual will supply his own. In my belief, the latter is preferable. Not only will it save money, but a volunteer who is interested enough to buy his own equipment, will probably be a better volunteer. Regardless of who purchases the equipment, there should be no attempt to economize by purchasing cheap materials--the results won't be satisfactory. There should be some extra recorders available to replace temporarily those that are being repaired.
There are many tape recorders that are good but there are three basic requirements in determining which brands to use: that they accommodate 7-inch reels, record at 3 3/4 ips and 1 7/8 ips, record on two or four tracks. Standard tape recorders may be purchased for roughly $110.00 and since, in all likelihood, the group or the individuals in the group will be buying a number of recorders at the same time, it should be possible to get the recorders at something less than the full retail price. If the group can afford to, it is wise to make large purchases of tape. One thousand reels on an order will result in a substantial unit price decrease. It is well to determine what length of tape will be used (1200 or 1800 feet are the best ones to choose) and then use one length all the way through if possible--it makes tape duplication easier! It is well to use as good a quality of tape as the group can afford, but a medium quality will do a satisfactory job. (Avoid used or "reject" tape if possible.)
Besides the conventional open reel tape recorder, I would urge a group beginning tape transcription, to have some cassette machines. These machines are considerably smaller than the open reel recorders, can be taken virtually anywhere, and can be used under circumstances where the open reel recorders are not practical. There should be an extensive exploration and investigation of different models of cassette machines so that the best ones for the purpose may be procured. There is a very wide range of prices on cassette machines, from machines that sell for slightly more than $20 to machines that sell for more than $100.1 People knowledgeable in library work for the blind are predicting that in about 10 years most recording will be done on cassette machines. The blind in each state have already received a number of cassette machines from the Library of Congress Division of the Blind and Physically Handicapped, under a pilot program, and since a small but growing number of blind people have switched from open reel recorders to cassette machines, cassettes will become increasingly important to the blind. The problems with cassettes are: a high percentage of breakage of cassette tape, difficulty in knowing just when you are approaching the end of a reel, having only a fast rewind, and the great expense of cassette tape. There are a number of different lengths of cassette tapes available to purchase but the general consensus is that the 120-minute tape is not satisfactory, and it is better to standardize and use the same length throughout. We are using the 90-minute tape which is the same length as is used on the books recorded in the Library of Congress program.
I have not been able to determine that a satisfactory high speed cassette tape duplicator has yet been developed but the cassette tapes can be dubbed using two machines. While on the subject of duplicators, the transcription group will need a high speed duplicator for the 7 inch open reel tape. There are a number of them available and I believe they are all quite satisfactory, but they are all quite costly too.2 The group should retain the master of every book taped, sending out only copies--therefore the need for duplicating equipment.
When it comes to the actual recording, not anyone and everyone is acceptable. The recording of books requires good reading ability and unfortunately, people who have their heart in the right place but lack the ability, will have to be turned down. An application form for those who wish to record should be sent and they should be asked to send a sample tape of their reading. When the person doing the screening for readers listens to the sample reading, a critique form should be sent to the applicant.3 There are a number of rules and techniques in recording, and these are covered in our publication "Tips on Taping" which is printed below:
TIPS ON TAPING
Welcome to the tape recording program of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. You are joining a group of very important people. Your work will make it possible for the blind of Iowa to lake a giant step towards independence and self-support.
All of your tapes will be sent to you by the Iowa State Commission for the Blind, an agency of state government, established to help give services to blind persons in our state. Since 1958, under the leadership of its director, Kenneth Jernigan, the Commission has been a vital growing force in Iowa. Each year more and more blind persons are aided in their search for a job, an education, a home--in short, a normal life, through the programs of the Commission. One of the newest departments is the Library, from which the blind of Iowa receive most of their reading material ... for entertainment, for instruction and for classroom study
This is where the work of our volunteer tapists is so necessary. Each year a larger number of blind students attend public high schools and universities. Textbook materials, reference books and other books are not available generally for blind students. Yet to have the same opportunity as sighted students, they must have the required material, and sometimes quickly. Only through tape recording can many of these books be made available to these students when they need them.
And not only are you helping students of our state. Many schools around the country use the same texts or correlated materials. These books are kept in our library and can be duplicated when necessary to give a blind student in any part of the country the same opportunity you help provide to Iowa students.
Yes, you are joining a group of very important people. The following pages will help you be a more effective and capable tapist. Study the information carefully, and many hours of pleasurable taping lie before you.
The first step in taping any book is to familiarize yourself with the material to be transcribed. Even the finest commercial radio announcers read commercials "cold" only in emergencies. Reading the book to be taped before beginning to record is a vital part of any recording. Read with pencil in hand and a dictionary close by with the following objectives:
1 Familiarity with the story or subject matter.
2. Correct pronunciation of all words. If you are at all unsure of a pronunciation, look it up and mark your book. It takes much less time to look up all words at this time than it does to look them up individually while recording.
3. Marking words which should be spelled on the tape. All foreign words, unfamiliar place names, long technical terms should be spelled the first time they appear in a text. They need not be spelled on subsequent appearances.
It is imperative that you pre-read at least the material to be read in a single session. If the book is one that has a continuity of subject (such as a novel or a play), pre-reading of the entire book can be important for subtle meanings which might be lost if only a short portion of the book has been pre-read.
1. Find the place in your home which is least subject to extraneous noises (telephone, children playing, radios, etc.). Set your recorder on a convenient table or desk where it can be seen while recording. You will want to check your recording from time to time to be sure the volume level is high enough, whether you are running out of tape, or other reasons.
2. Set machine speed at 3 3/4 inches per second. Until you have been recording for a while, it is advisable not to change this speed, since you will lose a good deal of precious recording time if you should forget to change it back.
