The Braille Monitor

Vol. 35, No. 11                                                                                    December 1992

Barbara Pierce, Editor

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The National Federation of the Blind
Marc Maurer, President

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THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND IS NOT AN ORGANIZATION
SPEAKING FOR THE BLIND--IT IS THE BLIND SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES

ISSN 0006-8829


Contents


Vol. 35, No. 11                                                                              December 1992 

 

REHABILITATION ACT REAUTHORIZED: VICTORY FOR THE BLIND

COMING TO GRIPS WITH BLINDNESS:
A MOTHER TALKS TO MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

by Loretta White

FURTHER LOSSES FOR NAC
A YEAR-END STATUS REPORT

by Barbara Pierce

HONOR ROLL UPDATE

ROLL CALL OF SHAME

WINNING OUR FREEDOM: VIEWS FROM THE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS

THE BIOGRAPHY OF THEODORE PAUL LUBITZ
by Theodore Lubitz

A CHRISTMAS STORY FOR ALL SEASONS
by Donald Capps

CONTINUING THE STORY
by Scott LaBarre

THE 1993 BLIND EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD
by Stephen O. Benson

DISTINGUISHED EDUCATOR OF BLIND CHILDREN AWARD FOR 1993
by Sharon Maneki

FEDERATIONISTS JOIN IN ADA LAWSUIT TO BLOCK MEDICAID CUTS
by Greg D. Trapp

BLIND NO LONGER INCOMPETENT IN OKLAHOMA

SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SUN
by Elizabeth Browne

CONVENTION 1993: TEXAS BECKONS

RECIPES

MONITOR MINIATURES

Copyright National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1992

 

 

REHABILITATION ACT REAUTHORIZED:
VICTORY FOR THE BLIND

by Kenneth Jernigan

On Monday, October 5, 1992, the United States Senate passed the bill reauthorizing the federal Rehabilitation Act. The House had passed it on the previous Friday. At the time of this writing (October 12) I don't know whether the President has signed the bill or not, but in the circumstances this is only a formality. The planning, waiting, and maneuvering are over. The deed is done.

Since the Rehabilitation Act involves some $2 billion in federal money, along with a considerable amount of state and other funds, and since we now have the law that will govern the program for the next five years (a law which will have tremendous impact on the lives of the blind), we should look at it to see how we fared. Did we win or lose, make progress or go backward? If we had to sum it up in a single statement, the answer would be that we won an overwhelming victory.

Specifically there are five areas which should be singled out for comment. The first of these, of course, is the National Commission on Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired. This proposal, which originated with some of the agencies doing work with the blind and which was generally referred to as the Study Commission on Blindness, became the focal point of a major battle.

When the Study Commission first seriously came to our attention a year ago in January of 1991, we attempted to find a compromise that all of the principal groups in the blindness field could accept. A meeting was held at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore, and after several hours of give and take, a draft proposal was unanimously agreed to. It was then rejected by one or two organizations, and the next thing we heard, the original unacceptable bill was publicly being pushed in the Congress--and we were not even given the courtesy of being told that the negotiations were over.

This bill would have established a fifteen-member commission--five to be appointed by the Senate, five by the House, and five by the President. The purpose of the Commission would have been to study all aspects of work with the blind (education, rehabilitation, and the rest) and then to report back to Congress and the President. It was clear that although the members of the Commission would technically be appointed by Congress and the President, they would in reality be largely appointed and controlled by a rather narrow group of the professionals in the field. They were required to be persons who were recognized as having expertise in education and/or rehabilitation of the blind, and only one-third of them were required to be either blind or parents or guardians of a blind person. Even then, this minority group of the blind and their parents and guardians was not excluded from the requirement of being recognized as having expertise. The bill did not say who would determine what constituted expertise, but no great skill is needed to make a very good educated guess. The consumers (and particularly the organized blind) were being dealt out.

If the bill had been passed as written, the cause of consumerism would have taken a heavy blow. The Commission would have, in a very real sense, served as a buffer between Congress and the organized blind, between the Executive Branch and the organized blind, and even between Congress and the Executive. Every time we would have gone to Congress to support or oppose a particular piece of legislation, there is a good likelihood that the recommendations of the Study Commission would have been trotted out as an excuse for acting or failing to act. Moreover, the concept and make-up of the Study Commission did not accord with current realities or the present balances in the blindness field. In short, it was unacceptable, and we determined to kill it.

The National Federation of the Blind did not willingly choose to make the Study Commission a test of political strength in the Congress, but that is exactly what it became. We were openly told by one person that we would be taught a lesson (which indeed we were, but not the one intended), and it was publicly stated during the House committee meeting in July that the National Federation of the Blind stood alone in opposing the Study Commission. At the conclusion of that committee meeting we lost by a vote of twenty-one to seventeen. This was not bad in view of the fact that the committee chairman, the subcommittee chairman, and the ranking minority member of the committee were all opposed to us and in favor of the bill--but a loss is still a loss.

As we assessed our situation in July, it was clear that we had to work to win in the Senate and to change enough minds to win in the House-Senate conference that would follow. From July until the final Senate vote in October, the Federation communicated, educated, and corresponded. We prevailed in the Senate, and we changed enough minds in the House to prevail in the conference committee, underscoring what I said at our National Convention this summer about the shifting balances in the blindness field.

We did not, of course, accomplish the task alone. The Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), the federal Department of Education, many of the state and local groups affiliated with the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), and various other national and state organizations joined with us-- but the driving force and the coordinating effort were ours. And all who were involved know it--those who supported us, those in Congress, those in the Executive Branch, and those who opposed us. In such a situation, when the line is drawn, there can be no partial success or failure. Either you win, or you don't. We did- -and the implications are unmistakable for those who have the ability to perceive and the willingness to understand.

But a postscript must be added. Unless all of us (and I do mean all) learn from this experience, everybody connected with the blindness field loses in the long run. Opportunities were missed because of this battle, and the price may be heavy. One of the great dangers to the blindness field is the growing trend to eliminate specialized, disability-specific services in favor of generic programs, which lump all of the various disabilities together in a Mulligan stew of mediocrity. In the formative stages of the bill to reauthorize the Rehabilitation Act, important gains might have been made that were never even mentioned or attempted.

That in no way detracts from the very real gains which the blind as a group and we as an organization made, but before leaving the subject of commissions, I need to comment on one other item. Not only was the Study Commission on Blindness considered but also a commission to study the overall Rehabilitation Act and make recommendations to Congress and the President. In accordance with our agreement with the state administrators of vocational rehabilitation we opposed this second commission, but everybody knew where our central focus and real concern were. The proposal to establish this second commission (I believe it is called the National Commission on Rehabilitation Services) was adopted. This was in another section of the bill entirely and has nothing at all to do with the Study Commission on Blindness. The National Commission on Rehabilitation Services will be an eighteen-member body, and a majority of its members must be persons with disabilities. The majority and minority leaders of the Senate will appoint six of the members; the majority and minority leaders of the House will appoint six; and the President (or the Secretary of Education for him) will appoint six. The members will select the chairman, and the commission will study all manner of things dealing with rehabilitation, making a final report to the President and the Congress no later than January 30, 1997, the year in which the Rehabilitation Act comes up again for reauthorization.

Now that we have finished with commissions, let me turn to more important things. Let me deal with the truly significant gains we made in the reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act. There are major changes with respect to client choice. To begin with, there will be a variety of pilot projects to test different options for letting clients choose their own service providers. This initiative (and it is a positive one) was introduced and spearheaded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration and Nell Carney. It has long-term implications for improved service and holds great promise.

Of more immediate importance to the blind, however, is the amendment concerning choice introduced by Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana. Those of you who attended our New Orleans convention in 1991 will remember that Congressman Jefferson stood on our platform and told us that he would help us get the Rehabilitation Act amended to provide that blind persons might choose the agencies from which they would receive training or service. He was as good as his word, and our amendments were adopted. As the bill passed, all clients should have increased opportunities for choice. The Secretary of Education is required to receive public comment within 120 days and then to make regulations establishing criteria pertaining to selection of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, as well as the procurement of such services directly by clients. The details of this client choice provision are yet to be worked out since they will only come in the regulations, but the law definitely provides for client choice. This point is made and reinforced several times in the amendments--and there is no question as to who proposed it and successfully fought for its adoption.

There are also big changes in eligibility for rehabilitation. As you know, many rehabilitation agencies sometimes deny services to blind persons who are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance. They do this for a variety of reasons. A blind person may, for instance, have once held a job and then have lost it. The agency may then say that the person has no handicap to employment since he or she has demonstrated the ability to work by already holding a job. This makes no sense, and so we successfully set about trying to change it.

Under the amendments that were included in the reauthorization, a person who, by reason of blindness or disability, is eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance or SSI is almost automatically eligible for rehabilitation. The language is so written that it would be virtually impossible for an agency to deny eligibility to a blind person as long as that person is also eligible for disability insurance or SSI. Because of the special provisions for eligibility of blind persons under Social Security, this new rehabilitation provision should mean that even upward mobility services (that is, services beyond entry-level employment) must now be provided. This is a major positive change, and one for which we are primarily responsible.

I cannot leave this year's reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act without saying a few words concerning independent living services for older blind persons--or, as it came to be widely discussed during the battle, Title VII C. (Incidentally, VII C has now come to be officially known as Title VII Chapter 2, "Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind.") Undoubtedly all parties will claim that they won a victory in what happened regarding VII C, but certain facts are indisputable. The amended Act provides that the current grant program for independent living services to the older blind will continue unchanged until at least 1994. In that year the program could be expanded so that these services for the older blind will be available in all of the states on a formula grant, with each state getting a share of the federal money. The 1994 expansion will not occur, however, if the Congress fails to appropriate at least $13 million for the program. If appropriations are less than that amount, the present program, which does not include all states and is on an application basis, will continue. Currently the appropriation is $6.5 million. It would have to double in order for the formula grant program to go into effect.

At our 1992 convention in Charlotte I publicly told Carl Augusto, president of the American Foundation for the Blind, that I thought the forces that were pushing the Study Commission on Blindness were jeopardizing the expansion of VII C. He was leaving our convention to go to the AER convention, and we asked him to urge AER to join with us in defeating the Commission and getting VII C amended. That week I also called Dr. William Weiner, the then AER president, to give him the same message. I told Dr. Weiner that the Study Commission had no chance of passage and that all that would be accomplished by continuing to fight for it would be to damage the chances of VII C. However, AER and the others who supported the Commission would not be persuaded, leaving us where we now are. The Study Commission was defeated, and there is a strong likelihood that the expanded formula grant program for Title VII C will never go into effect. In fact, more than one influential senator has told us that this is exactly what is contemplated. In the present climate of opposition to disability-specific programs, it will be very difficult to get added money to put into effect the expanded version of VII C which its proponents wanted, especially when it would mean doubling the present appropriation in a time when major deficits not only exist but can also be used as the reason (or excuse) for not doing it. If all of the forces in the blindness field could have worked together on the reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act, there is every likelihood that VII C would have been made into a formula grant program, would have gone into effect immediately, and would by now have been on the road to appropriate funding--but that is not what happened. The only positive thing that can be said about it is that perhaps we can profit from the experience and avoid a recurrence.

Meanwhile, nothing can diminish or take away from the tremendous gains which we made in this year's reauthorization. It means better lives for blind people, and it also confirms the growing strength of our organization. In concluding these comments perhaps I can do no better than to repeat something I said at this year's convention in Charlotte. What does the new reality mean for the National Federation of the Blind? Well, for one thing, it means that we must be careful not to get too big for our pants. We may be (and I think we unquestionably are) the strongest force in the affairs of the blind in this country today--but we are not the only force. There are others, and their views must be taken into account. If we make the mistakes of some of those who were leaders in the blindness field in the past, if we fail to reach out in cooperative goodwill, our momentum will slow. Our progress will stop. We do not want to boss or lord it over others. We know what that feels like. We have been treated that way too often ourselves to want to do it to anybody else.

That is what I said at Charlotte, but there is a corollary which should also be added. While we don't want to be too big for our pants, we don't want to be too little for them either. With maturity and decisiveness (dealing appropriately with those who will work with us, and also with those who won't) we must play the role that our strength, our position, and our resources now fit us to play--and we must do it with care for the present and thought for the future.

 

COMING TO GRIPS WITH BLINDNESS: A MOTHER TALKS TO MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

by Loretta White

From the Associate Editor: Coming to terms with the fact that one's child is blind is, according to those who have undergone the experience, one of the most difficult challenges a parent can face. Yet, if the blind youngster is to grow up well- adjusted and capable, it is essential that those who care most deeply for him or her move past their anger, grief, and frustration in order to have enough energy for helping the child. The medical personnel who work with the family can help in this process, or they can compound the suffering.

The following article provides wise advice to medical professionals from a mother who is an experienced recipient of both bad and good medical support. It was first published in the Spring, 1992, issue of Future Reflections, the quarterly magazine of the Parents of Blind Children Division of the National Federation of the Blind. It begins with an introductory note written by Barbara Cheadle, Editor of the publication. Here it is:

Loretta White is the capable and energetic president of Maryland's NFB Parents of Blind Children Division. Her leadership and organizational ability are giving the division new zest and sparkle. This past fall she and I, as representatives of the NFB of Maryland, were invited to conduct an in-service training session for nurses who work with children and babies at the internationally known Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. This article is an edited version of the talk she gave at that in-service meeting. Loretta also was invited to speak at the Ninth Annual Symposium for Ophthalmological Nurses held in Baltimore last spring. Here is what Loretta White said at Wilmer:

My name is Loretta White, and I live in Anne Arundel County with my husband and four children. Their ages are sixteen, six, almost five, and almost three. I am also a licensed day care provider, so most of my time is spent with and around children.

My daughter Niki will be five in November. Niki has been totally blind since birth. It's most likely due to retinopathy of prematurity, but since she was adopted from India, we don't know for sure. Her prenatal history is unknown, and the postnatal is sketchy at best. She also has some neurological problems that include a seizure disorder.

I'm here today to talk to you about Niki and our experiences. I hope I can help you better understand how to deal with parents who have a blind child. And if you have any questions you've never had the opportunity to ask parents or felt comfortable asking, please feel free to ask me.

I have done a lot of reading and talking to other parents of blind children. I find that the problems and difficulties and things that we have had a hard time coming to grips with are pretty much the same. I have also learned that the sooner we, as parents, can pull ourselves together and start constructively dealing with our children's blindness, the better off our children will be. Early intervention is crucial--and the earlier the better.

The first thing we parents face is being told that our child has a vision problem. We may have suspected it or even known it, but being told by the medical professionals seals it. And that moment, for better or for worse, will be permanently etched into the parent's brain.

In our case, Niki came home from India when she was five months old. We took her to a pediatrician for a check-up a couple of days after we got her. He told us that her eyes didn't look quite right, so he wanted us to have her checked by an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist he sent us to didn't do children, so all he did was take a quick look and tell us that, yes, she has cataracts; he then referred us to a pediatric ophthalmologist in Harrisburg. (At that time we were living in Pennsylvania.) So I took Niki to the appointment by myself while my husband watched the other children. I was expecting to have her seen and then scheduled for cataract surgery. I spent the entire day there.

The doctor had a wonderful reputation, but I quickly found out in the waiting room that he had the bedside manner of Attila the Hun. So I was pretty nervous to begin with. Once the technicians had examined her eyes, done their tests with the drops, and completed the sonograms and what not, the doctor came in and quickly looked at her eyes. Then, with the same demeanor one might use to comment on the weather, he told me that my daughter's blindness was total and permanent. I'm sure he must have read the look on my face and realized that I had not known. Then he added, "Well, it's not that bad. It's like a Hershey bar. If you've never eaten chocolate before, you wouldn't miss it because you can't miss what you never had." Then, after a couple of minutes of very uncomfortable silence, he gave me the name of a doctor who might try some heroic surgery, wished me luck, and left the room. I never saw that doctor again.

