What Is Normal Anyway? | Michael Hingson

I have always regarded myself as a pretty normal kind of guy. I am 64 years old and have been married for half my life. I have a Masters degree in Physics from the University of California at Irvine which I received in the usual timeframe. Following in the footsteps of most normal people after college I obtained a full-time job which for me happen to be in sales. I sold high tech computer related products for over 25 years. Sounds pretty normal so far? Continue reading

Help! My Baby is Blind!

Every expectant or new parent anticipates getting only the most “perfect baby in the world.”  If the newborn child looks in any way different, or if the doctors find “something wrong” with the child, all joy and enthusiasm can come crashing down around the new parents and their families.

A perfect example of this is what happens to any mother who gives birth to a child which happens to be born blind.  In my case, for example, the blindness was not diagnosed until four months after I was born, and the blindness was not technically there at birth, but it was caused by me being given a pure Oxygen environment right after birth.  You see, I was born two months prematurely and the Oxygen-rich environment was necessary in order to keep me alive.  The condition which caused my blindness is known as Retinopathy O Prematurity.  Blindness is not always the result of a pure Oxygen environment for newborns, but it can be a condition that results. Continue reading

Video on fair wages for workers with Disabilities

Dear Fellow Federationists:

We wanted to share a video with you that supports our call for fair wages for workers with disabilities. We asked American workers at an event outside Johns Hopkins Hospital what they thought of the fact that Americans with disabilities can be paid less than the minimum wage. Their reactions are powerful. Continue reading

NASA Seeking Summer Interns for 2014

To Prospective NASA Student Interns with Disabilities,

NASA is looking to increase the number of students with disabilities pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through our internship programs. Disability means both physical and mental disabilities. NASA has a two-percent hiring goal for employment of people with disabilities and internships are a good way to get experience. Students can apply for summer 2014 internships right this very minute! The deadline for submitting applications is Saturday, March 1, 2014, and we will begin extending offers to students as early as Thursday, January 16, 2014. Continue reading

Are We Making Real Progress?

As I travel the world and speak about Disabilities and Inclusion I am often asked if I think we are better off today than when I was born.  “In some ways we are”, I state.  “Technology, for example, has made our lives better, but the social acceptance of persons with disabilities has not progressed nearly as far as gender acceptance or racial inclusion.

 If we ever needed proof of our lack of social acceptance by mainstream humanity, please read the following. 

“National Federation of the Blind Comments on Belgian Euthanasia of Deaf Men Losing Sight”

For Local (Barr)Baltimore, Maryland (January 15, 2013): The National Federation of the Blind, the largest organization of blind people in the United States with over 50,000 members, including many deaf-blind individuals, commented today on the state-sanctioned death by lethal injection of deaf twins in Belgium.  Upon learning that they were also going blind, the deaf twins sought and were granted euthanasia. Continue reading

Avoid the Holiday Hassle

National Federation of The Blind

Are you tired of spending hours shopping and waiting in long lines to make those special holiday purchases? Thankfully, there is a quick and easy way to cut out the stress of the season.

The Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar is a unique and beautiful gift that benefits the National Federation of the Blind’s “Braille Readers are Leaders” campaign, a national initiative created to double the number of blind children learning Braille by 2015, improve certification standards for teachers of Braille, and conduct innovative programs to support Braille literacy. Continue reading

Giving Thanks For Team Spirit

At this special time of year when we take inventory of the freedoms afforded to us in the great nation, I am particularly thankful for Team Spirit in America.  I survived 9/11 because of teamwork, so for me, as a national public speaker and “expert” on teamwork, I live it, breathe it, share it and teach it.   However, two recent events caused me to pause and reflect on the health of our nation’s attitude towards teamwork.

The first event was the announcement that President Obama was awarded the Nobel peace prize.  The second more subtle part to the national dialogue on teamwork came with the announcement that Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Brett Farve “has now beaten every NFL team.”  What do these two events have in common?  In both cases, golden opportunities were missed to highlight “team spirit” and to enhance a greater feeling of unity in this country during such a critical time in our nation’s history. Continue reading

How many children in America are not taught to read?

The answer is 90 percent if the children are blind. That represents 52,070 students who are not learning to read. Most Americans are shocked to hear this statistic. And we should be.

There are three primary reasons for this educational crisis:

1. There are not enough Braille teachers.

2. Some teachers of blind children have not received enough training.

3. Many educators do not fully understand the significance of Braille instruction.

Continue reading

2009 Louise Braille Silver Dollar Makes History

19th Century Innovation Remains an Integral Part of Our Future

Thursday, March 26, 2009 marks a defining moment in American History: the launch of the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar taking place at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. The 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar commemorates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, inventor of the Braille system, a vital tool used by the blind to read and write. This coin is the focal point of a national effort to bring awareness to the Braille literacy crisis. Continue reading