3. Place your microphone so that you will not be facing a door or a window, and preferably not directly into a hard surfaced wall. If possible, read facing a drapery or other soft, absorbent material. The louder you read the more important this becomes. Flat, hard surfaces reflect sound back into your microphone causing a most undesirable echo.
4. If possible, attach "leader" tape at the beginning and end of each reel. Remove the manufacturer's adhesive tape at the beginning of new reels before placing on your machine. If you attach a leader tape, do not use this adhesive tape, scotch tape, masking tape or any other type of tape. Use only the special splicing tape made for the purpose, and available at any store handling hi-fi or tape recorders.
5. Thread your machine, being careful to check that the shiny side of the tape is away from the recording head! On most recorders this will mean that the shiny side will be toward you, or toward the floor. If the shiny side of the tape is next to the heads, no sound will be recorded. The recording material is what makes the other side of the tape dull-looking.
6. After you have threaded your machine, run off 60 seconds (18 feet) of tape before you begin to record. Tapes cannot be duplicated if there is less blank space, and it will be a nuisance to the reader if you leave much more than 60 seconds.
7. Set your microphone so it will be approximately 8 to 12 inches from your mouth when you are seated comfortably for reading. If possible, place your microphone on a different table than your recorder, or you may get rumble from your recorder's motor. If this is not possible, place a soft pad under the microphone stand (a foam rubber or thick felt pad, or a large folded towel) to eliminate this vibration: Place your microphone as far as conveniently possible from the recorder to eliminate any motor noise or hum from your machine.
Do not hold your microphone in your hand! You will never be able to find a stable distance from the microphone, and the distance will vary constantly, giving an objectionable variation in volume and tone. Microphone stands are inexpensive. If you cannot purchase one, it is possible to stand a microphone on a short stack of books and (if necessary) lean it against another book.
8. Turn your recording volume up about half way. Read a portion of your material at the same level as you will be recording. Read at a volume that is comfortable to you. Remember, the microphone is a sensitive instrument that can pick up your voice easily. If you attempt to read in an unnaturally loud voice, your voice will become tired very quickly. Conversely, if you read appreciably less loudly than you normally talk, you will sound more confidential, but your voice will lose much of its flexibility. Adjust the microphone position and the recorder volume to fit your voice, rather than try to adapt to the machine to the detriment of your best reading.
All modern recorders have either an electronic eye, "VU meter" or flashing neon lights. If your machine has an electronic eye, the eye should nearly close any time you are talking, and occasionally should cross. If you have a "VU meter", the needle should approach the red line most of the time, and occasionally cross into the red. If you have the flashing neon lamps, you should be loud enough so the "distort" light flashes briefly in almost every sentence. While you are recording this first sample page, adjust your volume control so that whichever of the above circumstances applies is met.
Play back your sample recording. You should have to turn your volume control down several points for easy listening. Listen critically. If your voice sounds hollow or distant, you are too far from the microphone. Move it towards you an inch or two and try again. If your voice sounds raspy, if you hear "pops" or "puffs of air" on some words (particularly with "t" or "d" sounds in them), or if "s" sounds are sharp and whistle, you are too close to the microphone. Move it away an inch or two and try again. Record several portions of the book until you are satisfied that your words are clear and there is no hollowness in the sound. Note the position of your volume control and your distance from the microphone and you will be able to set your proper reading positions quickly from then on. Do not follow slavishly standards set as to distance from the microphone. What is important is what you hear when you play the tape back.
10. When starting to record your book, you will eliminate the sound of the record switch by simply holding the "pause" or "instant release" button while you depress the record button GENTLY, turn the tape back a half an inch, then gently release the "pause" button.
1. The first reel of a book should start as follows: "Reel 1, Track 1, Title—, Author—." Read the title page, giving title and sub-title, if any, author's name, city of publisher and name of publisher, year, if given, and from the back of the title page read the date of last copyright and date and number of edition. Then read:
"Recorded under the sponsorship of the Iowa State Commission for the Blind, Des Moines, Iowa, by (your name and city) with the kind permission of the copyright holder (name and address), (date of recording) solely for the use of the blind.
Unless otherwise instructed, table of contents should be read in full, omitting the page numbers.
All preliminary material such as Preface, Introduction, Author's Notes, etc., should be read in full unless otherwise instructed.
All chapter titles should be read and sub-titles, if any. After the reading of the main heading, a brief pause should be made. A shorter pause should be left after sub-heading and between chapters.
SAMPLE OF HOW TO BEGIN THE RECORDING OF A BOOK
Do Not Read the Material in Parenthesis, It is for your Information.
Reel 1, track 2
(Copyright holder and date)
Copyright 1953 by J.D. Salinger
Recorded under the sponsorship of the Iowa State Commission for the Blind, Des Moines, Iowa, by Elizabeth Holden, Sioux City, Iowa, with the kind permission of the publisher. New American Library of World Literature, Inc., January, 1961, solely for the use of the blind.
A Perfect Day for Banana Fish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, Just Before the War with the Eskimos,...
(Body of the book)
A Perfect Day for Banana Fish. There were ninety-seven New York advertising men in the hotel,...
2. Since you will be reading two tracks on each tape, each subsequent track must be identified. At the end of the first track simply say: "End of track 1, page—, Chapter—, (TITLE OF BOOK)."
3. Each succeeding track begins with reel number, track number, title of book and page. For example, the second track of the second reel of The History of Mr. Polly by H.G. Wells begins, "Reel 2, Track 2, The History of Mr. Polly by H.G. Wells, Page 91."
4. Reels are numbered consecutively, but tracks are only numbered One and Two. Each succeeding track would end with "End track 1, page—" or "End Reel—."
1. Spell names and unusual or unfamiliar words.
2. Footnotes should be read at the end of the sentence in which the asterisk or number appears, regardless of where the footnotes appear in the printed book. Simply finish the sentence, record the word "Footnote:", followed by the footnote. At the end of the note, record the words "Text continues:", and continue with the text.