Somehow I collected myself and my baby and made the hour and a half drive back to my home. It took me a long time to forgive his brutal honesty, but I will never forget it. On that afternoon I would really have appreciated some compassion. Also I did not appreciate the belittling of my child's condition. Things could always be worse, but so what? Right now they feel awful, and any parent who has just been dealt such a blow is entitled to some recognition of that pain.

As I was preparing for today, I asked myself what would have made that moment easier? First, I would ask you, the medical professionals, to find out how much parents know about their child's vision problem. Explain the tests, procedures, and results in terms they can understand. Often we are told about the tests in medical jargon. In the beginning we may not understand enough of this terminology to know whether we have questions or not. Also, whenever possible, tell both parents together so they will have each other to lean on. Use some compassion and respect in choosing your words. I read about a survey that was done to find out which medical problems Americans fear most. Going blind was third. We considered only AIDS and cancer to be more devastating.

Some parents may need quiet time alone to collect themselves before leaving. Be sensitive to that, but please don't let them get away without referrals. Have literature available, at least some information from the National Federation of the Blind as an anchor to help them get their bearings and figure out what is next. They don't have to think about it or look at it at that moment, but they will need it soon.

There are a lot of emotions brewing at such a moment. We may be angry, and that anger may be directed at you simply because you are the bearer of the bad news or because you cannot fix it or make it go away. Or we may deny the problem. We may think that you've made a mistake--our child can't be blind. We may go from doctor to doctor trying to find someone who will tell us it isn't true or that it will pass or that some heroic surgery will fix it. We desperately want the magical cure which will restore our child's sight.

In our case, we went through the anger at the doctors and also at the adoption agency who had placed her. From what we were later told, anyone who examined her should have seen the detached retina and scar tissue mass. And yet we had paperwork that said she had an ophthalmologic evaluation and that her eyes were in good condition. Knowing probably wouldn't have changed our minds about her, but we certainly could have been prepared and avoided the shock.

We also tried the heroic surgery. We took her to a doctor in Tennessee who had had some success at reattaching retinas. We put ourselves in debt mustering up the finances to make three trips to Tennessee (two for surgeries and one for a check-up). We did all this knowing initially that her chances of regaining any usable sight were less than ten percent. But at that time we were so frightened of blindness we were willing to try almost anything.

After, or maybe along with, the anger and denial, most of us will then go through a grieving process. It is as if our child had actually died. We have lost that perfect child we had planned for and hoped for and longed for, and in a sense what we feel we have left is a broken child. Our lives are permanently impacted and forever changed--not only our lives as parents, but the lives of our other children, and (to a lesser degree) the extended family. Things will never be the same again.

Some parents become angry at each other, one wanting to blame the other for being responsible for the child's blindness or for not caring enough or for caring too much. Sometimes we parents may feel sorry--sorry for ourselves because we have this tremendous burden and sorry for our child because she has to endure it. Sometimes it's hard to get past that feeling of "my poor, poor baby." But for our child's sake, we must.

We hope these stages won't last very long, and parents won't get stuck in any of them. But these are feelings we have, and we need to deal with them so we can move on and constructively meet our child's needs. That may leave us feeling, "oh my gosh, what now?" This is because we are now forced to deal not only with our own child, but with our feelings toward blindness in general.

Before Niki came into my life, I had virtually no experience with blindness. The only blind person I had ever known was Tammy, who lived across the street from my family for a short while when I was six. I can still see this eight-year-old girl in my mind. All she ever did was sit and rock, sometimes poking at her eyes. Her speech consisted mostly of repetitions of what she had just heard. She never played with the other kids or even went to school. She just sat and rocked. As you can imagine, that memory haunted me for a while after we found out Niki was blind.

If the only experience you've had with blindness is seeing a man begging on a city street, you're hardly going to feel excited about your child's future. And if the parent doesn't have a positive image of blindness, how can the child hope to develop a positive self-image?

As we begin to deal with blindness, we parents will be full of questions. We wonder what children with little or no sight are really like. Do they live in a world of darkness? Do they grow and develop like other children? Where do they go to school? Do blind people ever get married? How do they earn a living? Can they be happy? Can they live independently? What will happen to my child when I die?

We may feel overwhelmed when we think of the long years ahead in which we will have to cope with what seems to be an insurmountable number of problems involved in raising a visually impaired child. But the sooner we get to work, the better off we are, and the better off our children will be. So we need for you, the professionals, to get us steered in a positive direction from the very beginning. We need to know--and most parents do not--that there is an infants and toddlers program offered through the school system in Maryland and a number of other states at no charge. We need to know how and where to look for services for our child.

When we found out Niki was blind, we were given a diagnosis and left on our own. Perhaps referrals were made, but we never heard from anyone. So I began to look on my own. I got a copy of Reach Out and Teach, probably at the library, and found a list of sources for information on blindness, probably fifty or more. I made a form letter requesting information and sent it to every one. For the next few months I got back all kinds of letters, pamphlets, and books. These were really helpful, and I learned a lot from them. Then one day I got a phone call from Barbara Cheadle of the National Federation of the Blind. This was a turning point for me and for my daughter Niki.

Through the Federation I have met successful blind individuals from all walks of life and from all over the country. By observing and interacting with these people, I have been able to revise my perceptions of blindness. Reading about it in a book will teach you here in your head, but by living it, you learn it here in your heart. Children learn what they live. I want my child to know in her heart that she can be successful and independent because she has grown up watching successful and independent blind adults around her. Through education and interaction with the Federation, Niki can even take this for granted and think of her blindness as a mere nuisance, just as many other Federationists now do.

As Niki's parent, I have found the Federation to be my source of information through literature; interaction with blind people; and, very important, networking with other parents of blind children. Sharing what does and does not work has saved me lots of valuable time and energy.

The Federation has also been there to advocate for Niki at school. This is by no means a small task. It has been my experience that a child in special education can get all the services and benefits entitled by law, provided the parent can find out what they are and is willing to fight tooth and nail for them.

One last thing that I would ask is that, regardless of your perceptions of how or what we parents are doing, you always give us your encouragement. You see our child only from time to time. Teachers and schools may change. Friends may come and go. Three years from now you may not even remember our child's name. But we--the parents--will still be there working for and with our child. A pat on the back or an "atta girl" can go a long way.

And what about the kids themselves? How do we ask you to deal with them? Although our daughter is multiply handicapped, she is still very much the active, busy, noisy, drive-Mom-crazy preschooler. Niki can identify each of her doctors and their offices. Her pediatrician has the office with steps by the window full of toys. When she visits her neurologist, she goes up the elevator and gets to play with a bead toy while she waits. Her dentist has a chair that lies down like a couch, and so on.

Most of the time going to the doctor is O.K. for Niki because the people she sees have seen her over a long period of time and have learned a few do's and don'ts that make everybody more comfortable. First, always identify yourself when you come into the child's presence, and let her know when you are leaving. When someone comes into the room that Niki does not recognize, she asks over and over, "Who is it?" until she finds out.

Doctors and nurses who see Niki often have learned to talk directly to her whenever possible. "Niki, do you want a toy?" rather than asking me, "Do you think she'd like something to play with?" It also helps to let the child explore the environment as much as is safely possible and to use a lot of descriptive language that the child can understand. We may be embarrassed to let the child crawl all over and under anything and everything, but this is how she learns. Your permission lets us know you understand this truth.

Also tell the child what you are going to do before you do it, and be as honest as you can. If it's going to hurt, say so. A child who can see knows what to expect when he sees the needle or the eye drops, regardless of what he's told. We want our kids to trust us, so we have to be honest with them.

The last thing I would suggest is, please do not presume that any child needs help. Blind children are just like sighted children--they want to do it themselves! Wait until she asks for help or demonstrates a need before you offer help. You wouldn't presume to help a sighted six- or seven-year-old in the bathroom, so you probably wouldn't help a blind child that age either. If in doubt, ask.

And please remember to use the National Federation of the Blind as a resource for yourselves--the medical professionals--and for the parents whose blind children are your patients. We are here to help.

 

FURTHER LOSSES FOR NAC A YEAR-END STATUS REPORT

by Barbara Pierce

Everyone who follows matters in the blindness field knows that, since long before the actual creation of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC), the organized blind movement has warned, argued, and fought against this particular accrediting body and its approach to accreditation. We are as interested as the next person (and have a higher stake than most) in encouraging high- quality services from schools, rehabilitation agencies, and workshops that deal with blind people. But NAC (with its old-boy approach to accreditation, its consuming need to accept dues from any agency willing to pony up, and its resulting genius for looking the other way whenever its members' misconduct comes to light) has never in our view been a fit keeper of the excellence flame.

Since 1984, when it boasted its all-time high of one hundred four member agencies, NAC has been in an increasing decline. (See the articles "NAC at Twenty-five: A Look at the Numbers" in the January, 1991, Braille Monitor and "NAC in the Death Throes: The Passing of an Era" in the September, 1991, Braille Monitor.) The American Foundation for the Blind, which had spent almost ten million dollars in an effort to prop up NAC, and National Industries for the Blind, after pressure from its own members and federal officials, who questioned the legality of NIB's underwriting an accrediting body that evaluated some NIB member facilities, both withdrew their financial support of NAC and at one stroke drove the agency to the very brink of bankruptcy in May of 1991. In February of this year the National Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility recommended to the Secretary of Education that he limit the Department's inclusion of NAC on its list of approved accrediting bodies to two years--instead of the usual five--and that the Department staff keep very close fiscal tabs on NAC during the period. (See the April, 1992, issue of the Braille Monitor.) In mid-October, as this is being written, Secretary Alexander, who was supposed to have acted on this recommendation within one hundred twenty days, has not yet made a decision, which raises real questions about whether NAC will officially get even the two-year extension it has been counting on in order to shore up

The year 1991 with its near bankruptcy, radical down-sizing, and loss of seven members was certainly a very bad one for NAC, and 1992 is proving to be no better, despite NAC's assurances to the Advisory Committee on Accreditation in February that it would have no difficulty meeting the accrediting schedule it was facing--thirty-six agencies up for review. For reasons that are painfully obvious, NAC strongly resists answering inquiries about the details of this schedule. A number of NFB state presidents who have reason to believe that agencies in their areas are on the reaccreditation list for this year have written to Ruth Westman, NAC's Executive Director, to inquire when on-site review teams are due to make their visits so that consumers could participate in the process. Apparently Ms. Westman ignored the requests that came from states in which the agency in question has dropped its NAC accreditation. Other state presidents received letters that referred them to the agencies in question for the information being sought.

Semi-annually NAC produces a publication called the Standard Bearer, which includes a list of NAC's member agencies. By comparing these lists, one can gather the data that NAC avoids admitting directly.

Information Gleaned from the July, 1992, issue of the Standard Bearer

During the first half of 1992 eight agencies were reaccredited for periods from three to five years. The names listed here are the shortened forms that are familiarly used. Asterisks indicate agencies for which accreditation had already been postponed at least one year, and often several. The date following each name is the year in which the new accreditation will expire. The eight are:

Arkansas V.R. 1996 *
Lighthouse of Pasco & Hernando Counties (FL) 1995 *
Tampa Lighthouse 1997
Chicago Lighthouse 1997 *
Blind Association of Western New York 1997
Ed Lindsey Industries (TN) 1996 *
Utah School 1996 *
Lighthouse, Seattle (WA) 1997

Six agencies seem to have been deferred--that is, though the January list showed them as due for evaluation in 1992, the July list shows a date in 1993 or '94. Deferral is the most likely explanation for these data. Accreditation for less than three years is hardly worth the trouble, and all of the agencies on this list are organizations which NAC would hate to lose. It is likely that these folks have asked for a little more time to decide whether or not to jump ship, and NAC is happy to oblige them in the hope they will stay. The six agencies are:

Illinois Bureau of Rehabilitation Services for the Blind 1993
Vision Enrichment Services (MI) 1994
Royal Maid Association for the Blind (MS) 1993
Kansas City Association for the Blind (MO) 1993
Catholic Guild for the Blind (NY) 1993
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired 1993

The following sixteen agencies are still waiting for accreditation this year. One of them, the state vocational rehabilitation agency in Arizona, is of particular interest. By state law at least one person is to provide services to the blind and visually impaired, but earlier this year the incumbent, who was unpopular with blind Arizonans, was moved to another part of government; and the general vocational rehabilitation agency was given responsibility for serving blind clients. When state officials were asked who the service-provider for the blind mandated by law now was, the answer came back that it was still the man who had been transferred and that he was officially charged with training and evaluating service to blind citizens, even though he now has nothing to do with service delivery to blind people. This means that NAC is currently accrediting a program that has no substance--no case service budget, no service-delivery staff, and no clients. It will be interesting to see how NAC manages to reaccredit such a program. Here is the list of sixteen agencies still awaiting accreditation this year:

Arizona State Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired *
Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches (FL) *
Savannah Association for the Blind (GA)
Services for the Blind Branch (HI)
Maine Center for the Blind
Maine Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired *
Perkins School for the Blind (MA) *
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind (MS) *
Helen Keller Services for the Blind (NY)
The Lighthouse, Inc. (NY)
Aurora of Central New York, Inc.
Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NY)
North Dakota School for the Blind *
Lancaster Association for the Blind (PA)
Loaiza Cordero Institute for Blind Children (PR) *
Visually Impaired Persons Program, Milwaukee Area Technical College (WI)

There are six other agencies which appear on the January list and do not appear on the July one. One had a 1993 expiration date, and the other five were listed for reaccreditation in '92. They are:

Louisiana Association for the Blind *
The Lighthouse for the Blind (LA)
Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Greater Rochester (NY)
Ohio State School for the Blind *
Delaware County Branch, Pennsylvania Association for the Blind *
Lighthouse for the Blind of Houston (TX)

One other name appeared on the NAC list in July with a 1992 reaccreditation date, but it will not appear on the January, 1993, list. That was the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. Dr. Ralph Bartley, until recently the Superintendent of the Kansas State School for the Visually Handicapped, assumed his duties as the Superintendent of the Arizona institution on September 14 of this year. The letter he wrote to Ruth Westman in early October explains in a few words what happened. Here it is:

Tucson, Arizona
October 6, 1992

Ms. Ruth Westman
Executive Director
National Accreditation Council
New York, New York

Dear Ms. Westman:

This letter is to confirm our telephone conversation of October 6, 1992. The Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind Board of Directors unanimously voted on October 1, 1992 to opt out of accreditation by your organization. Effective immediately, please remove ASDB as a school accredited by your organization.

Please be assured that ASDB will continue to be accredited by state and regional organizations. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or write.

Sincerely,

Ralph E. Bartley
Superintendent
Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind

There you have Dr. Bartley's letter to NAC, and it brought to seven so far this year the number of agencies and schools which have decided to disassociate themselves from NAC. Last year NAC attempted to offset the impact of seven defections by ignoring the backlog of members due for periodic review and accrediting five facilities, mostly small, for the first time. This year, however, there are no new names on the NAC roster, and the exodus may well not yet be finished.

No status report on NAC would be complete without a look at the overall trends that this recent activity--or lack of it--in the blindness field represents. In the article, "NAC at Twenty- five" (Braille Monitor, January, 1991), Peggy Pinder calculated the percentages of schools for the blind, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, and sheltered workshops employing blind people that were accredited by NAC. Here are the same data recalculated to incorporate the most recent agency activity:

Of the seventy-one schools for the blind on the American Foundation for the Blind's complete list, twenty-three (32%) are currently accredited by NAC. Only thirty schools have ever sought NAC membership, which means that 23% of the thirty have had second thoughts and left.

Of the fifty-two state vocational rehabilitation agencies (one in each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico), only thirteen (25%) have ever affiliated with NAC, and only eight (15%) are currently on the NAC list. Moreover, 38% of the state vocational rehabilitation agencies that were ever accredited have now left the NAC fold. One third (twenty-six) of the eighty sheltered workshops employing blind people listed on the combined National Industries for the Blind and General Council of Workshops for the Blind rosters are currently accredited by NAC. Considering that NIB has offered for years to pay the costs of accreditation for any member workshop willing to associate itself with NAC, this number is surprisingly low. Half of the shops in this group of eighty have at one time or another been accredited by NAC, which means that 35% of them have now disaffiliated themselves from NAC.

