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…

Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)!

May 20, 2021
Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#GAAD)! The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion. From podcasts and blog posts, to inclusive accessibility solutions, public policy, and resources, AFB has you covered. Global accessibility is more than a day for us, it's 100 years of commitment. Inform & Connect, Season 2: AFB Trustees Sarah Herrlinger and Christopher Patnoe We are excited to welcome Sarah Herrlinger of Apple and…

Why Automated Scanners Aren’t the Solution

May 11, 2021
Tech Notes An automated scanner is a special piece of software which is mainly designed to scan and test a single web page or an entire website to determine whether or not a web application is compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) or Section 508 accessibility regulations. Often companies use these tools to quickly gauge compliance with the accessibility guidelines to make their website accessible. This is clearly a mistake. Automated scanners do have some uses.…

Introducing ‘Our History’: AFB’s New Historical Timeline

May 6, 2021
As part of the American Foundation for the Blind’s (AFB) year-long centennial celebration, we recently published Our History, a robust new timeline outlining AFB’s past. Lesser-known milestones in advocacy, education, and technological innovation are all chronicled, from the creation of Talking Books in the 1930s, to the first international conference on AIDS-related vision loss in the 1990s, to our most recent work to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adults and students who are…
Author AFB Staff
Blog Topics Helen Keller, Reading

Sharing Our Story: 100 Years of Creating a World with No Limits

April 29, 2021
Hi there, As a man who is completely blind, I have personally benefited from the progress that AFB has made possible. I have also experienced a world of limits. When I was five years old, my retinas detached and I lost my eyesight. I was sent to a state residential school where I learned how to read and write braille, travel with a white cane, and type on a typewriter. I was taught to love myself, my body, and what it could do. Everything was possible: hiking, horseback riding, and even…
Author Kirk Adams
Blog Topics Personal Reflections