THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Vol. 46, No. 4 April 2003
Barbara Pierce, Editor
Published in inkprint, in Braille, and on cassette by
THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
MARC MAURER, PRESIDENT
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Web site address: http://www.nfb.org
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National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND IS NOT AN ORGANIZATION
SPEAKING FOR THE BLIND--IT IS THE BLIND SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES
Louisville Site of 2003 NFB Convention!
The 2003 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will take place in Louisville, Kentucky, June 28-July 5. We will conduct the convention at the Galt House Hotel and the Galt House East Tower, a first-class convention hotel. The Galt House Hotel, familiarly called the Galt House West, is at 140 N. Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202. The Galt House East Tower, or Galt House East, is at 141 N. Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202. Room rates for this year's convention are excellent: singles, doubles, and twins $57 and triples and quads $63 a night, plus tax. The hotel is accepting reservations now. A $60-per-room deposit is required to make a reservation. Fifty percent of the deposit will be refunded if notice is given to the hotel of a reservation cancellation before June 1, 2003. The other 50 percent is not refundable. For reservations call the hotel at (502) 589‑5200.
Rooms will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations may be made to secure these rooms before June 1, 2003, assuming that rooms are still available. After that time the hotel will not hold the block of rooms for the convention. In other words, you should get your reservation in soon.
Our overflow hotel is the Hyatt Regency at 320 W. Jefferson Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202, phone (502) 587‑3434.
Those who attended the 2002 convention can testify to the gracious hospitality of the Galt House. This hotel has excellent restaurants, first-rate meeting space, and other top-notch facilities. It is in downtown Louisville, close to the Ohio River and only seven miles from the Louisville Airport.
The 2003 convention will follow what many think of as our usual schedule:
Saturday, June 28Seminar Day
Sunday, June 29 Registration Day
Monday, June 30 Board Meeting and Division Day
Tuesday, July 1Opening Session
Wednesday, July 2 Tour Day
Thursday, July 3 Banquet Day
Friday, July 4Business Session
Plan to be in Louisville;
The action of the convention will be there!
Vol. 46, No. 4 April 2003
Federal Appeals Court Rules against Mandated Described TV
by Chris Danielsen
Effective Dialogue in Albuquerque: A Positive Beginning
by Melody Lindsey
Blazing a Trail
by Carissa Richards
Getting Around Downtown Louisville
by Dennis Franklin
Touch the Universe: A Review
by Carol Castellano
Laptop Computers and Electronic Notetakers for the Blind:
by Curtis Chong
2003 Convention Attractions
Schedule of NOPBC-Sponsored Events for Parents,
Teachers, and Youth at the 2003 NFB Convention
by Barbara Cheadle
UPS Delivers More Than Parcels: Braille Readers Are Leaders Celebrates 20th Anniversary
by Sandy Halverson
Dialysis at National Convention
by Ed Bryant
Copyright © 2003 National Federation of the Blind
At the end of February the National Center for the Blind was the site of lots of leadership activity. On February 25 a group of interested people from the LEADERship Program of the Greater Baltimore Committee spent the day learning a bit about blindness skills during the Baltimore Leadership Transformation Seminar. They were introduced to cane travel, Braille, and techniques of daily living, all under sleepshades. The following day a group of Federationists from across the country arrived to begin a four-day leadership seminar. Community leaders learning about blindness and blind people learning about leadership--both are frequent activities at the National Center for the Blind.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Members of Baltimore's leadership community pour water under sleepshades.]
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Members of the most recent NFB leadership seminar are seated in President Maurer's office, listening to what he is saying.]
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Chris Danielsen]
Federal Appeals Court Rules against Mandated Described TV
by Chris Danielsen
From the Editor: One of the NFB's policies which has most frequently been willfully misunderstood and misrepresented by our opponents has been our position on described television. Video description of films, plays, and other public events or forms of entertainment is a service that some blind people like very much and others are more or less indifferent to. We have therefore taken no stand against such efforts and, in fact, helped to ensure that one of the Clinton inaugurations was described for the television audience.
We have always said that, since some people enjoy described television, we are pleased whenever the entertainment industry decides to create a program or series including description on the secondary audio channel. We have been far more insistent that on-screen print crawls or identification and information be voiced, since the absence of this material clearly deprives all viewers unable to read the print of the information provided to those who can read the small print. Moreover, it seems obvious to us that requiring the articulation of this material is a clear, achievable goal that demands a one-time modification in production equipment leading to complete access for blind and illiterate viewers.
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) did not agree with our position and ruled that the major networks must begin describing some prime-time and children's entertainment programming. This decision has now been overturned in the appeals court, and our position has been vindicated. Chris Danielsen is a practicing attorney in South Carolina and a leader of the NFB of South Carolina. In the following article he describes what has been happening in the described-television battle and places it in perspective. This is what he says:
In 1989 Boston public television station WGBH began describing some of its programming on the air using the Second Audio Program (SAP) channel. The SAP feature was included on televisions and videocassette recorders so that additional soundtracks could be run to various programs, usually in foreign languages. The narrated descriptions (accurately denominated described television and not descriptive video) provided by WGBH filled in pauses in dialogue or commentary in a given program to provide the blind and visually impaired with a sense of what was taking place on the screen.
How much description was enough and when it became an annoyance has never been satisfactorily settled. Some people, usually those who have lost sight recently, yearn for details of costume, scenery, and characters' expression and gestures. Those used to drawing conclusions about these things from the dialogue or ignoring them as superfluous have always wanted otherwise silent plot pivots only. In a very real sense there is no good way to satisfy the entire video-description audience, but the drift from the beginning seems to have been steadily toward including more information, even sometimes data not available to the sighted audience.
In any case WGBH later expanded its description service to other public television stations and established the Descriptive Video Service (DVS). In 1992 the service began describing Hollywood movies on home video, and its efforts on that front were embraced by the blind community and became known as descriptive video. To be sure, some felt that such narration was not intrinsic to the enjoyment of filmed entertainment, but then those with such views could simply leave the SAP channel off and weren't required to purchase DVS's special home videos, which in any case didn't require use of the SAP feature.
Many of us in the Federation have enjoyed films and television programs described by DVS. In particular the description of Hollywood movies can be a real enhancement to certain films where long sequences with no dialogue make it difficult for a blind viewer to follow the action. The National Federation of the Blind supported DVS in its efforts to describe Hollywood films. Since 1992 DVS Home Video has had a place in the exhibit hall at our national conventions, and usually a screening of one of the service's new releases is included on the convention agenda. Those who want to attend the screenings do so; those who don't enjoy them do not. But because demand for video description in film or on television was by no means universal among the blind, the Federation never felt the need to push for legislation mandating provision of this service for either medium.
While the NFB has generally viewed described entertainment as enjoyable and useful to some, DVS has always viewed itself and its mission in more glowing terms. Its advertising campaigns (some of which were protested by NFB members) and literature have often implied that the life of a blind person is simply not complete without a descriptive soundtrack added to television programming. One ad went so far as to portray a blind man sitting in the dark, facing away from his television set with no companion but his cat. The implication was not only that the blind do not enjoy television without description, but that we lead lonely, unproductive lives that can be enhanced only by providing descriptions of television programs so that we will have something to brighten our dull existence.
Needless to say, Federationists have never adopted that position towards described television. To put the matter bluntly, blind people have much larger concerns than whether they can follow the action on a prime-time television program. The high unemployment rate among working-age blind people, the falling Braille literacy rate among blind children, and the plight of blind seniors unable to get the independence training that would keep them out of nursing homes come immediately to mind.
But DVS has had allies in its quest to make described TV a right rather than a privilege. The American Council of the Blind and others have decried the lack of described programming on network television. Apparently the chorus eventually grew loud enough that Congress asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to study the feasibility of adding description to network television programming.
While the version of the act that emerged from the U.S. House of Representatives authorized the FCC to promulgate regulations for the description of television programming, the law which ultimately emerged from the Congress and was signed by President Clinton did not authorize such regulations. The version of the Telecommunications Act that ultimately went into the books did authorize the FCC to promulgate regulations mandating the provision of closed captioning for deaf viewers, but only authorized the body to issue a report on video description. This distinction made sense since closed captioning is a literal rendering of the spoken word and no more, while video description turns strictly visual information into words not created or even intended by the original writer.
The FCC issued the report requested by Congress, which stated that "the best course is . . . to continue to collect information and monitor the deployment of video description and the development of standards for new video technologies that are likely to affect the availability of video description." But like Alice in Wonderland, the FCC didn't follow its own good advice and in 1999 issued a notice of proposed rule-making (the initial step in jumping through the hoops that federal agencies set themselves when they promulgate regulations) that would require broadcasters to include descriptions in their programming.
The FCC had apparently concluded that described television would be beneficial to blind viewers. As the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit would note later, "The FCC primarily based this conclusion on the American Council [of] the Blind's submission, which contained more than 250 e-mails and letters of support for the rules." Not surprisingly, the FCC ignored comments from the National Federation of the Blind, as well as from other blind Americans which set forth the very good reasons for opposing mandated description of entertainment programming on TV and instead supported our position that blind people would be better served by a mandate that required articulation of text printed on the television screen.
A few comments on the rationale for this position are in order here. There are many differences between television, sometimes referred to as the small screen, and the type of entertainment provided in Hollywood films shown in theaters--the so-called big screen. For one thing, the small screen, being more intimate, does not lend itself to the kind of visual extravagance which Hollywood likes to splash across the cinematic screen in the blockbuster films it releases. While television programming does include pauses in dialogue where visual action is taking place, they are typically neither as frequent nor as long as those in a Hollywood action adventure film.
The other major difference between the Hollywood screen and the television screen is the type of message the two media are used to convey. For the most part movies are provided for our entertainment and diversion, a way to escape the realities of daily life and to follow a good story presented in spectacular visual style. This is not to say that theatrical releases don't address serious subjects or that they cannot make us think and feel and edify us in certain ways. However, the movie theater is primarily a place for us to be entertained. Television, on the other hand, is a medium which conveys information as well as entertainment. All of the major broadcast networks, many cable channels, and local television stations provide information to their viewers in various forms. Newscasts are the most common; the major networks and their local affiliates carry them regularly, and cable stations like CNN and MSNBC provide news exclusively.
When television does provide entertainment, it nonetheless still has a mandate, by law and by simple morality, to inform its viewers of events happening in the community that may pose a threat to them or require urgent action. For that reason TV stations often superimpose upon prefabricated programming information such as weather bulletins warning of severe weather, ranging from thunderstorms to tornados.
Printing text on the screen is a quick and easy way to provide urgent information to viewers without requiring the intervention of a news anchor. But such information, when provided in that form, is totally inaccessible to blind viewers. At best a blind viewer will hear a tone or other signal indicating that important information is being displayed but may have no way of finding out what that information is. While blind viewers might get the information from other sources, such as radio broadcasts, the immediacy of the information provided on the television screen is denied us.
In addition to the textual information provided in emergency situations, other informational programming also routinely uses on-screen text as a way to convey all or part of the information being presented. News programs, for example, often include brief excerpts of interviews or sound bites in their reports on various subjects. The practice in newscasting is for the name and title, if any, of the speaker to be displayed at the bottom of the screen while his or her comments are being broadcast. In such situations a blind viewer has no way of knowing who is speaking or what it is about the speaker that makes what he or she has to say important or relevant to the news report being viewed. Other information such as the latest details in breaking news events, sports scores, and events in the viewer's community, also routinely appears on TV screens without any audible commentary or other indication that the information is being presented.
Even advertisements often contain textual information; in some commercials text on the screen is the only way to know what's being advertised or, in the case of specialty products, the address or phone number one needs in order to get them. Such information may not be absolutely necessary to all blind viewers, but a blind viewer who's interested in the product in question is definitely placed at a disadvantage.
For this reason the NFB opposed the mandating of described TV by the Federal Communications Commission. We argued by resolutions adopted at our conventions in 1996, 2000, and 2001 that description of entertainment programming should not be mandated. Instead, we argued, the FCC should focus on textual information presented on the screen that was otherwise inaccessible to blind viewers and should require that all such text be simultaneously voiced using the secondary audio channel. Translating text into audio form is at least as simple as translating audible dialogue into text. With the widespread use of digital speech technology, it would be easier than ever before for the television networks to broadcast such text over another audio channel. The blind would have something we actually need, as opposed to something we might perhaps enjoy.
Nevertheless, the FCC went beyond its congressional mandate and not only produced a report on described TV but mandated that it be provided, while not mentioning mandatory voicing of the text printed on the screen, as sought by the Federation. The FCC specifically mandated that the major broadcast networks provide up to fifty hours of described programming per quarter in either prime-time or children's programming by the spring of 2002.
Realizing that it would need to hire people to accomplish this task and therefore take a hit to the pocketbook, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), a lobbying organization for television and movie producers, immediately filed a petition with the United States Court for the District of Columbia opposing the mandate. In addition the MPAA, which is incidentally also responsible for the content-based rating of Hollywood movies, was concerned with the First-Amendment implications of the new regulation. After all, however noble the intent, described TV requires an alteration in the way the program is presented that its creators didn't plan or necessarily intend.
We in the Federation, through our duly elected leaders, saw a good opportunity to speak to what the blind really needed as opposed to what some of us might like. In addition there was a real danger that, if a court decision came down against the FCC’s position that was too broadly worded, we might never see the commission or any other entity ever address the issue of requiring on-screen text. So the Federation filed its own petition with the D.C. District Court and a subsequent brief to the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, opposing the FCC mandate of described TV but specifically stating that the NFB believed the commission could and should legitimately mandate that on-screen text also be provided audibly.
The entrance of the Federation into the described-TV litigation sent our detractors from various quarters into hysterics. The American Council of the Blind publicly attacked and ridiculed the NFB, and e-mails from its executive director, Charlie Crawford, blatantly mischaracterized our position. It was said that we were opposed not only to described TV but to the efforts of DVS to describe Hollywood movies in theaters and on home video--something which the NFB has never opposed in any way.
Some also claimed that the NFB was taking a position contrary to that held by most of its members, who watched described programming. Again, not true--one can enjoy described programming and films and still not believe that the Federal government should use its power to mandate that they be produced. Members of the ACB and other blind people in favor of described TV attacked the NFB's position, even on e-mail lists owned and operated by this organization. Needless to say, spurious name-calling was included in these campaigns, and venomous personal attacks on President Maurer and other national leaders spewed forth.
The brief submitted on behalf of the Federation by Daniel F. Goldstein and Joshua N. Auerbach of the Baltimore law firm of Brown, Goldstein, and Levy, which has often assisted the Federation in legal matters, pointed out two fundamental problems with the FCC's reasoning in adopting rules mandating the description of entertainment programming on television. First, we argued, the FCC's regulation was "arbitrary and capricious" because the commission simply assumed that described TV was something that blind people wanted and needed. This assumption flew in the face of three resolutions adopted by thousands of blind people attending NFB conventions and backed by the largest organization of blind people in the nation, which specifically opposed mandated description of entertainment programming on television.
