[Greater-baltimore] FW: NFB Imagineering Our Future: All I Want for Christmas Is Braille

Danielsen, Chris CDanielsen at nfb.org
Mon Dec 29 14:19:12 UTC 2008

Christopher S. Danielsen
Public Relations Specialist
National Federation of the Blind


From: Mark Riccobono [mailto:JerniganInstitute at nfb.org] 
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2008 6:11 PM
To: Danielsen, Chris
Subject: NFB Imagineering Our Future: All I Want for Christmas Is

 Graphic Logo: NFB Jernigan Institute
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Imagineering Our Future

Issue 8 

December 22, 2008	

	Message from the Executive Director

Mark, Austin, & Melissa Riccobono
 Photo: The Riccobono

	It was only eleven years ago that I first experienced the
Christmas holiday as a Braille reader.  I have been legally blind for
all of my life and had been struggling to read print since early grade
school.  I learned to work hard and pushed through many years of print
reading that was slow and frustrating.  I remember the difference I felt
when I got to Christmas 1997.  I was an intern in the Walt Disney World
College Program and had learned Braille the previous summer.  For the
first time, I had the freedom of managing my lists of people I wanted to
send cards to, and buy gifts and do good deeds for, with ease and
efficiency.  I could quickly write down my reflections from the year and
my resolutions for the year ahead.  I could fully enjoy reading the many
wonderful Christmas stories without the eye fatigue and frustratingly
slow pace I was used to in print.  I had more independence and
confidence, and Braille was the reason.
	As we prepare for the 2008 Christmas holiday and the two
hundredth anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille (January 4, 2009), I
reflect on what a blessing Braille has been in my life.  This thought is
a strange one-after all, shouldn't we expect literacy to be among the
most basic things that each of us has the opportunity to learn and
enjoy? Yet, for the blind, the literacy that many take for granted is
not available.  That basic right and powerful tool of independence is
frequently a struggle to gain access to because of the low expectations
and misunderstanding that exist.
	In this holiday season, I ask you to join hands with me, my wife
Melissa, and the other members of the National Federation of the Blind
as we commit ourselves to changing the Braille literacy trend in this
country.  The NFB's Braille Readers are Leaders literacy campaign
reflects the same feelings of hope, love, and united purpose that are
found in the holiday season.  As my family celebrates Christmas and I
read the Braille copy of the church readings and our favorite stories, I
am sure I will be thinking about the work we have to do so that Braille
will be viewed as equal to print in every way that matters.
	Please add Braille to your list of new year's resolutions.
Whether you plan to promote it, learn it, help someone else learn it, or
buy the NFB Louis Braille Commemorative Coin, we can make a difference
together in 2009.
	Best wishes to you and your family.  Have a safe and joyous
holiday season, and be sure to ring in 2009 by giving a toast to Braille
and the accomplishments of the National Federation of the Blind.
	 Graphic: Signature of Mark
	Mark A. Riccobono, Executive Director, NFB Jernigan Institute 


In this issue:

		What's New
		Braille Initiative
		Straight Talk About Vision Loss
		Technology Talk
		From the Jacobus tenBroek Library
		Independence Market
		Parents of Blind Children
		Spotlight on the Imagination Fund
		Upcoming Events


Featured NFB News

 Photo: Lifesized nutcracker holding a long white
In this holiday season, quickly followed by the two hundredth birthday
of Louis Braille, we reflect on a mother's true story of twin daughters,
one a print reader, and the other, Braille.

Here's an excerpt: 

"When Christmas season came last year and the girls began to write their
letters to Santa, there was a serious dilemma in the household. Macy
insisted on writing her letter in Braille, which was her method of
communication and therefore not unusual to her. Madison was very
concerned that there would be a terrible problem-she was sure Santa
could not read Braille! Macy was crushed as Madison continued to insist
there was no way Santa would be able to read Macy's letter.

"A heartbroken Macy came to her father and me for reassurance that
Madison was wrong and that Santa did indeed know Braille. We tried our
best, but Macy was not convinced that Santa would be able to read her
letter and feared that therefore Christmas would be a disappointment.

"Macy patiently waited for a response from Santa, wondering if Madison
was correct and hoping she was wrong. Would Santa really be able to read
her letter?"

Learn the answer to "Macy's Question



 Photo: Marc Maurer and girl reading
SAVE THE DATE!  The NFB Jernigan Institute will hold an early childhood
conference May 8-9, 2009, in Baltimore, Maryland.  This conference is
primarily open to those parents of blind children ages birth to seven
who live in the Mid-Atlantic region.  However, other interested families
are welcome to attend.  More information will be available in the coming
weeks including how to register for this exciting event.  

