Helpful Braille Resources You Should Know About

January is Braille Literacy Month.  Invented by Louis Braille, at the age of 15 years old while attending the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris. Braille lost his sight during a childhood accident at the age of 4. Braille is not a language, rather it is a code that uses symbols formed within units of space that consists of six raised dots , 2 across and 3 down. Below are resources on braille information.

 

Braille Resources for Special Education Teachers

Path of Literacy Website for students who are blind and visually impaired. Includes teaching strategies on tactile production various braille designs.

Teaching Students with Visual Impairments Provides resources necessary to teach visual impaired students including teaching strategies and professional development opportunities.

Teaching Strategies

Beginning braille skills

Instructional strategies for teaching braille literacy

Teaching beginning braille reading- Some teaching strategies.

Teaching braille to young children

The following organizations focus on braille resources and information that serves children and adults with visual impairments including developing teaching materials.

Braille Authority of North America he purpose of BANA is to promote and to facilitate the uses, teaching, and production of braille. Pursuant to this purpose, BANA will promulgate rules, make interpretations, and render opinions pertaining to braille codes and guidelines for the provisions of literary and technical materials and related forms and formats of embossed materials now in existence or to be developed in the future for the use of blind persons in North America.

Braille Institute   Is a non-profit organization that offers a broad range of services serving thousands of students of all ages to empower themselves to live more enriching lives with blindness and vision loss.

National Braille Association National Braille Association, founded in 1945, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing continuing education to those who prepare braille, and to providing braille materials to persons who are visually impaired.

The following laws and regulations authorize the provision of library services to people who are blind, visually impaired or have a physical disability:

Act of March 3, 1931 Authorization of the Library of Congress to provide books for the use of adult blind residents of the United States.

Public Law 89-522 Amends the Acts of March 3, 1981 and October 9, 1962 relating to the furnishing of books and other material to the blind.

U.S. Code Sec. 135a– Authorizes books and sound reproduction records for blind and others with physical disabilities.

Title 36, Code of federal Regulations, 701.10 Provides books in raised characters (braille) on sound reproduction recordings or in any form.

Workplace

The American Disability Act (ADA) requirements for effective communication in the workplace to provide accommodations for people with visual impairments are able to communicate with people effectively.

  • For people who are blind, have vision loss, or are deaf-blind, this includes providing a qualified reader; information in large print, Braille, or electronically for use with a computer screen-reading program; or an audio recording of printed information. A “qualified” reader means someone who is able to read effectively, accurately, and impartially, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.
  • For people who are deaf, have hearing loss, or are deaf-blind, this includes providing a qualified note taker; a qualified sign language interpreter, oral interpreter, cued-speech interpreter, or tactile interpreter; real-time captioning; written materials; or a printed script of a stock speech (such as given on a museum or historic house tour). A “qualified” interpreter means someone who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively (i.e., understanding what the person with the disability is saying) and expressively (i.e., having the skill needed to convey information back to that person) using any necessary specialized vocabulary.
  • For people who have speech disabilities, this may include providing a qualified speech-to-speech transliterator (a person trained to recognize unclear speech and repeat it clearly) , especially if the person will be speaking at length, such as giving testimony in court, or just taking more time to communicate with someone who uses a communication board. In some situations, keeping paper and pencil on hand so the person can write out words that staff cannot understand or simply allowing more time to communicate with someone who uses a communication board or device may provide effective communication. Staff should always listen attentively and not be afraid or embarrassed to ask the person to repeat a word or phrase they do not understand.

In addition, aids and services include a wide variety of technologies including 1) assistive listening systems and devices; 2) open captioning, closed captioning, real-time captioning, and closed caption decoders and devices; 3) telephone handset amplifiers, hearing-aid compatible telephones, text telephones (TTYs) , videophones, captioned telephones, and other voice, text, and video-based telecommunications products; 4) videotext displays; 5) screen reader software, magnification software, and optical readers; 6) video description and secondary auditory programming (SAP) devices that pick up video-described audio feeds for television programs; 7) accessibility features in electronic documents and other electronic and information technology that is accessible (either independently or through assistive technology such as screen readers) .

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October is National Disability Employment Month

 

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National Disability Employment Awareness is recognized each October to highlight the workforce contributions of people with disabilities.

So much as been accomplished over the years, but still, we have a long way to go. In almost all states, the number of people working with disabilities is half of those without disabilities. This year, I wanted to reflect on how much has been achieved over the years.

A history of Disability Employment Awareness

1920- The Smith-Fess Act: Signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, establishes the Vocational Rehabilitation program for Americans with Disabilities.

1935- Social Security Act of 1935- establishes an income system for those unable to work by providing benefits.

