visit the American Foundation for the Blind

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American Foundation for the Blind (established in 1921)

Let's check out how it was to be blind in 1921. Did you learn to read or write? Maybe, if you were lucky and went to one of a few special schools in the country. Afterwards, could you become a recording star, a doctor, or a journalist? Not exactly. It was hard for blind people to get jobs. No one thought they could do much.

These days, most kids who are blind go to a regular school, use a white cane, learn to read and write in braille, and use a computer. You might see an adult blind person going to work on a train, stopping at an ATM to get cash, buying groceries and going home to cook dinner. (Yes, blind people today can be that independent!)

Many of the good things that have happened for blind people over the past 80 years are because of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). Think of AFB as a rainbow of ideas, stretching across the country. AFB helps blind people find where to go in their home town to learn how to be independent. AFB also makes sure that wherever a blind person lives in the United States that there are teachers and trainers available to teach braille, how to use a computer, or how to get around using a white cane.

You've probably heard of Helen Keller, the child who couldn't hear or see, but learned language through her teacher, Anne Sullivan. That's the story, The Miracle Worker. Maybe you don't know that Helen Keller grew up to be a famous writer and traveler of the world on behalf of AFB. She did, and AFB has many souvenirs from her life.

Helen Keller worked with AFB for 44 years! She helped AFB to get our government and businesses to pay attention to the needs of blind people. Things like Talking Books—all kinds of books recorded so blind people can read them through listening—happened because AFB and Helen Keller worked together. AFB has been making Talking Books for 70 years, a serious chunk of time. CDs have only been around since 1982!

So, what senses have you used today?

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