Second, the FCC had ignored the problem of on-screen text entirely, despite the fact that many comments supporting the rule specifically pointed out the lack of vocalization of text on the screen as a significant barrier to equal access to television programming by blind viewers. Even most of the comments submitted by people identifying themselves as members of the American Council of the Blind supporting the rules indicated that the primary frustration of blind television viewers was the lack of access to on-screen text. For example, the brief quoted an e-mail from the Memphis chapter of the ACB: "It is so frustrating for a blind person to hear a weather warning signal on TV and not know just what this alert is all about. It is also aggravating to be listening to a commercial about something that may be an item that one would like to purchase but can't because the phone number and/or address is flashed across the screen but not verbally announced."
In short, we argued before the D.C. appellate court that the FCC had addressed a perceived need of the blind without finding out whether that need actually existed and ignored a need that did exist. Like so many well-intentioned attempts to help the blind, the FCC’s rule had ignored the views of the blind themselves, imposing what it believed would be good for us and substituting its judgment for our own views on the matter.
To quote again from our brief: "Not only is the inaccessibility of on-screen text a more serious problem for blind television viewers than an inability to see events occurring on the screen, it is also a problem that is substantially less surmountable without accommodation. . . . Many people with visual disabilities have sufficient vision to discern events occurring on the screen but insufficient to read text that appears there. Those who do not have this level of vision can almost always understand what is occurring by paying attention to aural cues and dialogue."
Fortunately for the blind and those who support us, the opinion issued on behalf of the three-judge appellate panel that heard the case argued orally before the court by Dan Goldstein substantially adopted our reasoning. The opinion by Judge Edwards struck down the FCC mandate of described TV. Looking to the language of the law passed by Congress, the court found that the FCC had not been authorized to implement rules requiring that broadcasters describe their entertainment programming.
Furthermore, the court held that the FCC couldn't shoehorn in the described-TV requirement under its general power to regulate telecommunications, granted by the law which created the commission in 1934. The court reasoned that, because requiring broadcasters to run described programming had an effect on program content, the FCC's interpretation of the law conflicted with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which generally forbids the government from regulating the content of speech. Quoting the dissent from the FCC rule by the commission's chairman, the court noted: "Video description is a creative work. It requires a producer to evaluate a program, write a script, select actors, decide what to describe, decide how to describe it, and choose what style or what pace. In contrast, closed captioning is a straight translation of dialogue into text."
The court went on to say: "Ultimately, video descriptions require a writer to amend a script to fill in audio pauses that were not originally intended to be filled. Not only will producers and script writers be required to decide on what to describe, how to characterize it, and the style and pace of video descriptions, but script writers will have to describe subtleties in movements and mood that may not translate easily. And many movements in a scene admit of several interpretations, or their meaning is purposely left vague to enhance the program content. In short, it is clear that the implementation of video descriptions would entail subjective and artistic judgments that concern and affect program content."
The court ruled that requiring broadcasters to alter their programming to include descriptions of the sets, costumes, and actions was, in effect, compelling speech, which the government is forbidden to do. This was different, the court held, from requiring broadcasters to translate information already contained in the program from one form to another. By this logic the FCC could legitimately mandate the provision of closed captioning for the deaf and by implication could mandate that on-screen text be transmitted in an audible form for blind viewers.
When the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit handed down its decision on November 8, 2002, the histrionics started again. Some traffic on e-mail lists owned and operated by the NFB suggested that we had stabbed the blind in the back, both by opposing described TV and by causing a court decision to be issued, which would not even have given us what we said we wanted. If the FCC couldn't mandate described TV, how could it mandate that text on the screen be spoken?
Those who wrote these invectives had obviously neither read the opinion nor attempted to understand our reason for entering the case. As mentioned earlier, the opinion specifically articulates the difference between described TV and closed captioning and all but tells the FCC that regulations to make programming accessible are fine as long as they do not change program content. Furthermore, the court might well never have considered the difference between closed captioning and described TV, and thus the difference between articulating on-screen text and describing on-screen action, if the NFB had not intervened in the litigation. Unlike the FCC, the court actually listened to what the blind had to say and showed a clear path that we can now take to give blind people the information that we need and that has been denied to us.
Of course a court victory will not be the end of the matter. We, the organized blind, must now take action to make sure that the principles set forth by the court are put into effect. Our leaders are still considering the best course of action, but we fully intend to see that on-screen text is made accessible to the blind of the nation. As for described TV and films, DVS and other organizations continue to make Hollywood movies more accessible by providing audio description, and many broadcasters will probably continue to include description in their programming voluntarily.
This is as it should be. The NFB has always believed that it is important to ask only for the accommodations that are an absolute necessity to our full integration into society. Other assistance, while we may accept and enjoy it, should not be mandated by the government. Instead, like any commodity, it should be regulated by demand. Ultimately we hope that prudent regulation by the FCC and the goodwill of the broadcast industry will combine to make television an enjoyable, accessible, and informative viewing experience for all blind Americans. The NFB has done what we could to define the issues and point out which are most important. The court understood our argument even if the FCC did not. Now we must consolidate our gains and insist on access to the visual information on television that everyone else takes for granted.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Melody Lindsey]
Effective Dialogue in Albuquerque: A Positive Beginning
by Melody Lindsey
From the Editor: Sometime last year word began to circulate that the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) was going to sponsor a conference focusing on residential training centers for blind adults. This is a subject about which a growing number of Federationists know a good deal and about which many of us hold rather definite opinions. Not surprisingly, when the call for papers went out, a number of those who expressed interest in making presentations were staff members at programs that have been influenced by the Federation's philosophy of rehabilitation.
I decided that this conference was going to be an event to watch. I asked Melody Lindsey to provide a report to the Braille Monitor about what happened. But even before I heard from her, I began picking up all sorts of comments. Mostly these were to the effect that this had been the most productive conference people had ever attended. But a very few were grumbles that the person had had to listen to a lot of presentations that did not reflect the speaker's views about rehabilitation. I understand that RSA Commissioner Joanne Wilson, upon receiving such a complaint, commiserated with the complainer by saying, "I know what you mean; I have been attending conferences and feeling that way for years."
The pendulum now seems to be swinging in the other direction, and the result is fresh air and new thinking in this very important area of blindness rehabilitation. Melody Lindsey is the director of the Michigan Commission for the Blind Training Center. She is a longtime Federation leader and a dedicated blindness professional. Here is her report of the Albuquerque conference:
In Ecclesiastes 3 King Solomon says in part, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven--a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak." On November 13, 14, and 15, 2002, rehabilitation counselors, teachers, and other professionals gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to participate in the first-ever conference sponsored by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) for residential training centers for the blind. The purpose of this conference was to give professionals the opportunity to present and discuss effective strategies and controversial issues surrounding training center policies and practices. It was a time to speak of philosophical approaches to rehabilitation and a time to keep silent and listen to others who had different views. It was a time to seek understanding of why we do what we do and a time to lose misconceptions about specific training programs.
In the fall of 2001 at the biannual meeting of the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind (NCSAB), Commissioner Joanne Wilson announced that RSA had been approached by many individuals who work with the blind about the possibility of a national forum to engage in dialogue about the various approaches to rehabilitation of the blind. In the spring of 2002 a planning committee made up of representatives from five state agencies for the blind, five private agencies for the blind, and two general state rehabilitation agencies began its work. The states represented were Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, and Washington. The five private agencies were BLIND, Inc., from Minnesota; Carroll Center for the Blind from Massachusetts; Colorado Center for the Blind; Foundation for the Junior Blind from California; and Lions World Services for the Blind from Arkansas. The general agencies were represented by Georgia and Mississippi.
The mission given to the planning committee was to recruit presenters and develop an agenda that would educate, challenge, and motivate participants to enhance the methodologies used in their training center programs. The title for the conference was "Cutting Edge Practices-–Expectations, Empowerment, and Employment: National Conference for Residential Training Centers for the Blind." We could call this the three E's of rehabilitation for the blind.
Approximately eighty submissions were received and considered for conference presentations. After the selections were made, we were on our way to an exciting and stimulating meeting in Albuquerque.
According to the participant list that each of us received at the conference, over 200 people were in attendance, representing thirty-six states and the District of Columbia. The conference opened on Wednesday morning with an inspiring and passionate address from Commissioner Wilson. In her speech, which was entitled "Empowerment through Personal Conviction: The Foundation of Effective Residential Training Programs for the Blind," she talked about the three components of the conference–-Expectations, Empowerment, and Employment. She also told the audience that she wanted to have participants talk about the controversial and difficult issues associated with rehabilitation training of the blind. She said she hoped that people would take issue with the topics brought up at the conference, for only through confronting the issues and conducting constructive dialogue could we ever hope to improve and strengthen the quality of rehabilitation for the blind and promote training that incorporates high expectations and individual responsibility.
Commissioner Wilson got her wish! I have been to several meetings where people tiptoed around controversies. In the words of the old saw: no one was talking about the elephant sitting in the living room. At this conference several elephants were openly debated: the role of sleepshades/occluders in the rehabilitation program, informed choice in the determination of an individualized program, the inclusion or exclusion of consumer organizations in the rehabilitation process, determining the length of stay at a training center, blind mobility instructors, and various approaches to teaching mobility and other skills.
Commissioner Wilson's keynote address was followed by a plenary session entitled "Residential Training Programs: Perspectives and Practices." Panelists from BLIND, Inc., the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Lions World Services for the Blind, and the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness discussed the purpose of rehabilitation training, various philosophical approaches, and the implementation of those approaches in the training provided.
Thursday and Friday saw two more plenary sessions. On Thursday the panelists for the plenary session dealt with the topic "Traditional and Progressive Approaches to Independent Cane Travel." Edward Bell, Dr. Ruby Ryles, Dona Sauerburger, and Dr. Bill Wiener engaged in a lively and interesting discussion of issues including safety and liability, using visual and nonvisual techniques for travel, the use of sleepshades, the structured discovery method and point-to-point instruction, the certification of blind travel instructors, the performance competency level of instructors, and teaching group mobility.
As the director of a training center with some staff members who would like to do group mobility and other staff members who believe that group mobility is an activity with significant implications for liability, I found the question-and-answer part of this discussion very helpful. Dr. Wiener said that, if the agency policy or expectation promotes the use of group mobility when appropriate, he would have no problem supporting that agency if an incident occurred that did not involve gross negligence.
Later one of my staff members who attended the conference said to me that he didn't know Bill Wiener believed that blind people could teach mobility and that he would have to rethink his own position on this issue. During his presentation Dr. Wiener said that many years ago he had opposed the concept of blind people teaching orientation and mobility. However, after observing and undergoing instruction with occluders from a blind mobility instructor in Nebraska, he had begun to understand that blindness in and of itself does not preclude someone from being a skilled and competent mobility instructor. Currently Dr. Wiener strongly advocates for opportunities for blind people to participate in AER-approved university training programs. This acceptance of blind mobility instructors is not fully embraced by everyone in the field, as evidenced by some of the postings on the orientation and mobility listserv. It was clear from this plenary session that much more needs to be done to educate current and future professionals in the orientation and mobility field about the issues and changing philosophy concerning instructional strategies.
On Friday the plenary session addressed the topic "But We've Always Done It This Way: The Challenges and Rewards of Change in Training Centers for the Blind." The panelists in this plenary session were all at various stages of facilitating change in their organizations. Dave Eveland, Services for the Blind in Hawaii; Dr. Deana Graham, Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center–-Texas Commission for the Blind; Susan Ruzenski, Helen Keller National Center (HKNC); and Dr. Pearl Van Zandt, executive director of the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, discussed the cutting-edge changes they are making in their own programs and how these changes will improve the quality of training their blind consumers receive. They also talked about the challenges they are encountering as they implement changes in policies and philosophical approaches.
In his presentation Dave Eveland described the challenges they face in Hawaii. He told the audience to imagine being in Hawaii at the training center for the blind. You are sitting in a lounge chair on the veranda with the warm breeze blowing gently. It is eighty degrees and the sun is shining. In the distance the waves are gently rolling onto the beach. Suddenly you hear a bell announcing that it is time for classes at the training center to begin. What are you going to do? This, he said, sets the stage for the most significant challenge they face-–motivating students to go to class.
He also described their movement toward the use of sleepshades in all aspects of their program. Group instruction has become the norm. Students used to choose when and how often they came to class. Now the expectation is that students will participate in classes five days a week. The manual arts program is being revitalized. Dave stressed the importance of providing training to raise staff expectations of students. The center in Hawaii invited Joanne Wilson to talk about what components should be in a quality training center program. After these activities were completed and staff had a greater understanding of the direction management wanted to take the center in, they then began to develop a timeline and action plan for identifying and implementing their goals.
Deana Graham described the changes being made at the Criss Cole Center in Austin, Texas. They are in the midst of a major transition from a custodial model to an educational one. Based on their experience, Deana advised that management must create a sense of urgency. Staff are not likely to change unless they understand why change is necessary.
The second step was to develop a philosophy. My experience has been that rehabilitation professionals hesitate to discuss their philosophy of blindness. When I was a student at Florida State University taking education courses, we were required to write a paper in which we described and defended our philosophy of education. To my knowledge no one balked at this requirement. However, in the field of rehabilitation training for the blind, many professionals maintain that it is not necessary to have a "philosophy of blindness." In fact, a professional once said to me, "I don't have a philosophy of blindness; I just do the best job I can." I was very pleased to hear someone from another training center say that articulating a philosophy is a painful yet necessary step in raising expectations and improving the quality of services for the blind.
Deana then outlined critical questions that will be asked and must be answered in order to encourage and nurture change. Why is change important? Why now? What is this new way of thinking? What does this mean to me and my job? Are you saying I have been doing things wrong all these years? Deana then made a profoundly significant statement. She said, "We ask our students to change every day; yet we ourselves are unwilling to change and find it difficult to do." Deana referred to this as the "bleeding edge" because change can be painful. It requires personal transformation.
If effective change is to occur, it is absolutely imperative to identify and share with staff and other stakeholders this new vision. Everyone has to understand and support the new vision. Deana said that in Texas they needed to assess staff and management attitudes about blindness. They discovered three groups: those opposed to the very idea of change, those willing to make changes but unsure of the level of their commitment, and those in complete agreement with the proposed changes. Staff opposing change were usually those who had been in the business the longest.
Management found that training was key. They met staff members where they were and tried to understand why they believed what they did. As a manager, Deana said that she had to empower others to act. They made a point of recognizing every advance, no matter how small. The staff must understand that this is how we are going to do things now.
