[nfbwatlk] Fwd: National Federation of the Blind Newsletter - Springing into Action and Opportunity
arielle71 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 2 22:18:26 UTC 2016
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the
Blind" <IOF at nfb.org>
Date: Fri, 01 Apr 2016 12:09:44 -0400
Subject: National Federation of the Blind Newsletter - Springing into
Action and Opportunity
To: Arielle Silverman <arielle71 at gmail.com>
IMAGINEERING OUR FUTURE
IN THIS ISSUE:
* Message from the President
* What's News at the NFB
* Braille Certification Training Program
* From the tenBroek Library
* Independence Market
* Access Technology
* NFB Calendar
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Spring has arrived, and with it the opportunity to spring into action. As
the temperature heats up and we get more active in our communities, we will
be approached by people who want to know what that long white cane is for,
why we pull strollers rather than push them, how we know when to cross the
street, or maybe even where we are going. While some questions are
inappropriate and based on low expectations, we need to take advantage of
the opportunity to spring a little education on our fellow citizens.
There are many blind people in our communities who do not yet know about
the National Federation of the Blind. I find that a number of questions in
the community come from individuals who have friends or relatives dealing
with vision loss. By engaging with these individuals and teaching them the
truth about blindness that we have learned in the National Federation of
the Blind, we can widen the reach of our organization. I encourage each of
you reading this note to use spring as an opportunity to invite people to
join the National Federation of the Blind.
I have recently taken to wearing a fitness tracker to track my steps. I am
looking forward to the warmer temperatures so I can raise my step count.
Imagine the sound of every blind person achieving ten thousand taps of the
cane on the sidewalks in our communities. Now that is a way to spring into
action and capture the attention of the people around us. As you get out
into the community this spring and stack up your cane taps, be sure to
carry some literature about the National Federation of the Blind, so we can
add new marchers to our movement every day.
Mark A. Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind
WHAT'S NEWS AT THE NFB
NOMINATION DEADLINES APPROACHING
Nominations for the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award  will be accepted until
April 15. If you know of an individual or an organization that has made
exceptional contributions in the field of blindness, they may be eligible
for this award.
April 15 is also the deadline to submit nominations for the Kenneth
Jernigan Convention Scholarship. This award is given to first-time
attendees of national convention who need financial assistance to attend.
Learn more about the program and requirements in this _Braille Monitor_
PREREGISTER FOR THE 2016 NFB NATIONAL CONVENTION
Preregistration for the 2016 NFB National Convention is now open. Visit our
website to preregister online  or use the mail-in, fillable PDF form
. To find information about the hotel so you can book your room, as well
as other convention information, go to
you in Orlando!
CONVENTION EXHIBITOR AND SPONSOR INFORMATION AVAILABLE
Information is now available for those that wish to be a sponsor or an
exhibitor at this year's NFB National Convention. The necessary forms and
instructions can be found at
. For additional assistance, contact Stephanie Eller at seller at nfb.org
 or (410) 659-9314, extension 2423.
REQUESTS FOR ACCOMMODATIONS BASED ON DISABILITY
The NFB National Convention is designed and implemented to be accessible
especially to blind people, in that materials are offered in accessible
formats and other nonvisual aids are provided (therefore special requests
for these items are not required). If you require specific accommodations
based on your disability, other than the blindness-related accommodations
mentioned above, in order to participate fully and equally in the
convention, we urge you to let us know as soon as possible. Specific
accommodations for which requests are required include requests for deaf or
deaf-blind interpreters. Due to the size and complexity of this convention,
as well as the need to appropriately plan for additional human and other
resources, requests for specific accommodations must be submitted no later
than May 31, 2016. In order to make a request, please 1) preregister for
the convention ; and 2) send your specific request for accommodations to
the NFB Jernigan Institute via email at jerniganinstitute at nfb.org. Please
include your name, the dates you plan to be at the convention, information
on the best way to follow up with you, and your specific request.
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND AND AMAZON JOIN FORCES TO IMPROVE
ACCESSIBLE READING EXPERIENCES FOR BLIND STUDENTS
The NFB and Amazon announced today that they will be working together to
increase selection, enhance accessibility, and improve reading experiences
for blind students, including those who have low vision or who are
deaf-blind. Find out more at
AFFIRMATION OF RULING ON ACCESS TO ABSENTEE BALLOTS
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Judicial Circuit has
upheld the ruling in National Federation of the Blind et al. vs. Linda H.
Lamone et al. requiring the state of Maryland to make an accessible, online
ballot-marking tool available to blind voters who wished to vote by
absentee ballot. Go to
 to read more.
VICTORIOUS JURY VERDICT FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY WOMAN
A positive jury verdict was reached in the matter of Yasmin Reyazuddin vs.
Montgomery County in federal district court. Learn more about this major
victory in the full press release .
BRAILLE CERTIFICATION TRAINING PROGRAM
Under a contract with the National Library Service for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS), the National Federation
of the Blind administers the courses leading to NLS certification of
Braille transcribers and proofreaders.
