THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Vol. 31, No. 3 April, 1988
Barbara Pierce, Editor
in inkprint, Braille, on talking-book disc,
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THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
MARC MAURER, PRESIDENT
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THE BRAILLE MONITOR
PUBLICATION OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
Vol. 31, No. 3 April, 1988
SPANISH BLIND WIN BIG IN
by Kenneth Jernigan
WHEN YOU ARE ASKED TO SIT
IN AN EXIT ROW
by W. Harold Bleakley
AIRLINE SAFETY AND THE IDEALIZED PASSENGER
LOUIS BRAILLE AND THE AIRLINES
TO BE A CHILD: MORE ABOUT THE AIRLINES
PERKINS SCHOOL FIGHTS HIV
by Mark A. Perigard
EUREKA A4: THE ARRIVAL
OF A NEW CONCEPT
by Mooris Priwler
THE SPEAQUALIZER AS AN
by Curtis Chong
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
AN AREA OF INCREASING EMPHASIS
by Tim Cranmer
BRAILLE 'N SPEAK A STORY,
by Deane Blazie
IT IS A MATTER OF ATTITUDE
COMPETING ON TERMS OF EQUALITY
AS BLIND STUDENTS
by Fred Schroeder
BILL WOULD MERGE AGENCIES
by Deborah Skipper
FRANK LEE PORTRAIT OF A
by Ramona Walhof
A QUESTION OF ETHICS
by Christine Faltz
MERIT FINDS ITS REWARD
by Scott LaBarre
YOU CAN BANK ON THE POWER
OF THE ORGANIZATION
by Ben Prows
SELF-DETERMINATION OF BLIND
WORKERS IN CHINESE GUILDS
by C. Edwin Vaughan
OPEN MIKE REACHES MILESTONE
RED CARPET TREATMENT
by Stephen Benson
A NEW BLOOD
GLUCOSE MONITORING INSTRUMENT FOR THE BLIND DIABETIC
by Ed Bryant
RUTH GOODWIN DIES
by Kenneth Jernigan
Copyright, National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1988
SPANISH BLIND WIN BIG IN LOTTERY
by Kenneth Jernigan
What is money? According to the dictionary it is: 1. (a) standard pieces of gold, silver, copper, nickel, etc., stamped by government authority and used as a medium of exchange and measure of value; coin or coins: also called hard money (b) any paper note issued by a government or an authorized bank and used in the same way; bills: also called paper money 2. any substance or article used as money, as bank notes, checks, etc. 3. any definite or indefinite sum of money. That is what the dictionary says, but money is something more than that or, at the very least, the definition can be put another way. Money equates with time, because we exchange units of our time for units of money. In fact, this is true even when we think we are exchanging money for tangible items; for unless those items are processed, transported, and presented to us in a usable form, they are worthless. And the only way the processing and the transporting can take place is by the expenditure of somebody's work in other words, somebody's time.
So when we go to a furniture store or a supermarket, we are not just looking at chairs, tables, or food but also at packages of time. To take the matter a step further, we are also looking at packages of human life, for our lives are measured in units of time. Therefore, a suit of clothes or a piece of furniture is not just the material item but also packaged time, or packaged life. Looked at in this way, present labor (like a tomato just picked from the garden) is fresh time, and a desk or chair (like canned fruit) is stored time. Money is packaged time, and it is primarily exchanged for other units of time, some fresh (ongoing labor) and others stored (finished goods made with someone's past labor). Money packaged time, packaged life.
Someone (I don't remember who it was) once said: The nice thing about money is that when you have it, you don't have to think about it. And Charles Darwin said: Any man who dares to waste even an hour of time has not learned the value of life. All of these esoteric reflections on money are simply a way of introducing interesting facts about the economic circumstances of the blind of Spain. Recently I came across news articles indicating that ONCE (the Spanish National Organization of the Blind) operates a national lottery, which in 1986 yielded over a billion dollars. I found this information so startling that when Pedro Zurita (Secretary General of the World Blind Union and one of the leaders of ONCE) visited the National Center for the Blind here in Baltimore, I asked him about it. He confirmed the essentials of what I had read and gave me some of the background. He said that in the late 1930's General Franco authorized the Spanish National Organization of the Blind to operate a lottery. It was a means whereby the blind (by selling lottery tickets and otherwise managing the operation) could have employment. The arrangement continued through the years and still exists. However, the amounts of money involved have altered drastically. From what Zurita told me I gather that until the early 1980's, the proceeds from the lottery were fairly modest. Such is obviously no longer the case. As I understand it, the government operates a lottery of its own. Then, there is the lottery operated by ONCE. Other lotteries are not legal. As the proceeds from ONCE's lottery have increased, so have the protests from other groups of the disabled. Of course, this is what one would expect. Apparently ONCE is attempting to quiet some of the unrest by employing large numbers of other segments of the disabled, and it would seem that this effort is meeting with a degree of success. If Pedro Zurita is representative of the other leaders of ONCE, I think there is every likelihood that the problems will be handled. Zurita is capable, sophisticated, streetwise, intelligent, well educated, and personable. Here are two Associated Press articles which appeared widely throughout the United States late in 1987:
Blind Profit On Spain's Passion for Gambling
MADRID, Spain--They stand on street corners, recognizable by their white canes and the lottery tickets looped around their necks. In the fifty years since they started, they have become as much a national figure in Spain as bullfighters. They are members of the National Organization of Blind Spaniards, formed during the Spanish Civil War to find jobs for the indigent blind.
In the past few years, the organization has become an economic powerhouse, fueled by revenues from the lottery tickets its people sell in the streets.
More commonly known as ONCE, the acronym derived from its name in Spanish and by coincidence the Spanish word for eleven, it was the brainchild of a group of blind civilians who found the Spaniards' passion for gambling a way to give jobs, training, and dignity to the blind in the bitter winter of 1938. But ONCE's skyrocketing fortunes over the last four years have surpassed even the most optimistic hopes of its pioneers. In the long run, the idea of the lottery was to provide funds to train the blind, said Francisco Gutierrez, 76, a founder and the organization's first national director. We set up the lottery as an attempt to eliminate the factors that made it necessary. But while ONCE has succeeded in educating Spain's blind and changed public stereotypes about them, it has by no means phased itself out of existence. The organization spent the equivalent of $4.5 million this fall on an advertising campaign aimed at increasing by twenty percent the $1.5 billion the lottery earned in 1986. It offered a weekly grand prize of 100 million pesetas ($880,000) in addition to the daily prizes of up to $80,000 in pesetas far in excess of the 2.5 pesetas it offered as the prize in 1938. ONCE's 18,500 ticket sellers 13,000 of them blind and the rest physically handicapped earn an average monthly salary of $1,100, which is well above the government-decreed $415 national monthly minimum wage.
According to Gutierrez, a retired physical therapist who was left sightless by a childhood eye infection, the change since December 13, 1938, when ONCE began the lottery, has been enormous. In those days if you didn't have a family with money, you had to beg in the streets, he said. Around ninety percent of the blind population was illiterate then.
The organization's recent economic leap from earnings of $348 million in 1982 to $1.4 billion four years later was engineered by a group of young, blind professionals who swept aside the old guard and transformed ONCE from a modest institution into a major political and economic force.
The takeoff was logical, said an ONCE spokesman, Juan Gonzalez. The group elected in 1982 was younger and more dynamic with lots of new ideas. Before then, ONCE was run by very conservative, very elderly gentlemen.
Said founder Gutierrez, who is now involved in the fight for better pensions for ONCE's 12,000 retirees: The boys who run the organization today were educated in our schools. They are the new blind who don't have to go around playing music in the streets.
ONCE's success is due in large part to gambling's being a way of life in Spain even before 1763, when the Marquis of Esquilache, King Carlos III's economy minister, introduced the state-run lottery.
According to government figures, Spaniards spent $20 billion on legal gambling last year. Spain trails only the United States and the Philippines for the distinction of the world's top gambling countries.
Slot machines alone, legalized in 1977 after a fifty-three- year ban and now found in nearly every Spanish bar, earned $9.9 billion last year, followed by the state-run lotteries, bingo parlors, and ONCE.
The new directors fought to strengthen ONCE in 1984 against its recently legalized competitors by combining its then regional lotteries to offer larger prizes.
As they planned this fall to launch the cuponazo, as the new weekly grand prize is known, they began pressuring the government to crack down on thirty-five illegal lotteries. The government itself runs three lotteries and controls ONCE's earnings. In return for the government action against the country's largest illegal lottery which employed physically handicapped salespeople ONCE agreed to hire 5,000 to 7,000 of the handicapped. It also won governmental approval for the cuponazo, which means big ticket in spanish, as a part of the deal. ONCE's public relations director, Enrique Sanz, acknowledges the cuponazo may cut into government lottery earnings, but he says the state cannot afford to hurt the organization, which has eliminated the need for social security aid to the blind.
MADRID, Spain--Riot police clashed with handicapped people who jammed traffic in downtown Madrid Tuesday in a demonstration to demand they be allowed to sell lottery tickets through their organization.
Thousands of handicapped demonstrators, backed by the leftist Workers' Commissions trade union, disrupted traffic on Madrid's main Castellana Avenue for several hours before police moved in. Demonstrators hurled bottles and sticks at police vans and called police assassins.
Witnesses said police dragged some demonstrators from the street.
There were no immediate reports of arrests. The demonstrators had arrived from different parts of Spain to protest a government order banning them from selling lottery tickets through their organization, called Prodiecu. Prodiecu spokesmen said the group rejected its incorporation into ONCE, a government-authorized national organization for the blind. ONCE runs a popular daily lottery draw. An ONCE statement issued Tuesday said it objected to Prodiecu and other illegal lottery organizations using its daily draw numbers for their own lotteries.
The statement said ONCE in October incorporated 2,500 handicapped people who are not blind into the 4,500-member organization. It also said ONCE had offered to incorporate up to 7,000 handicapped people into the organization and help them obtain other jobs than selling lottery tickets.
WHEN YOU ARE ASKED TO SIT IN AN EXIT ROW
by W. Harold Bleakley
(As most Federationists know, Harold Bleakley is President and principal owner of Aids Unlimited, Inc. Alternative Independence Devices and Services.)
Here's a new switch on our exit row battle with the airlines. On December 22, 1987, we had reservations on Continental flight #1133 to Denver for the Christmas holidays. For three weeks we had had assigned seats A and C in row twenty-three, a two-seat row.
I arrived at the door of the plane just before my wife. As I stepped into the plane, the flight attendant asked for my boarding pass, then started down the aisle to show me to our seats. On down the aisle, she stopped and said, Here we are, to your right, Sir. I slid into the window seat and stowed my cane by the bulkhead. My wife sat down in the aisle seat a moment later. We buckled up and were all set to go. A minute or two later another flight attendant asked to see our ticket jackets. She then said, Oh, you folks should be in row twenty-three. I said, Isn't this row twenty-three? It's where the flight attendant directed us.
No, this is row twenty, but that's all right. The folks that were going to sit here can sit in row twenty- three. Then the attendant left.
A few minutes later I heard the same attendant talking to people a couple of rows forward, asking them to move over here and others to move up here. She then came to our seat to ask if we would move two rows forward. I asked why. She said that we were sitting in an exit row. I had not noticed that we were. I said that this was ridiculous and pointed out that an attendant had directed us to this seat and that the attendant to whom we were talking had stated that we should stay where we were in row twenty and that the folks who were assigned there originally would sit in row twenty-three. The attendant told me that it was the law that a blind person could not sit in the exit row. I told her that there was no such law and that she was misinformed. Another attendant beside her told her that it was not the federal law but a law of Continental Airlines. The attendant then said that, nevertheless, we had to move because it was an exit row.
I stated that we would not move and that we would file suit regarding the harassment and discrimination we were receiving. At that point the attendant said, Oh, well, if it's going to cause a problem, please continue to sit where you are. It's all right. Don't bother to move. Everything is fine. She then walked away, and we heard no more about it. The airlines still cannot get it right, but at least this was a new switch on an old, aggravating problem.
AIRLINE SAFETY AND THE IDEALIZED PASSENGER
Al Sten is one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts. Recently he wrote to his Congressman (Brian Donnelly) and asked for help in getting the Department of Transportation to treat the blind in a nondiscriminatory manner. Congressman Donnelly sent Mr. Sten's letter to the Department of Transportation and subsequently received a reply from B. Wayne Vance, one of DOT's attorneys.
In the past DOT's letters have mostly not attempted to deal with the issues but have simply been promises to look into the matter. As you will see, the Vance letter is different. It tries to make logical arguments. Monitor readers must judge for themselves whether the effort is successful.
In a letter to the Monitor Editor Al Sten says, referring to the Vance letter which follows:
The letter did not convince me that the airlines are right on this one, but I would like your opinion about it. As you and others have said, the airlines could handle this problem by having no passengers sitting next to emergency exits. Alternatively, DOT could force this practice on them. I mention this because the enclosed letter suggests that passengers often may have thrust on them safety-related responsibilities that in my opinion belong to airline personnel.
If that is true,
I predict that there will be some needless tragedies and some costly, very legitimate lawsuits following from them. If it's all just a ploy, if all of this verbiage about what a passenger in an exit row must be able to do means nothing because the passengers won't really be doing it, then I suspect that we have reached new levels of deceit in this war. Incidentally, Bob (Senator Dole) never doled me out a letter, not even the mass-produced, vague, word-processed kind.
Here is DOT's letter to Congressman Donnelly, along with the Monitor Editor's letter to Al Sten:
U.S. Department of Transportation
January 12, 1988
The Honorable Brian Donnelly
House of Representatives
Dear Mr. Donnelly:
Secretary of Transportation Jim Burnley has asked me to respond to your referral of correspondence from your constituent, Mr. Albert Sten. Mr. Sten, a member of the National Federation of the Blind, expressed his concern about the issue of exit row seating for blind passengers.
In implementing the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, the Department has the explicit statutory responsibility of ensuring nondiscrimination on the basis of handicap, consistent with the safe carriage of all passengers. With respect to seating policies, the Department believes, consistent with its nondiscrimination obligations, that airlines should not single out passengers with disabilities for exclusion from exit rows. Consistent with its safety responsibilities, the Department's aviation safety agency, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), believes that it is important that persons who sit in exit rows can, expeditiously and without assistance, perform certain functions necessary to an emergency evacuation. These functions include not only physically opening the exit door but also such things as ascertaining outside conditions that might create a hazard if the door is opened (e.g., a fire, a long drop to the ground). They include not only moving quickly to and through the door but also locating controls (e.g., to activate the slide if the slide does not deploy automatically) and helping other passengers find a safe path away from the aircraft. Persons seated in exit rows who cannot readily perform these functions, whether or not they have a disability, may endanger or slow an emergency evacuation.
These concerns were the basis, in the regulatory negotiation, of the Department's proposal that an airline could exclude disabled passengers from exit row seats only if the airline had and consistently enforced a policy barring from those seats all persons who could not perform the necessary functions (e.g., frail elderly persons, as well as blind or mobility-impaired persons). Under this proposal, the FAA would have promulgated a safety regulation consistent with this approach. Addressing the issue in this way was, in our view, a good-faith attempt to meet both our nondiscrimination and our safety obligations under the Air Carrier Access Act. We regret that other parties not only disagreed with this proposal but also refused to discuss the matter further to determine whether there were other possible approaches consistent with our statutory responsibility. We, of course, have made no final decisions on this matter. In the very near future we intend to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking responding to this issue and the numerous others on which we gained consensus or valuable information during the regulatory negotiation process. Mr. Sten also raises the issue of attendants for deaf- blind passengers. The Department issued an enforcement decision on this subject on November 6, 1987. The Southwest Airlines Co. Enforcement Proceedings determined that the carrier's policy of requiring all deaf-blind passengers to travel with attendants was discriminatory and ordered Southwest to permit deaf-blind passengers to travel unaccompanied if they are able to establish some means of communication with airline personnel. I hope this information is helpful.
