Future Reflections April/May/June 1985, Vol. 4 No. 2

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye!


There were two errors in the, "Where Can I Get...? A Resource List for Parents of Blind Children", article which was published in the Sept/Oct/Nov 1984 issue of Future Reflections . There has also been an address change and some updated information for Raised-Dot Computing.

1. American Brotherhood for the Blind: Correct telephone number is; (818) 3432022.

2. Telesensory Systems, Inc.: Correct address is; 455 N. Bernardo Ave., P.O. Box 7455, Mountain View, California 94043. TSI markets the Optacon, the Apollo, the Viewscan, the Viewscan Text System, and the VersaBrailler.

3. Raised-Dot-Computing has a new address and, so they tell us, more sophisticated software. Here is what they say: Raised-Dot-Computing, 408 South Baldwin, Madison, Wisconsin 53703, (608) 257-9595. Braille-Edit voice output word processing software contains Grade two-to-print and print-to-Grade two translators. Supports VersaBraille, many paper Braille printers, large print output, and many speech synthesizers. Braille Trainer software sharpens Grade two skills, available with voice or print prompting. Monthly newsletter (both audio and cassette) covers whole computers-for-the-blind field.


Volunteers Who Produce Books is a free directory from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). NLS states that: "This directory, available in large print and Braille formats, gives the names of volunteer groups and individuals who transcribe and record books and other reading materials for blind and physically handicapped people. It was compiled from information supplied by organizations and groups known to perform these services." For a copy of this directory, write to: National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Washington D.C. 20542.

Instructional Aids

From Texture Touch of Nebraska we have this information from their brochure:

Multi-Purpose Concept Builders by Texture Touch. Instructional Aids for Visually Impaired Children. Kit includes: Game Boards, Pocket Boards and Floor Mats designed for academics, motivation, efficiency, mobility, recreation. Independent use by students creative teaching, tactual and/or visual stimulation, concept development. Game Boards constructed on sturdy wood base with textured dividers. Peg 21 (cumulative scoring). Win A Warm Fuzzy (4 distinctive markers).

Pocket Boards simplify many academic tasks for student efficiency--Answer Board, Match Board, Sentence Board.

Floor Mats. Rugged Naugahyde and fabric construction. Basic Concept Mat (44'x54»). Ten Space Mat (14'xll4«).

The complete Multi-Purpose Concept Builder Kit consists of three (3) Ten Space Mats and one (1) of each of the other six (6) items. Buy each item separately...or purchase the entire nine (9) piece kit...

For more information about these aids and prices, write to: Texture Touch, Route 3, Box 94, Albion, Nebraska 68620.

Teacher Encourages Use of Canes

Sometime near the beginning of this year, we received this letter from a teacher on the West Coast:

Dear Editors, As a Mobility Specialist who teaches young children who are visually impaired, I am delighted with your publication Future Reflections I start my students using a cane as soon as I can persuade the parents to include cane travel as a goal in the child's IEP. To help persuade the parents, I have copied the article "Canes and Blind Pre-Schoolers" from the March-April-May 1984 issue and given it to them. I have suggested that the parents subscribe to your publication, but many are still coping with the idea that their child does actually have a severe visual impairment, think that these parents can benefit from the positive attitudes expressed in your publication. I asked some parents if I could submit their names to you; all said yes. Therefore I am sending a contribution to you. Will you please place the following names on your mailing list? Keep up the good work!

Sincerely yours,

New Braille-Writer

The National Federation of the Blind is now stocking and selling a Braille Writer called the Erika-Picht. Made in Germany, it does not replace the sturdy Perkins Brailler for heavy use and it is probably not suitable for young children. However, because it is quieter and smaller than the Perkins, it could be very useful for older students and adults who need those qualities in a Brailler.

