Future Reflections Jan/ Feb/March 1985, Vol. 4 No. 1

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THE NFB PARENTS OF BLIND CHILDREN: MOVING AND DOING

by Frank Smith, First Vice-President, POBC

The 1984 annual meeting of the Parents of Blind Children Division (POBC) in Phoenix, Arizona was an extremely productive one. In addition to a very informative program, the Division voted to launch some exciting projects. One of those projects was the national Braille Readers are Leaders contest. The contest was announced in the last issue and is co-sponsored by the POBC Division and by the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB). So far as we know, this is the ONLY time such a contest has been attempted. The response has been very positive and we expect a large participation.

POBC also decided to establish a parents network. This is simply a way knowledgeable parents or blind federationists around the country can reach out and help other parents of blind children. Problems could range from the need for simple information -- i.e. information about services for the blind or the school systems in a particular local -- to more complex questions, such as; We feel our son's teacher is not expecting enough of him. What should we do? Or; Should we send our daughter to the residential school or to our local public school? For more information about the network contact POBC president, Susan Ford, 3241 Walter Ave., St. Louis, MO 63143 (314) 644-1121. Parents should call when they have problems or questions we can help solve. They should also call and share resources, information and ideas that can be passed on to other parents.

Another project we are excited about is our Slate Mate program. This is a Braille pen-pal program for blind children. Because of circumstances, it is not always easy for a blind child to meet other blind kids of a similar age with similar interests. Our Slate-Mate program will help match children who want to correspond in Braille.

This program will be co-sponsored by the Albuquerque Public Schools and our POBC. Fred Schroeder, Director of Albuquerque Low Incidence Program, will coordinate it. If you are interested or want more information write to:

Slate-Mates
Fred Schroeder, Director
Low Incidence Program
District Diagnostic Center
2700 Arizona North East
Albuquerque, NM 87110

Our final project for the year was to write and distribute a brochure describing our POBC division. This has been done and the brochure is re-printed in this article.

The 1985 POBC meeting will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, again in conjunction with our NFB annual convention. We are also cosponsoring the Seminar on the Education of the Blind. (See announcement elsewhere in this issue). The seminar will be held all day Saturday, June 29th and the POBC Division meeting will be held Monday, July 1 from 1-5 p.m. We invite FUTURE REFLECTION readers to join us for the seminar, our POBC Division meeting, and our annual NFB Convention. We know you'll be glad you did.

PARENTS OF BLIND CHILDREN Division of the National Federation of the Blind -- A National Organization

WHAT IS THE NFB PARENTS OF BLIND CHILDREN DIVISION (POBC) ?

POBC is a national consumer organization of parents and friends of blind children reaching out to each other to give vital support, encouragement and information.

WHO CAN JOIN THE PARENTS OF BLIND CHILDREN DIVISION?

Parents, relatives, educators, blind adults and anyone interested in promoting opportunities for blind children may join. Local parent support groups are also welcome to affiliate with Parents of Blind Children Division.

Although membership is open to those other than parents, the control and focus of POBC remains with parents.

WHAT DOES THE PARENTS OF BLIND CHILDREN DIVISION DO?

POBC is working to achieve these goals:

1. To create a climate of opportunity for blind children in home and society
2. To provide information and support to parents of blind children
3. To facilitate the sharing of experience and concerns among parents of blind children
4. To develop and expand resources available to parents and their blind children
5. To help parents of blind children gain understanding and perspective through partnership and contact with blind adults
6. To function as an integralpart of the National Federation of the Blind in its ongoing effort to eliminate discrimination and prejudice against the blind and to achieve for the blind security, equality and opportunity

In order to accomplish these goals, Parents of Blind Children has sponsored or promoted national, state and local workshops for parents; monitored national legislation affecting our children's present and future opportunities; distributed free literature about blindness; cosponsors a national Braille reading contest, and provided information, advice, support and independent evaluations for parents seeking the best services for their child. Many other exciting projects (such as a pen-pal program for blind children, and a national parent network system) are also being implemented.

WHA T IS DIFFERENT ABO UT THE PARENTS OF BLIND CHILDREN DIVISION?

POBC has the unique advantage of being a part of the largest consumer organization of the blind in the country --The National Federation of the Blind. There is no other organization of parents of blind children that can claim this distinction.

This relationship provides parents within POBC a number of advantages:

Parents can learn about blindness from the only real experts -- the organized blind. Parents have at their disposal the collective knowledge, wisdom and resources of the oldest, largest national organization of the blind in the country.

Blind children can learn, through personal contact with blind adults, that it is respectable to be blind. Society's attitudes about blindness are still so overwhelmingly negative that it is not unusual for a blind child (even with the most supportive parents) to feel shame and resentment about her blindness. Regular and consistent exposure to a variety of competent, normal blind adults can do wonders for a blind child's confidence and self-esteem.

HOW CAN I JOIN THE PARENTS OF BLIND CHILDREN DIVISION?

Parents of Blind Children dues are $1.00 per person, per year. If you are not already a member of the NFB, these dues also include membershipatlarge in the National Federation of the Blind. To join, just fill out and mail in the following membership application form on this brochure.

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