B. Wayne Vance
February 8, 1988
I have read with interest the letter of January 12, 1988, from B. Wayne Vance (the Department of Transportation's General Counsel) to Congressman Brian Donnelly, and I think it is deceptive both by omission and distortion. When I was participating in the regulatory negotiation process last summer, I personally heard officials of the Flight Standards Administration of the Federal Aviation Administration say repeatedly that they felt that there was no safety question involved in blind persons' sitting in exit rows on planes. They said that if they had felt there was a safety question, they would long since have made appropriate regulations. The Flight Standards Administration is that branch of FAA which is responsible for determining questions of safety in air travel. Only when FAA attorneys began to apply pressure did the nature of the comments by Flight Standards officials change. Rather than oppose the airlines, the FAA apparently finds it easier to duck behind the safety issue. The problem with the arguments in the Vance letter is that they are all based on one false premise namely, that sighted persons (excluding the elderly and children) are uniformly capable and alert. The blind person (with whatever limitations and strengths he or she may possess) is compared with the ideal sighted person a person who in most cases does not exist. Last fall when Senator Dole promised to help deal with the problem, he said that it would not occur to anyone to suggest that he should not be allowed to sit in an exit row. Yet (because of his physical handicap), he would not, he said, be able to open the exit. When we were taking both sighted and blind people to the Baltimore airport to make a test evacuation of a World Airways plane, we had to eliminate from consideration many of the sighted that we might have chosen. One had back problems; another had foot problems; and still another had difficulties with heart and blood pressure. In the real world of everyday commercial air travel none of these people would have been excluded from the exit row. Why, then, should the blind be held to a higher standard than the sighted?
Then, there is the matter of serving drinks to passengers in the exit row seats a matter which we keep bringing up and which both the FAA and the airlines continue to dodge. If safety were the prime consideration instead of economics, the airlines would have a policy of not serving drinks to passengers in exit rows. Repeatedly they sell liquor to such passengers to the point of making them drunk, and then they have the effrontery to talk with a straight face about their concern with safety. In this same vein there is the matter of carry-on luggage. In the regulatory negotiation sessions the airline representatives were not willing to discuss it at all, but I have yet to hear anybody deny that the carry-on luggage which is routinely permitted is a real safety hazardnot just the phony kind of bugaboo which is raised concerning the blind. Why then do the airlines not enforce a rule against excessive carry-on luggage? The answer is simple. It is a question of economics. If one airline should prohibit such luggage, its competitors would get the upper hand, so nobody does it. Yet, we are told that blind persons cannot sit in the exit rows because they cannot open doors and move rapidly. I wonder whether a large suitcase can do the job more efficiently. All of this does not deal with the matter of light and dark something we have repeatedly brought to the attention of federal officials and airline personnel and something which they have just as repeatedly ignored. Half of the time it is dark, and sometimes (even when it is not dark) airplane lights go out and the cabin is filled with smoke. This is especially likely in cases of emergency. In such circumstances the average blind person would have a distinct advantage over the average sighted person in opening the exit and getting out of the plane. One pilot for a large airline has said under oath that for safety reasons he would prefer to have at least one blind person in an exit row on his flights in case of an accident during darkness.
The truth is that if you consider the scarcity of accidents in proportion to the number of miles which are flown and the relatively small numbers of blind people who likely would be on a given flight at a given time, the potential risk would almost be zero even if all of the claims by the airlines about the unsafeness of the blind were true. The serving of liquor to passengers, the permitting of smoking, the carry-on luggage, the undetected emotional and physical problems of the average passenger, and a hundred other things are much more real as problems than the minimal risk potentially posed by the blind. Nevertheless, the airlines persist in their phony game of It is all a matter of safety, and the FAA bows to the pressure and seeks to take the easy way out.
In truth and in fact we are not dealing with a safety issue at all but a question of civil rights, and we simply will not be bullied and intimidmated into submission. We will speak to the public and the Congress until we get results. And make no mistake about itwe will be heard, and we will be heeded.
National Federation of the Blind
LOUIS BRAILLE AND THE AIRLINES
It has been said that fifty percent of all advertising is wasted and that if we could only know which fifty percent, we could save a lot of money. In the summer of 1987 the National Federation of the Blind took its case concerning the airlines to the public. We took full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and USA Today. The question naturally arises as to whether this was a good use of resources. What precisely did we accomplish how much name identification, how much good will, how much public enlightenment?
Of course, we will never fully know the answer, but the effect was probably far more potent and widespread than we realize. Advertising is like that. Many hundreds of letters of support came to the National Office of the Federation, and we heard nationwide discussion and comment. But what about the people who didn't write or make public utterance? How much impact did our message have on the average person in the average community the doctor, the minister, the farmer, and the factory worker? Did the ordinary thinking man and woman in this country become aware of what we were saying, and if so, how often was our message taken beyond the immediate problem of the airlines to a general understanding of an overall social attitude which is wrong and must be changed?
Again, we can never fully know since anything which happens that influences the social conscience forever changes the total body of public opinion, even if only to a small degree. However, we have indications, both as to impact and overall duration. Jolene Boshart reports in the December, 1987, News From Blind Nebraskans on a sermon given by Dr. Otis Young at the First Plymouth Church in Lincoln. Here in part is what Dr. Young said:
Let's begin with a story. A small three-year-old child was playing in his father's workshop. It was filled with leather and tools for punching the leather, because his dad was a harnessmaker. The little boy was able to reach one of the tools. He had seen his father use the tool many times. It was a leather puncher.
Imitating his dad, the boy placed the punch on the leather and punched. Nothing happened. The little face bent lower to determine what might have gone wrong; the punch slipped; a scream brought his father rushing across the room. His son's left eye was bleeding from a deep wound.
That year was 1812, and medical science knew little about treating injuries in the human eye. In addition, France was at war, and doctors who might have been available for tending the wounded and the poor were away at battle. A few more days of anxious waiting brought bleak news: The other eye was also swollen; the infection had spread. Soon there came a morning when the sister appeared to wake up her brother. Why are you getting me up when it is still dark? he asked. No, the sister replied. It is a bright day, and the sun is already high. Never again would this individual see the bright sunshine.
Attitudes toward the disabled in the nineteenth century were cruel. Blind, lame, and deaf people were considered to be cursed by God and were objects of scorn. Louis, however, was surrounded by caring, challenging adults. His father was determined that the boy would be allowed to harness all of his remaining talents. When little Louis stumbled while crossing a room and his mother rushed to his aid, his father would gently hold her back. Let him find his own way, he would say. Thus encouraged by his father, Louis soon learned his way around his own home and could be trusted on the village streets.
Another positive influence on Louis was the local priest. Father Paully saw behind those sightless eyes a brilliant and eager mind. On one of his visits to the home, Father Paully announced the wonderful news: He had persuaded the school officials to allow Louis to attend school. The boy's joy was later matched by the school officials' surprise when they discovered at the end of the first semester that the student with the highest grades was Louis.
But Louis's academic victories were short-lived. When the village schoolmaster was transferred to another part of France, local students were shifted to a neighboring district. There, the officials were adamant: no blind child would clutter up their class. A depressed Louis retreated to the loneliness of his room.
Father Paully did not give up. He discovered that there was a school for the blind in Paris, only half a day's journey away. There, Louis could attend classes with other blind children. He could be taught music. And most remarkable of all, it was rumored that the school contained books printed especially for the blind.
Unfortunately, Louis's school fell far short of its reputation. Its administration was far more interested in discipline than it was with learning. Indeed, attitudes toward the disabled were scarcely better there than they were on the streets of the city. Most disappointing of all were the books promised for the blind. They were created by simply embossing large print letters on a page so that by using one's finger, one could laboriously identify them one by one. Deciphering a single paragraph could take more than fifteen minutes. Moreover, there were only fourteen such books in existence. However, one fall Louis returned to school to discover that a new headmaster had been appointed a man whose compassionate approach was in striking contrast to that of his predecessor. Dr. Pignier showed an interest in all of the students under his care, and paid special attention to Louis.
At a weekly assembly that fall the new headmaster presented a novel device consisting of a slate and stylus for punching holes in paper which had been devised by the French military for passing information in the noise and darkness of battle. By punching in patterns, coded messages could be put onto the paper and read by the fingers. Of course, the headmaster cautioned, the holes take up so much space that only the simplest messages can be sent this way. But the device makes an interesting toy. Some of you may want to play with it in the library.
Louis rushed directly to the library. What a fascinating idea! In a few minutes he had mastered the system, and then he began to try to simplify it. Each evening, after spending the necessary amount of time with his studies, Louis turned to the slate and stylus. He slept little. A nagging cough that had been with him for months became worse. When he returned home that summer, his parents were distressed by the sight of their emaciated son. Equally disturbing was the amount of time he spent with the new device, punching meaningless holes into endless pieces of paper. Late that summer a new approach occurred to Louis. He imagined a cell of six dots, two across and three vertically. How many combinations could be made with that arrangement? He discovered that he could encode ten letters by using only the top dots of the cell. Punching out one bottom dot and repeating the original ten patterns gave him ten more letters. By using the other bottom dot, he could complete the alphabet, with codes left over for punctuation. In a tiny space he had devised patterns that could be read quickly with the fingers. His hands could race across the page as quickly as eyes could read print. And with practice he could punch out a message fast enough to take notes in class or write letters home. At age fifteen Louis Braille had devised a system for reading and writing that would transform the lives of many blind people throughout the world.
Louis Braille was instrumental in removing stumbling blocks, such as illiteracy, from the lives of blind people in his day. Today, blind people are still working to remove obstacles. And that's what the message of the National Federation of the Blind in a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal was all about. It reminded all of us not to put stumbling blocks in the way of the blind, and especially concerned airline travel.
Here, instead of removing stumbling blocks, it seems that new ones have been added. The gist of the message was this: To those of you who have sight, we who are blind might seem to need different treatment; but let us decide that. Too often we are not treated as individuals with the normal range of capabilities and differences. Rather, we are treated as the handicapped ; we are treated like little children. According to the ad, the airlines have not been allowing passengers who are blind to sit in seats located in exit rows, even though these seats are allotted to children, those who are drunk, or those who are too infirm or illiterate to operate the safety windows in a competent manner. The airlines fear that in the case of emergencies people without normal sight might not be able to function in the necessary ways or that they might be trampled by other passengers trying to get out. However, those who are blind reply that they can get on and off the plane as quickly and as easily as anyone else. They further point out that if the emergency occurred at night when the cabin was dark, or the occurrence of the emergency caused a smoke-filled cabin, a blind person, unaccustomed to seeing, could be at a greater advantage than a sighted person and could be a tremendous help to others. What we forget is that all of us are blind in certain ways. We all have our blind spots. We see vices in others, for example, before we see them in ourselves. We are frequently blind to our own prejudices.
TO BE A CHILD
MORE ABOUT THE AIRLINES
November 1, 1987
Dear United Airlines:
I have sent you this letter to report an incident that should have never happened on United flight 1119 from Seattle to San Francisco, 12:30 p.m. Saturday, September 29, 1987. My husband (sighted) and myself (blind) were scheduled to take a 3:00 p.m. United flight, same day and destination. We arrived early to the Seattle-Tacoma Airport at 12:00 noon and proceeded to check in our luggage when a United ticket checker asked what we were going to be doing for the next few hours. We answered waiting for our 3:00 p.m. flight at the airport. He then suggested that we might want to take flight 1119 at 12:30 since there were stand-by seats available on this flight. I asked if there would be any standy-by seats together, and she said probably yes. We agreed to take flight 1119. The ticket checker changed our tickets and suggested we go directly to the loading gate, which we did. Upon boarding, I told the stewardess our seat numbers (14-A and C). She told me to go back to the middle of the plane, right side. Just as I was getting ready to sit down, the same stewardess came rushing up behind me and told me she would have to ask me to please sit somewhere else. I asked her why, and she replied, It's a company policy not to seat blind people in exit row seats. I said that this is not the government's Department of Transportation policy. I then told her that if this was a night flight, my chances of finding the exit door would be far greater than a sighted person's since I am used to getting around in the dark.
The stewardess replied, I have no arguments with you, but that is company policy. I said, Let me talk to the pilot. She said I would have to talk to her supervisor, and she left. Meanwhile I continued to stand in front of my seat, 14-A. My husband took a seat on the opposite side of the plane, one row up. The stewardess returned within five minutes. She said, The pilot would take full responsibility for my sitting in that seat. I promptly got ready to sit doown when the same stewardess took my white cane from me and quickly placed it in an overhead cabinet two rows ahead of me.
I said, Can I please have my cane back? Putting my cane up there is like putting my eyeballs up there. She then took my cane down while I explained to her that it 4is telescopic and would fold up quite small while she watched. I also told her I would even wear it on my hand with its strap if she was concerned with it being loose upon takeoff.
She did not say a word and left only to return a few minutes later with another stewardess telling me, You are going to have to prove to me that you can at least reach for the emergency exit door handle, which I did promptly.
At this point I was really getting tired of being treated like a twelve-year-old child. Having to prove anything to two strangers is absurd! The harassment did not stop there. By this time my husband called over to me, Now will you come over here and sit? I said, Are you kidding, after having to fight for my seat? I was not moving, so he joined me in seat 14-A, and I sat in seat 14-B. No other person sat in seat 14-C. The stewardess proceeded to explain to all passengers the safety rules and air bag use. I listened and understood, but that wasn't enough for our stewardess. When the explanation was finished, our stewardess and another walked to my seat, and with an air bag in hand told me to reach for the air bag held over my head, which I did. Then they told me to show them that I could find the button to release the air bag, which I did. I even offered to show them how to put on the mask if they wanted me to. They did not, and off they went.
My husband told me that all during our one-hour and twenty-minute flight I received ugly sneers from the stewardesses. This had been my third flight in one week, and only on flight 1119 was I intimidated, degraded, and embarrassed in front of a plane full of people. Often during this flight I felt like telling the stewardess: I am blind, not deaf, not senile, or childish, so please don't treat me as such. I am a thirty-six-year-old woman with an A.A. degree in data processing as a programmer. I have worked as a cashier, department store manager (indoor patio department), clerk, and housekeeper for many years until January, 1987, when my blindness required me to stop driving. I have been a 4-H leader for four years and worked with many students and teachers on various school projects including serving as president of our school improvement program for two years. I seriously doubt that many people would Fly United if they had to undergo the harassment I did on this flight!
I have enclosed some important information on blind people and would stress to your personnel training officer that they take a few minutes to go over it with each United employee. Half the problem with blindness is teaching people to understand that only a small percentage of all blind people see nothing at all, and the rest of us can see some colors and movement and are, indeed, still blind.
PERKINS SCHOOL FIGHTS HIV DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT
by Mark A. Perigard (This article appeared in the January 28, 1988, issue of Bay Windows, New England's largest gay and lesbian newspaper.)
The Perkins School for the Blind, a Watertown facility renowned for its care and instruction to the handicapped, is seeking to have dismissed a discrimination complaint from the estate of a blind hemophiliac who was seropositive for the AIDS antibodies. Loretta W. Holway, an attorney representing Perkins, said the charge of employment discrimination filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) does not survive the death of Scott Eckholdt, a former assistant resident manager for Perkins.
Alec Gray, the lawyer for Eckholdt's estate, vigorously challenged the January 5 dismissal motion, accusing the Perkins School of acting as if we wait long enough, we don't have to pay for our actions.
Eckholdt, 28, died last July from an ailment unrelated to his HIV status. The Perkins administration had put the three-week-old employee on full paid medical leave last February after learning his HIV antibody status.
A representative of MCAD could not predict when the agency might consider Holway's dismissal motion.
According to Holway, the Perkins staff decided in a fair and compassionate manner that the risk of infection to Eckholdt's charges, blind, retarded adults, many of whom act out violently, she said, was too great.
Gray disagreed sharply, saying the school removed Eckholdt without ever exploring any other work opportunities within Perkins. The school never attempted any reasonable accommodations, never attempted, never even tried to find another slot for Eckholdt or to modify his job duties, he said. Holway commented, It's not like Eckholdt was working as a computer operator. If he had been, we would never have had any concerns at all. It just wasn't a normal working environment. Gray charged Perkins and Holway in court documents of following a strategy of delay and procrastination, of refusing to respond to the merits of the complaint.
Only because Perkins followed tactics of delay am I in the position of having a dead client, he said. According to him, Perkins administrators placed Eckholdt under a great deal of mental stress and anxiety. Administrators first said he could not return to his job without the written medical opinion of his physician about the potential risk he posed in the workplace. After Eckholdt's doctor said there was no substantial risk, Perkins administrators demanded that he submit to an examination from a physician of their own choosing, Gray said.
