Voice of the Nation's Blind

The Blog of the National Federation of the Blind
Edited by Stephanie Eller
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The National Federation of the Blind Reflects on Another Successful Year of Advocacy for the Blind

by: Patti Chang, Director of Outreach

This year we have worked hard to defend the rights of blind people across the country to ensure we can live the active, successful lives we want. The National Federation of the Blind has much to be thankful about in 2016:

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The Legal Side of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for Blind and Visually Impaired Students

By Carlton Anne Cook Walker, J.D., M.B.A., M.Ed., Manager of Braille Education Programs for the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute

Legal Basis
IEP Team and Its Responsibilities
Development of the IEP
After the IEP


Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) provide the basis for special education services and equipment provided to children with disabilities in the United States. For families, IEP meetings can be stressful and overwhelming. Having information about the law upon which IEPs are based can empower parents to advocate for their children with more confidence.


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Commitment Is More Than Checking a Box: Uber Fails to Get It

The National Federation of the Blind is the leader in nonvisual accessibility. We work diligently to assist those in government, education, and the private sector to gain a true understanding that accessibility is not an expensive burden that stifles innovation. Accessibility is an enhancement that makes products and services available and usable by people with disabilities, while simultaneously making the same products and services better and easier to use by everyone. The ever-growing integration of devices that talk and devices you can operate with your voice are examples of the innovation that emerges while striving for accessibility. We realize that in order to be successful, it is essential to consider accessibility throughout the lifecycle from concept, to design, to development, to implementation. Consumer involvement in this process at every stage is essential.

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It Starts with Me: Fundraising for the National Federation of the Blind

By Patti Chang

As I begin my second career as Director of Outreach for the National Federation of the Blind, I am privileged to work to build our movement by focusing on our fundraising. We need funding to help blind people live the lives we want, and we have an obligation to fundraise on behalf of this organization which has so positively impacted so many people.

I thought I would share with you all some tips and tricks. The first tip is to “make the ask.” Many people are uncomfortable asking for money. So, the easiest person to ask is yourself.

Have you donated to the National Federation of the Blind this year?  It’s easy. There are lots of ways to give. And, once you have given, you can begin your “ask” by saying something like, “I just gave to the National Federation of the Blind.”

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Getting Out in Our Community for Meet the Blind Month

From the Editor:

Meet the Blind Month is more than just a chance to get together with our fellow chapter members. It’s the chance to get out in our communities and show our fellow citizens that we can, and do, live the lives we want and that blindness is not what holds us back. In this post, Christopher Walker, a proud member of our Virginia affiliate explains why Meet the Blind Month is so meaningful to him.


By Christopher Walker

I am a proud member of the National Federation of the Blind.  I am the Outreach Chair for the Winchester Chapter of the NFB of Virginia.  I have had many opportunities to go to local events in the community to educate people and help to make them aware of blindness. Meet the Blind Month provides a great opportunity to do outreach to the Winchester community.

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The Goal of Goals in IEPs

From the Editor:

Carlton Walker, our Manager of Braille Education Programs, writes about the purpose of creating goals in IEPs and why it is important to track them and modify them in accordance with the child's progress. 


By Carlton Walker

In preparing for meetings of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team, both parents and educators spend a great deal of time focused upon goals. Understanding the purpose and basis of goals can help all involved achieve this objective.

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Progress Through Telling Our Stories: The Truth About Blindness Makes a Difference

The members of the National Federation of the Blind work on a daily basis to demonstrate that blindness is not the characteristic that defines us or our future. Every day we work to raise expectations for blind people because we experience daily the harmful impacts of low expectations on our lives. Today we can celebrate another important milestone in combating low expectations and educating the public regarding the truth about living with blindness.

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The Importance of Keeping Written Records for IEP Meetings

From the Editor:

The fourth entry in our series about Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) contains valuable tips on documentation and why writing things down is so important.


By Melissa Riccobono


What is the purpose of your upcoming meeting? What has been going well? What needs to change? These are three questions you should ask yourself before each IEP meeting for your child. It is essential to know what things you want to accomplish and to be able to steer the meeting in the direction you need it to go and avoid being sidetracked by other topics or concerns. I have found the best way to accomplish this is to write things down ahead of time, make sure my points are as clear as possible, and to share my writing with the IEP team. Writing things down helps in the following ways.

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An Open Letter to Our Friends and Families About the #HowEyeSeeIt Campaign

From the Editor:

Stacy Cervenka is a member from California who has been actively participating in our efforts to push back on the #HowEyeSeeIt Blindfold Challenge. Below is an open letter she wrote to friends and family concerning the campaign.

Dear Friends and Family Members:


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Don't Participate. Don't Donate. Educate. The National Federation of the Blind and #HowEyeSeeIt


Members and leaders of the National Federation of the Blind from across the nation do a fantastic job of countering low expectations, misconceptions, and stereotypes about blindness.  We believe the #HowEyeSeeIt Blindfold Challenge being promoted by the Foundation Fighting Blindness unnecessarily perpetuates negative perceptions and fears about living with blindness. If you haven't taken action yet, or want to let others know how to counteract this harmful fundraising campaign, here are three quick tips:

1. Don't participate. Putting on a blindfold for a few minutes is not the way to learn about blindness and blind people. This does not demonstrate the reality of what it is like to live successfully and independently as a blind person. Do not participate in the #HowEyeSeeIt Blindfold Challenge.

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