RESOLUTION 2010-22

Blind With Other Disabilities
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
RESOLUTION 2010-22

SUMMARY:

1. This organization urges NIDRR, the Access Board, and university programs that do research either in blindness-related areas or that focus on the needs of people with developmental disabilities to adequately fund and undertake research necessary for the development of accessibility guidelines for the removal of all barriers within and without the built environment which inhibit effective wayfinding and interfere with the full participation within the mainstream of American society of persons who are deaf-blind, persons who are blind and visually impaired and who also have developmental disabilities, and other multiply disabled blind individuals.

2. The officers, directors, and staff of this organization are hereby instructed to contact NIDRR, the Access Board, and/or universities offering programs relevant to persons who are multiply disabled and blind to urge these agencies to give priority to researching and developing such accessibility guidelines.

WHEREAS, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has long been a strong advocate for the civil and human rights of the entire blind and visually impaired population, including those who are multiply disabled as well as blind; and

WHEREAS, the ACB and its members played a leading role in the coalition of persons with disabilities which successfully sought enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008; and

WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act declared that "the nation's proper goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for such individuals"; and

WHEREAS The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 correctly asserts that "disability is a natural part of the human experience that does not diminish the right of individuals with developmental disabilities to live independently, to exert control and choice over their own lives, and to fully participate in and contribute to their communities through full integration and inclusion in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of United States society"; and

WHEREAS, The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 most certainly includes coverage for people who are both developmentally disabled and blind; and

WHEREAS, continuing advancement of medicine and medical technology has enabled the survival of tinier, premature infants who often have cognitive as well as visual impairments; and

WHEREAS, people who are deaf-blind, developmentally disabled blind, or multiply disabled blind continue to face barriers to community integration and full participation within and without the built environment; and

WHEREAS, the United States Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (The Access Board) is an independent federal agency devoted to regulating accessibility for people with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the Access Board is charged with the responsibility to develop accessibility guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act, among other federal disability laws; and

WHEREAS, in 2009, the Access Board adopted as its new vision the goal of achieving a fully accessible America for all; and

WHEREAS, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) is a federal research agency with the mission to generate new knowledge and promote its effective use to improve the abilities of people with disabilities to perform activities of their choice in the community, and also to expand society's capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for its citizens with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, many university programs in the United States that are training teachers of the visually impaired, orientation and mobility specialists, vision rehabilitation therapists, and/or deaf-blind specialists, are doing research to identify strategies to improve and develop knowledge and to enhance the abilities of people with disabilities to perform activities of their choice in the community, and also to expand society's capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for its citizens with disabilities;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel in Phoenix, Ariz. on the 16th day of July, 2010, that this organization urge NIDRR, the Access Board, and university programs to adequately fund and undertake research necessary for the development of accessibility guidelines for the removal of all barriers within and without the built environment which inhibit effective wayfinding and interfere with the full participation within the mainstream of American society of persons who are deaf-blind, persons who are blind and visually impaired and who also have developmental disabilities, and other multiply disabled blind individuals; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the officers, directors and staff of this organization are hereby instructed to contact NIDRR, the Access Board, and/or universities offering programs relevant to persons who are multiply disabled and blind to urge these agencies to give priority to researching and developing such accessibility guidelines.

Adopted.

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary