2-16-17 Newspaper Article courtesy of the News Tribune, Jefferson City Mo (Link to Article)
Blind Federation members lobby lawmakers
Members of Missouri's National Federation of the Blind (NFB) chapter visited the Capitol this week, delivering their message that "low expectations create obstacles between blind people and their dreams. Blindness is not what holds us back."
Their annual lobbying effort involves informing lawmakers of some of the key, special issues facing blind Missourians that those with sight may not have considered.
Requiring a research-based, standardized reading media assessment.
Missouri law says "no blind person shall be denied instruction in Braille," but it does allow school districts to determine whether print or Braille is "the most appropriate method for reading and writing for a given student," the NFB reminded lawmakers. "Far too often print is determined to be the most appropriate reading medium because the process used in making evaluations is flawed and because the strong preference of teachers and school administrators is to teach what they know and use the resources easily available to them."
However, if blind students aren't provided materials in Braille when they need them, the group said, there can be physical and health consequences.
"It is common practice for students with visual impairments to hold reading materials very close to their faces, and/or to hunch their bodies over the materials when reading," the NFB explained.
"In addition to the posture and other health concerns these reading positions raise, years of field practice and experience have demonstrated that youth who read print materials at very close distances suffer eye strain, headache, neck and back pain, fatigue, and diminished concentration, reading speed, and comprehension."
So any test the state uses should "ensure that children are evaluated when sitting up straight and with materials held or placed at standardized distances," the group said. "We urge the Missouri General Assembly to embrace literacy for the blind with the same vigor that our society embraces literacy for the sighted."
Mandating accessible voting in all elections.
The federal "Help America Vote Act" requires each polling place to have at least one voting machine, during each federal election, that can be used by a blind person without requiring the assistance of a sighted person.
The federation wants to see those voting machines used "consistently" in state and local elections as well as federal contests — and doing so would bring the state into compliance with two other federal laws, the Americans With Disabilities Act and the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.
Changing state law involving the identification required to buy alcohol.
Recently, the NFB told lawmakers, a blind chemist, 35, visiting from another state was not allowed to buy alcohol because Missouri law didn't recognize his state's non-driver license as being valid.
They said current law, which lists Missouri's non-driver license and a valid out-of-state driver's license as acceptable identification, should be updated to include valid non-driver's licenses from other states.s
The National Federation of the Blind distributes many different magazines, newspapers, newsletters, speeches, reports, books, and other pieces of literature to inform the public (blind and sighted) about the true nature of blindness and about issues of interest to the blind.
The leading publication of the NFB, this magazine is published eleven times a year and covers blindness-related events, activities, and issues.
This quarterly magazine (published by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children)offers parents and teachers a multitude of resources and information based on the positive NFB philosophy.
This influential series of booklets is made up of inspirational stories written by blind people about themselves.
Discover key NFB speeches delivered by our esteemed leaders Jacobus tenBroek, Kenneth Jernigan, and Marc Maurer. Included in this section are national convention banquet speeches, presidential reports, resolutions, and President Maurer’s presidential releases.
Topics covered by NFB literature include Braille, discrimination, education, seniors, low vision, parents, students, technology, and more! In addition, you'll find Information Packets full of valuable articles, books, resource lists, brochures, and forms. All of these items are available to order, and many are immediately available online!
For more information about blindness, please contact the Jacobus tenBroek Library of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute at 410-659-9314 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org