3. If a diagram, map or other material is omitted, the omission should be indicated, e.g., "Diagram six, on page—omitted from the recording." If possible, maps and diagrams should be described briefly. To quote from "Tape Recordings for the Blind" by Arther Helms: "You will sometimes be faced with the problem of how to represent pictures to the blind listener. We say 'sometimes' because it is by no means always necessary to include a description of a picture. Illustrations, e.g., photographs in a book of travel, need not be mentioned. Many diagrams you will encounter merely present in a different form ideas that are perfectly clear from a reading of the text alone. Occasionally, however, you will find diagrams that must be included if the author's meaning is to be thoroughly understood.
"Having decided that a diagram should be included, your problem is to turn it into words as vividly and as economically as possible. This process is not easy and will usually call for some ingenuity on your part." It is most effective to stop and write what you intend to say about a piece of visual material. Then it is a simple matter to read this onto the tape, Mr. Helms continues: "Printed books using diagrams generally have a phrase like 'see diagram page 28' to guide the reader. You, however, must omit such words and insert a phrase like 'Here the author illustrates his point with a diagram' and then go on to describe the diagram.
"Mathematical formulae must be read in a certain way, and a reader unfamiliar with square root signs, exponents, etc., must get authentic information on these matters. The same may be said for the special symbols used in chemistry and other sciences. It is desirable, of course, that scientifically trained persons read highly specialized technical books, but since such books are not in wide demand, the average reader need not concern himself with the problem. The reader, however, must make himself responsible for reading accurately such scientific symbols as he encounters."
4. The page number should be given when reading a new heading, when referring to an illustration, and at least every page or two at regular intervals through the book. This assists the student to refer to the book if required to do so.
5. No more than a 30-minute reading span should be attempted without a break for rest and refreshment. Shorter periods are recommended if your voice becomes tired. A tired voice will sound tired on tape Generally, however, if your voice tires in less than 30 minutes, you will find that you are trying to talk too loudly. Move the microphone closer and talk as if the listener were right across the table from you.
6. It is recommended that you read as rapidly as you possibly can without stumbling. Of course some books will read much more rapidly than others, but you should determine the reading rate during your pre-reading of the book and read as rapidly as the material will allow.
7. Indicate "quote" and "unquote" when more than one sentence, or an exceptionally long sentence is a quotation. Short sentences, phrases, or single words can be indicated by tone of voice. If the text uses a different typeset to indicate quotations, rather than quotation marks, these sections--usually paragraphs--should be "quoted" in reading.
8. The meaning of an abbreviation should be given rather than the abbreviation itself: "for example", not "e.g."; "that is" rather than "i.e.". This would not apply, of course, to grammar or other books in which the abbreviations are used to educate the student to their meaning.
1. The controls of a tape recorder should be operated slowly, a short pause left after a switch is turned before another switch is manipulated. This is necessary as parts of the mechanism are belt driven and if the controls are operated too quickly, a belt may slip off the drive wheel. The fast-forward and rewind controls should be handled particularly carefully. Sudden fast-forward starts and reverses may cause the tape to jump the groove and bind in the reel, becoming crinkled. Crinkled tape is difficult to work with and will probably break in use.
2. The sound on your tape is produced by passing the tape over the recording head in close physical contact. Some of the magnetic material (oxide) rubs off on the head as well as any dirt that may cling to the tape. Dirty recording heads can give you mushy or "bassy" sound as well as completely missing portions. You should periodically clean the recording head, the tape guides and the capstan drive units (the two wheels to the right of the recording heads that press the tape between them) with alcohol. Use a small cotton swab ("Q" Tip) squeezed almost dry. You can buy special solvents for this job, but alcohol works as well, and it is always as close as your medicine cabinet. DO NOT USE any perfumed alcohols or other cleaning solvents as they will further clog the recording heads. A general rule for cleaning your recorder will be to clean the heads, guides and capstans every 5 to 10 reels of tape.
3. A head demagnetizer is a simple, low-priced piece of equipment that is well worth the few dollars you pay for it. The recording heads, tape guides and capstan of your recorder pick up a little magnetism over a period of time, which causes crackling and other background noise. You plug in your demagnitizer, hold it against the metal parts, slowly withdraw it, unplug it, and all residual magnetism is gone. CAUTION! DO NOT PLUG IN A DEMAGNETIZER WITHIN 4 FEET OF ANY RECORDED TAPE--it will erase the tape as well!
4. When not using your recording equipment, keep it covered. Dust is a deadly enemy to the precision built recorder and microphone. Keep the microphone away from heat and moisture or it will quickly be ruined.
CORRECTING AN ERROR
Whenever you mispronounce a word, stumble, "bobble" a word or phrase, or read a passage incorrectly, DO NOT LET IT PASS. The temptation is great to merely repeat the word or phrase and continue on. It is easy to edit your mistake from the tape and unfair to the readers to let any errors pass.
All common recorders erase the material already on the tape just a fraction of a second before recording the new material. Here is the proper and foolproof method of correcting errors. Stop the recorder and rewind to the nearest pause before the error. This will usually be at the end of the previous sentence, but may be closer to the error if it is a long sentence. Play past this pause several times until you are sure of the word preceding the pause. Rewind again and stop the machine with the "pause button" immediately following the last word. While holding the "pause button", GENTLY stop the recorder, find the place in the book where the next section begins, GENTLY put the recorder into RECORD position, release the "pause button", and begin reading. This will erase the error, and you can continue reading until (heaven forbid) the next error.
It will take a little practice to become proficient at this method of covering errors, but in the end will make your recordings much more pleasant for you to do, and for the readers to hear.
When you are ready to stop recording for any reason, allow the recorder to continue for a few seconds after you stop reading. This will put the "pop" that occurs when you stop the machine far enough from the end of your reading to be covered easily when you begin again. To begin recording again, simply run the recorder back to the end of your reading, hold the "pause button", GENTLY press RECORD and release the "pause button".