1936- Randolph-Sheppard Act: Signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, the Randolph-Sheppard Act mandates a priority to people who are blind to operate vending facilities on federal property.

1938- Wagner-O’Day Act:The Wagner-O’Day Act is passed, requiring all federal agencies to purchase specified products made by people who are blind. In 1971, the Javits-Wagner O’Day Act expands the program to include services as well as supplies and incorporate people with other significant disabilities. In 2006, the program is renamed AbilityOne.

1945- Declaration of National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week:The return of service members with disabilities from World War II sparks public interest in the contributions of people with disabilities in the workplace. On August 11, 1945, President Harry S. Truman approves a Congressional resolution declaring the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.’ In 1962, the word “physically” is removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities.

1954- Vocational Rehabilitation Gains Momentum:Congress passes the Vocational Rehabilitation Amendments of 1954, increasing the scope of the VR system. Targeting people who could proceed or return to work with assistance, VR helps thousands of people obtain employment. Mary Switzer, Director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation at the time, uses this authority to fund more than 100 university-based rehabilitation programs. The Act also initiates funding for research, eventually leading to the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

1956- Creation of Social Security Disability Insurance: Congress passes the Social Security Amendments of 1956, which create a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program for workers with disabilities aged 50 to 64. Additional amendments two years later extend SSDI benefits to the dependents of workers with disabilities.

1973- The Rehabilitation Act:The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 marks a major step forward in legislation impacting the employment of people with disabilities, extending and revising state Vocational Rehabilitation services and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability by federally funded and assisted programs, federal employers and federal contractors.

1977- Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act: After major demonstrations in 10 U.S. cities on April 5, including a 150-person sit-in in San Francisco led by Judith Heumann and Kitty Cone lasting 28 days, U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph Califano signs regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. These regulations extend civil rights to people with disabilities, covering any program or activity, including employment services, receiving federal financial assistance

1986- Employment Opportunities for Disabled Americans Act of 1986:The Employment Opportunities for Disabled Americans Act enhances work incentives for people with disabilities under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program by making permanent section 1619 of the Social Security Act, which provides for special SSI payments and Medicaid coverage while eligible individuals make attempts to work.

1990- Americans with Disabilities Act: President George H. W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. Modeled on the Civil Rights Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA stems from collective efforts by advocates in the preceding decades and is the most comprehensive disability rights legislation in history. Its employment provisions prohibit discrimination in job application procedures, hiring, advancement and termination and provide for equal access to workers’ compensation; job training; and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.
1992- Rehabilitation Act Amendments: Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act emphasize employment as the primary goal of vocational rehabilitation (VR). Specifically, they mandate presumptive employability, meaning applicants should be presumed to be employable unless proven otherwise, and state that eligible individuals must be provided choice and increased control in determining VR goals and objectives, determining services, service providers and methods of service provision.

Transition Planning

IDEA Regulations and Transition Services

The term “transition services” means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that:

  • Is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with the disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation
  • Is based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences, and interest.
  • Includes instruction , related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluations.
What is the Transition Process?

The transition process is designed to help students with disabilities move smoothly from school to adult life.

Resources on Transition Planning

Center for Parent Information and Resources– Webpage includes information on IDEA’s requirement on transition and how to include the student in the transition process.

Disability’s.gov’s Guide to Student Transition Planning– Topical links on secondary education and transition, transitioning to adult health care and options for life after high school.

National Association of Special Education Teachers– Great webpage on a variety of topics relating to transition planning including, overview of transition services, types of services covered, recordkeeping, employment planning, travel training, assistive technology and residential placement options.

National Parent Center on Transition and Employment– Website includes information on middle and high school transitioning planning including, IDEA, IEP, college planning and several worksheets on preparing for employment and transition planning.

Understood– article on understanding the transition process.

WrightsLaw– This page contains loads of information on transitioning planning including articles on IEP and transition planning, legal requirement for transition components of the IEP and IDEA 2004.

25th Anniversary of the American Disability Act

25th_logo ada act

Wow! it is so hard to believe that its been 25 years since the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. imagine just 25 years ago a world that prevented people with disabilities using public transportation such as buses and trains or having the ability to use public bathrooms and shop at retail stores and enjoy a night out at a restaurant .  We have come a long way and still have a way to go.

Click on the links below to learn more about the ADA Act and ways to promote the 25th Anniversary.

ADA Anniversary Tool Kit

ADA.Gov

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Center for Parent Information and Resources
Department of Labor- American Disability Act Resources
EEOC-Facts about the Americans with Disability Act
Introduction to the ADA
Timeline of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Wikipedia- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990