Learn more about the NFB Jernigan Institute's Early Childhood Education
Have you ever wanted to build and launch a rocket?  Are you interested
in learning about forensics?  Or do you have an interest in journalism?
The possibilities are plentiful at the NFB Youth Slam
!  Two hundred blind and low vision students from all across the country
will gather at the University of Maryland, College Park, for this
five-day adventure that will engage, inspire, and encourage the next
generation of blind youth to consider careers falsely believed to be
impossible for the blind.  Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity!
Apply to be a mentor or student participant today!  
Explore. Discover. Evolve.


Braille Initiative

You may remember that Terry Bradshaw, Hall of Fame NFL quarterback and
current football analyst and co-host of FOX NFL Sunday, has lent his
support to the Braille Readers are Leaders
literacy campaign by becoming a National Ambassador for Braille
Literacy. In Terry Bradshaw Speaks Out on Braille Literacy
, he shares his belief in its importance. The campaign welcomes another
new National Ambassador-Mike Hingson, World Trade Center survivor and
internationally acclaimed public speaker.  With the help of these
influential Americans, we will double the number of school-age children
reading Braille by 2015.

You can help by keeping up on the NFB's Braille literacy efforts.  Visit
 Graphic: Twitter
watch our new Braille Literacy video, Braille: Unlocking the Code
; and join the mailing list
to receive e-mailed updates on the campaign and the upcoming sale of the
NFB-Braille Commemorative Coin in 2009. Now you can also receive Braille
Literacy campaign updates via the social networking site Twitter.  Join
Twitter to stay connected to the campaign
; when Twitter asks you, "What are you doing?" you can reply, "Making
literacy a reality for all blind Americans."  The NFB-Braille
Commemorative Coin will be released for sale from the U.S. Mint in the
spring of 2009.  Watch here and on the home page of Braille.org for the
exact date.  You can download a PDF gift card
now to give a Braille coin for the holidays.  

The Jernigan Institute will be hosting a new seminar entitled "Future
Reflections in Braille Research."  Recognized researchers in the field
of Braille will be invited to a two-day seminar in the near future to
collaborate on an agenda for advocacy research, build relationships, and
advocate for selected research questions in the field.

Next is the final mini-lesson on Braille of the year (adapted from the
Instructional Manual for Braille Transcribing):

Braille Mini-lesson 6: Test Yourself! Answers

Braille is a system for reading and writing by touch. Its characters are
formed of six embossed dots within a Braille cell. Below is an
illustration of the alphabet in simulated Braille:

 Image of 26 letters of Braille

Last month we challenged you to decipher the following phrases written
in the Braille code.  (SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading now if you want to
decode them-the answers are printed later in this issue of Imagineering
Our Future.)

 Image: Simbraille using whole


Straight Talk About Vision Loss 

The Straight Talk About Vision Loss
team presents Episode 21
of the online video series.  The Jernigan Institute executive director
talks with Tom and Eileen Ley about the resources available to people
experiencing the complications of diabetes.  Eileen directs the NFB's
diabetes initiatives, which include the Voice of the Diabetic
quarterly publication.  Tom, diabetic since childhood, volunteers for
the Diabetes Action Network
, a division of the National Federation of the Blind.  If you or someone
you love is diabetic, learn how to live well with diabetes as a blind
and subscribe to the Voice


Product and Access Technology Talk

The International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind (IBTC)
is a one-of-a-kind resource for Braille. The IBTC offers any visitor the
opportunity to try out any embosser or Braille display sold in the
United States. There is simply nowhere else where you can make an
appointment to see whether you prefer the Norwegian or the Belgian-one
of only thirty-eight worldwide-high speed embosser. There is nowhere
else where you can try out every kind of Braille display, from twelve to
eighty-four cells, and decide which one is best suited to your needs. As
the IBTC also hosts a number of Braille translation software packages,
visitors can go through the entire process, from creating a file or
importing a Word document into a translation program to embossing it.
Whether you are a student looking for a Braille display to use in
college, an employee or manager looking for the best desktop embosser
for your office, an organization that wants to put out a Braille
magazine, or just an interested party looking to learn more about
Braille, the IBTC Access Technology team can answer your questions like
no one else.


>From the tenBroek Library

 Photo: Louis

Season's Greetings from the Jacobus tenBroek Library-Christmas is a good
time to remember Louis Braille, since this season leads directly to the
anniversaries both of Braille's birth on January 4, 1809, and his death,
only forty-two years and two days later.  Braille, as a teenage student,
lived in the dank Paris building that housed the National Institute for
Blind Youth until 1843.  There he invented the Braille Code; it was also
there that Braille contracted tuberculosis.

Braille was a teacher living the Institute's new building when, in early
December 1851, his lung hemorrhaged.  He knew his end was near.

