Future Reflections Summer 1996, Vol. 15 No. 3


Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Videos Available
The following two videos are available from the National Federation of the Blind, Materials Center, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, (410) 659-9314. Prepayment by check, money order, or credit card (MasterCard, Discover, or Visa) is required. Descriptive order forms for other materials, literature, aids, and appliances are available in print and Braille from the Materials Center upon request.

--Kids With Canes
VHS, 30 minutes. $35 plus $5 for shipping and handling. "Kids With Canes" demonstrates how instruction in cane travel can transform the life of a blind child. Through interviews with parents and footage of young people learning to get around with a cane, it becomes apparent that canes enable kids to walk more quickly, safely, and confidently. Independence and the ability to explore their surroundings are essential to the healthy development of a child, blind or sighted. Even the most skeptical parents in this video will attest that the cane makes a world of difference to their child and to their family.

--It's Not So Different
VHS, 10 minutes. $35 plus $5 for shipping and handling. Jim and Barbara, blind parents and NFB leaders in their community, have challenged negative attitudes about blindness simply by living a successful American lifestyle. In this interview, they remember being unsure about having careers, owning a home, and raising a child because of society's narrow view of the capabilities of blind people. Yet, they persevered. Seeing Jim dutifully mowing the lawn and Barbara playing outside with their daughter is perhaps the most eloquent response to those who have a lesser life in mind for the blind.

This next video was produced by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children on home-video equipment by Myra Lesser, a parent and a member of NOPBC. To order the video send request with check or money order for $10 made payable to NOPBC to: Myra Lesser, 137 Lesser Lane, Chicora, PA 16025.

--It's OK To Be Blind
VHS, 14 minutes. Cost: $10, includes shipping and handling. This video depicts scenes from the 1995 National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Convention. Often, parents of blind children feel isolated and do not know where to turn for information and support. The NFB, and especially the NFB National Convention, dispels feelings of fear and despair and replaces them with feelings of hope and confidence in their children's futures. Families tell how informative workshops taught them the concrete skills blind people need to succeed. In this upbeat atmosphere created by 2,500 blind people from around the U.S., parents and children alike realize, perhaps for the first time, that It's OK To Be Blind.

Learning Aids for Blind M-H Kids
The following information comes from Lilliput L.L.C., P.O. Box 2045, Sheridan, Wyoming 82801, (307) 674-9409.
Lilliput L.L.C. in partnership with Dr. Lilli Nielsen has redesigned the "Little Room" with many enhanced features. Lilliput L.L.C. has exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute Dr. Lilli Nielsen's perceptualizing aids and materials.

Dr. Lilli Nielsen: "Since 1971, I have designed several perceptualizing aids that can facilitate learning in children-especially those who are developmentally threatened due to a physical or perceptual impairment.

I greatly appreciate the effort that Lilliput L.L.C. is displaying to make it possible for families, schools, and institutions to purchase these original Lilliput(TM) perceptualizing aids. Manufactured by Lilliput L.L.C., approved by me."

Please contact Lilliput L.L.C. for a descriptive list of the equipment available as part of the Lilliput(TM) System of the ACTIVE LEARNING APPROACH, developed by Dr. Lilli Nielsen. Books by Dr. Lilli Nielsen are also available for purchase from Lilliput L.L.C.

Toy Braille Letters & Numbers
Playskool(TM), a commercial toy company is marketing a wonderful toy for the general public which is also ideal for blind kids age three and up! These are plastic magnetic capital letters and numbers with Braille on them. According to blind adults who have looked at them, the Braille is easy to feel and a good size for the fingers. The toy comes in two separate kits: one for letters and one for numbers. Each sells for about $4.00 or less and is available in most toy stores. Helen Keller Center

In volume 14, number 3 of Future Reflections we published an article written by a group of people with Usher Syndrome. This group is conducted as part of the program of the Helen Keller Center. Here is a letter with more information and background on this program and the services and resources available to deaf-blind children:
February 4, 1996
Dear Mrs. Cheadle,

