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for the Blind

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Dr. Sally S. Mangold and Dr. William A. Silverman Receive Highest Honor from the American Foundation for the Blind

For Immediate Release

Gabriella Smith-Coventry
AFB Communications Group
(212) 502-7654

NEW YORK—Dr. Sally S. Mangold, vice president, Exceptional Teaching Aids, Inc., and William A. Silverman, M.D., retired, will each receive the 2003 Migel Medal, the highest honor in the blindness field, from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), the leading national resource in literacy, employment, independent living, and technology for people who are blind or visually impaired.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony and reception in their honor on Tuesday, November 4, at the Sir Francis Drake hotel in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Philip Hatlen, superintendent of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and AFB Trustee, will present the Migel Award to Dr. Mangold, and Gil Johnson, director of the AFB National Employment Center, will present the Migel Award to Dr. Silverman. Attendees of the Migel Awards will include leaders and professionals in the blindness field from the state of CA.

The Migel Medal was established in 1937 by the late M.C. Migel, the first chairperson of AFB, to honor professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements have significantly improved the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired. Dr. Mangold is the recipient of the 2003 Professional Award; Dr. Silverman will receive the 2003 Volunteer Award.

Dr. Sally S. Mangold

For more than 40 years, Dr. Mangold has dedicated her professional life to the field of blindness and is recognized nationally and internationally for her work. Through her extensive publications on braille instruction and teaching techniques, she has been a passionate proponent of braille literacy. Mangold has founded and continues to work with Exceptional Teaching Aids, Inc.—a company that publishes instructional materials for blind and visually impaired individuals of all ages, as well as for the population that serves them. Her highly regarded Mangold Developmental Program of Tactile Perception and Braille Letter Recognition—an instructional manual to assist teachers with beginning braille readers—has been published in eight languages. Her work in developing the SAL (Speech Assisted Learning) System—a portable, interactive computer-based braille learning station—has the potential to revolutionize the way blind and visually impaired children and adults learn braille. With SAL, many blind teens and adults are able to teach themselves braille. Mangold graduated from San Francisco State University (SFSU), and earned her Ph.D. in special education from the University of California Berkeley. She has been professor emerita at SFSU since 1995.

"Sally Mangold's writings, technological breakthroughs, and teachings have not only enabled children and adults who are blind or visually impaired to learn braille," said AFB president and CEO Carl R. Augusto, "but also have raised awareness to the critical importance of braille literacy."

Dr. William A. Silverman

Dr. Silverman has been a major figure in the fields of pediatrics and neonatology. He is considered by many to be a pioneer in determining the cause of retrolental fibroplasia or RLF, a condition that causes blindness in premature infants. During the 1940s and 1950s when babies were identified with RLF, he worked to treat and explore why so many premature infants who spend considerable time in incubators have become blind. Later, he became involved in the development and outcomes of children living with blindness and low vision. His Retrolental Fibroplasia: A Modern Parable is considered to be the seminal book on this topic. Silverman is a tireless advocate of early intervention programs in blindness; education of blind children and their families; and preventive treatment for newborns. In the 1970s at the Living Skills Center for the Visually Impaired in CA, Silverman worked with blind children of the RLF generation in educating them about their medical history and why they had become blind. Silverman earned his M.D. from the School of Medicine of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), in 1942, and was professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University and director of the Premature Infant Station (later the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at the Babies Hospital in New York City for 25 years.

"William Silverman's work with infants experiencing RLF has led to breakthroughs to save the vision of babies and to improve the sight of those who are blind or visually impaired," said Carl R. Augusto.

The American Foundation for the Blind—the organization to which Helen Keller devoted her life—is a national nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate the inequities faced by the 10 million Americans who are blind or visually impaired. Visit AFB online at

To schedule an interview with an honoree or if you would like to attend the 2003 Migel Awards, please contact Gabriella Smith-Coventry at 212-502-7654.

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