These numbers are good news for those in the blindness field who recognize that the time has come to put the schism and discord engendered by NAC behind us. For the three people who work for the accrediting body and for the shrinking handful of those fighting to keep NAC functioning, it has been a hard year, and 1993 promises to be worse. Increasing portions of the country can boast a NAC-free environment. The following eighteen states have no NAC-accredited agencies: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming. Another seventeen states have only one NAC member. These are Alabama, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia.

In conclusion, one can say, a look at the accompanying map reveals that after twenty-five years of stormy weather, the NAC forecast is now for increasing clearing.

 

HONOR ROLL UPDATE

In the January, 1991, Braille Monitor we published the list of those agencies that had decided to leave the NAC fold. Happily, that list has expanded in the past two years. Here is the list of additional NAC members who have reconsidered their NAC affiliation and terminated it.

Virginia Department for the Visually Handicapped
New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School
In-Sight (RI)
Southwest Lighthouse for the Blind (TX)
MSB (MN)
Low Vision Services, St. Joseph's Hospital (AZ)
Louisiana Association for the Blind
The Lighthouse for the Blind (LA)
Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Greater Rochester (NY)
Ohio State School for the Blind
Delaware County Branch, Pennsylvania Association for the Blind
Houston Lighthouse for the Blind (TX)
Arizona Schools for the Deaf and the Blind

 

ROLL CALL OF SHAME

In January of 1991 we also printed the complete list of United States agencies that are currently members of NAC. The group has shrunk to eighty-nine. Some of them are seriously considering leaving NAC. We look forward to the next status report and the opportunity it will give to pay tribute to those agencies that will have joined the movement away from NAC in its death throes.

Alabama
Services for Blind and Visually Handicapped Children and Adults
of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Arizona
Arizona State Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Foundation for Blind Children
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Tucson Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Accreditation Expires: June, 1996

Arkansas
Lions World Services for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1994

Arkansas School for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Division of Services for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1996

California
Lions Blind Center
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Sacramento Society for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Center for the Partially Sighted
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Florida
Conklin Center for Multihandicapped Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1996

Broward Center for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1994

Florida Association of Workers for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Lighthouse for the Blind of Pasco and Hernando, Inc.
Accreditation Expires: December, 1995

Visually Impaired Persons Center
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

School for the Blind, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Division of Blind Services
Accreditation Expires: December, 1994

Independence for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1997

Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Georgia
Center for the Visually Impaired
Accreditation Expires: December, 1996

Georgia Industries for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Savannah Association for the Blind
Accreditation expires: December, 1992

Georgia Academy for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Blind & Low Vision Services of North Georgia
Accreditation Expires: December, 1994

Hawaii
Services for the Blind Branch
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Illinois
The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually
Impaired
Accreditation Expires: December, 1996

Philip J. Rock Center & School
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

Illinois Bureau of Rehabilitation Services for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Illinois School for the Visually Impaired
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Deicke Center for Visual Rehabilitation
Accreditation Expires: December, 1996

Indiana
Indiana School for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1995

Macy's Vision Rehabilitation Institute
Accreditation Expires: December, 1995

Kansas
Wichita Industries and Services for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Maine
Division for the Blind & Visually Impaired
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Maine Center for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Maryland
Maryland School for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1996

Massachusetts
Perkins School for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Michigan
Greater Detroit Society for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1996

Visually Impaired Center, Inc.
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Vision Enrichment Services
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

Minnesota
Duluth Lighthouse for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Mississippi
Royal Maid Association for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Mississippi School for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Division Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Rehabilitation Services for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Missouri
Kansas City Association for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

New Hampshire
New Hampshire Association for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

New Jersey
St. Joseph's School for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

New Mexico
New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped
Accreditation Expires: December, 1994

New York
Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany
Accreditation Expires: June, 1996

Programs for the Visually Impaired
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

Helen Keller Services for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Blind Association of Western New York
Accreditation Expires: June, 1997

Catholic Guild for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Jewish Guild for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

The Lighthouse, Inc.
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Rockland County Association for the Visually Impaired
Accreditation Expires: June, 1995

Aurora of Central New York, Inc.
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992

Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Guiding Eyes for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

North Dakota
North Dakota School for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Ohio
Cincinnati Association for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1995

The Clovernook Center Opportunities for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1996

Vision Center of Central Ohio
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

The Sight Center
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Oklahoma
Parkview School
Accreditation Expires: December, 1996

Visual Services Unit
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Oklahoma League for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Pennsylvania
Lancaster Association for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center
Accreditation Expires: December, 1994

Pittsburgh Blind Association
Accreditation Expires: June, 1996

York County Blind Center
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

Puerto Rico
Loaiza Cordero Institute for Blind Children
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

South Dakota
South Dakota School for the Visually Handicapped
Accreditation Expires: December, 1994

Tennessee
Tennessee School for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1996

The Alliance for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

Volunteer Blind Industries
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Ed Lindsey Industries for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1996

Texas
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1996

Utah
Utah School for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1996

Washington
Lighthouse for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: June, 1997

Community Services for the Blind & Partially Sighted
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

West Virginia
West Virginia School for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1996

Wisconsin
Industries for the Blind
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Wisconsin School for the Visually Handicapped
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Visually Impaired Persons Program
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

 

WINNING OUR FREEDOM:
VIEWS FROM THE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS

From the Associate Editor: One of the most exciting aspects of the recent growth of the National Association of Blind Students, the student division of the National Federation of the Blind, is the increase in the number of students around the country who understand the importance of fighting for their personal freedom as blind people, protecting their individual rights, and insisting upon carrying out their responsibilities. Members of the general public are all too eager to dismiss blind people as incompetent, neurotic, and unable to compete. Resisting these notions is an on-going task for everyone dedicated to the

Increasingly, today's students are demonstrating their ability to enter this struggle for justice and equality. They bring energy, exuberance, and intelligence to the battle, and their presence is joyfully welcomed by us all. The following are two letters written by students. In very different ways they demonstrate the capacity and insight of the fourth generation. Brian Buhrow is the vice president of the California Association of Blind Students. He spent a semester of his junior year studying at the University of Leeds in England. In March of 1991 he wrote a letter to Michael Baillif, then president of the National Association of Blind Students, describing his adventures and cataloging his impressions of life as a blind student in the United Kingdom. This letter appeared in the Spring, 1992, edition of The Student Slate, the student division's publication. Here it is:

Leeds, England
March 9, 1991

Dear Michael:

When I first arrived in England, I was enchanted by the prospect of experiencing the sights and sounds of London and the entire European culture. I was thrilled by the prospect of going to school with my betters and absorbing from their vast pool of knowledge. I didn't know what to expect, but I expected great things. Alas, one must always remember that towering expectations are bound to be disappointed.

Untroubled by the coming crash, I attacked London with a vengeance. I spent the first three days with the rest of my University of California contemporaries catching up on sleep, gaping at all of the old buildings which surrounded us, stopping in every pub we passed just for the novelty of it, and trying to remember to look right first when crossing the road. We also discovered the joys of the tube. In short, we were tourists of the most ignorant kind.

Soon, however, my experiences began to differ from those of my friends. I noticed that, whenever I walked alone, I couldn't take five steps without being asked if I needed help. In addition, whenever I did inquire for information, the recipient of my inquiries would insist on escorting me personally to my goal or turn me over to someone else with the assurance that he or she would escort me to the desired location. Sometimes this was genuinely useful, but most of the time it was an annoyance because I knew where I was.

When I traveled to Leeds, I thought that things might improve. Unfortunately, they didn't. Now, not only did I have to deal with people on the street, I had to cope with professors and students who didn't know what to do with me. Lecturers didn't want to tax my capabilities, and they continually told me how amazed they were that I was able to function as well as I did. I thanked them but said that I was doing nothing extraordinary and hoped that they would come to believe me.

Rather than allowing these inappropriate affirmations of my ability to waft away into the ether, I began to try to determine the philosophy of blindness on campus. I discovered soon enough that the existing philosophy was one of custodialism based on ignorance. While no one bore me any personal ill will, most people, not knowing how to deal with blindness, preferred to have as little to do with me as they could--leaving me, as they supposed, to the proper authorities. Thus I discovered the frustration of trying to make a point, only to have it ignored on the ground that "I don't deal with those issues." This is a frustration which many long-time NFB members must be all too familiar with and which most blind people here in England know well.

Curious to know how other blind people functioned in this oppressive environment, I became friends with the workers at the Leeds University Brailling service. What I discovered disappointed me greatly. Most of the blind people I learned of were either in low-paying protected jobs headed by some government agency (most often the Royal National Institute for the Blind), or they were professors who had lost their sight after attaining their positions. What was more disappointing was that those blind people in high positions seemed to be so lacking in a positive philosophy of blindness that they reminded me more of puppets than of independent people. Those that seemed to have some idea that they were being oppressed spent so much of their time engaged in personal rebellion that they didn't have time to develop a constructive philosophy. Sadly, there were also some blind people who, because of a lack of training, were totally dependent on sighted assistance. With so much misinformation circulating in an ignorant community, it was no wonder I was encountering amazement.

Thus in the space of a few short months I learned, better than I ever could have done at home, why the NFB exists and why its members stand by it through thick and thin. Dr. Jacobus tenBroek and his fellow delegates at the 1940 convention realized that the only way for the blind to succeed in the United States was for them to develop skills, and in order to have skills blind people had to have training. Finally and most important, they realized that in order to have effective training, they had to write a lesson book and a plan of action. They therefore evolved the philosophy of independence, which has driven our organization ever since. They understood that their philosophy of equality was the foundation; and, if they built on that, training, skills, and independence would follow. Today the NFB is a going concern because that philosophy is sound and has proven itself and because the alternatives are terribly unpleasant to contemplate.

There is a saying that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. It may be true, but the horse will drink if he is thirsty enough. So it is with people. We cannot force others to adopt our philosophy. We can, however, continue to offer that philosophy to people as well as the proof that the philosophy works and be pretty confident that, when they are thirsty enough, they will drink and drink and drink.

Sincerely yours,
Brian Buhrow

There you have a letter from a student struggling with the effects of a society in which blind people have not been equal to the task of demanding and assuming the responsibilities of freedom. There is always a cost to be paid in obtaining and maintaining such freedom, and today's students are demonstrating their willingness to work and sacrifice when necessary for their independence.

Geoffrey Courtney is a law student at the University of Texas. He was a 1990 NFB scholarship winner, and in addition to his award that year, he took home the Federation philosophy of normality and independence. When he sees encroachment on the right of blind students to be treated like their peers, he is prepared to do battle. Here is the letter he wrote to the Vice President for Student Affairs after, having been named to the University President's Committee on Disabled Students, he read the handbook prepared by the University of Texas for the use of its faculty and staff in dealing with disabled students:

James W. Vick, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
University of Texas at Austin

Mr. Vice President:

I have recently received a copy of Students with Disabilities, A Guide for Faculty and Staff from Gage Paine of the Dean of Students office. As a blind first-year law student, I was quite interested to see what guidance this booklet offered in negotiating the relationship between a disabled student and a faculty or staff member. Much to my shock, I have found the guide not to offer help, but to perpetuate the misconceptions which are at the heart of discrimination. Because I am sure that this was not the purpose of this guide, I have taken the liberty to write to you and express a few of my concerns.

It is important to begin by saying that I do not doubt that the University of Texas at Austin has made great strides in recent years toward making sure that no one is denied educational opportunity because of a disability. Certainly, the university has done much to reduce the physical and procedural barriers that often prevented a disabled student from realizing her or his potential. Yet the attitudinal barriers still remain. It is distressing that this guide should encourage these sorts of barriers and thereby support a very real form of prejudice.

When taken as a whole, this guide clearly gives the impression that the disabled student is mentally very different from the average student. In terms of academic ability, the guide concedes, "all students with disabilities at the University of Texas at Austin have been admitted through the same admissions process as other students." (p. 2) However, the academic comparison between the disabled student and other students ends with this hollow statement. This is unfortunate. In an age in which many people still believe that disability is synonymous with inability, it would be helpful if the office charged with advocacy for disabled students reminded faculty and staff that disabled students display academic achievement as diverse as any other group of students. Merely stating that disabled students are admitted through the same process does not affirm a belief in academic equality with other students. The guide missed an opportunity to destroy the belief that disabled students represent low academic standards; it allowed an old prejudice to survive.

If this were the only problem with this guide, perhaps it could be forgiven. The guide, however, engages in a characterization of the emotional capacity of disabled students that is, at the very least, prejudicial and untrue and, at worst, offensive and discriminatory. I was surprised to see this poor characterization when the guide itself states, "The attitudes of students with disabilities about themselves and the college experience vary according to the individual student." (p. 3) This is as true for the disabled student as it is for others. But the guide does not stop with this assessment. It goes on to classify disabled students in two groups, those born with a disability and those who were traumatically injured. (p. 4) The first group of students has likely accepted their disabilities and learned the accommodations they need to make to be successful in the world. However, some of these students may have spent their formative years in medical settings or other sheltered environments. Thus, working with faculty and staff who are unfamiliar with individuals with disabilities may be difficult for them. Apart from being an inaccurate account of the life of an individual born with a disability, this statement clearly gives the impression that the life-long disabled student is a frail, unsocial creature that requires the greatest measure of care and attention; these passive students, although well-adapted, require extra compassion. Nothing could be further from the truth. These are University of Texas students, nothing more, nothing less. They are as frail and as strong as any other group of students.

Whereas the guide portrays the life-long disabled student as frail and unassuming, the traumatically injured is portrayed as a pressure cooker of resentment, moments away from catastrophic explosion. The student who has been traumatically injured has a different set of problems. These students may be angry, embarrassed, confused; perhaps they are still grieving the loss of a way of life. Again, this is a prejudicial characterization from the office charged with advocacy for disabled students.

It is clear that these characterizations have no place in this guide. Certainly, the University would not think to characterize African-Americans by whether they grew up in the inner city or in the suburbs or women by their preferred use of cosmetics. Uninformed prejudicial statements could be made in all of these cases; however, in doing so one dismisses the truth and opens the door to discrimination.

Frighteningly, it appears that the drafters of this guide actually believe the characterizations contained in it. Once again, the Counseling and Mental Health Center figures prominently in the list of campus agencies and resources for students with disabilities. (p. 7) I fully understand the importance of the Counseling and Mental Health Center to life at the University. I do not understand why it should be emphasized in literature about students with disabilities. Disabled students are no more in need of the Counseling and Mental Health Center than are the other students, the staff, the faculty, and the administration. Disabled students are as emotionally diverse as all other segments of society; to imply otherwise is prejudice.

Finally, the guide leaves me wondering if the drafters actually believe discrimination against individuals with disabilities exists. The guide states, "many believe that they are subject to discrimination based solely on an unalterable fact--in this case, their disabling condition." (p.2) This statement all too casually dismisses the fundamental issue for anyone concerned with discrimination on the basis of disability. The truth is that discrimination on the basis of a disabling condition is not a matter of belief, but a matter of fact. To see this discrimination, one need only sit with me in an exit row of an airplane, take time to consider the unemployment figures for disabled Americans, or reread this guide. Unless the guide begins with the proposition that discrimination exists, it can never hope to voice advocacy for students with disabilities.

Given the fact that this guide, from the Services for Students with Disabilities, is no service to students with disabilities, I must request that your office do all that is within its power to prevent the dissemination of Students with Disabilities, A Guide for Faculty and Staff. I offer to be of any help I can in drafting a new guide to negotiating the relationship between the disabled student and faculty and staff members. It is my sincere hope that this new guide may, in place of prejudice, provide the understanding that is necessary to build a strong institution.

I look forward to hearing from you. If I can be of any assistance, please ask.

Cordially,
G.N. Courtney
President's Committee on Students with Disabilities
Field Representative, National Federation of the Blind
Law School Class of 1994

As we move toward a new century, there is no chance that the problems of discrimination are behind us. As long as we are a minority in society, people will have to be educated about the abilities of blind people and our capacity to work and contribute in our communities on terms of equality. But it is clear that the men and women who will carry on that educational process and bring our dreams of freedom into reality are learning their craft and taking their places in our ranks.