If you must take an incomplete reel off of your machine, it will be easier to find your place if you will insert a small piece of paper (1/4 by 1/2 inch or so) under the last turn of tape on the feed (left hand) reel before you start rewinding, you can quickly fast-forward the tape to the paper when you are ready to resume.
Do not ad-lib except when describing visual material which must be described. On the other hand, be careful not to omit any words, no matter how minor the omission may seem. You are responsible for correct and meaningful presentation of each word on the page.
Occasionally a tape will break while recording, or you will have some reason to wish to cut out a portion of the tape. Splicing is simple but exacting, and can be done either with one of the several commercial splicers now on the market, or simply with splicing tape and a pair of scissors. If you have a commercial tape splicer, the instructions that come with it are familiar to you. If you do not have a splicer, here is the proper way to do it. CAUTION--DO NOT USE "SCOTCH" TAPE, MASKING TAPE OR ADHESIVE TAPE TO MAKE SPLICES! Use only the special splicing tape made for the purpose. Other types of tape will damage the recording and playback heads, pressure pads and drive rollers, and cause jamming and binding of tape on the reels.
To make a silent, strong splice, cross the ends of the tape over each other. With your scissors cut through both thicknesses on approximately a 45-degree angle. Place the tape on a clean, dry, hard surface, putting the edges together as precisely as possible. Place splicing tape over the joined-together place, rubbing with the handle of your scissors to be sure the tape adheres securely. Then carefully trim the splicing tape edges, cutting away a minute quantity of the recording tape on each side. Again, this will take a little practice, but when mastered can be quickly and easily done whenever the occasion arises.
IDENTIFYING THE TAPE
Reviewing and cataloging tapes is faster when all boxes are fully labelled. Most boxes will come to you with labels attached, but if not include the following information:
1. Reel and track number of pages recorded on each track. (EXAMPLE: Reel one, Track one. Page 1-41; Reel one. Track two, Page 42-98.)
2. Title of book.
3. Author's name as shown on text. (Correct spelling is essential)
4. Reader's name and organization. If you are an individual, give full name and address on your first reel; your name is sufficient for the following reels.
5. If the tape has been damaged and you are unable to fix it, please note this on the box.
TIPS ON MICROPHONE SPEECH, by Richard March, San Francisco State College.
The following article is valuable to keep before you when recording. It can give a quick review of your "reading personality" before each session:
1. Strive for voice color and vocal variety thru:
a. pitch (up and down-ness)
b. volume (loudness)
c. duration (tempo)
d. quality (timbre and pitch range )
2. Strive for "flow"--avoid being choppy.
3. Be much warmer, friendlier, more intimate than you think you need to be.
4. Sound as though you know your material well. Be authoritative.
5. Sit about eight inches from a table microphone. (Be just far enough away to thumb your nose--this gives the proper spacing and attitude!)
6. Make use of subtle exaggeration, but don't talk down to your audience. Have an air of intimacy. As you read the words, give yourself time to think and feel.
7. If you are a man, put some male strength into your reading.
8. If you are a woman, put warmth, sympathy, and gentleness into your reading.
9. Get the "essence" of your material. Think and feel and sense ahead of your words, thereby creating the desired illusion that this is the "first time" the thoughts have been conveyed.
10. Mark your copy judiciously. Some marks are "throw-away words" (such as "the"'s, "and"'s, etc.).
11. Avoid extraneous noises, such as pages moving, deep breathing, etc.
12. Be sure that you are "on the beam" of the mike. Test your placement. Maintain the proper recording level, avoiding changes in volume output.
13. Know all pronunciations. If you do not, spell the word.
14. Enunciate, using jaws, tongue, an open mouth and relaxed throat. Use techniques for resonance, such as thinking forward, breathing from deep down from the diaphram, etc. Pronounce every syllable. Make your d's, t's and vowels exact.
15. Be direct. Don't let the book come between you and the listener. Know your material so that you can phrase well, and build up to minor climaxes on the way to the "point" of your chapter or story.
16. Read intimately and personally, as if the student were across the table from you, and you were thoroughly enjoying helping him with this assignment.
The final step in any recording is the proofreading. Proofreading a book on tape is as vital as it is with print or Braille. No matter how carefully a book is recorded, it is imperative to go back over the material following the print book as you listen. It is far easier to listen to each recording session at the time than it is to record the whole book and take the time to proofread the entire book when it is completed.
When you find an error in the middle of a recording session, it is seldom necessary to record the entire portion of the tape following the error. Unless you have missed an entire sentence or paragraph, usually replacement of missed words can be accomplished with little trouble. The following technique can also be used for "bobbled" words or extra words which have been inserted.
Suppose you discover that you have left a word out of a sentence. As an example, you recorded "It was raining cats, dogs and little fishes." Here is the way to put the "dogs" back into the sentence. Be sure, of course, to have your machine set carefully for volume and microphone distance.
1. Start a sentence or two before the one you wish to correct. Find the places on either side of that sentence where you have left an appreciable pause. It usually will be directly on either side of the improper sentence.
2. Once you have determined where these pauses are, find what must be read between these pauses in the print book, and mark them. Run that portion through the machine, carefully timing it with a stop-watch, if you have one, or with the second hand on your regular watch.
3. Rehearse the sentence as it should appear several times until you can read it naturally in the same length of time--or a fractionally shorter time. A good idea is to play the sentence already on tape while you read it as it will be. You can tell easily if you have timed your correction properly.
4. As you would do for replacing words while you are recording, run your recorder to the pause before the sentence you wish to replace. Stop the tape with the "pause button." GENTLY switch your recorder to RECORD, release the “pause button” and IMMEDIATELY read the correct sentence. IMMEDIATELY STOP the recorder to PLAY and release the "pause button". If you have read the sentence the way you rehearsed it, you should hear the next sentence begin.
