Future Reflections Winter 1987, Vol. 6 No. 1

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Blind Girl Champion Speller

Last Spring Terra Syslo, a 12 year-old blind girl from Fulbarton, Nebraska properly spelled "anachronous" and then "chalkography" to win the Midwest Spelling Bee Championship sponsored by the Omaha World-Herald. Terra beat out 88 other contestants for the title and earned a tr-ip to the national contest in D.C. At the national contest, the Associated Press reported that she was one of 115 winners to clear the first three rounds and win a place in the finals. Terra, they reported, has been blind from birth and studies her words in Braille.

Terra also has another claim to fame. She was the subject of an interview (conducted by editor Barbara Cheadle with her mother Carol Syslo) for the Janurary /February 1983 issue of Future Reflections That interview, "To Be The Best Person She Can Be" became one of our most popular articles and was later reprinted in the Braille Monitor When Terra's mother sent me a copy of the Omaha World-Herald's article about Terra's achievement, she added a note of her own. She said, "Maybe it will show parents of young children what those children can accomplish with a little support and encouragement and a lot of love and patience!" Terra is indeed well on the way to becoming, "The Best Person She Can Be".


Do you have a blind son or daughter who loves to read Braille, and is always disappointed because they never get Braille letters? Do you have a blind student who needs encouragement and motLvatiDn to improve their Braille skills? Or do you have a Braille reading child or student who would really like to have a friend to talk to about the sort of things that only another blind person could understand? If you do, then Slate-Mates may be just what you are looking for. Slate Mates is a Braille pen-pal matching service for blind school-age children. The service is sponsored by the NFB Parents of Blind Children Division and the New Mexico affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind.

Here is how it works. You write a note saying you have a child or student who is interested in being a Slate-Mate (Braille pen-pal). You then receive a Profile to fill out and return. Once the Profue is returned, it is matched up with another child's profile. You and your child (or student) are notified about the new Slate-Mate, and the rest is up to the kids.

If you are interested in the service, or would like more information, write: SLATE-MATES Attention: Susan Benbo National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico 616 CentralSE, Suite 230 Albuquerque, N.M. 87102

Outstanding Young American

Curtis Chong, a blind Systems Programming Specialist with IDS Financial Services in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was honored this past year by the U.S. Jaycees as one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans.

Blind from birth, Curtis is also very active in the National Federation of the Blind. He is the President of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science and Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota. The Braille Monitor: in an article about Curtis and his achievements, stated that, "Too often awards are given to blind persons who regard themselves as 'exceptional' or 'amazing'. They accept the award as recognition of their personal accomplishments, never giving credit to other blind individuals or any organization that may have helped make it possible. Not so with Curtis. He proudly acknowledges the role of the National Federation of the Blind in making his life the success it is. He also accepts responsibility for trying to help improve the quality of life for other blind people."

The caption of a newspaper picture of Curtis at his computer on the job at IDS Financial Services reads: BREAKING DOWN THE BARRIERS OF BLINDNESS-- For his vision of making computers more accessible to the blind, Curtis Chong has been selected to be among the Ten Out-Standing Young Americans for 1986.

Recording For The Blind, Inc.

The following information is excerpted from the Recording For The Blind, Inc. "Information and 3nstructions For Bar rowers" bulletin.

Recording far the Blind, Inc. is a national, non-profit, voluntary service organization which provides recorded educational books free-on-loan to individuals who cannot read standard printed material because of visual, physical, or perceptual handicaps.

RFB's Master Tape Library contains approximately 60,000 titles. There is no comparable repository of recorded academic texts in the world. New books are recorded by RFB at the rate of approximately 3,500 peryear.

RFB records only complete, published and copyrighted texts. We do not do partial recordings, individual chapters or sections, articles, leaflets, pamphlets, periodicals, magazines, journals, manuscripts, atlases, dictionaries or other reference materials for our Master Tape T library.

For more infomation about RFB services, and how to register for these services, contact: Recordings For The Blind, Inc., 20 Roszel Road, Princeton, N-J. 08540; telephone (609) 452-0606.

New Vision Screening Test

Here is some information about a new vision-screening test we nave been asked to share with our readers. The Snellen E is now obsolete, stated a TV commentator reporting on the Modified E /Blackbird Preschool Vision Screening System. 99% of the 1100 preschoolers in the Sacramento City Unified School District are being screened each year with the Blackbird kit which includes a story of an errant bird for directional teaching, 6 test cards, instructions, diagram of screening site, referral criteria duties of personnel, detection of amblyopia, and 50 pairs of disposable cardboard eyeglasses. Designed by a preschool nurse who has screened over 7,500 children,... it is approved by the California State Department of Education for vision screening non-verbal, non literate and/or non-english speaking children. The Blackbird System received the top award of $2,000 from the RN Foundation for excellence in nursing in '84. For more information contact: Kiyo Sato-Viacrucis, PHN, P.O. Box 7424, Sacramento, CA 95826, (916)366-6608.