[T]he Perkins School for the Blind attempted to justify its discriminatory conduct by seeking some medical personnel who would agree with the school's preordained position, Gray wrote in his MCAD complaint, filed last November. Holway defended Perkins' actions, saying, We needed medical advice as to the possible risk of infection to residents who were also blind. It was a very unusual situation which we anticipate will never occur again.
After his death in July, Eckholdt's parents directed Gray to continue to pursue the job discrimination charge. Negotiations for a settlement fell through last August, both attorneys said. According to Gray, Eckholdt's parents would have been satisfied if Perkins had made a charitable donation in the range of $5,000 to a nonprofit organization working on behalf of hemophiliacs. Perkins administrators never seriously considered the settlement offer, Holway said. We didn't have any obligation, moral or legal, to accede to Mr. Gray's demands, she said. Even if the Perkins administration felt it had been in the wrong, it would have been unable to make a settlement, Holway claimed.
EUREKA A4: THE ARRIVAL OF A NEW CONCEPT
From the Editor: When I was in London in November of 1987 to attend the meeting of the officers of the World Blind Union, I met a man named Milan Hudecek. He told me that he was a refugee from Communist Czechoslovakia, having escaped from there several years ago. He said that he went to Australia and set up a company specializing in the development of computers and electronic devices. He had received training as an electrical engineer in Czechoslovakia.
His purpose in being in London was to promote a new product (the Eureka A4) which his company (Robotron) had recently put on the market. I examined the Eureka briefly and, in fact, fleetingly considered bringing it home with me, experimenting with it to see whether it might be helpful in writing speeches, articles, and such like. But my usual attitude about hands-on experience (mine, that is) with computers prevailed, and I contented myself with a cursory look and a passing conversation. Hudecek tried several times to get me to examine the machine in more detail and learn how to operate it, but I fended him off.
I hasten to add that this does not mean that I thought the machine was poorly constructed or without merit. Quite the contrary. I thought it might be of real value and that the blind of the United States might be interested in it. In short, my resistance was personal, not institutional.
Hudecek told me that he had a partner, an Australian lawyer named Mooris Priwler. He said that Priwler had been to the United States and would soon be making another visit. He also said that Priwler would come to see me at the National Center for the Blind here in Baltimore; and as promised, Priwler came. In fact, he visited me several times in January and was present during our March on Washington the first week of February. Priwler also visited Curtis Chong in Minneapolis and had conversations with a number of other Federationists. Curtis tells me that the Eureka A4 has a number of good features but that he would like it much better if he could speed up the speech. Priwler says that Robotron will be giving priority to this.
The Research and Development Committee met at the National Center for the Blind during the weekend of January 30-31, 1988, and they looked at the Eureka. I heard the opinion expressed that the quality of the speech left something to be desired, but I also heard favorable comments about the overall function and operation of the machine. Of course, it must be kept in mind that the members of the committee had not examined the Eureka A4 in depth and that Priwler was not here to demonstrate the machine or discuss it with them.
My impression of Priwler is that he is sincere and has integrity. He says that Robotron intends to promote the Eureka A4 vigorously and to provide prompt and efficient service once the machine is bought. I believe he means what he says. I told him that we would be willing to take messages and receive written communications for him until he could establish an office in this country.
We now have a Eureka A4 at the National Center for the Blind for use and for demonstration purposes, and we will be getting at least a few more to sell to those who want to buy them. I believe that Robotron has not settled on its final price but that it intends to charge somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,200-$2,300 for the Eureka A4.
Is the machine a good buy at this price? I am not in a position to say, but most of the people who have used the Eureka A4 seem to like it and to feel that it is of real value. The price may be a barrier to some, but if the machine really performs in such a way as to be a major factor vocationally or in leisure activities, most of those who want it will probably find a way to get it.
I told Priwler that we would help inform the blind of the nation about the Eureka A4. To this end we are printing the following article, unedited and just as he wrote it. Robotron should have the opportunity to present its message to the blind of the nation in its own words, so here is Mr. Priwler's article:
New tools for the visually impaired are introduced regularly, but totally new concepts are announced seldom. When a product of an entirely new and truly beneficial concept arrives, it changes our ways of thinking and creates a plethora of new opportunitiies and possibilities. Developed and tested to specifications and desires of many blind users, Eureka A4 is such a landmark product. Referred to as the Rolls Royce of the tools for visually impaired people, Eureka A4 combines the largest variety of desirable features all in one small affordable package. After being launched in Australia, United Kingdom, and New Zealand, Eureka A4 is now available in America. Eureka A4 is a new class of product because of its small physical size and a very large number of practical, easy to use functions not found in any other mahcine. This article outlines briefly the special elements of Eureka A4.
Size and Physical Features
Eureka A4 is the size of a standard sheet of writing paper, approximately 11 by 8 inches, 1.5 inches thick. It weighs about 3.5 pounds (1.5 kg). You can fit four of the elegant, ergonomically designed Eurekas into one standard briefcase. Information is entered in Braille via a Perkins-style keyboard on the front of the machine. Alternatively, a standard typewriter-style keyboard can be connected to Eureka A4. Modern silicon rubber technology makes the feel of the Braille keys very pleasant, while the gold-plated contacts assure utmost reliability.
Eureka's output is primarily via the in-built speech synthesizer with an unusually smooth voice of almost human quality. It is very easy to get used to the sound. On the back of the machine there is a communication connector allowing the transfer of text from Eureka A4 to printers or embossers and exchange of information with other computers. Text or other information can also be stored for later reference on 3-1/2 inch diskettes using the in-built disk drive. Each diskette can store 792 KBytes of data, i.e. up to 300 pages of densely typed text.
Other physical features include sockets for headphones, for telephone connections to use with the in-built modem and for power adapters to recharge the internal battery.
Practical Functions Many people comment on the elegant design of the case as well as the presence of the disk drive and auto-dialing modem which is unusual in a battery-operated device of this size and weight. However, what really sets Eureka A4 apart is the impressive list of in-built practical functions. They are too numerous to describe in detail. Therefore, only a brief description of the major functions follows.
A. Electronic Secretarial Functions
1. Word Processor A Wordstar compatible word processor with additional special features, such as enhanced cursor movements, a word count function, and the ability to store files in different formats.
2. Note Taker An electronic notepad for quick note taking without disturbing your other activities.
3. Clock and Calendar The clock includes an alarm, stop watch, count-down timer, and programmable time announcer. The calendar informs you of the day of week for any date or the date for a specified day of the week.
4. Diary/Appointment Scheduler The diary lets you store appointments and messages. At the present time and date the machine switches itself on automatically (or interrupts your work if you are currently using it) and announces the message. 5. Scientific Calculator This calculator contains scientific as well as statistical functions and an unlimited number of memories. Another feature of the calculator is the ability to review previous calculations.
6. Telephone Directory You can store names and telephone numbers and, if required, Eureka A4 will automatically dial the number for you.
7. Database Eureka's disk-based database makes it possible to store a large number of records (such as membership lists, hobby collections, or stock inventory) and access them quickly by index.
B. Communication and
1. Communication Terminal Eureak A4 can be used as a terminal for other computers either via the serial communication interface or the modem. A facility to transfer files between Eureka A4 and other computers is also included. In addition, Eureka A4 can be connected to IBM PC compatibles as a screen reader using software which is available as an option.
2. Basic Programmable Computer With Eureka's specially designed talking Basic, you can create with ease your own computer programs.
C. Other Unique Facilities
1. Music Composer Eureka's Music Composer makes it possible to compose and edit four-voiced music using three different musical instruments. You can store the music on disk for later change or replay.
2. Thermometer The Thermometer measures room temperature. You can connect an external thermometer to Eureka to measure body temperature, etc.
3. Voltmeter The voltmeter makes it possible to use Eureka's voice output for various measuring devices. Examples include a meteorologist using Eureka to read gauges in a weather forecast bureau and an owner of a recording studio using Eureka to measure sound levels of his recording equipment.
Ease of Use
Many Eureka A4 users commented that once you learn the basic steps, the machine is very easy to use. You don't have to memorize Eureka A4 commands because of the special help facilities. As you use the machine, it talks to you, advising of the next step. At any time you can make the machine inform you of the available functions and your current selection.
In addition, supplied with the machine is a step-by-step tutorial on audio cassette which assumes no technical knowledge. The tutorial is supplemented by a quick reference tape. Robotron, the manufacturers of Eureka A4, also offer Eureka Course Manuals for tutors and organizations wishing to hold training courses for Eureka A4.
The unprecedented number of desirable features all fitted into one portable and light-weight package explains why Eureka A4 represents a totally new concept in a class of its own. The portability, practicality, power, and affordable price have resulted in many Eureka A4 units being used to advantage in schools and colleges, at work, and at home.
THE SPEAQUALIZER AS AN EQUALIZER
by Curtis Chong
(As Monitor readers know, Curtis Chong is the President of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science and one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota. He is employed as a systems programming specialist at IDS Financial Services in Minneapolis, Minnesota.)
The Speaqualizer was developed by the Research and Development Committee of the National Federation of the Blind. Using its expertise in computers and the Federation's positive philosophy of blindness, the Committee put together a piece of equipment which promises to put the blind on an equal footing with the sighted as far as computers are concerned.
A number of companies have already developed speech software systems for the IBM PC. Why, then, is the Speaqualizer so significant? For one thing, all of the speech software available for the IBM PC depends upon the presence of the Disk Operating System (DOS). Without DOS, none of the speech software will work; and although DOS is the operating system most frequently used on the PC, other operating systems such as the new OS2 are used as well. These other operating systems are not available to the blind via speech software.
Even in the DOS environment, the speech software approach has not been entirely successful. Some commercial software such as IBM's 3278 emulation system and SmartCom virtually take over the keyboard, making it impossible for any speech software to receive keyboard commands. Other commercial packages actually disable any speech software because they take over system interrupts vital to speech software operation. In a situation where the user's environment is frequently changing (a not uncommon situation in today's rapidly-changing business environment), there is no guarantee that speech software will work in all cases. The Speaqualizer goes further than anything else to eliminate these problems. It is completely transparent to the computer's operating system. Because it uses hardware to intercept data being sent to the video monitor as opposed to software, it uses absolutely no computer memory. No system interrupts are needed by the Speaqualizer. All Speaqualizer functions are performed via an out-board keypad. This means that the computer keyboard is completely free to be used with commercial software, regardless of whether or not such programs take over keyboard interrupts. Since the Speaqualizer functions outside of the operating system, its functions are not affected by programs that use interrupts or large amounts of system memory.
Unlike speech software packages that have to wait for the operating system to be loaded before they can begin functioning, the Speaqualizer starts speaking as soon as you turn on the computer. Even if you have problems loading your operating system, you can still use the Speaqualizer to hear what is being displayed on the video monitor.
As mentioned earlier, the Speaqualizer is particularly useful in environments where frequent software changes occur. Many corporations continually purchase new software for their IBM PC's, and the Speaqualizer permits the blind PC user to maintain a much higher level of confidence that the new software will be available for use with speech output. This translates into increased productivity on the part of the blind PC user which further translates into more jobs with access to more software.
Unlike speech-based screen reading programs, the Speaqualizer is relatively simple and straightforward to learn. For example, while screen reading software may require you to learn a little bit about your operating system just so they can be installed, the Speaqualizer does not. Then, there is the fact that you do not have to absorb the rather confusing concept that, in one mode of operation, your PC's keyboard tells the screen reader what to do while, in another mode, the keyboard sends commands to whatever application you may be running. With the Speaqualizer, you only need to master the controls on the out-board unit which, by the way, has only nineteen keys. In practical terms, a PC user can become proficient with the Speaqualizer in a very short time often as little as a few hours.
The Speaqualizer consists of three physical components. The first component is a full-sized card which is designed to fit into a full IBM PC expansion slot. This card contains all of the logic that enables the Speaqualizer to do its thing. This includes all speech synthesis functions, all text-to-speech algorithms, all cursor monitoring functions, volume and speed controls, buffering of video monitor data, and so forth. All commands to the Speaqualizer are processed by this card, and all of the firmware that enables you to review the data displayed on the video monitor is stored here.
The second component is an RS232 cable which is used to connect the Speaqualizer card to the out-board control box. The third component is the out-board control box itself. Commands to the Speaqualizer are sent via nineteen keys on this unit. You can hear the speech generated by the Speaqualizer either through the speaker in the box or through a quarter-inch headphone jack.
With the nineteen keys on the top of the out-board control box, the Speaqualizer can be instructed to read individual words, lines or characters on the screen. The Speaqualizer can determine the location of the system cursor at any time. The Speaqualizer can spell individual words. If you have trouble hearing the difference between individual letters such as S and F, the Speaqualizer can pronounce each letter using the standard phonetic alphabet. Accordingly, S becomes Sierra, and F becomes Foxtrot. A special Read Cursor enables the Speaqualizer to read anything on the screen without disturbing the system cursor. Multiple levels of punctuation pronunciation are provided, and there is even a special mode that will speak graphic characters on the screen. Changing pitch is used to indicate the presence of individual uppercase characters or words containing capital letters. A Keyboard Monitor is provided; this enables you to hear individual keystrokes as you type them. To top it all off, the Speaqualizer can be instructed to generate a double beep when it detects data on the screen that is displayed in, for example, reverse video. You can instruct the Speaqualizer to search the screen for underlined text, reverse video text, highlighted text or blinking text.
The Speaqualizer is equipped with a special Monitoring function that enables it continuously to monitor a specific line and column position on the video display. If the contents of the monitored position change, the Speaqualizer will automatically read the entire line. This is particularly useful for programs that write status information to a fixed location on the screen. The Monitoring feature will permit you to receive automatic notification the moment such status information changes.
Through the use of the Tabbing feature, you can define windows on the screen. This is especially useful for programs that make use of columns (e.g., spreadsheets).
One of the most pleasing features of the Speaqualizer is its ability to kill speech immediately. With the press of a button, you can silence speech at any time. Most speech functions of the Speaqualizer are interruptable. For example, suppose you are currently reading line 5 on your screen. Now, if you depress the Say Next Line key, the Speaqualizer will try to read line 6. If you hear the first few words on line 6 and decide that you really wanted to hear line 7, simply depress the Say Next Line key again. The Speaqualizer will immediately silence the reading of line 6 and proceed to speak the contents of line 7. This interruptability is a tremendous time-saver and a significant aid to a blind person's productivity.
One of the most frustrating things about hardware is its inability to absorb future enhancements. However, the Speaqualizer was deliberately designed to allow for future updates to the firmware. Speaqualizer firmware is stored on EPROMs which are easily replaced. Future updates to the firmware will be shipped on an EPROM chip. All you have to do to install the new EPROM is remove the old chip from the Speaqualizer card and insert the new one. It is as simple as that.
The Speaqualizer will work with many more application programs than traditional speech software systems. However, it will not work with all programs that can run on the IBM Personal Computer. Some programs on the market today use graphics to paint characters on the screen. The Speaqualizer will not work with these bit mapped graphics programs. Other programs remove the system cursor from the screen and utilize some form of video highlighting to denote a cursor. Although the Speaqualizer may be able to read the characters displayed on the screen and determine the video attributes of these characters, the program cursor can be difficult to locate. If you keep these limitations in mind when purchasing software, the Speaqualizer will perform a tremendously useful service for you. Also, bear in mind that future revisions to the firmware will probably alleviate many of these problems. Unlike anything else that has been put on the market today, the Speaqualizer makes the IBM PC a veritable talking computer. There is nothing else like it. Even more significant, it was designed by Federationists with expertise both in computers and in blindness. In other words, the Speaqualizer is truly ours. The Speaqualizer is currently being distributed for the National Federation of the Blind by the American Printing House for the Blind. The current price of a Speaqualizer is $799.95. If you are interested in obtaining a Speaqualizer or simply want to obtain more information about it, contact the American Printing House for the Blind at 1839 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky 40206. The phone number to call is (502) 895-2405.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AN AREA OF INCREASING EMPHASIS
by Tim Cranmer
(As Monitor readers know, Dr. Tim Cranmer is internationally recognized for his preeminence in technology for the blind.)