This same technique will work for words inserted. Simply time your sentence to read more slowly than originally with the inserted word left out.
Naturally, very careful records must be kept of all work being produced. If you would like a copy of our tape working card, we will be glad to send you one. Material should be produced in its entirety, even though the student may ask for only one or two chapters of a book. There will probably be someone else who will need other portions of the book or the entire book at some time in the future.
Also, it is vitally important that the volunteer transcribe the material word for word. Editing and altering the contents of a publication is illegal and unethical.
Before any material is recorded, someone should check with the Central Catalog of the American Printing House for the Blind, P.O. Box 6085, Louisville, Kentucky 40206, to see if the material is already available elsewhere. If it is, it is desirable to attempt to borrow or purchase it and thus conserve the time and talents of the group for items which have not yet been recorded. The group will soon find that it has more than enough to do!
Another step which must be taken before recording, is to obtain copyright clearance on the material (form available, as in footnote 3). After producing the material, you should report it to the Central Catalog of the American Printing House (form available, as in footnote 3). Thus, others who may need the material will be saved the time and trouble of producing it themselves.
A number of publishers have granted blanket permission for transcription of their materials in all media for the use of the blind, and a list of these publishers can be obtained from the Library of Congress.4
If anyone has questions or comments on setting up a volunteer taping program, please let me know. I will do my best with them.
Braille Transcribing Group
While there are many essential similarities between a tape transcribing group and a Braille transcribing group (cohesiveness; strong, effective, continuous leadership; firm financing; orderly record keeping) there are differences too. While it is easy to get more volunteer tapists than a group can use (not competent, hard working reliable ones, of course) Braille transcribing requires the completion of an 18 lesson course5, the employment of one or more blind certified proofreaders6, some sort of binding facility, and a duplicator.7
While I believe that tapists should furnish their own recording equipment, I believe that a Braille transcribing group should own enough Perkins Braillers8 so that anyone who is willing and able to complete a course in Braille transcribing could borrow a Brailler if he is unable to provide his own. Generally speaking, anyone who will expend enough effort to become a certified transcriber will be an asset to a group, and Braillists are so hard to come by that no one should be excluded because he is poor.
Frequently, when a Braille group is being started, the nucleus of the group will be one or more certified transcribers who will teach others, either in a class, or by correspondence. (Either way is fine, but it is our experience that while a number of people may begin as an organized class, the pace of learning is so different from individual to individual that after the first few lessons, each student will need individualized instruction.) It is not, however, in any sense necessary for a group which is going to begin Braille transcribing, to know anything about Brailling--the Library of Congress instruction course is complete in itself. Of course, some other functioning transcribing group may take on the instruction and sponsorship of new Braillists.9
While it is important to teach each transcriber to do precise, careful work, it is equally important to instill in him some of the commandments of transcribing such as:
Thou shalt transcribe anything thou art requested to do.
Thou shalt regard the words of the author as sacred and not alter them.
Thou shalt meet deadlines.
Thou shalt volume thy books neatly.
Thou shalt prepare title pages.
Thou shalt adhere to format rules.
Thou shalt proofread every page and rebraille all that contain uncorrectable errors.
Learning to be a good Braillist--being a certified Braiilist--is hard work and the person taking the Braille instruction course should be given encouragement and assistance as he goes along. Remember, each person who falls by the wayside is a book or a shelf of books unbrailled. On the other hand, temperament in a person beyond a rather limited amount, is incompatible with good Brailling, and the prima donna who cannot bear to do a lesson over, cannot abide proofing her own work, or telephones the instructor in the middle of the night to complain that his red pencil on her lesson has been too harsh, should perhaps do something else rather than Braille.
What will a Braille group need besides some Perkins Braillers and some people able to do Braille? A supply of paper--11 inches x 11 1/2 inches is usually used--100 pound weight, cut so the grain is the 11 inch way10, duplicating plastic for producing more copies of the original transcription, duplicating machine for this production, and some sort of binding equipment.
The same sort of coordinator for the Braille group is needed as for the taping group. A steadfast, dependable, hard working coordinator is a great treasure. As for taping, the Braille group should check with the American Printing House for the Blind to see whether work the group contemplates producing is already available, and it should secure copyright clearance.
It is generally agreed (and I certainly believe) that all hand-Brailled material should be proofread by a certified proofreader. How to make contact with one? The Library of Congress publication, Volunteers who produce books, will tell you of proofreaders. But it may be more desirable to have some bright, affable, local blind person who needs some income and has considerable time, take the Library of Congress proofreading course, get an "A" certificate11, and do as much as possible for the group's work. A proofreader with a good personality will develop rapport with the group members and will help each of them do first quality Brailling. (Some groups want the proofreader to give material needing correction to the transcriber since she will be less likely to make the errors again if she corrects them. We feel this involves too much time and handling with the risk of loss and we want our proofreaders to make necessary corrections.) However this is done, the proofreader's report should be the model of kindly diplomacy. Proofreaders generally are paid $.10 per page which adds significantly to Brailling costs, but it is essential that books be correctly Brailled and no transcriber is good enough to avoid errors altogether.
A Braille group has secured its equipment and supplies, has some certified Braillists, is prepared to deal with the Central Catalog, and with copyright clearance--now what? What books will they Braille and for whom? Who will pay the costs? In most cases, the need for some Braille will have been the motivating factor which caused the formation of the group. In any case, as soon as the Braillists indicate they are ready for business, they will be sent more work than they can manage. Some of it will be "crack-pot stuff not worth the paper the printed material was put on, and surely not worth the time and effort to Braille it. I believe the coordinator should make the decision on what should be Brailled.
Perhaps the group will have suitable financial resources to pay all costs involved in Brailling (I hate to see members have to put down their Braillers in order to organize a rummage sale to raise paper, proofreader, or binding costs.) My personal belief is that people who need the Brailling done will value it more and will tend to keep "crack-pot" requests down more if they pay at least part of the costs. It is well to have some non-Braillists in the Braille transcribing group to do the "donkey" work such as duplication and binding.