On his deathbed Louis Braille demonstrated the intelligence and concern
for other people that characterized him throughout his life.  He
displayed the best of what we think of as "Christmas spirit."  Having
accumulated a little money and having lived frugally, Braille had lent
some money to people he knew to be in need.  He had a head for business
and kept good account of what he was owed, but as he lay dying he made a
point of forgiving his debts, while making certain his widowed mother
was taken care of.

It was this same capacity to think clearly and this same caring nature
that allowed Braille to create the single most important advance for the
blind in human history-the ability to read and write.

The Jacobus tenBroek Library
, the library on blindness that belongs to the organized blind of
America, is pleased to celebrate the life of the man who brought
literacy to blind people around the world.  Happy 200th, Louis Braille!


Independence Market


As part of the Braille Readers are Leaders Braille literacy campaign,
the NFB just released a new Braille alphabet card.  We will distribute
this card far and wide to spread the news about the vital role Braille
plays in enhancing the Independence of blind people of all ages.  If you
would like to assist in raising the public's awareness of Braille's
importance, you can request our new Braille alphabet cards
, in packages of one hundred, directly from our Independence Market.
Please e-mail the Independence Market
<mailto:IndependenceMarket at nfb.org>  or call (410) 659-9314, extension
2421, for orders over five hundred cards.  

If you would like to learn more about the history of Braille, you might
be interested in Pamela Lorimer's book Reading By Touch: Trials,
Battles, and Discoveries
, available in print and Braille from the Independence Market. This
volume tells the story of how present-day Braille came into being and
describes the several codes that evolved prior to the acceptance of
Braille, as well as the major triumphs and sometimes bitter altercations
that arose surrounding this area, all set against the backdrop of the
attitudes and events of the time.

If you are a parent or educator of a blind child, you may wish to learn
more about how to produce the myriad of classroom materials in Braille
for your student.  Carol Castellano and Dawn Kosman's book, The Bridge
to Braille: Reading and School Success for the Young Blind Child
, will answer many of your questions.  This practical, step-by-step
guide will show parents and teachers how to help blind children progress
from early literacy experiences all the way to full participation in the
classroom.  This book is available in print, Braille, and as electronic
text from the Independence Market.  

You may know a blind adult who has not yet had the opportunity to learn
Braille.  The Independence Market sells several Braille curricula for
blind adults: Beginning Braille for Adults, The McDuffy Reader, and the
Braille Series
.  We also have Braille quick reference guides for the literary Braille,
Nemeth, and computer Braille codes

Once you and your friends and family know some Braille, you may want to
play these games that have been adapted with Braille
: a Sudoku board game, Megaword (a board game similar to Scrabble), and
Bingo cards, as well as Braille playing cards (including Uno). 


Parents of Blind Children

In the third weekend of January a workgroup will be having their second
meeting here at the Institute with a goal of developing a Braille
assessment tool that is in full compliance with the Braille provision of
IDEA, which requires that Braille be the default medium for blind and
low vision students. This is a collaboration between the NFB Jernigan
Institute and Affiliate Action teams, in partnership with the NOPBC
and Dr. Edward Bell, representing the Professional Development and
Research Institute on Blindness
at Louisiana Tech University.


Spotlight on the Imagination Fund

 Photo: Montana campers erect a

The Imagination Fund
provides support for the outreach efforts of local Federation chapters
and affiliates throughout the United States and ensures the research,
technology, and education programs and initiatives of the National
Federation of the Blind (NFB) Jernigan Institute. In this space, we will
spotlight projects funded by donations to the Imagination Fund. 

This past summer Camp Eureka! natural history program in Montana engaged
blind children 
 Mentor Trevor Attenberg leads campers along the nature trail
and junior and adult blind mentors in hands-on activities investigating
the area's native plants and animals, practicing blindness skills,
learning wilderness survival skills, hiking, canoeing, camping, erecting
a tipi, and using technology to detect the chatter and echolocation
sounds of bats. Read the full report about the Camp Eureka! summer
, providing blind youth with new challenges and experiences and
connecting them with positive, strong role models to keep them moving

 Image: Rainbow section

Answers to Braille Mini-lesson (above):	
movie rerun	 bees hum	
safe bet	 twelve dolls	
ants make anthills	 jump rope	
blue umbrella	 kettledrums boom	
no vacancy	 all alike	
walnut pancakes	 cute quadruplets	
agreeably nice	 flea bite	
yule log	 obsolete auto	
zigzag road	 idiotic idea	
spicy salami	 beetles scurry	
club bylaws	 add two plus two	
torn cuff	 aerial view	
free giveaway	 wise old man	


NFB Upcoming Events

November 1, 2008-January 4, 2009 Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest
time period.  Contestants compete for recognition and prizes. 