Four years ago Dr. Kenneth Jernigan (then President of the National Federation of the Blind) initiated a program of research and development by appointing a committee with the responsibility of finding new applications of technologies and influencing emerging technologies aimed at solving problems resulting from blindness. The Research and Development Committee is the result of that decision. Selecting members for the R & D Committee was easy. Federationists had already distinguished themselves in the field of technology through their participation in the Committee for the Evaluation of Technology and the Division of NFB in Computer Science. The present R & D Committee came largely from these training grounds. Our very active committee meets two or three times a year and maintains continual contact by phone between meetings. Our last meeting in February of 1988 at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore was typical. We studied and examined firsthand the newest tools available to engineers tools like programmable logic arrays that enable an engineer to design special purpose circuits that meet specific design requirements. These PLA's, as they are called, may contain hundreds of logic gates (and, or not gates and latches) that can be interconnected and changed at will to build circuits needed in such things as future versions of the Speaqualizer. Another state-of-the-art technology studied at our meeting is surface-mounted components, which allows integrated circuits to be mounted onto printed circuit boards without using wire leads. These tiny parts sit directly on copper pads etched on the circuit boards, where they are soldered by heating the entire assembly. The Braille 'n Speak uses surface mount technology to achieve its small size while retaining a large memory and other sophisticated features.
Our Committee experienced firsthand the potentially useful material variously called Nitinal, Biometal, Memory metal, etc. This fascinating material possesses the property of remembering any shape that it is forced to assume. For example, if you bend a piece of nitinal metal into the shape of a print letter S while it is heated a little above room temperature, you can then cool the wire to room temperature and bend it into a complete circle. It will keep its new shape until it is warmed a bit and then it will forcibly snap back into the shape of an S. This is more than a parlor trick. This property of Nitinal is being applied to the design of a full page Braille display that really looks promising.
All of our meetings include exploration of current concepts, tools, and materials that enable us to maintain our position of leadership in the application of science and technology to products useful to all of us.
A committee is an excellent mechanism for exploring questions like what is needed and what are the best methods to achieve a goal. But when it comes time to implement the committee's ideas, you need one person to take charge. Once the project leader is identified, other committee members direct their input to him or her. That's how we usually work.
In the short life of the committee we have pursued a fair number of projects. Some have been outstanding successes while others must be accepted as learning experiences. Here are samples of both:
The Speaqualizer exemplifies the R & D Committee's design skills. This powerful tool enables blind computer users to read IBM and compatible personal computer screens. The Speaqualizer is discussed elsewhere in this issue of the Monitor . Suffice it to say here that for those entering the IBM personal computer world, the Speaqualizer is the screen reading tool to start with. It will prove to be all you will ever want or need. It should be noted here that the availability of the Speaqualizer should significantly improve by the time this appears in the Monitor. We have just learned that the American Printing House for the Blind (which we have named as our distributor) is now producing 200 Speaqualizers and plans to stay ahead of future demand.
The R & D Committee continues to improve the NFB synthetic speech. Our voice is heard in the PocketBraille machine produced by the Kentucky Department for the Blind and manufactured and sold by Southland Manufacturing Company of Lexington, Kentucky. The committee is currently developing a unique stand-alone speech synthesizer using the NFB speech algorithm and circuit design. This unit features small size battery or a.c. operation, a nonvolatile user dictionary of pronunciation, and a low price. Negotiations look promising for acquiring synthetic speech in other languages (French, Spanish, and German) for our synthesizer. This product is not now available. It's just one of several things our committee is working on.
Also under developing is the NFB scientific calculator, which could be added to many speech or Braille devices, including the Speaqualizer or the products based on the Kentucky PortaBraille-PocketBraille technologies. The Braille'n'Speak is perhaps the best known member of this family. The NFB scientific calculator will be available we don't know just when or in what form.
The R & D Committee did the work of translating the typesetter codes used to produce the ink print edition of the Random House Concise Dictionary into Grade II Braille. This work was done in cooperation with the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB). The dictionary may be obtained from NAPUB by contacting President Betty Niceley, 3618 Dayton Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky 40207. A talking edition of the dictionary has been prepared for the Apple II Computer. It should be available later this year. A version for MS/DOS is planned.
Did I promise to cite a learning experience? It once seemed like a good idea to read a computer screen by moving a mouse (not the cat kind but the kind used with computers) on the desk top. As the mouse is moved horozontally across the desk, the computer's cursor moves across the screen and a speech synthesizer reads aloud the contents of the line. Or, by moving the mouse vertically, the synthesizer could be made to speak the contents of columns. We made it work. We fine-tuned it and debugged it and concluded that it was not a good idea after all. We decided to throw no money down the rat hole. As a matter of fact, we learned a great deal from the mouse experiment pertaining to how we blind computer users can relate gross manual movements to spatial relations on visual screens. It sounds like a good subject for a master's thesis in psychology. I'll leave it there.
The National Federation of the Blind is a recognized leader in research for the blind. Scientists and engineers are coming to us in increasing numbers. They ask for our endorsement of their proposals to funding sources. They seek our professional guidance. Most of all they seek our knowledge and skill as technically competent blind men and women.
The Reseach and Development Committee is composed of the following members: Tim Cranmer, Chairman; Curtis Chong, President of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science and Systems Programming Specialist, IDS Financial Services, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Charles Cook, owner of his own computer consulting company and developer of the NFB Braille translator and the other computer systems at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore; Emerson Foulke, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Perceptual Alternatives Laboratory at the University of Louisville; Mike Freeman, Computer Systems Programmer, Bonneville Power Administration, Vancouver, Washington; Abraham Nemeth, Eminent mathematician and inventor of the Nemeth Mathematical Code; Mary Ellen Reihing, Assistant Director, Job Opportunities for the Blind, Baltimore, Maryland; Harold Snider, Director, Access for the Handicapped, Washington, D.C.; Curtis Willoughby, Systems Design Engineer, Northwestern Bell Telephone, Des Moines, Iowa;
James Willows, Electronic Engineer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, Livermore, California.
BRAILLE 'N SPEAK A STORY, AN UPDATE
by Deane Blazie
Last July at the National Federation of the Blind convention I introduced Braille 'n Speak, a talking note taker with Braille keyboard and speech output. Many people who saw it there and heard about it in the Braille Monitor said that at $895 it seemed too good to be true. It purported to be: a quiet note-taker with Grade II Braille-to-print translator, a talking Braille notebook with 200K memory (200-300 Braille pages), a talking clock and calendar, a talking computer terminal, a talking telephone directory, a battery-powered speech synthesizer, a portable word processor, a note organizer. And all of this fits into a pocket-sized package that weighs one pound. Sure! It is understandable that one would be skeptical. After all, in the computer business many products are talked about, but some never materialize (we call them vaporware). But Braille 'n Speak really can be seen and felt, and it really does what is said of it. For two months even I could not believe that I had actually developed such a product. It was so neat. For over fifteen years prior to this I had been involved in building and marketing products that would do only a few of these tasks. Those products cost thousands of dollars and were anything but portable. Nonetheless, they were useful, and a few hundred were sold. But with today's (literally last year's) technology, it was made to fit into a coat pocket and run for ten hours without a battery charge.
When I was no longer part of Maryland Computer Services (it's a long story with a happy ending) I had the urge to do something more in the industry. It had to be something that I could develop at home with my limited resources. I also knew that there had to be a less expensive way to market it so that the cost could be low. My friend Fred Gissoni was working on the Kentucky PocketBraille, and I thought it would be a good basis for a product. Braille 'n Speak is the result, and we are all living happily thereafter.
On a more serious note, the comments I am getting about Braille'n Speak are worth more to me than all of the time and money I have invested in it. (So why don't I lower the price?) Here are some of the things people have said:
This thing has changed my life.
If I would have had this when I was in school, who knows what I would have been able to do.
It is a miracle.
Every day I find a new use for it.
It is the first bit of technology that I can really afford.
I can even take it to bed with me at night. My daughter won't put it down.
On the down side there have been a few bugs and a few frustrated users. But in spite of the problems the first machines had, users were very considerate and supportive of me in finding them. Many of the suggestions you have given me have been incorporated into the product, and that brings us to the second part of this article.
The big news is that the calculator and stop watch are now available. These two options are added programming in the ROM (what makes Braille 'n Speak smart).
To use the calculator just enter in Braille O-chord (letter O with the space bar held down) and then enter C. Braille 'n Speak will respond in speech with CALCULATOR READY. Now you can enter a calculation. For example, if you were out to dinner and needed to divide the bill ($37.50) three ways, you could enter the following: 37.50/3 E-Chord.
The E-Chord is the command for Braille 'n Speak to EXECUTE. Braille 'n Speak will then say TWELVE POINT FIVE ZERO. Now if you want to compute what a fifteen percent tip is, you can enter:
Braille 'n Speak will say ONE POINT EIGHT SEVEN, which is $1.87. Notice that Braille 'n Speak remembered the previous answer and multiplied it by fifteen to compute fifteen percent.
Or you could have done both in one calculation by entering:
The four functions are PLUS (+), MINUS (-), MULTIPLY (*), and DIVIDE (/). You can change the precision so that it speaks up to twelve digits after the decimal point. Braille 'n Speak's calculator uses 14-digit numbers in all of its internal calculations. At this time it does not have scientific functions, but you can enter numbers in scientific notion (1200.5 would be 1.2005e3. Once you have computed an answer, you can insert it into your file by using the insert command I-Chord E-Chord.
The stopwatch is especially for those of us in the broadcast industry, also for exercise fanatics and cooks. You enter the stopwatch mode by typing O-Chord W, and Braille 'n Speak will say STOPWATCH READY. Now pressing dot three will reset the time, dot six will start and stop it, and the space bar will speak the timer without stopping it. It reads the time to a tenth of a second accuracy. The last value spoken is stored and can be spoken by pressing dots one, three.
By pressing the number sign you activate the countdown timer, and Braille 'n Speak will say ENTER COUNTDOWN MINUTES. You can enter the number of minutes you want counted. Then, it will ask ENTER COUNTDOWN SECONDS, and you can enter a number of seconds and the counting will begin. Braille 'n Speak will announce the number of minutes to go at ten minutes, five minutes, three minutes, one minute, and when the time is up. Pressing the space bar at any time will tell you how much time is left. Is that useful?
These features are available together as an option to new purchasers ($99) or as an update for current owners ($99 plus $10 shipping/handling).
Also new is the over-write command, which allows replacing one character in a file with another with just two keystrokes (compared to six before). Time and/or date can now be inserted in a file (computer Braille only) by using the insert command just like in the calculator. Files can be individually protected from being written into, just as the help file is now. Finally, all known bugs in the Braille 'n Speak have been fixed. This includes many Grade II translation errors, as well as those nasty ones that cause you to lose information. Thanks for being patient with me.
So how can you sell (and market) a product like this for under $1,000? While that still remains to be seen, so far it is working very well. We are a Mom and Pop shop in every sense of the word. Marty (my wife) answers the phone, sends out information, takes orders, opens the mail, helps users, prepares shipments, and keeps the records straight. Bryan (my oldest son) builds parts, assembles units, helps customers over the phone, and runs errands. Chris (my middle son) helps assemble and keeps our bulletin board (301-879-XXXX) running. Stephen (four) sings along. I work full-time-plus as a computer/engineering consultant and do Braille 'n Speak work after hours.
But for all the work we put into the product, it wouldn't be possible without your support, your suggestions, your critical comments, and your patience. Thank you. For more information on Braille 'n Speak contact: Blazie Engineering, 2818 College View Drive, Churchville, Maryland 21018; (301) 879-5504.
IT IS A MATTER OF ATTITUDE
(This article appears in the December, 1987, Newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia. The article is not signed, so presumably it was written by the Newsletter's capable editor, Seville Allen.)
Our NFB literature is full of references showing how attitude about blindness plays a primary role in how we handle that characteristic. I recently moved into a neighborhood that is convenient for walking to shopping and community activities. Since a short walk will get a person most anywhere, many other blind people live in the area. On two different occasions, while waiting for a traffic light to change, a blind man asked me if I would help him across the street. Both times I said that I would. In the first incident the man placed his hand on my shoulder, the light changed, and we crossed the street. The man thanked me and continued walking down the sidewalk. The second time the man asked for assistance the story remained the same until we reached the opposite side of the street. My cane clicked on a pole. The man asked what the noise was. I told him that it was my cane hitting the light pole. The man asked, Cane? I said yes, that I am also blind. His trust turned to immediate anger. I was informed in a loud voice that I was terribly inconsiderate to have endangered both of our lives.
I share this story because it points out how our attitude about blindness can cause us to limit ourselves and/or our belief about ourselves. In this case we were safely across the street, but rather than think about that, the man acted on his apparent belief that it is dangerous for blind people to cross the street alone or without sighted assistance. How often do any of us sell ourselves short when we believe that because we are blind we cannot explore a new neighborhood, take a vacation without a sighted person as a companion, apply for a job, or browse in a shopping mall?
COMPETING ON TERMS OF EQUALITY AS BLIND STUDENTS
by Fred Schroeder
This article appeared in the Fall-Winter, 1987-88, Student Slate, the publication of the Student Division of the National Federation of the Blind. As Federationists know, Fred Schroeder is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind. He is also the Director of the New Mexico Commission for the Blind.
We are all familiar with the words of Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, Executive Director of the National Federation of the Blind, who has told us that, given proper training and opportunity, the blind can compete on terms of equality with the sighted. The truth of this statement has been affirmed time and time again through the achievements of blind persons in virtually all fields and professions. Blind persons work as lawyers, teachers, engineers, scientists, computer programmers, secretaries, independent business persons, and, in each, perform at levels comparable to their sighted peers. The question, therefore, becomes not whether the blind can compete but rather how the individual blind person can best equip him/herself to function on terms of equality.
Far too often we as blind persons are led to believe that functioning on terms of equality means nothing more than producing an equivalent product. This thinking leads to the assumption that if a project is placed before us, we are functioning competitively if we are able to complete the project adequately. For the blind student, this concept is often applied since the nature of university training is frequently outcome-based. The university instructor routinely gives reading assignments and assigns various projects and term papers, each with a deadline for completion. For this reason the blind student may grow accustomed to assessing his or her ability to function competitively solely in terms of whether he or she is able to complete assigned work within the prescribed time period. The problem with this way of thinking is that it overlooks the need to function competitively within the process. It is not enough simply to be able to produce a high quality term paper. The process by which the paper is researched, organized, and eventually written and produced is of equal significance.
When I was in college I knew a blind student who maintained a 4.0 grade point average. However, to maintain this average this individual told me that he never took more than six to nine hours each semester. This fellow did not know Braille. When I asked him how he took notes, he told me that he recorded every class session and later at home hooked two tape recorders together so as to make an edited or condensed copy of the lecture material. Since this process meant that for each class hour it was necessary to spend an additional hour to hour and a half to edit the tape, nine class hours during the week would require an additional nine to fourteen hours in preparing recorded notes. To make matters worse, this fellow told me that he handled textbook material in the same manner. He would order texts on cassette from Recording for the Blind (RFB) and, hooking two tape recorders together, would make a condensed version of the portions he felt to be most important. This example highlights a variety of problems, both technical and attitudinal. It is clear that the method used by this student was, at best, cumbersome and inefficient. Nevertheless, from a purely outcome-based perspective, his system seemed to work. That is, he maintained a 4.0 grade point average, albeit taking in excess of six years to earn a baccalaureate degree. I could not help wondering whether upon graduating from college this fellow would realize that his methods of functioning placed him at a real disadvantage. I am sure that he did not consciously think that an employer would happily assign him half as much work as his sighted peers or, alternatively, that he would expect to work twelve to sixteen hours a day to produce at the same rate as his co-workers.
I suppose if the problem were merely technical, then my friend (the student, intelligent as he was) could surely have been made to understand that process and product must be taken together as a whole. I believe that the real problem faced by my friend was, in truth, related to his attitudes and beliefs about blindness. He had never taken the time to learn Braille not because he was too dimwitted to learn it but rather, I suspect, because Braille is associated with blindness, and he was reluctant to regard himself as a blind person. If a person believes that blindness necessarily encompasses inferiority, then the individual will predictably avoid thinking of him/herself as a blind person. The tragic twist in this example is that, in an effort to avoid thinking of himself as blind, my friend rejected the skills that would have made him competitive in lieu of techniques which in practice made his performance inferior.