In addition to the day-to-day operations of this program, the transition to
Unified English Braille (UEB) has necessitated significant revision of
course material and additional credentialing of individuals certified under
older Braille rules. During 2015, a major revision of the course manual for
transcribers was undertaken so that it aligns with UEB. The new version
also includes additional reading exercises to test Braille reading skills,
as well as instruction on the use of Braille translation computer programs
to assist with Braille transcription. The manual has been made available in
print and Braille formats simultaneously.
Starting in January 2015, all new students in the literary
transcribing/proofreading courses began learning under the rules of UEB,
and students who had been working in the older version of the course were
switched to the new version during the year.
Successful completion of these rigorous courses requires a great deal of
time and effort on the part of the students. We congratulate the following
individuals who earned certification in literary transcribing during the
month of January, 2016, achieving certificates under the rules of Unified
Jonathan Carson, Louisville
Meredith E. Cloud, Louisville
Rebekah Freedman, Louisville
Patti Renee Hash, Louisville
Tracy K. McGee, Louisville
Sirena M. Peters, Louisville
Abby Rudolph, Louisville
James Williams, Louisville
Updating of the Nemeth and music courses to align with UEB is ongoing.
Congratulations to the following students who achieved certification in the
current versions of these courses during the month of January:
MATHEMATICS (NEMETH) BRAILLE TRANSCRIBING
Denise Edgar Hagan, Greenwood
Fidel Sanchez, Grafton
MUSIC BRAILLE TRANSCRIBING
Mark G. Wagner, Lincoln
William Charles Luther, Grafton
For transcribers and proofreaders who were certified prior to the adoption
of UEB and need to update their credentials, a test was developed to allow
them to earn a letter of proficiency in UEB, which is an add-on credential
to an existing certificate. As of this writing, eighty-nine individuals
have earned this letter of proficiency in Unified English Braille from the
Library of Congress.
NFB STEM2U brings accessible STEM learning opportunities to blind and
low-vision children in elementary and high school from across the United
States in partnership with museums and science centers. Furthermore, NFB
STEM2U offers learning opportunities to parents of blind children and
educators working with blind students. Each of the regional programs serves
twenty blind elementary school students (the juniors) and ten blind high
school students (the apprentices). All students engage in hands-on,
inquiry-based STEM learning. Moreover, the students have the occasion to
learn with and from blind adult role models about how to succeed in the
STEM classroom and in every-day life. Apprentices (the older students) also
have the chance to develop and refine their leadership and mentoring skills
as they give back through their work with the juniors (the younger
students) throughout the regional programs. Our most recent regional
program, STEM2U San Francisco, was held March 3-5, 2016, and was an
inspiring success. Workshops and activities were held for parents of our
junior participants to learn how science can be and is accessible in the
classroom. The junior and apprentice participants learned about an array of
STEM topics including vibration and sound, and custom instruments were
crafted at the Exploratorium for our use. Our next program will be held in
Minneapolis, May 19-21, 2016.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science
Foundation under Grant No. 1322855. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions
or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s)
and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science
What are thirty-one affiliates doing in forty-five places this summer?
A. Providing Braille instruction and enrichment for blind children ages
four through twelve.
B. Equipping blind children with the nonvisual skills they need to live
the lives they want.
C. Giving blind children an opportunity to get to know positive adult
blind role models.
D. Sneaking a lot of teaching into many fun activities.
E. All of the above!
That's right! Blind children around our nation have the opportunity to
learn the skills they need and to make relationships that will last a
lifetime at one of the forty-five National Federation of the Blind Braille
Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (NFB BELL) Academy sites this summer.
These academy sites have been planned in states from coast to coast and
will deliver high-quality instruction with a local flair. Students enjoy
the Braille games, cooking, crafts, field trips, and they don't realize how
much they are really learning. For more information about an NFB BELL
Academy near you, please contact Carlton Walker, manager of Braille
education programs at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan
Institute, via email at cwalker at nfb.org or by phone at (410) 659-9314,
extension 2225. Additionally, please visit our website,
, which will be regularly updated as more
detailed information about summer programs and registration forms become
By the way, the answer is E.
FROM THE TENBROEK LIBRARY
The tenBroek Library welcomes all researchers interested in the non-medical
aspects of blindness. Our collections cover areas including the education
of blind children, disability law and policy, the history of attitudes
toward the blind, and literary works by blind authors. We provide
facilities for using our collections, regardless of format, to both sighted
and blind readers.
The tenBroek Library looks after the history of blind people in many ways,
including collecting NFB literature, maintaining the Federation's archives,
and building our collections of archival papers and published works. We
also recognize that much of the history of the blind resides in the lived
experience of the blind, and we are committed to documenting those
experiences through our oral history program.
