The contents of this column reflect the letters we had received by the time we went to press, April 14, 2006. Letters are limited to 300 words or fewer. All submissions must include the author's name and location. Opinions expressed are those of the authors.

Access to a Home Involves More than Ramps

It was heartening to read executive director Melanie Brunson's message in the February issue. My favorite line was, "It is our [ACB's] view that access to a home involves much more than ramps and [widened] doorways." That line was followed by a description of the national office's effective strategy to influence manufacturers to design household appliances so they can be controlled non-visually.

I would add that our efforts should also include influencing of the general public, and even the activist segment of the community of people with mobility disabilities. Toward these ends I recommend for all ACB members two specific measures: 1) write letters to the editor each time a story is published which spotlights an enlightened developer somewhere who is building homes proclaimed "accessible" because they have ramps and wide doorways, and 2) get involved with local multi-disability membership organizations. Within two I have joined, I have found people in wheelchairs who are at first surprised to hear my perspective. But once exposed to it, they become willing partners in an advocacy for an expanded notion of "access."

-- Ken Stewart, Warwick, N.Y.

Regarding Dr. Nemeth

Regarding the article "Congratulations, Dr. Nemeth!", by Winifred Downing, in the March "Forum": I enjoyed this summary of where we stand with regards to braille. Also intriguing is court reporting. I understand they use a special machine and code. I would like to know more about it. I wonder how it differs from braille -- both in execution and appearance. How is it translated into print? What are the machine and code like? Of course, it's not in dots --but that's all I know. Can anyone give input? Thanks.

-- Beth Terranova, Newport News, Va.

Regarding 'Sound Blind'

The article "Sound Blind" brought back a funny but pathetic memory. Nearly 30 years ago, my brother attended the Overbrook School for the Blind. Here in Pottsville, about 100 miles away, a local department store sponsored Overbrook Day. Many of the students would have displays in the store, from piano tuning to some woodworking projects. These students would then get a significant discount off anything that they wanted to purchase.

A friend's daughter worked in this store and was talking to a co- worker. This co-worker worked in the record department. She told my friend's daughter that she was informed that the blind kids liked music. She then went on to say that she did not understand because the records all feel the same to her.

Also, these students were all housed in local homes for the evening. A friend of my mother volunteered to sponsor one of these kids. She quickly called my mother to ask her if she should drag down a mattress and place it at the bottom of the steps to keep the kid safe.

-- Lenny McHugh, Pottsville, Pa.

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