Rounding up a Busy Week at AFB

July 14, 2021
It is a packed and productive week for the American Foundation for the Blind. We are pleased to announce the launch of the new research study, The Journey Forward: Impact of COVID-19 on Blind, Low Vision, and Deafblind U.S. Adults. We also have several AFB staff experts sitting on interesting and informative panel discussions, and we are now accepting applications for the next cohort of the Blind Leaders Development Program – for both fellows and mentors, to name just a few of the many goings…
Author John Mackin
Blog Topics Research, Public Policy

Share Your COVID-19 Journey

July 13, 2021
I recently picked up my container of Lysol wipes on our kitchen counter and stored it back under the sink. I couldn’t think of the last time I had wiped down groceries or a doorknob. As a person who has low vision, I feel my life is progressing back to how it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet there are other ways it is not. For example, I’m still not comfortable taking a rideshare service like Lyft. I also shudder each time I consider the challenges I had getting myself, my husband…

Building the Next Generation of Blind Leaders: A Blind Leaders Development Program Roundup

July 2, 2021
Since launching the Blind Leaders Development Program in 2020, we at the American Foundation for the Blind are pleased to have made great strides forward despite the unprecedented challenges of the last year and a half. The inaugural cohort not only successfully navigated the launch of a fledgling program, but did so during the tumultuous period of lockdowns and restrictions during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a testament to the professional drive and commitment of these…

Happy Birthday to Helen Keller: A Woman Who Spoke Truth to Power...and Was A Real Person!

June 25, 2021
Eighty years ago, in May 1941, seven months before the United States entered the Second World War, Helen Keller visited the Rochester School for the Deaf and was asked if she thought that democracies would triumph over totalitarian aggressors, Helen replied "Yes, definitely, after a long, hard fight. Justice and truth are embodied in human democratic institutions.” In a year filled with challenges, including a bizarre idea that circulated on social media questioning Helen Keller’s existence…
Author AFB Staff
Blog Topics Helen Keller

Helen Keller in France, June 21, 1952

June 21, 2021
Helen Keller gave a speech to the faculty and students of the Sorbonne in Paris, June 21, 1952. Helen was in France for the reinternment of Louis Braille's body to the Pantheon in Paris from his village in Coupvray. In the following film clip, hear Helen deliver part of her speech in French honoring Louis Braille. Regarding the importance of braille, Helen states: "In our small way we the blind are as indebted to Louis Braille as mankind is to Gutenberg…the raised letters under our fingers are…
Blog Topics Helen Keller

What We're Reading: Access to Education, Voting, Local Campaigns, and More

June 17, 2021
AFB strives to keep people who are blind or who have low vision and their families up to date on the policy issues that affect us all. Here are a few recent news stories we found particularly noteworthy. After Months Of Special Education Turmoil, Families Say Schools Owe Them—NPR, June 16, 2021 "Roughly 7 million children in the U.S. receive special education services under a decades-old federal law — or did, until the pandemic began. Many of those services slowed or stopped when schools…

An Intern Reacts to the President’s Proposed Budget

June 11, 2021
Even though I've lived through 10 presidents before my first day as an intern, I never once looked at a presidential budget request. As a Policy Intern with the American Foundation for the Blind, I am new to policy, but I have been teaching in American classrooms for 25 years as a special education teacher. I am also currently enrolled full-time in a special education and disability policy doctoral program through a fully funded Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Grant. So even…

Reflections on the Education of Students with Visual Impairments

June 10, 2021
I remember as a high school student in Freehold, New Jersey, anxiously waiting for the last bell to ring on the last day of the school year. That bell signaled a summer of freedom from homework and tests. At the same time it signaled that for a couple of months, there would be some friends I would not see or only see rarely. A few days later I’d find myself reflecting on what had gone well for me during the school year and what had not gone so well. Taking the time to reflect on experiences…

A Listening Tour of the AFB Talking Book Archives

May 28, 2021
In 2015, AFB won the first of two major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities to begin digitizing Helen Keller’s massive collection of correspondence, photographs, and other papers under the guidance of archivist Helen Selsdon. Five years later, the digital Helen Keller Archive is the most accessible online archive around, made publicly available in time for the centennial celebration this autumn of the founding of AFB. As a disability historian working down the road at New…

Nine Months In: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted Education of Children with Visual Impairments

May 21, 2021
As last winter’s holiday season approached, I think we all realized that the COVID-19 pandemic was not going away anytime soon. All facets of our lives were being impacted, including the education of our children. As a family member of two young children shared in the introduction to the just-released Access and Engagement II report, “Everybody has had to adapt to crazy things that are not very normal. People are getting tired of this [COVID-19] stuff but we have to move forward with the…