Future Reflections Fall 1995, Vol. 14 No. 3


Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

New Video
Myra Lesser, a former member of the NOPBC board asked that we announce the following:

Last year I produced a video called "Here I Come Ready or Not." It shows how the people in my son's school (classroom teacher, counselor, principal, nurse, P.E. teacher, other students, parents, etc.) adjusted to having a blind child in school with them. The video has been well received by teachers and parents all over the U.S.

Now I have produced another video called, "What's It Like to Be a Kid Who's Blind?" I made this video to show elementary school children what blind kids do. Again, my son Alex is the subject. In the video I present and encourage a positive view of blindness, and demonstrate that Alex's interests and abilities are similar to those of other kids his age. Alex is seen riding his bike, roller skating, swimming, reading (Braille), climbing at the playground, etc.

The video can be used with any elementary group of students to raise general awareness and understanding about blindness. It can also be used in a school where there is or soon will be a blind child in attendance.

The video is 18 minutes long and is best suited for elementary school-age children. The video is $25 and can be ordered from: Myra Adler Lesser, 137 Lesser Lane, Chicora, PA 16025. Make checks or money orders payable to Myra Adler Lesser.

Activity Book Available
Ramona Walholf (see photo below) sent us the following announcement:

Julie and Brandon, Our Blind Friends is an educational activities book produced by the National Federation of the Blind of Idaho.

This book provides a unique approach to helping educate the general public about blindness, and those who have seen it have loved it! The book has twenty-four pictures to color, seven Braille activity pages, descriptions and pictures of tools and techniques used by the blind, a short story by President Maurer, and more! It is designed to be used by sighted children from kindergarten to middle-school age. However, we have found that many adults enjoy these activities, also.

Individual books sell for $4.00 plus $1.50 shipping. Twenty-five books or more may be purchased for $3.00 each, plus shipping charges of $5.00 for each group of 25 books. Make checks or money orders payable to National Federation of the Blind of Idaho, and send them to 1301 South Capitol Blvd., Suite C, Boise, ID 83706. Be sure to tell us where to ship your books.

Resource Information
Do you want to buy a popular book on tape for a blind child? Are you in the market for a Braille printer or other Braille-related technology? Have you decided to learn Braille but don't know where to find a teaching manual?

The Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) regularly publishes reference circulars and bibliographies which can help you locate these, and other blindness-related materials, supplies, equipment, and literature.

The reference circulars and bibliographies listed below are available free on request from: Reference Section, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20542

Reference Circulars:
* Assistive Devices for Reading, 1993
* Bibles, Other Scriptures, Liturgies, and Hymnals in Special Media, 1993
* Blindness and Visual Impairments: National Information and Advocacy Organizations, 1990
* Braille Literacy: Resources for Instruction, Writing Equipment, and Supplies, 1994
* Building a Library Collection on Blindness and Physical Disabilities: Basic Materials and Resources, 1990
* Deaf-Blindness: National Organizations and Resources, 1993
* Guide to Spoken-Word Recordings: Popular Literature, 1995
* Information for Handicapped Travelers, 1987
* Learning Disabilities: National Information and Advocacy Organizations, 1990
* Parents' Guide to the Development of Preschool Children with Disabilities: Resources and Services, 1992
* Physical Disabilities: National Organizations and Resources, 1994
* Reference Books in Special Media, 1982; Addendum, 1987
* Sports, Outdoor Recreation, and Games for Visually and Physically Impaired Individuals, 1991

* Accessibility: A Selective Bibliography, 1994
* Assistive Technology: A Selective Bibliography, 1992
* Disability Awareness and Changing Attitudes, 1991
* Library and Information Services to Persons with Disabilities, 1989

VI Teachers Fail to Make the Grade
On Sunday, January, 15, 1995, the Detroit News and Free Press carried the following headline on its front page: "When our teachers don't make the grade." As might be expected, the article was about the competency of Michigan teachers.