During the era I was in school, portable cassette recorders emerged on the scene and were heralded as the fundamental tool by which blind students could function competitively. No longer were blind students encouraged to use the slate and stylus; instead they were told that with a tape recorder in class we would no longer risk missing vital information. With this reasoning we cashed in a note-taking device which would have us ending each class period with a half dozen pages of concise notes for a device which consolidated nothing, providing us merely with a verbatim record of the hour's lecture. Mostly, I found that I never got around to listening to all the tapes I made during a semester. Therefore, rather than making me more competitive, the tape recorder resulted in my performance declining. I am ashamed to admit that, had I been honest with myself, the real reason I cashed in my slate and stylus for a tape recorder was that I did not truly believe that as a blind person I could compete on terms of equality and, therefore, I was willing to settle for an inadequate system which placed me at a disadvantage. Of course, tape recorders serve a purpose and, when used properly, can result in efficient use of time. The problem comes when a tape recorder is used so that an individual can put off learning the skills of blindness which, in the final analysis, will allow him/her truly to function on an equal footing with others.
For the current generation of students a new panacea has burst onto the scene. I refer to the current fascination and preoccupation with computer technology. As with the cassette recorder of a decade and a half ago, the computer is touted as the single most significant tool for today's blind students. I do not mean to suggest that computer technology is not useful. In fact, this article is being prepared on an IBM PC. The computer is terrific for editing text, revising drafts, checking for typographical errors, and so on. However, I think we should be careful to keep the computer in perspective. Today there are blind students who, like my friend of years ago, do not know Braille. And, like my friend, many of today's students who do not know Braille will argue that Braille is bulky, tedious, and in a word antiquated. They contend that speech technology gives them technological literacy without the long hours of study necessary for good Braille reading and writing. When I say that a computer should be kept in perspective, I suppose the best way to look at it is in terms of whether, on the one hand a computer is being used merely as a tool to enhance learning or, on the other, as a way to avoid dealing with blindness or thinking of yourself as a blind person. It is necessary that as blind people we not sell ourselves short nor should we settle for inadequate training, placing us at a disadvantage.
For blind students the measure of effectiveness needs to be whether you are functioning competitively both in terms of outcome and in process. If you believe that blindness makes you inferior, then you will settle for inferior methods of functioning. You will come to believe that a tool that allows you to do more than you did before is good enough rather than considering whether a variety of tools applied correctly might enable you to perform on an equal basis with your sighted peers. Functioning better is not good enough. We as blind people must insist on the training which will allow us to function equally with the sighted.
It is vital that blind students seek training in the skills of blindness before pursuing academic training. Once the student is proficient in cane travel, the use of Braille, the abacus, and other techniques used by capable blind persons, then he/she will be able to keep in perspective the other tools that become available. The skills of blindness not only allow you the techniques to function fully but provide the means through which true self-confidence can be established. Before an individual can function as a whole human being, he/she must believe that he is a whole human being. Conversely, truly to believe in yourself as being equal with others, you must have the skills to put your beliefs into action. I have been told by ambitious blind students that they cannot afford to interrupt their studies to acquire training in the skills of blindness. The cost of this decision is often paid through settling for less than adequate techniques and, worse, through assuming a belief that you cannot be expected to function at a level comparable to your peers.
Computers are valuable tools, as are cassette recorders, but it is the skilled craftsman who knows both the abilities and the limitations of each tool and when best to employ their use. Perhaps the single best means for learning the skills of blindness is through participation in the National Federation of the Blind. The skills of blindness were not given to us by the educational or rehabilitation establishments but rather come to us through the collective experience of tens of thousands of blind men and women. The techniques together with an attitude about blindness which assumes full participation are necessary to be able truly to compete on terms of equality. In July of 1988 thousands of blind people will meet in Chicago, Illinois, at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind. It is in this setting that real progress for the blind in society can be realized. As a part of the National Federation of the Blind, you will have the opportunity to join with us and promote both the training and attitudes necessary for full participation so that we as blind people will be able to demonstrate to ourselves and others that we can compete on terms of equality.
BILL WOULD MERGE AGENCIES FOR HANDICAPPED
by Deborah Skipper
E. U. Parker, one of the long-time leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi, sends us the following article. It appeared in the February 4, 1988, Clarion Ledger. As will be quickly apparent, there is nothing new or constructive in the proposed bill discussed in the article. Despite the claims of its sponsor, the legislation would not result in savings, less confusion, or coordination of services. It would (as experience has repeatedly shown) achieve the exact opposite. Here is the article.
Five state agencies currently serving the needs of 378,000 disabled Mississipians would be merged into the Department of Rehabilitation Services under a bill introduced Wednesday by the Legislature. This is the first step in the reorganization process over the next four years, said state Senator Bob Usey of Gulfport, who introduced the bill.
The restructured department would have a combined staff of about 1,700 employees and a $65 million budget, 60 to 70 percent of which is federally funded, said John Cook, commissioner of Rehabilitation Services. Backed by 14 cosponsors, the proposal seeks to expand Rehabilitation Services, putting under its umbrella Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind, the Mississippi School for the Blind, the Mississippi School for the Deaf, Mississippi Industries for the Blind, and the Mississippi Children's Rehabilitation Center. Usey and Cook said the agency seems to be the first to offer its own restructuring plan, in keeping with Governor Ray Mabus's agenda to reorganize state government. Mabus has not endorsed the proposal but has no problems with it, Cook said. We haven't yet analyzed it, said Anne Sapp, Mabus's special assistant for health and human resources. Basically, from the governor's point of view, he is concentrating on his major legislation right now.
The proposed legislation originated last summer, Usey said, when he encountered difficulty finding the right agency to help one of his disabled constituents.
This would create one-stop rehabilitation services in the state of Mississippi, Usey said at a press conference. Most people don't have the time to wade through the myriad of services to find help.
Rehabilitation Services, which meets the needs of the state's working age population, would serve disabled people from birth through adulthood under the proposed legislation, Cook said. The intent of the legislation in 1983 creating the Department of Rehabilitation Services was to combine services for the disabled under one agency, he added.
The agencies were separated because of fears that the legislation would dismantle Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind and other existing structures serving people who are blind, he explained. This bill preserves the organizational integrity of each agency, Cook said. More importantly, it protects the money and the service delivery system. There will be no change, just a change of board.
The legislation would create one board to replace the separate boards currently overseeing the various agencies. Cook said he has met or scheduled meetings with the agency heads affected by the bill along with the Council for the Blind and the Federation for the Blind to assure them those programs will be protected.
Elton Moore, executive director of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind, said he could not comment until he reviews the bill. The merger of boards would create an initial savings, Cook added.
Since many of the programs are 80 to 100 percent federally funded, a savings to the state general fund from staff cutbacks would not be significant, according to Usey. But accountability and long-range planning could result in a future cost savings for the state, he said.
It could reduce some administrative costs, Cook said. But at this point we've done everything we can to protect the agency delivering services to the blind.
Daryel Dunaway, who coordinates the agency's attendant care program and is a paraplegic, said the reorganization is a good move.
I'd rather see all the rehabilitation services under one umbrella than see them separated under several different departments, Dunaway said.
FRANK LEE PORTRAIT OF A LEADER
by Ramona Walhof
In Huntsville, Alabama, the pastor of Lakeside Methodist Church is the Reverend Frank Lee. Lakeside claims the best educated congregation of all black United Methodist churches in Alabama. Reverend Lee has experienced far more discrimination and misunderstanding within the church and outside it because of his blindness than because of his race. When he first became an ordained minister ready for assignment to a church, the conference leadership planned that he would be a conference evangelist serving without salary. He objected. The church he wished to be assigned to was being left without a minister. There was no escaping the belief on the part of conference leaders that a blind man could not handle the responsibilities of a church pastor. Church members in all but one of the churches to which Reverend Lee has been assigned have also objected at first to having a blind minister. In the United Methodist Church it is not customary for the pastor to request a certain church. Rather, the conference bishop and district superintendents confer with local churches to make the assignments. Reverend Lee found that he must depart from this practice and make the request. As a young minister, he must challenge the decisions of his superiors, something not calculated ordinarily to gain their confidence and respect. It was necessary, and it was done. Although it took some confrontation and persuasion to get appropriate assignments, Reverend Lee has in time been accepted and gained respect by the members of the churches he has served and by the conference leadership.
All I want to do is get there, he says. Once the people get to know me, then I'll stick. And he has been right. Frank Lee was born in Semmes, Alabama, in 1942. Soon afterward, his family moved to Dothan. He found himself in the middle of a farm family of fifteen children. At the age of six one eye was injured in an accident. The medicine available to the Lees at the time was not adequate to prevent infection from spreading to the second eye, causing total blindness before many months had gone by.
Frank Lee feels fortunate that his family learned of the school for the blind in Talladega, and he went there a year later. He remembers always crying when he had to leave home and return to school. He also remembers that it was the only way for him to get an education. The academic education was quite good. Frank participated in many sports, including baseball and volleyball, as well as participating in the choir from a very young age through high school.
The school Frank Lee attended was the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, which consisted of four separate parts. There was the school for the deaf who were white and the school for the blind who were white. Then, there was the school for the deaf who were black and the school for the blind who were black. The campus for the blind black was very small, but it was separated from all others.
Looking backward we can see many things that should be and are different today. Nevertheless, Frank Lee remembers things that were exciting opportunities to him at the time. In 1952 Frank was the first child in his part of the school to use the Perkins Braille Writer. In 1962 he was in the third class to graduate from the blind black school. Prior to 1959 blind black students were so few in high school that they took courses in a public school in Talladega and received their high school diploma from that school. While most schools for the blind in the 1950's and early 1960's were just getting a good start at integrating blind youth into public school classes, the school for the black blind at the Alabama Institute was just getting enough black blind students to offer a complete high school curriculum. Integration was still almost a decade away. The quarter of a century from the 1960's until now seems a long time. There has been a dramatic change for blacks in our society. For the blind there has also been progress, but the contrast for the blind is not nearly as great. We have a very long way to go. Between 1962 and 1966 Frank Lee spent twenty-one months operating a vending facility under the Randolph-Sheppard program. But he wanted to go to college. He had had good grades in school, but it was not until 1966 that he was able to convince the rehabilitation agency to help him. In 1970 he earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Talladega College. Throughout college Frank worked from time to time as camp counselor and in vending facilities. He was also active in church work through all of that time. In 1962 he preached his first sermon, and he had been singing in church choirs for years before that. In 1973 he completed studies at Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. He also studied at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York. Wedding bells came for Frank Lee in 1976 when he married Frankie Boyd, whom he met in college.
In 1982 Frank was introduced to the National Federation of the Blind by a friend, Charles Williams. Frank had known of the organization before but had not investigated much. He had been busy. When invited personally, he went and joined immediately. The NFB made sense to Frank Lee. Before long he was invited to a leadership seminar at national headquarters in Baltimore and was elected to office. In 1985 he was elected Treasurer of the state affiliate, the NFB of Alabama. Reverend Lee was happy with the Federation. He more he learned, the better he liked it. And the Federation was pleased with him. In 1986 Frank Lee was elected to the National Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind.
Frank is a hard worker in the Federation. He is not backward about expressing himself, but often he leaves the speech-making to others. He says he is still growing and learning. In 1987 Frank Lee was the winner of the Associates contest. By recruiting 228 members at large for the Federation, he raised $2,756 for the treasury, teaching each recruit about blindness and the NFB as well. Although relatively new to the Federation and still new on the Board, Frank Lee has proved himself a leader. We expect to hear much more from him in the 1990's.
A QUESTION OF ETHICS
by Christine Faltz
(Christine Faltz was awarded the Melva T. Owen Scholarship at the 1987 convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a freshman at Princeton University. Clearly she is both perceptive and possessed of a conscience.)
I had been bothering the employment coordinator at my high school for nearly six months. I wanted a summer job. I had held a part-time job as a receptionist at a mental health hotline from December, 1985, to September, 1986, the beginning of my senior year. I quit in order to join extracurricular activities. However, I wanted a job for the next summer so that I would have some money for college.
At first I tried to find a job tutoring English or Braille. There was nothing to be found. I worked in my high school's guidance office from October to January and continued to hope for a part-time job that would offer more working hours. I had my own phone bill to pay now, and I was used to having my own money for social outings instead of having to ask my parents for it. Toward the end of June, my search came to an end. I was ecstatic! I would be working as a day camp counselor for children aged three to five at Farmingdale University. This camp was sponsored by Helen Keller Services for the Blind. I was optimistic. I had helped parents with small children before, and I had prepared a seven-year-old partially retarded girl for her First Holy Communion when I was thirteen. I remembered confidently the praise of past employers and the admiration of my coworkers. I could not wait to start.
On Monday, July 6, two days after returning from the NFB convention in Phoenix, I began my summer job. There were four boys and one girl in my group. It was interesting to observe their distinct personalities over those six weeks. The head counselor, whom I will call Janet, had never worked with the blind before. This probably does not make much of a difference since many who work with the blind never learn anything about us anyway. However, take the fact for what it is worth if anything. The other counselor, whom I will call Michelle, had worked in the nursery for a number of summers. At first I liked both of them, especially Janet. She treated me as an equal; she did not talk or act condescendingly toward me. Michelle did both of these things a few times, but I overlooked the incidents since she was basically a nice person. Soon, however, the problems began. One day Michelle was stung by a bee and was unable to come to work the next day. Another person was sent to help with the children. I felt terrible. There were many times when I felt I could have done more if they had only given me the chance. There were countless times when I would say, Janet, can I do that? or Michelle, what can I do? More often than not the answer would be, No, I've got it, or No, it's already done.
On Parents' Day the children's mothers crowded into the little nursery for lunch. As the mothers spoke in a cluster across the room, I sat at the table helping a totally blind boy with his lunch. He had a habit of holding his sandwich with one hand, which usually resulted in a mess. I, too, am totally blind, and I realized I had to devise a way of reminding the little boy to hold the sandwich with both hands without annoying him. At first I gently touched his hands in order to make sure he was eating correctly. After a few times he said, Don't do that. I sat for a moment, thinking things over. Not only did I have to remind him every once in a while to hold his sandwich correctly but offer positive reinforcement at the same time. So I said, Very good honey. Remember to hold that sandwich with both hands now. I'm proud of you.
About three minutes later I repeated these words, changing them slightly. At this point the assistant director of the camp (Mrs. B) snapped, Christine, he is eating with both hands. I know, I said, attempting to explain. But I can't see his hands, and I'm trying to He is eating properly, she interrupted tersely, walking away. A well of deep resentment rose and flooded me. She had simply ignored my explanation and had not offered an alternate method for the task at hand. It bothered me for the rest of the afternoon.
The next day was Friday, the day of the weekly staff meeting. A fellow worker said, I really don't know if anyone else feels the same way, but I sometimes think that the criticism we receive is a little strong. The director and assistant director brushed the complaint aside with typical administrative expertise, and the group was asked to bring on any other complaints, if any. I had resolved to leave the incident of the previous afternoon alone, but since the other girl had spoken, I decided to voice my concern. I politely told my story, adding that Mrs. B had probably been uptight about having parents in the nursery but that I still felt I should have at least been able to explain myself.
The reply that came back was: Parents don't make me uptight. And furthermore, I have worked with handicapped children for many years. Very few of you here have degrees in education of the handicapped. Those of us who do, welcome suggestions; but when something is wrong, we are going to tell you so, and that's that.