I am a clinical consultant to Helen Keller Center and am one of the co-facilitators of the group of people with Usher Syndrome, types I and II, who wrote the article "An Open Letter to Our Parents: What We Wish You Had Known." This open-ended group has been running for three years now, and we are thrilled that you felt the article was important enough to include in your magazine. Since the group meets at the Helen Keller National Center, I would appreciate your printing our name, address, and phone numbers: Helen Keller National Center, 111 Middle Neck Road, Sands Point, NY 11050. (516) 944-8900 (voice), (516) 944-8637 (tty), and (516) 944-7302 (fax).

This group is comprised of members who communicate primarily, although not exclusively, in American Sign Language (ASL). This group is conducted in ASL. The information was presented in American Sign Language by the members and interpreted into English.

At Helen Keller National Center staff and students use a variety of communication systems, including spoken English, Sign English, American Sign Language, fingerspelling, Braille, and tactile sign language. Most frequently people with Usher Syndrome, Type I, use American Sign Language, and my recommendation is that families and young people with Usher Syndrome, Type I, acquire American Sign Language early. There is literature that supports this recommendation.

If parents of deaf-blind children have questions about the impact of dual hearing and vision loss on their child or about the deafness aspects of deaf-blindness, Helen Keller National Center has regional offices around the country. HKNC also has over forty affiliated programs around the country where deaf-blind specialists are available to provide services and support. The Technical Assistance Center provides assistance around the country to families, school systems, and community groups.

Additionally, the National Family Association of Deaf-Blind (NFADB) is based in the national headquarters of HKNC; NFADB is the parent of other associations of parents around the country. Furthermore, nearly every state has a deaf-blind children's project. These are collectively known as "307.11" programs. These projects are available to provide support to school districts and families at no cost to either. A complete list of projects or information about any specific area can be directed to Janet Stevely at TAC-HKNC at the above address and phone numbers.

I hope this information will be helpful to you and the families with whom you are in contact. There are so few resources for people with deaf-blind children; we all need to be working together. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at the above numbers.
Ilene D. Miner, CSW, ACSW

Seedlings: New Catalog & Address
We have been asked to print the following announcement:
Seedlings Braille Books for Children announces their new 1997 catalog is now available. This catalog contains over 270 low-cost books for children from birth to fourteen. Selections include print-Braille-and-picture books for pre-schoolers, print-and-Braille easy-readers for beginning readers, Newberry Award winners in Braille for older readers, and selections from popular series. To receive a free catalog or for more information call 800-777-8552, or write to Seedlings, P.O. Bo 51924, Livonia, Michigan 48151-5924 (and please note the new P.O. Box number and zip).

Talking Products Catalog
Speak to Me! is a catalog of talking products. The catalog includes practical items, such as electronic note recorders and a Talking Bread Machine which "talks" you through all phases of the baking process; toys, such as the animated singing Happy Birthday Bear; and novelty items, such as the musical hair brush and comb. To request the catalog contact Speak to Me!, 17913 108th Avenue, SE Suite #155, Reton, Washington 98055; (800) 248-9965. Sound demos of the products are available on the Internet at: http://clickshop.com/speak/.

Braille Book Club
We have been asked to print the following announcement from National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephan Street, Boston, MA 02115:

Where can you purchase a print-Braille children's book for the same price as the print edition? Where can families enjoy the same children's book regardless of whether they read print or Braille? The National Braille Press Children's Braille Book Club offers a new title each month. Membership is free: call 1-800-548-7323. Literacy begins at home.