Apparently since 1992 all new teachers in the state have been required to take a basic skills test and tests in each subject they plan to teach in order to get a Michigan teaching certificate.

The article showed a chartCa report cardCof the best and worst results of subject area tests in 1993-94. Sadly, but predictably (so parents of blind children in Michigan tell me), the teachers of the visually impaired head the list for worst scores. fifteen new teachers took the visually impaired subject area test. 40% of them failed it.

Among the top scorers were teachers of the learning disabled and emotionally impaired. 98% of teachers in both these categories passed their tests.

Extended Year/Summer School for Disabled Students
Late in 1994 a federal judge in Maryland made a ruling that loosens the guidelines and opens up the possibility of yearlong schooling (extended year services) to thousands of disabled students.

The Maryland Disability Law Center sued the school district of Montgomery County in 1991 on the behalf of 12,000 Montgomery students with physical or mental disabilities.

According to The Washington Post staff writer Amy Goldstein ("Disabled Students Win Battle for Yearlong School," Friday, December 30, 1994): "The lawsuit contended that Montgomery has violated federal disability law by offering summer schooling only to disabled children shown to be likely to regress in their skills between school years. Federal law requires looser rules, the plaintiffs argued."

Apparently U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis agreed. He ordered the school district to provide extended school year services to several additional categories of disabled children.

"The categories," continued Ms. Goldstein in her article, "include youngsters who make less progress than expected during the regular school year, who are on the verge of a major breakthrough in their skills, who exhibit disruptive behavior that might worsen over the summer, or who have other special circumstances that the judge did not define."

The order further enhanced the role the parents have in helping make the decision about extended school year services, and compelled the school district to make the decision earlier in the year.

1996 Braille Calendars
AAF Braille Calendars
Once again the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults (AAF) has FREE Braille calendars available. These Braille only, pocket-size calendars are available upon request from American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, Braille Calendar Request, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, phone 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. eastern time (410) 659-9314.

Winnie-the-Pooh's 1996 Calendar.
From the National Braille Press comes this announcement:
This delightful print-Braille 1996 Winnie-the-Pooh children's calendar features poems, pictures, and vignettes on the top half of the calendar layout, along with the traditional calendar days of the week on the bottom half.

This is the same Pooh calendar you can buy at your local bookstore, but the calendar face itself, containing the days and dates, are embossed with Braille right over the print. The poems and quotes are Brailled on transparent plastic sheets so the whole family can enjoy the "Best Bear in All the World." To order this print-Braille book please send $7.99 to National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115. Calendars will ship in December.

Toy Helpline
We have been asked to print the following announcement:

The National Lekotek Center is pleased to announce the Lekotek Toy Resource Helpline, 1-800-366-PLAY (TTY 708-328-0001). Made possible by Toy Manufacturers of America, the Lekotek Toy Resource Helpline addresses an important need: to facilitate successful and rewarding play experiences for children with disabilities. Individuals can reach the Helpline by calling Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Central Time). A certified Lekotek leader is available to answer questions on toys and creative play ideas for children with disabilities.

Little Angel Health Network

We have been asked to print the following announcement:

As a parent of a special child your role in managing your child's health is crucial, for nobody cares more or knows more about your child than you. In order to do your best for your child, you need to know everything about his or her condition. The Little Angle Health Network was created to give parents access to the latest medical information. Our staff scans a database of hundreds of medical publications containing the latest research and answers specific questions and concerns in a customized confidential report. And best of all, in language you can understand-not confusing medical terms. The reports are not meant to be used as diagnostic tools or to replace a doctor's advice. Please share the information with your child's physicians, therapists, and teachers.

We will also help you network with other parents whose children have similar conditions. For more information write to Little Angel Health Network, P.O. Box 644, Ringwood, New Jersey 07456.

