Future Reflections Summer 1992, Vol. 11 No. 3

(back) (contents)


New Jersey Parents Organize
This report comes from Carol Castellano, the president of our newly organized NFB Parents of Blind Children Division in New Jersey:

March 13, 1992:
     It is with great excitement that I report to you the formation of the Parents of Blind Children Division of the NFB-NJ. I am writing now in the warm afterglow of our second meeting which took place last evening. Five New Jersey Federationists and two other blind adults generously gave of their time and insight to speak to a room full of parents and teachers. One mother of an 18-month-old traveled 2 1/2 hours from across the state to get to our meeting. I think she found her time well spent; she received much information in answer to her pertinent questions. After the meeting she asked how I got to know so many blind people and how she could organize meetings in her part of the state!
     The information we are offering is being well received. It was gratifying to see that virtually every page of Federation literature available at our meetings was taken home by parents. On many days I receive phone calls from parents around the state who express great interest in our meeting agendas and literature. There are about 140 families on our mailing list, and the responses are still coming in. Our monthly newsletter, which will announce meetings and keep parents informed of happenings in our state, goes out to parents on our mailing list. We are planning to present a parents seminar in the fall. We are working on an agenda for that meeting. We are looking forward to a well-attended state convention next month. Many parents are planning to be there. The POBC--NFB-NJ officers are: president, Carol Castellano; first vice president, Archie Holzer; second vice president, Janice Poracky; secretary, Elizabeth Klunek; board members: Amy Kaiser, Alice Letche, and Darlene Scanell.

Helping Children Understand
Aloma Bouma is one of the leaders of the Federation in Nebraska. She, along with representatives of other disability groups, recently spoke at a meeting of the Lincoln Association for the Education of Young Children. The following is a brief report of their comments as published in the LAEYC Newsletter:

Helping Children Understand People With Disabilities
A brief summary of points raised by David Sipp, Nancy Erickson, and Aloma Bouma, September 9, 1991 LAEYC meeting.
* Preschool children need information about people with disabilities. Their questions should be answered honestly and completely.
* Chances to become familiar with or aware of sign language should be provided for all children. Children can learn to sign words such as "hello" or "thank you," and these can be incorporated into the daily routine.
* People with disabilities should be included matter-of-factly into the program. Consider, for example, inviting a person in a wheelchair to visit your classroom as a guest reader. If questions occur about the wheelchair, they can be answered honestly and openly.
* Never have children "pretend" to be blind by wearing a blindfold. This only scares children and does not give them an accurate idea of what it is like to be blind.
* Before reading stories about children or people with disabilities to your class, you may want to check with some of the organizations below to check on the accuracy of the stories. [National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska and Nebraska Commission for Hearing Impaired].
* Never refer to people with disabilities as "special." This sets up unrealistic expectations and only serves to artificially categorize people. Appreciate each person as a unique individual.

"One To Grow On!"
We have been asked to print the following announcement:

     The popular children's cassette story series, "One To Grow On!" is now available in an audio cassette and Braille read-along format, complete with tactile pictures, from Braille International, Inc. "One To Grow On!" stories, written by Trenna Daniells, help children learn positive values and the difference between right and wrong. Animal and mythical characters stimulate imagination and creativity, while music and sound effects engage attention. Raised dot pictures, produced through a new method devised by Braille International, Inc., add a unique element to the books, which help children who are blind build their Braille reading skills while listening to the audio story. Braille International, Inc. is one the nation's largest producers of Braille materials. The non-profit organization also operates the Wm. A. Thomas Book Store. The only all-Braille retail book store in the nation offers 250 titles of fiction, non-fiction, children's, and reference books. "One To Grow On!" stories are available for $10.95 per title. Payment may be made by MasterCard, VISA, and Discover, as well as checks or money order. To order titles, or to request a free catalog of all books available through Braille International, Inc., contact Jeri Brubaker, publications director, toll-free at 1-800-336-3142. Mail orders should be sent to Braille International, Inc., 3142 S.E. Jay Street, Stuart, Florida 34997.

