THE BRAILLE MONITOR

May 1970

INKPRINT EDITION

VOICE OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

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

Printed at 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

 

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.

Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
http://archive.org/details/braillemonitorma1970nati

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FLASH!

LETTER FROM THE NFB PRESIDENT

NEW NFB AFFILIATE--OREGON

A. ORGANIZATIONAL REPORT
by Ramona Walhof

B. LETTER FROM FRED KREPELA TO PRESIDENT JERNIGAN

C. PRESIDENT JERNIGAN'S REPLY

D. LETTER FROM THE NEW AFFILIATE PRESIDENT

E. SHE ORGANIZES WELL

BLIND LAWYERS' GROUP TO BE FORMED
by Kenneth Jernigan

MEET JEANNIE DAVID

MEET OUR STATE PRESIDENT--E.E. (COTTON) BUSBY
AND OUR STATE AFFILIATE--MISSOURI

SERVICES OF AMERICAN PRINTING HOUSE MAY BE EXTENDED

THE MINIMUM GRANT IN AID TO THE BLIND

COMMENTS FROM COLORADO
by Kenneth Jernigan

IN RESPONSE TO KEN JERNIGAN'S ASSESSMENT OF THE
RIGHTS OF BLIND PEOPLE IN THE STATE OF COLORADO
by Charles G. Ritter

A SUMMER SCHOOL FOR THE ADULT BLIND

STATE PUBLICATIONS

THE FUTURE OF SERVICES IN STATE AGENCIES FOR THE BLIND
by Joseph Kohn

ANALYSIS OF OHIO LEGISLATION

COMMENTS ON THE BILL RELATIVE TO THE CREATION OF
A REHABILITATION SERVICES COMMISSION
by Kenneth Jernigan

OF SHELTERED SHOPS AND VENDING STANDS
THE STAUTER-JERNIGAN CORRESPONDENCE

EMPLOYMENT OF THE BLIND IN FEDERAL SERVICE

MONITOR MINIATURES

SURVEY AND EVALUATION OF PROGRAMS FOR THE BLIND IN THE STATE
OF HAWAII, CONCLUDED

 

FLASH!

As we go to press we have just received word that the Senate Finance Committee has amended pending legislation dealing with unemployment compensation to provide that private sheltered workshop employees must be afforded the protection of coverage by unemployment compensation provisions. The amendment was offered by Senator Vance Hartke of Indiana at the request of the National Federation of the Blind. While the legislation must go to a House-Senate Conference Committee, it is believed that this amendment has a good chance of becoming law.

Back to Contents

 

LETTER FROM THE NFB PRESIDENT

Dear Colleagues:

This is one of those letters which I write to you from time to time to bring you up to date on general happenings. My first piece of news is, indeed, not pleasant. Word has just reached me of the death of Alfonso Smith, president of our Ohio affiliate and member of the NFB Executive Committee. I do not have very much in the way of details--just that Al went into the hospital with what appeared to be the flu, that he was placed on the critical list and that he was dead of pneumonia within something like a week. Al was a staunch Federationist, a friend, and a colleague.

There have been a number of other deaths in our leadership recently. Francis Flanagan, president of our Connecticut affiliate died on December 30. As you know, Tom Gronning, immediate past president of the Washington affiliate, died last November. Also Clyde Ross of Ohio died on January 16.

Fortunately, not all of the news is bad. I am pleased to be able to tell you that we have settled our federal tax problem. Much credit for this must go to Senators Jack Miller of Iowa and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and to Congressman Al Watson of South Carolina, all of whom took an active and personal interest in the case.

The Internal Revenue people have officially ruled that our necktie and other mailings are not taxable, and this will serve as a precedent in any future problems we might have. In fact, since the ruling has gone the way it has, it is greatly to our advantage that the matter was raised and that the audit occurred. Our attorney, Hugh Koford, tells me that we could have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars if matters had gone the other way.

We have now paid $100,000 toward the purchase of our plastics company, and I hope we can pay another $50,000 in the next few days. The total price, as you will remember, was $450,000. The company is doing well but is going through the usual struggles of a new business.

Speaking of payments, just after the first of the year we paid somewhat over $20,000 in accumulated interest on our FEDCO purchase. This represents the final settlement of the debt, and nothing now remains owing.

We have been running into problems with our necktie suppliers. With the new wide ties and with prices in the stores continuing to rise, we are no longer favored customers. In fact, the amount which the suppliers wish to charge is simply not possible for us to pay, so we have been doing a good deal of negotiating.

The situation is quite serious. Last year by mid-March we had well over two million ties in the mails. This year we have so far been able to mail only about a million. Since we have a number of fixed costs, this problem could be ruinous unless we can find a solution. However, we are working away at it and are hopeful.

Muzzy Marcelino has been negotiating with tie producers in Formosa and Korea, and Bernie Gerchen has been talking with Puerto Rican and Mexican producers. In addition we are experimenting with new prices, new products, and new merchandising methods.

At this stage there is not much new to report on the disability insurance bill. We still have 159 cosponsors and are waiting for action by the House Ways and Means Committee. Obviously we need more letters to Chairman Wilbur Mills and others on the Ways and Means Committee and we need more House cosponsors. There are some other things (quite exciting in fact) happening in the Congress. Rather than try to go into them in this letter, I will simply say that you should watch the Monitor for a report.

As you know by now, we have a new affiliate in Oregon. Taken with the other organizational work which has been done since the last convention and which is planned for the immediate future, this symbolizes the accelerating momentum of our movement. Michigan was reorganized last summer, and a new affiliate came into being in North Carolina. Don Capps is going to Florida over the Easter weekend to begin work on a new affiliate there, and several of us are now laying active plans for an intensive organizing campaign in Wisconsin and other states.

I hope that you are planning to have a large delegation from your state at the convention this summer. It is shaping up as one of our best. I am informed that Idaho, with a total population of only about three quarters of a million, plans to have a delegation of fifty. This gives all of us a mark to shoot at. I know that the Minnesotans are planning to go all out to show us what hospitality is really like. If you have not sent in reservations, please do so as soon as possible. See you in Minneapolis.

Back to Contents

 

NEW NFB AFFILIATE--OREGON
ORGANIZATIONAL REPORT

by Ramona Walhof

Saturday, March 7, was the date. Portland, Oregon was the meeting place. And the result an enthusiastic new Oregon affiliate--the forty-third state to join the Federation family. Ramona Walhof of Idaho, who spearheaded the organizing campaign, reports as follows:

For several months eager Oregonians had been urging the NFB to form an affiliate in their state. After some correspondence, a team was put together. Lawrence (Muzzy) Marcelino of California and Mary Ellen Anderson of Wisconsin arrived in Oregon on Friday, February 27 to begin the work of contacting blind people in the state. An Idaho contingent--Kenneth Hopkins and his wife Mary, Dick and Helen Jones, Jan Omvig, Frank Smith, Howard Barton, and my husband Chuck and I--had been busy on a number of weekends.

Everywhere, we met with strong and enthusiastic interest in forming a working organization of blind adults. And this is the kind of affiliate we are glad to welcome into the Federation! Especially exciting was the enthusiasm we found among young blind adults. By the end of the week there was little doubt that we were well on our way to the formation of another fine, new NFB affiliate.

A crowd of blind people anticipating an eventful day gathered at the Heathman Hotel in downtown Portland on Saturday, March 7. They came from Salem, Eugene, Portland, Klamath Falls, La Grande, and other smaller cities across the state.

The morning began with a discussion of the purposes and goals of the NFB. Projects now being carried out by the national offices, as well as some currently in progress at state and local levels, were reviewed. Vigorous discussion continued in small groups during the luncheon break. By the beginning of the afternoon meeting, everyone was eager to begin work on the adoption of a constitution and the election of officers. And that is just what was done.

They chose to call themselves the OREGON FEDERATION OF THE BLIND. The officers elected are capable, articulate, energetic leaders and good representatives of the Oregon Federation. Meet the Officers and Board of our new affiliate!

President of the Oregon Federation of the Blind is Mr. Harvey Twombley of 2100 S.E. 26th Street, Lake Village Apartments, Apt. 105, Milwaukee, Oregon. For some time Mr. Twombley and his wife Michelle have been actively contacting blind persons in Oregon in an effort to form an organization that could effectively promote the interests and opportunities of blind persons. Mr. Twombley, better known as Harv, is now completing training to become a vending stand operator. In the past he has worked for Moulded Fiber Glass and Plastics, and he has done farm labor. He has held office in the Future Farmers of America. We congratulate the Oregon Federation on its choice of Harvey Twombley as its President!

First Vice President of the Oregon Federation is Miss Leanna Deeds who is working towards her Master's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Miss Deeds is a graduate of Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where she graduated with honors and received the Voice of Experience Trophy for outstanding work.

Mike Burwell, Second Vice President of the Oregon Federation of the Blind, is a senior at Portland State University, where he is majoring in sociology and psychology. Mr. Burwell plans eventually to work in occupational therapy.

Jackie Church of Portland was elected Secretary of the Oregon Federation. Miss Church is a medical transcriber for the Crippled Children's Division of the University of Oregon Medical School. While studying in Olympia Jackie served as Secretary of the Thirston County Association of the Blind, the NFB local chapter there.

Monitor readers are already familiar with the Treasurer, Glen Muilenburg, a farmer and operator of a feed lot near La Grande, Oregon. When Glen casually mentioned that he sells beef by the half and quoted very reasonable prices, he found several potential customers.

Mrs. Myrna Dawe and Mr. Carl Roberts were elected to two-year Board positions in the Oregon Federation. Mrs. Dawe of Klamath Falls, Oregon is President of the Southern Oregon Federation of the Blind. That organization gave enthusiastic support to the formation of the statewide group. Her husband Jack is an officer in the Air Force. Mr. Roberts of Portland is a warehouseman at General Metal Craft.

Mrs. Gere Gilkison of La Grande and Miss Sharon Mueller of Eugene were elected to one-year positions on the Board. Gere, Mrs. Marvin Gilkison, finds it is often necessary to point out that her name is not pronounced Grrr, but Jerry. Gere is a full-time homemaker and has a grown daughter. Sharon Mueller is a freshman at Lane Community College in Eugene, where she is majoring in psychology. She was Secretary of the Student Senate at Lane during the fall term.

Harvey Twombley was elected Delegate to the 1970 NFB Convention in Minneapolis, and Mike Burwell was elected alternate Delegate. Other members also began making plans and asking about this Convention. It looks as though we can look forward to a good-sized representation in Minneapolis from our 43rd NFB affiliate, the Oregon Federation of the Blind.

All can see that we have a Board representative of a variety of professions, ages, geographic parts of the state and with much ability. Even more impressive, however, is the great enthusiasm and energy of both the Board and the entire membership. One indication of this eagerness to get to work is the plan to hold a Board meeting only two weeks from the day of the organizational meeting.

Congratulations to Oregon on the formation of this fine, new affiliate of the NFB, and welcome, Oregon, to the National Federation of the Blind!

Back to Contents

 

LETTER FROM FRED KREPELA TO PRESIDENT JERNIGAN

March 6, 1970

Dear Ken:

Enclosed is a copy of a letter which is self-explanatory and which I hope will be of some use to our people in California.

By the way, I cannot understand why three out-of-state people are telling Oregon blind how bad the conditions are in our state. I don't think your people know anything about it, so I wish you would please immediately put a stop order on their NFB activities here.

Last night I attended a meeting at which Mr. Marcelino was offering NFB legal action against the Oregon Commission for the Blind if it did not accede to requests and demands for some of its clients. As Administrator of the Iowa Commission for the Blind what would be your reaction if these statements were made by outsiders in your state against the Iowa Commission for the Blind?

The Oregon blind are already getting all that NFB can offer and even more at the present time. Your out-of-state people are doing a disservice to the blind of our state. Your cooperation to stop this activity in Oregon would be much appreciated.

Very truly yours,

Fred Krepela

Oregon Council of the Blind

Back to Contents

 

PRESIDENT JERNIGAN'S REPLY

Dear Mr. Krepela:

I have your letter and must say that I find it very interesting. You ask me how I would feel as administrator of the Iowa Commission for the Blind if out-of-state people came into Iowa and offered to help with legal action against the agency I head. We do not have to speculate about how I would feel since members of your own organization, the American Council of the Blind, have been doing a good deal worse than that in Iowa in the past month or so.

In fact, I think it comes with ill grace from any officer or member of the American Council of the Blind to raise such a question at all in view of the rather disgraceful behavior of Council members here in our state. "Out-of-staters" came to Iowa and publicly attacked me in my capacity as Commission administrator. The meeting which they organized used the press as a forum to call for my dismissal as Director and to imply that I was a thief, guilty of misusing Commission funds. This last charge was not specifically made in so many words but was coyly hinted at. Further, since they did not have any substantial number of blind members, this fine Council organization had armed guards at the door with pistols on their hips to keep blind people out of the meeting. They required every person who entered the meeting to sign a statement that he had no connection with the Iowa Commission for the Blind. When some of the blind who wished to enter were denied admission, they asked if they might merely go in and sit at the back of the room to listen if they would pledge not to say a single word. They were denied that courtesy.

Consider the contrast between what occurred in Iowa when the Council decided to organize and what occurred in Oregon when the Federation decided to organize. As I understand it, there were no personal attacks or vilifications, no attempt to destroy the Oregon Commission for the Blind or its Director, no attempt to destroy or be unfriendly with the Oregon Council of the Blind. As I say, this is my understanding and is certainly what I believe occurred. I am informed, for instance, that Oregon Council representatives were permitted to sit in the meeting--certainly a contrast to what occurred here. I have heard of no newspaper articles calling Mr. Stocker (the head of your Commission and a man I know to be a gentleman) a thief; nor have I seen any press releases calling him vile names or asking for his resignation. If you had possessed any, I assume you would have sent them to me.

Let me make clear to you my position about organizations of the blind, and particularly what occurred in Iowa and Oregon. The blind have a right to organize, into one or as many organizations as they like. They have a right to be critical of the state agency established to provide them with services--whether that agency be the Iowa Commission for the Blind, the Oregon Commission for the Blind, or any other. They also have a duty to behave responsibly and to deal with fairness and courtesy. For instance, if the blind have a grievance, I believe they are behaving irresponsibly if they go to the press or the public with that grievance before ever even discussing it with the state agency or trying to resolve it--assuming, of course, that they have not tried to discuss so many previous issues without success that there is obviously no point in taking the same route again. Not only do courtesy and plain decency require that the agency and the blind attempt to resolve their differences before squabbling in public but common sense and self-interest indicate the same course. The blind are a small minority, and they and their agencies will have problems enough in getting a fair share of state funds and public support even if a common front is presented and the most favorable of conditions exist. This is not to say that organizations of the blind are never justified in attacking the agencies publicly. They certainly are when those agencies refuse to discuss issues with them and to give weight to their opinions. In my capacity as Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, I have never refused to talk to any blind person or organization of blind persons and have always certainly given consideration to any views expressed.

As to organizations of the blind, I think it is regrettable that we have to have two at the national level instead of one. You and I would doubtless disagree as to why the American Council splintered away from the Federation and what the motives and even the actions of its leaders were during the civil war, and what they have been afterward. It does no good to live in the past, but this is one of the problems which the American Council leadership have always seemed to have. Some of them simply appear to be unable to let bygones be bygones and try to work constructively. They seem almost obsessed with personal bitterness and hatred--acting as if they would rather destroy leaders of the Federation or hurt the organization than to work to build programs. Over the years these people have sought every opportunity to bicker and quarrel, make snide remarks, and engage in name calling. This is not the way to build an organization, or anything else.

However that may be, the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind are now facts of life. The two organizations should try to treat each other with respect and, where they agree on programs, work together. This may lead to increasing harmony and to an ultimate community of purpose, which would benefit all blind people. Either organization is perfectly within its rights to try to organize in any state or community. It seems to me it should do so positively and not by trying to attack or knock the other group. It is perfectly proper, if the local or state affiliate of either organization wishes to do so, to exclude members of the other group from membership, but this should be done without meanness or name calling. (I doubt, for instance, that it really falls within the bounds of propriety or serves any constructive purpose to place armed guards with pistols to exclude people from meetings.)

To deal specifically with the organizing effort in your state, the Federation had contact with a number of Oregon residents who wished to belong to the organization. An organizing team came to the state to help establish an affiliate. The affiliate now exists. I understand that it has capable leaders and sensible members.

I would hope and expect (and I am sure that such will be the case) that the affiliate will work constructively with the state agency and any other groups in the state truly interested in the problems of blindness. If and when the Oregon Federation feels there are problems with the Commission, I hope and believe they will discuss those problems with appropriate officials of the agency. If solutions can not be achieved, then of course the organization must consider whether public action is warranted, always recognizing that such action inevitably has certain negative aspects, even though some times being necessary. When the agency does a good job, I am sure that our Oregon affiliate will support it in the Legislature and before the public. I am certain they will resist any attempt to reorganize the Commission out of existence or submerge it into a huge, catch-all department.

As often seems to be the case with communications from ACB members and leaders, your letter seemed somewhat harsh and angry. Think about what I have said, and ask yourself where justice truly lies. Then, before coming to me again, "Counselor heal thyself."

Very truly yours,

Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

Back to Contents

 

LETTER FROM THE NEW AFFILIATE PRESIDENT

Dear Mr. Jernigan;

I am very grateful that you sent me a copy of Mr. Krepela's letter and your answer to it. I was totally unaware of this "action" which Mr. Krepela took upon himself. I can only say that I am sorry you had to be bothered with such a petty and totally unrealistic view of what blind persons in the State of Oregon really want. Bad conditions do exist in our state. The fact that Mr. Krepela denies this only makes it more apparent that he and others wish to cover up the facts. Also the statement that "the Oregon blind are already getting all that the NFB can offer and even more at the present time" is truly an exaggeration. I honestly believe that if Mr. Krepela's statement were true, the blind people of Oregon would not have felt the need to organize an NFB affiliate.

I would like to reassure you that you were informed correctly that there was no one turned away from our meeting Saturday, March 7. It was perfectly orderly and there were no attacks made on anyone, although there was a rumor to the effect that we refused to let one Council member, who is also on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Commission, attend. This kind of attack is to be expected, and we will do the best we can to deal with these matters objectively and constructively.

As President of the Oregon Federation of the Blind I will to the best of my ability work to see that this organization acts in a positive and vigorous manner to improve the condition of the blind of our State and the Nation.

Sincerely,

Harvey Twombley, President
Oregon Federation of the Blind

Back to Contents

 

SHE ORGANIZES WELL

[Reprinted from the Herald and News, Klamath Falls, Oregon]

Blindness is nothing more than a nuisance reflecting in no way upon one's mental abilities, talents, and the desire and ability to do a job efficiently. More and more industries have become aware that victims of blindness generally are highly productive, efficient employees, but in a nation where two or three out of every 1,000 persons are afflicted with the problem blind people have far too few job opportunities and even fewer occasions to receive rehabilitation training.

The opportunities now available to victims of blindness along with some comments on how such persons can best help themselves were discussed by Mrs. Charles (Ramona) Walhof, representative of the National Federation of the Blind, at the Community Lounge. Mrs. Walhof also met with the public at the same place, discussing the plans of the federation to establish an office in Oregon before the end of the year and to make known the need for the development of a rehabilitation center for the blind in this state.

The speaker who describes blindness as an "inconvenience and a nuisance" has proved her ability to overcome the obstacles of being blind and encourages similar victims to develop confidence and make an effort to conquer challenges of their own.

Blind since birth, Mrs. Walhof, 25, Boise, Idaho, is a graduate of Georgetown University with a major in foreign languages and an instructor in the Boise school system's Head Start program for pre-schoolers. Prior to becoming associated with that city's project for 4-year-olds, Mrs. Walhof taught a course in Russian language at Boise State College and was an instructor of blind adults at the Iowa Orientation Center, a facility she describes as the nation's most outstanding for the rehabilitation of the blind.

The Center instills in its students two basic philosophies needed by blind persons if they are to survive in this society, she indicated. First is the need for the sightless to develop confidence in their ability to compete favorably against persons with all of their faculties. Next, the blind must firmly believe the truism that they are "normal productive citizens," Mrs. Walhof said.

One of the goals of the National Federation of the Blind is to encourage persons without sight to develop their other senses as a way to compensate for blindness. "Such victims accomplish this by learning, for example, how to travel across the nation and to foreign countries, and by acquiring the skills to operate power machinery, such as lathes, electric drills and other precise instruments," she noted. Mrs. Walhof’s comment on travel is based upon personal experience involving past visits to the Soviet Union and Washington, D.C.

"Really," she reflected, "driving an automobile is about the only task that a blind person can't do."

Assisting Mrs. Walhof in her efforts to disseminate information about the National Federation of the Blind, with 40,000 members in some 40 states, is Mrs. Jack Dawe, a local resident with limited vision but classified as legally blind. Mrs. Dawe became blind suddenly about two years ago.

Mrs. Walhof noted that the blind are able to compete equally well against people with sight, "providing they possess the confidence and willingness to try."

Back to Contents

 

BLIND LAWYERS' GROUP TO BE FORMED

by Kenneth Jernigan

As the following correspondence will indicate, there is an increasingly apparent need for an ongoing exchange of ideas, materials, and techniques among blind lawyers throughout the country. From time to time the National Federation of the Blind has, in connection with the national Convention held seminars and meetings for blind lawyers. However, this has been done on an intermittent basis.

The time has now come for something more regular and permanent. Accordingly, we contemplate establishing an NFB Blind Lawyers' Division at the Convention this summer. The first meeting will occur at the Leamington Hotel at 8:00 o'clock on Saturday evening, July 4. Chairing the meeting will be Bonifacio Yturbide, 938 Rockdale Drive, San Francisco 94127.

The group will elect officers and conduct an ongoing program between conventions. Help will be given to blind law students as well as those already in the profession. This should be an exciting and stimulating meeting, and it is hoped that lawyers and those interested in becoming lawyers will attend and take part.

 

Texas

Dear Mr. Blank:

I have your letter, and it arrived at a most opportune time since the National Federation of the Blind is calling a meeting of blind lawyers in connection with our national Convention to be held at the Leamington Hotel in Minneapolis July 3-7. The lawyers will meet at 8:00 o'clock Saturday evening, July 4. At that time we will discuss the type of thing raised in your letter.

In view of the fact that we have many blind lawyers in our membership throughout the nation, this meeting should be both interesting and productive. We would hope to do more than merely discover sources of material. Ideas and techniques should be exchanged, and the blind lawyers should take concerted action to deal with common problems.

I hope that you will find it possible to attend the Convention and participate in the lawyers' meeting as well as the other parts of the program.

You can obtain special rates (quite reasonable) by writing for reservations to the Leamington Hotel in Minneapolis and indicating that you will be attending the NFB Convention.

Very truly yours,

Kenneth Jernigan
President

 

National Federation of the Blind
524 Fourth Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

Gentlemen:

I am a partially sighted lawyer who is "legally blind".

Could you by chance give me the name and address of one or more than one association of blind lawyers?

Also, could you by chance acquaint me with any source of taped material designed to meet the need of continuing legal education of lawyers? I know of a very limited quantity of such material now being made available through the California Bar Association, but nothing else.

Your kindness in passing this information along, if you have it, will be much appreciated.

Sincerely,

[From an interested individual]

Back to Contents

 

MEET JEANNIE DAVID

[The following is reprinted from The White Cane, official publication of the Washington State Association of the Blind.]

With a cheerful hello (in Russian, of course) Jeannie David enters the classroom in Thompson Hall at the University of Washington, where the students are already seated, books open to the daily lesson. Miss David lays aside her white cane, opens her braille notes, and the class begins. From then on it is all business, with everyone participating in animated practice and discussion of newly learned words and phrases of the Russian language.

Miss David attended elementary and high school in Seattle, and completed three years at the U. of W. as an English major. She received a scholarship to study the Russian language at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. This two-year program involved four hours a day of intensive study in Russian, following which she returned to the U. of W. to complete the requirements for a B. A. degree in Russian Language. She completed the requirements for a teaching certificate, including one term of student teaching at Nathan Hale High School, Seattle.

During summer months she found employment as a camp counselor. She also worked with the retarded at the Rainier State School. A number of attempts to obtain teaching positions were fruitless. But let her tell her story:

"Interviewers were quick to praise my academic achievements, but unwilling to give me the opportunity to put them into practice. Although I was prepared to solve the three most common 'obstacles'--classroom control, correcting papers, and presenting visual material--they seemed unconvinced that my solutions would work.

"Thus, after completing six years of college, I took a job as a dictaphone typist in Seattle and then as a research analyst in Washington, D.C. Two years later, I finally was given a chance to try my skill as a teacher of Russian at the University of Washington.

"As a full-time instructor, I teach two classes of first-year and one of second-year Russian language. In the course of a year, I deal with about 200 students. With the help of a reader whom I pay, I correct and grade written papers and exams. I handle all of the normal classroom activities and responsibilities unassisted.

"Teaching is basically communication. I know something you want to know, and it's up to me as a teacher to communicate this knowledge or skill to you. I may show you a chart, refer you to a book, give you a verbal explanation, or ask you to imitate my actions. A successful teacher uses all of these techniques and many others to communicate with students. Most could perform these activities with eyes closed, hands tied, or bound to a chair if necessary. Physical characteristics have little to do with good teaching. Rather such qualities as intelligence, resourcefulness, creativity, and motivation are much more important.

"Similarly, discipline or class control can be achieved not by keeping vigil for offenders, but by creating interest in the subject matter, and establishing a rapport based on mutual confidence and respect. In doing this, a sense of humor is a valuable tool."

Back to Contents

 

MEET OUR STATE PRESIDENT--E.E. (COTTON) BUSBY
AND OUR STATE AFFILIATE--MISSOURI


There isn't a whole lot to tell about me. I was born the son of a share-cropper in the delta country of Arkansas. I lost my mother at the age of nine. At the age of eleven, my father became seriously ill. I earned my keep doing odd jobs for various farmers. At the age of thirteen, I entered the Arkansas State School for the Blind in Little Rock; finishing in 1936. I was married the following fall and somehow survived the depression by selling brooms, caning chairs and whatever jobs I could make for myself. Of course, at that time there were no job programs or aid for the blind. During the war in 1944, I moved to Kansas City and went to work for the Kansas City Association for the Blind. In 1961 through 1965, I was director of the Braille Library and Recreation Center. Since 1965, I have been employed by Business Opportunities for Missouri Blind at the new Federal building in Kansas City. I became active in the National Federation of the Blind in the early 50's, attended my first National convention in 1955 at Omaha, Nebraska and haven't missed one to this date. If I have a hobby, I guess you could say it is in the movement of the organized blind.

The Progressive Blind was organized in December of 1961 out of necessity because of the suspension of the M.F.B. from the N.F.B. after the political upheaval. Starting from scratch it has been a slow process but we now have in the neighborhood of 100 members. We only have one chapter which is in Kansas City but we have members at large throughout the state. We are in the process of beginning a drive to organize chapters. One project we are quite proud of; we have secured four I. B. M. braille writers which are used for transcribing braille for students or anyone who has the need. Through our White Cane Committee we have available such items as white canes, braille watches and other aids. Our principal sources of fundraising are an annual candy sale and sponsoring of a country western show each fall. The Progressive blind of Missouri has a keen interest in the I.F.B. through our close friendship with the I.F.B. President, Rienzi Alagiyawanna.

Back to Contents

 

SERVICES OF AMERICAN PRINTING HOUSE MAY BE EXTENDED

Recently Senator Muskie of Maine sought to amend the American Printing House for the Blind Act to extend the services of that agency to those blind children attending private, non-profit schools. In support of his amendment, Senator Muskie said:

"At the present time, there are approximately 20,500 students receiving assistance through the services offered by the American Printing House for the Blind Act. However, there remain about 1,500 blind children attending private, non-profit schools who are not considered eligible for assistance due to the language in the act which restricts aid to public schools. These 1,500 children are severely limited in their educational opportunities. Although some States do permit assistance under this act to private schools, the special equipment which the private schools receive on loan from the State education agencies is inadequate to meet the need.

"The expense of providing special equipment for education of the blind is considerable. In view of escalating costs and an increased demand for diversity of programs, it is becoming increasingly difficult for private non-profit educational institutions to underwrite the cost of a special program for a small number of students.

"The U.S. Office of Education estimates an average cost of $40 per child under the American Printing House for the Blind Act. Yet the cost of a supplementary tutorial service for educating each blind child, operated by a private, non-profit institution, will reach many times this estimate.

"Because of the relatively small number of children that this amendment would affect, we need not fear that assistance presently being received by the States for distribution to the children registered in the public schools would be significantly reduced. Moreover, we have the opportunity, with this amendment, to insure that all blind students shall have the same educational benefits, regardless of whether they attend private or public schools."

Senator Muskie's amendment was adopted by the U.S. Senate.

Back to Contents

 

THE MINIMUM GRANT IN AID TO THE BLIND

The most recent available government statistics show that 80,100 recipients of Aid to the Blind in the United States received an average money payment of only $95.80 a month. Of all the States, one had an average grant of less than $60; eight States paid an average of less than $70; nine States had an average grant of less than $80; and thirteen States had an average of less than $90. Some nine States paid less than $100 and only ten States paid an average grant of over $100.

If the Congress, in its consideration of the President's welfare reform proposals, sets $110 as the minimum payment (as the House Ways and Means Committee proposes), even this relatively low figure would mean that some forty-one States would be required to raise their grants in Aid to the Blind.

However, a glance at the cost-of-living increases, as released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicates clearly that the proposal for a $110 minimum in Aid to the Blind is still too low. Living costs rose 6.1 percent in 1969--the highest increase since 1951 when the increase was 6.9 percent. In 1968 the cost of living increased 4.7 percent.

The Consumer Price Index, prepared by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, has risen steadily since 1965. The years between 1958 and 1965 were relatively stable, with living cost increases averaging 1.3 percent a year.

The high increase in the cost of living for calendar year 1969 has resulted in cost-of-living pay adjustments for about 134,000 workers whose contracts require such adjustments. In addition, of course, governmental employees and those in private industry not covered by contracts have been receiving an annual wage increase of five or more percent for each of the last several years.

Let us hope that the Congress will not forget the 80,100 needy blind persons when it comes around to finally fixing the minimum grant in Aid to the Blind. In this connection, on March 5, 1970 the House Ways and Means Committee voted out a bill giving its version of President Nixon's welfare reform proposals, entitled "The Family Assistance Act of 1970". After this bill passes the House intact, it will go to the Senate. While the Senate will probably add many liberalizations, the final measure as it comes from the House-Senate Conference Committee will be very much like the original House bill (if past experience means anything). Following are the salient features of the House bill:

1. The $4 a month exemption of Social Security increases effective in March, April, and May of 1970 (insofar as computing public assistance grants is concerned) is made permanent.

2. Titles I, X and XIV (Aid to the Aged, Aid to the Blind, and Aid to the Disabled) are abolished and the adult aids are placed under a combined title XVI which retains all of the present provisions for exempt income now in title X.

3. There is a $110 a month minimum grant requirement for all adult aids but each State above that amount is required to maintain the level in its standard of assistance.

4. The $85 a month of exempt earned income plus one-half of all over that amount as in Aid to the Blind, is also extended to Aid to the Disabled.

5. An exemption of $60 a month of earned income plus one-half of all over that amount is made optional with the States insofar as Old Age Assistance is concerned.

6. No responsibility of relatives provisions will be allowed for children of recipients of Old Age Assistance, but may be provided for by the States in Aid to the Blind and Aid to the Disabled.

7. The Aid to Families with Dependent Children program would be abolished and the Family Assistance Plan substituted with a floor of $1,600 a year for a family of four, plus $800 in food stamps. The new Family Assistance Plan includes the so-called "working poor" as well as families on AFDC.

8. There would be a requirement that each State have a limit of $1,500 on personal property which could be retained by a recipient, plus the home.

9. Insofar as the adult aids are concerned, the Federal Government would pay 90 percent of the first $65 of the grant and 25 percent of the remainder. If the States choose to let the Federal Government make all payments under the program directly to the individual recipient, it would pay all costs of administration instead of the present 50 percent.

The House Ways and Means Committee plans to consider other changes in the Social Security Act later on in the present session.

Back to Contents

 

COMMENTS FROM COLORADO

by Kenneth Jernigan

[Author's Note: The lead article in the February Monitor, written by me, was called "Blindness--The Triple Revolution". It recounted an incident concerning a blind person in Colorado and apparently created an impression which was not intended. Accordingly, I have asked the Editor to print the following correspondence to set the matter in its true perspective. This at least proves that the Monitor receives careful reading.]

Back to Contents

 

IN RESPONSE TO KEN JERNIGAN'S ASSESSMENT OF THE RIGHTS OF BLIND PEOPLE IN THE STATE OF COLORADO

by Charles G. Ritter

We have been trying to identify the individual to whom the incident may have happened in Colorado as you described it in the February Monitor. You do say it came to you from someone other than those involved; and you also indicate that the legal authority involved was not a judge or a lawyer, but a police officer.

I recall one person who might fit the picture, but he has not been in the State for a number of years. He had been in situations with his dog that are not quite matched by anything I have ever heard before or since.

In any case, we scarcely regard police officers as the last word in the application of laws. Blind people have been accepted for jury duty in Colorado. When we still had justices of the peace, I can recall three blind people who served in that capacity. We have blind lawyers, and we have had blind legislators. In this respect we are not different from many other states.

One area in many states has made blind people second-class citizens--failure to supply that universal ID card, a driver's license, or its equivalent. Blind and other handicapped people who cannot drive are here given a document similar in every way to a driver's license except that it bears the statement, "This is not a license to drive a car." They pay the same fee as for a standard driver's license, though this one remains valid for two years longer than the usual license.

We do, perhaps wrongly, have free fishing licenses here, and in Denver blind people are exempt from paying an Occupational "Privilege" Tax of $2.00 a month, regardless of earnings.

I daresay, had we been given the opportunity to run down the incident you reported, there could have been facets not in your account. As it is, we feel you leave the implication that we in the State are not really doing our job. In the decade since I have been here, I have seen break-throughs in all sorts of areas. One of our toughest nuts to crack has been one of the larger school systems. First, we had a legally blind person teaching in a private school in the city. Next we had a partially sighted person doing her practice teaching in the system. Now we have a totally blind client practice teaching in one of the major high schools. Next year, God Willing, we will have her hired. She's reported to be doing a brilliant job.

The tone of your report is calculated, it seems to me, to get up the dander of the "villans" in the case. Could it be that the approach of our blind citizen had the same ring?

Hector Chevigny once told me that he found himself getting away with things he would never have thought of trying when he could see. "Someday," he added, "somebody's not going to realize I'm blind and I'll get my block knocked off."

 

[Editor's Note: The correspondence is between two Coloradans, Charles Ritter and Marie Stauter, and President Jernigan.]

 

March 10, 1970

Dear Chick:

I have your letter concerning my comments about the Colorado incident involving the blind man, his dog, and the policeman. Obviously my words did not convey the meaning which I intended. I shall send your letter to the Editor of the Monitor with the request that it be printed. There is certainly no thought on my part of implying that the people of Colorado are less progressive than the people of other states. In fact, as you point out, many positive and constructive things have been done in Colorado in recent years. One key factor in this progress has been and is the vigorous activity of the Colorado Federation of the Blind and its affiliates.

Cordially,

Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

 

February 23, 1970

Dear Ken:

re: "Blindness: Triple Revolution" Braille Monitor, February 1970

That did it! That Colorado incident you cited has moved me to write a letter for myself. Where and when did this occur? I haven't found anyone who knows anything about it, but it sure sounds like material for support for our Civil Rights bill that is due to hit the 1971 Colorado General Assembly with at least one more sponsor than it had in '69.

You cited a great example of the foggy-smoggy official mind that pollutes our clear Colorado thinking air. However, I challenge your assumption that the police attitude is indicative of the attitude of the entire sovereign state. I say this because in the enlightened courts of Colorado a blind man has taken his place beside his sighted neighbors in the jury box. Bill Wood was the man; September 15, 1966 was the date he began jury service; and the Braille Monitor. November 1966 carries a reprint of our local news coverage of the occasion.

Another incident, unrecorded, was the traffic case against the person who struck Cliff and me as we crossed Colorado Boulevard on December 19, 1956. My testimony was being challenged by the defense on the grounds that my attention was probably focused in the same direction my eyes were--toward the oncoming traffic ahead of us. Cliff spoke up and said, "I may not be able to see, but I know what I heard!" He continued with his testimony and the judge found the defendant guilty as charged. He did not note that Cliff had spoken out of turn, much less that he was blind.

Cliff and Bill both encountered the same judge. Judge Sherman G. Finesilver, who is the sort of judge that we like to think all of our courts have. This isn't quite so, however, because a Western slope judge recently found a blind man guilty of being out alone with his guide dog. But what did the people of the area do? They were so indignant that they beseiged their state senator to get a law letting a blind man walk legally with his dog. Thus Marge Gallien's strange encounter with the White Cane bill we didn't start.

The best aftermath of that is that now Senator Enstrom and the Colorado Federation of the Blind have shared a problem, I understand that Enstrom will co-sponsor our Civil Rights bill with Bermingham, who drew it up from the Model White Cane Law and presented it in '69. So much for the attitude of the sovereign state of Colorado, except to quote from Article II of the Constitution of the State of Colorado: "Section l.--All political power is vested in and derived from the people; that all government, of right, originiates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole." Please, Ken, remember this if you ever have occasion to interpret the attitude of our entire state on the statement of one lone police officer. The guy goofed.

Sincerely,

Marie Stauter

P. S. I'm feeling a bit ashamed of not writing except to complain. Your article on Education in the January 1970 Braille Monitor was so good that I almost wrote you about that.

 

March 2, 1970

Dear Marie:

I have your letter concerning my article on The Triple Revolution, and your point is well taken. Although I did not mean to imply that the attitude of the entire state of Colorado was typified by that of the policeman, I can see how my comments could be so interpreted. In fact, as I look again at my language in that particular section of the article, I think it should be worded differently so as to convey precisely what I meant.

The people of the state of Colorado, of course, are not materially different from those of Iowa, California, New York, or anywhere else. They run the range from the stupid to the enlightened, from the understanding to the inunderstandable.

The incident related in my article was reported to Dr. tenBroek about three years ago by an individual at the University of Colorado. Every time we publicize such a circumstance, public opinion is probably changed at least a little bit. Although the action of the police officer was significant, it is also significant that someone was outraged enough to protest.

The cases you cite to prove that some of the courts in your state are enlightened are certainly compelling. In fact, I wish we could point to such encouraging developments in all parts of the nation.

Again let me say that I did not mean to imply any blanket condemnation of the citizens of Colorado or any stereotyped thinking as to the enlightenment of the population of the entire state. Thanks for writing to me and for giving me the opportunity to clarify my intention.

Cordially,

Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

Back to Contents

 

A SUMMER SCHOOL FOR THE ADULT BLIND

The Montana Association for the Blind, an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, was organized in 1946. The Association assumed the sponsorship and direction of the Summer School for the Adult Blind in 1948; and through the years the continuation of this school has remained its chief project. An average of 25 to 30 students attend the session each year. The Association's annual convention is traditionally held during the Summer School session.

The Summer School is not a trade school. It is an orientation and adjustment program especially designed to meet the needs of blind and partially sighted adults. Students learn new skills and methods of accomplishing tasks they once did with sight. Through courses in daily living, personal grooming and public speaking, students regain self-confidence. With proper training a blind person can travel just about anywhere he wishes to go with a white cane. Typing, handwriting and braille put the visually handicapped person back in touch with friends and relatives and provide means for keeping records, notes, etc. Lessons in cooking and sewing, with emphasis on safety methods and special aids, can return the housewife to her role of mother and homemaker. Hand crafts help to develop the sense of touch, stimulate interest in hobbies, and may provide a source of income to the proficient worker. In general, the training is intended to make the individual as independent and self-reliant as his own abilities will permit.

Since 1948 the Summer School sessions have been held on the campus of Montana State University at Bozeman. Generally, Summer School sessions will begin no earlier than June 10 and end no later than August 20.

Any visually handicapped resident of Montana between the ages of 18 and 80 who is in need of the services offered at the Summer School is urged to apply for enrollment. If determined eligible, the individual's expenses will be paid through the Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind program of the Department of Public Welfare, or by the Montana Association for the Blind. For out-of-state students, charges for board, room and tuition are reasonable.

Summer School students enjoy a variety of recreational activities including band concerts, plays, dancing, swimming, bowling and such events as a one-day tour of Yellowstone Park and other outings.

Applications for enrollment may be obtained from the Montana Association for the Blind, Box 536, Kalispell, Montana 59901.

 

Back to Contents

 

STATE PUBLICATIONS

According to the latest information available, some fifteen state affiliates of the National Federation of the Blind now have publications. Such organs are of great value to their groups--providing a means of dissemination of information of common interest and stimulating the growth of the affiliates by building a sense of common cause among the blind men and women in the State.

The Editors of The Braille Monitor publish the following list of State publications in the hope that (1) if we inadvertently omitted any, we will hear about it soon; (2) the Editors of each of the publications will check to be sure that the names and addresses of the Editor and the Associate Editor of The Braille Monitor are on their mailing lists; and (3) the readers of the Monitor who desire to receive any or all of these publications will know where to request that their names be added to the mailing lists:

The Council Bulletin

California Council of the Blind
Lawrence Marcelino, Editor
3315 Cabrillo Street
San Francisco, California 94121

Gems

Gem State blind (Idaho)
Frank Smith, Editor
2417 Ellis Street
Boise, Idaho 83702

The Congress Record

Illinois Congress of the Blind
Don Roberts, Editor
2606 West Argyle, Chicago, Illinois 60626 or
Rami Rabby, Editor (and President)
North Shore Hotel, Room 259
1611 Chicago Avenue
Evanston, Illinois 60201

Bulletin

Iowa Association of the Blind
Neil Butler, President
3725 Center Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50312

The Kentucky Cardinal

Kentucky Federation of the Blind
Robert E. Whitehead, President
40 University Place
Louisville, Kentucky 40206

The Braille Spectator

Free State Federation of the Blind (Maryland)
Paul Flynn, Editor
120 West Mosher Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21217

Minnesota Bulletin

Minnesota Organization of the Blind
Archie B- Erickson, Editor
1605 Eustis Street
St. Paul, Minnesota 55108

The Observer

Montana Association for the Blind

Mrs. John Ford, Editor
P.O. Box 536
Kalispell, Montana 59901

New Jersey Chronicle

New Jersey Organizations of the Blind
Constance Rich, Editor
18 Burlington Avenue
Leonardo, New Jersey 07737

The Eyecatcher

Empire State Association of the Blind (New York)
Carl J. Zutty, Editor
464 West Street
Albany, New York 12206

Telstar

Federated Blind of North Dakota
Mrs. Curtis Saunders, Editor
P.O. Box 656
Devils Lake, North Dakota 58301

We-The Blind

Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind
Rita Drill, Editor
4738 North Twelfth Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19141

The Palmetto Auroran

South Carolina Aurora Club
Donald C. Capps, Editor
1829 Belmont Drive
Columbia, South Carolina 29206

Newsletter

Virginia Federation of the Blind
James Nelson, Editor
3523 Dorset Road
Richmond, Virginia 23234

The White Cane

Washington State Association of the Blind
A. A. Fisher, Editor
3408 South King Street
Seattle, Washington 98144

Back to Contents

 

THE FUTURE OF SERVICES BY STATE AGENCIES FOR THE BLIND

by Joseph Kohn

[Editor's Note: Mr. Kohn is Executive Director of the New Jersey State Commission for the Blind]

One of the comfortable things about assuming a prophetic posture and peering into the future is that few people can call you to account since the events you foresee are still at a distance. Moreover, by the time they occur most people very likely have forgotten your predictions. There is also inherent in prophesying the danger of exaggerating. I shall, therefore, try to relate my remarks as much as possible to present conditions and trends as they may affect work for the blind.

Please note that I say work for the blind and not agencies for the blind since, in my view, work for the blind includes State agencies for the blind but goes beyond them. The reason is simple. I consider work for the blind a specific professional endeavor. Because work for the blind concerns itself with the delivery of services that all disabled or disadvantaged individuals need, it is somehow assumed by the uninformed or the individual with an ax to grind that there should be no separate service agency or program for the blind. The fact of the matter is that the opposite is true. I am a firm believer in the rightness of history. Work for the blind would not have evolved as a separate entity if there was not a need for it to do so. Present conditions and realities have not changed this need.

One of the misconceptions of our day is that employment for the handicapped consists of special placement techniques that can apply equally to all kinds and degrees of handicapping conditions. Nothing could be further from the truth. A general rehabilitation agency can send a one-armed or one-legged man to the Employment Service for a job; you cannot send the average blind person that way. At least two problems are immediately involved. The problem of mobility for the client and the problem of employer confidence in blind people. This is why agencies for the blind use a demonstration technique in selling blind labor and deal with the policy problems that are worrying the employer when he hires a blind person.

This misconception which I choose to call the "umbrella fallacy" is widespread and insidious. It follows the pattern of saying that any rehabilitation center, any social service program, or any education program geared for general handicapping conditions can also serve the blind. This is a half truth. Only some can serve the blind provided--and this is a key item--provided they have trained individuals and programs geared to serve the blind. Have you ever sent a blind person to a sighted class for training in touch typing? What an abysmal failure! You could train the teacher, if there were time, to have insight into the techniques required to teach the blind person but he sees so few blind people that we are better off setting up a special class that has a knowledgeable instructor who will have our client succeed. We do not have separate agencies and separate classes because we favor segregation but because it is the basic system that works. Some of our leadership have even been taken in by this misconcpetion and advocated that social work is the end-all and cure-all of services to blind people. Specialists in work for the blind they say have outlived their usefulness and are merely perpetuating unnecessary agencies. Social workers advising on service programs for the blind have shown no new direction or success except in one area. They helped work for the blind understand that there has been a thriving paternalism in some agencies for the blind which simply could not be tolerated. This is the day when the consumer speaks out. Blind people as clients have as much right as any others to speak out in behalf of their own destiny. We must break internal bonds as well as external ones. The independence of the blind individual cannot be won except by recognizing his right to independence.

What does this mean to the future of work for the blind and its agencies?

1. The Comprehensive Agency.
The separate State agency for the blind is essential for success in working with blind people. Combining with welfare, or education, or general rehabilitation agencies merely follows the "umbrella" fallacy, that things that look alike are alike.