Audiomagazine for Kids
We have been asked to print the following information:
BOOMERANG is an audiocassette in the format of a magazine for children between the ages of six and twelve. It is presented from a child's perspective and in a child's voice. Each month your child receives a 70-minute cassette jammed with feature stories about history, geography, current events, mysteries, letters to the editor, interviews, and jokes. Twice monthly our young magazine reporters meet to discuss subjects in the news, concepts they don't understand, topics they would like to hear more about. Our professional staff writes the stories and music. Then it's the kids themselves who report the stories. BOOMERANG is available at an introductory price of $43.95 for 12 monthly issues. To order or request more information call (800) 333-7858 or write to BOOMERANG, Box 261C, La Honda, California 94020.

BellSouth Sponsors Blind Athlete
We recently received the following information:
Paralympic athlete Tim Willis is still running on a shoestring. But as one of the first athletes to receive sponsorship for the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, his shoestring is no longer financial. The blind track and field world record-holder competes by tethering himself to a sighted guide runner who keeps him on course via a two-foot shoestring. While Willis' equipment costs are minimal, his reliance on a guided runner doubles his costs for travel, lodging, meals, and entry fees. Willis' sponsor, Atlanta-based cellular carrier BellSouth Mobility, is funding a year of his training and his participation in the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games. In addition, BellSouth Corp. is a presenting sponsor of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games. This is significant not only to Willis, but the entire Paralympic movement because until this year, the world's second largest sporting event has never received corporate sponsorships as the primary source of financing. "As a company that is already committed to providing a host of products and services to people with disabilities," says Odie Donald, president of BellSouth Mobility, "our participation in sponsoring the Paralympics makes sense, and we're proud that our company can make such as important difference."

IEP Guide Available
The National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY) provides many useful materials regarding the IEP and laws governing the education of disabled children. Some of these items are free, and others may be obtained for a small fee. Two of their new, low-cost publications are A Student's Guide to the IEP and A Technical Assistance Guide: Helping Students Develop Their IEPs. For a list of literature and materials available contact NICHCY at P.O. Box 1492, Washington D.C. 20013-1492 or by telephone/TTY 800-695-0285 or (202) 884-8200.

Teaching Braille to Teens
We have been asked to announce the following:
Braille Too is a comprehensive instructional program for teaching middle school and secondary students to read and write Braille. It includes nearly 600 pages of text, 10 units for reading and writing practice, and covers the entire literary code. The vocabulary and interest level is geared to middle and high school students. However, it includes some easy vocabulary for slower students and some difficult vocabulary for advanced students. The program was developed and field-tested by itinerant teachers of the students with visual impairments. The complete package is $165, but individual components are sold separately. For ordering information contact Marketing Department, Grant Wood Area Education Agency, 4401 Sixth Street SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404, (319) 399-6714, Fax (319) 399-6457.

Braille Writing-Dot by Dot
The following announcement comes from the American Printing House for the Blind:
Dot by Dot is a program designed to provide instruction in writing Braille with either a Braille writer or a slate and stylus. Included in the Dot by Dot kit are: a teacher's manual with ten basic lessons in each writing method and three "Beyond the Basics" lessons, an exercise cassette which allows students to work independently, a Braille reference sheet, a Peg Slate, and Big Cell. The kit comes in two versions: a print kit (with a print teachers manual) and a Braille kit (with a Braille teacher's manual). The program is recommended for ages eight to adult. For more information contact: American Printing House for the Blind, P.O. Box 6085, Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085, 1-800-223-1839.

New RFB&D Membership Program
We have been asked to publish the following announcement:
Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) has introduced a new membership program that responds to the need for accessible textbooks by schools serving students with disabilities. The new program offers two types of registration:
1. Institutional Membership for all educational institutions (K-12 and higher education, public and private), carrying annual fees of $300, $425, or $800, depending on the number of RFB&D textbooks used, and;
2. Individual Membership with a one-time $40 application fee, plus an annual membership fee of $25 for individual students or adult borrowers.

For more information write to Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, 20 Roszel Road, Princeton, New Jersey 08540, or call the RFB&D Customer Services Department at (800) 221-4792.