Researchers can access the holdings of the tenBroek Library through our
fully accessible online portals. The Cane Tip  is our database for
finding aids that describe the manuscript and archival collections held by
the library, including the personal and professional papers of NFB founder,
Jacobus tenBroek, the papers of past NFB President Kenneth Jernigan, and
the NFB Institutional Archives, as well as several smaller collections. The
Blind Cat  is our online public access catalog (OPAC) where researchers
can search our collection of published materials. The scope of our
published materials--largely in print, but also in talking-book, Braille,
and digital formats--extends to all facets of blindness and the lives of
blind people, with the exception of the medical treatment and prevention of
The tenBroek Library also holds--and makes available to
researchers--extensive collections of archival photographs, sound
recordings, and audiovisual material. At this time there is no public
catalog or finding aid of this material. However, we will happily respond
to inquiries by mail, phone, or email.
To learn more about the holdings of the Jacobus tenBroek Library, please
visit the Cane Tip, the Blind Cat, or send us an email at
jtblibrary at nfb.org.
Increasing Braille literacy is a cause near and dear to the hearts of
Federation members. We know from our collective experience that Braille is
an invaluable tool that enhances a blind person's independence, efficiency,
and productivity at home, in school, and on the job. Moreover, studies have
shown  that blind people who use Braille are much more likely to be
employed successfully compared to those blind people who don't know
It is consequently no surprise that the National Federation of the Blind
was the first entity in the United States to release a curriculum to teach
the Unified English Braille (UEB) code to blind adults back in October
2014. _The McDuffy Reader: A Braille Primer for Adults--Student Manual (UEB
Edition)_  by Sharon L. Monthei is a Braille instructional manual in
one volume, which presents first the Braille alphabet and commonly used
punctuation signs, and then introduces the contractions in logical groups.
All contracted materials appear in correctly contracted Braille. A chart of
contractions and a description of the rules of usage for each set of
contractions are found in the back of the book. Also included is a list of
Braille contractions and symbols that are no longer used in UEB, but which
students will encounter in existing Braille materials.
We are now releasing the print companion to the UEB edition of the Braille
student manual. The print version of the _McDuffy Reader_  contains the
text in print for a sighted individual assisting a Braille student. New
symbols are shown in SimBraille while the rest of the text appears in a
standard print font. This version of the _McDuffy Reade_r will be helpful
to sighted teachers and family members or friends aiding a blind Braille
student using this curriculum. It should be noted that the print version is
not intended to and will not serve as a Braille curriculum on its own. Both
versions of the _McDuffy Reader_ may be purchased from the NFB Independence
The Independence Market carries other items that Braille students will find
helpful such as the UEB edition of the _Handbook of Braille Contractions_,
Braille paper of various types, many different slates and styluses, and
Braille labeling aids.
For more information about the products available from the Independence
Market or to request a catalog, please email us at
independencemarket at nfb.org or call (410) 659-9314, extension 2216. Our
staff will be happy to assist you.
K-12 ASSESSMENTS SURVEY
As students participate in Common Core state assessments this spring, such
as the PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments, we ask that parents,
students, and teachers take time to complete the NFB's Common Core
assessment online survey. In particular, we want to know when and where
accessibility and accommodation failures happen so that we can help ensure
any problems are fixed. Please take time to complete this important survey,
or alternatively, contact Valerie Yingling, paralegal, at vyingling at nfb.org
or (410) 659-9314, extension 2440.
The access technology team is just back from the 31st Annual International
Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN), and they are
still a little dazed. Look forward to a full update on the conference once
they gather their wits and notes.
In the meantime, there is exciting news--the team has just scheduled a
number of new accessibility boutiques. The boutiques, hosted at the
National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute in Baltimore, are
two-hour introductions to a wide variety of accessibility-related topics.
They are free and open to the public, though we do request that you RSVP to
cvangerven at nfb.org. Here are the dates and topics for April:
Thursday, April 14, 8:00-10:00 a.m.: Document Accessibility
Monday, April 25, 3:00-5:00 p.m.: eBooks and EPUB Accessibility
April 15: Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award program nomination deadline,
April 15: Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarship nomination deadline,
Braille Monitor article 
April 25: NFB EQ student application deadline,
May 1: Distinguished Educator of Blind Students Award application deadline,
May 17-20: BLAST, Chicago
May 19-21: NFB STEM2U Minneapolis
May 21-26: International Council on English Braille 6th General Assembly,
June 19-25: NFB EQ (first iteration)
June 30-July 5: National Federation of the Blind Convention, Rosen Shingle
Creek, Orlando, Florida,
July 31-August 6: NFB EQ (second iteration)
August 18-25: WBU-ICEVI General Assembly, Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando,
Florida, www.wbu-icevi2016.org 
Let me be very clear about this. I have no wish to minimize the character
and extent of blindness as a disability. It is for all of us a constant
nuisance and a serious inconvenience. To overcome it requires effort and
patience and initiative and guts. It is not compensated for, despite the
fairy tales to the contrary, by the spontaneous emergence of a miraculous
"sixth sense" or any other magical powers. It means nothing more or less
than the loss of one of the five senses and a corresponding greater
reliance upon the four that remain--as well as upon the brain, the heart,
and the spirit.
-- Jacobus tenBroek. "Cross of Blindness ." 1957 NFB National
Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana, July 6, 1957.
Thank you for reading the NFB's _Imagineering Our Future_.
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