Future Reflections Winter 1988, Vol. 7 No. 1

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KIDS KORNER is for, and about, our children. Articles, poems, recipes, jokes, logic puzzles, anecdotes, etc. are all acceptable. Items can be written by blind children or their sighted brothers/sisters. Parents may also send in material on their child's behalf; such as an anectode, a newsclipping about a special award received by a blind child, etc. We will also accept jokes and recipes, but these should come from the children (an exception might be a recipe a mother uses to teach toddlers or preschoolers some cooking skills.)

Again, except for such things as jokes, puzzles, recipes, etc., items should relate to blindness in some way.

If we receive enough good material from you and your children, we will make this a regular feature.

by Darrell Shandrow

I was born on August 11,1973 in Champaign, Illinois. At the time of my birth I was a rubella baby and had congenital glaucoma, a heart murmer, a bone deficiency, and was deaf. Now, the murmer is gone, the bone deficiency is gone, and the deafness is gone, but I am still blind. I have had numerous operations on my eyes, and three operations to cure my hearing problem.

I attended the Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind for six years. After the fourth year in ASDB, I decided that I wanted to attend public school but the local school district wouldn't allow me to attend their schools. As a result, I am now attending Pallaverty high school. Thanks to the National Federation of the Blind, I am able to fight a case against Maranna School District and hopefully make them pay for my education in Tucson Unified School District. One day at school, I got an assignment in public speaking class. I was supposed to choose and write and give a speech on a topic. This speech was to be three minutes long. The topic I chose was the NFB. My grade on this speech was 94 out of 100 points, an A.

I am proud to be a member of the National Federation of the Blind. I would like to share my speech with the members of the NFB.

What is the NFB? Who started it and when was it started? Why is there an NFB? What has the NFB already accomplished? What are its future goals? Now, you're probably asking yourself "What do the letters NFB stand for?" Well, that's what I am going to tell you all about.

The letters NFB stand for the National Federation of the Blind. The National Federation of the Blind is an organization of blind people helping each other. The NFB was formed to fight the every day discrimination against blind people. The National Federation of the Blind is a nonprofit organization. The NFB is not federally funded. It is funded by its membership and by private donations.

The NFB was started by Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, who was blinded at the age of six in a bow and arrow accident. Dr. tenBroek has five college degrees. Two of them are doctorates. He received one of them from the University of California and the other from Harvard University. He was one of the two highest ranking students in the University of California.

The Federation was started in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania in 1940. In the beginning it had about twenty-five members from seven states. At the present time it has over fifty thousand members representing all fifty states.

Dr. tenBroek started the National Federation of the Blind because he was blind himself and he realized the problems that blind people face.

Since the National Federation was started, it has accomplished a lot. It has won many court cases involving discrimination. Because of the Federation, the blind have more opportunities for employment than ever before. Now the blind are employed in just about every field imaginable. The NFB has also accomplished a lot in the way of education. More and more blind children are now going to public school. The Federation's accomplishments go on and on.

The NFB has not yet accomplished complete equality. The blind are still discriminated against in many ways. The NFB still has many goals that it is trying to reach. One of the problems that still face blind people is education. Although the NFB has accomplished much in this area, there is still work to be done. For instance, some blind children are still denied the right to a public school education in their local district. As a result the family must move to another school district that will accept blind children. Another problem is the governmental and private agencies who think they know what is best for the blind. The truth is that they hurt the blind more than help. They teach blind people to be dependent. The NFB is making progress in stopping the agencies. They are doing this through the courts. We have come a long way but we still have many problems to face.

The National Federation of the Blind of which I am a member fights against discrimination. The Federation wants no confrontation but the Federation will never give up on its cause. The Federation's philosophy is that the blind should be classified on terms of full equality with the sighted and I agree with that philosophy.

by Michael J. McDermott

Michael McDermott is the son of the President of the Massachusetts NFB Parents of Blind Children Division, also Michael McDermott. Michael (the son) lost his sight a few years ago. He is now in high school, an honor roll student, and, as his article indicates, something of a "computer nut." He hopes to work in the communications field and would like to be a disc jockey someday.

Playing games on a talking computer can sometimes be more work than play. What I mean by this is that ever since I got my job at Infocom as a game tester, it seems as if playing games has become more of a job then just a relaxing way to pass the time. Although I must say the Infocom games are quite interesting and I enjoy my work.

I was told about this job at Infocom by a friend of mine who gave the phone number of the person to contact. So one day I decided to follow up on this lead and try my luck. I called the person in charge of outside testing at the company. We had a conversation over the phone about my computer knowledge and what type of computer system I had. Everything went well until I told her I was blind. However I told her that testing these games should present no problem and this could serve as an interesting experience for both the company and myself. That night I wrote a letter to her.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your time, which I am sure you took away from your busy schedule, and for our telephone conversation on February 23,1987. As I mentioned to you, I am 14 years old and a freshman at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.
I am very interested in your computer game testing program. Presently, I work with an Apple II/E Computer system, an Echo Plus Voice Synthesizer System, a Wordtalk Word Processor, and an Image Writer II printer.

My visual impairment should not present any difficulties for me testing your games. With my voice synthesizer I can hear what is on the screen just as the sighted see the text on the monitor. I would like to discuss with you at your convenience any questions you may have concerning my computer experience.