R Is for Reading

This information comes from a news release from the National library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).

R Is for Reading is a provocative collection of interviews about the reading needs of blind and physically handicapped children. Published by the Library of Congress, the new book helps assess the usefulness of the national library program for children and the important people in their lives by presenting interviews with blind and physically handicapped children and their mothers and with special education teachers, child counselors, reading specialists, and librarians.

Since 1952, the Library of Congress and its cooperating lihria-ripe; throughout the country have served children with Braille, print-Braille, and recorded books and magazines as part of the overall National Library Service for adults and children.

To get a free copy of R Is for Reading or to find out more about the library service for visually or physically handicapped children and adults, contact your Regional Library far the Blind, or contact: National Library Service for the Blind, 1291 Taylor Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20542; telephone (202) 2875100.

Ziegler Magazine for the Blind

We have been asked by Michael Mellor, editor of the Ziegler MagaTn'ne for the Blind, to print the following announcement:

I am sure that many of your readers would be interested in our magazine if only they knew about it. The Ziegler Magazine far the Blind offers those who cannot see to read print the same variety of entertainment and information that is available to those who can read with their eyes. It features lively and engrossing articles reprinted from a broad range of periodicals, it has fiction, poetry and humor. lbs lively "Readers Forum" enables readers to "sound off", and other columns give news and information of special interest to those with vision problems.

Established in 1907 and named far its founder, Mrs. William Ziegler, the Zieqler Mag^ne is maintained by her endowment for free distribution to blind and visually impaired persons anywhere. It is published 10 times a year in two editions: Grade 2 Braille and flexible disc (playable only on a Library of Congress talking book player).

Any of your readers who would like a free lifetime subscription should write or telephone us at 20 West 17th Street, New York, N.Y. 10011; (212) 242-0263.

Free Braille Book

This announcement comes from the Braille Institute. Expectations/ the annual Braille anthology of current children's literature published by Braille Institute, is now available free of charge to all English speaking blind children in grades three through six.

This 36th edition is a celebration of life in America. It contains both fiction and non-fiction books, including the story of the Statue of Liberty. There are stories about immigrants, the dreams of slaves and customs that have come from other countries.

Published annually since 1948 by the Braille Institute Press, Expectations is made possible by publishers and authors who have granted reprint rights, and by generous donors whose contributions defray the $10 production cost of each volume.

Schools, libraries, and organizations serving blind children who wish to receive this 38th volume of Expectations should write to Jody Avery, Braille Institute, 741 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90029.

To Plug or Not to Plug

A reminder to those parents whose children are users of the National library Services for the Blind and Physically handicapped (NLS) and have a NLS cassette machine. NLS recommends that readers should use the machine in the battery mode until the battery is discharged completely and then plug the machine into a wall outlet for recharging. The cassette machine may be used during the recharging period which takes about twelve hours. A fully charged battery should operate about six hours. Regular and frequent discharging and charging of the battery greatly extends the machine's life expectency according to NLS.

PL 94-142 Amendments

This information is taken from the publication, Zero to Three, The Education of the Handicapped Amendments of 1986 (PL 99-457) were signed into law on October 8. The Act creates a new discretionary program with funds for states to address the needs of disabled and at-risk infants, toddlers and their families; it also provides incentives to states to serve an estimated additional 10,000 handicapped children ages 3 through 5.

A 9 9-page report of the House Committee on Education and Labor describes the background and need for the legislation and rationale underlying various provisions; it also provides a section-bysectiDn analysis of the Act. Single copies of Report 99-860, the Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments of 1986, are available free of charge from the Senate Document Room, Hart Senate Office Building, Room B04, Washington D.C. 20510-7106. Requests should be accompanied by self-addressed gummed labels.

At the federal level, development of regulations for PL 99-457 is proceeding at the Department of Education. Preliminary regulations will be published in the Federal Register, and a 60-day comment period wOl follow. Meanwhile, in the states, governors will be deciding whether to apply for available funds to provide early intervention services far infants, toddlers and their families. To receive a grant for the first two years, a governor must designate or establish a lead agency or entity as a single line of authority for overall adniinistration of the program. The governor must also establish an Interagency Coordinating Council which by the third year must include relevant agencies, consumers and providers. Because circumstances differ from state to state, ... readers may wish to contact their governor's office to express their interest in the new legislation and to learn how to participate in planning for their state.