Susan Ruzenski talked about the exciting transformation HKNC continues to undergo. She said that change must be grounded in mutual respect and high expectations. The American Association of the Deaf Blind (AADB) has been a vital agent for change. In 1990 HKNC went through a shift in infrastructure. They now view themselves as a work in progress. They use the person-centered philosophy when developing student plans. In the past, assessments were used to determine a student's deficits; now assessments focus on determining abilities. They are now asking the question why not rather than why. Working with mentors has become a crucial part of the program. They have begun to examine practices to see which ones promote self-determination and which ones do not. HKNC now runs a two-week summer program for kids that focuses on self-determination and abilities. This philosophy is the cornerstone of the program at HKNC.
Pearl Van Zandt discussed the challenges and outcomes of change in Nebraska, which she says are ongoing. They continually examine what they do and why they do it that way. In seven years 67.5 percent of full-time students have achieved employment; 22.5 percent are in academic endeavors. Only 10 percent are not fulfilling their expectations. Both consumer organizations participate in strategic planning for the agency. The training center has a basic curriculum that all students are required to take. Because field staff are the ones who introduce many consumers to the rehabilitative process, they take very seriously their responsibility to educate and prepare consumers for the expectations of a comprehensive adjustment to blindness program and the process of learning to deal with blindness.
In addition to the three plenary sessions the conference sponsored concurrent breakout sessions and evening issues forums. Altogether thirty presentations took place in the breakout sessions and the evening issues forums. Here are some of the presentation titles:
* Marketing Blind Rehabilitation Beyond the VR Agencies
* Philosophical Approaches and Ethical Considerations for Providing Services Effectively to Minors in an Adult Training Center
* Consumer Organizations as Partners in the Rehabilitation Process
* Building Braille Speed for Braille Readers Who Learn the Code as Adults
* Issues around Informed Choice within the Residential Center
* Diversity of Clients: Secondary Disabilities-–How Do We Cope?
* Whose Life Is This Anyway? Boosting Self-Confidence and Self-Determination through Summer Programs for Deaf Blind Teens
* Home Management-–It's Not Just for Survival
* Cognitive Learning Theory and the Structured Discovery Approach
* A Legal, Philosophical, and Pedagogic Look at Liability, Negligence, and Safety Issues in Orientation and Mobility
* Adaptive Technology Training Services in the Classroom and Online
* The Leadership Challenge: Transforming the Organization toward Empowerment
* Work Experience as Part of Rehabilitation and Employment: The Pot of Gold
* Challenges of Providing Comprehensive Rehabilitation Training for the Legally Blind Senior Population: Experiential Learning and Integrating Community and Residential Instruction
* Switching from a Dormitory to Apartments as the Way to House Students at the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind Orientation and Training Center
* The Effect of Medicare Funding on VR Services
* The ABCs of ABE (Adult Basic Education)
These are just a sample of what was offered.
Michael Gandy from the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services, who served on the planning committee for the conference said, "We didn't know if this was a one-time deal. Therefore we would rather have too much to offer than feel that we should have provided more opportunities for learning and sharing." Commissioner Wilson said that she was impressed and gratified to see people participating enthusiastically in the evening issues forums after a long day of meetings.
In the closing address of the conference on Friday morning, Dr. Fredric Schroeder talked about "fundamental versus incremental change." He said that it is important not to focus on skills as independent from attitudes. Universities today do not prepare teachers to deal with social attitudes about blindness. He also talked about the fact that some people make a virtue of low expectations. He believes that no blind person should have to go to work in a sheltered workshop because of believing that is the only opportunity available.
We need to teach the skills that will support positive attitudes about blindness. In our programs we must challenge the limitations imposed by the external environment. We must constantly ask what message our behavior sends to our students. Staff must truly believe in the capabilities of and possibilities for their blind students. Is what we're doing really working? Is it giving control back to the blind person? Is it leading people to live normal lives after they leave our programs? We left the conference pondering all these questions.
All conference participants received copies of a book written by James Omvig, entitled Freedom for the Blind: The Secret Is Empowerment. It lays out the components of a successful rehabilitation training program for the blind. I would encourage everyone who works at a training center to read this book. One of my staff members commented after reading Mr. Omvig's book, "I can't find anything in there with which I disagree. This is exactly what we need to be doing here." The conversations that we now have at our center revolve around questions like these: How do we get students to stay longer so that they gain the confidence and the skills to be in control of their lives when they return home? How do we get students to use sleepshades more effectively in their training? What adjustments can we make in our classes to facilitate greater achievement of independence and responsibility?
This conference gave professionals from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to network and develop resources that will affect the services we provide. "This was an excellent conference. I met many people who were willing to discuss issues of blindness. All of us were exposed to other ways of thinking and of doing things," said Joyce Scanlan from BLIND, Inc. Joanne Wilson said that she was impressed by the enthusiasm and the genuine interest people showed in learning about other programs. "You don't see this at too many conferences."
Ken Metz, who served on the planning committee from the Foundation for the Junior Blind, expressed his appreciation for the conference by saying, "The fact that people were talking and information was disseminated back and forth was a real plus for this conference." Pam Allen, executive director of the Louisiana Center for the Blind, observed, "We all learned a great deal by networking with other centers. It was refreshing to see all of the agencies having an open dialogue with each other and sharing ideas which will result in better outcomes for the consumers with whom we work."
After reviewing the evaluations of the conference, the planning committee has recommended to RSA that conferences for residential training programs for the blind be conducted biennially. They also indicated that the next planning committee may want to look at the possibility of holding the next conference in a city where a residential training center for the blind is located.
As a Federationist I was proud to take part in this conference, both as a presenter and as a listener. What I saw was what Dr. Jernigan talked about in his 1997 banquet address, "The Day after Civil Rights." He said, "We must be willing to give to others as much as we want others to give to us, and we must do it with good will and civility." I think everyone at the conference would agree with Dr. Jernigan's belief that "what we need is not confrontation, but understanding, and understanding that runs both ways. This means an ongoing process of communication and public education."
I believe that communication and the beginning of understanding took place and characterized the conference in Albuquerque. As I was leaving, I heard Dona Sauerburger say to Commissioner Wilson, "We need to have more of these conferences, and more professionals need to be involved in the discussions. I know my eyes have been opened, and I think others need to have exposure to the same ideas I have heard this week."
Yes, it was a time for sharing and a time for maintaining convictions. There was a time for agreeing and a time for confronting. The time had finally come in Albuquerque to move beyond differences and look at ways truly to empower our students to be in control of their futures. After participating in this conference, I could not think of a more appropriate maxim for what we do at training centers than the motto we have at the Michigan Commission for the Blind: "Changing Lives--Changing Attitudes."
Have you considered leaving a gift to the National Federation of the Blind in your will? By preparing a will now, you can assure that those administering your estate will avoid unnecessary delays, legal complications, and substantial tax costs. A will is a common device used to leave a substantial gift to charity. A gift in your will to the NFB can be of any size and will be used to help blind people. Here are some useful hints in preparing your will:
• Make a list of everything you want to leave (your estate).
• Decide how and to whom you want to leave these assets.
• Consult an attorney (one you know or one we can help you find).
• Make certain you thoroughly understand your will before you sign it.
For more information contact the National Federation of the Blind, Special Gifts, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230-4998, (410) 659-9314, fax (410) 685-5653.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Ruth Hirschfeld, left, and Hazel Phillips prepare food while blindfolded as part of a week-long retreat program teaching seniors who are losing their sight to cope with blindness. Those with some remaining vision wore sleepshades for the lessons.]
Blazing a Trail
A New Retreat Program Aims to Help Seniors Cope with Blindness
by Carissa Richards
From the Editor: The following story appeared in the Sacramento Bee on Friday, February 21. Bryan Bashin, the executive director of the Sacramento Society for the Blind, is a member of the NFB of California board of directors. Priscilla Ching, quoted in the article, is a 2000 National Federation of the Blind scholarship winner and holds a master's degree from the Louisiana Tech/Louisiana Center program in orientation and mobility. Perhaps this article will inspire affiliates and chapters across the country to develop similar programs. Here is the story:
One Saturday two years ago Edith Gutierrez was reading the newspaper. Sitting in church the next day, she tried to read, and all she could see were wavy dark lines on the page.
That's how quickly she lost her sight to macular degeneration, a progressive, irreversible disease that is the leading cause of blindness in seniors.
Gutierrez, eighty-five, was forced to give up reading, and her daughter now shops for her. Such dependence can drain seniors' confidence and leave them feeling isolated.
That explains why Gutierrez could be found recently sitting blindfolded in an Elk Grove home, waiting for a chance to chop an onion. Part of a pilot project, she's helping the Sacramento Society for the Blind launch a one-of-a-kind project.
The free program, called Senior Intensive Retreat, will bring individuals fifty-five and older to live in this five-bedroom rented house for ten days. Here visually impaired staff members from the society will teach them how to live with blindness.
Believed to be the only such retreat in the nation, it officially opens Monday with seven seniors from Sacramento, Woodland, and Davis.
"It is a homey feeling, but believe me, we are not the so-called happy home for the blind," said Bryan Bashin, executive director of the Sacramento Society for the Blind. "We are as much of a boot camp as these guys will ever face."
Gutierrez was part of a trial run of six seniors, ages seventy-five to eighty-five, from Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Roseville, Woodland, and North Highlands. They spent four days in the home recently, helping staff members fine-tune the program, which is open to seniors throughout the Central Valley. It is funded by a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the state Department of Rehabilitation.
At the home group members slept two to a room. Brown and gray geometric prints or peach floral patterns decorated their twin-size bedspreads and curtains. A Picasso print and a drawing of a Victorian home hung on the dining room walls.
While the digs were nice--large couches by a fireplace, a pool and hot tub amid lush foliage on a one-acre lot--this was no vacation.
The seniors, who called themselves "The Trailblazers," learned how to do everything from cooking to applying makeup to walking using a white cane. When they felt comfortable, they covered their eyes with sleepshades to keep from relying on what vision they have left.
Every waking minute was filled with instruction. Group members helped prepare meals, learning how to slice onions or sausage without cutting a finger. They learned how to work computer programs that could read text to them.
And while these tips for daily living were helpful, the home's four staff members had more important goals. Priscilla Ching, the assistant director, said they were building confidence and a positive attitude about blindness.
"I want them to gain a sense of independence and freedom--freedom of choice to live the way they want to live and not be dependent on family or friends or neighbors," she said, having just finished leading the group on a cane trip outside. "If we give them the tools, we give the choice back to them."
After a couple of days at the home, the seniors went public. They showed up at Elk Grove's Old Spaghetti Factory and Target, sleepshades on and white canes in hand.
At Target the six split into two groups and sought help from customer service employees. Debi Black, a staff member, said they need to learn where to turn for assistance.
After comparing sizes of George Foreman Grills and shaking and smelling packages in the candy aisle, they headed for the doors, white canes tapping on the beige linoleum. Sighted customers walked by, their eyes traveling up the canes before stopping on faces wearing navy-blue eye shades resting just beneath gray hair.
"You have to come out of the closet to admit that you can't see and have a problem, and then assume responsibility for yourself," said Ruth Hirschfeld, eighty-four, one of the group members. "The sighted people have to adjust to us. They are as scared of us as we are of total blindness.
"They either overlook or underestimate us. That's where the cane comes in. It tells them we are blind and we will ask if we need help."
Several of the six seniors also have glaucoma, the third leading cause of blindness, behind macular degeneration and diabetes, in people age fifty-five and older. The society's Bashin estimates there are 20,000 blind or visually impaired adults in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo, and Sutter Counties. Half, he said, are over age fifty-five.
"In the end this isn't about blindness," Bashin said. "This is about whether you are open to change and at what age do you close down to change."
But change can be difficult, especially for seniors, he said. Traditional retreats are usually months long and held in an institutional setting, sometimes outside California. Seniors, he said, need a comfortable environment to help them ease into a new way of living.
Nancy Burns, president of the National Federation of the Blind of California, said the Sacramento society's retreat is the first short-term residential program she has heard of.
"It takes a real adventurous person to go to another state and stay at a center for six to nine months," she said from her office in Burbank. "And most seniors aren't ready for that kind of experience."
Those in the trial-run program said the short stay and homelike setting were what they needed.
"This is all so new to me, every aspect of it," Gutierrez said, sitting on a kitchen stool, eyes covered and waiting her turn with the knife. "I'm learning every day to continue to be independent. At our age you want to be free. This gives us that freedom."
[PHOTO/CAPTION: The skyline of Louisville.]
Getting Around Downtown Louisville
by Dennis Franklin
From the Editor: Dennis Franklin is first vice president of the Kentucky affiliate and a longtime Louisville resident. Here he takes the time to conduct a walking tour of the area around our headquarters hotel. This is what he says:
Getting around downtown Louisville is relatively easy with a few simple directions. The streets are laid out in a grid pattern running either north/south or east/west. Traveling south on Fourth Street from the Galt House, you cross these streets: Main, Market, Jefferson, Liberty, Muhammad Ali Boulevard, Chestnut, and Broadway. Traveling east on any of these streets from Fourth Street, you cross Third, Second, First, Brook, Floyd, and Preston. Traveling west, you cross Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth.
If you were doing all this traveling, what might you see along the way? Let's walk south along the east side of Fourth Street. After we cross Main, we come to a trolley stop, where we could board a trolley going to the Riverfront Wharf, which I will tell you more about later. Continuing south, just before we reach Market Street, we pass Kunz's Restaurant, a longtime favorite for lunch and dinner. Before crossing Market Street, we can turn left and travel one block east, cross Third Street, and arrive at the Old Spaghetti Factory.
Crossing Market on the east side of Fourth Street brings us to the Kentucky International Convention Center, which covers that entire block. Crossing Jefferson, we find the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Continuing south across Liberty Street, we pass an office tower and come to the entrance of the Galleria, which we understand will be under renovation this summer. We will provide updates about the progress of this construction project at the Kentucky Information Table in the Galt House lobby.
Since the Galleria will probably be unavailable to us, we will turn right on Liberty Street to avoid the construction and go west to Fifth Street. Here turn left and proceed south to Muhammad Ali Boulevard, where we can turn left to return to Fourth Street. Turning right on Fourth and crossing Muhammad Ali Boulevard brings us to the Seelbach Hotel, located on the west side of Fourth Street. Continuing south on the east side of Fourth Street, just before Chestnut Street is a Walgreen's Drug Store. Half a block after Chestnut Street we pass the Palace Theater. Across the street is Cunningham's Restaurant and then the Theater Square area, where several restaurants can be found that are particularly good for lunch. Beyond Theater Square and before you reach Broadway is the Brown Hotel with its restaurant, the English Grill, where a local favorite, the famous Hot Brown, was created.