 

THE BIOGRAPHY OF THEODORE PAUL LUBITZ

by Theodore Lubitz

From the Associate Editor: Several months ago, Ted Lubitz, who is eighty-three, wrote to Dr. Jernigan and enclosed a copy of his life story. He thought that Monitor readers might be interested in hearing what it was like to be blind in America during the early years of his long life. His story has a simple eloquence and is a strong reminder of the vigor and toughness of those who have gone before and paved the road for us who have come after. Here are the letter Ted Lubitz wrote to Dr. Jernigan and his autobiography:

Watertown, South Dakota
April 23, 1992

Dr. Kenneth Jernigan
National Federation of the Blind
Baltimore, Maryland

Dear Dr. Jernigan: I am a member of the NFB, and I am writing you a letter to see if you would be interested in putting the story of my life in the Braille Monitor. We have a policy here at the Hi Rise Apartments where I live that any one who would like to put their life story in the "Hi Rise News," which we get every month, can do so. I have sent a copy to Karen Mayry, president of the NFB of South Dakota, so she can print it in the state newsletter, Insight. There is a picture of me holding the violin I made at school and another one taken when I was six years old in a cart being pulled by a billy goat. Please let me know if you can use this autobiography in the Braille Monitor. Your friend, Theodore Lubitz

I was born on August 21, 1909, at Marion, South Dakota. When I was real little, I lost my father and lived with my mother and my grandparents. My grandfather was a blacksmith, and my grandmother was a seamstress. My mother operated a cream station for the Bridgeman Russel Company of Sioux Falls.

When I was about four years old, I developed real sore eyes and had a lot of pain. My folks called a local doctor at Marion. He put the wrong medicine in my eyes, and it burned the corneas and the pupils, which gave me even more pain in my eyes. This left scars on both eyes when it healed. I could only see around the scars.

I was then taken to several doctors to see what they could do, but they could not do much for me. In the meantime I went to the Lutheran School at Marion. In the morning I learned German, and in the afternoon I learned English. School was hard for me because most of the work was done on the blackboard.

Later on we heard of a doctor at Omaha, Nebraska, and I was taken there. We stayed for a whole week, and at the last meeting the doctor said that the best thing for me was to attend the school for the blind.

That September I enrolled in the school for the blind at Gary, South Dakota, in 1921. I was already eleven years old. We could not really tell them what grade I was in, so I started all over in the first grade. It was hard for me to get used to reading Braille by touch, so I used my eyes. They had to put a blindfold on me. They found out that I had musical talent, so they put me on the violin and piano right away, along with my regular school work. I took violin, piano, making baskets, rug weaving, putting seats on chairs, making brooms, and so on.

In 1925 I was chosen to try to make my own violin. We had an employee who was a very fine violin maker. I worked every day after school and all day Saturdays on this violin, and in April I finished it.

I advanced very fast in my music. I did not like the piano as well as the violin. In 1928 I entered the high school music contest and won first place. When I got into high school, I started learning to become a piano tuner.

There was a girl at school named Agnes Redepenning who sort of fell for me, and that was fine with me. We sang a lot of duets together and attended all the school dances. I said to some of the students that "This is going to be my wife someday," and they all laughed! Agnes Redepenning started school the same year I did. We did not graduate together because Agnes was sick for a year and was taken out of school to live with her parents.

I practiced four hours a day on the violin. I was taking harmony, history of music, composition, and voice. I graduated in the spring of 1931, which was a bad time for anyone to finish school because of the Depression.

From 1921 until then there was very little done for the blind. There wasn't any employment for us. The American Foundation for the Blind was just starting. I had lost my grandmother in 1929, so I came home and put myself behind my stepfather and mother's table. The little money I made in piano tuning was just spending money once a week. That went for shows and a few beers once in a while.

In 1938 I was contacted by the Williams Piano Company to work for them in Sioux Falls, so I went. It was better than staying at home. I lived in the YMCA. During that time I went to visit my girlfriend whenever I had a chance. Agnes and I prayed a lot about our marriage. We did not want to go into it unless it was right.

On March 23, 1941, Agnes and I married at Bellingham, Minnesota. The next day we went to Sioux Falls. In 1943 we moved to Watertown. I was called to Watertown by Al Williams, who was selling pianos and operating a second-hand store. Watertown at that time did not have a piano tuner. I have been here ever since. I have worked for Al Williams, David Piano Company, Art McCain's Music Store, and Alvin John's Music Store. I had my private work besides. When the Music Tree Store came to Watertown, I worked for them also. I had a driver for when I went out of town.

My wife was a very good cook, and her specialty was chicken and dumpling soup. She had a radio program every Sunday from Grace Lutheran Church for twenty-one years until she had to quit because of her health in 1971.

From that time on my wife's health went down hill, and she had to quit singing. You see, Agnes was a professional singer. She suffered a few little strokes, and each time it hampered her physically.

In December, 1987, Agnes suffered a very severe stroke, and in April she died. That was a great shock to me. I also landed in the hospital. While Agnes was in the nursing home, I moved into the Hi-Rise. That was January 14, and I have been here ever since.

By the grace of God I have overcome all of my difficulties. Through prayer I have made it through my hardships. If it were not for the Lord, I could not function. God has been good to me. I am very happy here. I have many friends!

I have several hobbies that I will tell you about. First, I am a Stephen Minister of the Grace Lutheran Church. I have been in this for two years. I belong to a voice-spondence club all over the United States. I talk to people all over. Then I have my model trains, which I have taken down to the Community Room for Christmas to show the people around here. I also had a reading class, where I had a book on tape and invited the folks to come and listen to the stories. Also I have the Messiah on recording for the folks at Christmas time.

I keep books on all my expenses and have done this for sixty-one years. I have a system where I set aside three percent of every item that I buy for an emergency fund and also the income. It works. I draw from this fund when I need some extra money. I do a lot of reading. I teach Braille to the elderly. I am teaching Braille to a lady who is losing her sight. I listen to a lot of classical music and tape some of it. I have a small library of cassette tapes.

Well, this is the story of my life, and I hope those of you who read it will find a blessing in it.

Your Friend,
Ted Lubitz

 

A CHRISTMAS STORY FOR ALL SEASONS

by Donald Capps

From the Associate Editor: The following article appeared in the November, 1991, issue of The Palmetto Blind, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina. It is a wonderful illustration of the deep and selfless brotherly love that we think of at this season. When the world seems filled to the breaking point with suffering and tragedy, it is well to remember that people like John Fling are living and serving in our midst.

As Monitor readers know, Don Capps is the senior member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind. He and his wife Betty now fully dedicate their time to doing good in the world, chiefly by working tirelessly to strengthen the NFB in South Carolina and around the country. Here is what Don has to say:

It was Thursday morning when a phone call came which brought me overwhelming joy and gratitude. It was my longtime friend, John Fling, who until recent years was very much involved in helping the Columbia Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina. In more recent times John has broadened his unselfish service to include many other groups and individuals, and therefore I had not heard from him in some time. However, I had been able to keep up with the charitable activities of this very special person since he is frequently featured in the news media. I also knew that John Fling had become a national and international celebrity, having received many high honors--including one bestowed upon him at the White House by the President of the United States. Knowing that he had once worked almost exclusively for the blind through the Federation, I was especially proud of John Fling, recognizing that he truly puts service above self.

But getting back to that Thursday morning call on January 16, I heard a familiar voice: "Don, this is John Fling, and I happen to have some funds left over from Christmas and was wondering if you would accept a little contribution to the Federation?" In a split second I assured my longtime friend that the Federation would be most grateful for any contribution, especially at this time. He said that he would stop by my house that afternoon, and true to his word he drove into our driveway at about 3 o'clock. After a most enjoyable visit during which we brought each other up-to-date on our activities, John handed me a check with instructions to use it any way I wanted to, just so that the Federation would be helped. He then departed without fanfare; got into his truck, clearly marked "John Fling Ministries"; and continued on his way to assist someone else. After John's departure, Betty looked at the check and said, "Don, this check is in the amount of $10,000." Both of us were absolutely overwhelmed. Never had I received a Federation contribution for such a substantial sum without having solicited it. As a matter of fact, I was so overwhelmed that I needed time to think about the real significance of what this wonderful man had just done and how this substantial gift to the Columbia Chapter of the NFB of South Carolina could best be used to assist blind people. I wanted to share the good news with fellow Federationists but felt that I needed time to think and ponder about what we might do to justify this generous gift and how it should be used to meet a special need. It was the next day before I shared the wonderful news with the chapter president, Mike Sutton, and the Federation Center's chairman, Frank Coppel, because I felt as if I should sleep on this matter before making any recommendations. Mike and Frank were just as excited and overwhelmed as I was.

Something led me to call John Fling that evening. I clearly remembered his stating that I was to use the money to do the greatest good for the largest number of blind people. I knew that the Columbia Chapter desperately needed a new van since its ten- year-old vehicle had served the chapter well but was probably no longer road-worthy without considerable repairs. Additionally, I knew that President Sutton had appointed a search committee to acquire another van. During my telephone conversation with John on Friday evening, I discussed our need for a new van, and he readily volunteered to donate an additional five thousand dollars in order to purchase one. John said that he was well connected with the Addy Dodge dealership in Lexington, and would I meet him there the following morning at 11:00 a.m. In the twinkling of an eye I answered in the affirmative. At two minutes before eleven o'clock Saturday, Betty and I arrived at Addy Dodge, and John rushed out to greet us. So did Tim and John Addy, owners of the dealership. As it happened, we parked next to a beautiful, brand new 1992 fifteen-passenger white Dodge van with maroon interior, and John asked me to check the van over. He said that this was the van that he had picked out because he understood from our Friday-evening conversation that we wanted a white one. After talking with John, I had called President Mike Sutton that same evening to inquire whether he would trust me with the details of purchasing a van. Mike replied that of course he would.

The sticker price on this beautiful van was in excess of $22,000, and I immediately wondered how we would swing it, but John had already worked it out. We were ushered into the office, where all the paperwork had already been done. Because of their respect for John Fling and a desire to help the Federation, the Addy brothers had reduced the price of the van by nearly $5,000. However, I knew that the initial gift of $10,000 plus the promise of an additional $5,000 would not cover even the reduced price for the van. But before I had time to become concerned, John pulled out a pen and began writing a check for the remaining cost, about $8,500. Thus, in the end John Fling Ministries gave a total of about $18,500 to the Federation to cover the total cost of this beautiful new van.

But this is not the end of the story. Mr. Addy checked the blue book and advised us that we could sell our old van for about $3,500, which could be used for insurance or other expenses. Mr. Addy said that there is a great need among churches and day-care centers for previously owned vans.

As I said earlier, John Fling has been honored at the highest levels for his benevolence and good deeds. On September 30, 1991, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall in Washington, D.C., John Fling participated in America's awards honoring unsung heroes who personify the American character and spirit. In a special publication entitled "America's Awards," a program of the Positive Thinking Foundation, the following article is dedicated to John Fling:

"You're Never Too Old To Do Good"

At age seventy, John Fling does every day what he has done every day for forty-five years--spends most of his waking hours helping those in need.

One of nineteen children, John Fling grew up in Gabbetville, Georgia (population forty-six). His parents were so poor they weren't even sharecroppers; they were sharecroppers' helpers. What family members ate, they had to catch out of the water, dig out of the ground, or shake out of a tree. At age twelve, John quit school to work in the cotton fields, where he labored for six more years.

At age twenty-five, after a six-year stint in the U.S. Army, John settled with his wife in Columbia, South Carolina, landing a job as supervisor to one hundred boys who delivered newspapers. He began providing them and their families with food, clothing, and school supplies. Helping others became his personal mission.

One night in 1951, John accompanied the police to settle a domestic dispute. The couple had a small baby, but apparently the boy wasn't fathered by the woman's husband. John asked if it would solve the problem if he took the baby. The couple readily agreed, signing a scrap of paper that gave John all rights to the baby. John and his wife Jane raised the child along with their natural son.

John and his wife have never owned a home. They live on Social Security, in a rent-free cottage behind his mother-in- law's house. Though he has worked all his life--sometimes several jobs at once--John is almost without material possessions. Before he retired as a parts delivery man, John's employer, Love Chevrolet, gave him clothes to wear and a truck to drive--and lots of time to serve.

The clothing John gives away is often better than what he wears. He hasn't bought clothes, except underwear, for twenty years. He doesn't have a television or the time to look at one. Only recently did John get a telephone--to better serve those who depend on him. He has never owned a car, but he has bought cars for five others.

For forty-five years John Fling has spent most of his waking hours driving the streets of Columbia, looking for someone he can help. There has not been a single day that he hasn't done something to help the poor. He delivers food, medicine, and laundry; helps with bills; repairs screen doors; mows lawns; unstops sinks; and transports the needy to appointments--for an extended family that includes forty blind people, two hundred seniors, and four hundred children.

Having lost sight in one eye in a boyhood hunting accident, John shows a special interest in the blind. He gives them rides and takes them to the beach or fishing. He drives his more adventurous blind friends out to a cow pasture, settles them into a go-cart, places earphones on their heads, sits on his truck, and--using a two-way radio--tells them to go left or right. Some of them are hot rods.

John is caring, selfless, and limitless in energy. He is unincorporated and refuses to become a non-profit organization. There are no boards to direct him and no committees to support his activities. Most of the money he hands out is donated by local businessmen and by friends around the country. He often takes the last dime out of his pocket to help someone.

Once, while visiting a nursing home with two deacons from his church, John met an elderly woman who said she didn't know what time to take her medicine because she didn't have a watch. John pulled the watch from his own wrist, handed it to the woman, and walked on.

As the three men left the nursing home, John met a one- legged man on the street who said he needed a rain coat. John took off his own coat and gave it to the man. One of the deacons said to John, "Let's get back in the truck before you give away your pants."

John's first love is still the children. As he drives through Columbia's back alleys, kids emerge from the shadows and rush the truck. Embracing as many as he can, John asks them how they are, and what they need and gives them what he can. As he leaves, John comments to a visitor, "Even more than money, what they need is love."

And John gives them lots of love.

At 5:30 a.m. every Sunday, John starts driving a donated van for three hours to go to the Baptist Church next door, collecting as many as seventy-nine children as he travels a fifty-five-mile circuit. On the way home he stops at a restaurant and treats each of the children to a meal.

Every Christmas John provides the kids he cares for with a shopping spree at one of the local department stores. Last year he took one thousand two hundred sixteen children to K-Mart, providing them each with a $50 gift certificate. To encourage kids to take their education seriously, he offers $20 to students making B's and higher on their report cards. Grades have soared.

Over the years, John's generosity has become known throughout the world. When a man in India writes to a man he knows only as "John Fling, USA," to request help in obtaining a prosthesis, and the letter somehow arrives, John's response is equally characteristic. Somehow he finds the money to buy and send the needed prosthesis.

Now seventy years old, John continues to have a tremendous impact in his role as a one-man social-service agency. Few people in South Carolina are as well known, and few people in the world are as well loved. When you ask about John Fling, the first thing people say, more often than not, is, "That man is a living saint."

 

CONTINUING THE STORY

by Scott LaBarre

From the Associate Editor: Scott LaBarre is the president of the National Association of Blind Students (NABS), the student division of the National Federation of the Blind. Each year, on the Saturday before the NFB's Washington Seminar, NABS conducts a day-long seminar for students. These hours are filled with inspiration, determination, and laughter; and the culmination is a banquet complete with a stirring address from one of the Federation's leaders. Students and all those who are interested in matters of concern to students should make plans now to attend the 1993 Student Seminar beginning with an evening get-together on Friday, January 29, and lasting all day Saturday, January 30 in Washington, D.C.