I look forward to meeting you in the near future. Thank you again for giving me this opportunity. I am sure this could be a rewarding experience for both of us."
A week later I received a letter telling me that I had the job and would receive a game called Word Play to test. When I got the game I began to work on it. I found my first bug when I noticed that the script feature on the game did not work. The script feature allows everything going to the screen to go out to the printer. The "printer" can also be a speech synthesizer, tike my Echo PC, which I recently bought. The next day I called the company and told them about this problem. They checked it out and a few days later I got a phone call telling me that this had been a problem with other versions of the game. After they fixed this problem they sent me the same game for further testing. When I completed my testing of that game I received a free game and a letter thanking me for my services.

During the summer of that year I got a phone call telling me that I would get another game for testing. When I finished my work on that game I brought my reports to the company. When I went there I met the person that I had spoken to on the phone a few months ago. We discussed my work and she told me that she would like to write an article on me and my testing techniques with a voice synthesizer system. This would be published in their newsletter called The Status Line, which is distributed to all Infocom subscribers.

by Tony Sohl

Editor's Note: Ruth Swenson, Tony's mother, says that Tony has come a long way. When she adopted him, he was three years and seven months old, but he functioned at a nine month level. He was mostly bottle-fed, could not sit up by himself, and knew only five words. He was diagnosed as profoundly mentally retarded. He also was blind and had a growth hormone deficiency. Tony is still blind and is shorter than most of his classmates, but he is not retarded.

Today, Tony is a very typical teenager. He attends a public high school and his hobbies are dancingjootball, computers, and ceramics. He enjoys taking his girlfriend to the movies, hates homework, and likes to cook He reads and writes Braille proficiently and travels independently with his long white NFB cane (Tony is one of the children featured in the NFB Parents Division video, "Kids With Canes.") Here is Tony's recipe for Monkey Cake.

My name is Tony Sohl. I am a member of the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona. I am seventeen years old and in high school. I am sending one of my favorite recipes. I hope that you will enjoy this.

4 cans of regular refrigerator biscuits. Ten per can.
1 and 1/4 cup sugar.
2 Tbsp. cinnamon.
1 stick margarine.


1. Combine sugar and cinnamon in mixing bowl.
2. Open one can of biscuits at a time. Cut biscuits into quarters. Coat well with sugar/cinnamon mixture.
3. Place in tube or bundt pan. Continue until all four cans of biscuits are used. Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture evenly over biscuits.
4. Melt margarine and pour over biscuits. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Immediately turn on to dinner sized plate.
P.S. You may use nuts if desired. A bundt pan is the easiest pan to use instead of a tube pan.

Happy Eating!


The following letter came from Charlotte Verduin, mother of Cherranne. Readers will recall that Ms. Verduin wrote the article "One White Cane Saga" published in the last issue of Future Reflections (volume 6, number 3.)

I'm sending this letter to brag on Cherranne, and to add another example of how the NFB and POBC Division is changing the lives of blind children. It will be obvious to you and other members of the NFB that Federation philosophy has become a part of Cherranne's personality even at her young age.

The Illinois Association of Orientation and Mobility Specialists sponsored their 4th Annual Poetry and Poster Contests during the Illinois Conference for Teachers of the Visually Impaired in mid- October. Cherranne entered both a poem and poster, following the theme, "What Mobility Means to Me. " Over 80 judges voted for the state-wide entries, which were not identified by name, school nor geographical area. I am proud to say that Cherranne won first place in her division (K-2) for both her poster and her poem! There were 34 poems distributed over four divisions and 49 posters in eight divisions.

The Poster

Cherranne is learning to walk to school by herself using her long white cane. Her poster shows the busy street corner she navigates. The poster is three-dimensional-using glitter for sidewalks, a plastic figure carrying a toothpick cane, cut- paper streets and toy cars for traffic. The caption on the poster shows that Cherranne is aware of how important cane travel is for blind people: "Mobility Means Walking to School Safely." She isn't shy about using her cane or ashamed of being blind.

The Poem


I want to learn my arc-
Side to side so the adults don't harp.
When I'm using my arc, I must remember the right,
So the "gorillas" won't jump out and bite.
I do not want to let my cane tip bound.
I need to keep it just an inch off the ground.
Sometimes my cane touches the wall.
I try not to swing it too big or too small.
I'll be using my cane the way blind people do.
I like blind people, too.

When Cherranne's entries came back from the Conference with blue ribbons attached, the principal exhibited them in the school front hall. This is Cherranne's third year at Winkler, and she has established many friendships among both children and adults. They were happy to see her success. It took awhile, but this year Cherranne seems to be accepted on her own, for herself and not because she's "the blind kid." She's in Brownies and goes to gymnastics. So, people are learning that she's a kid like any other.

by John Earl Cheadle

John Earl is the editor's sighted eleven-year-old son. He is proud to be a member of the National Federation of the Blind. He has written to legislators about the way the airlines have treated blind people, sold raffle tickets, walked in NFB Walk-AThons, and written essays in school about the
capabilities of the blind. Here are two of his favorite jokes.

What did the man say to his French poodle as he gave the dog his dinner?
Why, "Bon(e) Appetit," of course!

What is the definition of a sweater?
Something kids have to put on when their mother feels cold.

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