[nfbmi-talk] Unable to Read or Write, New High School Graduate Details Struggle

Freeh, Jessica JFreeh at nfb.org
Tue Aug 25 16:49:28 CDT 2009



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



CONTACT:

Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

<mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org


Unable to Read or Write, New High School Graduate Details Struggle

Baltimore, Maryland (August 25, 2009): Denzel 
Ferges graduated from high school on June 6.  But 
when he was asked to address a gathering of 
students on July 29, he had to memorize his 
speech rather than reading it.  Denzel does not 
have enough vision to read print effectively, and 
he was not taught to read Braille.  For all 
practical purposes, he graduated from high school unable to read.



  “I wish that I could be reading my remarks to 
you in Braille, but I am not able to do so 
because I was not given the opportunity to learn 
Braille in school,” Ferges told an audience of 
two hundred blind students and their mentors 
gathered for the National Federation of the Blind 
Youth Slam, a summer science academy for blind 
high school students.  “So with that being said, 
I have to seek further training to learn Braille 
and other important blindness skills.”



Denzel is not alone.  In fact, nine out of ten 
blind children in America’s public schools do not 
know and are not being taught how to read and 
write using Braille.  But reading Braille, 
especially when learned at an early age, is just 
as effective as reading print.  Braille is also 
the only system that allows blind people to write 
and to read what they have written with speed and 
efficiency.  That is why the National Federation 
of the Blind wants to make sure that young people 
like Denzel graduate from high school with the 
ability to read and write, and that every blind 
child in America and every adult losing vision is 
given the opportunity to learn Braille.  But 
blind Americans need your help to address the crisis in Braille literacy.



Congress authorized the minting in 2009 of 
400,000 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollars 
to mark the two-hundredth anniversary of the 
birth of Louis Braille (1809–1852) and to support 
the efforts of the National Federation of the 
Blind­the nation’s leading advocate for 
Braille­to promote literacy among blind 
Americans.  This unique and beautiful 
commemorative coin is the first U.S. currency to 
feature tactile, readable Braille.  These coins 
will no longer be available after December 31, 
2009.  Today the National Federation of the Blind 
is kicking off a national campaign in which its 
affiliates in each state (plus the District of 
Columbia and Puerto Rico) and over seven hundred 
local chapters will sell 100,000 coins by 
November 1, 2009.  A portion of the money from 
sales of the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial 
Silver Dollar will be used to support the NFB’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.



Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National 
Federation of the Blind, said: “The Braille 
Readers are Leaders literacy campaign and the 
sale of these beautiful Louis Braille silver 
dollars are among the most important initiatives 
the National Federation of the Blind has ever 
undertaken.  The education of tens of thousands 
of blind children across the nation and the 
successful rehabilitation of adults who are 
losing vision depend on our success.  We are 
asking all Americans to help us in ensuring 
literacy, education, productivity, and success 
for every blind American by purchasing a Louis 
Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar today.”



Those interested in ordering a Louis Braille 
Bicentennial Silver Dollar should visit 
<http://www.braille.org./>www.braille.org or call 
1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).  For more information 
about the National Federation of the Blind and 
the Braille Readers are Leaders campaign, visit 
<http://www.braille.org/>www.braille.org.





###



About the National Federation of the Blind

With more than 50,000 members, the National 
Federation of the Blind is the largest and most 
influential membership organization of blind 
people in the United States.  The NFB improves 
blind people’s lives through advocacy, education, 
research, technology, and programs encouraging 
independence and self-confidence.  It is the 
leading force in the blindness field today and 
the voice of the nation's blind.  In January 2004 
the NFB opened the National Federation of the 
Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and 
training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.





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