Just before the close of the 1992 seminar, Scott LaBarre addressed the group, summing up the themes of the day. Here are his remarks as they appeared in the 1992 edition of The Student Slate, the publication of the National Association of Blind Students:

Last year, Michael Baillif, my predecessor as president of the National Association of Blind Students stood before this body and described the ways in which society's stories about blind people portray us as helpless, incompetent, and second-class. This last year has only proven that society's story still has a strong grip on the public's imagination. On the positive side, however, the NFB's story of blind people as helpful, competent, and first-class citizens is becoming more wide-spread. Now I would like to tell you another story.

In 1978 a small boy contracted a strange virus which led to his eventual blindness. Both he and his parents were terrified of the future, for they believed that people who were blind had no chance of achieving true success.

Fortunately, however, he received an adequate education with training in Braille, cane travel, and other alternative techniques which made him competitive with his peers. He passed through elementary school, junior high, and finally the glorious years of high school. As he went, he kept climbing to higher levels of achievement. His dreams grew and his hope expanded. He seemed to be on a collision-course with success. Then he ran into a barrier which seemed at the time almost insurmountable. The network of rehabilitation counselors, teachers of blind children, and even the community around him began telling him in subtle ways that blind people could not succeed.

He entered the Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP), which brought blind high school students together to live in a residential setting in which their independent skills would be assessed. These evaluations were to be forwarded to the student's local school district, where the professionals were supposed to help develop the student's skills. As you may have guessed, the follow-up work in the local school district very rarely, if ever, occurred.

Part of the program's summer evaluation included classes on job-readiness skills. Our student and his peers traveled each day to a rehabilitation center, where their job skills and inclinations were measured. During these evaluations this ambitious blind student began to wonder about the efficacy of the program's goals and its ability to help blind people succeed in the jungle of the real world.

Every day he had to complete tests which measured how fast he could assemble nuts, bolts, and steering knobs. He concluded that something major must be awry. He maintained an A average in school and had dreamed of attending college and someday settling down in a rewarding and interesting career. The drudgery of repeating mechanical tasks each day frustrated him until he was finally driven to say something.

He called the rehab supervisor over to his station and told her he recognized that all people should improve their dexterity, but he wanted to test all his job skills, including those that would prepare him for college and a professional career. The supervisor muttered a few polite platitudes and shrugged off the complaint. His rage, frustration, and depression continued to swell until he again called the supervisor to his station. Once more he made his case for setting higher expectations for blind people in that rehab center.

At this point the supervisor flew into a rage. She told our friend that he did not understand reality. It was all well and good to dream of challenging careers, but the facts were that blind people did not or could not handle them. Continuing her tirade, the supervisor told him that he had better get used to working in a workshop setting because it would be the only type of job that he could expect to keep.

This supervisor's demoralizing message received nothing but support from other members of the summer program staff. In fact, the student's counselor actually told him that the supervisor had been right on target with her expectations, but the counselor added to this insult by asserting that the student was arrogant and unrealistic to think that he could ever enter a challenging profession of his own choice. The counselor essentially told the student that he should shut up and get back to work.

At this point the once-hopeful student started wondering about his own self-worth. Maybe all those people were right. Perhaps blind people could not climb above the low expectations which society had already prescribed for them. Despair and profound depression took root in him.

Somehow, after leaving the summer program, he re-assembled a little self-esteem, and he continued to excel in his studies and prepared himself for college.

Then came a significant event in his life: he became a member of the National Federation of the Blind. He had always wanted to believe that blind people could achieve any goal which they desired to pursue. The problem had always been that he did not know many blind people who were successful in their lives-- that is, until he went to his first NFB convention. There he met thousands of blind people who believed in themselves and who did not allow stereotypes or fear to dampen their aspirations. Riding on this wave of new-found hope and confidence, our friend entered college and achieved his goals, fulfilling all his most important undergraduate dreams.

He decided to attend law school after receiving his degree, and there he intended to continue his journey toward fulfilling his life-long ambitions. In fact, he had greater expectations for law school. Since his entering class was filled with intelligent, diverse people, he assumed that they would automatically accept him as an equal and believe in his competence.

A few weeks into the semester, two simple sentences uttered by a classmate both shattered this hope and filled him with shock and outrage. She attempted to hand him a document which was being passed around the class. After trying to give him the papers silently, she then recognized the problem and said: "Oh, I forgot you were blind. You'll have to stumble around some to remind us that you can't see."

After several minutes of stunned reflection he recognized that in a few words his classmate had summed up the greatest barrier blind people face. Here was a bright woman, sensitive to social causes, putting into one statement the discrimination and ignorance that we confront every day. Since an intelligent and well-meaning woman could utter such damaging words, it is no wonder that blind people face a seventy percent unemployment rate. It is no wonder that ABC television aired a program like "Good and Evil," in which a blind character was portrayed as a stumbling, bumbling, fumbling buffoon. It is no wonder that blind parents are deprived of their children because of their blindness.

This story which I have been telling you is, of course, my own. None of these adventures rank among the most hideous or egregious types of discrimination we face. They represent, however, the social misperceptions which result in the evil and gross forms of discrimination we have heard about in this seminar today.

As Dan Frye recounted earlier, a representative from a New York law firm told him that blind people do not possess the imagination and creativity to practice law. Furthermore, it would not be a good idea for a blind lawyer to meet with clients because they would obviously be afraid of him and therefore would not want to give their business to the firm.

The common misconceptions about blindness have inevitably resulted in the widespread difficulties that blind students have faced in Disabled Student Services offices. Today, Sheila Hall told us of her serious problems with the DSS office at Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis. After being harassed by a man on a city bus, Sheila took a reasonable and responsible action. She went to the campus police to obtain advice on how she might protect herself from such harassment in the future. When the DSS staff found out about Sheila's call to the campus police, they told her that she needed to come in for a psychological evaluation. They later told her that she had acted in a paranoid fashion by calling the police. When the staff learned that she had missed a class, they told her that she must report to them every time she planned to do so.

Undoubtedly each of us has faced discrimination, subtle or overt. The National Federation of the Blind formed in 1940 so that the blind of this country could have a vehicle for collective action. We are gathered here today because we have a common goal. Through education of the public, advocacy at all levels, and our indomitable spirit, we have engaged our society in a battle--a battle for freedom and equality.

It is unfortunate that we must necessarily encounter strife and conflict while we attempt to break down society's misconceptions. It is unfortunate that good people like Dan Frye, Sheila Hall, and the rest of us must be continually humiliated and confronted by patterns of discrimination. As we grow and realize that we can indeed achieve first-class citizenship, we will undoubtedly face more and more instances of conflict because we will recognize that we are being treated unfairly, and we will simply not put up with it!

We are gathered here today to prepare ourselves for the battle. We have learned about the resources we can use to make our path to equality easier. Each agenda item has given us invaluable tools we can use in our struggle.

Of course, the most important resource which we possess is one another--in other words, the National Federation of the Blind itself. Although the specifics of how we combat discrimination, become a successful student, and get a job are important, the most important thing that we should leave this conference and seminar with is the fact that we can rely on one another's love and support. It is the National Federation of the Blind that has helped Sheila Hall gain respect on her campus. It will be the National Federation of the Blind which will help Dan Frye let the New York law firm know that it simply cannot treat the blind as second-class citizens. It is the National Federation of the Blind that organized the powerful campaign to remove "Good and Evil." It is the National Federation of the Blind that will continue to move the blind of this country from social isolation to first class citizenship with all the rights that status deserves.

Fifty years ago our blind brothers and sisters could only have dreamed about the great accomplishments that we now achieve as a matter of course. Since they were fighting to extricate themselves from the bonds of poverty, they could only dream of discussing the subtle distinctions between being treated equally or as equals, for equality loomed so far off in the future that it was an intangible dream. Today we know that we must and will achieve equality in our society. Let us, however, allow the stories of Dan Frye and Sheila Hall serve as a reminder that we must remain vigilant in order to combat discrimination wherever it may appear. We must remain true to our philosophy and steadfast in our resolution to change society's inaccurate portrayal of the blind. In achieving our dreams, we must never forget that our most important resource is one another and that we will always walk together in our march to first-class citizenship.

Come, my friends. Let us take the advice and support we have gained here today and apply them to our everyday lives. Let us build on the success of the courageous men and women who have been the pioneers of our movement. Let us be the driving force which propels the blind to true equality!

 

THE 1993 BLIND EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD

by Stephen O. Benson

From the Associate Editor: Steve Benson is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind and president of the NFB of Illinois. He also chairs the committee charged with identifying each year's Blind Educator of the Year. Here is what he has to say:

Several years ago the Blind Educator of the Year Award was established by the National Association of Blind Educators (the teachers' division of the National Federation of the Blind) to pay tribute to a blind teacher whose exceptional classroom performance, notable community service, and uncommon commitment to the NFB merit national recognition. Beginning with the 1991 presentation, this award became an honor bestowed by our entire movement. This change reflects our recognition of the importance of good teaching and the impact an outstanding blind teacher has on students, faculty, community, and all blind Americans.

This award is given in the spirit of the outstanding educators who founded and have nurtured the National Federation of the Blind and who, by example, have imparted knowledge of our strengths to us and raised our expectations. We have learned from Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, and President Marc Maurer that a teacher not only provides a student with information, but also provides guidance and advocacy. The recipient of the Blind Educator of the Year Award must exhibit all of these traits and must advance the cause of blind people in the spirit and philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind.

The Blind Educator of the Year Award is presented at the annual banquet of the National Federation of the Blind. Honorees must be present at the National Convention and at the banquet to receive an appropriately inscribed plaque and a check for $500.

The members of the committee which will select the 1993 Blind Educator of the Year Award are Steve Benson, Chairman, Illinois; Patricia Munson, California; Homer Page, Colorado; Judy Sanders, Minnesota; and Adelmo Vigil, New Mexico. Nominations should be sent to Steve Benson, 3032 N. Albany, Chicago, Illinois 60618. Letters of nomination must be accompanied by a copy of the nominee's current resume and supporting documentation of community and Federation activity. All nomination materials must be in the hands of the committee chairman by April 30, 1993, to be considered for this year's award.

 

DISTINGUISHED EDUCATOR
OF BLIND CHILDREN AWARD FOR 1993

by Sharon Maneki

From the Associate Editor: Sharon Maneki is president of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland. She also chairs the committee to select the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children for 1993.

The National Federation of the Blind will recognize an outstanding teacher of blind children at our 1993 convention July 3 to 10, in Dallas, Texas. The winner of this award will receive an expense-paid trip to the convention, a check for $500, an appropriate plaque presented at the banquet, and an opportunity to make a presentation about the education of blind children to the National Federation of the Blind Parents of Blind Children Division early in the convention.

Anyone who is currently teaching or counseling blind children or administering a program for blind children is eligible to receive this award. It is not necessary to be a member of the National Federation of the Blind to apply. However, the winner must attend the national convention. Teachers may be nominated by colleagues, supervisors, or friends. The letter of nomination should explain why the teacher is being recommended for this award.

The education of blind children is one of our most important concerns. Attendance at a National Federation of the Blind convention will enrich a teacher's experience by affording the opportunity to meet other teachers who work with blind children, to meet parents, and to meet blind adults who have had experiences in a variety of educational programs. Help us recognize a distinguished teacher by distributing this form and encouraging teachers to submit their credentials. We are pleased to offer this award and look forward to applications from many well-qualified educators.

Please complete this application and attach your letter of nomination, one additional recommendation, written by someone who knows your work and philosophy of teaching, and a personal letter discussing your beliefs and approach to teaching blind students. You may wish to include such topics as the following:

What are your views on the importance to your students of Braille, large print, and magnification devices; and what issues do you consider when making recommendations about learning media for your students?

When do you recommend that your students begin the following: reading Braille, writing with a slate and stylus, using a Braille writer, learning to travel independently with a white cane?

How should one determine which children should learn cane travel and which should not?

When should typing be introduced and when should a child be expected to hand in typed assignments?

Send all material by April 15, 1993, to Sharon Maneki, Chairman, Teacher Award Committee, 9736 Basket Ring Road, Columbia, Maryland 21045; telephone: (410) 992-9608.


NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
DISTINGUISHED EDUCATOR OF BLIND CHILDREN AWARD
1993 APPLICATION

Name:

Home address:

City: State: Zip:

Day phone: Evening phone:

School:

Address:

City: State: Zip:

List your degrees, the institutions from which they were received, and your major area or areas of study.

How long and in what programs have you taught blind children?

In what setting do you teach? residential school classroom, special education classroom, itinerant program, other, please explain.

How many students do you teach regularly this year?

What subjects do you teach?

How many of your students read and write primarily using: Braille | large print | closed circuit television | recorded materials | small print

 

FEDERATIONISTS JOIN IN ADA LAWSUIT TO BLOCK MEDICAID CUTS

by Greg D. Trapp

From the Associate Editor: Greg Trapp is one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico. He is also an attorney with the Protection and Advocacy System in the state. Last May he and his colleagues brought what appears to have been the first lawsuit ever in a State District Court claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those of us who have watched and worked for passage of this legislation know that there are very real limits to what it can do to assist disabled people. It is a tool, and we must learn to use it wisely and appropriately. This case is instructive and serves as an example of what the ADA can and cannot do in difficult and complex legal and fiscal situations. Here is the story as Greg Trapp told it:

A recent Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit is of special interest to blind people. The lawsuit was decided on issues related to the ADA Title II provision on "effective communications." It was an effort to block Medicaid cutbacks in the state of New Mexico. Several members of the National Federation of the Blind were deeply involved in the lawsuit, including Albuquerque board member Marcella Gallegos, who was one of the three plaintiffs; NFB of New Mexico president and Information Access Coordinator Joe Cordova, who testified as an expert witness; other NFB members who were prepared to testify as fact witnesses; and many more Federationists who came to the hearing to demonstrate their support. In addition, I was a member of the team of eight attorneys from the organization Protection and Advocacy System (P&A) which litigated the case.

Protection and Advocacy Systems are familiar to many as the state-appointed, mostly federally-funded entities usually charged with representing the developmentally disabled and (through the Client Assistance Program, CAP) with representing state rehabilitation agency clients. However, the New Mexico Protection and Advocacy System is one of only eleven state agencies to include a Protection and Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR) project along with its other services. PAIR provides advocacy to recipients of services from Rehabilitation Act Title VII Independent Living Centers, including the section C, older blind adult programs.

Like Medicaid programs in other states, the New Mexico program has a budget deficit caused by the national recession and Medicaid expansions. This past March the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) published legal notice of proposed cutbacks in the state Medicaid program. HSD also published legal notice of a public hearing on the proposed cutbacks, which was to be held in Santa Fe on April 10, 1992. The purpose of this hearing was to enable HSD to gather public comment on the proposed cuts so that these concerns could be considered prior to the adoption of the final rule.

There are 170,000 Medicaid recipients in New Mexico, most of whom are low-income, elderly, or disabled persons. The proposed cuts would have limited these Medicaid recipients to just two doctor's visits and three prescriptions per month. Non-emergency dental care and elective surgical procedures would have been eliminated. Recipients would have been required to make co- payments for each doctor's visit and prescription. Medicaid payments for important items such as eye glasses, hearing aids, and other durable medical equipment (as well as diapers and adult protective undergarments) would have been eliminated altogether.

One of the ironies of the proposed cutbacks was that, rather than saving the state money, a strong case can be made that the cuts would ultimately have cost the state more than the six million dollars HSD projected it would save. The restrictions on doctor's visits and the newly-imposed co-payments would have forced many Medicaid recipients to defer needed early medical treatment, which often results in medical complications that can lead to expensive hospital treatment. Additionally, Medicaid payments allow many severely disabled persons to live outside of costly medical care facilities. The cutbacks would have forced many of them into nursing homes or hospitals.

When the devastating impact of the proposed cuts became known, Protection and Advocacy began to formulate a strategy to oppose them. Our first plan was to file a lawsuit seeking a court order requiring the Human Services Department Secretary to rescind the cuts. We had to show that he had failed to comply with his "mandatory non-discretionary duty" to abide by state and "other applicable" law. We argued that the Secretary failed to abide by New Mexico statutory laws concerning the rule-making process and that he failed to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The ADA is comprised of five divisions: Title I currently covers private employers with twenty-five or more employees; Title II covers state and local governments; Title III covers private sector public accommodations; Title IV covers telecommunications; and Title V includes miscellaneous provisions of the Act.

