Braille Monitor                                                                                January 1986



What Was That Clicking
and Clacking Anyway?

by Fred J. Wurtzel

(This article appeared in the Summer, 1985, News from Blind Nebraskans, the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska. It underscores the increasing emphasis which the National Federation of the Blind is giving to involvement of the deaf-blind in our movement.)

If you were at our national convention and if you happened to the back of the hall for one reason or another, you probably heard some unusual clicking and clacking sounds. You may be wondering what that noise was. It was the sound of Teletouch machines translating or, more properly stated, interpreting the convention to some of our deaf-blind members.

We have a national committee concerned with issues of deaf-blindness. One of the things the Committee did at this year's convention was to put on a class to teach finger spelling, a form of sign language useful in communicating with most any deaf person, including deaf blind people. The Committee also acted to form a national NFB network to reach out to deaf-blind people and involve them in NFB chapters wherever they live throughout the country. By next year's convention, it is hoped that every state will have a coordinator for this purpose.

You might ask how we, here in Nebraska, can involve deaf-blind people in our local chapters. It is rather simple, only requiring the will to do so and some deaf-blind people to join. There are deaf-blind people all across Nebraska. So all that is left is for us to put forth the effort.

Anyone who can use a Braillewriter or a typewriter can use a Teletouch to interpret. Finger spelling can be learned in a very short time. I know. I learned at the workshop at the convention and was able to communicate! I admit that I still have a long way to go to be very fast; but nevertheless, I can do it. It is my goal to have someone in each chapter here in Nebraska willing to learn the skills and do the work to find deaf-blind people who are interested in the NFB.