Please note those situations in the country where agencies for the blind have combined with general agencies that the specialized service to the blind has been substantially retained as a bureau or division. The change has merely been a matter of administrative convenience. There have been no strong financial economies to the State that I am aware of. There have, however, been disadvantages to blind people and their needs. Generally, such "bureaus" of the blind are locked in. Their ability to be creative and expand services are frequently limited by another layer of government and by fiscal priorities inside the agency. With lesser resources they cannot help but serve blind people less well. The Administrator of the general agency--whatever its character--must spend most of his time and attention on his largest obligations. In this setting the priority rating of numbers dominate and blind people as a minority are bound to lose. Note what happened with the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness. What troubles me most is that the leadership momentum that specialization in work for the blind has accomplished through the years will be lost and instead those unique developments now beginning to be copied by other disabled groups will cease to exist. As I see it, this is the path to mediocrity.

The combined agency then is an administrative convenience. It is not the integration of services. It is not better services to people. Actually it segregates and pushes work for the blind into a corner of bureaucracy and underachievement.

2. Crosscurrents.
There are two different currents in present day State practice where agencies for the blind are concerned. One has been in the direction of combining the agency for the blind with the general rehabilitation agency and the other has been diametrically opposite--creating a separate commission for the blind. This would seem to indicate that there is a lack of reasoned policy or goal to guide legislators and Governors who decide these matters. In general, it can be said that the trend toward combining agencies is a trend of the times in governmental practice. It is also prompted by weakness in the local agency for the blind. The agency may be too small; it may be poorly or unimaginatively managed; it may have poor relations with the consumers of service--its clients; it may be too paternalistic; it may not have quality services. We cannot escape our responsibilites in these areas. One of the great needs in work for the blind is the development of leadership not only for now but in the years to come. To this end, specific efforts should be addressed to the recruitment of talented people into the field who can grow with the agency into areas of increasing responsibility. I consider this to be a specific and primary obligation of Directors of agencies for the blind.

In a larger sense all work for the blind suffers when one agency fails. This has long been characteristic of blind people. One blind person's failure on a job or in a social setting reflects on all blind people and the general public forms its judgments along those lines. It is perhaps for this reason that in work for the blind, agencies are more closely bound up with each other. It is the reason why each of us succeeds with an individual State's success and fails with its failures. If we are to remain the specialized professional service that we are we must be fully aware of this. Our leadership must speak out concerning this and we must help ourselves. The national Accreditation program for agencies for the blind is an important help in this direction. It must be supported and nurtured. We are well ahead of general rehabilitation and social service agencies in this respect. The National Council of State Agencies for the Blind and the American Association of Workers for the Blind, the National Rehabilitation Association must not be debating societies. They must exert leadership in urging and developing quality programs in work for the blind. And I do believe that politically, the strong separate agency for the blind can do much to assist the national rehabilitation movement in this country. The National Rehabilitation movement needs as broad a base as it can command, and citizen boards on Commissions for the Blind and other agencies represent an important area of knowledge and persuasion in the interest of rehabilitation needs.

Services for the blind have been combined into a single Commission or a single State agency when there have been enough people who wanted it. This is the age of the consumer in services to people. State leaders and the consumer must speak out. The integration of all services to blind and visually handicapped people is a must of our times and a highly salable commodity. Why should services to blind people be fragmented? Why should vocational rehabilitation be in one agency and social services in another? Or home teaching and prevention of blindness in still others? I have been able to search out only two reasons for this--administrative convenience and poor performance. Only the latter has any justification and this can be remedied without changing administrative structure.

Strange as it may seem, the recent legislative recommendations by the Federal government dealing with Manpower Programs is bringing the problem of Agencies for the Blind home to general rehabilitation agencies. The question is being raised whether general rehabilitation agencies are too small and manpower efforts too fragmented. The administration is recommending that all existing manpower efforts be combined into one comprehensive State manpower agency which would include the State Employment Service, the Unemployment Compensation agencies, agencies engaged in manpower training of the disadvantaged, and other agencies authorized by State law to administer manpower programs whether or not they receive Federal grants-in-aid. Apparently, such a State comprehensive Manpower Agency may include programs administered by the Vocational Education Act or the Vocational Rehabilitation Act.

Once again the "umbrella" fallacy rears its head. Even the Federal government is not immune from the misconceptions that things that look alike are alike. While Vocational Rehabilitation may be said to look like a manpower program it is basically different. Manpower programs need to be and should be short-term, mass programs designed for economic efficiency and to correct social inequities as with the disadvantaged and the so-called poor. Vocational Rehabilitation is an individualized, personal program for individuals with more substantial handicaps. The client must receive comprehensive, individual rather than mass attention or he will fail. Ample evidence of this is available. Thus, the conflict and crosscurrents in work for the blind have come home to roost among general rehabilitation agencies. Hopefully, they will now understand us better. But whether they do or not the future of services to the blind requires, it seems to me:

1. That organized work for the blind support as strongly as possible a separate general State vocational rehabilitation agency and a separate agency for the blind.

2. That we make this position known through our associations and to our legislative representatives by formal resolution and personal contact.

3. That work for the blind be a system of service separate from other systems and not part of health or welfare, or manpower, or education.

4. That agencies for the blind need to be comprehensive and not fragmented. They cannot merely be home teaching units or vocational rehabilitation bureaus. The handicap of blindness is so burdensome and demanding that only the comprehensive impact of quality services to all blind persons and not merely selected classes can be a reasonable goal if we are to be effective. This is in keeping with current trends of emphasizing human service to all disadvantaged people. And surely the blind are not less disadvantaged than other groups.

5. That all of the comprehensive array of services supplied by agencies for the blind be part of the Federal grant-in-aid process; that they receive Federal matching just as current and future programs for socially disadvantaged individuals receive Federal matching. This would mean Federally mandated matching for home teaching, services to blind children, prevention of blindness functions, etc.

6. That duplication be avoided. That agencies for the blind, as they develop and assume the comprehensive agency role, use existing traditional service systems and existing facilities that can deliver portions of the service needs of the blind person. These will necessarily vary from State to State depending upon what is available. The State agency has the responsibility for providing or securing those specialized services inherent in vocational rehabilitation, home teaching, mobility, work evaluation and training, education, social service, and prevention of blindness. It has the residual responsibility to develop these within the agency or outside of it where the service does not exist or is of poor quality in the State.

7. That the ideal administrative arrangement for effective service is the Commission or similar comprehensive agency for the blind with the Director responsible to the Governor or a major department of government headed by a Commissioner or Secretary. If there are other secondary layers of government between these, it should be considered a poor arrangement for meeting the needs of the blind.

Back to Contents

 

ANALYSIS OF OHIO LEGISLATION

On February 20, NFB President Jernigan wrote Ohio Council President Alfonso Smith as follows:

I herewith enclose some comments on the bill you sent to me. In looking at it, one must consider what you now have and what the alternatives are. As you know, there is currently a trend throughout the country to submerge rehabilitation and other services for the blind in the general rehabilitation program for all of the disabled and disadvantaged. I hope this bill does not turn out to accomplish that purpose for (all other things being equal) blind persons get better services under a separate agency which administers all programs for the blind and nothing else.

Back to Contents

 

COMMENTS ON THE BILL RELATIVE TO THE CREATION OF A REHABILITATION SERVICES COMMISSION

By Kenneth Jernigan

February 20, 1970

This bill is being introduced in the Ohio Legislature early in 1970. Services to the blind of that state are currently located in the Welfare Department, comprising an identifiable entity. At present rehabilitation of the blind is not, according to the information I have, at all connected with the rehabilitation of the remainder of the disabled and the disadvantaged. My understanding is that there is an Ohio Commission for the Blind but that it is only an advisory board. Indeed, it is possible that the Ohio Commission no longer exists.

In recent years there has been a general move throughout the country to reorganize state governments. The recommended patterns for reorganization for each state are so similar as to imply collusion, not corroboration. In almost every case there is an attempt to combine all agencies and departments into about a dozen super-departments, the heads of which hold cabinet rank and are responsible to the Governor. In this setup everything with the same name tends to get lumped into the same spot regardless of whether it has any similarity. Rehabilitation of the blind (and sometimes other services) tend to become part of the general rehabilitation agency, with an ever-diminishing emphasis and identity.

In Wisconsin, for instance, I understand that programs for the blind were formerly an identifiable unit of the Welfare Department. Then there was a move to put services for the blind under general rehabilitation. I am now informed that counselors working with blind cases will soon cease being responsible to the state supervisor of services to the blind and will be answerable to the supervisor of the district office, an individual working in the general agency with no background in the specialty of work with the blind. I further understand that the individual who has been head of state services for the blind will now become a mere consultant, with no authority at all.

A similar situation has arisen in California, and I have heard that the same is true in Florida, bu I am not certain of this. Attempts are being made to bring about the same results in a number of other states.

There is considerable evidence to indicate that this move is encouraged (whether officially or otherwise) by personnel in the Federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. It is certainly in line with many pronouncements of HEW officials, lumping all of the "disadvantaged" into a giant melting pot to receive services and scrutiny in measured doses, given to all alike regardless of the problem.

With these thoughts in mind, one must view with some concern the bill now being introduced into the Ohio Legislature, hoping that it is not merely the transitional step leading to the total submergence and obliteration of all separate programs for the blind.

The following comments result from a section by section reading of the bill:

3304.11 These definitions contain the detailed and involved wording usually associated with HEW and the Federal Rehabilitation Act. An atmosphere in which this kind of language gets embodied in a bill generally means an emphasis on complicated organizational structure, detailed and bulky staff manuals, numerous staff conferences, great stress on what can only be called pseudo-professionalism, and relatively little in the way of meaningful, down to earth services for blind people. Of course, it need not be this way, and there is nothing really wrong with all the detailed definitions--except that they serve no good purpose and tend to give warning of problems ahead.

3304.12 There seems to be nothing wrong with this section, if the blind are to be included in the over-all rehabilitation program. Of course, this is the real problem with the whole proposal. All other things being equal, the blind would receive better services if all programs for the blind were under a separate commission charged with no other responsibility than their administration. If the concept embodied in the present bill is to prevail, then the provision that the commission must have "at least one member from the field of services to the blind" should be changed to read, "at least one blind person representing organized blind persons."

3304.13 Seems alright, but maybe a mite pretentious.

3304.14 This section seems to be well drawn. I could suggest only one possible improvement--that the anti-discrimination provision be extended to blind and otherwise physically disabled.

3304.15 If the concept of putting the blind in with the other disabled is to prevail, this section is a "must". It is clear and well drawn.

3304.16 One would guess that this section was either written by officials of the Federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, or that they strongly influenced its writing. Why an Ohio Act should be concerned with Samoa and Guam is hard to understand, but it does no harm to put it in. Again, the only problem is the overabundance of detailed provisions and wordage.

3304.17 One wonders exactly what is behind this section, especially in view of the rather obvious Federal involvement in the writing of the bill.

3304.18 This is a very good section. The provision requiring the Governor (in case of Federal cutbacks) to ask the legislature for enough money to meet the needs of the commission is first rate.

3304.19 Fine

3304.20 The appeals procedure outlined in this section is better than that which now prevails in many of the states. It would be strengthened by providing that, in case of dissatisfaction on the part of the appellant, final decision would be made by a three man board--one member appointed by the appellant, one by the administrator, and the third by the first two.

3304.21 Excellent

3304.22 Excellent

3304.23 This section is to present-day state government what God and motherhood were to America before it began to scorn such things. The section may need to be included for the sake of appearances, but it will probably be totally ineffective or (worse yet) a real nuisance.

3304.24 This is a rather weak advisory committee arrangement. It would be better if a few more details were spelled out in the law. At least a majority of the Bureau of Services for the Blind Advisory Committee should be blind persons. The committee should have access to all records and should meet at least quarterly.

3304.25 Fine

3304.26 This is a rather standard Civil Service section. If you believe in Civil Service as it is now run (which, by and large, I don't), then the section is fine. Civil Service tends to replace elective politics with bureaucratic politics to the detriment of programs. In fact, I think services to the blind are almost always improved when we can get program officials exempted from Civil Service.

3304.27 I do not have access to the language of the repeal sections and can, accordingly, make no comment.

 

House Bill Number 929

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

Section 1. That sections 3304.11, 3304.12, 3304.13, 3304.14, 3304.15, 3304.16, 3304.17, 3304.18, 3304.19, 3304.20, 3304.21, 3304.22, 3304.23, 3304.24, 3304.25, 3304.26 and 3304.27 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:

Sec. 3304.11. As used in Sections 3304.1 1 to 3304.27, inclusive, of the Revised Code:

(A) "Handicapped person" or "disabled person" means any person with a physical or mental disability which is a substantial handicap to employment and which is of a nature that vocational rehabilitation services may reasonably be expected to render him fit to engage in a gainful occupation consistent with his capacities and abilities, and any person with a physical or mental disability that constitutes a substantial handicap to employment for whom vocational rehabilitation services are necessary to determine his rehabilitation potential.

(B) "Physical or mental disability" means a physical or mental condition that materially limits, contributes to limiting or, if not corrected, will probably result in limiting a person's activities or functioning.

(C) "Substantial handicap to employment" means a physical or mental disability that impedes a person's occupational performance, by preventing his obtaining, retaining, or preparing for a gainful occupation consistent with his capacities and abilities.

(D) "Vocational rehabilitation" and "vocational rehabilitation services" means any activity or service calculated to enable a handicapped person or groups of handicapped persons to engage in gainful occupation and includes, but is not limited to, medical and vocational evaluation, including diagnostic and related services, vocational counseling, guidance and placement, including follow up services, rehabilitation training, including books and other training materials, physical restoration, recruitment and training services designed to provide handicapped persons with new employment opportunities, maintenance, occupational tools, equipment, supplies, transportation, services to families of handicapped persons which contribute substantially to the rehabilitation of these persons, and any other goods or service necessary to render a handicapped person employable.

(E) "Establishment of a rehabilitation facility" means the expansion, remodeling, or alteration of an existing building, which is necessary to adapt or to increase the effectiveness of that building for rehabilitation facility purposes, the acquisition of equipment for these purposes, and the initial staffing.

(F) "Construction" means the construction of new buildings, acquisition of land or existing buildings and their expansion, remodeling, alteration and renovation, and the initial staffing and equipment of any new, newly acquired, expanded, remodeled, altered or renovated buildings.

(G) "Physical restoration services" means those services which are necessary to correct or substantially modify within a reasonable period of time a physical or mental condition which is stable or slowly progressive.

(H) "Occupational license" means any license, permit, or other written authority required by any governmental unit in order to engage in any occupation or business.

(I) "Maintenance" means money payments to disabled persons who need financial assistance for their subsistence during their vocational rehabilitation.

Sec. 3304.12. (A) The governor, with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint a rehabilitation services commission consisting of seven members, no more than four of whom shall be members of the same political party and who shall include representatives of professions related to rehabilitation, of the public, of individuals to be served, and at least one member from the field of services to the blind.

(B) Of the members first appointed to the commission, one shall be appointed for a term of seven years, one for a term of six years, one for a term of five years, one for a term of four years, one for a term of three years, one for a term of two years, and one for a term of one year. Thereafter appointments shall be for seven years, with no person eligible to serve more than two seven-year terms. Vacancies for an unexpired term shall be filled by the governor, with the advice and consent of the senate. Members who fail to perform their duties or who are guilty of misconduct may be removed on written charges preferred by the governor or by a majority of the commission.

(C) Members of the commission shall recive no compensation but shall be reimbursed for travel and necessary expenses incurred in the conduct of their duties.

Sec. 3304.13. The rehabilitation services commission shall hold its first meeting at the call of the governor, and at that meeting, shall elect one of its members as chairman and adopt rules governing the time and place for regular meetings, which shall be held not less than once every four months. Special meetings shall be held at the call of the chairman or any three members of the commission. The chairman shall serve for four years, unless removed earlier by a majority vote of the commission, and shall be ineligible to serve as chairman during the succeeding four years. Each member of the commission, before entering upon the duties of office shall take and subscribe an oath to uphold the constitution and laws of the United States and this state and to perform the duties of office honestly, faithfully, and impartially. Each member shall give a bond of five thousand dollars, with a sufficient surety approved by the treasurer of state. After approval, the bond shall be filed with the secretary of state. If the bond is executed by a surety company, the premiums on it shall be paid from the funds appropriated for the expenses of the rehabilitation services commission.

Sec. 3304.14. The rehabilitation services commission shall appoint an administrator to serve at the pleasure of the commission and shall fix his compensation. The administrator shall devote his entire time to the duties of his office, shall hold no other office or position of trust and profit and shall engage in no other business during his term of office. The commission shall authorize the administrator to appoint, subject to its approval, and without regard to sex, race, creed, color, age, or national origin, such other professional, administrative, and clerical staff members as are necessary to carry out the functions and duties of the commission.

Sec. 3304.15. The rehabilitation services commission shall establish administrative subdivisions under its control as it deems necessary or appropriate to carry out its functions and duties, but there shall be a bureau of services for the blind and a bureau of vocational rehabilitation, each of which has as its head a director appointed by the administrator, subject to commission approval. The commission shall prescribe the budgets for the government of each division, and rules for the conduct of its employees, the performance of its business, and the custody, use, and preservation of the records, papers, books, documents, and property pertaining thereto.

Sec. 3304.16. In carrying out the purposes of sections 3304.11 to 3304.27, inclusive, of the Revised Code, the rehabilitation services commission:

(A) Shall develop all necessary rules and regulations;

(B) Shall prepare and submit to the governor annual reports of activities and
expenditures and, prior to each regular session of the general assembly, an estimate of sums required to carry out the commission's responsibilities;

(C) Shan certify any disbursement of funds available to the commission for vocational rehabilitation activities;

(D) May delegate to any officer or employee of the commission any necessary powers and duties;

(E) May take any other necessary or appropriate action for cooperation with public and private agencies and organizations which may include:

(1) Reciprocal agreements with other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the trust territory of the Pacific Islands, to provide for the vocational rehabilitation of individuals within the states concerned;

(2) Contracts or other arrangements with public and other non-profit agencies and organizations for the construction or establishment and operation of vocational rehabilitation programs and facilities;

(3) Cooperative arrangements with the federal government for carrying out sections 3304.11 to 3304.27, inclusive, of the Revised Code, the "Vocational Rehabilitation Act," 41 Stat. 735 (1920), 29 U.S.C. 31, as amended, or other federal statutes pertaining to vocational rehabilitation, and to this end, may adopt plans and methods of administration found necessary by the federal government for the efficient operation of any joint arrangements or the efficient application of any federal statutes;

(4) Upon the designation of the governor, performing functions and services for the federal government relating to individuals under a physical or mental disability;

(5) Compliance with any requirements necessary to obtain federal funds in the maximum amount and most advantageous proportion possible;

(F) May conduct research and demonstration projects, including inquiries concerning the causes of blindness and its prevention, provide training and instruction, including the establishment and maintenance of research fellowships and traineeships along with all necessary stipends and allowances, disseminate information, and provide technical assistance relating to vocational rehabilitation;

(G) Shall plan, establish, and operate programs, facilities, and services relating to vocational rehabilitation;

(H) May accept and hold, invest, reinvest, or otherwise use gifts made for the purpose of furthering vocational rehabilitation;

(I) May ameliorate the condition of the aged blind or other severely disabled individuals by establishing a program of home visitation by commission employees for the purpose of instruction;

(J) May establish and manage small business enterprises that are operated by persons with a substantial handicap to employment, including blind persons;

(K) May license blind persons to operate vending stands under commission supervision on state, county, municipal, or other property, or federal property pursuant to the provisions of the "Randolph-Sheppard Act," 49 Stat. 1559 (1936), 20 U.S.C. 107, as amended.

Sec. 3304.17. The rehabilitation services commission shall provide vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible handicapped persons, including any handicapped person who is eligible under the terms of an agreement or arrangement with another state or with the federal government.

Sec. 3304.18. The treasurer of state shall be the custodian of all moneys received from the federal government for vocational rehabilitation programs and shall disburse the money upon the certification of the rehabilitation services commission. If federal funds are not available to the state for vocational rehabilitation purposes, the governor shall include as part of his biennial budget request to the general assembly a request for funds sufficient to support the activities of the commission.

Sec. 3304.19. The right of a handicapped person to living maintenance under sections 3304.11 to 3304.27, inclusive, of the Revised Code, is not transferable or assignable at law or in equity, and none of the money paid or payable or rights existing under this act are subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process, or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law.

Sec. 3304.20. Any person applying for or receiving vocational rehabilitation services who is dissatisfied with regard to the furnishing or denial of services, may file a request for an administrative review and redetermination of that action to be made by a member or members of the rehabilitation services commission. When the person is dissatisfied with the finding of this administrative review, he is entitled, in accordance with commission regulations, to a fair hearing before the commission.

Sec. 3304.21. No person shall, except for the purposes of sections 3304.11 to 3304.27, inclusive, of the Revised Code, and in accordance with the rules established by the rehabilitation services commission, solicit, disclose, receive, make use of, authorize, knowingly permit, participate in, or acquiesce in the use of any list of names or information concerning persons applying for or receiving any services from the commission, which information is directly or indirectly derived from the records of the agency or is acquired in the performance of the person's official duties.

Sec. 3304.22. No officer or employee of the rehabilitation services commission or any person engaged in the administration of a vocational rehabilitation program sponsored by or affiliated with the state shall use or permit the use of any vocational rehabilitation program for the purpose of interfering with an election for any partisan political purpose; solicit or receive money for a partisan political purpose; or require any other person to contribute any service or money for a partisan political purpose. Whoever violates this section shall be removed from his office or employment.

Sec. 3304.23. There is hereby created an interagency coordinating committee, appointed by the governor from officials of state agencies whose activities are related to rehabilitation of handicapped or disabled persons. The members shall serve at the pleasure of the governor and while they serve in their official capacity, with the administrator acting as chairman of the committee. It shall be responsible for investigating and recommending procedures or programs to the rehabilitation services commission or to other state agencies that will eliminate duplication of effort and coordinate various agency programs, so as to increase the effectiveness of the state's vocational rehabilitation services.

Sec. 3304.24. The rehabilitation services commission shall appoint, upon the recommendation of the appropriate bureau director, a bureau of vocational rehabilitation advisory committee, including at least two disabled persons, and a bureau of services for the blind advisory committee, including at least two legally blind persons, which committees shall have the organization and duties given them by the commission.

The commission may appoint such additional advisory committees as it finds necessary.

Sec. 3304.25. The members of the bureau advisory committees shall receive no compensation for their services except their actual and necessary traveling and other expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties, which shall first be approved by the administrator of the rehabilitation services commission.

Sec. 3304.26. On and after July 1, 1970, the employees of the bureau of vocational rehabilitation and the bureau of services for the blind are hereby transferred to the rehabilitation services commission. Any person holding a position within the classified civil service within either bureau shall suffer no reduction in grade because of the transfer. All employees of the commission after July 1, 1970, unless specifically exempted by law, shall be employed subject to the classified civil service laws in force at the time of employment. Any person in either bureau holding a position not subject to civil service laws or regulations who is transferred to the commission shall be placed without examination in a classified civil service grade commensurate with the duties, seniority, and compensation of the person.

Sec. 3304.27. All vocational rehabilitation services made available under sections 3304.11 to 3304.27, inclusive, of the Revised Code, are made available subject to amendment or repeal of sections 3304.11 to 3304.27, inclusive, of the Revised Code, and no disabled person shall have any claim by reason of his vocational rehabilitation being affected in any way by amendment or repeal.

Section 2. That sections 3303.21, 3303.22, 3303.23, 3303.24, 3303.25, 3303.26, 3303.27, 3303.28, 3303.29, 3303.30, 3303.31, 3303.32, 3303.33, 3303.35, 5109.01, 5109.02, 5109.03, 5109.04, 5109.05, 5109.06, 5109.07, 5109.08, 5109.09, 5109.10 and 5109.11 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.

 

Back to Contents

 

OF SHELTERED SHOPS AND VENDING STANDS
THE STAUTER-JERNIGAN CORRESPONDENCE

[The following correspondence is between Marie Stauter of Colorado and NFB President Kenneth Jernigan.]

January 19, 1970

Dear Marie:

I have your letters concerning the sheltered workshop and the vending stand program. In a sense, both are difficult to answer.

With respect to the sheltered workshops, Dr. McLaughlin has access to all the statistics which I have available to me. Such data as exists can be had from the Federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the National Industries for the Blind, and the National Association of Sheltered Workshops. What is more to the point, the kind of information you want does not exist and would be most difficult to compile. As you know, there are a variety of sheltered workshops throughout the country. Some of these are terminal in nature while others claim to be exclusively for training. Some do subcontracting; some do not. Some deal with clients with multiple handicaps; others confine their attention to a single disability. Almost without exception they claim to be (whatever else they do) in the business of training. Under these conditions, the statistics which apply to one shop in one state are difficult to translate to another. In any case, I know of no meaningful compilation which can tell you the things you have asked.

Before any affiliate advocates establishment of a workshop it should be certain that proper safeguards can be established. Far too many sheltered workshops exploit the blind workers and serve as a substitute for real imaginative rehabilitation. Wages have been traditionally as low as the traffic would bear, and the talk about training as a prelude to placement in competitive industry has usually been just that, talk.

With respect to vending stands, I can do a little better. When I came to Iowa in 1958, the agency was taking a set-aside of three per cent of the gross sales of operators. The average stand was netting only about $100.00 a month. One of my first acts was to eliminate the set-aside fee. It did not amount to that much anyway, since we had only twelve stands.

Today the situation is quite different. Our vending stand program still has a way to go, but we now have in the neighborhood of thirty stands with average earnings last year of something over $5,600.00 per operator. This year the situation will be considerably better. Last year our maintenance and repair on vending stands (not matched by Federal funds) amounted to around six or seven thousand dollars. This came from state funds. In addition we spent around $100,000.00 for equipment and to establish new stands. Three-fourths of this amount was Federal money, and today four-fifths of it would be Federal money. This means that only 20,000 of the 100,000 would be state dollars. In other words, our whole vending stand program (not counting costs of salary for stand supervisors) should not cost us more than 27,000 state dollars.

This is a bargain, and I see no more reason for vending stand operators to pay the cost involved in salaries for professional staff working with them than for any other group of blind people receiving services from the program--college student, library user, home industries client, etc.

There is no complication in doing away with the set-aside fee. All the state Director has to do is to amend his Plan of Rehabilitation and submit the amendment to the Federal Government. It may be argued, of course, that this will cost the state money. However, this year the Federal percentage is up from seventy-five to eighty, which more than offsets any possible expense. In addition, it has only been a few months since salaries of people working in the vending stand program have become matchable with Federal funds--that is, four out of every five dollars of salary can now be Federal.

All of these factors would seem to make it an ideal time for a state to eliminate its set-aside fee and still be money ahead. Incidentally, if you will refer to the first five articles in the Monitor of 1968 (extra copies are available from the Berkeley office), you can get further information and data concerning the vending stand program.

Cordially,

Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

 

January 12, 1970

Dear Ken:

I am writing you at the request of Dr. Parnell McLaughlin, Director of the Division of Rehabilitation, Department of Social Services, Colorado. Dr. McLaughlin would like statistics on sheltered workshops at the Federal and/or State levels (outside of Colorado) showing the financial benefit to a state for maintaining a General Rehabilitation sheltered workshop that trains clients for outside employment, as well as providing sheltered employment for those unable to compete in the outside world due to the nature of their handicap(s). He would also like the probable percentage of blind persons whose multiple handicaps render them unemployable.

Dr. Mac recognizes the fact that blindness alone is never a cause for unemployability, but it is a contributing factor in some combinations of disabilities that do result in an unemployable situation. Dr. Mac also recognizes Dr. Kenneth Jernigan as a competent, knowledgeable leader in the field of rehabilitation. Thus he was amenable to my suggestion that the National Federation of the Blind could assist the Colorado Rehab Division in their current project of convincing the legislature that it would be well for the State to purchase a particularly well suited building that is currently available in Denver for a General Rehabilitation Workshop.

The result of these statistics can be combined with some local factors such as anti-air pollution that are on the Governor's list for consideration during this short appropriations session of congress, and certain municipal beautification features that are of current importance in Denver to make a very desirable picture of State expenditure for a rehab workshop instead of leaving the building to its otherwise obvious fate of another industrial factory.

Such cooperation on your part will also serve to encourage the local organized blind that the blind are indeed earning their way in the field of leadership. And this in turn will lead to more serious thinking on their part as to what the organized blind can do for Colorado.

I have already sent Dr. Mac a reprint of Dr. tenBroek's "Sheltered Workshops for the Physically Disabled", J. of Urb. Law, U. of Detroit, 1966, and your own annual report for 1967 entitled "Opportunity" that I brought back from the Des Moines convention. Time may be growing short so we would appreciate an answer at your earliest convenience. You may send it directly to: Dr. Parnell McLaughlin, Director, Division of Rehabilitation, 705 State Services Building, 1525 Sherman, Denver, Colorado 80203.

Thanks much.

Marie (Jensen) Stauter

 

January 12, 1970

Dear Ken:

At Ray McGeorge's request I am writing to ask you for the facts and figures of Iowa's 1967-68 Vending Stand financing to be used as an example of successful funding without a set-aside fund. A bit of how you originally established this non-set-aside status would also be helpful.

I expect John Taylor briefed you as to the irregularity and inefficiency of our current vending stand program. I promised to send him a copy of our stand-operator's contract, but that is turning into past-history now. The facts and figures for supporting a complete new design are what are now needed for effective action. If you still want the old contract I will get you a copy.

Vending-stand facts and figures from you will carry double weight. On the one hand the NFB is highly respected by Colorado Rehab and your Commission is recognized as the NFB way. On the other hand you personally, Ken, are recognized here as a successful, progressive leader in the field of rehabilitation. Either way, the field is open for the Blind to lead and Ray is ready to lead and is counting on you to back him up.

You may send your reply to him either to my address (above) or to the Denver Area Association of the Blind office at 901 E. 17th Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80218.

Sincerely,

Marie Stauter

Back to Contents

 

EMPLOYMENT OF THE BLIND IN FEDERAL SERVICE

The Federal Government is the largest single employer in the United States and is now taking increasing positive action with respect to the employment of blind persons in a widening range of occupations.

The Civil Service Commission, through its selective placement personnel and coordinators located in agencies throughout the country, is opening up opportunities for blind persons which have in the past been closed to this group of disabled individuals. In the larger cities, inter-agency boards have been organized to serve as clearing houses for prospective disabled candidates for Federal positions.

The following publication developed by the Civil Service Commission has been widely distributed to both the agency coordinators and inter-agency boards. It describes avenues for blind persons to meet eligibility requirements for Civil Service appointments. Even more important, it outlines a positive policy of extending and expanding employment of this group with the Federal Government.