Large Type Typing
My belief is that large type transcribing with a large type typewriter is a horse and buggy method of getting results when enlarging and duplicating machines can accomplish the same purpose much more quickly and without the need for proofreading. However, we do some large type work, especially if the original format was unsatisfactory or if the machine-enlarged material would be too great in size for easy handling. We are therefore giving our large type format.
The following outline of large-type format and techniques should replace all previous instructions. We are introducing a few changes which are the result of experience and which, we believe, will improve the quality of the work.
1. Please arrange the title page as nearly like the print title page as possible, but add to it a volume number. Prepare a title page for each volume.
2. Arrange the completed book in volumes of 100 to 120 pages. Make volume breaks at the end of chapters when possible. Otherwise break at some logical point such as a chapter subdivision or with a paragraph which introduces a change in setting, change in time, etc. When possible, plan volume divisions as you type the book in order to avoid retyping pages later
3. Use a running title on each page centered with a margin of 1/2 inch above it except on page 1 where the top margin should be 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches.
4. Place the page number on the same line as the running title and at the end of the right-hand margin.
5. Number pages consecutively unless the book is designated as a textbook. For textbooks follow inkprint numbering, using letters a, b, c (65, 65a, 65b) etc., for the extra pages.
6. For textbooks only, begin a new inkprint page on a new large-type page except where the print page ends above the center of a large-type page. In this case, introduce the new page number at the end of a line of hyphens and continue the text on the same page.
7. Type on one side of the page only.
8. Use double spacing (or 1 1/2 spacing if your machine is equipped for it). Leave a margin of 1 1/2 inches on the left for binding; 1/2 to 3/4 inch on the right is adequate. Follow inkprint format as closely as possible for footnotes and bibliographies. Footnotes should be typed on the same page as the footnote reference unless the reference comes too close to the bottom of the page Separate footnotes from the body of the text with a 2-inch line of underscoring which begins at the left margin,
9. Unless you receive instructions to the contrary, include all material found in the print copy.
10. Begin each new chapter on a new page. Center chapter titles and start the text on the third line below such titles. Subdivisions of chapters may be placed at the margin with important words capitalized and the subdivision title underscored. Underscore all words which appear in print in italics.
11. Handle graphs and illustrations according to your resources. If you are an artist or have the services of an artist available, reproduce as much as possible. Simple graphs and diagrams should be reproduced in enlarged form in most instances. Use black ink for such reproductions and for any labeling which goes with them. Pictures and other illustrations which cannot be reproduced should be described if they make a significant contribution to understanding the text. Many times the text itself contains an adequate description.
12. Limit the hyphenation of words. Avoid hyphenating unless enough of the word can be included on the line so that with the other context the reader will be reasonably sure what it is. For example: furni-ture rather than fur-niture. When words are divided, be sure that a break is made only at correct syllable divisions. Consult a dictionary!
13. Keep the type keys clean to avoid "fuzzy" characters.
14. Change ribbons as often as necessary to maintain a uniform degree of "blackness". Large type is produced for the visually handicapped. They cannot read it if it is only grey.
15. To make corrections use an eraser which is not extremely abrasive, or retype the page. Always retype if the correction requires extensive erasing. Correction paper does not make a good correction with bold-face type, and the coating will eventually wear off and leave a "double image" for the reader. The Eberhard-Faber Singlex eraser, No. 12 or No. 1007 will make a nice erasure. Never make a correction by striking over the error. That practice only compounds the error.
16. Proofreading is always a part of typing. Proofreading each page as it is finished is highly recommended. If a line or two should be skipped, it can then be caught at once; otherwise it might be necessary to retype a number of pages to make the correction.
As I mentioned earlier, prisons present great potential for transcribing. After all they represent--usually--a fairly high, fairly stable, and in some cases, fairly unoccupied population. What is the dross then? The general intellectual level of a prison tends to be lower than for the same number of people outside--after all, if these people had been successful in whatever activity brought about their incarceration, they probably would be out practicing this activity. There is, therefore, great competition among the "civilians," the employees of the prisons, for the brighter and more skilled inmates. In addition, sentences tend to be shorter and more bench paroles are given white-collar criminals—-the ones who might be "natural" transcribers. Then too, many persons who work programs with pay--money--cash--and since the people usually have to pay for such items as razors and blades, cigarettes, candy, etc., it is hard for a "free" or low-paid activity such as transcribing to compete with maybe shoe repair or furniture production which may pay $.60 per day. (We pay our inmates at the rate of $.35 per day.) Still, with all this, a prison is a good place to have a transcription group, and some of the finest transcribing work anywhere in nation is done by by these people.
The first essential with the prison program is that the prison officials and particularly the civilians who will be directly responsible, are altogether sold on it. If they don't want it or give it lukewarm support, it can't thrive. There must be constant and sustained instruction of the inmates who will form the core of the program and will teach other inmates. There must be provision of adequate equipment, but watch out for its condition! There seems to be a relationship between being behind bars and wanting to take things apart. While all transcribing groups need constant attentive nurture, this need is accentuated with a prison group I believe.
Well, this is my prescription for the formation, growth, and survival of transcription groups. I would be glad to learn of any experiences of my readers and, of course, glad to be of any further help to anyone who might desire it.
1. Anyone who is interested in receiving the listing of cassette machines we have for sale to blind people at the Iowa Commission for the Blind may write for this listing. This listing does not constitute an endorsement of any of their machines.
2. If you wish brands of some open reel tape duplicators, I will be glad to send them. However, again, this does not constitute an endorsement of any of these.
