[nabs-l] Florida Association of Blind Students (FABS)

bookwormahb at earthlink.net bookwormahb at earthlink.net
Sun Dec 28 22:06:03 UTC 2008


Hi Jamie,

Those are some sad situations.  The blind students I know seemed to do fine in college.  Of course they had some struggles but not blindness related.  In VA I know students going to big state schools including Longwood and George Mason and Mary Washington.  I also know some at smaller schools like Christopher Newport University, William and Mary, and the community college.  We have the Department for the blind with six regional offices; these offices employ O and M instructors.  So if you need orientation to college you can get it.  You can also get general O and M training too; they come to your home and practice in the community.  I get the impression mobility instructors encourage everyone to use busses and mass transit.  They tell you about paratransit but show you the bus system and its benefits too.  But in smaller communities or rural areas of the state of VA there are not as many services and therefore blind students suffer by not being taught regularly.  I hope things improve in Florida.

As to the student division here the Virginia student group has the same problem.  It is inactive.  The president was not responsive.  I became disappointed as you and Ashley did.  So you are not alone.  I recommend you contact your state president who hopefully will contact the existing Florida Association of Blind Students president.  If he/she does not respond, elect a new one next state convention.  Good luck.  The VABS board fell apart.  No one communicated.  We have a VABS list that is inactive.  So the only personal contact I have with college blind students is at state convention.

Take care,
Ashley


-----Original Message-----
>From: Jamie Principato <blackbyrdfly at gmail.com>
>Sent: Dec 27, 2008 9:11 PM
>To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
>Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Florida Association of Blind Students (FABS)
>
>This is bittersweet. I'm both glad and disappointed to find that I'm not the
>only one who has noticed this. Disappointed for obvious reasons. We can do
>better than this. Glad because it means I'm not going crazy, lol, and may
>actually have some backing to try to improve things. I know many blind
>students across Florida. I have friends in college who are finding they need
>to drop their majors because the higher level maths aren't being made
>accessible for them. I know others who are being forced to use unreliable
>paratransit either because the local vocational rehabilitation centers wont
>provide them with better mobility training or because they have been lead to
>believe it is the only way they can travel. I know students who are
>setteling for community college because their local high school vision
>department would not properly accomodate them, sheltering rather than
>helping, and therefore they could not earn all the required credits for
>university admission. I experienced first hand a rehabilitation day center
>that is so corrupt, they spent a month and a half teaching their partially
>sighted teenage group how to microwave hot pockets, insisting that we need
>to learn to do these simple things because cooking full meals for ourselves
>is just too difficult and dangerous for "the visually impaired". This center
>in particular spends more time focusing on "coping with vision loss and what
>you can't do" than it does showing you how much you can do regardless of
>your vision impairment. I could go on forever about this one issue, but it
>is these and other things that made me want to join FABS, and now make me
>more eager to make FABS a strong, active force in the blindness community of
>Florida.
>
>On Sat, Dec 27, 2008 at 8:17 PM, Ashley Johnson <docjohnson76 at gmail.com>wrote:
>
>> Jamie,
>>     It's funny that you asked this question.  I actually joined FABS at the
>> NFBF convention this past May.  I paid my dues and since then I have
>> received only one phone call from the President.  That was to verify my
>> phone number.  Since then, nothing has happened.  I actually one of the
>> board members of FABS, and she has tried to contact the president of FABS,
>> and she has not heard back from her.  I agree, this is a much needed group,
>> but unfortunately it seems the people in charge are not very active.
>>
>> Ashley
>>
>> On Sat, Dec 27, 2008 at 3:52 AM, Jamie Principato <blackbyrdfly at gmail.com
>> >wrote:
>>
>> > Hi there,
>> >
>> > I'm new to this list, but certainly not new to being a blind student. My
>> > name is Jamie and I live in Florida. I was just wondering if anyone who
>> > reads this mailing list is a member of FABS. I've been trying to become a
>> > member for a long time now, especially as I noticed how.... well, how
>> many
>> > problems exist (in my opinion and in the opinion of a number of others
>> I've
>> > talked to) for blind students in local high schools and colleges, how
>> poor
>> > the state's rehabilitation centers for the blind are, and how little is
>> > being done about this... But there's nothing on our state's NABS website
>> > that explains how to join, and when I e-mailed all the officers, I never
>> > got
>> > any reply. I've actually heard from other blind students who have tried
>> to
>> > join that the group is rather inactive, and I think something can
>> > definitely
>> > be done about this. So are there any Floridians out there?
>> >
>> > -Jamie
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