Another way to travel Fourth Street is the Toonerville II Trolley, which is free. It operates on weekdays from 7:15 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. It travels along Fourth Street between the Galt House and Theater Square, except that on its southward trip it travels along Third Street between Liberty and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, and on its northward trip it travels along Fifth Street between Muhammad Ali Boulevard and Liberty Street. After 10:30 a.m. every other trolley leaving Theater Square circles the Riverfront Wharf instead of going to the Galt House. If you want to go to the Riverfront Wharf, you can board this trolley at any northbound trolley stop, up to and including Main Street. You can ask the driver if he is going to the Galt House or the Riverfront Wharf, to be sure you are boarding the one you want.
The Belle of Louisville is docked on the wharf at the foot (north end) of Fourth Street. Just east of the Belle is the Star of Louisville, which offers daily dinner cruises. Continuing east, we find Joe's Crab Shack, featuring excellent seafood in a casual atmosphere. Just past Joe's we arrive at the Waterfront Park, a large open space where festivals or fireworks sometimes take place, but it's always a nice place to take a walk or let the kids enjoy the playground equipment.
As I said earlier, you can reach this area on the trolley or, if you prefer, you can walk. Go to the north end of the lobby level of the Galt House, and follow the pedestrian walkway, which passes under I‑64 and down the steps to the wharf.
Now let's travel west on Main Street. On the north side, just west of Fifth Street, is the Kentucky Center for the Arts. Continuing across Sixth Street, you find a couple of blocks of restored nineteenth-century buildings. After crossing Seventh Street and going about half a block further, we come to the Louisville Science Center, which boasts many interactive displays for young and old alike. After crossing both Eighth and Main Streets, we find the Louisville Slugger Museum. Be sure to check out the world's largest bat, located outside this building.
By traveling east on the south side of Main Street, about a half block from Fourth Street we come to Actors Theater of Louisville. About six blocks farther east on the north side of Main Street, is Slugger Field, the home of the Louisville Bats.
You can also reach any of these points of interest on the Main Street Trolley, which is also free and which can be boarded at any trolley stop along Main Street (westbound) or Market Street (eastbound) between Tenth Street and Clay Street. This trolley operates on weekdays from 6:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and weeknights from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. when the Bats play at home and on Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Unfortunately we do not yet have schedule information for the Kentucky Center for the Arts, Actors Theater, the IMAX Theater at the Louisville Science Center, or the Bats; but we should have the schedules at our information tables during the convention. Y'all come!
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Carol Castellano]
Touch the Universe: A Review
by Carol Castellano
From the Editor: Carol Castellano is first vice president of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. Here is her brief review of an exciting new book:
Many parents and teachers of blind and visually impaired children have been excitedly awaiting publication of Touch the Universe: A NASA Braille Book of Astronomy, after receiving word of the gala publication event held at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore. This wonderful book is now available from the Joseph Henry Press in Washington, D.C.
Images of the planets, stars, and galaxies captured by astronomers with the Hubble Space Telescope form the core of the book. These gorgeous, full-color images are also beautifully rendered in raised line form. Accompanying each illustration is a brief explanation in large print and Braille. Author Noreen Grice, an astronomy teacher and planetarium educator who also wrote the Touch the Stars books, writes in clear, simple terms easily understandable by children from third grade or so on up. Following each explanation is a brief guide to viewing the tactile image. Grice's enthusiasm for astronomy and wonder at the universe are evident throughout the book. Wonderful astronomy terms like "local supercluster," "gaseous nebulae," and "globular cluster NGC" add to the fun.
The illustrations begin with the Hubble space telescope orbiting earth and proceed farther and farther away from our home planet, all the way to the most distant reaches of the universe ever photographed. How exciting that there is now a way for blind children to get a glimpse of a world they ordinarily would not get to see! I tried the book out on three blind students--a fifth grader, an eighth grader, and a senior in high school. One of the kids almost refused to give it back to me. I am sure blind adults would also appreciate and enjoy the book.
If you've ever marveled at the size and complexity of the universe and if you'd like to awaken or nourish that wonder in your child, be sure to get this book.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Curtis Chong using a laptop]
Laptop Computers and Electronic Notetakers for the Blind:
by Curtis Chong
From the Editor: Are you struggling to decide between buying a laptop computer and an electronic notetaker? Curtis Chong, who is now the director of field operations and access technology at the Iowa Department for the Blind, has compiled a very useful list of pros and cons for both of these electronic wonders. In his job Chong is responsible for internal information technology, vocational rehabilitation, independent living, and all programs dealing with access technology, including the department's Project Assist program, which provides tutorials to run software with specific versions of various screen-access software. Here is his distilled wisdom and experience on this important subject:
Blind people often need portable electronic devices to perform such tasks as notetaking, dealing with e-mail, word processing, appointment management, and so forth. Traditionally the solution has centered on off-the-shelf laptop computers equipped with screen-access technology or specialized devices for the blind, often referred to as notetakers or PDAs (personal data assistants). This document attempts to provide a concise list of advantages and disadvantages for each class of device to enable potential buyers to make a more informed decision.
Off-the-shelf laptop computers running Windows function very much like desktop computers except that they are smaller and more portable. Braille, talking, or magnification screen-access technology can be added to this class of computer. As a rule refreshable Braille displays are not built in, but portable displays can be obtained and connected. Synthesized speech is generated through the laptop's sound card; an external speech synthesizer can be attached if necessary.
Advantages of Laptop Computers
* Laptops are fully functional computers, able to run the same software as a desktop computer. In fact they can replace a desktop computer.
* Technical support for laptop computers is widely available and not restricted to a vendor selling blindness products.
* A typical laptop will have gigabytes of hard disk space and hundreds of megabytes of random access memory--significantly more than a typical PDA for the blind.
* Laptops can read and burn CDs.
* If the user knows how to operate a desktop computer, little additional training is required to use a laptop.
*When using a laptop, it is much easier to exchange files with other people.
*Laptops can more easily be connected to devices such as scanners or printers, and the technical support required for such connections is not limited to a specialized vendor selling products for the blind.
*With appropriate software (e.g., ZoomText or MAGic), enlargement of information on the display is possible.
Disadvantages of Laptop Computers
*All of the components to make a laptop usable by a blind person are generally not available from one source. Typically the laptop is acquired from one dealer, and the access technology comes from one or two companies, depending on whether a Braille display is involved.
*Laptops have a relatively short battery life (typically five hours).
*It takes minutes to boot up a laptop computer, thirty seconds if resuming function from a sleep or hibernation mode.
*Laptops are typically heavier and bulkier than PDAs for the blind.
*Laptops do not provide direct Braille keyboard input--that is, a person who knows how to enter Braille but who cannot type would not be able to use a laptop without QWERTY keyboard training.
*Selecting and then attaching a refreshable Braille display to a laptop requires some technical knowledge and support from specialized vendors.
*It is relatively difficult to use a connected refreshable Braille display with no speech running--that is, laptops are harder to use by people who are deaf-blind.
Personal Data Assistants for the Blind
These devices are often referred to as "notetakers," although the actual note-taking function is a relatively small fraction of what they can do. They are truly personal data assistants. Devices which fall into this class include Braille 'n Speak, Type 'n Speak, Braille Lite Millennium (or 2000), Type Lite, BrailleNote (and VoiceNote), and PAC Mate. The Braille 'n Speak, Type 'n Speak, and VoiceNote do not have refreshable Braille display capability. The PAC Mate currently being shipped does not either, but plans have been announced to produce PAC Mates with built-in refreshable Braille displays.
Advantages of Personal Data Assistants for the Blind
*All accessibility is built in. There is no screen access software to buy.
*Because they are designed for the blind, it is much more likely that documentation and training materials will be available in alternative formats.
*Start-up time is very rapid. It takes seconds to get back into a file.
*Battery life is much better than a laptop. Twenty-plus hours is typical.
*Typically a PDA for the blind is smaller and more portable than a laptop.
*The PDA for the blind and accompanying accessories can be purchased from a single vendor.
*No additional effort or technical knowledge is necessary to get the Braille display to work when it is part of the unit.
*Generally Braille displays can be used without speech running.
*Direct Braille input is possible.
Disadvantages of Personal Data Assistants for the Blind
*PDAs for the blind have no visual display. Display magnification is simply not an option.
*When using a PDA with direct Braille-input capability, one has to be concerned about forward- and back-translation issues, if files are to be exchanged with sighted classmates, friends, or co-workers. Though the promotional literature may make this seem easy, in reality the user must have a minimal knowledge of the issues involved with Braille grade translation.
*Formatting material for visual use requires attention to details that a laptop user need not worry about. This is especially true for PDAs for the blind with direct Braille-input capability.
*PDAs for the blind cannot read or create CDs.
*Sharing files with classmates, friends, and co-workers is not as simple as it is when using a laptop. In most cases files created in the format native to the PDA are not easily read with mainstream technologies.
*PDAs for the blind cannot run off-the-shelf applications which, on a laptop, have a good chance of working with nonvisual access technology. They certainly cannot run the full-function Microsoft or Corel Office suites.
*Technical support must be supplied either by the vendor or by someone trained by the vendor. PDAs for the blind are not well understood or supported outside of the blindness field.
*PDAs for the blind are not equivalent to laptop computers. They possess less storage and processing power and are not designed to be the primary method for information processing and exchange. While many laptops have more than 512 megabytes of random access memory, even the largest PDA for the blind has only about 100 megabytes. A laptop can contain more than forty gigabytes of hard disk drive storage capacity, whereas a PDA for the blind might today support a mini disk drive with about five gigabytes.
So there you have it. No one answer is right for everybody, and no single choice can meet anyone's every need. Here, at least, are the issues that will help people make the most informed decisions for themselves.
2003 Convention Attractions
From the Editor: Every year's national convention is an absolutely unique event. The agenda items, the exhibits, the new friends and business acquaintances: all these give each convention its own character and significance. Some activities lend a luster to the convention in part because they do take place every year and provide helpful fixed points in the whirl of events. In this category are the meetings of the Resolutions Committee and the board of directors, the annual banquet, and the many seminars and workshops of the various divisions and committees. Here is a partial list of activities being planned by a number of Federation groups during the 2003 Convention, June 28 through July 4. Presidents of divisions, committee chairpeople, and event presenters have provided the information. The pre-convention agenda will list the locations of all events taking place before convention registration on Sunday, June 29. The convention agenda will contain listings of all events taking place beginning that day.
Agriculture and Equestrian Division
by Fred Chambers
Meeting, Monday, June 30, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. We are growing by leaps and bounds. Come snack on local produce, share stories, network, and meet some locals. Kentucky is one of the eighteen states with an AgrAbility Project. You'll hear from advisors and participating farmers. Learn about resources you can tap into to start or expand a career in agriculture's myriad fields. Our membership has a wide array of interests and a wide geographic distribution. From agroforestry, apiculture, and aquaculture, to composting, gardening, and landscaping, to firearms and hunting, to dairies and milk products, to ranching and riding, to tack and tractors, to vermiculture and zymurgy, we cover the map. Blind people are working, studying, and hobbying in every field while feeding and clothing the world. Put your boots on, roll up your sleeves, and join us.
Tour: Saturday, June 28, 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. and Wednesday, July 2, 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Always a highlight and a bargain, our Louisville agriculture and equestrian tours will be announced in an upcoming Braille Monitor. We're adding a tour of gardens and a farm, in addition to returning to Churchill Downs. Our past tours have included horseback riding and touring stables, carriage barns, thoroughbred ranches, urban organic farms, microbreweries, and much more.
For more information contact president, rancher, and riding instructor Diane Starrin of Starrin Enterprises, 1042 Hawthorne Street, Redding, California 96002, phone (530) 223‑9084; tour coordinator and aquaculturist, Fred Chambers, phone (760) 505‑8500, e-mail <[email protected]>.
BLIND, Inc., Karaoke Night
by Joyce Scanlan
This year, at the national convention in Louisville, don't miss your chance to witness a rare and riveting karaoke performance by none other than vocalist extraordinaire Dr. Marc Maurer! Will he sing country? Broadway? Disco? Swing? or Rap? Come find out for yourself on Saturday, June 28, from 8:00 to midnight, at Karaoke Night. This fun‑filled event is hosted by BLIND, Inc., and admission is only $5. There will be door prizes galore and a cash bar, as well as the best karaoke around by Federationists from all over the country‑‑and maybe even a performance by you. Come join us.
Blind Professional Journalists Group
by Elizabeth Campbell
If you enjoy going places at a moment's notice or if you like asking questions, the Blind Professional Journalists group is a great place to meet others who share your interests. Anyone interested in print or broadcast journalism is welcome to attend our meeting on June 30, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. See the convention agenda for more details.
Students who want to pursue a journalism career can talk to professionals for advice on many topics, including using adaptive equipment efficiently and making good use of readers or drivers.
For more information about the Blind Professional Journalists group, please contact Elizabeth Campbell, chairperson, 3805 Harley Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas 76107-4081, home phone (817) 738-0350, e-mail <[email protected]>, or <[email protected]>. You can also contact Bryan Bashin, co-chair, 409 21st Street, Sacramento, California 95814-1116, home phone (916) 441-4096, e-mail <[email protected]>.
Braille Is Beautiful, It's Fun, and It Works:
A Seminar on How to Get Your Community
Interested in This Versatile Curriculum
by Betsy Zaborowski
On Saturday, June 28, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. seminar attendees will hear from parents, teachers, and NFB leaders about the ways they have promoted the use of the Braille Is Beautiful curriculum in public and private schools and among civic clubs and other organizations. Learn how we can get the word out on how effectively this program introduces sighted kids and adults to the Braille reading and writing system and, in so doing, educates about the capabilities of the blind.
The Colorado Center for the Blind Presents
by Julie Deden
CCB presents a day in the life of a student. To be held on Wednesday evening, July 2, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Includes door prizes and games.
Learn about life in Colorado. Meet the CCB staff and students. Find out what a typical day is like. We have skill-building classes from cane travel to Braille and much, much more. Consider training. It will change your life.
The Kenneth Jernigan Braille Carnival for Children
Back by Popular Demand
by Melody Lindsey
Once again the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children will host a Braille carnival for children between the ages of five and twelve. This exciting and entertaining event will take place on Saturday, June 28, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The activities of the Braille carnival are designed to promote curiosity about Braille and the many fun and creative ways in which it can be used. Both sighted and blind kids will discover fun games and activities. In addition there will also be activities for children with multiple disabilities.
In order to make this event successful, we need affiliates, chapters, and organizations to sponsor activities at the carnival. If you are interested in doing this, please contact Melody Lindsey, coordinator of the Braille carnival, at (269) 388‑2686. The deadline for requesting space for an activity is June 16, 2003, or when all spaces are filled.
We can't wait to show you how much fun Braille can be. Don't miss your opportunity to participate in this creative event highlighting the advantages of reading and writing Braille. Come
Braille Carnival Buddies
by Robin House
Are you going to the national convention in Louisville, Kentucky, this summer? If so and if you are at least eighteen, please consider helping as a buddy at the annual Braille carnival on Saturday, June 28, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
This is a great opportunity to work with both blind and sighted children while their parents attend meetings. The Braille carnival features many unique and fun Braille reading and writing experiences for novice to advanced Braille readers. Carnival buddies are responsible for guiding children through the maze of Braille activities. There is plenty of help even if you are still working on your own Braille reading skills.