January 4, 2009 Louis Braille's 200th Birthday. One hundred
commemorative Braille literacy events
will be hosted by NFB members nationwide.

January 5, 2009 Deadline to make Washington Seminar hotel reservations.
Call (303) 778-1130, extension 219, or e-mail Lisa Bonderson
<mailto:lbonderson at cocenter.org> .  

January 8, 2009 Last day to file a claim under Target Web site
settlement, for blind individuals who had difficulty accessing
Target.com while in California. See the settlement Web site
for instructions.

February 8, 2009 Washington Seminar
Great Gathering-In meeting, 5:00 p.m.

February 8-11, 2009 Washington Seminar, Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C
Street SW, Washington, D.C.  2009 legislative agenda and fact sheets
will be on the Washington Seminar Web page
early in January.

March 1, 2009 Student
and Mentor and Volunteer
applications due for the 2009 NFB Youth Slam

March 7, 2009 National Center for Mentoring Excellence
Career Fair for Ohio and Texas mentors and mentees.

March 14, 2009 National Center for Mentoring Excellence
Career Fair for Georgia and Utah mentors and mentees.

April 4, 2009 The Cane Event: Celebrating Braille Readers are Leaders
, black-tie-optional gala. 

Make plans now to be a part of THE CANE EVENT
: Celebrating Braille Readers are Leaders, to be held at the NFB
Jernigan Institute.  Please join us for a night of entertainment, food,
and silent and live auctions to support upcoming NFB Jernigan Institute
initiatives and programs.  Sponsorship opportunities
available and auction donations
now being accepted. 

April 17, 2009 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium
. Conference registration opening soon.

May 8-9, 2009 Early Childhood Conference, open to parents of blind
children ages birth to seven who live in the Mid-Atlantic region. Part
of NFB Jernigan Institute's Early Childhood Education initiative

July 3-9, 2009  NFB 2009 National Convention
, Marriott at the Renaissance Center, Detroit, Michigan.  For
reservations write directly to the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center,
100 Renaissance Center, Detroit, Michigan 48243, or call (313) 568-8000.

July 6, 2009 Motor City March for Independence
, A Walk for Opportunity, Detroit, Michigan. Register to participate
in the third annual March in Detroit.  Hear an audio report on last
year's Dallas March

July 26-August 1, 2009 NFB Youth Slam
: A STEM Leadership Academy, University of Maryland, College Park.  View
a new video
about this exciting event! 



	Many of today's children seem to have the attitude that they are
"forced," not "permitted," to go to school, that they are "required,"
not "given the privilege and honor," to study. They are inundated with
reading matter. It is not scarce but a veritable clutter, not something
to strive for but to take for granted. I don't want children or the
general public to be deprived of reading matter, but I sometimes think
that a scald is as bad as a freeze. Is it worse to be deprived of books
until you feel starved for them, or to be so overwhelmed with them that
you become blase about it? I don't know, and I don't know that it will
do me any good to speculate. All I know is that I not only delight in
reading but believe it to be a much neglected joy and a principal
passport to success, perspective, civilization, and possibly the
survival of the species. I am of that group which deplores the
illiteracy which characterizes much of our society and distinguishes
many of its would-be leaders and role models. I am extremely glad I have
had the opportunity and incentive to read as broadly as I have, and I
believe my life is so much better for the experience that it borders on
the difference between living and existence.
	-Reflections of a Lifelong Braille Reader
, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, Future Reflections, Winter 1996

	Back to Top 
	Thank you for reading the NFB Jernigan Institute's Imagineering
Our Future.

 Photo: Group on white water

Support the Jernigan Institute through the Imagination Fund

 Photo: Young woman playing

Interesting links: 

Archive of Straight Talk about Vision Loss videos

National Center for Blind Youth in Science

Access Technology Tips

 Photo: Youth practicing martial


Access Technology

Voice of the Nation's Blind

 Photo: Senior

Publication archives: 

Voice of the Diabetic

Future Reflections

Braille Monitor

 Photo: Mom and son take a moment and a

 Graphic Logo: National Federation of the

Visit us at nfb.org

 Photo: Blind little girl with

 Photo: Blind youth reading Braille

 Photo: Blind girl examining model of

 Photo: Blind boy with tactile

 Blind Teens Carry the 2007 Youth March for Independence

 Imagine a Future Full of


Jernigan Institute, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson
Street, Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 659-9314      Fax (410) 659-5129      E-mail
JerniganInstitute at nfb.org
<mailto:JerniganInstitute at nfb.org?subject=Reply%20to%20Imagineering%20Ou
r%20Future>       Visit us at www.nfb.org

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