The Erika-Picht comes with a blotting pad, a "reading table" (a flat attachment which allows the user to more easily read their paper as they type) and a carrying case. The entire kit weighs about 11 pounds and the case dimensions are 17 1/2 "x 10 1/2 "x 4". The Brailler does not have a automatic return and all line spacing must be done manually. The greatest width of paper it will accept is 11". We are currently selling the Brailler, case, reading table and blotter for $150.00. Check or money should accompany the order. If you would like to order the Erika-Picht, or would like more information, write to: National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, MD21230. (301)6599314.

Free Childrens Book

From UNESCO we have this announcement:

"...We still have copies of Red Thread Riddles, a fun book for children from 6 to 10 years of age. The text of this free book is in Braille and ordinary print, and there are simple embossed illustrations in colour which means that the book may be used by both sighted and visually impaired children. There are also copies available in French, Spanish, German, and Italian. Requests for copies should be addressed to the Managing Editor of the Unesco Braille Courier, Frederick H. Potter, OPI/COU, Unesco, 7, Place de Fontenoy, 75700 Paris, France.

Raised Line Coloring Book

This information comes from the Winter, 1985 Newsletter of a Oklahoma parents group called, Parents and Friends of the Visully Impaired, Inc.

Raised Line Coloring Book by Sally and Philip N. Mangold. The book has raised line geometric shapes and brailled color names. The pages are three-hole punched for a three ring binder. Available from: Exceptional Teaching Aids, 20102 Woodbine Avenue, Castro Valley, CA 94546 Cost: $7.25. Add $1.75 or 3% for the total purchase price for handling charges.

New Talking Watch

Aids Unlimited, Inc. recently sent us this announcement: "Aids Unlimited, Inc., introduces the TTA, new talking wristwatch. The TTA is easy to set and simple to operate without vision. It is dependable, attractively designed, economically priced, and comes complete with cassette and print instructions and batteries." The TAA talking wristwatch sells for $57.95. For more information contact: Aids Unlimited, Inc., 1101 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. VOICE/TTY (301) 659-0232.

A Child Of Great Potential

Here is a letter from a Canadian parent that, I believe, contains both a warning and a message of hope. The warning is about the terrible price blind children pay because of ignorance and myths about blindness. The message of hope is that, with common sense and a positive philosophy, we can "change what it means to be blind".

Val Caron, Ontario
February, 1984

It was with pleasure that I read the book, A Resource Guide For Parents And Educators Of Blind Children, by Doris Willoughby. The copies of Future Reflections that have followed since then have been equally well received and appreciated.

My daughter is now eleven years old. She is fully integrated in a local school and has learned to read and write Braille. Shelley is in grade three.

Six years ago when we adopted Shelley, she was a "potential unknown, high-risk adoption case." We took our daughter out of a small institution where she had lived all her life. She had spent most of her time confined to a large hospital size crib, with no stimulation and little human contact. Shelley was completely echolalic, was in diapers, ate only pureed baby foods which had to be fed to her.

In the past six years, this same child has become bilingual, is in her third year of piano lessons, skates and swims and rides a double bike and reads and writes and...is no longer a potential unknown but rather a child of great potential.

It has been very difficult and frustrating at times but it has also been extremely rewarding. Because of Shelley's past, we chose to NOT send her away to Brantford, to the school for the blind. Instead, we convinced our school board that they should and could meet Shelley's needs locally. This was no easy task for the Board because Shelley is the first and the only totally blind child in the elementary school system in all of the Sudbury area. In fact, Shelley is the guinea pig of the local school boards BUT, because of our insistence to have Shelley taught locally, the two other school boards are now in the process of preparing themselves for the arrival of a few children who were either being educated away from home or will be starting school soon. It is a major breakthrough for our area and I am very proud to have been a part of it.

I have worked alone through most of this and have never stopped looking and digging for more information and more guidance in this area of blindness...I have only received two copies of Future Reflections but I am already a dedicated reader...Thank you in advance for the excellent reading material, advice and encouragement that I will be receiving in the future.