Title I currently covers employers with twenty-five or more employees and prohibits discrimination based on disability. It requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled and prospective employees. It mandates that disabled employees be required to perform only the "essential functions" of a job and makes illegal job requirements such as having a driver's license if the job requires only occasional driving and if the driving can be assigned to other employees. It makes illegal job application questions which would tend to elicit information about a person's disability.

Title II covers all activities of state and local governments. These must be operated so that, when viewed in their entirety, they are "readily accessible to and usable by" disabled people. Communication with these individuals must be as effective as communication with others. Title II does not require elimination of barriers in existing buildings. However, newly constructed buildings and facilities must be free of architectural and communication barriers, and substantially remodeled portions of existing buildings or facilities must be accessible. A Title II public entity need not make a fundamental alteration in a facility, service, or program or be required to make alterations or modifications which would result in an undue administrative or financial burden.

Title III covers private entities that operate public accommodations such as hotels, restaurants, and theaters. It requires that public accommodations provide goods and services in an integrated setting, eliminate discriminatory eligibility standards, and make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, provided that a fundamental alteration would not result in a change in the nature of the goods and services provided. Although Title II does not require state and local governments to remove barriers in existing facilities, Title III does require that public accommodations remove barriers in existing facilities, where "readily achievable," that is, "easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense." Public accommodations must furnish auxiliary aids when necessary to ensure effective communication, unless an undue burden or fundamental alteration would result. Public accommodations must provide equivalent transportation services, maintain accessible features of facilities and equipment, and design and construct new facilities and alter existing ones in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADA-AG). (The infamous truncated domes discussed at length in the October, 1992, issue of the Braille Monitor are contained in the ADA Accessibility Guidelines.) Private entities offering examinations for educational or professional purposes must offer them in an accessible place and form or offer alternative accessible arrangements.

The ADA can be understood better by looking at the areas which it does not cover. Religious organizations are generally exempt unless they rent facilities to a Title III public accommodation or unless they employ twenty-five or more persons, in which case they are covered by Title I. Indian tribes are also not covered. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 covers the Federal Government, and therefore the ADA does not apply to it. The Fair Housing Act was amended in 1988 to protect against discrimination based on disability, so therefore the ADA does not cover housing or apartment rentals. Likewise, the ADA does not cover airports or airlines because they are already covered by the Air Carrier Access Act.

It is at this point, when looking at the interplay between the various laws, that the ADA gets a little tricky. For example, private vendors located in airports are not covered by the Air Carrier Access Act and are therefore covered by Title III of the ADA. The Fair Housing Act does not cover hotels and other places of temporary lodging, so therefore Title III covers them. While most state and local governments receive federal funds and therefore have long been covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, not all governmental entities receive federal funds. Therefore, Title II of the ADA, which is basically a restatement of Section 504, is intended to reach those previously uncovered governmental entities and applies ADA requirements to even the smallest local governments. Thus, an ADA complaint against a small town which receives no federal funds will be investigated as a Title II complaint. If, on the other hand, an ADA complaint is filed against a state agency which receives federal funds, it will be treated as a 504 complaint and routed to the federal agency which disperses funds to the department in question.

Any individual who believes that he or she is a victim of discrimination may file a complaint. Complaints on behalf of classes of individuals are also permitted. They should be submitted in writing, signed by the complainant or an authorized representative, contain the complainant's name and address, and describe the alleged discriminatory action. Eight federal agencies are designated to receive ADA complaints. A complaint filed with the wrong agency will eventually be routed to the proper one. The Department of Justice is designated as the primary ADA enforcement agency; so, when in doubt, complaints should be sent there. ADA complaints must be filed with a designated agency (even if it is the wrong one) within one- hundred-eighty days of the discriminatory act, unless there is good cause for delay.

In addition to the federal complaint process, private lawsuits may be brought to enforce the ADA, and these may be brought prior to exhaustion of administrative remedies. It was this provision that permitted Protection and Advocacy to raise ADA violations in our lawsuit against the New Mexico Human Services Department.

Although Title II of the ADA reiterates the provisions of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, it does elaborate upon the earlier legislation in several important areas, including additional definition of the provision concerning communications. Section 35.160 of Title II of the ADA regulations requires state and local governments to communicate with the public in a manner that is "as effective" for disabled persons as for the non- disabled. Section 35.160 reads as follows:

SUBPART E - COMMUNICATIONS

35.160 GENERAL.

35.160(a) A public entity shall take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, and members of the public with disabilities are as effective as communications with others.

35.160(b)(1) A public entity shall furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program, or activity conducted by a public entity.

35.160(b)(2) In determining what type of auxiliary aid and service is necessary, a public entity shall give primary consideration to the requests of the individual with disabilities.

The New Mexico Human Services Department, however, ignored-- or perhaps more accurately was oblivious of--these provisions of the ADA. We argued that the HSD announcements of the proposed cuts, the publication of the regulations implementing the proposed cuts, and the April 10 public hearing on the proposed cuts failed to comply with the Section 35.160 provisions requiring "as effective communications for the disabled as for the non-disabled." We also argued that the public hearing itself was inaccessible. It had originally been scheduled in a room which seated one-hundred-twenty-eight persons and which was largely wheelchair-inaccessible, having only a small handicapped section at the back. It had an inaccessibly steep ramp leading to the front, where the microphones were located, and no provision was made for a person using a wheelchair to travel to the microphones. HSD had made no provisions for sign language interpreters and had to scramble to locate several at the last minute. None of the written information on the cutbacks was prepared in alternate formats such as Braille or audiotape. Over five hundred persons appeared at the public hearing, and as a result HSD decided to move it across the street to the State Capitol Building. The hundreds of persons--many of whom were on crutches, in wheelchairs, or on stretchers--had to make their way through two parking lots and across a busy street in order to reach the Capital Building.

The cuts were scheduled to take effect on May 1, 1992. On April 29 we filed our court order in State District Court, expecting that a hearing would be scheduled in a couple of weeks. The judge issued a temporary order granting our Writ and, to our surprise and that of the HSD attorneys, scheduled a hearing for the next day. After the judge granted the temporary Writ, we met with the HSD attorneys into the evening. We were trying to agree on certain facts so that we would not have to contest them at the hearing. Three attorneys represented P&A at this meeting. It concluded with an exchange of witness lists, and I announced our intention to call Fred Schroeder, director of the New Mexico Commission for the Blind, and Joe Cordova, president of the National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico and NFB Information Access Coordinator for the state, as expert witnesses on the ADA and issues related to blindness. Notice of intent to call an expert witness is usually required to be given to the other side in a lawsuit so the attorneys can prepare their cross- examination. Both Mr. Schroeder and Mr. Cordova have amassed impressive credentials. When I recited them, a task that took several minutes, Shannon Broderick, HSD's lead attorney, sat back and said, "I'm beginning to think that it isn't realistic to have this hearing tomorrow."

We returned to our office at about 8:00 p.m., and shortly thereafter Ms. Broderick called to request that we agree to an extension of the temporary Writ and a new hearing date. This seemed to be in our interest, so we agreed. However, no one knew whether the judge would agree to the postponement, so we had to be prepared to present our case the next day. Consequently, Joe Cordova and Marcella Gallegos, who was one of the plaintiffs and a member of the board of directors of the NFB's Albuquerque chapter (Fred Schroeder was out of town), made the first of what turned out to be three hour-long trips to Santa Fe. This one proved to be unnecessary because the judge agreed to the postponement and rescheduled the hearing for May 12, 1992.

During the interim we made plans to pack the court with people who had obvious disabilities. As a result about fifty persons with disabilities, including nearly a dozen Federationists, were present at the start of the hearing. Several newspaper reporters along with news crews from all three local TV news organizations were also present to record the events.

I had been given responsibility for formulating the ADA arguments, so we decided that I would present the majority of the ADA case at the hearing. Our plan was twofold: 1. argue that the ADA had been violated; and 2. argue that the process by which the rule enacting the proposed cutbacks was promulgated and eventually adopted was not in accordance with statutory requirements. We had a small parade of sympathetic witnesses, who were to testify that the public hearing was inaccessible and not conducted in accordance with the statutory requirements for a public hearing.

The judge began by disparaging our entire case and especially casting severe doubt upon our ADA arguments, saying that he didn't think the ADA applied, but if it did, he would give it only slight weight. After this discouraging introduction, the judge called the case, and the lead attorneys presented opening arguments. HSD argued that they had complied with all relevant New Mexico statutes governing the adoption of agency regulations and the holding of public hearings and that the ADA did not impose any additional requirements above those contained in the New Mexico statutes.

We began to call our witnesses and elicited testimony about the inadequacy--even complete lack--of accommodations provided by HSD. We took every opportunity we could find to elicit testimony about the harm that would result from the proposed cuts, and HSD quickly objected each time. We called several witnesses who testified to the inadequacy of the sign language interpretation arrangements and to the need to publicize the availability of sign language interpreters. The ADA clearly requires that steps taken to comply with the Act be publicized.

I called our first expert witness, Anne Thomas, an attorney who is knowledgeable about the ADA. My first job was to have her recite her qualifications as an expert. Ms. Thomas has extremely impressive ADA credentials, including being the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs and ADA Coordinator at the University of New Mexico, serving five years as a staff attorney at the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, serving on several disability- and ADA-related boards and commissions, and writing numerous scholarly articles on the ADA. Ms. Thomas also uses a wheelchair. Needless to say, the effect was quite dramatic. Also needless to say, Ms. Broderick vociferously objected to Ms. Thomas's being allowed to testify. However, the judge overruled her objections and allowed the testimony.

An expert witness is permitted to give an opinion on an ultimate question of law. Ms. Thomas was thus able to state her opinion that the Human Services Department had failed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. She testified that Section 35.160 of Title II required HSD to communicate the notice of the proposed cuts and the notice of the public hearing in a way that was "as effective for the disabled as for the non-disabled." Specifically, she testified that HSD was required to provide the notice in Braille and on audiotape as well as take steps to communicate directly to organizations representing the blind. Most important, she was also able to convince the judge of the applicability of the ADA to HSD and of the Act's supremacy over the narrow public-hearing and rule-making requirements listed in the New Mexico statute. This testimony countered the HSD argument that it was required to abide by the statutory rule- making requirements only and that it therefore did not have to take steps to accommodate persons with disabilities. The transformation in the judge's thinking was evident at the end of the day's testimony when he referred to the ADA and said, "It's a whole new world."

I called Marcella Gallegos to testify on the second day of the hearing. The presence of Ms. Gallegos, who was one of our named plaintiffs and an active Federationist of many years standing, was very important to our case. She gave us clear reason to assert that Section 35.160 of Title II had been violated. The lawsuit claimed that her Title II rights were violated because HSD had taken no steps to make the notice of the cuts and public hearing comply with the Section 35.160 requirements that such notices be effectively communicated. Ms. Gallegos had been unaware of the proposed cuts. I asked her to describe how she would be harmed by them. This question was objected to, although the objection was overruled on the basis that the question addressed the importance of Ms. Gallegos' receiving adequate notice and the likelihood that she would want to attend the public hearing.

Our last witness on the second and final day of the hearing was state NFB president Joe Cordova. We called him as an expert witness on effective communications for the disabled and on blindness. The judge knew of Mr. Cordova from a letter which he had recently sent to all New Mexico judges pointing out that blind persons should not be kept from jury duty based solely on their blindness. The judge's reaction to Mr. Cordova and his letter seemed positive. He listened closely as the witness testified to the number of blind persons in New Mexico who receive Medicaid and his opinion on the ineffectiveness of the HSD communications. Mr. Cordova, who is the state NFB's Information Access Coordinator, described the steps necessary to assure effective communication with the blind and hearing- impaired.

The HSD attorneys put on a rebuttal argument and called the director of the Medicaid program. It was clear by this time that HSD officials were in difficulty. The legal team was trying to construct the argument that abiding by the ADA would have resulted in an undue financial or administrative burden. Upon cross-examination, however, the Medicaid director admitted that HSD had taken no steps to make the notices of the proposed cuts and public hearing comply with the ADA. After our cross- examination the judge himself questioned the Medicaid director asking him "how much would it cost to make audiotape copies of the regulation?" The director could only respond, "Not much." The director gave a similar answer when the judge asked how much it would have cost to place a sentence on the notices stating that a TDD number was available and that copies of the notices were available in Braille and other accessible formats.

It was obvious to all that the judge was about to rule in our favor. However, he threw out the arguments we had made concerning HSD's failure to abide by the statutory rule-making requirements. Instead, he found that HSD did not comply with the Title II ADA requirements for provision of effective communications, making the hearing fundamentally unfair.

The decision caught many state officials off guard. HSD initially threatened to appeal the decision and even challenge the constitutionality of the ADA. The Governor, however, was quoted as saying that he did not want to be perceived as being against the disabled by challenging the ADA. Finally, the attorney general decided against an appeal on the basis that the facts of the case were too sympathetic to our side and that the result might be a decision against the state which would have even broader legal precedent.

State agencies, however, have taken notice of the decision. The New Mexico Commission for the Blind, which reflects the Federation philosophy of its director Fred Schroeder, is busy filling requests for ADA information and providing Braille services. The Newsline for the Blind (telephone newspaper-reading service) director, Mike Santullo, has even had to create a new legal notices category on the Newsline system. Mr. Cordova is also now responding to requests for information on how to provide more effective communication for blind people. As a result of this lawsuit, the positive philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind is being disseminated by many people in New Mexico. Best of all, it is all being done with nary a mention of a truncated dome.

There you have Greg Trapp's description of this important ADA case. Here are two of the newspaper articles published at the time it was making news. Jackie Jadrnak was the reporter who wrote both stories. The first was published in the Albuquerque Journal on Thursday, May 14. Here it is:

JUDGE HALTS MEDICAID CUTS, SAYS DISABLED
KEPT FROM HEARINGS

Medicaid cuts won't be allowed to take effect under a court ruling Wednesday--a ruling that could have a major impact on public accommodations that must be made for people with disabilities.

The decision effectively means the state Human Services Department can't count on any savings from the cuts in its budget before the June 30 end of the fiscal year, according to Secretary Dick Heim.

State District Judge Art Encinias ruled the department didn't go far enough to make a public hearing on Medicaid cuts accessible to people with disabilities. Because the process to enact the cuts didn't comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the cuts themselves couldn't take effect, he said.

Heim said he would decide today what course the department would take next. It's possible the department could both appeal the decision and begin a round of new hearings to cut Medicaid coverage, he said.

One option might be to challenge the constitutionality of the Americans with Disabilities Act itself on the grounds that the federal government is interfering too closely with powers reserved to the state government, said Judith Ferrell, attorney for Human Services.

That could set the state in the forefront in challenges to the act, which toughens requirements for making public buildings and events accessible to people with disabilities. The act took effect January 26.

As it is, Encinias' ruling was the first in New Mexico on the effect of the disabilities act. "There are going to be very serious implications to state government," Heim said.

Encinias said the department failed to give effective notice of the public hearing on the Medicaid cuts to people with disabilities, especially those who couldn't see.

In addition, the notice of the hearing failed to mention what special steps would be taken to make it easier for people with disabilities to participate, he said.

Testimony showed the notice of the hearing was available mainly in written form and didn't mention that sign language interpreters would be available.

Without offering details of what should have been done at the hearing, Encinias said adequate accommodations weren't offered for people with visual, hearing, or mobility impairments.

Saying he didn't believe the department acted in bad faith, Encinias said, "It treated the disabled without thought...as invisible men and women."

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, they can be invisible no longer, he said. "They are absolutely entitled to participate in public life," Encinias said.

The Medicaid cuts, which were to take effect May 1, would have reduced payments to various health-care providers and scaled back coverage for the 170,000 low-income people receiving Medicaid in New Mexico. For instance, Medicaid would have stopped paying for hearing aids, glasses, or dental care for adults and would have limited the number of doctor office visits and prescriptions it would pay for.