I should know a little about the handicapped. I am allegedly one of them, I muttered. There was no answer. The last day of camp arrived, after a number of other incidents. (For example, on the previous day at the presentation given to the parents by their children I was told that it would be better to leave my dog guide home because of the crowd. This forced me to use a cane. This would not have been a big deal had I been able to use my right hand to work with it. I had to walk down the side aisle of the auditorium with one of my young charges, however, and according to the plans, the children had to be on the right side of the counselors. I cannot use a cane with my left hand. I was unable to get on and off the stage gracefully, and at one point I could not find my seat. I had to ask the four-year-old whose hand I was holding to take me back to my seat, because he had partial sight. Imagine how incompetent I appeared when I stood for a full minute at the front of the auditorium with no idea where to go. At rehearsal two days before, my dog had taken me directly to my seat. I have heard Mrs. B say time and time again that she has spent her life promoting the competence and capabilities of the blind. She succeeded in taking the means of my capable mobility away, along with my confidence, in front of approximately seventy-five parents. But let us move on to the finale.) Janet suddenly became short with me. She ordered me around like a drill sergeant, and I figured she was upset because it was the last day. An hour before the conclusion of summer camp Mrs. B and Janet called me over to speak with them. The first words said to me were: This discussion should have taken place a lot sooner. I want you to know, Christine, that under no circumstances would we rehire you next year. For a split second I was stunned. Then, the words and the tone of the words swept through me, and I shot back, Under no circumstances would I consider working here again. Well, that's fine, Mrs. B said. But I think you should know our reasons, for your own good in the future. She went on to tell me that Janet had continually spoken of my poor job performance and the fact that she had spoken with me about my attitude many times.
When I insisted that she had never spoken to me about such matters, Janet said, Well, maybe I wasn't direct enough. Maybe I was too subtle, because I'm a nice person. I almost laughed. The only thing that stopped me was the painful fact that she was so pathetic. I knew how much Janet was liked, and I knew for a fact that she had already been invited back for the next summer. This woman was twenty-three and had worked as a high school teacher for one year for students in the special education program no less! Is this the symbol of today's educators? Are they so unethical, so unable to treat their own coworkers as people with feelings? Janet's lies showed a blatant disrespect for me as a human being. I was far more than simply indignant. I had been unjustly accused.
I am not writing to the Monitor to acquit myself, however, for I was never guilty. I am writing to show the gross development of a terrible irony. This woman, who knows nothing about the blind and probably never will, will continue a summer job working with very young blind children, the blind children of the future. The irony lies in the fact that she, as the head counselor, was unable to deal with an adult blind person maturely, let alone professionally. She refused to allow me to do things I asked to do, she treated me horribly, and she used the fact that our superiors at the camp liked her. It was her word against mine. This is a camp allegedly for the blind. A blind person was treated deplorably at this camp not as a camper but as a worker. My resentment is not simply for what I experienced. I worry for the children who will be attending this camp in the future. How many more unethical professionals are out there, condescending toward and doing damage to the very people they are employed to help? They obviously do not know the first thing about education or relating to people. Let us resist their forces of ignorance and condescension. Our children are in their hands.
MERIT FINDS ITS REWARD
by Scott LaBarre
(This article appears in the Fall-Winter, 1987, Student Slate, the publication of the Student Division of the National Federation of the Blind. Scott LaBarre was awarded a $4,000 NFB Merit Scholarship at the national convention in 1986. He is Secretary of the national Student Division and an active participant in the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota.)
In Phoenix, Arizona, on July 2, 1987, at the annual banquet of the National Federation of the Blind there were twenty- six scholarships awarded ranging from $1,800 to $10,000. Three students received a National Federation of the Blind Merit Award of $4,000. I write this article after having the opportunity to visit with each one of these winners. It is definitely an asset for the Federation to have Tom Ley, Susan Qashu, and Laurence Smith as members of our movement.
We travel southward towards Ruston, Louisiana, and we arrive at Louisiana Tech University, where Tom Ley is a junior math education major. Tom is no stranger to the Federation. He is currently the President of the Louisiana Student Chapter and Second Vice President of the national Student Division, a position to which he was elected during the national convention. Even with his involvement in the organization, the 1987 convention was his very first. He related how impressed he was by the convention and said that for him it was very important to see blind people succeeding in all facets of life and types of professions. He also felt very special as a scholarship winner and was extremely honored to be recognized for his achievements. At convention I felt the true sense of the movement, he said. Tom also has a wide variety of interests. He enjoys reading science fiction, following sports, observing Louisiana politics, and writing.
Tom told me that he wasn't exactly sure of what his future will hold, but he thinks that for starters he will get a master's degree in math, going on to get a Ph.D. He would like to teach on the university level. I want to be Professor Ley, he said. He enjoys political life enough that you cannot rule out the possibility of Tom's becoming a politician himself. My name just may appear on a ballot some day, says future Senator Ley. Our next stop is in North Hampton, Massachusetts, where Susan Qashu is a junior mathematics major at Smith College. Her trip to Phoenix as a scholarship winner was her first large-scale involvement with other blind people. She says that she felt both overwhelmed and encouraged by what she experienced. By meeting many other blind people, she feels much more confident about herself as a blind person. I came back to school feeling as if I could do anything, she said. She also related that it is much easier for her to deal with everyone where her blindness is concerned. It is very encouraging to see the positive effect which the convention and Susan's contact with the NFB have had on her life. Susan's major activity currently is pursuing a mathematics major. It is also very important for her to spend quality time with her friends and family. Susan is literally trying to race to the top. She enjoys running very much and hopes to compete on the Smith College track team. She also earns a little income, as well as a lot of enjoyment, by working in the Smith green house. Most recently she has become active in the Massachusetts Student Chapter. After receiving a bachelor of science degree, Susan wants to do research in the area of improving teaching techniques in mathematics, for she feels that math is very poorly taught in today's society.
Now we end up on the other side of the nation in Boise, Idaho, where Laurence Smith is a forty-year-old senior at Boise State majoring in social work. Unlike our previous two winners, the Phoenix convention was his second national convention. He says that I was there for all the right reasons. In the year between the 1986 convention and Phoenix he feels that he grew a tremendous amount as a blind person. He was most honored to be chosen as a scholarship winner and was pleased at the chance to meet with and get to know some of the leaders of the movement. Laurence was part owner in a trade club before becoming blind. He has a great family, with six daughters. For Laurence, family activities are a very important facet of his life. He also enjoys being a handyman fixing and repairing whatever needs attention. Just recently the computer has become another of his hobbies. He very much enjoys working with people, and he plans to attend graduate school and obtain a master's degree in social work. He also plans to continue his involvement in the Federation as a means of helping the blind attain first-class citizenship.
The National Federation of the Blind is proud of the 1987 award winners, as well as all of the 1987 scholarship recipients. Through such recognition of young leaders, the Federation is helping to change what it means to be blind.
YOU CAN BANK ON THE POWER OF THE ORGANIZATION
by Ben Prows
(Ben Prows is an attorney and one of the most active leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington State.)
If anyone should doubt the power of the National Federation of the Blind, let that person read the following correspondence. In just a few letters we were able to accomplish something that would have taken an individual years to get done if the accomplishment were possible at all.
My wife Suzi discovered that in order to enter the vault to open the safe deposit box she had rented from Rainier Bank in Seattle, she had to have an extra bank official or a sighted friend accompany her. She complained to bank officials, who excused this policy as a matter of safety.
Then, she complained to the Washington State Human Rights Commission, which told her it would be better if she didn't file a formal grievance because the bank was doing it for your own good.
So the NFB went to work once again fighting for the rights of all blind persons in the state who wish to rent a safe deposit box on terms of equality with their sighted peers. We did not threaten, demonstrate, or harass the bank officials. We simply explained the power of the organization and how it is used. Our tactics did the trick as you will see:
August 27, 1987
Mr. Robert Truex
Chief Executive Officer
Rainier Bank Corporation
Dear Mr. Truex:
I am writing as President of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington, Greater Seattle Chapter, to ask that you change a policy at Rainier Bank that is unnecessary for the blind. My wife has rented a safe deposit box from your bank for about one year. She has discovered that a blind person must either bring a sighted friend or have a second bank official available to accompany him/her into the vault to extract the safe deposit box. The rationale for this policy is apparently that the blind person (and presumably the bank) is protected from theft of items from the box by the one bank official that goes into the vault. At the same time, the bank is protected from false accusations of theft by the blind person.
First, blind persons are just as capable as sighted persons of determining whether something has been taken from a safe deposit box. We use alternative techniques and skills to function as normally as anyone else on a day-to-day basis, and if something is missing from a safe deposit box, we can easily tell and describe what is not there. It is true that someone intent on stealing objects from a safe deposit box could do so quietly and possibly undetected by the blind person, but the thief could also do so undetected by a sighted person. Pick-pockets don't just take the wallets of the blind.
Secondly, the argument that this policy affords the bank protection from unfounded accusations of theft by a blind person is also false. A sighted customer could just as easily allege that the one bank official that normally goes into a safe deposit box vault has stolen something from his/her box. There is really no difference between a blind person and a sighted person when it comes to dealing with the contents of a safe deposit box.
The National Federation of the Blind is the oldest and largest organization of blind persons in this country. We believe that we as blind persons can function normally in society as well as our sighted peers. We are opposed to policies and practices that discriminate against the blind or cause us to be treated differently solely based on blindness. This is why I am writing to request that you immediately change your policy for the blind and apply the same treatment for blind customers as for sighted ones. Thank you very much for your attention to this matter. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Ben Prows, President
Greater Seattle Chapter
National Federation of the Blind of Washington
We received a response in September of last year that was, to say the least, bureaucratic:
Dear Mr. Prows:
Your August 27 letter to G. Robert Truex, Jr., regarding safe deposit policies has been referred to the Consumer Affairs Group for reply.
You are correct that our policies have been established to safeguard the personal and valuable possessions of our customers. I apologize for any inconvenience our entrance requirements may have caused your wife or others and will refer your letter to our Branch Banking Division for their consideration. Thank you for writing to call this concern to our attention.
Sincerely, Archie M. Hall
Consumer Affairs Group
Rainier National Bank
Following this non-response, I wrote again to the bank. I felt it was time to up the ante a bit.
October 11, 1987
Dear Mr. Hall:
Thank you (I think) for your letter of September 4, 1987, responding to me as President of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington, Greater Seattle Chapter. As you know, I wrote to you requesting that your bank change its policy of requiring an extra official or sighted person to accompany blind persons when accessing safe deposit boxes at your banks.
In your letter you stated that my concerns had been referred to the bank banking division for consideration. I did not receive a copy of the new bank policy concerning the blind or any indication that the old discriminatory policy had been repealed. The National Federation of the Blind of Washington is holding our state convention in Seattle next weekend (October 16-18, 1987), and I will report on our correspondence to date. In addition, our state newsletter (The Blind Washingtonian) will carry a story concerning this issue in the next edition. Therefore, I would appreciate a prompt reply to this letter. Please provide me with a copy of your new policy that permits the blind to be treated in the same manner as their sighted peers regarding the terms and conditions for renting and access to safe deposit boxes.
Thank you very much for your immediate attention to this matter.
Ben Prows, President
Greater Seattle Chapter
National Federation of the Blind of Washington
After this letter reached the officials at Rainier Bank, a somewhat frantic call to our toll-free telephone number was answered by Denise Mackenstadt, who explained that what we want is to be treated just as any other individual who rents a safe deposit box. We want the dignity afforded to other bank customers. She was told that the policy was being changed. On November 5, 1987, we received the following letter:
November 5, 1987
Dear Mr. Prows:
Following receipt of your October 11 letter, I talked with Denise Mackenstadt and reconfirmed that we were reconsidering our policies with respect to safe deposit box access by blind customers. I am happy to report that earlier this week a decision was made to eliminate all special requirements for safe deposit access by blind customers.
Again, thank you for writing to relate your concerns since quality, equitable customer service is our number one priority.
Archie M. Hall
Rainier National Bank
Following receipt of the final letter, my wife went to the bank to put some materials in the safe deposit box and again was confronted by an official saying she had to have an extra person with her when she went into the vault. She showed the official the change in policy and was then allowed to enter the vault just like any other customer.
This is just another reason why the blind of this nation are fortunate to have the power of the organization behind them. Through the Braille Monitor, state publications, and with the other tools we have, we will prevail. You can bank on the power of the National Federation of the Blind.
SELF-DETERMINATION OF BLIND WORKERS IN CHINESE GUILDS
by C. Edwin Vaughan, Ph.D.
(Dr. Vaughan is Professor of Sociology at the University of Missouri at Columbia. He is also one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri.)
In the United States the history of blind people has been characterized by the domination of agency-based programs. Until recently blind people themselves had little influence on the direction of agency programs and philosophy. The struggle is now intense, as blind people require agencies to provide programs and activities consistent with goals of independent living and full participation in society. In the United States most of the professional writing about rehabilitation and blindness describes narrowly focused inventions or programs aimed at helping blind people adjust to the world as seen by blindness professionals. Almost never do we see articles describing self-determination alternatives for organizing opportunities for the blind. This article provides an historical and comparative perspective of one instance of self-determination by blind people The Guild of the Three Emperors, a guild of blind entertainers in Beyshing, China.
As early as ancient Rome and Greece individuals of like interests organized themselves into guilds in order to more efficiently pursue religious, social, or economic concerns. Guilds were frequently organized to protect the interests of members, either from forces within a society where government was weak, or from government itself when its representatives could easily exploit individuals.
In medieval Europe many occupational areas were organized as guilds for either craftsmen or merchants. These guilds regulated access to employment opportunities and provided training to enable individuals to enter and progress to higher levels of employment. In medieval China for at least 1,000 years guilds of craftsmen, workers, and merchants were common. Their purpose was to prevent exploitation from government officials and to provide internal regulation of trade and craft areas of employment. There was in Beyshing, formerly Peking, a guild comprised of blind persons who made a career of singing, entertaining, and storytelling. Parents would seek to place a young blind son into this guild so that he might learn a trade for his future lifelong employment. As he mastered the required skills, he would rise in status in the guild to the level of master.
Blind guild members in China were self-governing. The guild was governed by a board of forty-eight members of whom forty-seven were blind. The secretary was the only sighted person. The guild governed itself with regard to membership, including the discipline of members, the charges for services, and the recruitment of new members into the guild. The guild met twice each year, and, not unlike some of our annual conventions, the meetings lasted until 5:00 a.m.
The Gild of the Blind, who make a business of singing, storytelling, and entertaining holds its meetings on the 2nd of the 3rd month and the 8th of the 9th month, celebrating the Chinese festivals on the 3rd of the 3rd moon and the 9th of the 9th moon, as the meeting lasts until 5 o'clock the next morning. It was our good fortune to be given the privilege of attending one of these meetings. As the gild has no gild hall, it borrows the Ching Chung Miao, a temple in South City outside of Hatamen, and there, all day long, a constant stream of blind men was coming and going. They were greeting their friends, discussing politics and conditions of business, and enjoying the tea and cakes that had been provided; and it was a strange sight to see so many blind people together, each with his long bamboo cane, tapping, tapping, tapping, as they moved around the hall. 1 Note the use of long bamboo canes for mobility purposes. Had they been taught by sighted, credentialed, orientation and mobility specialists? The field work on which these observations were based was completed by 1925.
Apparently custodial treatment was not the dominant form; the blind master assumed no responsibility for the safety of blind apprentices. A special understanding relieved the master from any responsibility for his blind students who might possibly be injured in the course of their training.2 Self-discipline characterized this guild. Blind members who broke the guild rules were punished by other guild members, punishment ranging from seventy to one hundred strokes with the bamboo cane. Younger members were punished by the cane while older members were required to pay a fine.
The guild was named the Three Emperors Association after its three patron gods: The God of Heaven, The God of Earth, and The God of Men.3 After the initial religious ritual the meeting progressed with elements that may strike a familiar note:
After all forty-eight of the officers had worshiped before the gods, the musicians gave a two hour concert with their best songs and music. Any who had written new songs during the past year were called upon to give them at the time. Following the concert, the business meeting was held from 12 to 2. It consisted of reports and the discussion of methods for strengthening the gild, and of ways and means for making the business of the blind entertainers more prosperous. At the end of the meeting a report giving a statement of the condition of the gild, a resum of the business the past year, and the names of all the officers, musicians, committeemen, and subscribers was burned on the alter so the gods might have a complete report of the work and development of the gild. 4 The book from which these remarks are drawn had no special interest in blindness. We know little about the condition of the blind in the China of that day except for that of guild members. We do learn that this group of blind workers was self-determining. Such examples from the past and other cultures can give us a vantage point more clearly to view modern day custodialism.