If you can help or have questions, please contact Robin House at <[email protected]>, or call (314) 524‑7308. Your help is greatly appreciated. More details will follow for those who are interested in helping at the Braille carnival, and an orientation meeting will be held on the morning of the carnival.
Committee on Associates
by Tom Stevens
Associate recruiters and everyone interested in this important program will meet on Monday evening, June 30, at 7:00 p.m. Associate updates, individual recognitions, and discussions will take place. Please remember that, just because we are now close to the end of the recruiting year, there is no reason to stop recruiting associates.
by Jerry Whittle
All NFB newsletter editors and other interested people are invited to participate in informative discussions on how to improve state newsletters or how to start one in your state. Discussions often center on the problems of editing and ways to make the newsletter more visually appealing. If these issues are of interest to you, please join us on Monday evening, June 30, at 8:00 p.m.
by Richard Edlund
As has been the case during the past several years, the Deaf-Blind Division will conduct both a seminar for those interested in deaf-blind issues and a general business meeting at this year's convention. The seminar will take place Monday evening, June 30, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The business meeting will occur at the same time on Wednesday evening, July 2. If you have an interest in deaf-blind issues, please join us.
Diabetes Action Network Seminar
by Ed Bryant
At the 2003 convention of the National Federation of the Blind, in Louisville, Kentucky, our Diabetes Action Network will have its seminar and business meeting on Monday, June 30, from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. Our keynote speaker will be a registered dietitian who will discuss diabetic foods, the exchange list, and carbohydrate counting. There will be plenty of time for your questions.
Once again we will have our Make the President Pay diabetes quiz game, and I will give a nice donation to the division for each right answer. Our seminar is free and open to the public. Its room location will be posted in the agenda (which is provided when you register).
Educators of Blind Children
by Gail Wagner
Attention all educators of blind children: Let's get together and network at the national convention in Louisville. This is a great time to meet and share ideas with others in our field. Please contact Gail Wagner at <[email protected]> if you are interested. At the convention contact Gail Wagner's room for a recorded message about the date and time of the get‑together. Hope to hear from you.
Ham Radio Group
by D. Curtis Willoughby
In accord with long‑standing tradition, the first meeting of the 2003 convention will be the Emergency Preparedness Seminar conducted by the NFB Ham Radio Group.
The seminar will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 28. We will discuss frequencies to be used during the convention, especially those to be used in the event of an emergency call‑out during the convention. We will also discuss those architectural features of the convention hotels and other information that NFB hams need to know if an emergency response is necessary.
Any Louisville hams willing to do a little frequency scouting before the convention are asked to contact Curtis, KA0VBA (303) 424‑7373, <[email protected]>.
The Ham Radio Group has a service project to serve the Federation by handling the distribution of the special FM receivers to allow hearing-impaired conventioneers to hear a signal directly from the public address system, which is much easier to understand than the sound that normal hearing aids pick up in a meeting. These same receivers are used to allow Spanish speakers (those who do not understand English fluently) to hear a Spanish translation of the convention and the banquet.
We will take some time at the Emergency Preparedness Seminar to prepare for this project as well. It is important that all group members willing to help come to the seminar.
The annual business meeting of the NFB Ham Radio Group will be held at noon on Thursday, July 3.
Human Services Division
by Julie Deden
Are you interested in a career in a human services profession? Do you ever feel bogged down or out of control in your current job? Have you wondered how blind professionals administer psychometric tests?
For answers to these questions and many more, please join us at the Human Services Division meeting on Monday afternoon, June 30, from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. We will have stimulating discussions, and you will have time to meet professionals in a wide spectrum of jobs.
International Braille and Technology Center
Technology Seminars for Everyone
by Allison Joyce, NFB Director of Technology
Last year at the 2002 convention the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind sponsored a series of technology-related seminars that covered different topics at different user-experience levels. We are pleased to announce that we will have a similar offering this year at the 2003 convention. The seminars will be held on Saturday, June 28. Everyone is welcome to any of the seminars. We will conduct eight ninety-minute sessions, each of which will be held in one of two rooms.
Here is the tentative schedule. Please remember that the final schedule (since the following is subject to change) will appear in your pre-convention agenda, which you will be able to get once you check into the Galt House.
SESSIONS 1 and 2: 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.
*Configuring Windows for Screen-Access Programs (beginning and intermediate users)
*Everyday Audio Software (intermediate and advanced users interested in Nero and RealOne)
SESSIONS 3 and 4: 10:30 a.m. to noon
*E-Books and Other E-Resources (beginning and intermediate users)
*An Internet Odyssey (intermediate and advanced users)
SESSIONS 5 and 6: 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
*Braille Translation and Formatting (for users of Duxbury for Windows Braille translation software)
*NFB-Net Training Seminar (for beginning and intermediate users)
SESSIONS 7 and 8: 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
*Using Speech with Outlook and Outlook Express (beginning and intermediate users)
*Tactile Graphics: A Touching Experience (for those interested in learning more about tactile graphics and technology)
A Seminar for Job Seekers
Hosted by the Training Centers
of the National Federation of the Blind
Are you looking for a job? Are you trying to figure out what type of work you would like to pursue? Do you need a career change? Do you wonder how to handle all aspects of a job as a blind person?
For information on these topics and many more, you are cordially invited to a seminar on Saturday, June 28, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. You will meet blind people who work in a wide variety of occupations and leave the seminar with the energy required to take control of your job search and career.
Linux Seminars at National Convention
by Curtis Chong
The NFB in Computer Science (NFBCS), the computer science division of the National Federation of the Blind, will be offering a day of seminars on the Linux operating system at the 2003 NFB convention in Louisville. The seminars will be held on Saturday, June 28.
The Linux seminars will be for those who are considering using Linux (and already have at least an intermediate knowledge of computers) as well as for those who are already using Linux and want to learn more about it. The seminars will begin at 9:00 a.m. and run until 5:00 p.m. There will be a lunch break.
The seminars will focus on four topics: (1) handling your e-mail using Pine and Speakup, (2) surfing the Web using Lynx and Speakup, (3) using the shell and various Linux utilities, and (4) installing Linux with Speakup. As time permits throughout the day, we will have some discussion of Linux and Unix systems in general.
The seminars will not require preregistration. They will be of the lecture and demonstration type and will accommodate as many as the room will hold.
[note to reader of recorded edition: Linux is pronounced with a short i and a short u]
[PHOTO/CAPTION: The Louisiana Center cast for the 2002 production prepares to take a bow.]
Louisiana Center for the Blind Players Present
by Jerry Whittle
The Louisiana Center for the Blind Players present Cajun Moon Rising, an original play by Jerry Whittle. A young Cajun woman faces encroaching blindness and finds hope through the love and devotion of her family and friends. Two performances will take place Monday evening, June 30. Tickets are $5 each. All proceeds help to fund the summer training programs for blind children at the Louisiana Center for the Blind.
National Association of the Blind
in Communities of Faith
by Robert Parrish
An old proverb says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." This means that we must employ forward thinking and leadership if people are to develop, grow, and prosper. In the religious field this means that emphasis is given to shaping and leading people spiritually. Although it is met with great skepticism, this concept includes the blind as a part of spiritual leadership.
Increasingly the blind are taking important roles in religious leadership and development. But how can the existing gap be bridged more rapidly and effectively? What must blind people do to show that we are more than capable of shaping people's lives religiously? At its annual seminar Monday afternoon, June 30, the communities of faith division will address this issue through various speakers and discussion. The theme for the seminar is "The vision to believe and lead."
As in recent years, the division will coordinate early morning devotionals at the 2003 convention. These are intended to encompass all faiths and are open to everyone. If you wish to have a part in these devotionals, please contact Linda Mentink at (608) 752‑8749. We are looking for people who wish to sing, preach, give dramatic interpretations, or offer any spiritual talents they have. You can also contact Linda at the 2003 convention in Louisville.
National Association of Blind Lawyers
by Scott LaBarre
Each year the National Association of Blind Lawyers (NABL) conducts its annual meeting at the convention of the National Federation of the Blind, and this year is no different. We will meet on Monday, June 30, at the Galt House from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., exact room to be announced. The purpose of our annual meeting and seminar is multifaceted.
We will examine emerging trends in the law that affect blind people and others with disabilities. We will discuss how to practice law most effectively as a blind or visually impaired legal professional. We will have an update on how legal research companies are making their products accessible with screen readers and other assistive technology used by blind lawyers. Undoubtedly we will hear from local law schools and bar associations about their outreach efforts to blind and visually impaired students and legal professionals. Because our agenda covers substantive areas of the law and addresses the practice of law itself, many of our members have applied for and received continuing legal education credits for our seminar.
At the conclusion of the seminar we will hold a reception for NABL members and seminar participants to promote networking and fellowship within our membership. If you are a lawyer, legal professional, or law student or are interested in law, the NABL meeting in Louisville on June 30 is the place to be.
by Scott LaBarre
The National Association of Blind Lawyers will sponsor its Sixth Annual Mock Trial at the 2003 NFB convention. This trial will reenact an old Federation case. Federation lawyers will be pitted against each other arguing the merits of the two positions.
Although the matter has not been firmly decided, we will very likely revisit an employment discrimination case in which a blind teacher was fired because of her blindness. See your favorite Federation lawyers strut their legal stuff.
You, the audience, will serve as the jury. This year's trial promises to be just as entertaining and thought provoking as the past trials. A nominal charge of $5 per person will benefit the National Association of Blind Lawyers. The trial will take place on Sunday afternoon, June 29, at 4:30 p.m. somewhere in the Galt House. Consult the convention agenda for the exact place.
National Association of Blind Merchants
by Kevan Worley
Saturday afternoon, June 28, at a time and place known only to a few dozen Federation merchants, a secret assembly line will form at the Galt House Hotel to fill variety grab bags of snacks and candy. Yes, the Snack Packs are back, and conventioneers can purchase them at the merchants' table beginning Sunday, June 29, in the Exhibit Hall. Get the energy you need and the goodies you like for only $5, and while you're at our table, we will give you a free drink, and you can buy a ticket for the $1,000 drawing at the banquet Thursday evening, July 3.
The annual meeting of the National Association of Blind Merchants will take place Monday afternoon, June 30, at 1:00. Check the convention agenda for location. This year registration for our division meeting will begin approximately thirty minutes after adjournment of the board of directors meeting. If you are involved in the Randolph‑Sheppard Program or operate a similar business, you won't want to miss this merchants' meeting.
On Wednesday, July 2, from 7:00 until 8:30 p.m., we invite you to our third annual Randolph‑Sheppard reception. Socialize, network, and learn more about Randolph‑Sheppard opportunities. Check the convention agenda for location.
National Association of Blind Musicians
by Linda Mentink
The National Association of Blind Musicians will hold its third seminar on the afternoon of Saturday, June 28. Our annual meeting will take place the evening of Sunday, June 29.
Our annual showcase of talent will take place the evening of Tuesday, July 1. This is our main fundraiser and is very well attended. If you wish to participate, please follow these guidelines: (1) sign up by 12 noon on the day of the showcase; (2) perform one number, no longer than four minutes; (3) if you are using a taped accompaniment, please have it cued up. Do not sing along with a vocal artist; you will be cut off while performing; (4) if you need an accompanist, please make arrangements before the showcase.
If you wish to register for the showcase before the convention, contact Linda Mentink at 1740 Tamarack Lane, Janesville, Wisconsin 53545‑0952; telephone (608) 752‑8749; e-mail <[email protected]>.
Membership dues are $5 per year. If you wish to renew your membership or become a member before the convention, please make your check payable to NABM and send it to Bee Hodgkiss, 1117 Marquette, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403.
National Association of Blind Office Professionals
by Lisa Hall
National Association of Blind Office Professionals (NABOP) will be meeting on Saturday, June 28, 2003, at the Galt House. Please consult your pre-convention agenda for room location. The registration will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. Dues are $5 a year and can be paid at the convention. Plans are underway to provide useful information that everyone can benefit from. Anyone requesting more information about our division should contact Lisa Hall, president, National Association of Blind Office Professionals, 9110 Broadway, Apt. J-102, San Antonio, Texas 78217; home phone (210) 829-4571; voice mail (866) 228-2320; or e-mail <[email protected]>.
The National Association of Blind Piano Tuners
by Don Mitchell
The National Association of Blind Piano Tuners will meet on Monday, June 30, at 3:00 p.m. in Louisville. Consult your convention agenda for the meeting location.
We will be conducting our annual business meeting and election of officers and receiving reports on our division projects. These include the talking electronic tuning device and the grand regulation rack development projects. We hope many Federation piano technicians will plan to attend, and we welcome all those interested in learning about a productive and profitable career. Annual membership dues of $10 will be received at the business meeting. If you are unable to attend, you may send your dues to Connie Ryan, treasurer, 56 N. Extension Road, Apartment 107, Mesa, Arizona 85201. Hope to see you in Louisville.
The National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals
by Shawn Mayo
The National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals will hold its meeting Tuesday, July 1, from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. This year's program will teach us practical ways to bring our Federation philosophy into the agency. We will also learn about training programs for the older blind, examine various outcome measures, and discuss many more critical issues. Dues are $5. Registration begins at 7:00 p.m. Come help shape the future of rehabilitation.
National Association of Blind Students
by Angela Wolfe
The National Association of Blind Students will hold its annual meeting on Sunday, June 29, 2003, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. We will also sponsor Monte Carlo Night on Wednesday, July 2, beginning at 8:00 p.m. We invite everyone to come support the student division, and we urge all students to join NABS and enjoy support and friendship throughout the year.
National Association of Guide Dog Users
by Suzanne Whalen
The National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU) will hold our usual two meetings at this year's convention. Our business meeting will take place from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 28. Registration will be from 6:00 to 7:00. The meeting will start promptly at 7:00, so please come in plenty of time to register and be in the room by 7:00.
The seminar, A Guide Dog in Your Life, will take place from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 2. Please note that we will not have registration on Wednesday. Registration will happen only at the Saturday business meeting. As has been customary the past few years, anyone interested in learning more about guide dogs will have the chance on Wednesday to take Juno walks. These are demonstration walks with instructors to see how it feels to be guided by a harness.
We have several really interesting topics for our meetings this year. During our Wednesday seminar, for example, Mike Hingson will share the experience he and his dog Roselle had escaping from the World Trade Center on September 11. Among other things during the business meeting we will deal with access issues in hotels and restaurants. We are also trying to arrange for Dr. Marty Becker to be with us. I have heard Dr. Becker at another conference, and he is really fantastic. He is a vet, and we will really enjoy what he has to say about the human‑animal bond. Don't forget to bring your $15 dues to registration at the Saturday business meeting if you haven't already sent them to Priscilla Ferris for this year. See you in Louisville.