The Membership Committee of the PARENTS OF BLIND CHILDREN, Division of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), put together this calendar of events for the benefit of parents and educators of blind children. Most of the events listed are NFB sponsored seminars for parents of blind children. However, we have also listed some other events, such as NFB state conventions and workshops for blind students. This is not a complete listing. There will be many other NFB-sponsored events in 1987 which would be of interest to parents. For more information, contact:

Denise Mackenstadt, Chairwoman
POBC/NFB Membership Committee
16224 122nd Ave, N.E.
Bothell, WA 98011
(206) 488-0628

NFB/CA State Convention
April 9-12, Burbank, CA
Contact: NFB/CA (916) 424-2226
--Mary Willows, President NFB/CA
Parents and Educators of Blind
Children Division--

New Members Seminar
April; Boulder, CO
Contact: Marci Carpenter
(303) 492-7961
NFB/IL Convention
Sept. 4-6, Chicago, IL
Contact: Steve Benson, President
NFB/IL. (312) 236-8569

NFB/KY Convention and
Special Parents Workshop
Sept. 11-13, Louisville, KY
Contact: Denise Franklin
(502) 459-8630
Seminar for Blind Students
(High School, College)
March 13-15, Baton Rouge, LA
NFB/LA Convention...Annual
Meeting of NFB/LA Parents of
Blind Children Division...
Parents Workshop....
April 10-12, Baton Rouge, LA
* * *
Parents Seminar
September, 1987
Date and Location to be
* * *
Contact: Joanne Fernandes,
President NFB/LA
(318) 251-2891
--Barbara Meadors, President

NFB/LA Parents of Blind

Parent Seminar
Co-sponsored: NFB/MD Parents
of Blind Children and
NFB of Virginia
May 2, Wheaton, MD
Contact: Maureen Short,
NFB/MD Parents of Blind
Children, (301) 424-4458,
or Contact: National Office
of the NFB, (301) 659-9314
* * *
NFB/MD Convention and Annual
Meeting of NFB/MD Parents of
Blind Children
Oct 2-4, Frostburg, MD
Contact: Sharon Maneki, President
NFB/MD (301) 992-9608

Parent Seminar
Oct. 17, Location to
be Determined.
Contact: Priscilla Ferris,
President, NFB/MA
(617) 673-0218
--Michael McDermot, President
NFB/MA Parents And Educators of
Blind Children Division--

Parents Seminar
April, 1987
Travers City, MI
* *
Parents Seminar
May, 1987
Marquette, MI
Contact: Mary Myers, President
NFB/MI Parents of Blind Children
(517) 323-4075

Parents Seminar
May 2, Minnesota State Academy for
the Blind, Faribault, RUN
Contact: NFB/MN office
(612) 332-5414
--Susan Baumgardner, President
NFB/MN Parents of Blind Children--
Parents Seminar/ Childrens Workshop
"Focus On Success"
May 2, St. Louis, MO
Co-Sponsored by NFB/MO and NFB/IL
Contact: Annette Grove
(314) 647-7453

Parents Seminar
March 28, Albuquerque, NM
Contact: Kitty Smith, President
NFB/NM Parents of Blind
Children (505)256-0403

Parents Seminar
Fall (possibly Sept. 19)
Cinncinati, OH
Contact: Bernadette Dressell,
President NFB/OH Parents of
Blind Children (513) 481-7662

Parents Seminar
February 28, Portland, OR
Contact: Debbie Hamm, President
NFB Northwest Parents of Blind
Children Division (503) 673-5510
Contact: NFB/WA (residents
only) 1-800-654-4717.

NFB/SC Convention and
Annual Meeting of NFB/SC
Parents of Blind Children
Aug. 14-16. Greenville, SC
Contact: Gail Coppel, President
Parents of Blind Children
(803) 796-8662

Parent Seminar
May 4, Huron, SD
(This will follow the NFB/SD
state convention which is
May 2-3 and also in Huron.)
Contact: NFB/SD office
(Karen Mayry, President
NFB/SD) (605) 348-8418

NFB/TX Convention
March 20-22, Austin, TX
Contact: Cheryl FinleyMcCaslin
Chairman, NFB/TX Committee on
Parents and Educators of Blind
Children (214) 528-4818

NFB/VA Convention
April 3-5, Winchester, VA
Contact: Charlie Brown, President NFB/VA (202) 523-8088

See Oregon

Parents Seminar
April 2, Madison, WI
Contact: Sue Micich, President
NFB/WI (414) 233-5022