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

SOME THOUGHTS ON BEING A DISABLED PERSON N TODAY’S AMERICA

As a blind person living and working in this wonderful country I have come to the conclusion that the Internet has quickly become one of the greatest tools I have the fortune to use. It gives me access to many things previously only available to those who can see. With the Internet I can conduct extensive research, go shopping independently, communicate with friends and colleagues, and even take the occasional survey in order to inform some unnamed and mysterious pollster about my opinions on this or that.

Earlier today I decided to put a little adventure in my life and answer an invitation to take an online survey. In this case I knew the source of the survey and was expecting it. In the course of answering the numerous questions on a wide variety of subjects I was asked my employment status. Continue reading