The cuts would have saved $4.3 million in state and federal spending during the last two months of this fiscal year.

Without those savings Heim estimated that state funds are short $2.9 million to $6.9 million this fiscal year for the Medicaid program. The gap between the two figures represents money the state hopes counties will contribute to the program.

Donna Smith, director of the New Mexico Association of Counties, said at a legislative hearing Wednesday that she might know after meetings this week how much counties might ante up. Doa Ana County already has agreed to give about $1 million, but several counties may have to donate to make it worthwhile for any of them to do it, she said.

Otherwise, only one or two counties would end up subsidizing the program statewide, according to Smith.

Odis Echols, lobbyist for Bernalillo County, said county and University Hospital officials are discussing whether they want to give Medicaid $2.5 million to help keep it out of the red this fiscal year.

Counting the federal match--the state gets about $3 in federal funds for every $1 it spends on Medicaid--the program's shortfall is running between $11.5 million and $27 million. The department estimates this fiscal year's spending will total about $500 million.

Next fiscal year expenses under Medicaid could run up to $565 million, while funding would be only about $500 million, according to department estimates. For the next fiscal year the department still has to figure out either how to cut spending or find new money.

There you have the first article. A little more than a month later, Ms. Jadrnak completed the story. Here is the Albuquerque Journal article of Tuesday, June 23:

STATE WON'T APPEAL MEDICAID RULING

The state won't appeal a court ruling that blocked Medicaid cuts and interpreted some requirements of the new federal Americans with Disabilities Act, officials said Monday.

Attorney General Tom Udall said he was trying to practice preventive law instead.

Noting that his office is trying to develop guidelines for all of state government to comply with the disabilities act, Udall said, "After we have a chance to work at them a little more, we'll be able to resolve some of these issues rather than resolve them through litigation."

Last month state District Judge Art Encinias ruled that planned cutbacks in Medicaid couldn't take effect because a public hearing on the cuts didn't comply with the disabilities act. For example, public notices didn't state that interpreters for the deaf would be available, nor was any effort made to notify blind people of the hearing, he said.

The decision now specifically affects Human Services, but an appeal could set a strong precedent for all of state government, said Human Services Secretary Dick Heim.

Udall indicated it might have been hard for the state to win the case, "The courts, under the set of facts we had here, might well find against us," he said. "The facts could be very sympathetic to the plaintiffs and the judge's ruling."

Also, the decision on whether to appeal had no real effect on Human Services' battle against a budget deficit, said Deputy Secretary Aug Narbutas.

It would be too late for program cuts to save the department any money for the current fiscal year, which ends next Tuesday, he said. Meanwhile, the department is working on a set of cuts that would go through a hearing process and might take effect about September, he said.

The department hasn't settled on a list of proposed cuts, Narbutas said, but added that the Medicaid program could be $65 million or more short next fiscal year. In New Mexico Medicaid, which pays medical bills for some low-income and disabled people, gets almost three-quarters of its money from the federal government.

"There are only two ways to deal with this: to increase revenues or reduce expenditures," Heim told members of the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee Monday. "We most probably will go with another round of cuts.

"We can't avoid being sued, but we hope to avoid losing," he added.

"If we don't find another way to finance Medicaid growth, we're inevitably going to see significant cuts in the Medicaid program," said Sen. Janice Paster, D-Albuquerque. "Medicaid is just eating the general fund up....

"This is a gigantic train wreck--and I think it's coming next legislative session," she said, noting that program costs have grown thirty percent in each of the past two years. "This is a disaster of major proportions."

That is what the newspapers were saying, and there is no question but that the Medicaid program is in deep trouble. All citizens with a concern about this crisis should have an opportunity to be a part of the discussions being conducted by state governments across the country in an effort to find solutions. This case has demonstrated the new legal necessity to insure that no disabled citizens shall be prevented from taking part in the discussion. The Americans with Disabilities Act is no panacea, but in the right hands it is a tool that can help to insure justice.

 

BLIND NO LONGER INCOMPETENT IN OKLAHOMA

From the Editor: I recently received a letter from Eva Chaney, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Oklahoma, which said in part: " ... state laws can happen without the public's ever knowing." The rest of her letter explained what

In Oklahoma there was an Incompetency Law that stated the blind, deaf, mute, or any combination thereof could be declared incompetent based on said physical handicap. No, it wasn't left over from the Dark Ages. It was only enacted in 1980. It has taken the past four years, with great opposition from lawyers, finally to remove this law. Thanks to the hard work of the NFB of Oklahoma and state legislator Betty Boyd this threat no longer exists.

On May 15, 1992, Oklahoma Governor David Walters signed a new law which abolished this injustice. Members of the National Federation of the Blind of Oklahoma were invited to attend this important event. I would advise Federationists throughout the country to check the incompetency laws in their states.

 

SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SUN

by Elizabeth Browne

From the Associate Editor: Dr. Elizabeth Browne has been sharing her thoughts and adventures with Monitor readers for some years now. Last summer she and her husband decided to attend their first NFB convention. Almost everyone finds this a momentous experience, and Dr. Browne is no exception. If you are considering the possibility of joining us in Dallas next summer, this article will be of particular interest to you. Here is what she has to say:

With due respect to the Biblical writer, something new under the sun did occur for me last summer in North Carolina. Early in the spring of 1992, I determined to take the plunge and attend my first national convention of the NFB. I had been a member off and on for years and lately had had the honor of being elected to the Board of the Chicago chapter. All well and good, I thought, but enough's enough! I began considering that I ought to avail myself of the opportunity of going the whole way and attending my first national convention.

Allow me the privilege of a brief explanation. All my life I have been a fighter, spunky, a trouble-maker in some folks' terminology. This stance came readily to me, and I inwardly thought that, with or without others to support me, I could stand up for my rights, which I have done frequently.

All this is true, and my life is more or less a testimony to my philosophy; however, there comes a time in the affairs of every person that the spirit wanes in one's bosom and one looks about for a friendly word of encouragement. I think I had reached this point, for true it is, John Donne, "no man is an island entire of himself," and the same holds for women.

My husband and I reserved airplane tickets and made tentative plans, checking that I would not be signed up to teach summer classes at Loyola University. I was not listed, so our plans quickly developed. Unaware of the magnitude of this undertaking, we took off into the friendly skies and found ourselves in Charlotte, North Carolina.

When in the course of human events has it ever been seen that such an enormous number of blind individuals (almost three thousand of us) gathered together, intent on creating a new society with far more than a meager thousand points of light? Sorry about that, Mr. Bush. Solomon in all his splendor would surely be astounded at such a prodigious event! At least I was. I felt as though I were caught up in the midst of one of those presidential campaign rallies that at times I eagerly watch on TV.

On our very first morning we joined the rapid stream of people surging along with determination and fixed purpose toward the huge convention hall, and we let go and simply let the current take us whither it would.

Unbelievably piercing shouts from human megaphones, NFB barkers, directed us with their "This way to exhibits!" "This way to the convention!" or "The convention is about to be called to order!" I feared loss of hearing if I were inadvertently to pause alongside one of these human amplifiers as we hurried along to the opening session. To myself I said, "That's Ken," and again, "That must be Bryan." Nobody else has a voice like that!

In the hall we met friends and strangers who soon became friends eagerly urging us to sit down and share our adventures in getting to the convention. "Here we are!" the Chicago delegation was calling to us, and I felt at home and joined our own throng, awaiting the speeches, news, and whatever lay ahead.

The events of the convention were well elaborated in the August-September Braille Monitor, and I only hope to share my reaction as an initiate at this baptism, for a baptism of inspiration is precisely what it turned out to be for me.

"Did you enjoy the convention?" Steve Benson, president of the NFB of Illinois, asked me several days after my return. "Well, I think I've about recovered," I began; "I never realized all the things that go on: the exhibits, the discussions, the addresses, the dignitaries from Washington, D.C., the folks from all over the world, the man from Australia, the Federationists from Canada, all those impressive scholarship winners; and I think I may have missed a couple of things that I didn't have time to get to.

"Oh yes, the ball. I was there, too (early, as a matter of fact) with my husband; and we sat and relaxed until--well, that's another story, I'll tell you later."

Aftershock. One thing, however, brought me up short and caused me much reflection. I still ponder its meaning. We passed by the meeting of parents of blind children and picked up a few handouts. One was a questionnaire about how children who are not blind react to a blind parent. I began to reflect on my own experience as a mother of five children, all of them with normal vision. I wondered about them and decided to mail each one a copy to learn something about their reactions and what effects my blindness had had on them as they advanced in age and grace before God and sighted mankind.

I hope to report on my findings on that inquiry, which will be news to me as well as to my husband. I have always felt confident in my life and its arrangement. But in Charlotte I met with something unexpected, something from which I know I will learn.

As the weeks pass, more and more ideas emerge, and I begin to dig more deeply into my impressions and reactions. The writer of Ecclesiastes may have felt that there is nothing new under the sun, but he never had the opportunity of attending the National Federation of the Blind's annual convention.

 

CONVENTION 1993: TEXAS BECKONS

The time has come to plan for the 1993 convention of the National Federation of the Blind. As Federationists know, the 1992 convention in Charlotte was probably the best we have ever had--excellent program, good facilities, and wonderful

We will return to the Dallas-Fort Worth Hyatt Regency, where our spectacular fiftieth anniversary convention was held in 1990. Who can forget the 1950's atmosphere of Sullivan O'Shaughnessy's Restaurant, the barbecue at Bear Creek, or the memorable Texas hospitality? NFB of Texas president Glenn Crosby promises that 1990 was only an opener for the 1993 extravaganza.

As usual, our hotel rates are the envy of all who know about them. For the 1993 convention they are: singles, $31; doubles and twins, $35; triples, $38; and quads, $40. In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at present is twelve percent. There will be no charge for children in the room with parents as long as no extra bed is requested.

In recent years we have sometimes taken hotel reservations through the National Office, but for the 1993 convention you should write directly to: Hyatt-Regency DFW, Post Office Box 619014, International Parkway, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, Texas 75261, or call (214) 453-1234. Hyatt has a national toll-free number, but do not (we emphasize not) use it. Reservations made through this national number will not be valid. They must be made directly with the hotel. The hotel will want a deposit of $40 or a credit card number. If a credit card is used, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately, just as would be the case with a $40 check. If a reservation is canceled prior to June 20, 1993, $20 of the $40 deposit will be returned. Otherwise, refunds will not be made.

Federationists who attended the 1990 convention will remember that the Hyatt Regency DFW is actually located on the property of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and the airport people-mover train makes a stop at the hotel. The facility's 1,300 rooms are divided between two towers connected by a quarter-mile-long corridor. Many of us found that walking between the two towers provided welcome exercise, but if walking is a problem, electric carts are always available to carry guests back and forth. There are four excellent and very different restaurants within the hotel: Il Nonno's, an Italian trattoria, which specializes in northern Italian cuisine and has servers who sing to diners; Sullivan O'Shaughnessy's, which has already been mentioned; and two other fine restaurants. In addition, the bar in the East Tower serves sandwiches and snacks during most of the day.

The 1993 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will be a truly memorable event. Make plans now to be a part of the Federation fun and hard work July 3 to 10. Hotel reservations should be made early. Remember that seminars for parents of blind children and for blind job-seekers, as well as several other workshops and meetings, will be conducted on Saturday, July 3. Convention registration will begin on Sunday, and both Sunday and Monday will be filled with meetings of divisions and committees, including the Monday morning annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind, which is open to all. General convention sessions begin on Tuesday and continue through Friday afternoon. The annual banquet will take place on Thursday evening, July 8.

Remember also that we need door prizes from state affiliates, local chapters, and individuals. Prizes should be relatively small in size and large in value. Cash, of course, is always popular. In any case we ask that all prizes have a value of at least $25. Drawings will be made steadily throughout the convention sessions. As usual, the grand prize at the banquet will be spectacular--absolutely worthy of the occasion and the host affiliate. At Charlotte, for instance, the grand prize was $1000 in cash. Don't miss the fun! You may bring door prizes with you or send them ahead of time to: Lawrence Doiron, 7917 Pointer, Houston, Texas 77016; phone (713) 631-3013.

The displays of new technology; the meetings of special interest groups, committees, and divisions; the fascinating tours (more about them in later issues of the Monitor); the hospitality and renewed friendships; the solid program items; and the general excitement of being where the action is and where the decisions are being made--all these join together to call the blind of the nation back to the Dallas-Fort Worth Hyatt Regency Hotel in 1993. Come and be part of it.

 

RECIPES

From the Associate Editor: The recipes this month come from Florida, which, along with Louisiana, was battered by Hurricane Andrew in late August. Things are still far from normal, but the National Federation of the Blind of Florida conducted an enthusiastic convention in October, and Federationists continue to keep busy helping blind people across the state and rebuilding the lives of those who were affected by the storm. The following is a brief report about the situation in the state written by Wayne Davis, president of the NFB of Florida. Here is what he has to say:

After the Storm
by Wayne Davis

Hurricane Andrew struck hard at the southeast coast of Florida on August 24, leaving thousands of people without homes or jobs. Dr. Jernigan likes to say, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." My wife Carmen got busy right after the hurricane, calling people who might need help. Other chapter members also helped her track down hard-to-find Federationists. She and I worked hand in hand with the Red Cross, hurricane shelters, and our transportation service here in Dade County to provide necessary assistance to blind persons who were victims of the storm.

As state president here in Florida and as president of the Greater Miami chapter of the NFB of Florida, I want to thank Federationists from across our state and from all over the country for your many phone calls and expressions of concern. Several chapter presidents offered to open their homes to us, and our state officers and board members were there for us on a daily basis, making phone calls and offering us their love and support.

Carmen and I have always been proud to be a part of the Federation, but the love and kindness showered on us by members of the NFB after Hurricane Andrew struck is something we will never forget. Andrew was really bad, but President Maurer and Dr. Jernigan, along with many other members, took the time to pick up the phone to remind us that they cared and to see what they could do to help. To us, the National Federation of the Blind is much more than a movement; it is our family.

Dr. Jernigan and President Maurer saw to it that money was sent into our state to provide relief for blind hurricane victims. Our thanks go to everyone who made possible such generous help to blind victims in the wake of Hurricane Andrew.

Here in the Christmas season I am pleased to inform you that slowly but surely Florida is getting back on its feet. As for the blind community, we are also putting our lives back together, and together we are learning a lot about making some of Dr. Jernigan's lemonade out of Andrew's lemons. Merry Christmas from the NFB of Florida.

SPICY SKILLET CHICKEN AND RICE
by Carmen Davis

Carmen Davis is the wife of NFB of Florida president Wayne Davis. She is also a hard-working and dedicated Federationist in her own right.

Ingredients
4 4-ounce chicken breast halves, skinned and boned
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
vegetable cooking spray
3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 10-1/2-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup frozen green peas

Method: Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, paprika, and pepper. Sprinkle over both sides of chicken. Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium heat until hot. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Keep warm. Add remaining salt, sliced mushrooms, and next 5 ingredients to skillet. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then return chicken to skillet. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer over medium-low heat 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in peas, cover, and cook an additional 3 minutes. Makes four servings.

MARINATED FLANK STEAK WITH AVOCADO CHILI BUTTER
by Carmen Davis

Ingredients:
1 cup Tequila
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 small flank steak (1 and 1/2 pounds)
Avocado chili butter:
1 ripe avocado, peeled and seeded
1 4-ounce can green chilies, chopped and drained
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
pinch ground red pepper

Method: Combine Tequila, lime peel, garlic, pepper, and salt in a large shallow glass dish. Add steak and turn to coat. Cover and marinate one hour, turning once.

Avocado chili butter: Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender until smooth. Makes 1 and 1/3 cups.

Preheat broiler and broiler pan. Remove steak from marinade and broil 4 inches from heat ten minutes for medium-rare, turning once after five minutes. Transfer to serving platter and let stand five minutes. Serve with avocado chili butter. Makes six servings.