Yours Truly,
Evelyn Roberge-Pellerin

Please Touch

This announcement comes from Gail Feld, Special Education Coordinator for the Queens Museum, New York, New York.

Please Touch, a sculptural exploration for the blind and visually impaired will be offered at The Queens Museum from the end of April through November, 1985. This innovative tactile program will enable blind and visually impaired participants of all ages to touch full scale, detail-perfect casts of Classical and Renaissance sculpture. Groups will receive a customized tour geared to meet their needs, learn sculptural techniques and a brief history of each included sculpture. A workshop will follow each tour, in which visitors will be able to sculpt their own work of art.

Blind and visually impaired groups can make reservations by calling The Queens Museum, Education Department (718) 5929700. Mondays--Fridays, 1-4 p.m.

Braille Research Newsletter

The following information comes from the Oklahoma Parents and Friends of visually Impaired, Inc. Newsletter , Winter 1985 issue.

Advances in technology have made Braille use and production a dynamic subject. Braille Research Newsletter contains articles covering a variety of subjects such as tactile diagrams, tele braille, Braille to print systems, etc. Braille or print copies are available from: The National Braille Press, Inc., 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA. 02115; for $6.00 each. Please specify print or Braille.

New NFB Parents Division

This exciting news comes from our NFB affiliate in Washington state:

On February ninth the hard work of Barbara Freeman and Denise Mackenstadt payed off. Approximately 60 parents and professional people gathered at Mark 205 for the first seminar for parents of blind children. The blind schools of Washington and Oregon and the Library for the Blind of Oregon provided exhibits of equipment used for writing, reading, and computers and resources to obtain literature.

It was a very exciting day with a good deal of interaction among parents and the speakers. The first Northwest Parents of Blind Children Division of the National Federation of the Blind was formed. Board members were elected; They are Elissa Daniel, President; Alan Schneider, First Vice-President; Nancy Bellerude, Treasure; Denise Mackenstadt, Secretary. There are presently 23 members.

Congenital Eye Defects

This information comes from the NFB publication, Blindness and Disorders of the Eye .

Congenital Eye Defects: The term congenital means "present at birth"; hence, this term includes some or all cases of many conditions listed under other headings. Some congenital eye conditions, such as retinoblastoma, are truly hereditary (passed on through the genes and chromosomes), while others are the result of a disease or deficiency during pregnancy--for instance, German measles (rubella).

Often the exact cause of a congenital defect is unknown. Following are examples of conditions which may be seen at birth as a "developmental deficiency" of unknown cause:

Aniridia --Absence or near-absence of the iris.

Microphthalmos --An abnormally small eye, usually with poor vision.

Megalophthalmos --An abnormally large eye present at birth.

Anophthalmos --Absence of the eyeball. (An artificial eye can usually be worn, and the eyelids are usually present.)

Coloboma --A cleft or slot in the iris and/or retina, as a result of incomplete growth.

Christian Resource

The following letter comes from Orlo and Mary Nichols of Maryland. They are parents of several blind children, blind themselves, and members of the NFB. They share this information:

Orlo and I have four adopted korean children all of whom have some degree of blindness. Our two older children are in a Christian school. The next to the youngest sees only light and can distinguish forms. ...We are Christians and wanted all of our children educated in a Christian atmosphere... so we began to call schools and different organizations trying to locate a school. One school told us that they would accept her after she learned to read Braille. Most schools refused. One day a friend of ours handed me ... the address of the National Christian School Education Association. We wrote them a letter telling them about our daughter. Shortly after this, I received a telephone call from them telling us about a school in Arizona which could help blind children who wanted to go to Christian schools. We called the school ... and they do help parents to mainstream children into Christian schools. They put the books into Braille without any cost to the school the child will attend unless the school chooses to make a contribution. They keep in touch with the school and the parents. I'd like to share this address with those parents who might be interested: Mr. Don White, Faith Christian School for the Blind, P.O. box 1048, Green Valley, Arizona 85614.

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