[nfbwatlk] FW: [rehab] Special Education Shortages

Nightingale, Noel Noel.Nightingale at ed.gov
Fri Jan 8 21:57:40 UTC 2016

-----Original Message-----
From: rehab [mailto:rehab-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Edward Bell via rehab
Sent: Friday, January 08, 2016 1:18 PM
To: 'Rehabilitation Counselor Mailing List'; 'Jobs for the Blind'
Cc: Edward Bell
Subject: Re: [rehab] Special Education Shortages

Dear Dick, 

Thank you so very much for this wonderful recruitment plug for Louisiana Tech University. 

As you know, we train Teachers of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Orientation and Mobility, and now Rehab Teachers for the Blind. 

We specialize on training blind people to do these jobs but we have also gotten really great at training sighted people too and we love to train them both equally. 

And, for a limited time, we also have scholarship funding for the O&M and Rehab teachers. 

Let me know if anyone is interested in a career change or  enhancement!

Edward C. Bell, Ph.D., CRC, NOMC
Director, Professional Development and Research
Institute on Blindness
Louisiana Tech University
210 Woodard Hall 
PO Box 3158
Ruston LA 71272
Office: 318.257.4554 		Fax: 318.257.2259 (Fax) 	Skype: edwardbell2010
ebell at latech.edu 	www.pdrib.com
"I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops." 
-- Stephen Jay Gould

-----Original Message-----
From: rehab [mailto:rehab-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Dick Davis via rehab
Sent: Friday, January 8, 2016 11:35 AM
To: Jobs for the Blind <jobs at nfbnet.org>; rehab at nfbnet.org
Cc: Dick Davis <ddavis at blindinc.org>
Subject: [rehab] Special Education Shortages


One of the main concerns in special education today is the shortage of orientation and mobility specialists and teachers of blind children.  The shortage has been mentioned in professional communications and listservs, and even mentioned by state departments of education,  but one obvious solution seems not to have occurred to the people who have written about the problem – recruiting, training, and hiring blind people.  There are some real advantages blind professionals have, but two stand out:

1.       Blind people generally know a lot more about blindness than
sighted people.

2.       Blind people generally have more self-interest in seeing that
other blind people get good education and training.

Right now I think we are poised at the brink of a new era in special education for the blind, one in which blind and sighted teachers can work as partners for the benefit of blind students.  And Louisiana Tech can provide the kind of education that will enable blind persons to enter orientation and mobility, teaching blind children, or both.

So why don’t we have more blind people entering the field of work with the blind, both special education and rehabilitation?  I think it is because blindness professionals often have low expectations for blind people, which is half the problem, and blind people have low expectations for blindness professionals, which is the other half.  It’s a classic vicious cycle.

If we as blind and sighted members of the National Federation of the Blind want better special education and rehabilitation services in this country, we need to do something about it.  That means preparing intelligent, capable blind (and sighted) people for careers in special education and rehabilitation.

I know some of the attitudes about blindness at universities (a notable exception being Louisiana Tech) aren’t the best.  But they aren’t going to get any better if we don’t do anything to fix them.  And Dr. Bell’s program should always be full, as should be NFB training centers, which can help prepare capable blind people for those professions.

Please give the above some thought when you are considering career choices.  We need more capable blind people in special ed and rehab -- now!

Dick Davis, chair

NFB Employment Committee
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