National Association to Promote the Use of Braille
by Nadine Jacobson
Well, here it is already, that time of year when we all begin anticipating the excitement of our national convention. We in the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB) are particularly pleased this year because we are celebrating the twentieth year of the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest. Just imagine all the books that children and young adults have read as a direct result of our efforts. We are very proud of these young people and all they have accomplished.
Our NAPUB meeting this year will be at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 30. We have an exciting and informative agenda planned, including hearing from some contest winners of past years. Just prior to our meeting and in the same room will be a gathering to celebrate twenty years of the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest. All those interested in Braille are welcome to attend. This celebration begins at 5:00 p.m. and will include refreshments. At 6:30 p.m. we will be presenting a program honoring those who have participated in the contest. Also at this celebration we will have tables with displays about Braille. One of the really fun events will be a Braille book flea market. We will be initiating a mentoring program for young people in the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest. Many exciting things are happening, and we encourage all of you to come and celebrate with us.
If you have any questions about the NAPUB meeting, please contact Nadine Jacobson at (952) 927‑7694. We look forward to seeing all of you at our meeting.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: All kids enjoy playing with new toys. Here Mikaella Besson (Massachusetts) explores a tableful of fun.]
NFB Camp: It's More Than Child's Play
by Carla McQuillan
Programs and Activities
During convention week children six weeks through ten years of age are invited to join in the fun and festivities of NFB Camp. NFB Camp offers more than childcare; it is an opportunity for our blind and sighted children to meet and develop lifelong friendships. Our activity schedule is filled with games, crafts, and special performances designed to entertain, educate, and delight. If you are interested in this year's program, please complete and return the registration form provided. Preregistration with payment on or before June 15, 2003, is mandatory for participation in NFB Camp. Space is limited, and last year some families had to be turned away.
About the Staff: NFB Camp is organized and supervised by Carla McQuillan. Carla is the executive director of Main Street Montessori Association, operating two schools, parent education courses, and a teacher training program. Carla is the mother of two children, the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon, and a member of the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind.
Michelle Ros is this year's activities director for NFB Camp. Michelle is a Montessori teacher employed by Main Street Montessori Association. Carla and Michelle will supervise a staff of experienced childcare workers and volunteers.
Activities and Special Events: The children are divided into groups according to age: infants and toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children. Each camp room is equipped with a variety of age-appropriate toys, games, and books, and there will be daily art projects. In addition, school-aged children will have the opportunity to sign up for half-day trips to local area attractions. The planned events include trips to the park (outside play), a zoo exhibit (which will come to camp), the Speed Art Museum, the Louisville Slugger Museum, cookies and milk, and walks to the mall. We are also hoping for a special appearance by blind singer/songwriter Daniel Lamonds. Dates, times, additional fees, and sign-up sheets are available at NFB Camp. Space for special events is limited to enrolled NFB Campers only, on a first come, first served basis.
On the final day of NFB Camp we will have a big toy sale--brand new toys at bargain prices.
Banquet Night: NFB Camp will provide dinner and activities during the banquet. The cost for banquet activities is $15 per child in addition to other camp fees.
NFB Camp will be open during general convention sessions, division and committee meeting day, and the evening of the banquet. Plenty of teens are always available to babysit during evening and lunchtime meetings.
Please use the NFB Camp registration form included.
NFB Camp Schedule
NFB Camp will be open during general convention sessions, division and committee meeting day, and the evening of the banquet. Times listed are the opening and closing times of Kids Camp. Children are not accepted earlier than the times listed, and a late fee of $10 will be assessed for all late pick-ups. NFB Camp provides morning and afternoon snacks. You are responsible to provide lunch for your child(ren) every day.
DateKids Camp Hours
Saturday, June 28 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (lunch provided this day only)
Sunday, June 29 Camp is closed
Monday, June 30 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.*
Tuesday, July 1 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.*
Wednesday, July 2 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.*
Thursday, July 3 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.*
Friday, July 4 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30–5:30 p.m.*
* You are required to provide lunch for your child(ren) each day.
These times may vary, depending on the timing of the actual convention sessions. NFB Camp will open thirty minutes before the beginning gavel and close thirty minutes after session recess.
NFB Camp Registration Form
Completed form and fees must be received on or before June 15, 2003
City _______________________ State ________ ZIP ________ Phone ______________
_________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ Age ____
_________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ Age ____
_________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ Age ____
Include description of any disabilities/allergies we should know about: __________ __________________________________________________________________________
Who, other than parents, is allowed to pick up your child? _____________________ __________________________________________________________________________
Per Week: $80 first child; $60 siblings # of children _____$ ________
(Does not include banquet)
Per Day:$20 per child per day # days ____ x $20/child $ ________
(Does not include banquet)
Banquet:$15 per child # of children ______ x $15 $ ________
Total Due $ ________
We understand that NFB Camp is provided as a service by the NFB to make our convention more enjoyable for both parents and children. We understand the rules we were given and agree to abide by them. We will pick up children immediately following sessions. We understand that, if our child(ren) does not follow the rules or if for any reason staff is unable to care for our child(ren), further access to
childcare will be denied.
Parent’s Signature __________________________________ Date __________________
Make checks payable to NFB Camp
Return form to National Federation of the Blind of Oregon
5005 Main Street, Springfield, Oregon 97478, (541) 726-6924
National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science
by Curtis Chong
The 2003 meeting of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science will be held on Monday, June 30, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Galt House in Louisville. The precise location of the meeting will be listed in the National Federation of the Blind convention agenda, which you can obtain by registering for the convention. Membership in the NFB in Computer Science costs $5 per year.
Much of our meeting will focus on the needs of blind developers in the information technology field. The ever-increasing shift of the programming environment to more visually robust (graphical) presentations and the growing gap between mainstream and screen-access technology has been a cause of concern to many people. Blind students tell us that computer programming schools are incredibly difficult because many courses teach graphical concepts which are not easily and independently accessed with screen reading software.
Longtime successful programmers worry that a growing percentage of their time is spent developing alternative, nonvisual techniques simply to maintain parity with their sighted colleagues. We will try to have some serious discussion about these issues to determine the extent of the problem and suggest some ways to solve it.
Fortunately, all is not gloom and doom in information technology. We have heard about some success stories. We will try to explore those successes at our meeting. For example, Macromedia, the company which did the work to make the Flash product more accessible to the blind, has also had some success with its Web-development product, Dream Weaver. Dream Weaver could be the most accessible Web-development tool for the blind. Or it may not. We are planning to have some frank discussion with representatives from Macromedia about this.
Come to the 2003 meeting of the NFB in Computer Science and see how Federationism is applied in information technology.
The National Federation of the Blind in Judaism
by Harold Snider
The National Federation of the Blind in Judaism group will meet for a light lunch (dairy‑kosher) from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 28. Consult the pre-convention agenda for the room. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss inclusion of blind Jews in local Jewish community life and the current state of affairs at the Jewish Braille Institute of America. All are welcome. A charge of $10 will be collected at the door from each person attending to pay for lunch. RSVP to Harold Snider by e‑mail at <[email protected]>, or telephone (301) 460‑4142.
National Organization of Blind Educators
by Sheila Koenig
The National Organization of Blind Educators seminar offers an excellent opportunity to network with blind people who are teaching a wide spectrum of grades and subjects. Though some differences may exist in classroom activities, all teachers share some fundamental professional duties. How do we manage student behavior? How do we assess student progress? How do we assert our equal footing with colleagues? During our seminar Monday afternoon, June 30, you will have the opportunity to discuss the strategies and alternative techniques that enable blind people to be successful teachers. If you are a teacher or thinking about teaching at any level as a career, come join us in Louisville. Division dues are $10 a year for students and $20 for teachers.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: A large audience of seniors listens closely to a presentation at the seniors division's 2002 meeting.]
National Organization of the Senior Blind
by Judy Sanders
Come one, come all to the annual meeting of the National Organization of the Senior Blind (NOSB) on Sunday, June 29, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. You can participate in the first ever silent sale at a convention of blind people. If you are not a regular reader of our NOSB newsletter, you will also learn our new definition of the term "senior moment." We will hear about the latest trends in providing rehabilitation services to blind seniors, progress being made on the legislative front, and initiatives being taken by seniors and for seniors.
If you have matters you wish to add to our agenda, please contact Judy Sanders at (612) 375‑1625, or e‑mail <[email protected]>. See you in Louisville.
Public Employees Division
by Ivan Weich
The Public Employees Division will hold its annual meeting on Sunday, June 29, at 7:00 p.m. We will have a briefing on a very successful case settled in Washington State. If you are a public employee (federal, state, or local government; school system; or public utility) or a retired public employee or if you are interested in a public-sector career, this meeting is for you. If you need more information, contact Ivan Weich at (360) 782‑9575.
Social Security Seminar
by James McCarthy
An outreach seminar, "Social Security and Supplemental Security Income: What Applicants, Advocates, and Recipients Should Know," will take place on Wednesday afternoon, July 2. The purpose of this seminar, which will be conducted by the National Federation of the Blind with support from the Social Security Administration, is to provide information on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for the blind, including recent developments such as the Ticket to Work and Expedited Reinstatement.
Seminar presenters will be Jim McCarthy, assistant director of governmental affairs for the National Federation of the Blind, and his wife Terri Uttermohlen, also an NFB member and a training and technical assistance liaison employed by Virginia Commonwealth University to provide training and technical assistance to work incentives specialists as part of a nationwide project. In addition, Wanda Berry will provide a presentation on writing a Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS). Ms. Berry is one of the PASS cadre in the Atlanta Region, which covers the Louisville area.
Special Events Seminar: Plans and Action Equal Success
by Betsy Zaborowski
A growing number of our affiliates and chapters are conducting special events. We can learn from each other what works and what doesn't. This seminar, Saturday, June 28, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., will provide an opportunity to learn from each other how to plan and conduct successful events. We will discuss everything from sponsorships of the Everest premieres to walk-a-thons and black-tie galas. Special events are never easy but are a great way to make friends in your community and promote our organization while raising funds.
by Tom Stevens
The Writers Division will conduct a poetry-reading session on Saturday afternoon, June 28. See the pre-convention agenda for the location. Participants are invited to read their poetry and very, very short stories. Everyone interested in creative writing is invited to come and listen. Also remember the Writers Division annual meeting, which will take place on Monday afternoon, June 30, and will include presentations about writing, a question and answer period, and some business. For more information contact either Tom Stevens at (573) 445‑6091 or Lori Stayer at (516) 868‑8718.
Schedule of NOPBC-Sponsored Events for Parents,
Teachers, and Youth at the
2003 NFB Convention
by Barbara Cheadle
Every year brings wonderful new opportunities for learning, networking, and having fun at the NFB convention; 2003 will be no exception. The following is a brief description and schedule of the convention activities that will be sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children.
NOPBC Activities Fees:
($5 discount for preregistration)
$10 one adult (no children)
$15 one adult plus children
$25 two adults plus children
If you preregister and mail payment by June 1, 2003, you can take $5 off your fee. The fee includes NOPBC membership; lunch for your family on Saturday, June 28; and all the NOPBC-sponsored activities described in this schedule of events. It does not include NFB convention registration (which is $15 per person, adult or child) or NFB Camp (childcare) fees.
Saturday, June 28
On Saturday, June 28, the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) kicks off the convention with a full day of activities for the entire family. The day's events (all of which take place in the Galt House) include:
* An all-day seminar for parents and teachers
* A Braille carnival for children age four and up
* Small group lunches hosted by NOPBC leaders in the East Tower Suites
* Workshops and programs for children and youth ages eight and up
* Family hospitality
* Touch the Universe—Astronomy Is for Everyone
The all-day seminar for parents and teachers
* 8:00 a.m. Registration
* 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Program
The theme for the June 28, 2003, NOPBC seminar is Transition to Independence. From infancy to young adulthood, children go through many transitions, some of which are developmental--the terrible twos and puberty--and some cultural--the transition from preschool to kindergarten, the move from elementary school to middle school, high school graduation. Transitions, in this sense, are biological or cultural points at which children take a leap forward in maturity, autonomy, self-realization, and independence. Naturally these transition points are junctures of great opportunity and great peril for children.
In this seminar we will explore the elements that make it possible for blind children and youth to navigate these transitions successfully. Our program will feature a mix of blind adults, teachers, parents, and blind youth, who will share experiences and provide practical suggestions. Whatever the age--zero to twenty-one--of your child or student, you will find lots of good information and inspiration at this seminar.
Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. The seminar begins at 9:00 a.m. with a short program for the entire family. The program breaks at 9:45 a.m. to allow time for parents to take their children to the Braille Carnival, NFB Camp, or other youth workshops and then resumes at 10:30 a.m. and continues until the lunch break at noon. The afternoon program resumes at 2:00 p.m. and adjourns at 5:00 p.m.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Jennifer Kennedy places a balloon animal crown on the head of Hannah Weatherd of Montana while others look on.]
10:00 a.m.--12:30 p.m.: This popular activity, coordinated by Melody Lindsey of Michigan, is for children, sighted or blind, ages four and up. Volunteer carnival buddies, under the direction of educator Robin House, are available to supervise the kids for two hours of games, crafts, and other fun Braille-related activities. The carnival booths are sponsored by NFB affiliates and other organizations that come to participate in the convention. The volunteer carnival buddies are recruited from within the NFB membership.
Small Group Lunches
Noon to 1:45 p.m.: This year NOPBC is sponsoring small lunch groups in the East Tower Hotel Suites. At registration your family (including kids not registered for NFB Camp) will be assigned a room to go to for a casual lunch with other families from your state or region of the country. Your host or hostess will be a NOPBC board member, state president, or other leader in the organization. NOPBC will provide a sandwich buffet and drinks in each room.
The workshops described below are just that, workshops; they are not childcare services. NOPBC does not sponsor childcare services at the convention. This service--NFB Camp--is provided by the National Federation of the Blind through the volunteer efforts of Carla McQuillan. NFB Camp is open all day (including lunch) on Saturday, June 28, for eligible children. For more information about fees, hours during convention, etc., contact Carla McQuillan, NFB Camp Coordinator, 5005 Main Street, Springfield, Oregon 97478; telephone (541) 726-6924.
Workshops for Children and Youth
Because we want this day to be a learning experience for the entire family, NOPBC is also offering some great activities and workshops for older children and youth, including sighted siblings, on Saturday, June 28. Although the plans for the activities and workshops are not complete as we go to press, here is what we currently plan to offer:
Babysitting Clinic (ages 12 to 18)
Learn skills and techniques in managing and caring for children. Certificate awarded. Workshop leader: Carla McQuillan, NFB Camp Director and owner/operator of Children's Choice Montessori School, Portland, Oregon.