3. We will be glad to send copies of any of our forms to anyone desiring them.
4. The address for the Library of Congress is: Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20542.
5. Instruction manual for Braille transcribing with its drill supplement, and English Braille, American edition 1959 (revised 1962, 1966, 1968) may be obtained from Mrs. Maxine Dorf, Senior Braille Specialist, Library of Congress (see footnote 4 for address) and this Braille instruction course may also be taken from Mrs. Dorf.
6. Proofreaders are certified after taking the proofreading course. The following is the information the Library of Congress provides to people inquiring about the course.
The course in Braille proofreading is offered only to blind persons who can meet the following essential prerequisites:
1. They must be high school graduates.
2. They must have a fairly wide reading experience.
3. They must be able to read and write Braille with a fair degree of accuracy.
4. They must be willing to devote a considerable amount of time to proofreading at home.
5. They must be proficient typists and have ready access to a typewriter.
The course is conducted entirely in Braille. Textbooks with specific instructions are furnished by the Library of Congress.
After reading the information contained in this letter, the applicant who is interested in qualifying as a proofreader should request the Braille edition of the Instruction manual for Braille transcribing. This is the Manual from which transcribers are trained by the Library of Congress. The study of this, instruction book will afford the opportunity to learn or review English Braille as authorized by the official code. Students are required to make a thorough study of this textbook; however, they will not be expected to prepare each exercise for examination by the instructor.
After a study of the first three lessons, the exercise of Lesson Three should be prepared and submitted to the Division for the Blind of the Library of Congress. It is essential that the full name and address of the student should appear in Braille at the conclusion of every assignment throughout the course. Other assignments from this book will be made, depending upon the progress of the student. Upon completion of the assignments from the Instruction Manual, the student will receive a copy of the Manual of Braille proofreading. The lessons in this book are designed to provide the experience needed for the detection and correction of errors, for the preparation of constructive typewritten reports to transcribers, and other details necessary to completion of a well-rounded course in Braille proofreading.
Upon the successful completion of the entire course, a certificate of proficiency in Braille proofreading will be awarded by the Librarian of Congress.
The certified proofreader receives compensation at the rate of seven cents per page of hand-copied Braille.
It should be noted that the Library of Congress cannot guarantee full-time employment to certified proofreaders. Manuscripts are available from time to time, but there is no assurance that they can be provided at regular intervals. For this reason qualified proofreaders who live in localities where there are groups active in Braille transcribing are encouraged to seek employment with such organizations. The Library of Congress will furnish names and addresses upon request.
As equipment for the course, it will be necessary for the student to secure the following items:
l. A large desk slate, preferably the 37-cell model, obtainable from the American Printing House for the Blind, 1839 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky 40206. (For student work proofreaders often find it advantageous to own the 40-cell slate which may be purchased from Howe Press, Watertown, Massachusetts 02172. In transcribing textbooks to be bound in spiral binding a 40-cell line is frequently used, making it necessary for the proofreader, who must occasionally recopy pages, to reproduce accordingly.)
2. Braille paper, size eleven by eleven and one-half inches, also obtainable from the American Printing House for the Blind.
3. Access to a reliable dictionary, preferably a Merriam-Webster.
Good Braille proofreaders are few in number when compared with the many hundreds of certified transcribers throughout the country. In addition to books for library circulation, the ever-increasing demand on local organizations for the transcription of textbooks has created a need for more qualified proofreaders than are available at the present time.
We appreciate your interest in the prospect of becoming a certified proofreader, and trust that we may welcome you as one of our students.
7. Spiral binding using equipment such as that manufactured by General Binding Corporation, Northbrook, Illinois 60062, is frequently used by transcribing groups and has the advantage that the material can easily be taken apart for duplication. Library binding such as we use (ours is produced at the bindery of the Iowa State Penitentiary) is very durable but is expensive and cannot be taken apart for duplication. I do not recommend loose-leaf notebook binders--it is too easy to lose parts of the books. Once a book is hand-Brailled, copies can be made on plastic, using a thermoform machine obtainable from American Thermoform Corporation, 1732 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90047. However, since each Braille page has to be duplicated individually, it is a time consuming process.
8. Perkins Braillers are manufactured by Howe Press of Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, Massachusetts 02172, and (1970) sell for $116.10 with the carrying case and $100.40 without the carrying case. The word is that there soon will be an electric model available.
9. The Iowa Commission for the Blind will undertake to teach Brailling only to people who will transcribe some books for the Commission's program.
10. Braille paper may be purchased from Howe Press and the American Printing House for the Blind, but freight costs will be saved if the Braille group can obtain it from a local paper company. We buy from Midwestern Paper Company, 1801 East Hull, P.O. Box 6676, Des Moines, Iowa 50303.
11. A proofreader with an "A" certificate from the Library of Congress can correct errors. One with a "B" certificate must have someone else correct errors.
Back to Contents
The Minnesota Bulletin, publication of the Minnesota Organization of the Blind, has devoted a large portion of its current issue with the marking of the 50th anniversary of the organization. The MOB began in 1920 when there was an acute need for action for social and economic changes for the blind. It has accomplished much in the past fifty years--it has grown in scope of services, has obtained much public support, and has increased greatly in membership. In Duluth, it has the Arrowhead Chapter which is open to the blind of six northern Minnesota counties. The organization provided the first group housing at a reasonable cost for blind persons. Its legislative accomplishments over the years have been imposing--improvements in Aid to the Blind, the Model White Cane Law, and tax relief measures, to mention only a few. The Braille Monitor salutes the Minnesota Organization of the Blind on its fiftieth anniversary and commends it for all it has done for the welfare of the blind men and women of Minnesota.
The March, 1970 issue of the Monitor reprinted a story from a North Dakota newspaper in which it was stated that blind students were denied admission to the School of Education of the University of North Dakota. We have been advised by Miss Del Sulsky of Williston, North Dakota that she herself had graduated from the School of Education some ten years ago and there have been about seven others who have completed the course. We are glad to have this correction.