APH Offers Toll-Free Service
We have been asked to print the following announcement:

     The American Printing House for the Blind carries hundreds of products that support the independence of people who are blind or visually impaired. From Braille, large type, and recorded publications to educational aids, tools, and supplies--we have products for learning and for living. Now, if you have any questions about our products, or if you would like to order any of them over the phone with a credit card, we'll pay for the call! Dial 1-800-223-1839. Call between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday anywhere in the U.S.A. or Canada. For all other calls, please continue to use (502) 895-2405.

Eye Patches
The following item is reprinted from the May, 1991, Pediatrics for Parents newsletter:

     The usual treatment for a corneal abrasion (scratch on the surface of the eye) is an antibiotic drop or ointment and a patch for 24-48 hours. The antibiotic is to prevent infection, and the patch is to prevent further scratching. Unfortunately, both are difficult to do. It's hard to get the antibiotic into your child's eye, and keeping the patch on is next to impossible. A small British study found that patching offered no benefit and may increase the amount of discomfort. The study, done with adults, found that patching did not expedite healing and actually caused more pain than no patch. The authors conclude that once any foreign material is removed from the eye, antibiotics alone are sufficient treatment for corneal abrasions. Patching is unnecessary, may increase discomfort, and, at least with children, may only lead to increased parental aggravation.
--The Lancet, 3/16/91, p. 643.

Kid Tested!
We have been asked to print the following announcement:

     Kid Tested [an audio cassette] is written, produced and sung by Connie Crocket and Morgan Garza, Caterpillar Music Co. The first-rate lyrics and toe-tapping melodies compel you to sing right along. (Printed lyrics come with each cassette.) Kid Tested is wholesome, educational entertainment, promoting positive thoughts and actions with such ear-pleasing tunes as "Mr. Policeman" and "It's Okay to Feel." The songs capture childhood good times--"Going Muddlin" and fantasies--"The Cowboy and Me." Our next project due this summer is "The Magic Child," a modern fairy tale dealing with drug abuse. There will be a cassette of the music and a play book to accompany. (The story is written in play form so it can be performed or read along with the music.) Kid Tested is available for $9.98 each plus $1.00 for shipping and handling (also a 7.25% tax for California residents) from: Flights of Fantasy, 587 F North Ventu Park Road, #436, Newbury Park, California 91320.

New Museum
This information comes from the April/May, 1992, newsletter of our newly organized Parents of Blind Children Division of the NFB of New Jersey:
     The recently opened Children's Museum in Paramus, NJ, is a great place to take a blind child. Inspired by the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, this is a place where children can have hands-on fun. In an around-the-world maze, children can try on wooden shoes, make a windmill turn, bang a Chinese gong, and much more. The rest of the huge museum is separated into areas--prehistoric caves to walk through complete with cave paintings and bones; a hospital operating room with skeleton, doctors' coats, and operating table; a diner with a child-sized counter and stools, cash registers, and lots of play food; an ancient world exhibit with child-sized models of the Sphinx and Greek columns; a real fire truck to climb on, steer, and ring the bell; a real helicopter (children can put on astronaut suits before climbing in); a real sailboat; a music room with instruments and synthesizers; a deep-sea diving room with flippers and goggles and sharks mounted on the wall; a TV news studio; an area with a real construction vehicle to climb in and cross sections of doors, walls, and windows to show how they are built; areas full of building toys and manipulatives (you can get lots of ideas here); and much more. The museum has a section on disabilities—children can ride in a wheelchair and learn how to form their names in sign from picture cards. The section on blindness at the moment has only a feeling box, but the museum management seemed very open to exhibit the tools and alternative techniques that blind people use to accomplish tasks. I would caution you to have an adult for every child you bring. The place is huge and separated into sections and every few minutes we heard an announcement about a lost child. Strollers are not allowed. The museum would probably be of most interest to children ages (or developmental ages) 3 to 12. The admission is $6.00 per person and $7.00 on weekends. Call for hours and directions: (201) 262-5151.

(back) (contents)