Notetaking with an Electronic Notetaker (blind youth, ages 14 to 18)
There's more to taking good notes than you think. This workshop combines instruction and tips on taking notes in class with a Q&A session about electronic notetakers. You must bring your own electronic notetaker. Slate users also welcome--bring your own slates. Workshop Leader: Ann Taylor, blind adaptive technology expert, International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind.
Braille Is Beautiful and Fun for Everyone! (ages 8 to 11)
Blind or sighted, competent Braille user or novice, you will increase your knowledge and skills in Braille with this workshop. You'll do fun activities from the Braille Is Beautiful curriculum program, work in small groups, make tactile books for blind babies, and work on other Braille service projects. Workshop Leader: Angela Wolf, president of the National Association of Blind Students (NABS).
I Want to Be a Writer (ages 13 to 16)
Think you'd like to be a writer? Bring your writing tools, creativity, and enthusiasm with you to this workshop conducted by successful blind writers, educators, and authors. Workshop Leaders: Robin House, Sheila Koenig, and children's author Deborah Kent-Stein.
Exploring Careers in Blindness (ages 16 to 18)
Ever wonder what it would be like to teach cane travel to blind people? Ever consider being a rehabilitation counselor or a teacher of blind kids? Competitions, prizes, and the hands-on activities in this workshop make exploring careers in blindness fun and interesting. Workshop Leader: Anil Lewis, rehabilitation job specialist and president of the NFB of Georgia.
Teen Discussion Groups (blind teens ages 13 to 18)
Two groups, one for teen men and one for teen women. Engage in guided discussions about dating, grooming, making friends, being comfortable in social situations, relationships with parents, and other topics of importance to teens.
Touch the Universe --Astronomy Is for Everyone (time to be announced)
How can blind people learn about astronomy and the universe? Dr. Bernhard Beck-Winchatz, assistant professor of astronomy, NASA Space Science Center for Education and Outreach at DePaul University, will help kids and adults discover the answers to those questions during this program, sometime Saturday. Mark Riccobono, director of the Wisconsin School for the Blind, will help coordinate and moderate the program. At this program parents will be able to see and purchase the exciting new book developed by a NASA grant: Touch the Universe: A NASA Braille Book of Astronomy, by Noreen Grice.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Mikaela Stevens (left) and Makenzie Stevens (right) examine the Braille book, Touch the Universe, while author Noreen Grice leans above them.]
At the conclusion of the workshops scheduled during the day, the leaders will bring the kids to the seminar room to join the parents and other adults for a final session. Together we will hear from the youth leaders and the kids themselves what they did and what they learned in their workshops.
NOPBC Family Hospitality
7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Relax and chat in an informal atmosphere with other parents, teachers, and blind adults while your kids roam and play around the tables. There will be some door prizes and a few mixer games, but mostly this will be an unstructured evening in which you can network with others. While parents will be responsible for the supervision of their children at hospitality, NOPBC will provide toys, books, and a play station to help keep your little ones happy and occupied while you talk.
Sunday, June 29
Teen Get-Acquainted Party
1:00-5:00 p.m.: Sponsored jointly by NOPBC and Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM). All teens are invited to drop in anytime at this room for games and music or just to hang out with other teens. Supervised at all times by BISM counselors.
Monday, June 30
Parent Power: NOPBC Annual Meeting
1:00-3:30 p.m.: Keynote address by the 2003 Distinguished Educator of Blind Children, roll call of POBC affiliates, updates on educational issues, committee reports, and elections.
Twentieth Anniversary Reception and Reunion
in Honor of the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest
5:00-7:00 p.m.: Funded by a UPS grant and cosponsored by the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille and the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. Come and help celebrate twenty years of promoting Braille through the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest. There will be lots of free food, wonderful displays, great fellowship, a Braille book flea market/exchange, and a brief but inspiring program at 6:30 p.m. reviewing the accomplishments of the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest.
Donations from the Braille book flea market will be used to establish a permanent Braille Readers Are Leaders reunion and mentorship fund. Immediately following the program, NAPUB will conduct its annual program, at which a formal Braille Readers Are Leaders mentors group will be established. Bring the whole family. Stay for the NAPUB meeting. All Braille enthusiasts are invited, but former contestants and winners are extended a special invitation. About twenty scholarships are available for current and former contest participants to attend the celebration. For more information see the article elsewhere in this issue.
Tuesday, July 1
IEP's, Transition Plans, Rehabilitation Services, and IDEA
7:00-10:00 p.m.: A workshop about the educational rights of blind and visually impaired students with a special emphasis on transition issues. When does transition begin? What is a good transition plan for blind youth? What is the role of state rehabilitation services while kids are still in school?
Wednesday, July 2
The following workshops will take place the afternoon of Wednesday, July 2, sometime between 2:00 and 6:00 p.m. Some of the workshops will repeat, some will be drop-in sessions, and the Beginning Braille workshop will be an intensive 2-3-hour session.
* Braille for the Partially Sighted: Methods and Techniques
* Beginning Braille for Parents
* Kids and Canes: When (should a child get one)? Who (should teach it)? What (type of cane should a child get)? How (long should the cane be)? How much (instruction is enough)? What about (sleepshades, folding canes, cane tips, partially sighted kids, etc.)?
* It Takes More Than a Good IEP: Creative Ways to Improve Your Child's Educational Services
NOPBC 2003 Activities Preregistration
Mail to Sandy Taboada, NOPBC Preregistration, 6920 South Fieldgate Court, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808-5455; e-mail <[email protected]>.
Fees: $10, one adult, no children; $15 one adult, children; $25, two adults, children
Adult Name(s). Please include first and last name of each adult and indicate if the adult is a parent, grandparent, blind parent, teacher, other relative, etc.
City, State, ZIP____________________________
Telephone ( )____________________________
Fee enclosed (make checks payable to NOPBC) $___________
Remember to deduct $5 for early registration.
Will you be bringing children? [ ] Yes [ ] No [ ] Undecided
If yes or undecided, please list names and birth dates of child(ren); reading mode (Braille, print, large print, nonreader); and brief description of characteristics of which workshop volunteers should be aware. Examples: mild autism; wears hearing aid; has ADHD; shy--doesn't talk to strangers.
Finally, check the workshops your child may be interested in attending. Please note the age restrictions. The lower limit on the Braille carnival is firm. The age limits on the other workshops may go up or down by a year or two depending on circumstances. Youngsters over eighteen who are still in high school may also participate in the appropriate workshops. Please copy this form or add an additional sheet of paper if you need additional space to register more children.
1. Name and birth date_____________________
Please preregister my child for:
__Braille Carnival (4-up) 10:00-12:30 p.m.
__Notetaking (blind, 14-18)10:30-12:00 p.m.
__Babysitting Clinic (12-18) 11:30/12:00-4:30 p.m. (includes lunch)
__I Want to Be a Writer (13-16) 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
__Braille Is Beautiful (8-11) 2:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
__Exploring Careers in Blindness (16-18)2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
__Teen Discussion Groups (blind, 13-18) 8:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
__Touch the Universe (9-up)Times to be announced
2. Name and birth date___________________________________________
Please preregister my child for:
__Braille Carnival (4-up), 10:00-12:30 p.m.
__Notetaking (blind, 14-18), 10:30-12:00 p.m.
__Babysitting Clinic (12-18), 11:30/12:00-4:30 p.m. (includes lunch)
__I Want to Be a Writer (13-16), 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
__Braille Is Beautiful (8-11), 2:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
__Exploring Careers in Blindness (16-18), 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
__Teen Discussion Groups (blind, 13-18), 8:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
__ Touch the Universe (9-up), times to be announced
[PHOTO/CAPTION: UPS volunteers being oriented at the 2002 convention]
UPS Delivers More Than Parcels:
Braille Readers Are Leaders Celebrates 20th Anniversary
by Sandy Halverson
From the Editor: Sandy Halverson is a longtime leader of the National Federation of the Blind. She and her husband John now live in Virginia, where she works to promote the use of Braille. She has some exciting news for those attending the convention this coming summer:
Every year we say our upcoming national convention is going to be better than our last one. Something new to surprise and delight us always seems to emerge. This year is no exception. We are pleased to announce that at the 2003 NFB convention, on Monday, June 30, we will be celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the NFB Braille Readers Are Leaders contest.
For twenty years this contest, cosponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB), has strengthened literacy, increased Braille reading speeds, and brought the joy of reading Braille to over a thousand blind children nationwide.
To mark the accomplishments of these twenty years, NOPBC and NAPUB have planned a reception at the Galt House on Monday, June 30, between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. You will find enough free food and beverages to assuage any appetite, a Braille book flea market (more about that later), displays, and a brief but lively program from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. Although anyone who attends the 2003 convention is welcome to attend the reception, we extend a very special invitation to contest participants (past and present) and their families.
So, where does UPS fit into all this? Over the past several years UPS has partnered with the NFB to promote Braille literacy and other access-to-information programs such as NFB-NEWSLINE®. UPS has also provided many courteous volunteers at our national conventions, who know how to give appropriate assistance and directions.
Now the UPS Foundation has provided the NFB with a Braille Readers Are Leaders expansion grant. These funds will allow us to make this anniversary event the beginning of many annual reunions, and it will also fund some innovative new elements (such as a mentorship program) to the Braille Readers Are Leaders program. However, once we have these programs off the ground, our task will be to fund them and keep them going. And that's where the Braille book flea market comes in.
The Braille book flea market is your opportunity to share those loved but no longer read Braille books with others and, for a small donation, to find new treasures as you browse tables of Braille reading matter at the anniversary reception on Monday, June 30. Donations generated by this project will help us fund future Braille Readers Are Leaders reunions and activities. So start gathering those Braille books together, and, if you don't want to pack them in your luggage, please contact me (Sandy Halverson, see below) for information about where you can ship them in advance.
Finally, the UPS grant makes it possible for us to offer travel and lodging stipends for the anniversary event to a limited number of former Braille Readers Are Leaders contest participants. Priority for consideration for stipends will go to those age nineteen and older who are willing to be a Braille mentor to younger Braille readers and their families at the convention.
There is a country song with a phrase that goes something like this: "I was country when country wasn't cool." Twenty years ago, when the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest was inaugurated, Braille wasn't cool. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. Mark your convention calendars for June 30 and come help us celebrate our past successes and an even brighter future for Braille literacy.
For more information about the Braille Readers Are Leaders anniversary celebration, the Braille book flea market, the mentorship program, or the travel stipends, please contact Sandy Halverson, president, Virginia Association to Promote the Use of Braille, at (703) 379-1141 or <[email protected]>.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Ed Bryant]
Dialysis at National Convention
by Ed Bryant
From the Editor: Ed Bryant is president of the Diabetes Action Network. He has important information for those interested in arranging for dialysis during the national convention. This is what he says:
During this year's annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind, dialysis will be available. Those requiring dialysis must have a transient patient packet and physician's statement filled out prior to treatment. Conventioneers must have their unit contact the desired location in the Louisville area for instructions, well in advance.
Prior to each treatment, individuals will be responsible for, and must pay out of pocket, the approximately $30 not covered by Medicare, plus any additional physician's fees and any charges for other medications. Dialysis centers should set up transient dialysis locations at least eight weeks in advance. This helps assure a location for anyone wanting to dialyze. The Greater Louisville area has many centers, but early reservation is strongly recommended especially during this holiday period. Here are some dialysis locations, all about half a mile from the hotel:
*Renal Care Group, Inc., 635 South Third Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202; telephone (502) 561-1314. As of this writing, they are almost full.
*Fresenius Medical Care, 720 East Broadway, Louisville, Kentucky 40202; telephone (502) 584-3021.
*U. of Louisville Kidney Disease Program, 615 Preston Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202; telephone (502) 852-7278.
Please remember to schedule dialysis treatments early to ensure space. Call them now. If scheduling assistance is needed, have your dialysis unit's social worker contact me: Ed Bryant, Diabetes Action Network president; telephone (573) 875-8911. See you in Louisville.
This month's recipes have been provided by members of the NFB of New Mexico.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Tonia Trapp]
by Tonia Trapp
Tonia Trapp is a member of the board of directors of the NFB of New Mexico and the new president of the Albuquerque chapter. She works as an advocate for the New Mexico Protection and Advocacy System, an agency devoted to advocating for the rights of people with disabilities. In her spare time Tonia enjoys reading, singing, and collecting music.
6 apples, cored and sliced into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, plus a little more
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup quick oats
Method: Combine all ingredients except apples in a bowl and mix well. The mixture should be crumbly. Arrange apples in buttered 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle apples with some additional brown sugar. Spoon the crumb mixture over the apples, covering them as thoroughly as possible. Bake for forty minutes at 350 degrees.
Wyoming Whopper Cookies
by Jim Babb
Jim is a former Ohioan and thirty-five-year employee of the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission. He is now happily retired in beautiful Albuquerque, New Mexico. The cookie recipe has been a family favorite for many years.
2/3 cup butter or margarine (softened)
1-1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups chunky peanut butter
6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 cups raisins
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate chips)
Method: Blend together butter, sugar, eggs, and peanut butter. Mix until smooth. Add oats, baking soda, raisins, and chocolate chips (dough will be sticky). Drop dough by large spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Flatten cookies slightly with back of spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for about fifteen minutes. Makes about two-and-a-half dozen large cookies.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Christine Hall]
Green Chili Stew
by Christine Hall
Christine Hall is a longtime Federationist. She currently serves on the board of directors of the NFB of New Mexico, is the first vice president of the Albuquerque chapter, and is the president of the SAGE division, serving blind seniors in New Mexico. She enjoys cooking when she has the time and, since moving to New Mexico, has learned how to prepare dishes with green chilies.
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in bite-size pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 green chilies or 1 can chili Ortega, chopped
6 potatoes, cubed in bite-size pieces
1 cup frozen corn
1 can pinto beans
Salt and pepper to taste
Method: Lightly coat the bottom of a heavy Dutch oven with olive oil. Place cut-up chicken in pan. Salt and pepper chicken and begin browning. Add minced garlic and continue to brown. Add chopped onion to pan and sauté until onion is soft. Add potatoes, more salt and pepper, and enough water to cover potatoes and chicken mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pan if you wish and keep an eye on the liquid level, adding more water if necessary. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Add chopped green chilies, corn, and beans. Bring back to a boil and simmer about five more minutes. Let stand for ten minutes before serving.
by Marsha Ogilvie
Marsha Ogilvie is a member of the Albuquerque chapter and an anthropologist in the Southwestern United States, where they love green chilies, in case this fact was not already obvious. Marcia reports that this recipe is easy to fix, and everyone loves it.
