What is the UPBC?

The purpose of the organization is to create a climate of opportunity for blind children in home, school and society; to provide information and support to parents of blind children; to facilitate the sharing of experiences and concerns among parents of blind children; to develop and expand resources available to parents and their blind children; to help parents of blind children gain understanding and perspective through partnership and contact with blind adults; and to function as an integral part of the National Federation of the Blind and the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children in their ongoing efforts to eliminate discrimination and prejudice against the blind and to achieve for the blind security, equality and opportunity.

The membership is open to parents of blind children, educators of blind children and others interested in promoting the purposes of this organization.

We are a division of the National Federation of the Blind which is the largest organization of the blind in the country. Refer to: http://www.nfb.org/

Utah Parents of Blind Children is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

Friday, August 15, 2008

Print, Braille, or Both??

In a landmark study by Dr. Ruby Ryles, she found that children who grew up reading Braille had a 44 percent unemployment rate as adults compared to a 77 percent unemployment rate among low-vision children reading print. Research Study: Early Braille Education Vital, (Ryles, R.) Future Reflections, Special Issue, 2004. http://nfb.org/legacy/fr/fr14/fr04se22.htm
Staggering statistics confirm this trend continues year after year. In 2007, there were 57, 696 legally blind students registered, and 10% (5,626) were registered as Braille readers. http://www.aph.org/about/ar2007.pdf

While only 10 percent of blind people read Braille, as many as 90 percent of employed blind people are Braille readers. According to the Louis Braille Bicentennial–Braille Literacy Commemorative Coin Act, P.L. 109-257 (109th Congress), “Braille literacy aids the blind in taking responsible and self-sufficient roles in society, such as employment: while 70 percent of the blind are unemployed, 85 percent of the employed blind are Braille-literate.”

So, why all the statistics? The hub-bub? Does your child need Braille? Print? or Both?

Let's start with the law. iii) In the case of a child who is blind or visually impaired, provide for instruction in Braille and the use of Braille unless the IEP Team determines, after an evaluation of the child's reading and writing skills, needs, and appropriate reading and writing media (including an evaluation of the child's future needs for instruction in Braille or the use of Braille), that instruction in Braille or the use of Braille is not appropriate for the child;
Section 300.324(2)(iii) Development, review, and revision of IEP.(2) Consideration of special factors.

What does this mean? If you have a blind or visually impaired child, they should be provide Braille instruction UNLESS there is a thorough evaluation (not a statement or opinion) is in their file proving it is not appropriate.

Some blind/vi children are given an introduction to Braille. This is not instruction.
Some blind/vi children are told, "let's wait and see" what happens. This is not looking at the future needs of a child.

Some blind/vi children can read enlarged print--but their eyes tire after 30 minutes of reading. Do you know your child's print and Braille reading fluency?

Some blind/children can read enlarged print, but their nose is often "inked" from reading so close. Braille is a tool that can be used when giving presentations or public speaking, rather than having to memorize or seeing a paper in front of the presenters face.

Assessment of reading and writing needs should carefully consider how a student will function in upcoming years as print size diminishes and reading demands increase. The appropriate reading and writing media must provide for effective personal communication and full participation in community, vocational, and social settings

I would love to hear your opinions? Is your child successfully learning Print, Braille or Both? If you are an adult- are you successfully reading Print, Braille or Both? Is it working?