NABS NOTES | December 2018

In this issue, you will find: 

  • President’s Note 
  • Text to Give Campaign 
  • New Resource – NABS Phone Number 
  • Follow NABS on Instagram 
  • 2019 Scholarship Program 
  • K-12 and Higher Ed Technology Survey 
  • Research Study on Confidence Level in Orientation and Mobility Post O&M Training 
  • New Issue of The Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research 
  • Aira Plans for NFB Members 
  • Holiday Sale - Save 40% on KNFB Reader today!  
  • NABS Committee Updates 
  • December Blog Post 
  • NABS Facebook Group 

President’s Note 

A new year is upon us, full of potential and promise. As we take this holiday season to recuperate from finals, reconnect with family and friends, we also set goals for the upcoming year. This Christmas I traveled to Rome with my family and studied the beautiful master pieces of Michelangelo. This visionary of the High Renaissance advised that when setting goals “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Ponder this while setting your goals for the new year. Do not let your blindness serve as a limiting factor in what you wish to achieve in 2019. Whether those goals are health oriented, professional, academic, spiritual and or social, NABS is by your side to help you raise the bar.

Exactly one month from now, the NABS board will be hosting a leadership training seminar in Washington DC. Thirty student leaders will gather together from around the nation, to learn and grow. Then we will join our federation family upon The Hill, to advocate for the policies we need in order to clear the path towards our goals.

Happy Holidays to all of you who are celebrating in this season, and here’s to a great New Year!


Text to Give Campaign 

Spread the word! Without the generous support of our donors, we would not be able to provide students with copious resources, develop leadership seminar curricula, bring students to Washington DC to fight for equal access to education on Capitol Hill, learn that blindness is not the sole characteristic that defines our future, and so much more! Text blindstudents (no caps, no spaces) to 855-202-2100 to donate. Every dollar counts! 


New Resource – NABS Phone Number 

Our leadership wants to provide an outlet for students to voice concerns, seek advice, and learn about resources you may otherwise not be familiar with. With that, we launched our very own NABS phone number, where a NABS leader is on call to speak with blind students across the country. Please call 410-417-8360. 


Follow NABS on Instagram 

NABS has an Insta account now, so follow us @NABSLink! 


2019 scholarship Program 

Apply today for an opportunity to attend this year’s national convention in Las Vegas!

Every year, the National Federation of the Blind awards more than $120,000 in scholarships to blind students across the United States. Visit for more information and to start your application! The deadline to apply is March 31st so please don’t wait until the last minute to apply! Good luck!


K-12 and Higher Ed Technology Survey 

The NFB is gathering information regarding the accessibility of educational technology used in our nation’s schools, kindergarten through graduate level. If you are a student, parent, teacher, or administrator who uses screen access software or other accommodations to participate non-visually in educational programs or services, or if you are the parent, teacher, or administrator of someone who does, please complete this survey once a semester:


Research Study on Confidence Level in Orientation and Mobility Post O&M Training 

The below research participant solicitation is being provided for informational purposes only. The National Federation of the Blind has no involvement in this research, but we believe that it may contribute to our research mission.


My name is Merry-Noel Chamberlain, and I am a doctoral student in Transformational Leadership at Concordia University out of Portland, Oregon. I am conducting an online study investigating confidence levels in Orientation and Mobility (O&M), post O&M training.  This involves how often and how far people travel away from their home environment after they have completed formal O&M training.


The targeted population for this survey are individuals who:

1)   Are blind or visually impaired.

2)   Completed *formal Orientation & Mobility (O&M) training in or after 1999 in the United States. (* = Formal training consists of instruction received in a state or private rehabilitation training center designed for individuals with visual impairments.)

3)   Did not receive any *formal Orientation & Mobility training from a private or state rehabilitation agency prior to the age of 20.

4)   Are between the ages of 20 and 70 (including the age of 20 and the age of 70).

5)   Are NOT current or former O&M instructors.

6)   Are NOT guide dog users.

7)   Do not have additional disabilities (hearing impairment, mental, physical or other health concerns) which hinders independent travel.


This study consists of an online survey, which will take about a half an hour to complete. In exchange for participation, participants will have the opportunity to enter a raffle drawing for one of four $25 Visa gift card. All responses will be anonymous and confidential.


Follow this link to the Survey:

Take the Survey



Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:


There are no risks to participating in this study other than the everyday risk of being on your computer as you take this survey. For me, I will receive the benefit of your answers which will help me understand your travel experiences/habits after your formal O&M training. In turn, you could benefit by reflecting on your own travel experiences/habits post your instruction.

All data is collected anonymously.  The data you provide will be held privately within the on-line survey instrument. In the options section, if you were to write additional comments that made it to where we predict that someone could possibly deduce your identity, we would not include this information in any publication or report. All data will be destroyed three years after the study ends. At any time, you can discontinue answering the questions in this online survey. Please print a copy of this for your records.


If you have questions you can talk to or write the principal investigator, Merry-Noel Chamberlain at:<>.


New Issue of the Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research 

JBIR is the NFB's free, open-access, online-only professional journal that publishes peer-reviewed, original research manuscripts, and professional practice articles that deal with all aspects of blindness other than the medical. Practice-based articles that share the author's expertise in how best-practices can improve education and rehabilitation outcomes are strongly encouraged. To learn more about JBIR and how to become an author or peer reviewer, please visit the JBIR Home Page<>.