Background. Blindness is a serious handicap, but it does not mean helplessness. The historical impressions that blind persons could perform only a limited number of tasks are being dispelled through improved training, education, and rehabilitation services. The results have been the utilization of the blind in a variety of job classifications. No longer do the blind need to be relegated to handicraft activities alone--today, in the Federal service, the blind are using their talents in administrative, technical, and professional positions as well as in the semi-skilled and clerical fields. The key to successful employment for the blind is thorough job preparation, enlightened employer acceptance, and improved selective placement techniques.

Policy. The policy of the Federal Government has always been to provide to the handicapped equal opportunity for employment, without discrimination, in all positions where they are able to perform efficiently and safely. Of equal importance is the Government's recognition that successful employment of the blind (and other severely handicapped persons) is very often a result of understanding and good planning on the part of the employers. Handicapped people will sometimes require special attention during the early stages of a job for which they are qualified.

Commission Services. As a service to handicapped applicants, the Commission answers inquiries and furnishes advisory service on qualifications for employment, appropriate examinations, and employment opportunities. This service is available from Selective Placement Specialists assigned to the Commission's network of Job Information Centers in principal cities throughout the country and from the Central Office and regional offices of The Commission. The Commission also gives continuing support to the handicapped program through training courses for agency officials, as well as by furnishing technical advice and assistance. There is constant liason with the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, Federal and state agencies for the blind, and private organizations concerned with the rehabilitation and employment of the blind.

Special Testing. The Commission arranges for special examinations for the blind by providing readers, or by giving oral rather than written tests. This assures that their abilities are properly assessed and that they are not discriminated against in Civil Service examinations because of their blindness. When such a test is conducted there is only one blind competitor and one examiner present.

Coordinator Program. Each Federal agency designates an official to serve as Coordinator for the Employment of the Handicapped in its headquarters offices and in each of its field establishments throughout the country. These coordinators have specific responsibility for assuring that handicapped applicants and employees receive full consideration in all matters pertaining to employment. Blind applicants should seek the coordinator's assistance by inquiring at the personnel offices of specific agencies.

Appointing Authorities. Blind persons may be appointed under regular competitive Civil Service procedures, or under the special appointing authorities used for the severely handicapped. The latter procedure starts with a 700-hour appointment authority for trial employment and, after satisfactory performance in the temporary position, approval can be granted by the Commission to convert the appointment to a continuing one in the excepted service.

Readers for the Blind. Federal agencies are authorized by law to employ, without compensation, reading assistants for blind employees whose jobs require reading as a part of their daily work. This law excepts reading assistants from the normal Civil Service selection and appointment procedures, but permits them to work at a Federal establishment. A reading assistant may serve as a non-paid volunteer, may be paid by a non-profit organization, or may be paid by the blind employee--from his own funds or from funds furnished by a State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.

How to Apply. Blind applicants have to meet the full qualifications of education and experience, and must meet realistic physical standards based on the actual duties of the position for which they apply. Therefore, a blind person seeking a career in the Federal Civil Service should first complete the physical and vocational rehabilitation needed to meet basic qualifications. Veterans with service connected disabilities should consult the Veterans Administration for assistance. All others should consult their State Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

When rehabilitation has been completed, the blind applicant should refer to the Civil Service Commission's Pamphlet No. 4, "Working for the U.S.A.", for information on how to apply for a civil service job. The pamphlet also lists the addresses of all the Federal Job Information Centers across the country. Disabled veterans should consult Civil Service Commission Pamphlet No. 48, "Your Civil Service Commission Veteran Preference". All applicants should call at the nearest Commission office for assistance and to request a special examination.

Once the blind applicant has established eligibility in an examination, his name will be certified to agencies for employment consideration in the same manner as nonhandicapped eligibles are certified. The blind eligible may obtain special selective placement assistance by contacting agency Coordinators for Employment of the Handicapped and by requesting referral service from a Commission office.

Back to Contents

 

MONITOR MINIATURES

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that New York could not deny welfare benefits to persons unable to show that they had moved to the state for a reason other than to go on relief. The decision struck down a 1969 Welfare Law amendment which held that any welfare applicant in the state less than a year had to show that he did not come to take advantage of New York's relatively high welfare payments.

******

William J. Hogan of Bridgeport, Connecticut passed away last January following illness and a fall down the cellar stairs of his home. Billy Hogan was at one time a leader in the organized blind movement in his State and had served on the Executive Committee of the NFB.

******

Louis DeFelice of Providence, Rhode Island suggests that a shoulder patch be designed with the emblem, color and motto of the NFB. He feels that the NFB pin is so small that people have to get very close in order to read it. Any takers?

******

Speed reading for the blind has been made possible through dedicated industrial research and development. In 1938 the Bell Laboratories invented a signaling system and suggested applying the principle of frequency division to individual harmonic frequency components in order to reduce speech band width. In 1955 the laboratory developed a "voice band compressor" and in 1962, using the same principle, an harmonic compressor was developed. Since that time refinements have been made. The result is that speakers who record at an average of 160 to 170 words per minute can now double the speed without increasing the pitch of the recording results to 300-400 words per minute, which is the average speed reading rate.

******

Groundwork was recently laid for the organization of a student chapter of the Montana Association of the Blind. Actual organization of the students will probably take several months. The purpose of the chapter is to help students in colleges to recognize and meet the special problems and needs visual handicaps present. There are currently about 108 visually handicapped students attending Montana colleges.

******

Jim Doherty of Arlington, Virginia has done some sleuthing concerning one music magazine, The Braille Musician. In the January and March issues readers were asked to notify the American Printing House for the Blind if they wished to continue receiving the magazine. These notices escaped many readers' attention. The magazine is still flourishing. Only the name has been slightly changed in conjunction with its official adoption as a Library of Congress publication. The New Braille Musician, as it is now called, wears a decorative cover featuring the notes and staff of print notation in raised form. Requests for the magazine should be sent to the Music Services Unit, Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20542.

******

A check for $1,000 was recently presented to the President of Highline Community College, Midway, Washington, by the student body for the purpose of purchasing equipment for the visually handicapped students at Highline. Equipment to be purchased will include tape recorders, play back equipment, full-page magnifiers, large-print dictionary, and special reading lamps. The money from the students represents "a campus improvement project."

******

Recently the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened a Braille Trail, "Whispering Pines", in the San Bernardino (California) National Forest. It was built for a "Lassie" television show. The Department already operates three Braille Trails and a trail for the handicapped incorporating features of the Braille Trail. It is planned to open another next spring in New Mexico with funds contributed by the New Mexico Federation of Women's Clubs.

******

The Readers for Blind Employees legislation was passed in 1962 as Public Law 87-614. The bill allowed for the appointment of persons as readers without remuneration for blind Government employees. There has been little use of this authority, chiefly because of the lack of funds either public or private to pay for the service rendered. As of 1968, the majority of state agencies for the blind would authorize the payment of readers for a maximum of 2,000 hours or one year whichever expired first. This is sufficient for many placements but is inadequate for the young professionals. Most professionals enter the Federal service at grades 5 to 7. Therefore, several years must pass before they reach a level which can expect clerical support as a part of the position. This is a deterrent in the employment of the blind professional worker because of the difficulty in obtaining volunteers over a long period of time. Ways are presently being explored whereby agencies could be reimbursed for the cost of such service for an indefinite time.

******

The nineteenth decennial U.S. census will get under way on April 1, 1970 with every family and household serving as its own census taker. Questionnaires were received in the mail by the end of March. In the larger metropolitan areas people will mail their completed returns to a local Census Bureau office. In rural areas and smaller cities, the forms are to be held and picked up by a census taker. Personal contact will also be made in metropolitan areas to follow up no-shows, persons needing assistance in answering the questions and to track down groups such as Negro youth without permanent addresses whose sizeable absence from 1960 census figures created problems in designing the very programs which might have helped them. There are about 19 questions concerning population and housing that will be asked of every household, and another group of questions that will be asked of one household in twenty. New questions in this census will be about vocational training in addition to formal schooling, whether the person has a health condition or disability that limits the kind or amount of work he can do, and whether the family has a "second" or "vacation" home.

******

Mr. B.W. Davis, Box D, Davenport, Oklahoma 74026 would like to hear from anyone in Oklahoma who would be interested in organizing a National Federation of the Blind affiliate in Oklahoma.

******

Glen Ausmus of Grand Junction, Colorado was elected President of Colorado Western Council of the Blind, affiliated with the Colorado Federation of the Blind, at its organizational meeting. "We want to promote the welfare of the blind in every way we can," Ausmus said. "This will be in industry, education, economics, and in social ways."

******

Homosexuals took another step in their continuing campaign to eliminate discrimination based on sexual preferences when they picketed the offices of the State Services for the blind radio talking book network in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. The pickets were protesting the firing of an officer from his job as an announcer for the network, allegedly because of his homosexuality. C. Stanley Potter, head of the agency, said the official had lost his job because of incompetency. When Potter was asked if he would have dismissed the employee for his homosexuality alone, he said: "I would have to consider very carefully if we could keep in our employ a person who took such a position. A person's private life is his own until it gets to the point where it affects peoples' attitudes toward a subgroup like ours (blind people)."

******

Two tiny pieces of ivory sculpture, part of the exhibition collected and arranged for the enjoyment of the blind in San Francisco, have been stolen. The Chairman of the California State Arts Commission, which sponsors the exhibition, said the two pieces were taken by a "sighted visitor."

******

Governor Sargent of Massachusetts has announced that welfare recipients in his State will move to a "flat grant" budget of $3,760 a year for a family of four next summer under a new system of payment. The new system, which will apply to Aid to Families with Dependent Children, will virtually eliminate extra payments for "special needs" and is intended to distribute funds more evenly.

******

Harold Russell, chairman of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, has announced that he will continue in that position at the request of President Nixon. In a letter to members, Russell said, "I pledge to all of you that I shall rededicate myself to doing a better job for the handicapped. I hope that you will all help me."

******

John D. Twiname, 38, became the Administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare on March 1. He has been serving as Deputy Administrator of SRS since April, 1969 and succeeds Mary K. Switzer who retired. Prior to joining SRS, Twiname was Marketing Vice President of the American Hospital Supply Corporation of Evanston, Illinois. He is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.

******

Do you have dramatic ability? Want to try it? Join the Elbee Players, a congenial troupe of independent, blind, amateur Repertory Players. They present full-length dramatic reading productions at churches, temples, hospitals and community centers in the New York area. Rehearsals are one evening a week and performances about twice a month. No memorization of lines is necessary, but you should be a fast Braille reader. Those interested should write to David Swerdlow, Director, 621 West End Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10024.

******

The California Conference of Blind Teachers held its 10th annual session at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel recently, with demonstrations on blind teaching methods and aids, and a panel discussion on "break throughs" for blind teachers. Teachers demonstrated their abilities by working with sighted pupils. Audio-visual aids available for California's 85 blind teachers were discussed. Among prominent educators attending were Dr. Max Rafferty, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Dr. Isabelle L.D. Grant who needs no introduction to Monitor readers.

******

The California Council of the Blind has just published two monographs, both authored by the Editor of The Braille Monitor. One is called "Aid to the Blind in California--Fifty Years of Program Development" and the other is entitled "The California Council of the Blind--the First Thirty-Five Years." Those desiring copies of either of these publications should send their request to the California Council of the Blind, 205 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90004.

******

The reading of the names of Vietnam war dead to protest the war entered its 13th week in the Riverside (New York City) Church with more than 20 blind men and women using lists written in braille. The reading will continue until the war ends.

Back to Contents

 

SURVEY AND EVALUATION OF THE PROGRAMS FOR THE BLIND IN THE STATE OF HAWAII, CONCLUDED

Note: Appendices are not included.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION: SCOPE AND METHOD OF THE SURVEY

I. AID TO THE BLIND

1. Introduction
2. The Statutes
3. Social and Statistical Data
4. Rules and Regulations
5. Conclusions and Recommendations

II. MODEL WHITE CANE LAW

III. VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION OF BLIND PERSONS

1. Introduction
2. Background
3. The Statutes
4. The State Plan
5. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program in Operation
6. The Vending Stand Program
7. Conclusions and Recommendations

IV. EDUCATION OF THE BLIND

1. Introduction
2. School for the Deaf and Blind
3. Program of Special Education
4. Kokua: University Student Service
5. Teacher Training

V. LIBRARY SERVICES FOR THE BLIND

1. Library for the Blind
2. Talking Book Service
3. Transcribing Services Unit

VI. PROPOSAL: A COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND

APPENDIX

I. Proposed Amendments to Aid to the Blind
II. Model White Cane Law
III. Proposed Amendment on Teacher Training
IV. Eye of the Pacific Guide Dogs, Inc.

IV. EDUCATION OF THE BLIND

1. Introduction

The conclusions and recommendations contained in this report relating to education of blind children would not have been possible without the full cooperation of students, parents, teachers, and other staff of the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind, and various members of the State Department of Education and numerous blind persons located throughout the State.

Since the establishment of the first school for the blind in Paris, France, in 1784, there has been continuous progress in the improvement of educational techniques, the development of reading and writing systems, the expansion of educational opportunities and the location and enrollment of blind children in residential schools and public school classes. Although progress has been rapid, its course has been marred by a variety of misconceptions regarding the nature of blindness and the learning processes relating to blind children. Many traditional concepts have crept into educational programs for the blind which have retarded optimal development of blind children and have unduly restricted their opportunities. Among these misconceptions have been the concept that blind children should be set apart from others and that they should be provided with a limited, stereotyped, traditional program oriented in the direction of emphasis on routine, repetitive, manual operations. In more recent years, however, both residential schools for the blind and classes for blind children in the public schools have increasingly divested themselves of traditional concepts and broadened their educational programs to include a range of course offerings and extra-curricular activities equal to those provided to seeing children. To recognize that blind children are capable of availing themselves of a wide range of educational opportunities, and that they have the capacity and potentialities to take their places as participating members of a school community, is the mark of an enlightened educator in the field of education of the blind.


2. School for the Deaf and Blind

The Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind (formerly called Diamond Head School) is a Honolulu district school, and therefore subject to the same rules of certification of teachers as other schools in the district. It is a residential school on a five-acre lot in a choice section of downtown Honolulu.

There are 144 deaf children and nine blind presently enrolled, plus three blind from the other islands who board at the school and attend special education classes in the public schools. One of the nine is mentally retarded, too old to go to school, attending Ho'pono for evaluation and work adjustment. Four of the students are day students. All except two have some serious problem in addition to blindness. These problems include hearing loss, palsy, hyperactivity, obesity, convulsions and mental retardation. Three children in the school have visual loss in addition to severe hearing impairment and are being taught in the department for the deaf. (They are not included in this group of nine.)

The principal of the school is a young man trained and experienced as a psychological tester, but with no knowledge or experience in working with the blind. (The itinerant teacher was therefore freed from her teaching responsibilities to discuss the program for the blind with the surveyor.) The supervising teacher, who serves as vice-principal, is experienced and trained to work only with the deaf. The indications were that the counselor works almost exclusively in the department for the deaf and the two-fifths of librarian time from the State library is similarly apportioned.

The blind students have two teachers assigned to them, plus about one-fifth of the itinerant teacher's time. (The itinerant teacher tries to look after the book collection and auditory and tactile aids for the blind in addition to doing some teaching.) The physical education teacher uses a brief portion of her time each week to teach swimming to the blind children (separately from the deaf) in the family-sized pool donated and constructed for the school by the Lions Clubs. In addition she gives a brief time to craft work with the students. There is a part-time music teacher paid through gift funds. Some parent volunteers and community volunteers work with the blind children.

The deaf and blind children eat at the same time in the same dining room. They share the same dormitories and, as a matter of fact, a deaf girl and a blind girl share a room. There are two house mothers for the blind only, and a separate bedroom has been assigned to the blind students as a study room.