MICROWAVE BROWNIES
by Carmen Davis

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (one stick) butter or margarine, softened
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
confectioners sugar

Method: Grease a 9-inch square microwave-proof baking dish. Mix sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives used scissor- fashion until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk eggs, oil, and vanilla until blended. Stir into cocoa mixture with spatula (50 strokes). Spread dough in prepared dish. Microwave on medium 5 minutes, turning halfway through. Rotate dish and microwave on high 2 and 1/2 to 3 minutes until center is just firm to the touch. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar, or the following topping. Cool on wire rack. Cut into 2 and 1/4-inch squares. Makes 16 brownies.

Confetti Topping ingredients:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup candy-coated chocolate candies
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

To create topping, sprinkle top of brownies with chips and marshmallows. Microwave on high 30 seconds, then sprinkle with candy-coated chocolates and nuts.

 

MONITOR MINIATURES

** A Gift in Good Taste:

The NFB of Wisconsin asks that we carry the following announcement:

Imagine a food perfect for today's lifestyles. It would be great tasting, nutritious, all-natural, and ready to eat in an instant. Wisconsin's been making that food for more than a century. It's cheese! No other food comes in so many tempting varieties. It's a part of so many of our favorite meals from breakfast to a late-night snack. Cheese is a natural for today's healthy and hectic lifestyles. The goodness of milk is concentrated when making cheese--ten pounds of milk are needed to create one pound of most varieties. Cheese is a natural dairy product, rich in calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients.

The Wisconsin Gift Cheese Box contains NFB literature along with one pound of delicious Wisconsin colby cheese and two pounds of America's favorite Wisconsin cheddar cheese, two eight-ounce boxes of no-salt Groft's crackers--one of wheat and the other of garlic. These items are contained in a box with Holstein cows on the outside. A Wisconsin Gift Cheese Box will make a wonderful Christmas gift--definitely a gift in good taste for family and friends.

Send your prepaid order of $19.95 within the continental United States to: Wisconsin Gift Cheese Box, 1612 Winnebago Street, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601. For orders outside the continental United States add $20.00 per box. Payment can be made with check or money order with checks payable to the National Federation of the Blind of Wisconsin.

**New Baby:

From the Editor: Those attending the 1991 National Federation of the Blind convention will remember Ehab and Sabrina Yamini and their children. Ehab appeared on the program and talked about his beekeeping and honey business. Ehab called me today (October 8) to tell me that on September 30, 1992, he became the proud father of a baby girl, Ruby Clara Muhammad Yamini, who weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces. He told me that this was child number thirteen and that, who knows, it might be the last. Ehab, who is a past president of the NFB of Georgia, not only works as a beekeeper but is also the masseur at the Cable News Network (CNN) building. He says that anyone who wishes to contact him about puchasing honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, or other such products, should contact him by calling (404) 577-9079 or writing him at CNN Center, 954 Byron Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30310.

**For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement: I have for sale an Arkenstone Reader with 300 DPI flat-bed scanner, daughter card, documentation in print and on disk, and connection cable. I am asking $2,000.

I also have for sale two 40-characters-per-second VersaPoint Braille printers. One is three years old; the other is four. They use continuous feed paper (narrow and wide), print sideways, and do graphics. They are both in excellent condition. I am asking $2,200 for one, and $2,000 for the other. If interested, call Kathy Buckley at (617) 731-0179.

**Elected:

Patricia Tussing, Secretary of the NFB of Indiana, writes to report that at its recent annual convention the affiliate elected John Stroot, Barbara Schmidt, and Harold Bradley to the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind of Indiana.

**Federation on Parade:

Fourteen members of the Elmore County Chapter of the NFB of Idaho took part on September 12 in the Air Force Appreciation Day in Mountain Home, Idaho. Ramona Walhof, president of the NFB of Idaho, and Margaret Martinez, president of the Elmore County chapter, were driven in a Corvette convertible along the parade route; other chapter members marched and carried signs. Marian Grimmett (age five) was the youngest marcher, and her cane technique was a great advertisement for early introduction to the white cane.

**Welcome To Our Table Now on Tape:

In the October, 1992, issue of the Braille Monitor we announced the publication of a cookbook entitled Welcome to Our Table, compiled by the Kanawha Valley Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia. Carolyn Ranker recently wrote to say that the cassette edition of the book is now available. The four-track cassette edition is now available for $6. Checks should be made payable to KVCNFBWV and sent to Mr. Ed Greenleaf, 502 Piccadilly, Charleston, West Virginia 25302.

**Searching:

We have been asked to print the following:

I would like to buy a cassette player/recorder which handles both normal and half-speed cassettes and has a built-in short wave radio. The only one I know about is the JVC Loc-Toc-30 cassette unit. If anyone is interested in selling this or any other model with these features, I would like to buy it for my mother. I am willing to pay top dollar for a unit in good condition. Please call (718) 474-0863, or write to Sergio L. Fonseca, P.O. Box 155, Rockaway Park, New York 11694.

**Growing and Multiplying:

David Schuh, one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Wisconsin, wrote recently to report the following:

On September 19, 1992, the Northcentral Wisconsin Chapter of the NFB of Wisconsin conducted its first election since it was organized two years ago. The officers elected were David Schuh, president; Connie Miller, vice president; Dennis Schuh, Treasurer; and Rhonda Baranowski, secretary. Since its founding the chapter has kept its members busy hosting a state convention, donating money and time to the NFB at the national and state level, writing letters and making phone calls to legislators regarding issues that concern blind people, working to pass Wisconsin's Braille Bill, and sending members to national conventions and the Washington Seminar. Four days after the election, on September 23, Dennis Schuh, treasurer, and Margie Schuh, member of the board, became the proud parents of a baby boy named Anthony John Schuh. Anthony weighed six pounds and fifteen ounces and was twenty inches long. As you can see, everyone in the Northcentral Wisconsin Chapter is busy and happy.

That's what David Schuh reported, and we say congratulations to the chapter for its growth and hard work, and congratulations also to Dennis and Margie Schuh on the birth of their son.

**Inquiry:

We have been asked to carry the following inquiry:

How can the visual display screen messages of a music synthesizer be converted into audible speech? Please send suggestions in print, Braille, or on cassette to Suleman Currim, 797 Jane Street, Suite 502, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA M6N 4B8; or call (416) 766-7777.

**For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Apple IIe Enhanced computer system in excellent condition. Included are 10-meg hard drive, two 5.25-inch floppy drives, the Echo Plus speech card, a printer, a modem, and much more. Also included are all manuals (in print) and many, many talking disks--games, applications, the Bible, Sensible Speller, etc. Price, $500 negotiable. Call Morgan Jones days, evenings, or weekends at (914) 255-1254, Eastern time; no collect calls, please.

**Mount Rushmore Moves to Washington, D.C.:

David and Ron Stowe, co-owners of Classic Casting, Inc., of Olathe, Kansas, recently presented an accurate sculptural representation of the four Mount Rushmore presidential carvings to the National Park Service for display at the Headquarters of the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. A similar sculpture is available for tactile study in the Visitors Center at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota.

**Large-Note Collections of Piano Music Now Available: The director of marketing for CPP/Belwin, Inc., has written to announce that two collections of large-note piano music are now available, and a third should be in production by the end of the year. "Through the Years, Golden Standards" and "All Time Christmas Favorites" are now available at $9.95 a copy. Coming soon is "America's Favorite Songs, A Community Songbook." These books are attractively compiled and include large-print lyrics as well as large-note music. For more information contact CPP/ Belwin, Inc., P.O. Box 4340, Hialeah, Florida 33014-9969. Make checks payable to Music Ventures, and include $2 for postage and handling in addition to the $9.95 per book. Credit-card orders can be placed by calling (800) 628-1528.

**Job Available:

Catlin Donnelly of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind has asked us to carry the following job announcement:

Wanted, an Executive Director/CEO. A dynamic, visionary leader and proven administrator is needed to revitalize an established agency which provides an array of community and residential services to blind and visually impaired individuals and multiply disabled children and adults. Demonstrated skill in strategic planning, management, and fund raising are necessary, as well as team building, excellent communication and fiscal skills, and proven ability to manage change in complex environments. Experience working with the blind and disabled would be helpful; sensitivity to clients' needs is a must. Salary is competitive. Send application information to Executive Director Search Committee, Massachusetts Association for the Blind, P.O. Box 2370, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02239.

**South Carolina Continues to Grow:

We recently received the following communication from Don Capps, president of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina. Here is what he says:

At the recent state convention I announced that it is the goal of the NFB of SC to have a chapter in all of the 46 counties of the state by the year 2000. Another significant step has been taken to achieve this goal. Tuesday evening, September 29, the Chesterfield County Chapter of the NFB of SC was organized. This new chapter becomes the 38th chapter of the NFB of SC, which has realized phenomenal growth in 1992. This year five county-wide Federation chapters have been organized throughout the state, including chapters in Hampton County, Berkeley County, Bamberg County, Chesterfield County, and the former Hartsville chapter which was reorganized to include Darlington County. Several weeks ago NFB of SC treasurer Parnell Diggs made an exploratory trip to the Chesterfield County area to make some initial inquiries. Since that time, Betty and I have made three trips travelling throughout Chesterfield County. Our second vice president, Frank Coppel, also worked in Chesterfield County. A long time associate member, Louise Gulledge, lives in Chesterfield and was tremendously helpful in this organizing process. The organizing dinner took place at Saint Paul's United Methodist Church in downtown Chesterfield. The new chapter has an excellent president. He is Ken Rape, who owns an auto repair shop in Pageland. To the best of my knowledge, Ken is the only totally blind person in South Carolina who both owns and operates an auto repair business, personally doing the repair work. When I called on Ken on Monday, September 28th, he was working on the engine of a 1984 Chrysler New Yorker. The other officers are vice president Jerome Sellers, secretary Dalphine Sellers, and treasurer Algie Sellers. The chapter will have good leadership. The NFB of SC family now has 41 important entities, including 38 chapters and 3 statewide divisions.

**New Cassette Newsletter:

Janiece Betker, an active member of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota and an author of books about the family and parenting, writes to announce plans to begin a cassette newsletter about relationships. Here is what she says:

Have you been perplexed and amazed at the vagaries of human relationships? Have you had experiences or solved relationship problems in ways that might help others? Are there issues you would like others to help you with? If so, we invite you to join our interactive newsletter by sending for your free introductory cassette. Send us your name and address with your phone number, if you wish, in Braille or on cassette if possible. (Print can be managed, but your request will be delayed a few days.) Send to Pipeline, c/o Janiece Betker, 1886 29th Avenue, N.W., New Brighton, Minnesota 55122, or call (612) 631-2909, leaving a message with your name and address.

Help make this newsletter a great success. We want your views in your own voice for our first issue.

**Pen Friend Wanted:

Lorri Riddle has asked that we carry the following announcement:

Are you a newly-accomplished Braille reader? So am I. I am looking for pen pals. If you are interested, please contact Lorri Riddle, 402 Fourth Avenue, East Twin Falls, Idaho 83301.

**Rozek's Now in Format for the Blind:

We have been asked to print the following:

Rozek's, the Seattle-based newsletter written and edited by veteran magazine journalist Michael Rozek, is now available in three formats for blind readers. The eight-page bimonthly publication, each issue of which features a 7,000-word-plus profile of a remarkable American, is being offered in Braille, large-print, and audio cassette editions. Rozek's features no advertising, illustrations, or photographs--placing its emphasis instead on pure text. Subjects for recent or upcoming stories include Jonathon Storm, one of the world's most accomplished nature sound recordists; Dave Nemo, host of the most popular late-night radio show in the U.S. geared for truck drivers; Kathy Casey, one of America's top young chefs; and Leslie Muth, a Santa Fe-based gallery owner and expert on American folk art.

Rozek's currently has subscribers in thirty states and is planning Japanese and Russian editions to be distributed overseas in 1993.

Subscriptions to Rozek's are $10 for a year of six issues ($18 for two years) and can be obtained by sending a check or money order to Rozek's, 3424 10th Avenue West, Seattle, Washington 98119. Please specify Braille, large print, or audio cassette format.

**Hoping to Buy:

Eldridge Hardy has written to say that he would like to purchase a V-tek closed circuit television system from anyone interested in selling one. He can be reached at Route 1, Box 33, Tyler, Alabama; or by telephone on weekends only at (205) 875- 6248.

**Elected:

Steve Benson, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, writes to report that the results of the affiliate's October 11, 1992, election were as follows: president, Stephen O. Benson; first vice president, Cathy Randall; second vice president, Tony Burda; secretary, Ruth Isaacs; Treasurer, Robert Randall; and board members, Bill Isaacs, Don Hert, Bill Reif, and Mary Jo Seiler.

**New Parents Division Organized:

Peggy Pinder, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, writes to report the following:

Parents of blind children are becoming more involved in the NFB throughout the United States. These children are our future, and we welcome them and their parents into our Federation family. We are proud to announce the formation of a new chapter in Iowa, the Iowa Parents of Blind Children Division of the NFB of Iowa. The following officers were elected: Deb Smith, president; Bennie Elsey, vice president; Rocky Smith, treasurer; and Kim Brown, secretary. The first meeting was held on September 19, 1992, with NFB of Iowa president Peggy Pinder in attendance.

**For Sale:

We have been asked to print the following:

I want to sell a Compaq 8086 portable computer with a 22 mega-byte hard drive. RAM is 512K, which can be upgraded. The price is $800 or best offer. I am also selling a VertPlus voice card. Even though the card is a 1985 model, I have the latest software to run it. The price for the VertPlus is $1,095 or best offer.

The voice card is presently installed in the computer. I can sell them together or separately. The hard drive includes many software programs, such as WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, dBase, Multimate, and many more.

Interested parties may contact Luis E. Thorin, 2655 Colfax Ave., South, 203, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408.

**World Series Baseball Computer Game Update Now Available:

We have been asked to print the following:

The 1993 update of the award-winning World Series Baseball Game and Information System is now ready. (WSBB is played on IBM- compatible computers with screen readers and synthesizers.) The update will include three new information programs: a baseball quiz, a history of baseball, and a new leaders program that displays the leaders in all important statistical categories for every year. Nine new teams have been added, making the total eighty-three. Six are for franchises which have not had a pennant winner, including the two Canadian teams. A squeeze play and a steal of home have been added. WSBB is now being played in thirty-nine states and three foreign countries. Cost of the update is still only $5. For new users, cost for the entire game and system is $15. Send your check to Harry Hollingsworth, 692 South Sheraton Drive, Akron, Ohio 44319, or call (216) 644-2421.

**Wisconsin Convention:

We recently received the following report from Bonnie Peterson, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Wisconsin:

The 1992 convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Wisconsin was held at the Best Western Hotel in Green Bay on October 2-4. The election of officers was as follows: Bonnie Peterson, president; Linda Mentink, first vice-president; Kathleen Sebranek, second vice-president; Jodi Cowle, secretary; Larry Sebranek, treasurer; and Deb Jacobson and David Schuh, board members.

A charter of affiliation was presented to our new La Crosse chapter. The La Crosse chapter in only 195 days has started Braille classes in the area, met with their congressman to eliminate the National Commission on Blindness, had a chicken barbecue fund raiser, and brought warmth and dedication to the National Federation of the Blind. La Crosse chapter officers are: Larry Sebranek, president; Doris Selke, vice president; Steve Johnson, secretary; Kathleen Sebranek, treasurer; and Lucy Ruege and Juanita Phillips, board members.

**Everywhere: The vital work of the National Federation of the Blind is sometimes found in unusual places. Sooner or later the influence of the organized blind movement will be found everywhere.

A nationally distributed flier for the Catholic Church entitled "Ten Commandments: Our Church Week" for September 27, 1992, has an important message about Braille and the blind printed on the back. Included in the message is:

The Lord Gives Sight to the Blind

Kansas State Representative Dick Edlund sponsored a law that ensures every blind child has the chance to learn Braille. He knew that Braille, a tactile reading system, is essential to a blind person's independence and success. Not teaching a legally blind child to read Braille is the same as refusing to teach a sighted child to read print. Dick Edlund knew all this because he happens to be blind.

If you or a friend would like 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, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, a District of Columbia nonprofit 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."