[Nfbmo] Fw: Blindness
jamesmoynihan at kc.rr.com
Fri Jan 30 00:00:56 UTC 2009
----- Original Message -----
From: James Moynihan
To: Cdrew at booneville.k12.mo.us
Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 5:59 PM
I am a friend of Gary Wunder's and serve on the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri. I also worked for 30 years as an investigator for the U. S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
My first thought was generated by your message which has nothing to do with the subject of blindness. Some of the people using wheelchairs get very up tight when the phrase wheelchair bound is used since technically it is not politically correct. They do not see themselves as being confined to a wheelchair. They use the term mobility-impaired. People in wheelchairs and other people with handicaps greatly outnumber blind people. Blindness is thought of as a low incidence disability. Therefore, actions can occur which help people in wheelchairs which can be harmful to blind people.
Curb cuts or ramps can be very helpful for people using wheelchairs. However, if there is no curb a blind person using a cane has no way to tell when you have come to a street with traffic. Guide dogs have also been trained to stop at a curb to let the dog user know that the blind pedestrian has come to a street.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that elevators have braille and raised print designating the number for each floor. Restrooms should have braille and raised print for men and women. The Office for Civil Rights can provide cities with technical assistance regarding the ADA's accessibility standards.
The most important thing is for city officials to listen to what blind consumers have to say. It would be helpful for city officials to let blind consumers and organizations know when meetings are to be held to provide for a meaningful discussion.
Your interest in blind people is greatly appreciated and Gary and other Federationists would be glad to work with you regarding blindness related issues.
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