Release Date: 
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind and Louisiana Tech Launch National Reading Media Assessment

Assessment to Determine Best Reading Medium for Blind Students

Baltimore, Maryland (November 15, 2012): The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the United States and the leading advocate for Braille literacy, today announced that its National Reading Media Assessment (NRMA) is now available. Developed and tested over a three-year period in collaboration with the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University, the NRMA is the first nationally validated assessment of its kind for youth with low vision. The assessment was developed to determine the most appropriate reading medium for students who are blind or have low vision, to ensure that the reading medium is appropriately identified both for current and future need, and to ensure that student success is not hampered by incorrect identification of literacy needs.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Many young students today with visual impairments are not classified as blind and as such do not receive training in the proper reading medium. For instance, far too many students with low vision are mistakenly taught to read large print instead of Braille and end up functionally illiterate. The NRMA aims to change this harmful trend and ensure that every student with a visual impairment receives training in the proper reading medium and is set on the path to future success.”

Dr. Edward Bell, principal investigator of the research, said: “The primary findings from our assessment showed 14 percent more youth as needing Braille than prior assessments, and 36 percent more youth as needing Braille than who are actually getting it. Clearly this new approach is sorely needed in order to improve the education of blind children.”

To learn more or participate in the National Reading Media Assessment, please visit

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