The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) published Volume 8, Number 2 of The Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research (JBIR) on December 13, 2018. You can access the table of contents and articles in this issue at JBIR Vol. 8 No. 2<>.


Research manuscripts included in this issue are:


*       The Impact of Attitudes and Access to Mentors on the Interest in STEM for Teens and Adults who are Blind. Edward C. Bell, Ph.D., and Arielle M. Silverman, Ph.D.


*       Improving Student Self-Efficacy: The Role of Inclusive and Innovative Out of School Programming for Students with Blindness and Visual Impairments. Kathleen M. Farrand, Natalie Shaheen, Tiffany Wild, Julia Averil, and Danene Fast.


*       Experiences of Students who are Visually Impaired Receiving Services by Disabilities Support Services (DSS) Offices in Higher Education Institutions. Silvia M. Correa-Torres, Paula Conroy, Amber Rundle-Kahn, and Tara Brown-Ogilvie.


Professional practice articles included in this issue are:


*       Field Classes in Residential Adjustment to Blindness Training Programs. Justin M. Salisbury, MA, NOMC, NCRTB, NCUEB.


*       Transportation Accessibility: Exploring the Input of Individuals Who are Blind to Create an In-Service Training for Bus Drivers. Danene K. Fast.


Other scholarly work included in this issue:


*       Evaluation Report: Sensational Activities in Summer Science 2017. Donna Posont, Jason Meddaugh, Fred Wurtzel, and Lydia Schuck


Aira Plans for NFB Members 

Two Aira plans are now available only to members of the National Federation of the Blind. A new introductory plan offers thirty minutes a month for twenty dollars. The regular NFB plan, which has been in place for some time now, offers 140 minutes per month for ninety-nine dollars. The regular NFB plan comes with smart glasses, allows for minute sharing, permits purchasing additional non-expiring minutes if one is running short, and lets members get credit for referrals. One can also buy additional minutes with the larger plan. These options are not available with the introductory twenty dollar per month plan.


One can subscribe to these plans by calling an Aira agent at 800-835-1934 or by signing up online by going to <> In NFB member can move from any plan to one of these and from one of these to any other Aira plan.


Holiday Sale - Save 40% on KNFB Reader today! 

KNFB Reader gives the gift of print. With the tilt guide, get an accurate photo that swiftly converts the print to spoken word and access print documents anytime, anywhere. KNFB Reader also provides Dropbox integration, compatibility with Braille displays, and a live tech support team.


Now is the time to buy! Starting December 21, 2018, purchase the app for you or a loved one at a discounted price of $59.99 USD for IOS, Android, and Windows. Live the life you want with this convenient and reliable app. Sale ends January 3, 2019.Learn more at http://<>

NABS Committee Updates 

Get involved! 

  • Legislative Advocacy Committee  

When: third Sunday of the month | 8pm eastern 

Chair: Justin Salisbury (

This month, we discussed plans for Washington seminar. We brainstormed ways to be the best advocates for our issues, tips and tricks on how to navigate the city, advice on how to present ourselves in Congressional meetings, and so on. Washington Seminar can be a bit of a nerve-racking process, so if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out!


  • Fundraising Committee 

When: Second and fourth Sunday of the month | 9pm eastern 

Chair: Dustin Cather (cather.dustin

Share our Text-to-Give phone number far and wide: anyone can text blindstudents to 855-202-2100 to donate! Help us help you! We are also gearing up for this year’s Federation Fiesta at Washington seminar, which promises to be an unforgettable event filled with live music, auction items, games, and so much more!   


  • Outreach Committee 

When: first Monday of the month | 9pm eastern

Chair: Janae Burgmeier (

Web Master: Dustin Cather (

December’s theme was scholarships. During our monthly outreach call, we were joined by Cayte Mendez, the Scholarship chair, as well as several scholarship winners from previous years to discuss the program and answer any questions. Applications are now open. Apply today!


December Blog Post 

From the Editor: Kaity Ellis is from New Mexico and serves as their student division president. She is an outgoing and helpful leader who enjoys helping others and fighting for our rights as blind students. She is also heavily involved with politics and legislation.


Going to the people’s city, YOUR city.

Hello, everyone, I’m Kaity Ellis, the New Mexico Association of Blind Students President.  Some of us here in the Federation are about to take the trip of a lifetime.  We are going to Washington DC! Some of you might be packing for the trip. As someone that has attended twice and will attend this year, let me give you some helpful hints, three to be exact! First one, be open to what others tell you, realize that everyone has different political beliefs and understandings. Just because someone might believe differently than you do doesn’t mean you don’t have common ground. You just may think differently than the other person, but in the end, you both have the same common goal. In other words, there are many different highways to take to get to the same destination, but you eventually get there.  My second point, allow people to see how independent you are but don't be afraid to ask for help! Dr. Jernigan reminds us that asking for help is not a weakness; it’s a sign of strength.  My final hint, make sure you have the time of your life, and soak it all in. This is a lifetime opportunity not everyone gets to experience. Remember you are in the people’s city; this is your city! Oh, by the way, take some warm clothes.


NABS Facebook Group 

Join our Facebook group by visiting: 


Kathryn Webster | President 

The National Association of blind Students 

A proud division of the National Federation of the Blind 

(410) 417-8360