RE: Support for the National Reading Media Assessment
WHEREAS, being able to read and write efficiently, is essential to effective communication, access to highly skilled and highly paid employment, and success in the community; and
WHEREAS, only 10 percent of today’s blind students under age twenty-two are being taught to read Braille, resulting in a 45 percent high school graduation rate for blind students; and
WHEREAS, more than 70 percent of blind people nationwide are not employed, but of those blind people who are employed, 85 percent or more use Braille in the workplace, demonstrating a relationship among literacy, confidence, and success; and
WHEREAS, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that, when developing an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for a child who is Visually impaired, the IEP team shall provide for instruction in Braille unless the IEP team’s evaluation finds Braille unnecessary; and
WHEREAS, the National Reading Media Assessment (NRMA) for Youth with Visual Impairments provides for a valid, standardized measuring tool that will yield a quantitative measure of otherwise qualitative factors in Braille reading and writing needs; and
WHEREAS, the NRMA assessment gathers only information pertinent to reading and writing; gathers these data under standardized conditions; and bases evaluation of the student’s reading efficiency on what would be expected of sighted students of similar intellectual functioning in terms of reading speed, accuracy, and duration; and
WHEREAS, it is common practice for youth with visual impairments to hold reading materials very close to their faces, and/or to hunch their bodies over the materials when reading, which causes eye strain, headaches, neck and back pain, fatigue, diminished concentration, reading speed, and comprehension. Consequently, in this assessment students are evaluated when sitting up straight and with materials held or placed at standardized distances: NOW, THEREFORE;
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the blind of Arizona in convention assembled this 15th day of September, 2013, in the city of Tucson, Arizona, that we strongly affirm the use of braille for blind and low-vision children.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization commits to working toward the goal of making the National Reading Media Assessment the standard assessment tool for determining the proper reading medium for blind children in Arizona.