1. Burgess, John Stewart. 1928. The Guilds of Peking. New York: Columbia University Press. p.103
2. Ibid., p. 160
3. Ibid., p. 104
4. Ibid., p. 105
OPEN MIKE REACHES MILESTONE
On Friday, December 18, 1987, Open Mike, a taped publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Rhode Island in cooperation with the Diocese of Providence, reached its fifth year in circulation. The two hosts of this informative magazine are two long-time Federationists, our former president Edmund Beck and Father Gerard Sabourin, who has served in many capacities since our reorganization in 1970. The event was celebrated with four special guests: Richard Gaffney, President of the NFB of Rhode Island; Kenneth Brackett, Treasurer; Mary Jane Fry, Recording Secretary; and Rhode Island's Secretary of State, Kathy Connel. Ms. Connel presented citations to Mr. Beck, Father Sabourin, Richard Gaffney, and Kenneth Brackett. There was also media coverage by two local television stations to record the event. The members of the NFB of Rhode Island look forward to many more years of listening to Open Mike .
RED CARPET TREATMENT
by Stephen Benson
To insure that Federationists attending the 1988 national convention thoroughly enjoy themselves, our Illinois affiliate will roll out the most vibrant red carpet and will present six tours that will appeal to a variety of interests. These tours are designed to introduce you to Chicago and help you finish convention week with a flourish and a second wind. All six tours will occur on Wednesday, July 6, 1988.
There will be advance ticket sales for five of the tours. That will help us plan more accurately for the appropriate number of buses and guides. Tour tickets will be on sale at the hotel beginning Friday afternoon and all day Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and on Tuesday morning before the general session. However, you are strongly urged to order tickets ahead of time. Ordering instructions will follow tour description. Please read them carefully and follow them to the letter.
1. Museum of Science and Industry and Henry Crown Space Center, 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Visit a new and exciting exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. A new wing has been constructed especially for the space center which includes hands-on exhibits, tracing the development of the space program of manned and unmanned space travel, and demonstrating space advances and experiences. The big feature of the exhibit is the Omnimax Theatre, which projects a motion picture on a domed screen covering a 180 degree field of vision. Enjoy The Great Barrier Reef an experience in deep sea thrills and adventure. During this film you will see the world's largest coral reef and the various living species sharks, fish, and aquatic plant life that live in and off of the reef. You'll see scientists exploring the reef and diving crews who examine the many wrecks on the bottom of the ocean.
The Omnimax journey will saturate your senses as it unfolds on a seventy-six-foot diameter tilted, domed screen. Using the world's largest film projector with the brightest image yet developed and seventy-two speakers producing 20,000 watts of audio power, you'll witness unprecedented technology before coming back to earth. While at the Museum of Science and Industry visit some of the thrilling permanent exhibits, such as the U-505, an authentic German submarine; take a ride into a working coal mine; walk through a pulsating, sixteen-foot-high replica of the human heart. The museum is designed specifically for visitor participation. Visitors push buttons, turn cranks, lift levers, operate computers, and become involved in other ways in an unforgettable living experience.
2. Chicago, City of Neighborhoods, 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Behind the famous Loop, the towering skyscrapers, and the familiar lakeshore, lies a colorful tapestry of neighborhoods that visitors seldom see. Explore a fascinating Chicago on this insider's tour of the Italian, Greek, Mexican, and German communities.
Around the turn of the century immigrants poured into the city by the hundreds of thousands. They arrived jobless and poor, speaking no English, and settled in neighborhoods with their own kind, where they recreated the atmosphere of their homeland. Life centered around the beautiful neighborhood churches, built with the first dollars the immigrants earned in America. Today, many of these neighborhoods remain unchanged, with restaurants, shops, language, and customs reflecting their national origin. Although a few of the more successful residents have moved to outlying communities, they return to the old neighborhood to celebrate festivals, feast days, and family occasions at the church.
By special arrangement you will go inside one of the outstanding neighborhood churches, whose architecture and decoration enrich the city aesthetically as well as spiritually. Visit the world famous Hull House, established one hundred years ago by Jane Addams as an island of comfort and inspiration. Although most of the settlement house complex has been destroyed, the original Hull mansion has been graciously restored. A tour of this lovely old home will include an illuminating slide lecture on the pioneer social worker and the neighborhood she served.
Your tour will include the site of Mrs. O'Leary's barn and a stop at an Italian bakery for delicious refreshments.
3. Museum of Broadcast Communications and Chicago Highlights, 1:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Return with us to those thrilling days of yesteryear . Take a heartwarming trip down memory lane or an enlightening journey into the development of modern telecommunications. Relive the Golden Age of radio and television through the finest collections of radio and videotapes.
Visit the A. C. Nielsen Research Center or the Kraft Television Theatre, or a series of Decade Rooms. Photo exhibits complement retrospective screenings.
Chicago's own Chuck Schaden has assembled over 45,000 local, regional, syndicated, and national radio programs. And on the lighter side, Jack Benny, Burns & Allen, Fibber McGee & Molly, and Bob Hope entertain us from their early radio days. There are unforgettable moments in sports. The 1983 White Sox, the 1984 Cubs, and the 1985 Bears victories are recalled on videotapes.
After your journey into telecommunications enjoy the best of Chicago on a wonderful introduction to the city. Cruise along Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile and pass Chicago's most beloved landmark, the Water Tower, and the elegant Water Tower Place. Heading northward along Lake Michigan's beautiful Outer Drive, you will reach the city's glamorous Gold Coast. These are just some of the wonderful sites that make Chicago a truly great American city.
4. DuSable Museum and University of Illinois, 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
DuSable Museum of African American History, Inc., is named for Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, a pioneer of mixed African and European parentage, who in 1779 was the first permanent settler in Chicago.
The museum was founded in 1961 by a small group of dedicated educators, artists, historians, and civic leaders who sought to preserve and disseminate the contributions of Africans and Afro-Americans to American and world culture. At the museum your tour guide will explain to you the special exhibit dedicated to the founder of Chicago Jean Baptiste DuSable. Included in your tour will be the other exhibits at the museum the Carnival Brazil Exhibit, the Slave Exhibit, and Treasures of the DuSable Museum.
Following your visit to the museum your guide will accompany you on a tour of the exciting modern campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Here you will find outstanding examples of landmark Chicago architecture.
5. Lake Michigan Boat Ride, 2:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Take a short walk from the hotel to the Michigan Avenue Bridge and enjoy Chicago from its most impressive vantage point Lake Michigan. Your one and a half hour fully narrated cruise will take you down the lakefront to view the spectacular skyline; into the Chicago River; and through the Locks, the system that forces the river to run backwards.
Send ticket requests for tours numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 to: NFB Tours, Chicago Is, 151 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1104, Chicago, Illinois 60601. You must indicate, by number, the tour for which you are requesting tickets. Requests must be accompanied by checks or money orders made payable to: Chicago Is. Ticket prices are:
Tour #1, $15.00; Tour #2, 15.00; Tour #3, $14.00; Tour #4, $14.00; Tour #5, $8.00.
An Evening at Second City
Tour #6 is an extra special event, an evening at Second City. There will be no advance sale of tickets for this tour. Second City tickets will be available at the NFBI Information Desk for $12.00 each on a first come, first serve basis. The theater seats 300 people, so you are advised not to wait until the last minute. That may be too late.
Second City is Chicago's internationally acclaimed comedy showcase that has among its graduates: Alan Arkin, David Steinberg, Shelly Long, Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Gilda Radner, Bob Newhart, and Shelly Berman. The theater rings with laughter over the saucy political satire and fun poked at the human condition. Buses will leave the hotel at 7:45 p.m. This will be a memorable evening. Don't miss it!
See you in Chicago July 2-9.
A NEW BLOOD GLUCOSE MONITORING INSTRUMENT FOR THE BLIND DIABETIC
by Ed Bryant
(As Monitor readers know, Ed Bryant is the Editor of the Voice of the Diabetic, the newsletter of the Diabetics Division of the National Federation of the Blind.)
Around the first of October, 1987, EquiMed Medical Products, Inc., of Lenexa, Kansas, contacted me about one of their products)Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor, a blood glucose monitor with audio output. The Food and Drug Administration had just approved Glucochek. S. C. Audio Monitor, and EquiMed wanted to notify everyone of its new product.
Although blood glucose monitoring is important to all diabetics, those of us who are blind have a more difficult time testing blood sugar levels, because there never has been a monitoring device with audio output that wasn't accompanied by an astronomically high price tag. With Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor, the blind can independently and accurately check their own blood glucose levels and at a reasonable price. EquiMed contacted me because I am a blind diabetic experienced with instruments used by blind diabetics and because I am the editor of Voice of the Diabetic . They made an appointment to demonstrate their audio model to me, and after having examined it, checked into its qualifications, compared it to similar instruments produced by other companies, and personally tested it for about three months, I can honestly say that I am impressed. It is easy to use. The only difficulty I encountered was getting the drop of blood onto the test strip, but this is a problem common to all instruments of this type. Instruction from a medical professional or from someone experienced with the instrument is advisable to get you started. Once you know how to operate the instrument, getting the drop of blood onto the test strip just takes a little practice.
Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor is accurate. While trying it out I had several blood samples taken from two different pathology labs. The blood glucose readings of the two labs and that of Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor were exactly the same. EquiMed's audio model has a large digital read-out display board and it emits electronic tones to signal testing procedures and blood glucose values. For example, if your blood glucose level were 123, Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor would relay this information to you by beeping once to signify the numeral 1, pausing, then beeping twice to signify the numeral 2, pausing again, and then beeping three times to signify the numeral 3. Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor is cheaper. Only two other companies manufacture blood glucose devices with audio monitors. One company offers a speech module that is attached to a blood glucose analyzer. The price of the speech module is $420. The analyzer units run from $189 to $209. All accessories are extra. The other company offers a portable talking blood glucose meter at $479.95. All accessories are extra. The regular price of Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor with all its accessories audio monitor, guide for application of blood onto strip, duo-set carrying cases, twenty-five test strips, alcohol applicator, cleaning brush, confidence check strip, cassette tape instructions, large type or picture instructions, and Braille instructions comes to $479.95. As a special promotion offer, EquiMed is taking $80 off its regular $479.95 price for National Federation of the Blind purchasers. To take advantage of this offer just mention on ordering that you heard about Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor through the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). This reduced price of $399.95 includes a $30 certificate payable to the health professional of your choice to demonstrate the instrument. On ordering the audio monitor, be sure to include the health professional's name and address. A certificate will accompany the Glucochek audio model to be signed by the health professional and the user and then returned to EquiMed. EquiMed, in turn, will mail a check in the amount of $30 to the medical professional. Neither of EquiMed's competitors includes a professional demonstration in its price. One supplies instructions with its monitor but not a professional demonstration. The other recommends a professional demonstration but, no provision for it is included in its price. Furthermore, EquiMed has offered to make a substantial contribution to the National Federation of the Blind for the sales initiated by us. For dealers, distributors, and health educators, EquiMed is offering a twenty-four-minute video tape free of charge. To order, contact EquiMed Medical Products, Inc., 8347 Melrose Drive, Lenexa, Kansas 66214. Their toll-free phone number is (800) 452-7536. If you are calling from Kansas, call (913) 541-0800.
When filing the necessary insurance forms, your need for a blood glucose monitor with audio output must be documented by a physician. Be sure to put on the form that Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor has audio output. To receive the extra reimbursement to cover specially adapted equipment, such as the Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor, the physician must also specify that the patient is blind or visually impaired. EquiMed will assist anyone who needs help filling out the necessary forms. Just call one of the telephone numbers already mentioned.
I am a totally blind diabetic, and with Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor I can test my own blood glucose levels without assistance and without problems, and I know many other blind diabetics who can do the same. As the National Federation of the Blind emphasizes, blindness is not synonymous with inability. Remember, EquiMed offers an $80 discount to Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor purchasers who mention that they have heard about its audio model from the National Federation of the Blind. If you would like to learn more about Glucochek S. C. Audio Monitor, contact me, and for $1 I can send you a cassette tape that explains the audio model in more detail. Send your check or money order to: Ed Bryant, 811 Cherry Street, Suite 306, Columbia, Missouri 65201, or call me at my office at (314) 875-8911 or my home at (314) 445-1928.
RUTH GOODWIN DIES
by Kenneth Jernigan
A convention of the National Federation of the Blind is far more than business sessions and program items. It is meeting old friends, getting acquainted with first-time attendees, and a whole range of social activities and human contact. For me one of the pleasant rituals of each convention in recent years was my brief conversation with Ruth Goodwin of Brockton, Massachusetts, and her sister Beatrice Davis. Our conversations were never long or extremely profound, but they were always warm and close. Ruth was a dedicated Federationist, and she lived her Federationism from day to day and convention to convention. This morning (March 4, 1988) I received a call from Ruth's sister. She told me that Ruth had just died of cancer. I had known for some time that Ruth was having problems, but I had hoped she would be able to come to Chicago this summer to the convention. This was what she had wanted above all other things. Her sister told me that she was eighty-three on February 22 and reminded me that last year's convention in Phoenix was the first time she had missed since she started attending. It would have been her fifteenth consecutive convention, but it was not to be. Ruth's sister told me that, even though Ruth could not be there, she hoped to be able to come to Chicago this summer. I hope she can, for Ruth would have wanted it that way, and it will be a renewal and a comfort to shake her hand and remember. Ruth Goodwinone of our best. May she rest in peace.
RAISIN GRANOLA MINI BITES
by Frances Townsend (Frances Townsend lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.)
1 cup raisins
1 6-ounce can apple juice concentrate
½ cup oleo (1 stick)
1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon shredded orange peel
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 cups granola or rolled oats
Heat raisins, juice, and oleo until melted. Cool. Beat in egg. Mix flour, soda, and cinnamon together. Stir into raisin mixture. Add orange peel and granola. Let dough stand one to two minutes or until cereal absorbs some of liquid. Drop by round teaspoon two inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Mash down to flatten. These will not spread as they bake. Bake at 350 degrees about ten minutes or until light brown on the bottom.
Contains one gram protein, eight grams carbohydrates. Great for the diabetics.
by Bob Herron
Bob Herron, husband of Theresa Herron, was a navy cook and, from all indications, a good one.)
1 ounce yeast
1-1/4 ounces sugar or honey
2 cups water
Step #2 (mix until well formed and pliable):
1-1/4 quarts water
1 cup oil
1-1/2 ounces tabasco
12 ounces cheese
4 ounces corn meal
5 ounces milk powder
7 pounds bread flour
¼ ounce salt
Make up in one-pound loaves. Put in bread pan and bake at 400 degrees. After it is baked, eat hot. I think it is best this way. Makes about ten to twelve loaves. Note: You can use cottage, cream, or any kind of shredded cheese.
WISCONSIN BEER BREAD
by Lorraine Rovig
(Lorraine Rovig was formerly a librarian at the Iowa Commission for the Blind. She is now employed at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore.)
This is the easiest bread in the world to make. There are only four ingredients, and it doesn't seem to matter if one gets sloppy and measures a little too much or too little of any of the four. It is failproof.
Grease one loaf pan, bottom and sides. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Leave your can of beer out overnight to get to room temperature or run the can under hot water to warm it up if it has been in the fridge. Stir together: 3 cups of self-rising flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. After mixing these three dry ingredients, open your can and pour (one can of warm beertwelve ounces). Mix again until liquid is all absorbed into dry ingredients. The dough will be very sticky. Plop into the greased bread pan, spread the sticky batter so it doesn't all mound in the center, but don't worry that it never gets level across the top. (This just gives your bread more of that homemade character. )
Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for forty-five minutes or until lightly brown on top.
The loaf will be heavier than store-bought white bread. Butter the top when it comes out of the oven for a little added flavor. This has an irresistibly great taste when still hot from the oven, but be aware that it is not going to slice well when hot. Tastes great toasted, or covered with cheese in a cheesemelt, or dunked in a bowl of soup, or . The Baltimore Chapter's social committee made fifteen loaves for the lunch held before our January meeting. We discovered dark beer, while more expensive than the basic cheap brand I usually use, does make a beer bread that is even better than usual.
YAMS AND APPLES
by David Walker
(David Walker is a Federationist from Missouri.)