A cane equipped with laser beams is being tested at Western Michigan University. It lets the user know if there is a step 12 feet ahead or he is about to walk into a low-hanging branch or is on a collision course with another pedestrian. The experiments began about six months ago and are being financed by the Veterans Administration. The cane uses three laser beams, bouncing light off obstacles. One adjustable beam is trained up to 12 feet ahead of the user and a low-pitched beep tells the cane user if there is a low-lying obstacle or drop-off ahead. A second beam tickles his right index finger if he is approaching a large object or if someone crosses his path. If he approaches something at head level, such as a low-hanging branch, he is warned by a high-pitched beep. Those conducting the experiments point out that they don't want tto raise the hopes of blind persons since they don't know how helpful the cane may prove to be.
The Vidivision for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress announces the titles of two cassette books done by speech compression methods--The Fiction of Experience by Lesser and Morris and Patterns of Culture by Ruth Benedict. Incidentally, the DBPH News, issued bi-monthly, contains a lot of interesting material for the Braille and talking book readers.
Isabelle moves! Fleeing from the smog of Los Angeles, Dr. Isabelle L.D Grant has alighted in the capital city of California, Sacramento. Midst myriads of cartons, Isabelle reports her new address as 1314 V Street, Sacramento. California 95818. She reports that her overseas correspondence still continues unabated.
The nation has an immediate need for 1,829 new rehabilitation facilities, including 584 sheltered workshops, according to a monograph just published by the U.S. Rehabilitation Services Administration. The publication was based on a 1968 survey.
Robert R. Luman of San Francisco, who was blinded in an accidental explosion on a construction project, recently won a $750,000 out-of-court settlement. This award is one of the largest in a personal injury case.
Science for the Blind is offering a special introductory reel containing recorded excerpts from all of the periodicals currently being circulated. The introductory reel is recorded on new one-mil mylar tape on a seven-inch reel. To obtain a sample reel, send your name and address and one dollar to Science for the Blind, 221 Rock Hill Road, Bala-Cynwyd, Pennsylvania 19004.
The District of Columbia Department of Vocational Rehabilitation has recently established a training and evaluation center. The major objective of the center is to provide, in the most expeditious manner, essential vocational rehabilitation services and to offer those services at an accessible site. Services at the center include orientation, rehabilitation counselling and guidance, psychological testing, pre-vocational and vocational evaluation, personal and work adjustment, skill training, and specialized placement. The center is located in the heart of the Model Cities area of the District.
Doctors have recently been warned not to substitute artificial lenses inside the eye in cataract operations. A rash of about 300 such operations have been performed in the New York area during the past three months. Most of the lens insertion operations have turned out unsuccessful and many have caused permanent damage to the eyes, including blindness, says Dr. Richard G. Troutman of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.
Two eminent American women, Helen Keller and Jane Addams, were recently honored at Washington Cathedral. Their likenesses are carved on corbel stones in the National Cathedral Association bay on the south side of the cathedral. Katharine Cornell, famed American actress, has written a special tribute to Miss Keller. She stated: "For the deaf-blind there was never a real world before Helen Keller. For those who could see and hear, Helen Keller created a new world. Helen Keller created sight and sound and understanding among people all over the world who reached out for the touch of her sightless, soundless humanity."
The President's Commission on Income Maintenance Programs, originally appointed by President Johnson, has unanimously recommended a $2,400 minimum income for a family of four. The Commission argued that income from work was out of the reach of most poor people and that major emphasis should not be given to encouraging employment among those with only the most limited vocational potential. The Commission did, however, encourage the payment of funds to those among the "working poor", the nearly two million families whose heads work at poverty level wages. The present Nixon administration proposals are aimed at reform of public welfare, primarily that portion of the program that provides Aid to Families with Dependent Children. In contrast, the Commission's proposal would drastically do away with welfare, substituting instead direct cash payments to all poor people--single, aged, blind, disabled. Food stamp programs would be eliminated and day care centers for working mothers would not be a part of the program. To provide work incentives for those able to work, the Commission proposes that they be entitled to retain 50 percent of their earnings to $4,800, $890 more than the administration's proposed maximum. In a supporting statement to the Commission's report, three members noted that the minimum income level should have been $3,600, roughly the poverty level as defined by the federal government.
During the final two months of 1969, Computer Systems Institute mailed a brief questionnaire to those employers of blind and visually handicapped graduates in Computer Programming. The results were both gratifying and informative. Some 24.2% of the employers rated their blind computer programmers job performance as excellent, 57.6% as good, 15.2% as fair, and only 3% as poor. The blind employees were also rated highly on such qualities as motivation, intelligence, appearance, attendance, punctuality, cooperation, attitude, quality of work, quantity of work, compatibility with employees, compatibility with supervisors. The average salary of these workers was $7,366 a year.
Mr. Ray McGeorge, President of the Denver Area Association of the Blind, an affiliate of the Colorado Federation of the Blind, has sent a small pamphlet describing the new Center for the Activities of the Blind, housed in a building which the Association recently purchased. The purchase was made with the intention of having facilities for the varied activities of the Denver Area Association and with the desire to provide a facility for the use of other organizations involved with work for the blind. In a brief period of time they have been able to work out programs providing facilities for "The Parents of Blind Children", and "The Braille Teens", "Friends of the Library for the Blind", and "The State Library", providing storage for seldom used Braille books, and with the parent organization, the Colorado Federation of the Blind. The building is a 2 1/2 story structure with approximately 12,000 square feet of floor space, occupying 2 lots. The total cost of the property was $55,000, with the Denver Area Association of the Blind assuming a $25,000 mortgage. The organization is handling the finances of its varied projects plus the expenses of the building with a portion derived from the rental of office space to groups not involved with work for the blind, plus financial support from individual contributions. Congratulations to you, Ray, and the members of your group, for real movement.
Back to Contents