2 cans cream-style corn
3/4 pound jack cheese, grated or cubed
1 cup flour
2 well-beaten eggs
Green chilies, as desired
Salt and pepper to taste
Method: Mix corn and flour together until flour lumps dissolve. Blend beaten eggs into corn mixture. Add salt and pepper. Pour half of the mixture into a greased baking dish. Place grated cheese and green chilies on top of the corn mixture. Top with remaining mixture and bake approximately 1 hour, or until pie is firm. Cool. Cut into squares and serve.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Gail Wagner]
Green Chili Cheese Rice
by Gail Wagner
Gail Wagner has taught blind children for nineteen years in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has been an active member of the NFB since she was sixteen and currently serves on the board of directors of the Albuquerque chapter.
6 ounces diced green chilies (hot or mild)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese (cubed)
2 cups instant rice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
Paprika for garnish
Method: Prepare the rice according to package directions. While the rice is still hot, stir in all the other ingredients using a wooden spoon. Place the rice mixture into a buttered baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about thirty minutes, until the mixture is bubbly. Remove from oven and lightly sprinkle with paprika. Serves eight to ten as a side dish.
Caramel Apple Dip
by Veronica Smith
Veronica Smith joined the NFB in 1989 and says that she has loved every moment since. She has served as chapter secretary and board member. She also recruits associates. She is a happy wife and mother.
4 or 5 tart apples, peeled, sliced, and cored
1/2 cup pineapple juice
16 ounces soft cream cheese
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
Method: Place apple slices into 1/2 cup pineapple juice and refrigerate overnight. In another bowl beat cream cheese, vanilla, and brown sugar until smooth. Refrigerate that mixture overnight also. When ready to serve, drain pineapple juice from apple slices and dip each into the sweetened cream cheese.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Jessica Bachicha]
by Jessica Bachicha
Jessica Bachicha is an active member of the NFB of New Mexico. She was a 2003 NFB scholarship winner and is currently a student at the University of New Mexico.
2 cups crunchy peanut butter
2 cups Rice Krispies
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons melted margarine or butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
11 standard Hershey chocolate bars, melted
Method: Mix peanut butter, Rice Krispies, powdered sugar, melted margarine, and light corn syrup until well blended. Press mixture evenly into a 9-by-13-inch pan that has been lined with plastic wrap over light oil. Melt chocolate bars in double boiler. Spread evenly over Rice Krispie mixture; chill until set but not hard (chocolate will begin to lose its shiny appearance). Cut into pieces of desired size. Return to refrigerator until chocolate has hardened completely. Remove from pan and store in tightly covered container in refrigerator until ready to serve.
News from the Federation Family
Building a List of E-Mail Addresses:
We are still working to build an accurate list of e-mail addresses for Federationists across the country. During the convention the volunteers staffing the Jernigan suite will be collecting e-mail addresses from all those who want to provide them. They will also be happy to take lists of addresses provided to them in print or Braille.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Braille Is Beautiful Package Cover]
Disability Awareness Curriculum for Schools:
Braille Is Beautiful is a disability-awareness curriculum for sighted students in grades 4 and up. It is a fun program with workbooks for the kids, videos, lots of handouts, word games, exercises, and ideas for Braille service projects. It has everything a regular classroom teacher or youth leader needs to show sighted students how to read and write Braille letters and numbers.
Schools, libraries, youth clubs, and community service organizations will want to know about this wonderful, fun educational program. For a short time you can order several different Braille Is Beautiful packages of materials and videos at rates beginning as low as $25 (plus shipping and handling). To order or to request more information, go to <www.nfb.org> and click on "Why Braille Is Important," or call the National Federation of the Blind at (410) 659-9314.
Attention Friends of Arthur Segal and Shirley Trexler:
The National Association of Blind Merchants and the Segal/Trexler Memorial Fund Committee are proud to cosponsor an especially tasty event at this year's convention. In memory of Arthur Segal and Shirley Trexler, longtime Federation leaders, everyone is invited to participate in honoring our friends at a Caribbean culinary feast, only a short, free trolley ride away from the Galt House. On Tuesday, July 1, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Cafe Kilimanjaro will host a price‑fixed dinner for Arthur and Shirley's friends and colleagues over the years and across the miles to come together and celebrate their lives.
Participants are asked to make a contribution of whatever size they wish to the Segal/Trexler Memorial Fund, which has been established to add Arthur and Shirley's names to the Wall of Honor at the National Federation of the Blind Research and Training Institute for the Blind. The cost for dinner and gratuity is $24 a person. Reservations with accompanying checks are being accepted now by Sharon Maneki, 9013 Nelson Way, Columbia, Maryland 21045-5148. Seating is limited, so hurry and reserve now. Want more information? Contact Mary Brady at <[email protected]>
Dream Trip Drawing:
The Florida affiliate is selling tickets for a $2,000 design-it-yourself trip package. Out of Sight Travel Inc., specializing in accessible tours for the blind and disabled, will work with the winner to maximize the trip package. Tickets are $5 each, and the winning ticket will be drawn at the national convention in July. The package is good for a year, so you can pick the time and place to suit yourself. Go anywhere. Stay anywhere. Have the best vacation of your life.
For more information contact David Evans at (561) 482‑5684; e‑mail <[email protected]>. Checks should be made payable to NFBF and mailed to David Evans, 19601 Carolina Circle, Boca Raton, Florida 33434. Do it today; you could be our winner, enjoying a sunny beach, a mountain lake, or a fantastic city. For more details, visit the NFB of Florida Web site, <www.nfbflorida.org>.
The Austin Chapter of the NFB of Texas elected officers at its January meeting. Elected were Margaret (Cokie) Craig, president; Jeff Pearcy, first vice president; Jim Shaffer, second vice president; Norma Gonzales Baker, secretary; Brandy Wojcik, treasurer; and Mark Noble and Sharon Klug, board members.
Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.
Attention Young Women between Fifteen and Twenty-Five:
From August 15 to 18 you have a unique opportunity to gather with other women from the United States, Canada, and the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean on the campus of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, just above Buffalo, New York. The conference, Vision Quest 2003, will build confidence, sharpen skills, and explore issues of importance to blind women. If you are interested, complete the registration form and send it and your check to the address provided. If you have questions or would like further information, contact Barbara Pierce, member of the organizing committee, at <[email protected]>.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: World Blind Union Logo]
Committee on the Status of Blind Women North American/Caribbean Region
Vision Quest 2003:
A Self-Discovery Conference for Young Blind Women
August 15-18, 2003
Will you be attending the conference with a parent _____ a teacher _____ on my own _____ other__________?
If attending with an adult, please provide that person’s name_____________________ (Note: A separate program will be provided for
parents, teachers, and others. They must register for the conference.)
Conference materials: Braille____Large Print____Electronic_____
Your conference registration includes all accommodation (double occupancy) and meals, activities, and receptions. Please let us know the following:
Do you have any dietary restrictions?____yes____no. If so, please
Do you wish to room with a specific person?____yes____no. If so, please provide name: ________________________________________.
Please forward this registration form along with your registration fee (check to be made out to World Blind Union of Canada) $220 US_______$300 CA_______
Mail your registration form with payment enclosed by July 15th to:
CNIB Ontario Division
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, ON M4G 3E8 CANADA
Tel # 416-480-7468 Fax # 416-480-7140
Looking for Old‑Time Radio and Other Services?
Thank you for your orders. We still have Top 40 songs by the year from 1937 through 1963. Any single year $5 or your choice of five different years for $20. The real deal--all twenty-nine CDs for $100. We can also restore your records, eight‑tracks, and reel‑to‑reel tapes and put them on CD. Interested in old‑time radio? We have it. Visit <www.rofstudios.com> for our OTR listings or call (720) 334‑1482.
We are pleased to announce DeafBlindinfo.org, a new online directory of worldwide resources for and about people with combined vision and hearing loss. The site is sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division, but is designed to be useful to people around the world.
Helen Keller is a household name. But do you know about Laura Bridgman, Danny Delcambre, or your elderly neighbor? the modern technology and communication methods deaf-blind people use in daily life? where to find information and assistance if you experience vision and hearing loss?
The general public has little knowledge about what it is like to be deaf-blind. People who are deaf-blind themselves have limited access to information. This new Web site, <http://www.DeafBlindinfo.org>, is designed to close the information gap for both populations.
DeafBlindinfo.org showcases a vast collection of deaf-blindness information and resources in Minnesota and from around the world. Its Consumer Resource Guides aim to inform and empower adults, youth, families, and senior citizens with dual sensory impairment. Contact Marisa Bennett, Webmaster, e-mail <[email protected]>.
New Collaboration between Pulse Data and Benetech:
On February 24 we received a joint news release announcing that Bookshare.org will now be easy to access using the Pulse Data electronic notetakers. Here in part is the announcement:
Pulse Data International, the world's leading manufacturer of products designed for people who are blind and visually impaired, and Benetech, the Silicon Valley technology nonprofit formerly known as Arkenstone, today announced a formal collaboration integrating Benetech's Bookshare.org initiative with Pulse Data's BrailleNote family of products. Bookshare.org is a subscription service that provides an extensive online library of accessible digital books to U.S. residents with severe visual, reading, and mobility disabilities. The BrailleNote Family is the first suite of personal data assistants designed for blind people. Since last September the Windows-CE-based KeyWeb Internet Browser has been integrated into the entire range of BrailleNote products.
This collaboration allows BrailleNote users with a Bookshare.org subscription to browse the Bookshare.org Web site using the BrailleNote, select one of the 12,000 books already available from this site, and download it directly to the device. The user can then press Enter on the downloaded book and will be prompted for a Bookshare.org user name and password. The BrailleNote will then seamlessly unpack the downloaded book to the BrailleNote's bookreader to be read off-line. This unpacking scheme preserves the book's copyright protection.
In celebration of this new partnership, Pulse Data HumanWare is offering a $100 discount to all Bookshare.org subscribers who purchase a BrailleNote or a VoiceNote, while Benetech is offering new Bookshare.org members who upgrade or purchase a new BrailleNote/VoiceNote $25 off the purchase of an annual subscription to Bookshare.org's rapidly growing collection of accessible digital books.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: The Rex recorder and disposable bottle]
Rex Disposable Talking Bottles:
Developed by MedivoxRx Technologies, Inc., this talking bottle provides prescriptive label information in a human voice. The bottles can be used anywhere and do not require additional equipment to access.
There are two ways to record Rex. When a pharmacist fills the prescription, he or she records all information on the printed label, including medication name, prescribed dosage, directions for taking, potential side effects, etc. Or people can purchase their own recorder and record the information themselves. Rex is then ready to communicate its information at home, in the car, at a restaurant, in an airplane, anywhere at all. The voice labeling system in Rex accepts all spoken languages, making this a multilingual product as well.
Pharmacies in Tops Friendly Markets are the first to make Rex Disposable Talking Bottles available to the public. Over 100 Tops pharmacies are located in upstate New York; Cleveland, Ohio; and Erie, Pennsylvania. They are ready to fill prescriptions using Rex right now. VA Medical Centers in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and Danville, Illinois, are also now providing the Rex disposable bottles, and they are expected to become available through other veterans groups, hospitals, clinics, and drug companies in the health-care field throughout the country.
We are pleased to announce that home care versions of this product are now available through the National Federation of the Blind by contacting the Materials Center at (410) 659-9314 or at <[email protected]>. You can also visit the company's Web site at <www.talkingbottle.com>, or call (866) RX TALKS (866-798-2557).
Seminar for Blind College Students and Invitation to Teachers:
The National Resource Center for Blind Musicians is holding a Summer Braille Music Intensive, July 12 to 19, at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. The intensive is for serious music students about to start or already in college who need to develop their Braille music and theory skills and to be able to harness technology for submitting assignments. Applications will also be considered from students going into their senior year of high school who will be taking a theory or equivalent course offered by their school. Students should request an application package. Tuition is $900, and scholarships of up to $400 are available.
The Resource Center also invites teachers of students of all ages to write or call if they would be interested in participating in a training workshop before the intensive begins or to explore other options, such as arranging to bring a younger student for a short evaluation and guidance. Note that the three‑week summer institute for high school students that was held in Connecticut is not being offered this year.
For more information about the current Georgia program or for a growing wealth of music resource information online, visit <www.blindmusicstudent.org>. To request an application package or to reach the National Resource Center for Blind Musicians, contact David Goldstein, phone (203) 366‑3300, e‑mail <[email protected]>.
Bike Racing Training Camp:
We recently received a news release of interest to those serious about tandem bicycle racing. Here is the information:
The U.S. Association of Blind Athletes, in conjunction with Disabled Sports USA and the National Disabled Sports Association, will host the 2003 U.S. Disabled Cycling Introduction to Racing Camp, June 15 to 22, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Cyclists with physical disabilities, ages seventeen and older, are invited to the training center to hone skills primarily in road racing, but with instruction in track racing as well. Athletes eligible for participation include blind and visually impaired cyclists who race on tandem bikes with a sighted partner, cyclists with cerebral palsy or head injury who use both standard bikes and tricycles, and amputee cyclists who ride single bikes.
Camp staff members will include certified cycling coaches, a U.S. Cycling Federation-certified mechanic, and guest speakers from a variety of sports-related fields. Riders attending camp can expect to be on their bikes twice a day on average, participating in skill drills and practicing race simulations. There will also be some evening lectures and fitness testing.
While some subsidy will be provided to most riders, the individual attendees will be responsible for a portion of the camp cost. Food and housing will be provided at the U.S. Olympic Training Center as part of the camp. Riders are asked to bring their own bikes and gear to the camp. Tandem riders are encouraged to bring their own partners.
For more information or to request an application, contact Pam Fernandes at <[email protected]> or call (781) 449-9563. Interested riders may also soon visit USABA's Web site, <www.usaba.org>, for more information and a downloadable application.
The notices in this section have been edited for clarity, but we can pass along only the information we were given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made or the quality of the products for sale.
James Konechne has a Braille Lite 40 for sale. It comes with new battery; print, Braille, and cassette manuals; and all cables. This would be a great unit for a high school or college student or for anyone who wants an affordable personal notetaker. He is asking $3,000, but that is negotiable. He will also work out a payment plan with anyone interested. Call (605) 995‑2666 or e‑mail <[email protected]>.
BrailleNote 32 for Sale:
Virtually unused. Included are a printed copy of the user's manual, a Brailled quick reference guide, a printed copy of the BrailleNote Command Summary, a tutorial on cassette, a BrailleNote Family PC Software CD, an AC Adapter, a serial port connector, and a specially made headset for the BrailleNote 32. Will sell for $5,200. Contact Doug Doyle at (801) 596‑0422.
New Optelec 700 Camera Magnifier for sale. This is the top of the line model with all the abilities to hook easily into any Mac or PC computer or TV monitor and display its magnified image on the whole or split image between magnified image and computer display image. It also has a very nice auto focus and glass lens. It has more features, so please see <www.optelec.com>. This is new, in the box; on the Web page it sells for $3,300, but we are asking $1,995 or best offer. Contact Jay Victor at <[email protected]> with questions or offers.
I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.