Recently the Teacher Assist Center was moved into the building which houses the classrooms for the blind, taking the major portion of the space and making crowded and inadequate the area for the blind. There was a comment that one of the reasons the blind became so crowded was because more deaf children had enrolled in the school than had been anticipated.

The five acres of the school grounds are arranged so that the buildings are on the periphery, and the entire center is the playground with swings and play equipment available. The idea was expressed that free time recreation with the deaf and blind together creates a compatible program--that the blind get along quite well. However, the Survey Team saw no blind children playing in the recreation area.

The piano is in the blind children's classroom. The two students currently taking lessons practice one-half hour after school or before 8:00 a.m. A volunteer instructs some of the children in the ukulele. There is a limited choral group of blind students which supplies programs for community organizations.

Although there is a school parent-teacher council, it was stated that few of the parents of blind children attend meetings ("They get discouraged because the parents of the deaf so greatly outnumber them").

Home economics and industrial arts classes are for the deaf only ("There is not enough teacher time for the blind, too").

No cane travel is taught. Some mobility (very little) is taught on an informal basis. (There was a comment that Ho'pono used to provide mobility instruction; the school would like to have it again but Ho'pono does not make it available as a regular service. It does give orientation from Diamond Head to Washington Junior High at the beginning of the school year.)

One teacher working with the school's blind students has a master's degree in special education. Others have had classes whey they were taught in the islands (20 hours). There is no State money to send teachers to special programs. The school has a collection of well-worn, uncatalogued books, but no deposit collection from the Library for the Blind. The children do go to visit the library for the blind once a month (it is close enough so that they can walk), and they may check out books at this time. A teacher commented that they try to make full use of their American Printing House for the Blind quota, and receive globes and other similar equuipment with it.

There are enough Perkins Braillers for all who need them. They also have magnifiers which they do not use. There are talking book machines, tape recorders, two language masters, typewriters (regular) and one electric large-type typewriter for the teacher to use.

The teachers expressed the belief that gift money intended to be used for the blind goes into the general school funds and is, therefore, used primarily for the deaf.

The staff in the school's department for the blind considered that the most serious problems are that the ratio system is used to determine how many teachers there will be, and that the blind are a small population in a large school. Since most of the blind students have other handicaps as well (in most cases the other problems are far more serious than blindness) it is not realistic to stipulate there shall be five students per teacher (or any other set number), but rather the number of teachers should be determined according to the total educational problem.

The summer school program (Federally funded) for the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind has operated as follows. There is a half-day program each day for six weeks, with the dormitories closed. During the first summer, the children went on one excursion; the second summer they had one trip a week, each Wednesday, and spent Monday and Tuesday planning the excursion and Thursday and Friday articulating their experience. One year, because of shortage of funds, they did not have any program for the blind. In the summer of 1969, about six blind children participated in the Summer School program with one teacher.

Graduates of the Hawaii School indicated to the Survey Team that they had learned so little they were poorly prepared to cope with the assignments in a regular junior high. Among other things, they stated that they had never been given homework.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The blind in the Hawaii School are in such a small minority that, even with the utmost good will on everyone's part, they are increasingly overlooked, squeezed, ignored, and considered a nuisance. The impression is created that these are the "left over" children, after the public schools have taken the ones they want. The attitude of those associated with such "superfluous" individuals must ultimately be that they are less than first-class people, and this attitude in turn is ultimately absorbed by the "left overs" themselves.

THE SURVEY TEAM RECOMMENDS THAT THE BLIND DEPARTMENT OF THE SCHOOL FOR DEAF AND BLIND BE CLOSED WITH ALL POSSIBLE SPEED; THAT ALL THOSE WHO CAN POSSIBLY BE INTEGRATED IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BE SO ACCOMMODATED, AND THAT STUDENTS WHO ARE TOO SEVERELY MULTIPLY HANDICAPPED TO BE PLACED IN ANY PUBLIC SCHOOL SITUATION BE RELOCATED IN OTHER APPROPRIATE INSTITUTIONS; AND FINALLY, THAT THOSE STUDENTS WHO NEED BOARDING FACILITIES IN HONOLULU BE PLACED IN FOSTER HOMES.


3. Program of Special Education

There are currently 48 blind students enrolled in the public schools in Hawaii, in addition to nine in the residential school (Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind). Three students from the other islands board at the residential school and attend classes in the special program of the public schools.

There are four teachers for the special education classes in the Honolulu Schools, plus a full-time Braillist at McKinley School, who also acts as a tutor. (One of these teachers is an itinerant teacher who also works part-time at the residential school. The others are resource teachers at the three schools--Likelike Elementary, Washington Junior High, and McKinley High School.) There are no special classes, resource teachers or itinerant teachers on the other islands, although those schools do have access to large-type books, magnifiers, and other similar materials.

The ages of these children range from five through eighteen; their grades are first through twelfth. Their vision is nil through 20/200--that is nine have no vision, 15 have 20/200 vision. Fourteen use Braille, 20 use large type, 13 use both large type and ink, none use regular ink print books. All of these visually impaired students, who are legally and practicallly blind, should be instructed in Braille, rather than be encouraged or permitted to deny their visual loss.

The students obtain their textbooks through the American Printing House for the Blind quota and through the transcribing unit in the Library for the Blind.

Until 1967, all blind elementary children went to Diamond Head School. Now most of them go to the public schools unless they have multiple handicaps. The mentally retarded blind may attend Diamond Head School until they are too old; at that point they are institutionalized.

Three of the four resource teachers know Braille: astonishingly the one at the junior high school does not, even though three of her five pupils are Braille students. Class tests are normally given orally and individually. Two blind students take physics, as an option, but there were indications that none of them takes laboratory science courses. Physical education is normally not taken--the physical education teachers apparently feel the blind children cannot participate on teams. The blind may on occasion take swimming, but not for credit. One teacher said that the partially sighted usually elect to take physical education but the totally blind do not. These students do not take home economics. The blind children are, however, encouraged to take college preparatory subjects.

The resource teachers work with Ho'opono, with the transcribing unit, and with the library for the blind. There was forceful indication that the teachers and students would like the library to remain open on Saturdays.

The high school program with twelve students has, besides the resource teacher, and the Braillist, sighted high school students who do large type work, "look up things," etc. for service credit.

The resource teacher of the junior high school program indicates that she "hand picks" the teachers where her students will have classes; she won't let them enroll with the "sour" teachers. She said she "travel trains them" without canes. Concerning physical education, if her students "need" physical activity, they are permitted to use a rowing machine or bicycle if the teacher is willing. Such practices as these plainly foster unnecessary dependency and perpetuate attitudes of inferiority and incompetence.

The administrator of special education saw the most serious problem to be the small number of blind children in the public schools, especially on the neighbor islands. It is difficult if not impossible to provide a good education to one blind child in a school district.

The high school teacher felt the transcribing unit of the library should be expanded to facilitate more and faster transcription of textbooks. She felt she did not have enough time to develop sufficient rapport with students.

The junior high teacher felt that blind children increasingly have other handicaps besides the visual. She thought the solution may reside in specialized arrangement with more trained people to work with them.

The administrator indicated a belief in the idea that blind people should be independent and discouraged the junior high teacher from asking the Lions to provide Braille writers for home use for students whose parents could afford to provide them. The high school teacher indicated a sharp mental and philosophical cleavage between the totally blind and the partially sighted.

RECOMMENDATIONS: THE JUNIOR HIGH TEACHER, THOUGH SHE SEEMS GENUINELY INTERESTED IN HER TEACHING, LACKS AN ESSENTIAL SKILL—BRAILLE--AND EXHIBITS SOME UNFORTUNATE PHILOSOPHICAL NOTIONS WHICH AFFECT HER ATTITUDES TOWARD HER BLIND STUDENTS AND THE OTHER TEACHERS AT THE SCHOOL. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT SHE BE TRANSFERRED, WHEN A BETTER QUALIFIED TEACHER CAN BE SECURED; IN THE MEANTIME A LARGER CLASSROOM SHOULD BE FOUND THAN THE INADEQUATE ROOM SHE NOW OCCUPIES. THE TEACHERS ALL INDICATED THEY HAVE LITTLE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN HOW TO EDUCATE THE BLIND. SOME TEACHERS FROM SAN FRANCISCO STATE COLLEGE HAVE CONDUCTED BRIEF SEMINARS IN HAWAII, BUT OTHERWISE THE LOCAL TEACHERS HAVE HAD, AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE, TO SEEK OUT AND ATTEND SPECIAL EDUCATION CLASSES. SOME FORM OF EDUCATIONAL GRANT SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE SO THAT THESE TEACHERS MAY READILY KEEP UP WITH CURRENT THOUGHT IN EDUCATING THE BLIND AND (HOPEFULLY) ABSORB MORE CONSTRUCTIVE ATTITUDES TOWARDS BLINDNESS.


4. Kokua: University Student Service

Kokua (which means help) is the transcribing, reader and tutorial service of the University of Hawaii inaugurated in the fall of 1966. Seeds for it had earlier been sown in the tape-transcribing program sponsored by Mortar Board, in which the present director of Kokua was a volunteer. With reference to the blind student, Kokua may be a tutorial service through which some one employed by the University may help him with difficult subjects (usually the tutor is a sighted student); it may help him register; it may give him orientation and training sessions; it may be a place where his textbooks are taped, put in large type or where arrangement is made to have them Brailled; it may provide live reader service from a pool of readers employed by Kokua but ultimately paid for by Ho'opono. It may be a service whereby Kokua staff receive the tests from the professors, transcribe them appropriately (and sometimes administer them), and return them to the professor. Kokua staff are authorized to procure textbooks from the book store (at a time when the student is not allowed to do so), transcribe them or have them transcribed, deliver them to him and provide a place for him to study them. Kokua gives each blind student a letter to take to the professor asking for special privileges for a "a time extension ...to compensate for his slower rate of reading and writing." The office steers the blind students away from professors who have shown indications of hostility or negation toward the blind. It also advises the blind, and travel-trains them.

The very competence of the two women operating Kokua is a problem. This is true in spite of the fact that one of these women (an able blind person) recently added to the program has tended to inculcate a more affirmative philosophy. Even so they tend to be so protective and so concerned to render service that the blind students need no initiative to work things out for themselves and do not develop independence. How can the students believe in their ability to compete in the predominantly sighted world when as college students nearly everything is done for them?

RECOMMENDATIONS: SINCE THE TOTAL PHILOSOPHY AND PROGRAM OF KOKUA ARE DIRECTLY CONTRARY TO THE BASIC GOAL OF INDEPENDENCE FOR THE BLIND, THE BLIND SERVICE FUNCTION OF KOKUA SHOULD BE ELIMINATED ALTOGETHER. TUTORING AND READING SERVICES SHOULD BE PROVIDED SEPARATELY, PREFERABLY UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE PROPOSED HAWAII COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND. IN THAT CASE, BLIND STUDENTS COULD EMPLOY THEIR OWN READERS AND BILL THE COMMISSION. NECESSARY TRANSCRIPTION OF MATERIALS COULD BE HANDLED BY STRENGTHENING THE TRANSCRIBING UNIT OF THE LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND, AND THE STUDENTS THEMSELVES COULD (AND SHOULD) HANDLE THE OTHER ASPECTS OF THEIR COLLEGE EDUCATION THEMSELVES.


5. Teacher Training

One of the professions in which many blind persons excel throughout the nation is that of teaching. And yet, oddly enough, few avenues of employment for the visually handicapped have been clogged with more prejudice and discrimination against the sightless than has the teaching profession.

That this is so is undeniable in view of the sad experiences of countless blind persons who have been barred from teaching. Why this should be so is incomprehensible. Certain it is, however, that the administrators of our institutions of higher learning have been in the forefront of the offenders. School officials have too often shown themselves to be the first to deny a blind man or woman even the chance to show whether or not he or she can become a successful teacher.

Members of the Survey Team learned that in the entire State of Hawaii there were only three known legally blind persons employed in public education as teachers, and none of these was totally blind. Inquiry revealed that the cause of this was to be found, of all places, in the University of Hawaii itself. The Office of Student Services of the College of Education of the University lists in its Admission Criteria "(3) No significant physical limitations". The University construes blindness as a significant physical limitation, and hence the blind person is not even admitted to the College of Education for teacher training.

IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE LEGISLATURE AMEND THE REVISED STATUTES OF HAWAII TO SPECIFICALLY FORBID DISCRIMINATION AGAINST BLIND PERSONS BY STATE COLLEGES AND THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII BY REFUSING THEM TEACHER TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION. (See Appendix III)

Back to Contents

 

V. LIBRARY SERVICES FOR THE BLIND

1. Library for the Blind

The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Hawaii is under the supervision of the State Librarian and is a part of the Department of Education. There are presently two technicians in the Library for the Blind: one has charge of the transcribing unit; the other was formerly in charge of the library itself until November, 1969, when a librarian (Title IV A and B)1 was employed. There is also one other staff member in the Library. Both of the technicians are blind, and are seriously hampered in their relationship by mutual hostility. (It was immediately apparent to the Survey Team that this incompatibility prevents a meaningful integration of the transcribed materials into the library collection.)

While the Library for the Blind is in an attractive, utilitarian building, it is noteworthy that the library part of its operation is compressed into one side of it, the transcription part is squeezed into the opposite side, and an altogether unrelated part of the state library occupies the center.

The Survey Team was informed that there were a total of seven staff members in the Library for the Blind: one professional, two technicians, and four non-professionals, plus 60 hours per month of student help. Subsequent inquiry revealed that the professional had been on the job only a few days; one of the technicians is the transcribing unit, and three of the positions (created a few months previously) are vacant and have never been filled. (Further inquiry elicited recognition that the salary scale of the non-professional positions is so low that no one of competence is likely to apply.) The librarian appears thoroughly qualified and capable; she has a degree from an excellent library school and a number of years of library experience. However, despite her evident competence and commitment, the fact that she is the librarian for Title IV raises the question of how much attention she will be able to give to the Library for the Blind.

The technician who was formerly in charge of the Library for the Blind lacks apparent qualifications for the job; although there is no doubt that she is deeply committed to the position. She is in the unfortunate position of not having the library completely geared to being operated through the use of Braille and to being unable to read any except avery limited amount of the largest print.

The acquisition of books, other than those provided by the Library of Congress, is very limited, but it was indicated that a book on the use of the abacus was purchased and that certain requested tapes were purchased from "Best Sellers for the Blind." (Apparently all these purchases were through the use of gift funds.)

___________________________

1. A librarian for all State institutions as well as for all blind and physically handicapped people.

 

No reader guidance service is given. Reference service is provided only indirectly and inconveniently. The card catalog consists of the cards supplied by the Library of Congress as they are filed by a cataloger from the main library. There is also a card catalog in Braille (for the technician's use) with simplified author, title and subject entries. There are no guides to this catalog either internally or on the outside of the drawers. The card catalog for each medium is filed separately in both print and Braille.

When asked if staff members are active in professional library organizations, the information was given that the technician sometimes attends the Hawaii Library Association meetings, has occasionally had displays and once attended the American Library Association Convention. The technician indicated she had "disengaged" herself from organizations for the blind. No other activities or interets were manifested.

While the library has acquired almost no books other than those supplied by the Library of Congress, it has purchased (through the use of gift funds) commercial musical records (Appendix III). There were indications that they have a real problem keeping them in good condition. Sometimes the library acquires books from the transcription unit but they are shelved separately and are not really part of the library collection. The addressing machine and some other vital equipment have been purchased with gift funds.