New Seedlings Catalog
We have been asked to print the following announcement:

SEEDLINGS Braille books for children announces that the new 1996 catalog is now available! This catalog contains over 230 low-cost Braille books for children ages 1-14! Thirty-two new books were added this year, including: (for pre-schoolers) print-and-Braille books with "sound buttons" to push; (for beginning readers) easy-readers such as Daisy-Head Mayzie by Dr. Seuss; (for older children) award-winning fiction such as Missing May by Cynthia Rylant; and selections from popular series such as The Baby-Sitter's Club, The Boxcar Children, and Goosebumps.

Seedlings is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to providing high-quality, low-cost Braille books for children. To receive a free catalog or for more information call 800-777-8552, or write Seedlings, P.O. Box 2395, Livonia, Michigan 48151-0395.

Musical Sponges
We have been asked to publish the following announcement:

Steiga Limited announces the totally water-safe musical sponge. They are new in America, but already a proven success in Europe. The sponges come in assorted shapes. Each plays a different tune. We have dinosaurs, teddy bears, whales, pigs, ducks, hands, hearts, and feet ÿand much, much more. Priced to sell, these musical sponges are designed to attract buyers of all ages. The average size is 8"x5"x2". We manufacture this product in Canada but ship from Niagara Falls, New York. For more information contact Steiga Limited, 1815 Meyerside Drive, Unit 6, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5T 1G3, phone (905) 670-9009, Fax (905) 670-1810.

Books Aloud, Inc.
We have been asked to print the following announcement:

Books Aloud, Inc. produces and provides unabridged free loan books on cassettes for children and adults who are blind, visually impaired, physically disabled, retarded, hospitalized and unable to read, shut-ins, and learning disabled.

Over 6,000 titles are available for disabled readers of all ages. A catalog is available for all clients. New listings appear in quarterly newsletters. For an information packet which includes an application and a disability verification form write to Books Aloud, Inc., P.O. Box 5731, San Jose, California 95150-5731. Cassettes are available from our office in the upper basement of the Martin Luther King Main Library, 180 West San Carlos Street, San Jose, California 95113-2096, phone (408) 277-4878 or (408) 277-4839.

Kudos for Maryland's Braille Bill
The following item is reprinted from The Braille Spectator, the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland:

Joanie Reisfeld is a vision teacher in Montgomery County. Her comments were posted on NFBNET, the NFB's electronic bulletin board, on June 14. This is what she said:

Hi guys. In Montgomery County we are offering the opportunity for our visually impaired students to learn Braille each year at the annual review conference. Since the Braille Bill in Maryland is now law, it has opened up this opportunity to many kids we might not have considered in the past.

I had the experience this year of teaching a low-vision student of mine Braille. In two years she went from not knowing any Braille to reading on the eighth-grade level. She is now reading independent reading books, taking them on baby-sitting jobs, and has her lunch menu in Braille so she doesn't have to ask her mom what is for lunch everyday in school.

This is a kid who depended greatly on a CCTV in every class at school. Large print was never large enough. I could ramble on forever!!! Anyway, I am grateful that all the different organizations in the field are working together toward these important issues.

We have been asked to print the following announcement:

Introducing Tack-Tiles7 Braille SystemCcreating new pathways to Braille Literacy. System components: 320 Tack-Tiles7 [toy-like tile/blocks with raised locking bumps in the configuration of Braille letters and signs]; 5 each of 64 different Braille tile configurations including 5 with smooth blank surfaces; 4 palm-sized slates approximately 5x7 inches; and 4 worksheet-sized slates approximately 10x15 inches.

Tack-Tiles(R) are now available at a cost of $250.00 plus $11.75 for shipping and handling within the U.S. Prices subject to change without notice. Manufactured and distributed exclusively by: Los Olvidados Ltd., P.O. Box 475, Plaistow, New Hampshire 03865-0475, phone (603) 382-1904, Fax (603) 382-1748. U.S. patent nos. 4,880,384 and 5,391,078. Canadian patent no. 136863. Other patents pending.