3 medium yams
¾ to 1 cup thinly sliced apples (peeled)
¼ cup brown sugar
dashes of cinnamon
1/8 cup butter or margarine
¼ cup apple water (saved)
Separately, cover apples and yams with water and boil until almost done. Save apple water. Peel yams. Grease two- quart casserole or baking dish with butter or margarine. Place alternating layers of yams (broken and pressed) and apples (apples on top of yams). Then, sprinkle in brown sugar, dashes of cinnamon, and pats of butter or margarine over each layer of apples. Cover entire mixture with one- quarter cup of water and bake for thirty minutes at 350 degrees.
**Contest for Writers:
The Writers' Division of the National Federation of the Blind is conducting two contests during 1988. Contest rules: Poetry:
Inclusive dates, January 1, 1988 to December 31, 1988. Line limit, 35 (may be less, of course). Entrance fee, $3.00 per entry. You need not be a member of the Division to enter. First prize, $50.00. Second prize, $25.00. Winning entries will be published in Slate and Style. Entries should be typed, double spaced. Make checks to The Writers' Division, N.F.B. and send your entries to Loraine Stayer, 132 Beach Drive, Merrick, NY 11566. Fiction: Inclusive dates, January 1, 1988 to December 31, 1988. Word limit, 2,000 words. Entrance fee, $3.00 per entry. You may enter more than once, and you need not be a Division member to enter. First prize, $50.00. Second prize, $25.00. Entries should be typed, double spaced. Winning entries will be published in Slate and Style. Make checks to The Writers' Division, N.F.B. and send your entries to Tom Stevens, 5825 A Percival Road, Columbia, South Carolina 29206.
Mary Donahue, secretary of the Austin Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas, writes:
The National Federation of the Blind of Texas is alive and well in Austin. As chapter secretary, I am pleased to report the results of our election of officers, which we just held. The 1988 officers and board members are as follows: President, Jeff Pearcy; first vice-president, Tommy Craig; second vice-president, James Bradley; secretary, Mary Donahue; treasurer, Margaret (Cokie) Craig; board member position 1, Zena Pearcy; and board member position 2, Norma Baker.
Lucy Carpenter, President of the Eastern Orange County Chapter of the NFB of New York, writes:
It is with deep regret that I announce the death of one of the Eastern Orange County chapter members. Ada Fletcher died on Wednesday, December 2, 1987. She held the office of second vice president until illness forced her to resign, much to her regret. In spite of her physical discomforts she did attend two of our state conventions and dreamed of one day participating at a national convention. I remember her saying so many times, I love my NFB. I love my chapter. And she did. We will miss her very much.
**Resource List For Writers:
The National Federation of the Blind Writer's Division has compiled a resource list outlining all items available for purchase through the Division. All resources are relevant to writers and the list includes recordings of the Division's Annual Meeting, workshop, back issues of the quarterly magazine, Slate and Style and an extensive bibliography of books about writing and publishing available to blind people from various suppliers. While most resources are on tape, there are some print and Braille offerings. For further information, or to obtain a free copy, contact Nancy Scott, 1141 Washington Street, Easton, Pennsylvania 18042.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement: The Insighter, a nonfiction bi-monthly magazine on audio cassette, is now available from Central Coast Services for the Blind, 750 Bay Avenue, #515, Capitola, California 95010, at $25 per year. The publication, which debuted in February, 1988, is a superb market for freelancers. Payment is currently $20 for 1,500- to 3,000-word personality profiles and interviews with prominent blind individuals. NFB chapter news is most welcome. Announcements and pen pal sections will be featured as well. The editors (Patricia and Dennis Holter) are blind Federationists. Telephone (408) 462-5463 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Pacific Time.
**Report From Florida:
Deborah Brown writes: Dear Fellow Federationists: We of the Treasure Coast Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida have begun the year by electing officers. This year we have a new president, Jane Sprague. She has been contributing her talent and energy to the chapter since its founding in 1981. Our other officers are Peter Russillo, Vice President; Deborah Brown, Secretary; and Laura Collier, Treasurer. Some of our recent activities include our annual calendar sale, in which we sold over 300 calendars. We also had a Christmas party with some of the members of the newly formed Gold Coast Chapter in Fort Pierce. Our goal for this year is to make the community more aware of who we are so that we can help the blind in this area become more independent.
**At the Prime Minister's Gate:
David Andrews, head of the Kansas Audio Reader, writes:
I found the enclosed piece on a computer bulletin board system the other day. I thought that you might be interested in it. It would seem that protesting is not exclusive to the United States:
Dateline: New Delhi, India, July 7, 1987: Several hundred blind demonstrators fought with riot police outside Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi's residence. At least thirty protesters and ten police were injured, hospital sources said. The protesters were demanding job quotas and protective legislation, witnesses said.
The United News of India, quoting police, said demonstrators tried to break down a barricade and enter Ghandi's compound but that police pushed them back.
S. K. Rungta, General Secretary of the Confederation of the Blind, said the protesters were demanding jobs for four thousand sightless people [and] within three months representation for the blind in Parliament and State Assemblies, and a Braille press in each state.
Deanna Morss writes:
I am writing to you regarding the various activities of the Orange County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California. At our December meeting election of officers was held. The officers are as follows: Deanna Morss, President; John Bates, Vice President; Neva Golding, Secretary; Brent Rassmussen, Treasurer; and three Board Members: Maryann Barrios, Mark Pritchard, and Patty Rassmussen.
The Orange County Chapter once again participated in the annual Hike-A-Thon/Bike-A-Thon on October 10, 1987. The Hike-A-Thon was held at Doheny State Park, and we raised approximately $3,800, of which $2,000 was raised by Mark Pritchard, our Fundraising Chairman. I might also add that youngest hiker (Brian Rassmussen, four months) arrived timely at the finish line in his baby buggy. Brian was adopted by Brent and Patty Rassmussen in late July, 1987.
The Orange County Chapter collected approximately fifty White Cane Safety Day proclamations throughout Orange and Los Angeles Counties. I am enclosing a picture of our secretary, Neva Golding, receiving the proclamation from the Mayor of the city of Anaheim.
I am enclosing the community awards certificate that Orange County was given for its work within Orange County. This award was given last April when Rod Duffield was our chapter president. I am enclosing an article written by one of our members, Tobby Weiseman. I think that her article shows the many ways in which we can supply the public with information about our organization. Our chapter had three new members at the February, 1988, meeting. We believe we will have a tremendous year in chapter growth and participation.
Richard Gaffney, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Rhode Island, writes: On Monday, February 8, 1988, at 11:30 p.m. Marc Leslie Applegate made his entrance into the world. He weighed six pounds, nine ounces, and was twenty inches long. His parents are Howard and Laurie Applegate. Both Howard and Laurie are members of the Rhode Island affiliate, and Howard serves on the board of directors. Mother, son, and father are all doing well. We extend to them our congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy life.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Applications are being accepted for the Barbara Jackman Zuckert Scholarship for blind part-time students at The George Washington University. Scholarships of up to $2,500 for the 1988-89 academic year will be awarded to one or more visually impaired or blind students at The George Washington University. Barbara Jackman Zuckert Scholarship brochures and application forms can be obtained from the Office of Disabled Student Services, The George Washington University, Rice Hall, Suite 401, Washington, D.C. 20052. The deadline for receipt of completed applications for the 1988-89 award is May 30, 1988. The award recipient will be announced prior to registration for the fall semester, 1988.
For further information please contact Christy Willis, Coordinator of Disabled Student Services, or Linda Donnels, Assistant Dean for Educational Services, at (202) 994-8250.
Claudette Fletcher, President of the Las Cruces Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico, writes:
I was recently elected President of the Las Cruces Chapter of the NFB of New Mexico. Catherine Peterson was elected Vice President, and Barbara Bergman was elected Secretary-Treasurer. Allison Romero and Mike Ruddy were elected to the board. We are trying to get this chapter back on its feet. We are conducting a membership campaign, and we are also working on areas of public awareness. Catherine Peterson and I have been on television news, and we will be featured on an interview show on the local PBS t.v. station. Also, we just worked vigorously to help keep the public transit system here locally. Members of the city council did not see any real reason for having it, but they were willing to listen when we barraged them with letters and appearances at city hall. We still have the transit system, and we are very glad to have it.
**Loans for Reading Machines:
At a recent Los Angeles meeting the American Foundation for the Blind announced that it was establishing a low-interest loan fund to help blind persons purchase reading machines. To this end the American Foundation for the Blind said that it was allocating $1,000,000 to the project and that the Xerox Corporation was committing a like amount. The machines, which are a new generation of the Kurzweil Reading Machine and which are known as Personal Readers are expected (according to AFB's news release) to sell for fifty percent or less of the current Kurzweil prices. Those interested in more information are asked to write to Michael Petell, Director of Development, American Foundation for the Blind, 15 West 16th Street, New York, New York 10011.
Dawn Roberts writes: The members of the Fort Wayne, Indiana, Chapter would like to have the results of their recent election published in the Monitor Miniatures some time soon: President, Garry Siebern; Vice President, Dawn Roberts; Treasurer, Jeanne Miller; and Secretary, Barbara Schmidt.
**Wedding Bells, NFB Invited:
We recently received the following announcement in the National Office: I, Michael D. Carroll, and Carol M. Barvoets will be getting married on the date of September 17, 1988, in Pensacola, Florida, at Saint Thomas More Church. All of the NFB is welcome, so come and wish us well.
**Southland Writers Conference:
Sponsored by the Writers Division of the National Federation of the Blind and the Louisiana Center for the Blind, a writers' workshop will be held August 12, 13, and 14, 1988, in Ruston, Louisiana. Special workshops for fiction, non- fiction, and poetry writing will be offered; and much time will be devoted to critiquing individual work. In addition, other special areas of interest will be covered, including a grant-writing seminar, how to get published, and a section on resources. For more information please write to: Jerry Whittle, 22 University Boulevard, Ruston, Louisiana 71270; or call (318) 251-2891. Cajun cuisine and good Southern hospitality complete the weekend package.
**Tips for Parents:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Parent Tips: A Guide to Blind and Visually Impaired Parents: This booklet has been written by a totally blind mother of three. It begins by addressing expectant parents, and goes on to discuss general babycare, administering medicine, traveling with children, feeding, and teaching concepts such as color. The book includes a resource list as well as a bibliography of books the author has found helpful. Available in inkprint (not large type) and on two tone-indexed cassettes, two-track, standard speed. Send $7.95 per copy, specifying cassette or inkprint, to Janiece Betker, 1886 29th Avenue, N.W., New Brighton, Minnesota 55112; phone (612) 635-1435.
Mildred Dickey, Secretary of the Lakes Region Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of New Hampshire, writes:
The Lakes Region Chapter-NFB held elections on November 14, 1987, with the following results: President, Alain Poulin; First Vice President, Edmund Meskys; Second Vice President, W. Richard Huber; Secretary, Mildred Dickey; and Treasurer, John Pakder.
Barbara Pierce, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio, writes: On November 28, 1987, nine staunch Federationists gathered in Canton, Ohio, to form the National Federation of the Blind of Stark County. This vigorous young chapter replaces the Philomatheon Society as the NFB Chapter in the greater Canton area. The group wrote an exemplary constitution and elected Mary Pool, President; Arthur Leading, Vice President; Wilma Johnson, Secretary; Mary Lou Cupac, Treasurer; and Clarence Cordray and Fred Lotze, board members. We are expecting great things of our newest Ohio chapter.
**Candle in the Window:
Janiece Betker writes:
Candle in the Window is sponsoring a seminar for blind parents to be held July 11-13, 1988, at Wilder Forest near Marine-on-St. Croix, Minnesota. Wilder Forest is comprised of one thousand acres of lush greenery, preserved from days gone by, with modern accommodations and an air conditioned meeting center. This regional event will draw participants from the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and North and South Dakota. Transportation from the airport or from bus or train stations will be provided where needed. Program items will include the following topics: public perception of blind parents, teaching the child about blindness, discipline-setting rules, and whether the blind parent must be a `better parent.'
The cost of the seminar will be $125 per person. For an application and further information write to Janiece Betker, 1886 29th Avenue, N.W., New Brighton, Minnesota 55112; phone (612) 639-1435. Please specify whether you would prefer your application in Braille, on tape, or in large print.
Edgar Sammons, Route 1, Box 1840, Mountain City, Tennessee 37683, writes: Here is something I would like you to put in the Monitor. Back in 1944 I worked in Asheville, North Carolina, for the Asheville Mike Company. There was a good many blind people who worked there. If any of them are Monitor readers and come into contact with this announcement, I would like to hear from them.
Bryan Sattler, a member of the Capital District Chapter of the NFB of New York, writes to say that he is interested in corresponding with others in the accounting field. His address is: 131 Clayton Road, Schenectady, New York 12303; telephone (518) 370-1773.
**Surgery and Recovery:
Sid Allen, former national board member and one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia, writes:
We were in San Francisco in January, and my wife had an unexpected emergency illness while there. She was not able to return home until February 20, after two major surgeries: triple by-pass and carotid artery. Even though it was an ordeal, Marge is back in good health, and her future looks good.
Hazel Staley, President of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina, writes: The National Federation of the Blind of Martin County, North Carolina, was organized February 11, 1988. By-laws were adopted, and the following officers were elected: President, Roy Everett; Vice President, Ross Winbush;
Secretary-Treasurer, Linda Taylor; Board Members: Debbie Everett and Calvin Lacy. Roy is running for the state senate in his district.
** Monitor Reader:
A Monitor reader from Michigan writes:
Enclosed please find my 1988 Monitor subscription money order. It is a pleasure to be able to pull my weight with money I have earned. I have been reading the Monitor for many years and have never been in a position to pay for the privilege of having the Monitor and have appreciated the fact that it has come every month anyway. I am planning to attend the convention in Chicago this summer.
**ASB's New Director:
In the last issue of the Braille Monitor we carried an article about the Associated Services for the Blind of Philadelphia. In a news release dated January 22, 1988, ASB says in part:
The Board of Directors of Associated Services for the Blind is pleased to announce the appointment of Vince McVeigh as the new Executive Director for the agency. In his former position as Assistant Executive Director of the Elwyn Institutes, Main Campus, Mr. McVeigh has been responsible for providing consultative vision services for handicapped clients and coordinating the delivery of professional services to clients and their families. His experience in services includes deaf-blind services, physical and occupational therapy, and vision services. Mr. McVeigh is past president of the Council for Exceptional Children, National Division for Visually Handicapped.
**Brailled Patterns Available:
John Dragona writes: Crocheting and knitting patterns that have been published by Good Housekeeping magazine are now available in Braille for fifteen cents per page. Requests must include the originals, photocopies, or cassette copies of the patterns (for a quick return) or mention of the issues and page numbers in which the patterns were published. Crocheting and knitting patterns that have appeared in other sources can also be Brailled. However, originals or copies of those patterns must be accompanied by permission from the publishers to reproduce their material in alternative formats. For more information or for information on the low cost of Brailling of other material, contact TFB Publications, 238 75th Street, North Bergen, New Jersey 07047; (201) 662-0956. Correspond by Braille, cassette, or print, but please include full return address in the correspondence.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Braille and taped materials are now available on a lending basis from LaLeche International, Inc. These materials deal with breastfeeding, nutrition, and childcare. The league magazine, New Beginnings is now available on tape at an annual cost of $10. This money goes toward the purchase and duplication of tapes and mailers. If you wish a subscription to New Beginnings, please send check or money order to LaLeche League International, Inc., c/o Mrs. Judy Jones, 782 Northview Drive, Twin Falls, Idaho 83301.
Richard Webb writes:
On December 12, 1987, the Des Moines Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa elected officers and board members for 1988 as follows: Fred Moore, President; Curtis Willoughby, First Vice President; Joel Jeffries, Second Vice President; Richard Webb, Secretary; Jacquie Cummings, Treasurer; and board members Keith Marshall, Jan Ray, Les Secor, and Lora VanLent.
We recently received the following communication in the National Office: We've Adopted! We've added someone special to our family it's true; and now we're introducing this precious child to you. Name: Kevin Randall Morris; Age: ten and a half months;
Joined our family on: January 19, 1988; Parents: Richard and Dianna Morris. Dick is Treasurer of the Springfield Chapter and Public Relations Chairman for the NFB of Missouri.