Volunteers are used for cleaning books, reading to the blind staff member, answering the phone, driving for the reader club which meets at the Library, and checking in books on the readers' talking book cards.

The blind students from the School for the Deaf and Blind come in once a month (the School is only a few blocks away). They are told stories by librarians from other branches, and they check out books. The talking book readers' club has bi-monthly meetings, with about 20 to 25 attending. There is usually a speaker connected with the book world. The club also has an annual luncheon and a Christmas party.

There is no summer reading program for students (or any others). No effort appears to be made to provide college or public school students with special materials or to orient them to their college libraries. The library's circulation system makes it impossible to determine if a borrower, once registered, ever uses the service. Book lists and catalogs are supplied to borrowers only for material not supplied by the Library of Congress. It was not determined how widely these lists were distributed or in what manner they were distributed.

The library is open from 7:30 to 4:30 weekdays (not used much by walk-in trade), with indefinite plans to remain open Saturday mornings. The feeling has been expressed that traffic is so heavy near the library that blind people probably cannot and should not attempt to come there. In this case the "public convenience" is not equivalent to the convenience of blind users.

No effort is made to prepare reading lists and/or special books so that borrowers can participate in groups with sighted people. No reading lists are made for people with special goals. The Library for the Blind has established small revolving talking book collections at a few hospitals, and a large type collection at a senior citizen home. But the library provides no reading resource consultative service to institutions, agencies and professional workers which are involved with the blind.

On the basis of this investigation, the folowing recommendations are made:

THE NEW LIBRARIAN SHOULD ADMINISTER THE LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND ONLY, RATHER THAN BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR LIBRARIES FOR ALL THE STATE INSTITUTIONS. THE LIBRARIAN SHOULD STUDY CIRCULATION PROCEDURES OF EFFECTIVE MAINLAND LIBRARIES FOR THE BLIND, IN ORDER TO MAKE MORE EFFECTIVE USE OF AVAILABLE SPACE AND HELP. SALARIES FOR THE OPEN POSITIONS SHOULD BE INCREASED SUFFICIENTLY TO ATTRACT WELL-QUALIFIED APPLICANTS. THE INDICATED GAPS IN LIBRARY SERVICE SHOULD BE CORRECTED: READING LISTS, SUPPLEMENTARY BOOKS, CONSULTATIVE SERVICES, ETC. THE LIBRARY SHOULD BE OPEN ON SATURDAYS. IN SHORT, THE LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND SHOULD FULFILL THE VARIOUS OBJECTIVES SET FORTH IN THE STATE PLAN (section 6, State Plan for Library Programs).

2. Talking Book Service

The Services for the Blind Branch, Department of Social Services, has been designated by the Library of Congress, Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, to supply and keep in repair talking book machines for Hawaii's blind and physically handicapped, and it has also been designated to distribute cassette machines to the blind. (Services for the Blind has not yet had word who is to keep the cassettes in repair.)

Any home teacher or counselor may assign a talking book machine to any person he considers eligible. In the case of the blind person, he must request a physician to fill in an eye examination report. In the case of other physically handicapped persons, any statement signed by a so-called responsible individual--indicating that the individual being considered is unable to read normal print by reason of physical defects--is accepted. The staff indicated that it is routine to accept all applications, no matter what the degree of vision or the extent of the physical disability. Clerks issue replacement machines to anyone requesting them.

All talking book machines are directly delivered to the user by a counselor or home teacher; but no talking book records, catalogs of book selections, or other related material are delivered with the machine. There are 331 talking book machines out on loan in Oahu and 95 on neighboring islands. The Library for the Blind has some machines and some hospitals have them.

The agency generally has an ample supply of talking book machines on hand to send to borrowers. Currently it has 75 new ones and 30 old ones--which are piled unsystematically against corridor walls, in closets, and elsewhere. All broken machines are brought to agency headquarters where they are repaired periodically by Telephone Pioneers (volunteer workers of the telephone industry). At the time of the Survey, there were 20 machines waiting to be serviced.

The staff indicated there is virtually no waiting time after an application for a machine is received before the machine is delivered. No effort is made to determine if a borrower is using his talking book machine. Once a machine is issued, it is forgotten unless the borrower returns it or requests to have it picked up. The agency keeps a cross file record of talking book machines--by borrower's name and by machine number.

Nothing has been done to advance the cassette program except that cassette machines have been issued to blind Board members since Board minutes are taped for them. The agency staff indicated they wish to issue the casette machines to young blind people (twenty-four have already been purchased for clients).

The agency keeps records efficiently. Because there has been a shortage of talking book machines in the past, it tends to hoard them now to an inconvenient extent. Since the talking book machine is only half of the book "package," it must be frustrating for the borrower to get a machine without accompanying talking books. (The staff indicated there is often considerable time lapse between the receipt of a talking book machine and the first talking book.)

The attitude of permissiveness--that anyone who requests a machine should have one, and that there will be no attempt to recall inactive machines--reflects the prevailing atmosphere of the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress.

The Survey Team recommends that:

THE "MACHINE AGENCY" SEEMS TO BE WELL HANDLED BY SERVICES FOR THE BLIND, AND ACCORDINGLY SHOULD NOT BE TRANSFERRED TO THE LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND (AS SOME OFFICIALS APPARENTLY WOULD PREFER).

THE AGENCY SHOULD EITHER ARRANGE WITH THE LIBRARY TO GET CATALOGS AND BOOKS FOR DELIVERY ALONG WITH THE TALKING BOOK MACHINES OR, IF THE LIBRARY IS UNWILLING, ARRANGE TO RECEIVE CATALOGS AND PERHAPS THE READERS' DIGEST DIRECTLY FROM THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

EFFICIENCY WOULD BE PROMOTED IF THE AGENCY REQUESTED REMISSION OF A ONE-MONTH SHIPMENT (OR MORE) OF TALKING BOOKS.

Additional remarks concerning the inadequacy of talking book circulation procedures:

The numbers on the talking book borrowers' cards refer to the fixed location numbers assigned to talking books by the Library of Congress (although this Library does not shelve the books in that manner but by the Dewey Decimal System). If a borrower sends requests by title and author, the clerk must refer to the author file to see which numbers the books have. She must then circle the requests on the borrower's card. When books are to be sent to the borrower, she must then check the number file to see who the author is (or its non-fiction number), and must then check to see if the book is on the shelf, since the books are shelved by Dewey. She must then make an address card with the addressing machine and cross out the number on the borrower's card. There is no way to determine how many books a given borrower has out at any time, when he returned one last, when he received one last, or even if he ever returns any at all.

Shelving of books is done by student help and often takes at least a week from the time the books are returned from the borrower until the books are shelved.

All media have book pockets and cards except talking books. An extra copy of the catalog card is used for the book pocket, and book cards are correspondingly identified. When books are checked out, the borrowers' name and address are written on the book cards, which are then filed in Dewey order until the books are returned. A title and author list is kept (in a notebook) of everything borrowed except talking books. The numerical list for talking books is kept in a notebook. The clerk indicated they are 200 books behind in recording this. Since the books are shelved by Dewey and since requests are listed numerically, the clerk must check each number for title and author and see if the book is on the shelf before sending it out. About 15 address cards are prepared in advance for each borrower--filed in a card catalog rather remote from the talking book work area. Braille information indicating title and author of each book is in address section of each talking book.

It takes approximately one week to get address "plates," and borrowers get no service until these plates come.


3. Transcribing Services Unit

The staff of the transcribing unit, in existence since 1955, consists of one blind certified Braillist plus volunteer help. The number of volunteers involved in the transcription program varies between fifteen and thirty. At present three of the Braillists are "certified," and three work under supervision A workshop was conducted in 1966 for Braillists, with another planned for January, 1970. A workshop for recordists was held in 1966, and another in 1968.

All volunteer-produced material--even that which is incomplete--is listed in the Central Catalog of the American Printing House for the Blind.

The transcribing unit takes requests in the order in which they come but with priority to those with the most immediate deadlines. When the unit is finished with the tape master copy, it is sold at cost. The Braille master is never sold or discarded. The staff duplicates (Xerox) large type and furnishes it to persons requesting it at cost plus postage, unbound.

Priority is given to textbooks, although the claim was made that the unit would transcribe "any book for anybody." This claim is surely excessive, since limitations and choices are inescapable and necessary.

According to statements of the transcriber, after material has been transcribed and is no longer needed it goes (spiral bound) to the Library for the Blind. Actually, the Survey Team observed these volumes sprawled in heaps on the floor in aisles near the transcribing unit.

The following equipment is on hand at the unit:

A Taben tape duplicator (with a reputation for breaking down continuously),

Two Thermoform machines (for duplicating Braille);

Six open reel tape recorders--Sony and Wollensak; Seven large type typewriters--all manual (Royal);

One duplicator--Xerox;

One spiral binder (General Binding).

All equipment, paper, raw tape, etc. is furnished to volunteers and the unit will also provide mileage if necessary. The large-type work is carried out in the building, but there are inadequate facilities for taping and Brailling in the unit. Braille material is not proofread except at random by the transcriber. Large-type material is proofed by the volunteers.

There are no plans for a cassette program.

The transcriber listed these as the major needs facing the unit: more full time paid workers (including five or six full time Braillists); paid proofreaders; paid staff to do binding, duplicating, etc., more physical space.

There were indications that both volunteers and clients have found the transcriber difficult to deal with, and evidence of attrition among volunteers because of this. The impression was given that favoritism may be practiced concerning what is transcribed, and that an unreasonable time is required for completion of materials. There were complaints that an individual requesting material must directly contact the transcriber himself.

The Survey Team submits the following recommendations:

IF THE NEWLY EMPLOYED LIBRARIAN IS ALLOWED TO ACT AS LIBRARIAN EXCLUSIVELY WITH THE LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND (INCLUDED WITH THE TRANSCRIPTION UNIT), MANY OF THE UNIT'S PROBLEMS MIGHT BE RESOLVED. OBVIOUSLY MORE STAFF IS NEEDED, ALONG WITH MORE SPACE AND BETTER FACILITIES. THE TRANSCRIBER INDICATED THAT SHE MAKES LITTLE EFFORT TO RECRUIT VOLUNTEERS, MAINLY BECAUSE THE UNIT IS NOT EQUIPPED TO COPE WITH THEM. WITH THE LIBRARIAN OVERVIEWING THE OPERATION, STRESS COULD BE REDUCED, THE VOLUNTEER PROGRAM COULD BE EXPANDED, AND MORE WORK COULD BE PRODUCED.

Back to Contents

 

VI. PROPOSAL: A COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND

The Survey Team took a long look at all State services for the blind in Hawaii, realizing their close relationship one to another. Yet it was found that Aid to the Blind is administered by one Division; vocational rehabilitation on Oahu by another Division and rehabilitation in the Neighbor Islands by three other supervisors; the lending library by another agency; and the taping of books by two different agencies. Services for the blind are rather completely fragmented and this, in turn, leads to inefficiency and a drop in the quality of the services to sightless men and women. In our view these services should all be brought together into a coordinated whole under a Commission for the Blind. Each of these services meets needs which blend into the others and require specialized attention.

When services to blind persons are lumped together with services to other disabled or disadvantaged persons in a general administrative stage agency or department, the special and uniquely different needs and requirements of blind persons are not adequately met and the caliber of such services is not high. The blind know from discouraging and disillusioning experience that they can only be sure that their particular needs resulting from blindness will be fully satisfied and met under programs when services are administered separate and apart from those provided to other physically impaired and socially and economically disadvantaged persons. The needs of blind persons are lost sight of in the generalized administrative shuffle of large departments of state government, their special needs ignored and disregarded in the generalized approach, their distinctive problems and perplexities unrecognized, their hopes and expectations unfulfilled.

Lumping all disabled persons, all socially and economically disadvantaged people, into the one common administrative pot may be urged in the name of administrative simplification, but these programs were established and are maintained by the State to meet certain economic and social needs of blind men, women, and children unable otherwise to obtain in a meaningful way the services essential to the achievement of their full potential. To make administrative simplification a determining factor in the planning or placing of programs is, so far as blind persons are concerned, to negate the very purposes of the programs.

The blind person needs--and must have if he is to live again as a self-supporting, independent person--intelligent and informed guidance and assistance from those familiar with the problems of blindness, with a belief in the potentiality of blind persons. When blind people are not given these specialized helps and services by qualified persons in properly oriented programs situated in an administrative structure which is conducive to their development, then they are not served in their needs and they remain dependent when they might have lived self-dependent lives.

A commission for the blind would be far better equipped to provide services which more adequately meet the needs of blind persons than is a large state department or several separate state agencies. This is an area in which Hawaii can learn from the experiences of many of its sister States in the Union.

The Directory of Agencies serving blind persons in the United States, published by the American Foundation for the Blind in the 1969 edition, reveals that vocational rehabilitation and other special services for the blind are now administered by commissions for the blind in 15 States; are administered by separate divisions for the blind in the department of public welfare in 20 States; and are administered by the general rehabilitation agency in only 13 States.

The theory and practice of a commission is that rehabilitation of the blind has more in common with other services for the blind than it does with rehabilitation of other groups. In work with the blind, as with anything else, patterns of organization and theories change--hopefully for the better. Thirty or forty years ago quite a number of States had commissions for the blind. These were not at all like the present-day versions but were better than what had gone before. Then work with the blind moved into an era of trying to "integrate." Rehabilitation and other programs tended to be located in departments of welfare and departments of education or institutions. There was some attempt to combine rehabilitation of the blind and rehabilitation of other groups.

The newest trend (and the most hopeful) has been evident for the past six or seven years. It is now gaining momentum. It is toward the establishment of a commission for the blind in each State, with all services for the blind being administered by it.

In Hawaii the programs for the blind are fragmented. This fragmentation is not lessened, but rather increased, by putting most of the services for the blind into a super-agency, the Department of Social Services. What is needed ic common sense rather than theory and neatness of organizational charts. Services for the blind complement each other and form one unique entity. They are only very slightly and incidentally related to services for other handicapped groups, despite similarity of terminology. The people who administer services for the blind should be able to administer the entire package and should not be distracted by other duties and a multiplicity of other programs and demands. They should not be responsible to persons who have many other interests and demands and who do, as a consequence, subordinate the interests of a program for the blind to other considerations. At the same time, the professional administrator should be responsible to some authority as a check and balance and a testing ground for his judgment. This should be a lay board, preferably one containing a number of blind persons themselves--people who know first-hand what the services are like. If the administrator of programs for the blind is responsible to the head of a super-agency or directly to the Governor, he is not really responsible to anyone, for these persons are not knowledgeable and are extremely busy with other matters. Thus, a commission for the blind would seem best suited to meet the requirements for a good program of state services for the blind.

It should be noted that both South Carolina and Massachusetts established their Commissions in 1966, and that Idaho did so in 1967. In each of these cases, services for the blind were extracted from a larger department. It should also be noted that a great number of other States are now in the process of considering similar action, with the active encouragement of the National Federation of the Blind.

Perhaps nowhere in the country are the advantages of a separate agency for services for the blind so dramatically demonstrated as in Iowa. The Iowa Commission for the Blind has set new and impressive records for eleven consecutive years in vocational rehabilitation and other special services for the blind. If Hawaii is to forge ahead in this important area, it will require the creation of the Hawaii Commission for the Blind. It is important to stress that full Federal financial participation, to the maximum extent possible, is being received for those services for the blind in that growing number of States having separate commissions for the blind.

IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE LEGISLATURE CREATE THE HAWAII COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND AND TRANSFER TO THIS NEW AGENCY THE ADMINISTRATION OF ALL STATE SERVICES FOR THE BLIND, INCLUDING AID TO THE BLIND.

Back to Contents