Tactile Greeting Cards
We have been asked to print the following announcement:

Creative Adaptations for Learning (CAL), designers of innovative legible tactile illustrations has put together a delightful set of tactually illustrated notecards suitable for all occasions. Your personal message may be Brailled, printed, or typed inside the attractively illustrated notecard. Each 5x7 picture is embossed on white plastic and framed on a white card stock backing for durability and easy Braille writing. CAL-tac notecards with matching envelopes are $2.50 each, or 10 for $18.50. They come in the following designs: snowperson ("Season's Greetings"), 6 balloons ("Congratulations"), flowers in flower pot, three hearts, rainbow over duck pond, waterfall between two mountains, butterfly, moonlight sailing, and bowling ball and 10 pins. Add 10% shipping and handling. Contact Creative Adaptations for Learning (CAL), 38 Beverly Road, Great Neck, New York, 11021, (516) 466-9143.

Computer Games
Recently I received the following information from Bill McIver. Mr. McIver had been my son's Braille teacher for a brief time before he left Maryland for the attractions of Alaska.

After doing some research with vendors and organizations I have discovered that there are a few programs which were written by and for the blind. These programs are all text-based programs. These are the titles: "Baseball: The World Series Baseball Game and Information System," "Guess the Capitals," "Lost Treasures of Infocom," (volumes I and II); "Atlantic City Black Jack," "Casino," "Destination Mars," "Dodge City Desperado's," "Run for President;" and "Sounds Like" (a crossword style game). These are all IBM compatible programs and range in price from $15 to $50, with $20 being the average. These software programs may be purchased through Ann Morris Enterprises, Inc. 1 (800) 454-3175 and/or through Ferguson Enterprises (605) 546-2366.

Alas, I have found only one game which may be accessed via an Apple computer. The A-Talk Games is a collection of four games including Trivia Talk, Fortune Talk, Password Talk, and Jeopardy Talk. These games are contained on one ProDos disk and costs $35 and are available through A-Talk, 3015 South Tyler Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72204, (501) 666-6552.

I continue my search for computer software games which are accessible to blind individuals. At the present time, I am especially interested in Apple or Macintosh based games. If you know of any game style programs which may be accessible to persons who are blind, please contact Bill McIver with the Vision Impaired Program at the Special Education Service Agency, 2217 East Tudor, Suite 1, Anchorage, Alaska 99507, (907) 562-7372.

National Federation Of The Blind Materials Center
Talking Memo-micro chip tapeless player/recorder: suitable for recording telephone numbers, recipes or reminders, uses 4 AG13 batteries (included) AIE04R now just $12!
Advance Talking Travel Clock: 3 x 2.5 inch clock with a female voice includes an alarm and an hourly report function, uses 3 AA batteries (included) AIB28T now just $10!
Clapper Talking Key Chain/clock: small key chain announces the time when button is depressed or when you clap your hands, uses 2 A46 batteries (included) AIB03T now just $15!

Checkers: black on white board (12 x 12), checkers are black wooden squares & red wooden rounds...AIG01G $20
Chess: same board as above chessmen are round or flat tops...AIG02G $25
Combination Checkers/chess: one board with both checkers and chess men...AIGXXG $40
Dominoes: white with black raised dots includes both print and Braille instructions...AIG11G $15
Magnetic Backgammon: white magnetic board (14 x 14) includes print and Braille instructions...AIG00G $18
Magnetic Dominoes: white magnetic board, white dominoes with raised black dot markings includes both print and Braille instructions...AIG03G $12
Ringing Athletic Balls: rubber athletic balls have a jingle bell inside that rings when ball is in motion. Same size and construction as standard athletic balls. Basketball AIG08G $16. Soccerball AIG13G $16. Volleyball AIG12G $16

Include $3 S/H fee for a one item order. Call for cost of shipping for orders of more than one item. Send orders to National Federation of the Blind, Materials Center, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, (410) 659-9314. Calls accepted Monday through Friday 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. eastern time. Payment can be made by check, money order, Discover, MasterCard or VISA. C.O.D. orders are accepted for an extra fee. Include the item number and shipping fee with order. Please call for RUSH orders or any other questions!