Print edition page number(s) 195-195
The Editor's Page in which I am able to announce the nominees for JVIB Reviewers of the Year is always my favorite, because it marks the one time of year when I am able to recognize the incredible dedication of all the peer reviewers and special efforts of two reviewers. I am pleased to announce that the 2011 JVIB Reviewers of the Year are John Reiser, professor for the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University, and Laura Bozeman, associate professor and director of the Vision Studies program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Drs. Reiser and Bozeman have provided many years of service behind the scenes of JVIB are fully deserving of this recognition.
It is amazing when one considers that less than 15 years ago, when a JVIB reviewer was assigned an article to review, he or she received it in a mailbox via snail mail. Depending on whether that mailbox was in London, England; London, Ontario; or London, Texas; delivery time could take anywhere from two days to two weeks. Now, thanks to e-mail, manuscripts are electronically whisked around the globe in the blink of an eye. Certainly few dreamed of such rapid communication 100 years ago. Technology tends to offer many opportunities and advantages, with relatively few disadvantages.
With the advent of digitization, combined with computer-generated voice output, it is now quick, easy, and inexpensive to produce audiobooks. This advance in technology has served to open up vast libraries of materials to people who are blind that were not available just a few years ago. Unfortunately for blind children, one of the problems with such advances in technology is the chronic problem of school-age children who are blind but cannot read braille at grade level. Evidently listening to books is easier and more convenient than reading in braille. So even though it is also easier than ever to produce braille books, braille literacy among school-aged children who are blind remains low. Some will argue that technology is not to blame for the low braille literacy rate, and instead point fingers at educators who they believe do not advocate strongly enough for braille, are not interested in braille, or are not fully qualified to teach braille. Personally, I find those opinions to be rather specious, with no supporting documentation beyond a few personal anecdotes.
Contrary to the opinions of some, educators are, indeed, very interested in the quality of braille instruction and the level of skill of the teachers who provide the instruction, as evidenced by the first two articles in this month's issue. Lewis, D'Andrea, and Rosenblum's article focuses on beginning teachers' basic knowledge of, methods of production for, and ability to read in braille. The article features the results of parallel Delphi studies which first examined brailled samples provided by university instructors and new teachers of students with visual impairment, then the instructors and teachers participated in a series of polls to determine if a consensus could be achieved on a series of statements thought to describe competence in literary braille by individuals who are completing university programs.
The second article on braille, by Kamei-Hannan and Zell Sacks, presents a subset of the ABC Braille Study that examined parents' perspectives on braille literacy. Using a 30-item questionnaire, they investigated how often the parents read to their children, whether print or braille books were available at home, what their primary goals were for their children, and whether they knew braille.
Next, Gutiérrez-Santiago and colleagues from Spain share their concern with the training of judo to blind competitors. The authors propose that a training program specifically developed for the needs of the blind judoka could improve performance.
The April 2012 issue concludes with a Practice Report by Penrod, who shares his expertise as an orientation and mobility instructor with a strategy for helping students transition from the diagonal to the two-point touch technique.
As we in the northern hemisphere change seasons from winter to spring and those in the southern hemisphere transition from summer to fall, I hope all readers, whether they be bracing for colder or more clement weather, enjoy the April issue of JVIB.
Editor in Chief
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