[nobe-l] Fwd: National Federation of the Blind Applauds New Jersey Ruling on Braille Instruction for Blind Child

melissa green graduate56 at juno.com
Wed May 9 23:13:49 UTC 2012

this is a victory.  The parents are to be commended.
I agree, listening isn't the same as reading.

Have a blessed day.
Melissa and Pj
I'm opening up, letting go, hoping this will lead me to where I need to go.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Andrews" <dandrews at visi.com>
To: <david.andrews at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2012 2:49 AM
Subject: [nobe-l] Fwd: National Federation of the Blind Applauds New Jersey 
Ruling on Braille Instruction for Blind Child

>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
>National Federation of the Blind Applauds
><?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns =
>"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />New Jersey Ruling on
>Braille Instruction for Blind Child
>After Three-Year Battle, Hank Miller Will Receive Braille Instruction
>Oceanport, New Jersey (May 7, 2012): After a three-year
>administrative and legal battle against their local school board,
>the Oceanport Board of Education, Jeffrey and Holly Miller obtained
>a ruling (docket number: 2011 17218) from an administrative law
>judge that their eleven-year-old son Henry "Hank" Miller was
>improperly denied instruction in Braille, the reading and writing
>code for the blind.  The legal victory, obtained with the assistance
>of the <http://www.nfb.org/>National Federation of the Blind (NFB),
>comes on the heels of
>letter from 26 U.S. Senators urging the Department of Education to
>take steps to ensure that blind children who need Braille
>instruction receive it.
>Holly and Jeffrey Miller brought the legal case on behalf of their
>son, Hank, whom they adopted from China and who is blind due to
>albinism and nystagmus.  Hank has limited vision that allows him to
>read enlarged print for short periods of time, but he is unable to
>read for sustained periods of time.  Although Hank's parents
>continued to tell school officials that their son was experiencing
>visual fatigue and was having difficulty reading, the school board
>and its consultant, the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and
>Visually Impaired (CBVI), insisted that Hank was a proficient print
>reader, notwithstanding his continued placement in a special
>resource room for language arts.  In a nearly ten-day hearing, held
>under the due process provisions of the Individuals with
>Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, Mrs. Miller
>testified that she watched Hank routinely struggle with his
>homework, suffering from eye strain and fatigue, but was unable to
>convince school officials or the CBVI that Hank needed Braille
>instruction.  She also testified that Hank's schoolwork was not of
>the same quantity and quality as that of his classmates.  Although
>experts from the school and the commission claimed that Hank was a
>"visual learner" and should participate in the "sighted world,"
>experts hired by the Millers and the NFB concluded after thorough
>assessment that Hank could not read print for extended periods of
>time without eye strain, neck and back pain, fatigue, and loss of
>reading speed and comprehension.
>In her order, Administrative Law Judge Lisa James-Beavers found that
>the school board and the commission displayed a clear "bias against
>Braille."  She found that the school board and the commission had
>failed to assess Hank's "sustained reading ability" with print,
>relying instead on reading assessments involving only brief
>passages, and citing Hank's alleged failure to complain about
>struggling to read print.  The judge was unconvinced by the board
>and CBVI's contention that Hank could rely on audio technology as
>reading demands increased through his school years, noting that "as
>pointed out by all of petitioners' well-qualified experts, listening
>does not equate to reading.  One does not enhance the active skill
>of comprehending text by passively listening, even if one is
>following along with the reading."  The order noted that "the CBVI
>failed to do what Oceanport relied on them to do, which is to help
>construct a program that would give H.M. meaningful educational
>benefit considering H.M.'s future needs."  Judge James-Beavers
>ordered that Hank Miller be provided with Braille instruction for
>forty-five minutes, five days a week, and that the school board
>provide compensatory instruction because of the three years that
>Hank was not provided with Braille instruction, in the form of
>intensive Braille summer programs or tutoring.
>Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind,
>said: "Based on the experience of countless parents of blind
>children and blind adults who had never learned Braille and have
>contacted us over the years, the National Federation of the Blind
>has consistently argued that blind children are being improperly
>assessed and denied Braille instruction when it is clearly
>appropriate.  Now after a thorough and comprehensive examination of
>the evidence in Hank Miller's case, an independent judge has
>confirmed what we always knew.  We hope that school and agency
>officials across the nation take note of this landmark ruling and
>commit to giving blind children access to Braille, the true key to
>literacy for the vast majority of children who are blind or losing
>vision.  The National Federation of the Blind will continue to stand
>with families like the Millers who find themselves pitted against
>the educational establishment in obtaining the equal education to
>which their children are entitled and which they deserve."
>Holly Miller, Hank's mother, said: "I am obviously thrilled with
>this ruling, although I am still saddened that it took such a
>prolonged battle to achieve it.  I am stepping forward to tell
>Hank's story in hopes that other parents of blind children will not
>have to struggle as we did.  I thank the National Federation of the
>Blind and all of the individuals and experts who came forward to
>assist in this case.  I plan to strongly and publicly advocate with
>the National Federation of the Blind for Braille instruction for
>blind children."
>The plaintiffs are represented in this matter by Sharon
>Krevor-Weisbaum of the Baltimore firm Brown, Goldstein, and Levy,
>and Jayne M. Wesler of the Cranbury firm Sussan and Greenwald.
>For more information about the National Federation of the Blind,
>please visit <http://www.nfb.org/>www.nfb.org.  For more information
>about Braille, the reading and writing code for the blind, please
>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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